EXME 12 / 11.07
Midday Express of 2012-07-11
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission today put forward proposals to implement targets that will further considerably reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) by 2020.
Misuse of EU funds for criminal purposes puts the EU's objectives of generating jobs and growth and improving living conditions at stake. With public finances under pressure throughout the EU, every euro counts. The European Commission therefore proposed new rules today to fight fraud against the EU budget by means of criminal law to better safeguard taxpayers' money. The Directive creates a more harmonised framework for prosecuting and punishing crimes involving the EU budget so that criminals no longer exploit differences between national legal systems. The Directive provides for common definitions of offences against the EU budget, and for minimum sanctions, including imprisonment in serious cases and for a common level playing field for prescription periods within which it is possible to investigate and prosecute offences. This will help to deter fraudsters, provide for more effective legal action at national level and make it easier to recover lost funds.
The European Commission has today proposed measures to modernise collecting societies and put in place incentives to promote their transparency and efficiency. New digital technologies are opening up great opportunities for creators, consumers and businesses alike. Increased demand for online access to cultural content (e.g. music, films, books) does not recognise borders or national restrictions. Neither do the online services used to access them. This is where collecting societies come into play, in particular in the music sector, where they collectively manage the licensing of copyright-protected music tracks for online use on behalf of composers and lyricists and collect and redistribute to them corresponding royalties.
The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, an extension of the funding by France and Italy of an experimental rolling motorway service in the Alps on the Dijon‑Modane‑Turin route. This extension will allow Italy and France to finalise the concession procedure for this innovative rail freight service which was launched in 2009 by means of a public call for European candidates. The two states have given their commitment that the effective concession for the service will be awarded by no later than 30 June 2013.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether regional aid in favour of German car maker Porsche in Saxony is in line with EU state aid rules. Given the high market shares of Volkswagen-Porsche and the capacity increase brought about by the investment the Commission has to undertake an in-depth assessment of the aid. The Commission will check whether the aid is necessary and proportionate to provide an incentive for the investment and whether its contribution to regional development outweighs the distortion of competition. The opening of an investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments on the measures under examination. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules, a state guarantee backing a rescue loan of €152.4 million for the German shipbuilder P+S Werften in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The aid is in line with EU rules on rescue aid because it is limited in time and scope. The Commission approved the measure temporarily, until it can take a position on the restructuring plan to be submitted by Germany within maximum six months.
In 2011, 33.3 million foreign citizens lived in the EU27 Member States, accounting for 6.6% of the EU27 population. This foreign population comprised 12.8 million EU citizens living in another Member State, i.e. 2.5% of the EU27 population, and 20.5 million non EU citizens, i.e. 4.1% of the EU27 population.
Fisheries: European Union and Japan join forces against illegal fishing
The European Union and Japan are going to cooperate to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing - so called IUU fishing. A Joint Statement to this end has been signed today in Tokyo by Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Akira Gunji, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan. The EU and Japan rank first and second, respectively, as the world’s top seafood importers. They have now agreed that the seafood they import will not be caught illegally. Globally, IUU fishing deprives honest fishermen and coastal communities of up to $23 billion worth of seafood and seafood products annually. IUU fishing also threatens sustainability of fish stocks. With today’s agreement the EU and Japan commit themselves to work together on the most effective tools to combat illegal fishing. As parties to regional fishery management organisations and to various international treaties, they will work towards strengthening monitoring and enforcement of management measures. They will also use the available means to prevent IUU operators from profiting from their illegal activities. Today's agreement follows a similar statement signed by the EU and the United States in September last year. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/news_and_events/press_releases/2012/20120711/index_en.htm
New Director-General for DG Translation
The Commission has appointed Mr Rytis Martikonis to the vacant post of Director-General of Director-General for Translation. Mr Martikonis who is Lithuanian will take up his duties formally on 1st September although he is currently already acting Director-General since February 2011. Rytis Martikonis' previous career included the post of Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the EU and prior to that he worked extensively on wide range of issues related to the accession process. In 2003-4 he was a Member of the European Convention.
New Director "Policy" for the European Anti-Fraud Office appointed
Ms Margarete Hofmann has been appointed Director "Policy" (Directorate OLAF.D). This decision will take effect on 16th July. Margarete Hofmann, a German lawyer is currently Head of Unit "Inter-institutional and External Relations, Directorate D – Policy of OLAF. Prior to this post she was a Member of the Cabinet of Budget Commissioner Schreyer where she dealt with anti-fraud issues amongst others. Before joining the European Commission Ms Hofmann worked for the German Federal Ministry of Justice.
Directorate General Communication – new Director
Mr Gabor Zupko has been appointed Director "Resources" (Directorate COMM.D) in the Communication Directorate-General. This decision will take effect on 1st September 2012. Mr Zupko is currently Director of the Office for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels (OIB) and is Hungarian. Prior to this post Gabor Zupko, who holds a Doctorate in Management Sciences was Ambassador of Hungary to Finland as well as holding various other government posts.
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