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Daily News – 10.12.2012

EXME 12 / 10.12

Midday Express of 2012-12-10

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Barroso set for Q&A with Erasmus students in Oslo

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will take part in a question-and- answer session with Erasmus students from across the EU at the University of Oslo (Gamle Festsal) on Tuesday, 11 December. Among other things, the discussion is expected to address the impact of Erasmus on increasing young people's skills and employability, the EU's response to the economic crisis and youth unemployment, as well as the challenges facing the Union in the next few years. The Erasmus exchange programme, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, provides grants for more than 250 000 young people and teachers to study or train abroad each year. In addition to enhancing students' language skills and versatility, it also promotes cultural awareness, understanding and peace. The discussion, which starts at noon, will be moderated by a Euronews journalist and broadcast via EUtube . Most of the invited students are studying at universities in Oslo; others will be travelling from Sweden and Germany. Norway has participated in the Erasmus programme since 1992 and more than 700 Erasmus students come to Oslo each year. The Erasmus programme was launched in 1987 with just over 3 000 students and 11 countries taking part. That number has grown to nearly 3 million since and today 33 countries are involved in the scheme - the EU Member States, plus Norway, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Turkey. This week the European Parliament is due to approve a budget deal for2013 which will provide around €500 million for the programme. More information: Erasmus: changing lives, opening minds for 25 years ; Erasmus hits new record with 8.5% increase in student exchanges ; Erasmus Programme .

Active ageing: closing ceremony of European Year 2012 looks to the future

The European Year 2012 has mobilised a wide range of stakeholders across Europe to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations. It has given rise to hundreds of new initiatives and events at European, national, regional or local level dealing with employment, social participation and independent living of older people, many of which will be of long-term benefit. A review of these activities is taking place at the closing event of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 in Nicosia (Cyprus) on 10th December.

Improved safety for motorcycles: European Commission welcomes Council approval

The European Commission welcomes the final approval by the EU's Council of Ministers of new rules for motorcycles and other light vehicles. The fitting of advanced braking systems will now become obligatory for two-wheel motorcycles and automatic "switching-on" of headlamps will be mandatory for all light vehicles. L-category vehicle is the family name for such light vehicles and they include engine powered bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles with and without a side-car, tricycles, quads and quadri-mobile vehicles. The Regulation also sets ambitious emission lowering requirements for these vehicles.

EU boosts its funding for Syria to keep up with increasing humanitarian needs

The European Commission is to provide additional humanitarian funding of €30 million to help people affected by the Syrian crisis, bringing its total contribution to over €126 million.

Tunisie: L'Union européenne adopte un nouveau programme d'appui à la transition démocratique

L'Union européenne (UE) a approuvé un nouveau programme d'assistance financière pour la Tunisie qui vise à soutenir le processus de transition démocratique en cours et à mettre en œuvre certaines des priorités récemment agréées entre l'Union européenne et la Tunisie dans le cadre du partenariat privilégié.

L'UE renforce son soutien au développement humain au Maroc

La Commission européenne a adopté une mesure spéciale en faveur du Maroc, pour un montant de 25 millions d’euro, qui permettra d’appuyer la mise en œuvre de la deuxième phase de l'Initiative Nationale pour le Développement Humain (2011-2015) lancée par le Maroc en 2005. Ce nouveau programme concentrera son assistance sur la lutte contre la pauvreté en milieu rural ciblera 885 communes rurales.

Energy: EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council on 12 December 2012

On 12 December 2012 EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger will meet the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in the framework of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council (PPC) on Energy in Nicosia/Cyprus, preceded by a bilateral meeting. The joint press conference will be transmitted live by EbS from 18:35 – 19:05. They will discuss key topics in the EU-Russia energy relations such as gas supply, transit and infrastructure, including Southstream and the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transit system, as well as the EU-Russia energy roadmap 2050, Baltic electricity agreement negotiations and energy provisions in the New Agreement. The PPC has been established within the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue and aims at strengthening energy relations through an open and frank discussion and cooperation on key energy issues of mutual interest. The 7th meeting of the EU-Russia PPC is also part of the preparation of the EU-Russia Summit that will take place in Brussels on 21 December 2012. More information on EU-Russia energy relations here: ; 18:35-19:05 Live web streaming of the joint press conference via Europe by Satellite:

Doha Climate Conference takes modest step towards a global climate deal in 2015

The European Union welcomes today's outcome of the Doha climate conference which lays the basis for more ambitious international action against climate change in the short term, paves the way for a new global climate agreement to be finalised in 2015 and enables a second period of the Kyoto Protocol to start on 1 January 2013.

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into creation of "NewCo", combining Munksjö and part of Ahlstrom

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the planned combination into a new merged entity of Munksjö AB, a Swedish-based manufacturer of high value-added paper products, and the European label and processing business of Ahlstrom Corporation (ALP), a Finnish manufacturer of high performance materials. The two entities would be transferred to a new company, "NewCo", through a series of transactions. The Commission's preliminary investigation indicated potential competition concerns in the markets of pre-impregnated paper ("PRIP") and abrasive paper backings, where NewCo would have high market shares both in the European Economic Area (EEA) and worldwide. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 29 April 2013, to take a final decision on whether the transaction would reduce effective competition in the EEA.

Autre matériel diffusé :

President Barroso's opening remarks at press conference in Oslo on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony - rediffusion

President Barroso congratulates President Grybauskaitė of Lithuania on Charlemagne Prize award 2013 - rediffusion

Memo "Statement by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on the 10th International Anti-Corruption" - rediffusion

Memo "Market abuse: Justice Ministers agree Commission proposals on criminal sanctions" - rediffusion

Memo "Poverty Convention – conclusions and results"

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor at the Cyprus Presidency Conference closing the 2012 European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations: "Increasing older people's opportunities"

Speech by Commissioner A. Vassiliou at Informal Ministerial Conference "Opening up education through technologies: Towards a more systemic use for smart, social and sustainable growth in Europe" /Oslo, Norway on Opening up Education