EXME 13 / 11.02
Midday Express of 2013-02-11
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission and The European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations ( ECTAA) are asking tour operators, travel agents to promote the pan-European emergency number '112' on their websites, on e-tickets, and at major tourist destinations.
Today Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, launches a low-carbon contest, calling on creative and innovative minds from across the EU to put their green initiatives to the test. The World You Like Challenge is part of the European Commission's climate action campaign: A world you like.
Organisers of the Right2Water initiative have announced that they have collected more than one million signatures: it could be the first European Citizens' Initiative to succeed in collecting the necessary number of statements of support. Organisers of the initiative believe that 'water is a public good, not a commodity'. They invite the European Commission to 'propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all'.
The number of counterfeit euro coins removed from circulation increased by 17% from 157 000 in 2011 to 184 000 in 2012. With 16.5 billion genuine euro coins currently in circulation, the counterfeit ratio is 1 for every 100 000 genuine coins. The 2-euro denomination remains by far the most affected by this criminal activity, representing almost 2 out of every 3 counterfeit euro coins detected.
La Commission européenne a autorisé temporairement la France à accorder à la Banque PSA Finance une garantie couvrant ses émissions de marché à hauteur de 1,2 milliards d'euros, conformément aux règles de l'UE en matière d'aides d'Etat. L'autorisation de la Commission est subordonnée à la présentation durant cette période d'un plan de restructuration pour le groupe PSA dans son ensemble. Ce plan devra aussi assurer la viabilité de la Banque PSA Finance.
Commission approves prolongation of Polish bank recapitalisation scheme
The European Commission has authorised until 30 June 2013, the prolongation of a Polish bank recapitalisation scheme. The scheme was initially approved on 21 December 2009 (see IP/09/253), and prolonged on 5 July 2010, on 16 December 2010 (see MEX/10/1216), on 28 June 2011 (see MEX/11/0628), on 27 February 2012 (see MEX/12/0227) and on 29 June 2012 (see MEX/12/0629). Poland has limited the scope of the scheme and has asked for a prolongation of it with respect to banks only. The Commission found the prolongation of the measure to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 , IP/08/1901 , IP/10/1636) and in particular with the tighter pricing requirements of its 2011 Communication (see IP/11/1488). Other conditions of the original scheme remain unchanged. The Commission, therefore, concluded that the measures were compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), that allows aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
Steel: High-Level Roundtable will adopt recommendations to improve competitiveness of Europe’s industry
The High-Level Roundtable on steel – a platform for dialogue between industry, the trade unions and the European Commission – will meet Tuesday 12 February to adopt recommendations to help the European steel sector improve its competitiveness. These measures, to be implemented by the Commission, Member States and industry over the few next years, will cover trade, raw materials, legislation costs, climate change, energy, environment, employment and research and development and will be the basis for an Action Plan on steel to be adopted by the Commission in June 2013. The Roundtable will be attended by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship and László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion as well as Eurofer, European steel companies, trade unions and representatives from the Governments of 15 Members States. Directly after the Roundtable at around 11.15 CET a press point will be held in the same room with, among others, the French Minister of Productive Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg, the Minister of Economy of the Walloon Government, Jean-Claude Marcourt, and Luxembourg’s Minister of Economy, Stephen Schneider. (Commission’s Berlaymont HQ building – 1st floor – WHALL). A list of the participants to the Roundtable is published here: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/tajani/documents/preliminary_list_of_confirmed_participants_8feb.pdf
European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials
Tomorrow 12 February, Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for enterprise and industry will launch the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials to increase the availability of non-energy, non- agricultural raw materials for Europe's industry. The EIP's objectives are to bring Europe to the forefront of the raw materials sector, to reduce import dependency by improving supply conditions from EU and other sources, provide resource efficiency and alternatives in supply, and also to mitigate the sector's negative environmental and social impacts. Actions will target innovations in both technology-focused and non-technology policy areas, as well as international cooperation. At tomorrow's first meeting of the EIP's High Level Steering Group discussions will focus on concrete targets to be achieved by 2020, including up to 10 innovative pilot actions and substitutes of at least three applications of critical raw materials. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/raw-materials/innovation-partnership/index_en.htm
The European Commission has asked the Polish telecoms regulator (UKE) to withdraw its proposal to deregulate conditions under which other operators can access Polish telecom company Telekomunikacja Polska's (TP) broadband network in 11 communes of Poland. In the Commission's view, fully supported by the body of European Telecoms Regulators ( BEREC), UKE's decision could have a negative effect on competition in Poland, and thus limit the offers available to consumers and businesses. This is the second time within the last six months that the Commission requests UKE to withdraw a proposal for regulation in this market (see IP/12/914 for details of a separate case).
The spokespersons of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, and Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, issued the following statement today: The High Representative and the Commissioner are concerned at signs of deterioration of the power-sharing arrangement between the Georgian Dream and United National Movement parties in Georgia - the ongoing stand-off around constitutional issues and most recently around the delivery of the President's annual address in the Parliament developed into open confrontation yesterday, with United National Movement lawmakers facing an attack by demonstrators outside the site for the President's annual address.
The spokespersons of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, and Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, issued the following statement today: The High Representative and the Commissioner are concerned that Mr. Tofig Yagublu, newspaper columnist and deputy chairman of opposition party “Musavat” and Mr. Ilgar Mammedov, leader and Presidential candidate of the Republican Alternative party, were arrested on 4 February and given a two month pre-trial detention by an appeal court on 8 February.
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