EXME 11 / 10.06
Midday Express of 2011-06-10
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission has approved two applications from Austria for assistance from the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The €9 506 036 requested by the Austrian authorities will help 356 former workers in basic metal enterprises and 74 redundant workers from a leading Printed Circuit Board manufacturer (PCB) to find new jobs. The territories concerned by the redundancies are the federal provinces of Styria and Lower Austria. Both provinces suffer from structural weaknesses with gross regional product below the national average and long-term unemployment above the national average. The application will now go to the European Parliament and EU Ministers for agreement.
The European Commission has proposed to extend the temporary crisis-related derogation that allows European Globalisation Fund (EGF) to be used for workers made redundant as a result of the current financial and economic crisis in addition to those losing their job because of changes in global trade patterns. This derogation is currently due to expire on 30 December 2011, but the Commission's proposal would extend it until 31 December 2013, i.e. until the end of the implementation period of the EGF Regulation. The proposal reflects the fact that a large number of workers across the EU have been badly affected by the consequences of the current crisis. The aim is to improve the use of the EGF by offering job support measures to those most in need. The Commission proposal will be submitted to the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for approval.
Brussels/ Amsterdam, 10 June 2011 - The 27 winners of the 2011 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards will be honoured this evening during a ceremony at Amsterdam's historic concert hall, the 'Concertgebouw'. The awards will be presented by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and president of Europa Nostra. Six of the 27 winners will be named tonight as 'Grand Prix' laureates in recognition of their outstanding heritage achievements. The ceremony will be attended by an audience of some 1500 people including H.R.H. Princess Margriet of The Netherlands.
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn sets out conclusions from consultation on the future of EU research and innovation funding
Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn today presented to a major stakeholder conference in Brussels the results of the public consultation on the Commission's Green Paper on EU research and innovation funding post-2013 ( IP/11/138 and Midday Express 09/06/2011). The Commission received over 2 000 responses. The Commissioner pointed to six main conclusions from the consultation. First, "a remarkable degree of consensus" supporting the Green Paper proposals for bringing the various strands of EU funding much closer together under a Common Strategic Framework. Second, that "we can achieve even better results if we go for radical simplification". Third, "strong calls to maintain continuity of the elements of the current programmes that are working most successfully - notably the European Research Council and Marie Curie fellowships - along with recurring messages on keeping collaborative research across borders as the core element of the future funding programme". Fourth, a call for the EU to be "less prescriptive and more open in our funding opportunities as this will give people more freedom to innovate." Fifth, "the EU should support all stages in the innovation chain….. from blue-sky research to the marketplace". And last but not least, "the Common Strategic Framework will need both curiosity-driven and policy-driven activities, working in tandem." Commissioners Olli Rehn, Michel Barnier and Janez Potočnik are also speakers at the conference. The Commission will bring forward before the end of 2011 a legislative proposal to implement the new funding framework. See SPEECH/11/429 .
The EU institutions have taken an important step to counter the threat of cyber attacks against the EU institutions, bodies and agencies by setting up a Computer Emergency Response pre-configuration Team (CERT). The team is made up of IT security experts from the EU institutions. At the end of one year's preparatory work by the team, an assessment will be made leading to a decision on the conditions for establishing a full–scale CERT for the EU institutions.
New funding to help immunize millions of people against preventable diseases will be pledged on Monday, 13 June, by EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.During the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI) Conference in London, the Commissioner will announce the pledge towards the US$ 3.7 billion (or €2.6 billion) total which GAVI has said it needs to vaccinate nearly 250 million children over the next five years. This is expected to save almost 4 million lives. This new funding will add to the more than half a billion Euro that the Commission spends on health in developing countries every year.
On Monday, 13 June, European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and USAID Administrator Dr Rajiv Shah will meet in London as part of the EU-US Development Dialogue which has been resumed last year. The EU and the US, the world's two largest aid donors will intensify their cooperation on global health, climate change, food security and aid effectiveness. Responsible for a total of 90 percent of official development assistance in the area of health, they are expected to agree on setting up a task force of health experts to explore options of future joint work within the framework of the EU's policy on Global Health and the US Global Health Initiative.
The European Commission's political dialogue with National Parliaments went from strength to strength in 2010. Following the launch of this political initiative by President Barroso in 2006, National Parliaments now enjoy important new responsibilities in European policy making under the Lisbon Treaty. As the Commission's Annual Report on relations with National Parliaments - adopted today - shows, National Parliaments are using this opportunity to engage in European affairs more closely and constructively than ever.
Viva Europa 2011: Live Opera for European Cities
On 13 June 2011, the pan-European cultural initiative, Viva Europa, will connect cities all over Europe via the simultaneous projections on big screens of Giacomo Puccini's opera, Tosca, broadcast live from Valencia, Spain. This year, the Viva Europa event is under the patronage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, who commented: "I give my full support to VIVA EUROPA 2011. The project is a great example of how people express their culture. Viva Europa is a bottom-up cultural challenge in the field of citizenship and communication. Its message of art and hope reaches out to the hearts and minds of citizens in Europe. This initiative promotes a European sense of community which resonates particularly well in the context of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering."
Commission closes bluefin fishery by Spanish trawlers
Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries decided to close the bluefin tuna fishery to Spanish purse seiners in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic on 9 June 2011 due to the exhaustion of their quotas. Spain was informed of this decision which is to become effective as of 17:00 today (Friday, 10th of June 2011). "Due to the exhaustion of the Spanish quota, I had to close the Spanish bluefin tuna fishery. I worked closely with the Spanish authorities and am pleased to hear that Spain had, in the meantime confirmed its voluntary cessation of fishing authorisations and has called all its purse seiners back to port on the evening of the 9 June 2011", Commissioner Maria Damanaki said. The bluefin tuna fishing season for large trawlers (purse seiners) in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean started on 15 May and runs until 15 June. Vessels from seven EU member states are active in this fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus). The EU's overall quota is 5 756 tonnes for the 2011 season, reduced from 7 087 last year, of which over half is caught by the purse seiners fleet. See: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/news_and_events/press_releases/2011/20110516/index_en.htm
Monthly Labour Market Fact Sheet - June 2011
Unemployment in the EU slightly decreased in April 2011. While the labour markets still show steady signs of recovery in some Member States, in others they continued to deteriorate, according to the latest Monthly Labour Market Fact Sheet published by the Commission.Despite the moderate economic recovery, conditions are generally set to remain weak for some time, while unemployment is still persistently high in some Member States.The unemployment rate at EU level, after remaining stable at 9.5% in the four months to March 2011, slightly declined to 9.4% in April (9.3% for men and 9.5% for women). The decline in employment has stopped as of the second quarter last year. The labour market situation for young people in the EU, although it tends to improve overall, remains depressed and youth unemployment continues to show upward trends in eleven Member States. The youth unemployment rate at EU level, which had not risen since November 2010, eased further in April, to 20.3%.On the positive side, hiring activity remains solid, despite a slow-down in firms' employment expectations, in some major sectors. The restructuring activity continued to decline in May, with a very limited net impact on jobs. In the current economic context, employment and unemployment expectations remain broadly stable but somewhat mixed across sectors and countries, and the outlook is still potentially one of persistently high unemployment in some Member States.
Commission clears acquisition of SFR by Vivendi.
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of exclusive control of SFR S.A. by Vivendi S.A., both of France. SFR is a provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications. Vivendi is active in the sectors of television, cinema, music, interactive games and fixed and mobile telecommunications. Prior the acquisition, the mobile telecommunications activities of SFR were co-controlled by Vivendi and Vodafone S.A. of UK. The transaction was examined by the Commission under the simplified merger review procedure.
In 2009, 776 000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU27 Member State. In 2008 it was 699 000 persons. The main contribution to this increase at EU level came from the United Kingdom and was a consequence of the unusually low number of citizenships that, for purely administrative reasons, the United Kingdom granted in 2008. The new citizens in the EU27 in 2009 came mainly from Africa (29% of the total number of citizenships acquired), Asia (24%), non-EU27 Europe (22%), North and South America (15%) and Oceania (1%). Citizens of one EU27 Member State who acquired citizenship in another Member State accounted for 8% of the total. These data on the acquisition of citizenship of the EU27 Member States are taken from a report2 issued by Eurostat.
Brussels, 9 June 2011 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint acquisition of German polyester producer Trevira by Indorama of Thailand and Sinterama of Italy. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the parties' market shares would remain modest and that the merged entity will continue to face significant competitors.
Brussels, 09 June 2011 - The European Commission has cleared under the Merger Regulation the acquisition of the consumer health care business of Ferrosan Holding A/S of Denmark by Pfizer of the US. The Commission concluded that the merged company would continue to face a number of credible competitors.
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