EXME 13 / 09.04
Midday Express of 2013-04-09
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission is proposing EU-wide methods to measure the environmental performance of products and organisations, and encouraging Member States and the private sector to take them up.
The Commission has opened formal proceedings to investigate whether MasterCard may be hindering competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) with regard to payment cards, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The Commission has concerns that some of MasterCard's inter-bank fees and related practices may be anti-competitive. An opening of proceedings does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
Today, the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) enters into operation to increase security and facilitate free movement within the Schengen area. The SIS II allows for an easy exchange of information between national border control authorities, customs and police authorities on persons who may have been involved in a serious crime. It also contains alerts on missing persons, in particular children, as well as information on certain property, such as banknotes, cars, vans, firearms and identity documents that may have been stolen, misappropriated or lost.
The European Commission has released the first progress report on the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region, two years after it was first launched. It details significant achievements in tackling problems from missing transport links, lack of competitiveness, to pollution and crime. 14 countries make up the Danube macro-region, of which 8 are EU member states. The report details how through numerous shared projects and initiatives they have already managed to establish a concrete system of co operation. But the Commission report calls on the Danube governments to follow up on their political commitments by making the Strategy a priority across all relevant policy areas. And it urges the 8 EU member states involved, as well as Croatia, to incorporate the Strategy into their plans for the next generation of programmes under Regional Policy for 2014-20.
European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed today the new European Report on Development (ERD) on how global action can best support the efforts of the poorest countries in achieving development.
Energy: EU Commissioner Oettinger to discuss future energy policy at Lech Energy Forum 11-12 April 2013
The second edition of the Lech Energy Forum will take place on 11 and 12 April 2013 in Lech am Arlberg, Austria. This International forum is organised by the municipality of Lech under the patronage of EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. It aims at leading the debate on the future of energy policy in Europe. Expected participants i.a. are EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the Irish Chair of the Energy Council, Pat Rabbitte, the Lithuanian Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic, Ministers from Ukraine and Morocco as well as the Austrian Minister for Economy, Reinhold Mitterlehner. Representatives of major European energy companies also participate, among them the CEOs of OMV, Verbund AG, RWE, EDF Energy and Tennet. Industry is represented, among others, by board members of Siemens, Daimler, Schaeffler, BASF and Alstom. The debate will place special emphasis on four topics: What is the way forward for energy policy in Europe? How can we finance the transformation of our energy system? The EU – a regional or a global player in world energy markets? Can innovation save politics? More details as well as the program and the full list of participants are available here: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/oettinger/headlines/news/2013/04/20130411_lech_forum_en.htm . For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . For information on the Forum's programme and speakers please contact Kurt Gläser, DG Energy European Commission Kurt.Glaeser@ec.europa.eu . Your on-site press contact is Heinz-Rudolf Miko, European Commission Representation in Austria Heinz-Rudolf.Miko@ec.europa.eu .
E-Procurement – good practices
There are currently around 300 e-procurement systems in Europe. Certain systems have achieved excellence in performance, reliability and security. However, some systems are not easily accessible to cross-border users who may need to use country-specific tools to access them. Moreover, the large number of user interfaces makes it difficult for companies to respond to calls for tenders run on multiple platforms. The EU e-Procurement single market is therefore facing two barriers: lack of cross-border interoperability and interface complexity. A new information resource, launched today by the Commission, explicitly addresses these issues. The Golden Book of e-procurement practices identifies and analyses good practices within current e-Procurement operations in Europe, offering to all procurement professionals practical means to assess the current state of their business and make informed decisions on future development. More information on e-Procurement can be found at:
Commissioner Hedegaard visits US for high-level climate talks
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, will visit New York and Washington DC on 10-12 April for high-level meetings on climate change. On 10 April in New York, Commissioner Hedegaard will have meetings with United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and Assistant Secretary-General Robert Orr. The focus will be on preparations for the summit of world leaders on climate change planned next year by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In Washington on 11 April Commissioner Hedegaard will participate in a ministerial meeting hosted by the US Government on mobilising climate finance for developing countries. The following day she will attend a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF). Set up by President Obama to facilitate dialogue on climate change policy between key developed and developing countries, the MEF brings together ministers from 17 of the world's major economies which are collectively responsible for some 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a number of observer countries. The Washington MEF talks will focus on the design of the new international climate agreement due to be adopted in 2015 as well as on complementary, cooperative 'MEF actions' to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attends a conference on resilience in the Sahel region
Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will participate today in a conference on the Alliance Globale pour l’Initiative Resilience (AGIR) organised by the OECD in Paris. This event aims to take stock of this year's agricultural production in the Sahel and West Africa and to evaluate the progress on nutrition and food security. This year has been relatively good for agriculture and pastoralists, but the region also faced floods, high food prices and instability due to the conflict in Mali, which makes the analysis of the food security situation as relevant as ever. Parties concerned will discuss and adopt a roadmap to increase resilience in the region. The Commission will call on Member States to increase their national efforts to this fight. In the context of the meeting, Commissioner Piebalgs will meet with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. For more information: http://www.food-security.net/
"The prolonged financial, economic and social crisis threatens to undermine consensus for the European social model and for European economic and monetary integration as a whole", warned László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, at the 9th ILO European Regional Meeting in Oslo today. "We all know that the employment scenario for the EU still looks grim. What concerns us most are the dramatic differentials in economic and employment conditions within the euro area, as Southern European countries seems to be trapped in a never-ending spiral of recession and unemployment. This harsh reality should encourage Europe to react with even more determination." Commissioner Andor continued "I am convinced that this crisis has been a catalyst for profound change in the EU. Latest developments show that we are in fact heading towards a more balanced architecture for the European Monetary Union. The Commission and the Member States are developing a strategy that combines fiscal consolidation efforts with an integrated strategy for economic and employment growth, and social cohesion. The three key elements of this strategy to get Europe back on track for sustainable and inclusive growth are a social dimension for a genuine EMU; fostering demand for jobs, investing in skills and providing opportunities for young people; and a reorientation of social policy towards social investment". See SPEECH/13/293.
The European Commission has blocked a proposal by the German Telecoms Regulator (BNetzA) to set fixed termination rates three times (300%) higher than the average of countries which follow the recommended approach set out in EU telecoms rules. Termination rates are the rates telecoms networks charge each other to deliver calls between networks, and each operator has market power over access to customers on its own network. These costs are ultimately passed on to consumers and businesses.
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