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EXME 11 / 07.12
Midday Express of 2011-12-07
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Social businesses are companies that have a positive social impact and address social objectives as their corporate aim rather than only maximising profit. It is a growing sector in Europe, already representing 10% of all European businesses and employing over 11 million paid employees. While these businesses often receive public support, private investment via funds that invest in social entrepreneurs remains vital to their growth. However, such specialised social investment funds are rare or are not large enough. Cross-border investment in such funds is unnecessarily complicated and expensive.
Access to finance is essential to enhance the competiveness and growth potential of SMEs. In the context of the current crisis, marked by a fall in lending to the real economy, it is increasingly difficult for such companies to access loans. For this reason the European Commission is presenting a strategy to promote better access to finance for SMEs with an EU Action Plan (see MEMO/11/879) which includes increasing financial support from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank and a proposal for a regulation setting uniform rules for the marketing of venture capital funds.
Today, the European Commission adopted budget proposals for its external instruments from 2014-2020. They will allow the Union to fulfil its responsibility on the global stage: fighting poverty and promoting democracy, peace, stability and prosperity. The range of instruments will support developing countries as well as countries in the European neighbourhood and those that are preparing accession into the EU. The Commission will seek to target its resources where they are most needed, where they will have the highest impact while ensuring more flexibility to be able to react swiftly to unforeseen events. This budget will also enable the EU to further reinforce its role on the global stage and promote its interests and values.
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes has established a group to debate how to improve the policy framework for European media industries, chaired by Christian van Thillo, CEO of De Persgroep. The first of five group debates will take place today focussing on the impacts of the digital revolution on European media industries, and will provide input designed to foster pluralist media sector and quality journalism in spite of declining revenues.
The European Commission has found a Lithuanian short-term export credit insurance scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it requires a market-oriented remuneration and is limited to insurance cover that is currently not available on the private market. The Commission authorised the measure until 31 December 2012.
The European Commission has adopted revised rules for assessing state aid for shipbuilding to take account of the more specialised nature of today's shipbuilding industry. The new framework, in particular, prolongs and streamlines the rules on aid for innovation in shipbuilding, which are unique in EU state aid law, and extends the scope of these rules to new specialised market segments. The new framework will enter into force on 1 January 2012.
Romania authorized for trade in pig meat to other Member States
At the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health yesterday in Brussels, the Member States have unanimously given their go ahead to a draft Decision tabled by the Commission that will authorize trade of Romanian pig meat to other EU Member States. This is the first time that Romania is authorised after its accession because of the classical swine fever situation that has however largely improved in the last years. Trade will be possible from a "channelled system" developed in Romania including selected pig farms, slaughterhouses and establishments that provide all necessary guarantees concerning bio security, hygiene and surveillance for classical swine fever. Animal health experts from all the 27 EU member states agreed in Brussels on Tuesday on the adaptation of the measures against classical swine fever (CSF) in Romania to the improved situation aiming to restrictively allow the dispatch to other Member States of certain fresh pig meat and meat preparations and meat products consisting of or containing such meat from pigs kept in selected holdings in Romania. Last classical swine outbreak in Romania was detected in 2007 and since the adoption of Decision 2008/855/EC that lays down control measures and derogations applicable in particular to the movement of pigs and dispatch of pig meat from certain areas of some Member States, including Romania which is not yet free from CSF, the epidemiological situation has significantly improved. During 2011, in view of this favourable situation Romania has developed a strategy based on a "channelled system" that would allow fresh pig meat and pig meat products from certain designated farms operating a common enhanced bio-security management system and only through selected slaughterhouses and meat establishments. This system has been fine-tuned during the last months and finally Romania has substantiated the favourable situation and the reliability of the "channelled system". For more information please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/csf_en.htm
Leaders of the European Union institutions today came together for the first time with the European Disability Forum to discuss issues facing the estimated 80 million Europeans with disabilities. Presidents José Manuel Barroso (European Commission), Jerzy Buzek (European Parliament), Herman Van Rompuy (European Council) as well as European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, met with pan-European representatives of the disabled community.
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