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Daily News – 07.01.2011

EXME 11 / 07.01

Midday Express of 2011-01-07

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

Mergers: Commission refers Thomas Cook's acquisition of CGL's and Midlands' travel businesses to UK competition authorities

The European Commission has referred, following a request by the United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) under the EU Merger Regulation, the assessment of the proposed acquisition of the travel businesses of Co-operative Group (CGL) and of Midlands Co-operative Society (Midlands) by Thomas Cook to the UK authorities. CGL and Midlands are active in the UK only. After a preliminary investigation, the Commission found that the proposed concentration threatens to give rise to competition concerns in the market for holiday distribution, in particular of package holidays, in the UK. The issue will now be examined by the competent UK competition authorities under national law.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Commission adopts urgent protection measures after case in wild boar in Bulgaria

The European Commission adopted last night urgent protection measures after a wild boar, which was shot by hunters at the end of 2010 in Bulgaria, tested positive to Food and Mouth Disease (FMD). The Commission's decision aims to reinforce control measures for FMD already taken by the competent Bulgarian authorities.

Commission launches public consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive and a European Professional Card

The Commission has today launched a public consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC). This Directive is key to enabling professionals to take full advantage of the potential of the Single Market in finding a job or extending their business in another Member State. Updating this Directive is one of the actions set out in the Single Market Act adopted in October 2010 (IP/10/1390) and follows Commission reports on how the Directive works in practice (IP/10/1367). The consultation is an opportunity for stakeholders to highlight areas of the Directive they feel could be simplified and made more user-friendly. It also seeks views on how to better integrate professionals working in the Single Market, and raises the option of a European professional card. The results of the Consultation will feed into an evaluation report and a Green Paper due this autumn. The Commission will come forward with a proposal for modernising the Directive in 2012. Stakeholders are invited to respond until 15 March 2011, and a public hearing is scheduled for 21 February 2011.

Statement by John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, on the dioxin incident in Germany

"The proper management of the dioxin incident in Germany is of utmost importance for the Commission and must be pursued with urgency and effectiveness. I have contacted yesterday afternoon Mrs Ilse Aigner, German Federal minister for Food, Agriculture & Consumer Protection and was given the latest state of play of the situation. My services and the German authorities are in permanent contact and the level of cooperation is very good. The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed as well as the traceability mechanisms in place at EU level have shown their effectiveness. In the coming weeks, I will explore with our EU partners and stakeholders ways to further strengthen our monitoring processes of dioxin in feed."

Euro area unemployment rate at 10.1%

The euro area1 (EA16) seasonally-adjusted2 unemployment rate3 was 10.1% in November 2010, unchanged compared with October4. It was 9.9% in November 2009. The EU271 unemployment rate was 9.6% in November 2010, unchanged compared with October4. It was 9.4% in November 2009.

Euro area GDP up by 0.3% and EU27 GDP up by 0.5%

Euro area1 (EA16) GDP increased by 0.3% and EU27 GDP by 0.5% during the third quarter of 2010, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2010, growth rates were +1.0% in both zones. In comparison with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose in the third quarter of 2010 by 1.9% in the euro area and by 2.2% in the EU27, after +2.0% in both zones in the second quarter. In the third quarter of 2010, Sweden (+2.1%) recorded the highest growth rate compared with the previous quarter, followed by Luxembourg (+1.5%) and Poland (+1.3%).


Catherine Ashton appoints Managing Director for Africa, welcomes appointment of EDA Chief Executive

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy/Commission Vice President, today appointed Nicholas Westcott as Managing Director for Africa in the new European External Action Service (EEAS). She has also welcomed the appointment of Claude-France Arnould as Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA).

La Commission lance une consultation sur un éventuel cadre européen pour gérer les faillites bancaires

A la suite de la publication de la Communication du 20 octobre 2010 sur un éventuel cadre européen de gestion de crise pour le secteur financier (voir IP/10/1353), la Commission européenne lance aujourd'hui une consultation sur les détails techniques qui sous-tendent ce cadre de gestion de crise. La consultation d'aujourd'hui doit être lue en parallèle avec cette communication. La Commission entend proposer, avant l'été 2011, un cadre législatif complet pour la gestion de crise des banques. La date limite pour répondre à cette consultation est le 3 mars 2011.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the occasion of her visit to the Middle East – en rediffusion

Memo "Consultation on Technical Details of a Possible Crisis Management Framework for financial institutions - Frequently Asked Questions" – en rediffusion

Memo on "Questions and Answers – Dioxin incident in Germany" – en rediffusion

Memo "Public consultation on the Professional Qualifications Directive and a European Professional Card - Frequently asked questions"

• Calendrier hebdomadaire du 10 au 16 janvier

(pour plus d'information: CLDR/11/1)

• Top News from the European Commission

(for more information: AGENDA/11/1)