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Daily News – 07.06.2012

EXME 12 / 07.06

Midday Express of 2012-06-07

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

New Transparency Portal offers one-stop shop for open decision-making in the Commission

Today sees the launch of a new Transparency web portal, making the Commission's decision-making processes more open and accessible to citizens than ever before. The portal acts as a window on the wide range of instruments developed over recent years to make public scrutiny easier, and improve citizens' ability to exercise their rights. It provides quick and direct access to information on: Legislation; Impact assessments; Experts groups and advisory committees; Consultations; Interest representation and lobbying; Access to documents and Recipients of EU funds.

1,000th designation of an orphan medicinal product: improving the lives of patients

Over 30 million European citizens suffer from a rare disease. The small numbers of patients affected by a single disease and the fragmentation of knowledge about rare diseases translates into difficulties for people to get the right diagnosis, the right medical advice and the right medicine. In many cases, the medicine they need has not yet been developed. Today's 1000th designation of an orphan medicinal product marks a tremendous success in improving this situation.

EU-wide right to information at arrest is now law

"You have the right to… - a Letter of Rights". A new law to ensure defendants' right to information during criminal proceedings throughout the European Union has been published in the Official Journal – the EU's statute book. The 'Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings' was proposed by the European Commission in July 2010, voted by the European Parliament on 13 December 2011 (see IP/11/1534) and agreed by national justice ministers on 27 April 2012 (see IP/12/430). This law ensures that anyone arrested or subject to a European Arrest Warrant in any EU Member State is given a Letter of Rights listing their basic rights during criminal proceedings. EU Member States now have two years to introduce the new rules in their national legal systems. Currently the right to a Letter of Rights is only available in around one third of Member States.

European Commission plans to ease legal burden for cross-border successions to become law

Today, the Commission's proposal to simplify the settlement of international successions received the final backing of the Council of Justice Ministers of the EU. The European Commission proposals will ease the legal burden when a family member with property in another EU country passes away. Once published in the EU's Official Journal – which is expected to take place within weeks – Member States will have 3 years to align their national laws so that the new EU rules on succession become effective.

Catherine Ashton visits Turkey

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, visits Turkey today. She will represent the European Union at the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, before co-chairing the EU-Turkey Ministerial Meeting with Commissioner Štefan Füle and Ahmed Davutoglu and Egemen Bagis, the Turkish Ministers for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs respectively.

Danube Strategy: Transport ministers to cooperate on navigability

On the initiative of the Commission, the transport ministers of the riparian states of the Danube met for the first time today in Luxembourg and agreed on a declaration setting out a number of commitments to avoid a repeat of last autumn's navigation standstills on the river. The declaration reasserts existing obligations to maintain the fairway to a good standard and undertakes measures to tackle problems like low water or ice. The ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia signed the declaration, while Serbia and BiH have sent letters of support for the declaration. Hungary has not yet signed the declaration. The ministers agreed to meet again, and to co-ordinate actions through the structures of the Danube Strategy and the Trans-European Transport Network Coordinator for Inland Waterways.

Progress in reducing early school leaving and increasing graduates in Europe, but more efforts needed

Member States must work harder if they are to meet the Europe 2020 education targets to reduce early school leaving rates to less than 10% and increase the share of young people with degree-level qualifications to at least 40%, according to figures for 2011 released by Eurostat. They show that Member States are making progress, but wide disparities remain and it is far from certain that the EU will meet its 2020 goals: The share of early school leavers now stands at 13.5%, down from 14.1% in 2010 and from 17.6% in 2000. In 2011, 34.6% of 30-34 year olds in the EU had a degree, compared to 33.5% in the previous year and 22.4% in 2000.

EURO 2012: Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for sport, sends message to fans and teams

On the eve of the opening of the EURO 2012, Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for sport, has sent this message to football fans and the teams competing in the tournament, "This is the moment that millions of football fans all over Europe have been waiting for. Many thousands of supporters will be in Poland and Ukraine to cheer on their teams. I am sure there will be a fantastic atmosphere in all the stadia hosting the matches. I wish all the fans an enjoyable tournament and I hope they can send out a message that football is about passion, not prejudice. I congratulate UEFA President Michel Platini for the organisation of the event and I wish all the teams taking part the very best of luck. They also have a responsibility to ensure that EURO 2012 is remembered for all the right reasons – for thrilling matches, goals, skill and, above all, fair-play. May the best team win!" The opening ceremony of UEFA EURO 2012 and first match – Poland v Greece – will take place in the National Stadium in Warsaw. More than 800 volunteer performers from 63 countries will take part in the opening ceremony, devised by Italian creative director Marco Balich. Hungarian pianist Adam Gyorgy will perform a piece by the 19th century Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. More than 150 million TV viewers are expected to watch the opening match and ceremony. Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski will attend the opening event. Commissioner Vassiliou also intends to attend one of the later matches taking place in Poland.

(for more information: D. Abbott - Tel. +32 229 59258 - Mobile +32 498 95 9258)

Commission clears acquisition of Polyedra by Lecta

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the Italian paper merchant Polyedra S.p.A. and Polyedra AG by Lecta S.A., headquartered in Luxembourg. Lecta is active in the manufacture of coated fine paper, specialty paper and the merchanting of paper. Polyedra is active in the merchanting of paper. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Merger: Commission clears acquisition of Aksa Karbon by Dow Europe and Aksa Akrilik

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control by Dow Europe Holding B.V and the Turkish company Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii of Aksa Karbon Elyaf Sanayi Anonim Şirketi (“Aksa Karbon”). Aksa Karbon is currently active in the manufacture of polyacrylonitrile ("PAN")-based carbon fibers. Post-transaction, it will also produce the downstream products carbon fiber intermediates and carbon fiber composites. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Merger: Commission clears acquisition by Elior Concessions of Áreas Iberoamericana and Áreas

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Elior Concessions SA of sole control of Áreas Iberoamericana and ultimately of Áreas, mostly active in the Spanish market for concession foodservices. Previous to the transaction Elior, whose main activities are in the field of contract catering and foodservices, already exercised joint control over these undertakings together with Emesa S.L. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Pan-European cultural-tourism routes take you through European history

Europe offers a wide variety of cultural-tourism itineraries that, crossing several regions or countries, provide a living example of the rich and impressive European common heritage. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani participates in the event Crossroads of Europe which is an annual event highlighting European cultural routes. It debuts this year in Pavia, Italy (6-10 June) as the first in a series to be hosted at the intersection of different European cultural routes. With the promotion of cultural itineraries, the European Commission aims to raise awareness on the need for a new kind of tourism, which is respectful of the environment, of the natural and cultural heritage and of the local traditions. Moreover it is intended to encourage the integration of SMEs into the tourism sector and to create opportunities for cooperation with tour operators, etc. This objective will be achieved through B2B meetings, guided tours, info sessions and briefings. European Commission supported projects - European Council Agreements on cultural routes


Vision 2020: Recommendations to help car industry reach new heights

On the occasion of the presentation of the CARS 21 report, the European Commission announced today concrete actions to be taken in reaction to the current economic situation. Recognising the strategic importance of the automotive industry for prosperity in Europe (12 million jobs, € 92 bn trade balance, € 30 bn investment in R&D) an Action Plan will list measures to help the sector. Planned actions concern: 1) providing EU financing for research, in particular to help the sector adapt to the technologies of tomorrow, and reinforcing EIB lending to industry 2) managing the sector's costs by applying the principles of smart regulation and 3) supporting the internationalisation of EU industry by improving market access through trade negotiations and work on regulatory and procedural convergence with the ultimate aim of achieving a worldwide car type approval. This would mean that any car produced in the world can be marketed in every country of the world.

State aid: Commission temporarily approves increase of temporary refinancing guarantee for Dexia SA and DCL and extends investigation

The European Commission has approved a €10 billion increase of the ceiling of a temporary guarantee granted by Belgium, France and Luxembourg to cover the refinancing needs of Dexia SA and DCL. The ceiling is thus raised to a maximal amount of € 55 billion. The Commission has temporarily approved the measure until 30 September 2012 in order to preserve financial stability and will take a final decision on its compatibility with EU state aid rules when it has finalised its assessment of Dexia's resolution plan.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of beer brewer Starbev by international brewing company Molson Coors

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of StarBev Holdings S.à r.l., registered in Luxembourg and headquartered in the Czech Republic, by the US based Molson Coors Brewing Company, both active in the brewing and distribution of beer. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the proposed operation did not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Déclaration du Président Barroso suite à sa rencontre avec le Premier Ministre du Niger, M. Birgi Rafini

Memo "Vision 2020: CARS 21 Group delivers recommendations to help car industry reach new heights" - Rediffusion

Memo "Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomes trilogue agreement by Council and Parliament on the Orphan Works Directive" – Rediffusion

Memo "Pan-European Cultural Routes: A journey through Europe's shared cultural heritage"

Speech by Commissioner Karel De Gucht: "EU-China Investment: A Partnership of Equals"

Speech of the Vice President Joaquín Almunia "The State Aid Modernisation Initiative"