EXME 11 / 09.06
Midday Express of 2011-06-09
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The EU's innovation performance needs major improvements in many areas if the Europe 2020 strategy is to deliver smart sustainable growth, concludes the European Commission's 2011 Innovation Union Competitiveness Report . Europe needs more and "smarter" investment in both public and private research and development – not only does this boost growth in the medium-term, it also has a counter-cyclical effect in times of crisis. More research cooperation within the EU and internationally is needed, along with better use of research results, including through a stronger intellectual property regime. Education systems need to be adapted to business innovation needs. Innovative and fast-growing SME's need more encouragement. A concerted effort is necessary to build on Europe's promising record in innovation tackling global challenges such as climate change. The gender gap in science and research must be closed.
Major conference on the way forward for EU research and innovation funding after the recent public consultation
On Friday 10 June, the Commission will present at a conference in Brussels the results of the public consultation on the Green Paper on EU research and innovation funding post-2013 ( IP/11/138). The Commission received over 2 000 responses. The conference gives stakeholders a chance to debate the way forward with speakers including Commissioners Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Olli Rehn, Michel Barnier and Janez Potočnik. They will be joined by Hungarian Minister of State for Economic Strategy, Zoltán Cséfalvay. Among the senior scientists and business leaders who will also speak are Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN, Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council's Scientific Council, Patrick Cunningham, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish government and Nevio Di Giusto, Director-General of Fiat's research centre in Italy. A new legislative package, which once adopted by the Council and the European Parliament will set up the new funding system, is scheduled towards the end of this year. The aim is to make participation in EU-funded research and innovation programmes easier and to get the best value for every euro spent. This in turn will contribute to sustainable growth and jobs and to tackling grand challenges such a climate change and food security, as set out in the Innovation Union action plan ( IP/10/1288) put forward by the Commission in October 2010 and endorsed by EU leaders at the February 2011 European Council. The conference will take place in the Charlemagne building from 9h15-17h and will be webstreamed live on: http://webcast.ec.europa.eu/eutv/portal/index.html . To view the full programme, please click here . Journalists are welcome to attend the event and will be able to register on a "first come first served basis" with Martina Daly (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
European Medicines Agency appoints of new Executive Director
The Management Board of the European Medicines Agency decided yesterday to appoint Mr Guido Rasi as the Executive Director of the Agency. Before formally taking up his duties, he must appear before the European Parliament. The Executive Director will lead and manage the Agency taking responsibility for its operations and achieve the Agency’s objectives in line with European pharmaceutical legislation. Mr Rasi has an academic training in medicine. He has been the Director-General of the Italian Medicines Agency since 2008. Prior to that position, he managed research centres of the Italian National Research Council. He has been a Member of the Management Board of the European Medicines Agency since 2008. The European Medicines Agency, located in London, is responsible for the scientific evaluation of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the European Union. Its mission is to foster scientific excellence in the evaluation and supervision of medicines, for the benefit of both public and animal health.
State aid: Commission approves further extension of Hungarian mortgage support scheme for households affected by financial downturn
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six-month prolongation until 31.12.2011 of a Hungarian mortgage support scheme to help households affected by the financial and economic downturn. The Commission found that the extended measures, initially approved on 13.07.2009 (see IP/09/1123), and extended on 24.11.2009 (see MEX/09/1124) and 12.12.2010 (see MEX 10/1208), were aimed at well-defined objectives of common interest and well designed to deliver these objectives and to limit distortions of competition. The Commission has therefore concluded that they provide aid of a social character to individuals, affected by a temporary income shock and at risk of losing their home, on a non-discriminatory basis and as such are compatible with Article 107(2)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Aspect Online AG by HUK, HDI and WGV
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the joint acquisition over Aspect Online AG of Germany by the three German insurers HUK, HDI and WGV, controlled by Württembergische Gemeinde-Versicherung a.G. Aspect Online AG is an internet platform for the comparison of insurance premiums, energy prices and banking fees. The operation was examined under the simplified merger control procedure.
EU27 trade in goods with Russia partly recovered in 2010, after the sharp drop recorded in 2009 which interrupted a long period of growth. EU27 exports to Russia fell from 105 billion euro in 2008 to 66 bn in 2009, then rose to 87 bn in 2010. Imports decreased from 178 bn in 2008 to 118 bn in 2009, then increased to 158 bn in 2010. As a result, the EU27 trade deficit with Russia increased from 52 bn euro in 2009 to 72 bn in 2010. In 2010, Russia was the EU27's third most important trading partner after the USA and China, accounting for 6% of EU27 exports and 11% of EU27 imports. On the occasion of the 27th European Union - Russia summit, which will take place on 9 and 10 June in Nizhny Novgorod in Russia, issues data on trade and investments between Russia and the EU.
The EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of 32.8 billion euro in the first quarter of 2011, compared with a deficit of 27.7 bn in the first quarter of 2010 and a deficit of 18.2 bn in the fourth quarter of 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, the EU27 external balance of trade in goods was in deficit by 41.8 bn euro, compared with a deficit of 32.6 bn in the first quarter of 2010 and a deficit of 29.3 bn in the fourth quarter of 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, the external balance of trade in services was in surplus by 19.2 bn euro, compared with a surplus of 11.5 bn in the first quarter of 2010 and a surplus of 20.8 bn in the fourth quarter of 2010. These provisional data, issued by Eurostat, will be subject to revision.
Strasbourg, 8 June 2011 - The European Parliament, in a vote of its 736 members plenary today, with an overwhelming majority (521 in favour, 145 against, 8 abstentions) backed optional EU-wide rules for businesses and consumers who are concluding contracts in the Single Market. The vote by Parliament follows a recent policy announcement by European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding that she is considering proposing such an optional European contract law in the autumn ( SPEECH/11/411). Her objective is to bring more coherence to contract law in Europe while easing cross-border transactions, notably for Europe's small businesses and its 500 million consumers.
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