EXME 11 / 09.03
Midday Express of 2011-03-09
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will make a key visit to Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea between 13 and 21 March 2011. His first stop in Kuala Lumpur will focus on the progress made in the current negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia. In Australia and New Zealand the Commissioner will discuss issues of common concern such as trade rules on raw materials and in New Zealand Commissioner De Gucht will represent the European Union at the national memorial service in Christchurch following the recent earthquake. During his final stop in Papua New Guinea the Commissioner will support a new Economic Partnership Agreement with the region covering duty-free, quota-free access to EU markets for goods.
The European Union is deploying an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Nigeria for the April 2011 elections, scheduled to take place over a period of three weeks, including National Assembly (April 2nd), Presidential (April 9th) and State House/Governor elections (April 16th). MEP Alojz Peterle has been appointed as Chief Observer. Mr Peterle, a former Prime Minister of Slovenia, is making his first visit to Abuja. He will lead the EOM that will assess pre-election preparations and campaigning across the country, voting, counting and tabulation of the results for each election as well as the post-election period.
The EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of 30.4 billion euro in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with a deficit of 4.9 bn in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a deficit of 19.7 bn in the third quarter of 2010. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the EU27 external balance of trade in goods was in deficit by 26.3 bn euro, compared with a deficit of 8.4 bn in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a deficit of 28.4 bn in the third quarter of 2010. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the external balance of trade in services was in surplus by 15.0 bn euro, compared with a surplus of 18.9 bn in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a surplus of 21.1 bn in the third quarter of 2010. These provisional data, issued by Eurostat will be subject to revision.
Commission clears acquisition of CSG by Reale and Unnim
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of CaixaSabadell Companyia d’Assegurances Generals, S.A. (CSG), a Spanish non-life insurance company, by Reale, an Italian group active internationally in the banking, insurance, real estate and services sectors and Unnim, a Spanish banking and insurance group. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Workers' and Employers' representatives take part in first Tripartite Social Forum
In Brussels, on March 10th 2011 – ahead of the Tripartite Social Summit that precedes the Spring Council within the European Semester, Commissioner László Andor will open the first Tripartite Social Forum. This event brings together representatives of the social partners and the Member States. The Forum is an annual event, and one of the concrete actions implementing the Europe 2020 flagship initiative "An Agenda for new skills and Jobs" Its aim is to enhance the social partners' participation and ownership of the whole Agenda. The Agenda for New skills and jobs, aiming at the achievement of the 75% EU employment rate proposes a number of new actions, focusing on four key priorities: improving the functioning of labour markets by enhancing flexicurity; equipping people with the right skills for employment; improving job quality and working conditions; and, supporting job creation. All of these areas require the support and contribution of the social partners. Social partners have a key role in ensuring competitiveness; employment and social justice go hand in hand. They have direct experience in responding to the challenges resulting from the crisis, the move to the knowledge economy and the transition to a low carbon economy and are best placed to build consensus for future policy initiatives. The Forum will discuss the implementation of the flagship initiative "An Agenda for new skills and jobs. While no formal conclusions are foreseen, the discussions will feed into inter alia the general debate on flexicurity. They will also bring a contribution to the of the Tripartite Social Summit on 24 March that will discuss about growth and jobs in times of budgetary consolidation and the role of social partners in the governance of the EU2020 Strategy.
New Skills & Jobs conference with 2010 Economics Nobel Prize laureate, Professor Christopher Pissarides
On March 10th a conference on New Skills & Jobs with the 2010 Economics Nobel Prize laureate, Professor Christopher Pissarides will take place at the Stanhope hotel at 9, rue du Commerce, 1000 Brussels. The event will bring together academics, representatives of stakeholder organizations and senior policy-makers to discuss the future of European labour markets with the 2010 Nobel Prize laureate in Economic Sciences, Christopher Pissarides . Organised by Commissioner László Andor and DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion , the conference aims to use Professor Pissarides' work on labour markets to support employment and social policies across the EU. The discussions will cover the EU's Europe 2020 flagship initiative " Agenda for New Skills and Jobs ", as well as the recently published Joint Employment Report. Professor Christopher Pissarides was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences , jointly with Peter Diamond and Dale Mortensen, for the formulation of a theoretical framework for markets with search frictions – such as the labour and housing markets. There will be a press conference at 10h30 in the Royal Suite at the Stanhope Hotel, 9 rue du Commerce, 1000 Brussels. The speech of Commissioner Andor, the keynote speech of the Nobel Prize laureate and the press conference will be available on EbS . More details: http://europa.eu/eucalendar/event/id/198054-conference-with-2010-economics-nobel-prize-laureate/mode/standalone
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy today presented a Communication on a Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean. This Strategy spells out what Europe can do to support the momentous changes in our Southern Neighbourhood and is a contribution to the extraordinary European Council on 11 March.
La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui une feuille de route visant à transformer l'Union européenne en une économie compétitive et sobre en carbone à l'horizon 2050. La feuille de route explique comment atteindre de manière rentable l'objectif que s'est fixé l'Union européenne de réduire de 80 à 95 % ses émissions de gaz à effet de serre d'ici à 2050, par rapport à leur niveau de 1990. La feuille de route s'appuie sur une analyse coût-efficacité et oriente les politiques sectorielles, les stratégies de réduction d'émissions à long terme aux niveaux national et régional ainsi que les investissements à long terme. L'UE doit maintenant commencer à élaborer des stratégies à long terme; la feuille de route fournit des orientations sur la manière d'effectuer cette transition de la façon la plus rentable qui soit. La Commission européenne a également pris l'initiative car elle considère qu'être chef de file de la transition globale vers une économie sobre en carbone et économe en ressources aura des effets bénéfiques multiples pour l'UE.
The European Commission today adopted a plan for saving more energy through concrete measures. Energy efficiency is a key tool for strengthening Europe's competitiveness and reduces energy dependence, while decreasing the level of emissions. The set of measures proposed aims at creating substantial benefits for households, businesses and public authorities: it should transform our daily lives and generate financial savings of up to €1000 per household every year. It should improve the EU's industrial competitiveness with a potential for the creation of up to 2 million jobs.
The European Commission has found a provision of the revised Austrian Green Electricity Act (Ökostromgesetznovelle 2008), partially exempting energy intensive businesses from contributing to the funding of green electricity, to be in breach of EU state aid rules. After an in-depth investigation, opened in 2009 (see IP/09/1177), the Commission concluded that
the new provision would have resulted in imposing extra costs on enterprises not qualifying for the exemption.
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, DKK 15 million (approximately €2 million) of public funding for a pilot program incentivising the purchase of electric cars. The scheme supports projects aimed at testing and test-running electric vehicles under realistic conditions and is expected to increase the number of wholly electrically propelled cars in Denmark, thereby decreasing the dependency on fossil fuel and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Commission concluded that the aid is unlikely to lead to significant distortions of competition in the internal market and is therefore compatible with the EU Treaty rules in view of the environmental benefits it will bring about.
La Commission Européenne a conclu qu'une garantie étatique, mise en place par la France pour couvrir le risque de change des équipementiers du secteur aéronautique (AERO 2008) et gérée par COFACE, est conforme aux conditions de marché et ne constitue pas, par conséquent, une aide d'état au sens du droit de l'Union Européenne (article 107 (1) du TFUE).
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President, today appointed Ana Paula Baptista Grade Zacarias as new Head of the EU Delegation to Brazil and Mariangela Zappia as Head of the EU Delegation to the UN organisations in Geneva.
Autre matériel diffusé :
• Statement by President Barroso on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day, Joint press conference with EP President Mr Buzek following the European Parliament debate, Strasbourg - rediffusion
• Statement by Vice-President Reding on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day, Joint press conference with EP President Mr Buzek following the European Parliament debate, Strasbourg - rediffusion