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Daily News – 10.02.2011

EXME 11 / 10.02

Midday Express of 2011-02-10

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

MEDIA Mundus: Commission launches new fund at Berlin Film Festival

The first 34 projects funded under the new MEDIA Mundus funding programme – a worldwide cooperation and exchange initiative for the film industry – were announced today by Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou (see list below), at the opening of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival .

Commission gathers key stakeholders to ensure future competitiveness of European chemicals industry

Chemical companies are important suppliers to the rest of industry, play a key role in ensuring a sustainable future and employ 1.2 million in the EU. Against this background, the European Commission today hosts a conference on the competitiveness of the chemicals industry at the Centre Borschette, Brussels. The key objective is to report on the implementation of the recommendations of the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the European Chemicals Industry. The Commission, national and regional authorities as well as industry will present successful cases of action with particular emphasis on innovation and human resources. Future steps to foster the competitiveness of the European chemicals industry will furthermore be discussed. The conference will be opened by Vice-President Tajani. It is part of the EU's activities to mark the International Year of Chemistry 2011. For more information, see the website of Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry .

GMOs: Commission to transmit to Council proposals to authorise three GM maize and one GM cotton products for food and feed

Yesterday, at a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), Member States returned no definitive opinion, either for or against, on proposals tabled by the Commission concerning three applications on GM maize submitted by Syngenta Seeds S.A.S. (MIR604xGA21, Bt11xMIR604 and Bt11xMIR604xGA21) and an application on cotton product submitted by Dow AgroSciences Europe (281-24-236x3006-210-23). The proposals - all for food and feed uses and import and processing - were tabled after favourable scientific assessments from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which addressed all safety concerns. EFSA concluded that there is no risk to human and animal health or to the environment. The EFSA opinions also addressed the questions raised by Member States during the risk assessment phase. As a result of yesterday's inconclusive votes, the Commission must now transmit the dossiers to the Council for a decision. If the Council does not reach a decision, the proposals will be sent back to the Commission for final adoption. Please visit:

Romanian subsidized loan scheme for farmers authorised

The European Commission has recently authorised a Romanian scheme with a budget of RON 120 million (around € 30 million) which aims at helping farmers encountering difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis to have access to credit. Aid under this scheme is limited in time and takes the form of subsidized loans. This scheme is an application of the Commission's Temporary Framework for businesses' access to finance during the crisis adopted in December 2010 (see IP/10/1636).

Extension of German scheme to grant aid of up to €15 000 to farmers

The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules the extension until 31 December 2011 of a temporary German scheme to grant aid of up to €15 000 per beneficiary. The aid aims at supporting farmers who encounter difficulties as a result of the economic crisis. The beneficiaries can now apply for aid until 31 March 2011 and the German authorities must grant the aid no later than 31 December 2011.The Commission found the extension of the scheme, initially approved on 23 November 2009 (see IP/09/1805), to be in line with the conditions of its Temporary Framework for businesses' access to finance during the crisis adopted in December 2010 (see IP/10/1636).

EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs in Germany to discuss EU development policy

On Friday, 11 February, Commissioner Piebalgs will visit Berlin to discuss the future of EU development policy with German authorities and representatives of civil society. Commissioner Piebalgs will meet with Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel and with Members of the Bundestag's Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development and Members of the Committee for European Affairs and the Budget Committee. The leaders will discuss Commission's public consultations on the future of EU development policy and how to ensure a stronger added value of the aid. They will also discuss the political situation in Africa, following up on the EU-Africa Summit. Commissioner Piebalgs and Minister Niebel will host a press conference at 14.30 in Berlin.

Commissioner Malmström visits Romania and Bulgaria

The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, will visit Romania and Bulgaria on 10 and 11 February. She will have talks with political authorities and representatives of NGO's from both countries on a wide range of topics including: the Internal Security Strategy, the fight against corruption and organised crime, asset recovery, visa policy, regional cooperation, the Danube strategy. In Romania, Commissioner Malmström will meet with the Prime minister of Romania, Mr. Emil Boc, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Constantin Traian Igas, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Catalin Predoiu and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Teodor Baconschi. These meetings will touch upon Romania's accession to Schengen, the management of migration in Eastern Europe (including some of the measures envisaged by the Romanian authorities at internal and external level), the Commission's initiatives on fight against crime (anti-corruption, confiscation, asset recovery), visa policy (in particular with relation to Canada) or the Data Retention Directive (the Constitutional Court annulled in October 2010 the Romanian national law transposing the Directive ruling that it's unconstitutional). In Bucharest, Commissioner Malmström will also deliver a speech before the Romanian Parliament and visit Romania's SIRENE office (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry). During her trip to Bulgaria, Commissioner Malmström will first meet with the President of Bulgaria, Mr. Georgi Parvanov, and visit the Bulgarian-Turkish border in Kapitan Andreevo and Svilengrad, in the south east of the country. During lunch with the Minister of Justice, Ms. Margarita Popova, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nickolay Mladenev she will also outline her agenda for issues related to organised crime, cyber security, corruption, asset recovery and confiscation, security at the external EU borders. The accession of Bulgaria to Schengen will also be discussed, as well as the outcome of the negotiations on an EU-Turkey readmission agreement. Commissioner Malmström will then meet with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Mr. Boyko Borissov, and with Members of the National Assembly of Bulgaria.

The right regulatory environment for rolling out Next Generation Networks

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes will stress the importance of consistent application by National Regulatory Authorities of the principles laid down in the Next Generation Access (NGA) Recommendation in a speech today to the broadband industry .’ Succeeding in this ambition of delivering ‘broadband for all is central to our economic future, Kroes will underline. “(but) while the EU broadband market is moving towards higher speeds because of fibre and cable, time is against us.” The current rate of new broadband connections is too low and some national regulators are not “playing by the rules” of the EU’s NGA Recommendation. The recommendation offers regulatory clarity and “attractive margins and very solid returns” for investors, while ensuring efficient competitors have a fair chance to compete. “These provisions strike a good balance between investment incentives and the need to protect competition,” “This is both a matter of fairness and of maintaining the best possible investment climate.” She will emphasise the need for deeper cooperation between the broadband sector and government and indicate that the Commission is prepared to use new powers under the telecoms rules entering into force in May 2011 to ensure appropriate and consistent application of remedies. “Neither regulators nor operators can address our broadband challenges alone – we need each other. For my part, while I drive a hard bargain, I am also your biggest supporter.” SPEECH/11/93


Concentrations: la Commission autorise le projet d'acquisition du fabricant de câbles Draka Holding par son concurrent Prysmian

La Commission européenne a donné son feu vert, en vertu du règlement CE sur les concentrations, au projet d'acquisition du fabricant de câbles Draka Holding (Pays Bas) par son concurrent Prysmian SpA (Italie). L'enquête de la Commission a montré que l'entité issue de la concentration restera confrontée à une concurrence effective dans le domaine de la production de câbles à fibres optiques et de câblage général même si elle occupe désormais le premier rang en Europe pour les marchés concernés.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Speech by Vice-President Šefčovič 'The European Union's institutional evolution since the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty'

Speech by Vice-President Kroes 'The right regulatory environment for rolling out Next Generation Networks', Milan – Embargo 14h15

Discours du Commissaire Barnier '2011 – Année utile et essentielle pour la mise en œuvre de la reforme des services financiers'

Speech by Commissioner Andor 'Progress on pension reform'

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Vladimir Filat, Prime Minister of Moldova

Discours du Président Barroso 'Un an après le traité de Lisbonne: un test de résistance réussi' - rediffusion

Speech by President Barroso 'A race to the top: Europe's low-carbon future', EP Low Carbon Prosperity Summit - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn at her press conference 'Consultation on simplifying EU research and innovation funding and increasing impact and value for money' - rediffusion

Statement by Commissioner Füle on the case of Mrs Pinar Selek - rediffusion

Memo Update on transitional measure: EU ETS registry system - rediffusion