EXME 11 / 10.11
Midday Express of 2011-11-10
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
For the fourth year in a row, the EU's annual accounts have received a clean bill of health from its external auditors. As for EU spending, the overall error rate is once again below 4%. This means that the vast majority (at least 96%) of total payments made in 2010 were free from quantifiable error.
The recovery of the EU economy has stopped. Sharply deteriorated confidence is affecting investment and consumption, weakening global growth is holding back exports, and urgent fiscal consolidation is weighing on domestic demand. GDP in the EU is now projected to stagnate until well into 2012. Growth for the whole of 2012 is forecast at about ½%. By 2013, a return to slow growth of about 1½% is expected. No real improvements are projected for labour markets, and unemployment is forecast to remain at the current high level of around 9½%. Inflation is set to return below 2% over the coming quarters. Fiscal consolidation is forecast to progress with public deficits set to decline to just above 3% by 2013 under an assumption of unchanged policies.
Brussels, 10 November 2011 –The protection of animals during transport has improved since the pertinent regulation ( Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005) was applied on 1 January 2007, a European Commission report concludes. But the report also highlights a series of problems hampering further improvement in the transport conditions of these animals.
Brussels, 10 November 2011 – The EU earmarked yesterday more than €203 million to support programmes to eradicate, control and monitor animal diseases and zoonoses, aiming to further strengthen the protection of human and animal health in 2012. The decision was taken at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), where Member States also unanimously endorsed the Commission proposals to contribute €11.5 million for the emergency measures and vaccination plans taken to combat some animal diseases over the past four years.
In the EU27, there were 41.3 million persons working part-time in 2010, of which three quarters were women. Among those employed part-time, 8.5 million, or 21%, wished to work more hours, were available to do so1 and can therefore be considered to be underemployed. The share of part-time workers who are underemployed was higher for men (27%) than for women (19%).The largest proportions of people wishing to work more hours and available to do so among part-time workers were found in Latvia (65%), Greece (49%), Spain (46%), Bulgaria (39%) and Slovakia (38%), all Member States where the shares of employed persons working part-time are relatively low. On the other hand, the smallest proportion was found in the Netherlands (3%), where part-time working is most common, followed by Belgium (4%), the Czech Republic and Luxembourg (both 10%).
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation, under the EU Merger Regulation, into the proposed acquisition of control over ED&F MAN by Südzucker, a German company that is Europe's largest sugar and molasses producer. ED&F MAN is the second largest sugar trader and largest molasses trader worldwide. The Commission’s preliminary investigation has indicated potential competition concerns as regards the markets for white sugar, in particular in Southern Europe, imports of raw cane sugar for refining for the whole of the European Economic Area (EEA)1 and molasses, especially in Central Europe. The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result. The Commission has now a deadline of 23 March 2012 to take a final decision.
EN: Monthly Labour Market Fact Sheet - November 2011
The number of Europeans still looking for work in the EU-27 has returned to the peak recorded since the start of the crisis. Europe's unemployment rate edged up to 9.7 % in September 2011, or by 0.1 pp. This is 0.3 pp up on March 2011 and is the same level as the peak recorded in the first half of 2010. Unemployment in the euro area also increased by the same proportion, hitting 10.2%. The overall number of jobless has been growing since February 2011 by 585,000, reaching 23.3 million in September - only 75,000 short of the peak recorded in April 2010. The improvement seen in the months up to March 2011 has been progressively offset by the more recent rise in unemployment. Although Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary and Ireland have seen unemployment fall slightly, many Member States have seen the number of job-seekers grow further. Even countries recording lower-than-average unemployment rates are now posting rises. This includes Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia. Most of the countries recording already high unemployment rates have seen these grow even further, such as Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal, Slovakia and Greece. Youth unemployment remains a key concern in the EU and has been growing again since February 2011 up by 98,000 overall to reach 5.3 million in September 2011, at a rate of 21.4%. This is an increase of 0.2 pp on the previous month and up 0.5 pp on September 2010. This rate equals the peak level recorded in February 2010. In the current economic context, most European consumers expect unemployment to rise in the next month, while employers believe that employment will shrink in the tertiary sector and in construction. On the brighter side, hiring activity remains positive with online labour demand ‑ i.e. employer online recruitment activity – continuing to grow, but at a slower pace, while growth in the agency work sector has slowed down further. At the same time, restructuring activity increased in October, with a negative impact on jobs. The outlook remains uncertain, with a greater risk of deterioration than improvement. Link to the Fact Sheet:
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič to visit Austrian Parliament
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič will pay a visit to Vienna as part of a programme of visits to deepen links with all National Parliaments in the EU. After making an opening speech at 10h on "Innovative Administration" at the "Verwaltungsmesse" (Conference on administrative reform) the Vice-President will meet with Members of the Austrian Parliament (11h) and will hold meetings with the President of the Austrian Parliament, Mrs Barbara Prammer (12h): Mrs Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, Federal Minister (14h30). The Vice-President will then attend the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna where he will make a speech at 18h on "The global role of the European Union".
Fisheries: Commission proposes fishing opportunities, for 2012, for fish stocks under international agreements
The European Commission today presented its proposal for fishing opportunities, for 2012, for fish stocks managed together with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) across the world's oceans. At this stage, the proposal only contains very few concrete figures, but it will be completed as scientific advice becomes available or annual negotiations with third parties and organisations have taken place. Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "today's proposal concerns the stocks the EU manages with the other parties. In most cases, the negotiations with the third countries haven't been finalised. The Commission will do its utmost to reach the agreements that respect the scientific advice. I strongly hope that our partners and the international community will also show their commitment to sustainable fisheries." Today's proposal complements the proposal made on 27 September 2011 for fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea, for which the EU decides autonomously ( IP/11/1081). Both proposals will be discussed at the Fisheries Council meeting in December. For more information :
Space exploration and its benefits for society and economy
High level representatives from around the world will meet today at the Third international conference on space exploration in Lucca (Italy) to highlight the importance of future international space exploration and its benefits to humankind. The objective of the conference is to launch a high-level policy dialogue on space exploration. The discussions will be a step towards to create international partnerships in areas such as key enabling technologies, space transportation, manned and unmanned orbital infrastructures -in particular the International Space Station, but also planned and future infrastructures-, as well as robotic exploration. European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani will open and close the event, together with Mrs Mariastella Gelmini, Italian Minister of Education, University and Research and Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency. Website http://www.luccaexplorationconference2011.org/
"RegioStars 2013" – the European Commission announces award categories
The European Commission's search for the most innovative projects which have received investment from EU regional policy continues in 2012 and 2013. The categories for the 2013 Awards have just been announced and for the first time, the selected finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their projects before an independent jury during the tenth annual European Week of Regions and Cities - OPEN DAYS 2012. The Award ceremony itself will take place in Brussels in June 2013. All 273 regions of the European Union are invited to submit projects which received investment from the EU structural funds in the period 2000-2006 or 2007-2013. Either the Member State or the most relevant structural funds managing authority2 for the national or regional programmes may submit a maximum of one entry for each of the five following categories: connecting universities to smart growth, supporting resource efficiency in small companies, social innovation, sustainable urban development and communication. Applications should be sent by 20 April 2012 to
Commission Piebalgs in South Sudan to foster development cooperation
Today, Andris Piebalgs, EU Development Commissioner will hold a serious of political talks with President Salva Kiir and ministers of the government of South Sudan in Juba. The Commissioner will present a draft country development strategy paper, which was endorsed by the EU development ministers. If approved by South Sudan, the paper will enable EU Member States and European Commission to programme their funds jointly and improve efficiency of EU aid. Commissioner Piebalgs will also discuss political issues, such as political relations with the North, human rights and good governance issues, including corruption. He will also meet with United Nations Special Rapporteur Hilde Johnson to discuss security issues and other representatives of international community.
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