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Daily News – 10.01.2011

Midday Express of 2011-01-10

Commission Européenne - 10/01/2011

EXME 11 / 10.01

Midday Express of 2011-01-10

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

Digital Agenda: "Comité des Sages" calls for a "New Renaissance" by bringing Europe's cultural heritage online

The report of the Comité des Sages (high-level reflection group) on Digitisation of Europe's cultural heritage was delivered today to Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, and Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner responsible for Education and Culture. The report urges EU Member States to step up their efforts to put online the collections held in all their libraries, archives and museums. It stresses the benefits of making Europe's culture and knowledge more easily accessible. It also points to the potential economic benefits of digitisation, including through public-private partnerships, for the development of innovative services in sectors like tourism, research and education. The report endorses the Digital Agenda's objective of strengthening Europe's digital library Europeana and suggests solutions for making works covered by copyright available online. The Comité des Sages on Digitisation comprises Maurice Lévy, Elisabeth Niggemann and Jacques de Decker (see IP/10/456). The report's recommendations will feed into the Commission's broader strategy, under the Digital Agenda for Europe , to help cultural institutions make the transition towards the digital age.

Environment: A good day for salmon, otters and beech forests

Europe's flora and fauna are now better protected than at any time in the history of the European Union. Natura 2000, Europe's network of protected natural areas, has been expanded by nearly 27 000 square kilometres. This includes a major addition of marine areas covering more than 17 500 square kilometres which will increase protection for many endangered marine species. Natura 2000 now covers almost 18% of the EU's landmass and more than 130 000 km² of its seas. The main countries involved in this latest expansion are the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Spain and Poland. Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of Europe's battle to halt biodiversity loss and safeguard ecosystem services.

Commission clears the acquisition of joint-control by LCR and Lend Lease of SCBD

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint-control by London & Continental Railways Limited (LCR) and Lend Lease Europe Limited (Lend Lease) of Stratford City Business District Limited (SCBD). LCR has a shareholding in Eurostar International Limited, as well as development interests at King's Cross and Stratford in London. Lend Lease is an international property company, active in development, investment management, project and construction management, property management. SCBD's activity will consists in the development and management of land at Stratford City, in London. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Commission clears extension of Portuguese scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000 to the real economy

The Commission authorised a twelve-month extension until 31 December 2011 of a temporary Portuguese scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000 per beneficiary. The beneficiaries had to apply for aid until 31 December 2010 and the Portuguese authorities must grant the aid before 31 December 2011.The Commission found the extension of the scheme, initially approved on 29 January 2009, to be in line with its Temporary Framework for businesses' access to finance during the crisis (see IP/10/1636), because it is limited in time, respects the relevant thresholds and applies only to companies that were not in difficulty on 1 July 2008. The extended measure can thus be considered as appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the Portuguese economy and is, as such, compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the EU Treaty.

Commission clears extension of UK scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000 to the real economy

The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules a twelve-month extension until 31 December 2011 of a temporary UK scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000 per beneficiary. The beneficiaries had to apply for aid until 31 December 2010 and the UK authorities must grant the aid no later than 31 December 2011.The Commission therefore found the extension of the scheme, initially approved on 4 February 2009 ( see IP/09/215), to be in line with the stricter conditions of its Temporary Framework for businesses' access to finance during the crisis adopted in December 2010 to stimulate a gradual return to market conditions (see IP/10/1636).

Rediffusion

Concentrations: la Commission ouvre une enquête approfondie sur le projet de concentration entre Citrovita et Citrosuco, deux entreprises du secteur du jus d’orange appartenant respectivement aux groupes Votorantim et Fischer

La Commission européenne a ouvert une enquête approfondie, en application du règlement de l’UE sur les concentrations, concernant le projet de création, par les groupes brésiliens Votorantim et Fischer, d’une entreprise commune regroupant leurs activités respectives dans le secteur du jus d’orange. L'enquête initiale menée par la Commission sur le marché a fait apparaître que l’opération pouvait poser des problèmes de concurrence au sein de l’Espace économique européen en ce qui concerne le jus d’orange et plusieurs sous-produits résultant de la transformation des oranges fraîches en jus. La décision d'ouvrir une enquête approfondie ne préjuge pas du résultat final de l'enquête. La Commission dispose à présent d'un délai de 90 jours ouvrables (jusqu'au 19 mai 2011) pour prendre une décision définitive sur la question de savoir si l’opération de concentration entraverait ou non de manière significative le jeu d'une concurrence effective dans l’EEE ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo 'More details on the new additions to the Community Natura 2000 lists'

Memo 'Haiti One Year On: Europe's action in Haiti'

Statement by President Barroso at the press conference following the meeting of the European Commission with the Hungarian Presidency – en rediffusion

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