EXME 10 / 09.03
Midday Express of 2010-03-09
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Some 80% of Europeans continue to travel for their holidays according to a new Eurobarometer survey on ‘The attitudes of Europeans towards tourism 2010’. Only 20% of over 30,000 randomly selected citizens were almost certain that they will not travel in 2010, which is significantly below the proportion of non-travellers in 2009 (33%). EU citizens increasingly prefer to spend their holidays in traditional tourist destinations (57%), while 28% would rather go “off the beaten track” to emerging destinations. . Tourism is one of Europe's most important service industries, accounting for 5% of Europe's GDP and 6% of employment.
Today, the European Commission has announced the results of its €18 million call for proposals for new research projects on influenza. Four collaborative research projects have been shortlisted for funding. They involve 52 research institutes and SMEs from 18 European countries and 3 international partners (Israel, China, the United States). Influenza virus genes migrate across continents and between species and seriously threaten both human and animal health. Two consortia will focus their research on influenza in pigs while the two others will develop innovative drugs against influenza in humans. Their selection is part of the EU's longstanding support for research on influenza and brings the total Commission funding in this field to over €100 million since 2001.
The European Commission notes the decision announced on 8th March by Northrop Grumman / EADS not to submit a bid to the US Department of Defence contract for the US Air Force's aerial refuelling tanker programme.
State aid: Commission extends German export credit refinancing scheme
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, the prolongation until 31 December 2010 of a German refinancing scheme for long-term export credit. The scheme, approved by the Commission in September 2009 for six months (see IP/09/1319 ), encourages banks to provide long-term credits for export operations. Under the scheme, publicly-owned Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) purchases existing export loans from banks' books in return for which banks have to provide new export loans for an equivalent amount. The existing export loans bought by KfW are covered by a 100% export credit insurance from the Federal Government. As the situation of the export credit market is still negatively affected by the financial and economic crisis, the Commission concluded that a prolongation of the scheme is justified under Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
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