EXME 10 / 07.12
Midday Express of 2010-12-07
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The Commission's efforts to cut unnecessary administrative burdens are progressing well, making the lives of businesses easier, in particular small and medium sized enterprises, and strengthening European competitiveness The Commission has already tabled proposals with a reduction potential well above the target of 25 % and is preparing new proposals bringing the total reduction potential to almost 33 % or EUR 40.7 bn.. That is the key message of the update about the implementation of the Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU, published today on the eve of the Competitiveness Council. Commission President José Manuel Barroso discussed this progress today with the Chairman of the High-Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens, Dr. Edmund Stoiber. The Group advises and assists the Commission on administrative burden reduction and will produce a report on best practice in Member States by end of 2011.
Over half the EU adult population is now overweight or obese according to the "Health at a Glance: Europe 2010" report published by the European Commission and the OECD today. The rate of obesity has more than doubled over the past 20 years in most EU Member States. This has considerable implications on health, health systems and on the wider economy. This is one of the many findings in a report which provides useful insight into the current situation of health in the EU.
Cross-border regional energy cooperation delivers lower prices and higher security of supply, and is a crucial building block of a competitive European Single Energy Market. Today, the European Commission has set out its ideas on how to reinforce such regional cooperation. In its Communication "The future Role of Regional Initiatives" published today, it identifies new tasks of Regional Initiatives such as the development of cross-border infrastructure and the implementation of the Third Energy Package including network codes. It also proposes a new governance structure of existing Regional Initiatives and an adjustment to their geographical scope to make regional cooperation more effective. Regulators, transmission systems operators and other stakeholders are invited to express their views on these ideas by the 15th of February 2011.
EU Globalisation Fund pays €13.8 million to help 2,161 redundant workers in Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands
The European Commission has made payments to Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The total amount of €13.8 million will help 2,161 dismissed workers back into employment, following their redundancy in four sectors: the manufacture of machinery and equipment, production of textiles and of semiconductors. €10.1 million will help 1,149 dismissed workers in Denmark (i.e. 1,010 former workers of the Danfoss Group and 139 former workers of Linak A/S). The redundancies reflect the impact of the recession in the engineering sector and the abrupt drop in demand for mechanical and electronic machinery. €1.8 million will help 500 Spanish redundant workers (i.e. 500 in 82 enterprises operating in the clothing sector). The dismissals are a consequence of the global economic crisis. Tight credit conditions, low consumer confidence and declining purchasing power explain the drop in demand and the difficulties experienced by the sector. €1.8 million will help 512 former workers of NXP Semiconductors Netherlands BV. The redundancies are a consequence of structural changes in world trade patterns, in particular a significant decline in the EU market share for the production of semi-conductors. Background: These payments follow the EU budgetary authorities, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU approval last October 20th, 2010. The relevant proposals for funding were made by the European Commission on 2, 20 and 31 August (for more information see also: IP/10/1019 with regard to Danfoss and Linak; IP/10/1062 regarding Galicia Textiles; and IP/10/1080 regarding NXP).
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, l'acquisition d'ADC Telecommunications (États-Unis) par Tyco Electronics (États-Unis). Après examen, la Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que l'opération n'entraverait pas de manière significative l’exercice d'une concurrence effective dans l'Espace économique européen (EEE) ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.
State aid: Commission approves prolongation of the Danish winding up scheme for credit institutions
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six months prolongation until 30.06.2011 of the Danish winding up scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 30 September 2010 (see IP/109/1266), to be in line with its Guidance Communications on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495). In particular, the extended measure can be considered as an appropriate means for remedying a serious disturbance in the Danish economy and as such is compatible with the internal market under Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU.
State aid: Commission approves extension of Hungarian recapitalisation scheme for credit institutions
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six-month extension (until 30 June 2011) of the Hungarian recapitalisation scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the extension of the scheme, initially approved on 12 February, 2009 (see IP/09/253), to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1945 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the extended measures can be considered as an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Hungarian economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the EU Treaty.
State aid: Commission approves extension of the Hungarian liquidity scheme for credit institutions
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six-month prolongation (until 30 June 2011) of the Hungarian liquidity scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 14 January 2010 (see IP/10/19), and extended on 28 June 2010 (see IP/10/ 854) to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the extended measures are proportionate, well targeted, limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Hungarian economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU.
Commission clears the acquisition of joint-control by Barclays and BPCE of Hexagone France 3
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint-control by Barclays and BPCE of Hexagone France 3. Barclays is a global financial services provider active in retail and commercial banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. CFF is a mortgage specialist controlled by the Banques Populaires Caisses d'Epargne Group (BPCE), a banking network in France active in investment banking, retail and commercial banking, insurance and real estate services. Hexagone is a special purpose vehicle owning two buildings for commercial use in the French department of Seine Saint-Denis, in the Ile-de-France region. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears the acquisition of joint-control by DSB and FIRST over DSBFirst Väst
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by DSB (Denmark) and FIRSTGroup plc ("First", United Kingdom) over DSBFirst Väst (Sweden), an extension of the existing joint venture DSBFirst Aps, already jointly controlled by the parties. DSB is active in the regional and interregional railway transport in Denmark and Sweden. FIRST is an operator of rail passenger franchises having its main activities in the United Kingdom. DSBFirst Väst will operate a rail passenger franchise in western Sweden as of mid December 2010 to December 2018, franchise awarded on basis of a public tender. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Fight against tax fraud: Commission welcomes Council agreement on better cooperation between tax authorities
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud and Audit, has welcomed the political agreement at ECOFIN today which will significantly improve Member States’ ability to assess and collect the taxes that they are due. The Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the field of taxation sets the basis for stronger cooperation and greater information exchange between tax authorities in the EU. One of the key aspects of the Directive is that bank secrecy will no longer be allowed to be used as a reason for one Member State refusing cross-border cooperation with another Member State in the assessment of taxes. Commissioner Šemeta said: “In the current economic climate, when public budgets are under such pressure, we need to work together as a Union and ensure that each Member State can collect the revenue that it is due. That is what today’s agreement is about. It sends a strong signal to the world that the EU is serious about the fight against tax fraud and evasion, and that we will continue to insist on good governance, both at home and internationally.” The Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the field of taxation provides clearer and more precise rules for cooperation between Member States when it comes to assessing taxes. In particular, it sets up common mechanisms and rules of procedure for the exchange of information, which will improve transparency. The Directive abolishes bank secrecy in the relations between tax authorities, so that it cannot be used to refuse an information request from a Member State trying to assess the tax situation of one of its residents. The Directive has a wide scope, covering all taxes except those already covered under specific EU legislation (i.e. VAT and excise duties). Today’s agreement will ensure that the EU is fully in line with the OECD’s Model Convention when it comes to transparency and information exchange in tax matters.
Croatia to join EU Lifelong Learning Programme in January
Croatia will participate fully in the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme and Youth in Action Programme from January following the signing today of a 'memorandum of understanding' by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Radovan Fuchs, Croatia's Minister of Science, Education and Sports. The signing took place at an informal meeting of European education Ministers in Bruges, Belgium. The Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) includes Erasmus, which provides grants to higher education students to study or train abroad, Leonardo da Vinci, which is aimed at vocational education mobility, Comenius for school exchanges and Grundtvig for adult education. The funding is targeted at individual students and learners, as well as teachers, trainers and others involved in education and training. Switzerland will also join the LLP and Youth in Action Programme in January, bringing the total number of partner countries to 33. (27 Member States, Norway, Iceland, Turkey and Liechtenstein currently participate) http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc/croatia_en.pdf .
Vice President Tajani on official visit to Paris
Today, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani is on official visit to Paris to meet with members of the French government and industry representatives, notably to present the recently adopted Europe 2020 flagship initiatives on industrial and innovation policy, and to consult on the forthcoming raw materials communication. During his visit, the Vice-President meets with Eric Besson, Minister of Industry, Frederic Léfébvre, Secretary of State for Trade, Small and Medium Enterprises and Tourism, and Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research. The Vice President will also meet Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS, and Jean-Paul Agon, CEO of l'Oréal.
Launch of the European Report on Development
Today the European Report on Development will be launched during the European Development Days in Brussels. According to the report, social protection can help reduce poverty and vulnerability and promote development and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report which was commissioned by the EU. To unleash the full potential of social protection, African countries, the EU and other donors need to place it at the heart of their development policies.
Over the last decade, the inactivity rate for women aged between 15 and 64 years in the EU27 has fallen steadily, from 39.9% in 2000 to 35.7% in 2009, meaning that 5.0 million more women have entered the labour market. In contrast, the inactivity rate for men aged 15 to 64 has decreased only slightly, from 22.8% in 2000 to 22.2% in 2009.In spite of the economic crisis, the labour market participation of women in the EU27 continued to increase between 2008 and 2009, as the inactivity rate of women aged 15-64 further declined from 36.1% to 35.7%. For the participation of men however a limited impact can be observed, as the rate for men aged 15 to 64 increased, even if slightly, for the first time since 2002, from 22.0% in 2008 to 22.2% in 2009. Most affected seemed to be young men aged 15 to 24, who saw their inactivity rate rise from 52.1% in 2008 to 53.0% in 2009. These data come from a report issued by Eurostat focusing on people outside the labour market.
Today, Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs awarded the Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize to Yader Luna for his article "Palabra de Mujer" (Woman's Word). The Award Ceremony took place in Brussels Town Hall, where 17 journalists from all around the world were awarded Natali Prizes for their outstanding journalistic work covering issues of development, human rights and democracy. Twelve regional prizes for written and online media were awarded along with a special prize for TV and a special prize for radio journalists.
We welcome the announcement by the Supreme Court of the final results of the second round of presidential elections in Guinea held on 7 November 2010. The peaceful completion of the second round of presidential elections confirms Guinea's progress towards democratisation and the rule of law.
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