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Daily News – 09.03.2012

EXME 12 / 09.03

Midday Express of 2012-03-09

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Aides d'Etat: La Commission demande la récupération de 642 millions d'euros d'aides illégales versées à Sernam

Après une enquête approfondie (voir IP/08/1164), la Commission européenne a conclu que les conditions encadrant son autorisation d'une aide à la restructuration de 503 millions d'euros en faveur de Sernam (voir IP/01/744 et IP/04/1269), n'ont pas été respectées et que l'aide est donc incompatible avec les règles de l'UE relatives aux aides d'État. L'enquête de la Commission a également révélé que la privatisation de Sernam a donné lieu à de nouvelles aides pour près de 100 millions d'euros. Ces aides s'ajoutent aux 41 millions d'euros d'aides jugées incompatibles dans une précédente décision d'octobre 2004 et qui n'ont pas été récupérés à ce jour. Toutes ces subventions ont conféré un avantage économique indu à Sernam par rapport à ses concurrents et doivent être remboursées afin d'atténuer la distorsion de concurrence qu'elles ont créée dans le Marché Intérieur.

EU citizens still face obstacles to exercising their local voting rights, Commission report says

More and more EU citizens are exercising their right to live and work anywhere in the European Union, with around 8 million people of voting age currently residing in an EU country other than their own. As EU citizens, they have the right to vote or stand as a candidate in local elections in the EU country in which they live. However, only around 10% currently take advantage of this right, according to a new report published today by the European Commission. The report finds that while most countries have implemented the relevant EU rules ( Directive 94/80/EC) in a satisfactory way, some obstacles remain. In addition, some citizens may not be aware of their rights and procedures may sometimes prove too cumbersome. To make sure citizens are able to fully exercise their electoral rights, the Commission will therefore work with national, regional and local authorities to identify and resolve any remaining difficulties in effectively applying this right. The proposal for a European Year for Citizens in 2013 provides a good opportunity to make EU citizens' rights better known.

Millennium Development Goal on access to drinking water achieved ahead of time; 32 million people benefited from EU actions on water

On Monday 12 March Commissioner Piebalgs will share the results of the European Water Initiative at the World Water Forum in Marseille. The 10th anniversary of the Initiative comes at the same time as the international community can celebrate that the Millennium Development Goal on sustainable access to drinking water has been achieved, three years before the deadline of 2015. However, the remaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially sanitation, remain off-track and the EU will intensify its efforts to achieve the goals on time.

European Commission at the World Water Forum, Marseille

From 12-17 March 2012, the 6th World Water Forum, the largest international event in the field of water, will take place in Marseille, France. Every three years since 1997, the World Water Forum gathers thousands of stakeholders with the goal to bring water high on all political agendas. The motto of the 6th World Water Forum is "Time for solutions". The aim is to show how the international water community contributes to tackling key challenges like access to water for all, water supply, climate change and food security. The forum will also be a good opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the European Water Initiative (EUWI), an international policy partnership launched by the EU in 2002, which has helped to provide millions of people with access to water and sanitation. Janez Potočnik (Environment) will represent the Commission during the Ministerial Conference and endorse the Declaration on water challenges foreseen for adoption on 13 March, while Andris Piebalgs (Development), European Commissioners Connie Hedegaard (Climate Action) and Kristalina Georgieva (International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response) will participate in various sessions on 12 and 15 March (for the full programme please visit Various Commission services will also take part in different sessions of the Forum providing speakers at technical level.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga - rediffusion

Statement by Vice-President Rehn on private sector participation in the second Greek programme

Memo: "EU Day for the Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism: Statement from EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström"

Speech by Vice-President Kroes to the Cable Congress of the European Cable Communications Association (Brussels): "Unblocking the broadband bottleneck" - rediffusion