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Daily News – 08.02.2010

Midday Express of 2010-02-08

European Commission - 08/02/2010

EXME 10 / 08.02

Midday Express of 2010-02-08

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

State aid: Commission temporarily approves additional recapitalisation package in favour of ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland

The European Commission has temporarily approved under EU state aid rules a recapitalisation package of €6.9 billion in favour of ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland until 31/07/2010 as urgent rescue aid. The additional recapitalisation package is necessary to finance the separation of ABN Amro from its mother company and the integration costs resulting from the merger between FBN and ABN Amro. At the same time, the Commission extended the scope of its in-depth investigation, opened in April 2009 into an aid package related to the purchase of Fortis Bank Nederland by the Dutch state (see IP/09/565 ), to include these additional measures. This will allow the Commission to assess in detail the combined effect of all the support measures in favour of Fortis Bank Nederland and ABN Amro and give interested parties an opportunity to comment on the additional measures. The opening or extension of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

State aid: Commission approves Swedish State guarantee for Saab

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, plans notified by Sweden to provide a guarantee that would enable Saab Automobile AB to access a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Commission found that 82.8% of the guarantee to be provided by Sweden was in line with its Temporary Framework for state aid measures, which gives Member States additional scope to facilitate access to financing in the present economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993 ). In particular, Saab will pay an adequate remuneration for the guarantee and provide sufficient securities in case the guarantee would be drawn. It is therefore compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which permits aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State. The remaining 17.2% will be provided on market conditions and therefore does not constitute state aid.

State aid: Commission approves Italian scheme to bridge digital divide in Lombardy

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules funding for a network to bridge the digital divide in the Italian region of Lombardy. The Italian scheme is fully in line with the Commission's Broadband Guidelines (see IP/09/1332 and MEMO/09/396 ) and will contribute to reach the EU's objective of increasing broadband connectivity to all European citizens while at the same time stimulating competition in areas where private operators were not present before.

State aid: Commission approves broadband support for rural areas in Saxony

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a duct support scheme and other financial measures to increase broadband access in unserved rural areas in the German region of Saxony. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with its Broadband Guidelines (see IP/09/1332 and MEMO/09/396 ), in particular because it will allow operators to deploy their own cables, thereby enhancing the possibilities for infrastructure based competition.

Un nouveau logo sélectionné pour tous les produits biologiques de l’Union européenne

La Commission européenne a annoncé aujourd’hui officiellement le gagnant du concours de conception du nouveau logo de l’Union européenne pour les produits biologiques. Au cours de ces deux derniers mois, quelque 130 000 personnes ont voté en ligne pour choisir le nouveau symbole biologique parmi les projets des trois finalistes. Le logo gagnant est celui de Dusan Milenkovic, un étudiant venu d’Allemagne dont le motif «eurofeuille» a remporté 63 % de l’ensemble des suffrages. À compter du 1er juillet 2010, le logo biologique de l’Union européenne devra obligatoirement figurer sur tous les produits biologiques préemballés élaborés dans les États membres de l’Union et répondant aux normes requises. Pour les produits importés, il sera facultatif. L’apposition, à côté du logo de l’UE, d’autres logos à caractère privé, régional ou national sera autorisée. Le règlement relatif à l’agriculture biologique sera modifié dans les semaines qui viennent en vue d’introduire le nouveau logo dans l’une de ses annexes.

Conference on cross-border crisis management in banking sector – 19 March 2010

On 19 March 2010 in Brussels, the European Commission will host a high-level one-day conference on the construction of a new crisis management framework in the banking sector. The conference will provide an opportunity for the Commission to present the results of its recent public consultation and to set out its ideas on how to move forwards in this important policy area. It will also provide an opportunity for eminent speakers and panellists from different backgrounds to express their views about what should be done. The conference will feature a mixture of keynote addresses and panel discussions, and will be divided into three sessions: 'Early intervention: which new tools for supervisors?'; 'Making bank resolution effective across borders'; and 'Bank insolvency framework: coordination or integration?'. The number of places is limited and participation will be on a first come first served basis. The conference programme and information on registration are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/bank/crisis_management/index_en.htm#conference

High Level Contact Group set up to address industry concerns over REACH deadline

A high level contact group has been set up to address EU industry concerns about meeting the 30 November 2010 deadline under REACH for registration of chemicals that are produced in high volumes and/or are most hazardous. According to the REACH Regulation, failure to register by the deadline means that a substance cannot be used or put on the market. The group, called the Directors’ Contact Group, met for the first time on 5 February in Brussels. The group consists of Director-level representatives from the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency and from the industry associations CEFIC, Eurométaux, REACH Alliance, Concawe, FECC and UEAPME. Its aim is to identify priority issues of concern related to the registration deadline and develop practical solutions. It also aims to address concerns over a potential disruption of supplies of high-volume substances to downstream users if the deadline is not met. The group will work fast because time is short. Its first task is to develop an inventory of issues of concern and to elaborate achievable actions that can be implemented before June. Furthermore, the group will monitor the implementation and effect of its recommendations and overall progress towards registration and address ad-hoc issues as they occur. REACH is the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It aims to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks that chemicals can pose, and to enhance competitiveness and innovation. REACH makes industry responsible for assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals.

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Memo State aid: Commission processes record number of broadband projects following new Broadband Guidelines

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