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Daily News – 13.07.2011

Midday Express of 2011-07-13

Commission Européenne - 13/07/2011

EXME 11 / 13.07

Midday Express of 2011-07-13

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

College points:

Commission presents options for establishing a European system for tracking terrorist financing

Responding to the call from the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, today the Commission adopted a Communication outlining the main options for establishing a European Terrorist Finance Tracking System (TFTS). This Communication represents an initial response to the request to prepare a legal and technical framework for establishing such a system within the European Union.

Commission consults on how best to seize the opportunities for TV and film in the online age

Digital technology and the internet are rapidly changing the way in which audiovisual works are produced, marketed, and distributed. Consumers increasingly expect to be able to watch anything, anywhere, any time and via any one of a number of devices (TV, personal computer, games console, mobile media device). Business models have to evolve rapidly to keep pace with the ever faster pace of technological change which offers new opportunities for creators and distributors and also new consumer expectations and ultimately more growth and jobs.

European Commission: a fisheries policy for the future

In its proposals for a major reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the European Commission has set out a radical approach to fisheries management in Europe. The plans will secure both fish stocks and fishermen's livelihood for the future while putting an end to overfishing and depletion of fish stocks. The reform will introduce a decentralised approach to science-based fisheries management by region and sea basin, and introduce better governance standards in the EU and on the international level through sustainable fisheries agreements.

State aid: Greece needs to recover around €17 million from Aluminium of Greece

The European Commission has concluded that lower electricity tariffs granted in 2007-2008 by the Greek state-owned Public Power Corporation (PPC) to Aluminium of Greece conferred an undue advantage to the company, in breach of EU state aid rules. As result, Greece must recover the aid from the beneficiary.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth inquiry into restructuring aid to Greek railway company TRAINOSE

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether six restructuring measures in favour of the Greek state-owned railway company TRAINOSE are in line with EU state aid rules. At this stage, the Commission considers that Greece has not demonstrated that the measures are either free of aid or can be found compatible with EU state aid rules. The opening of an in-depth investigation allows interested third parties to comment on the proposed measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

State aid: Commission approves Romanian Green Certificates renewable energy support scheme

The European Commission has found Romania's plan to support the production of energy from renewable energy sources in line with EU state aid rules, in particular, because it creates clear incentives for an increased use of renewable energy, while containing safeguards to limit distortions of competition. The scheme is designed to assist Romania in reaching by 2020 the mandatory national renewable energy target set under EU legislation.

State aid: Commission orders recovery of incompatible state aid in favour of Bulgaria's Ruse Industry

After an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has concluded that the Bulgarian metal manufacturer Ruse Industry, now in bankruptcy proceedings, has received subsidies in the form of unpaid debts to the State of around €3.7 million.

State aid: Commission finds aid for Finnish Property Company Ålands Industrihus incompatible with EU state aid rules and orders recovery

After careful investigation, the European Commission has found that financing granted by the local government of Åland to Ålands Industrihus Ab (ÅI), a state-owned commercial property company, was well below market prices and amounted to a subsidy that is not allowed under EU State aid rules.

State aid: decisions on regional investment aid for BMW, Volkswagen, Globalfoundries and CRS Reprocessing in Germany and AU Optronics in Slovakia

The European Commission has authorised investment aid by Germany to Globalfoundries and CRS Reprocessing. It also cleared Slovak aid to AU Optronics. In all three cases the Commission concluded that the aid complied with the regional aid rules. In two other cases involving projects by BMW and Volkswagen in Eastern Germany, the Commission opened a formal investigation to verify whether the subsidies complied with the said guidelines. The opening of an investigation gives interested third parties the opportunity to comment on the measures under assessment. It does not prejudge the final outcome.

State aid: Commission clears investment fund to support urban regeneration in Northwest England

The European Commission has cleared, under EU state aid rules, an investment fund that will support sustainable urban regeneration in the Northwest region of England, a common interest objective promoted by the EU cohesion policy through the Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas initiative (JESSICA).

State aid: Commission opens 3 in-depth state aid investigations in air transport in France, Germany and Ireland; clears Dutch air passenger tax

The European Commission has opened three separate in-depth state aid investigations regarding the Marseille and Frankfurt Hahn airports as well as lower taxes for air passengers in Ireland that benefit almost exclusively domestic flights. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments on the measures under investigation. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. Finally, the Commission has approved the Dutch air passenger tax system, because it did not favour certain operators in comparison with others.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Finnish paper company Myllykoski Group by UPM-Kymmene

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Myllykoski Corporation and Rhein Papier GmbH ("the Myllykoski Group") by UPM-Kymmene Corporation ("UPM"). Both groups are active in the paper and pulp industries. The Commission's in-depth investigation confirmed that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors and that customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all markets concerned.

Commission clears Danish short-term export-credit insurance scheme for SMEs

The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules until the end of 2012 a Danish short-term export credit insurance scheme for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). The Commission found the scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it provides cover that is not available currently on the market. The aim of the scheme is to support SMEs that export capital goods and cannot find sufficient coverage in the private insurance market for transactions with a credit term between 180 days and 2 years. The scheme complies with the conditions laid down in the Commision's Communication on state aid related to short-term export-credit insurance. The Danish authorities provided sufficient evidence that the necessary cover is unavailable on the private insurance market and that the premiums that beneficiaries have to pay are aligned on market benchmarks The Commission will monitor the development of market conditions on the basis of a report that Denmark committed to provide one year after the introduction of the scheme.

Other issues:

Commission President Barroso to travel to Egypt on 14 July

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, will travel to Egypt on July 14, accompanied by the President of the European Investment Bank, Philippe Maystadt. He will hold meetings with the Head of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Tantawi, Prime Minister Sharaf, the Secretary-General of the Arab League Al-Araby, as well as religious leaders and civil society representatives to stress the European Union's strong support for Egypt's political and economic reforms and the wider democratic transition process in the region. The President will give a keynote speech at the Cairo Opera House in which he will set out the EU's strategic offer under the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity. Ahead of the visit, President Barroso said: "My message is one of strong support and solidarity. The European Union and the new Egypt are partners in freedom. Europe stands side by side with those in Tahrir square and the whole region who strive for democracy, freedom and a better future. Our Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity is a clear and concrete response to the Arab Spring. It offers "more for more" to those partners who move fastest and farthest in political reforms and human rights: more aid, enhanced market access and mobility for citizens. The EU is ready to help the Egyptian people seize the opportunities their revolution has won for them." More information: http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/index_en.htm

EU provides new assistance for Palestinians affected by water restrictions in the occupied territories

The European Commission has allocated €4 million to address water scarcity which is affecting people in the occupied Palestinian territories. Rainfall in the area is 59% down from the rainy season average and the drought is testing the resilience of many Palestinian communities with water and fodder shortages.

Quarterly Report on the Euro Area: The European Semester helps to tackle the ongoing debt crisis

Against the background of the recently completed first European Semester, the latest edition of the Quarterly Report on the Euro Area published today presents an assessment of the euro-area Member States' Stability Programmes, takes a look at the quality of national fiscal frameworks, and explains the economic adjustment programmes devised for Greece, Ireland and Portugal. This edition examines also the potential risks to the euro area's ongoing recovery posed by higher oil prices and the on-going repair of private sector balance sheets. On the fiscal front, the euro-area Member States' Stability Programmes show significant fiscal consolidation that is frontloaded and mainly based on expenditure. Although consolidation is underway and the debt path is projected to start declining by 2012, further challenges lie ahead. To achieve the 2012 public balance targets set out in the Stability Programmes, euro-area Member States still have to introduce into law additional policy measures. Beyond 2014, further measures may be needed to address the costs of population ageing.

Industrial production up by 0.1% in euro area

In May 2011 compared with April 2011, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU27. In April production rose by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. In May 2011 compared with May 2010, industrial production increased by 4.0% in both zones. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

EU Trade chief De Gucht travels to China and Singapore to deepen trade ties

Brussels, 13 July 2011 - The EU’s Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will meet China’s Commerce Minister, Chen Deming, in Beijing on 14 July to discuss the trade and investment relations between the EU and China. The talks are expected to focus on how European trade and investment with China can be increased with a view to assisting European companies gain better access to the vast Chinese market. The EU and China will also discuss how to make headway on a number of trade barriers including on raw materials. Other topics include the protection of intellectual property rights and the access to government procurement projects. The discussions are part of the "EU-China Joint Committee", which is convened annually.

Give your views on supporting social business with private investment

Today, the Commission services are launching a consultation on possible European measures to support social businesses through private investment funds. Social businesses combine a social, ethical or environmental mission with the entrepreneurial flair and innovation of a business perspective. They can face some specific challenges in getting investments. To address these challenges, the Commission outlined in the Single Market Act ( see IP/11/469) that it would explore how private investment funds can help, so that investors and social businesses better reap the benefits of the single market. The consultation document outlines different options, including better transparency, and seeks the views of all stakeholders on whether existing European investment fund rules work well for social businesses and those wanting to invest in them. The results will be used to identify European measures, so that proposals can be made by the Commission by the end of 2011. The consultation closes on 14 September. The consultation document is available at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/consultations/2011/social_investment_funds_en.htm

CAP: Commission launches a call for tenders for a "Study on price transmission in the sugar sector"

The purpose of the study is to examine the transmission of price changes in the sugar sector; i.e. the extent to which variations of producer prices are transmitted to final consumers, including the intermediate stages of the food chain. The study will also analyse the reasons for any uneven or asymmetric price transmission between sugar producers and final consumers, taking into account available information on competition and concentration in the sector, and provide comparisons of price transmission between the sugar sector and other sectors (bread and cereal products, milk and dairy products). The maximum budget attributed to this project is € 250 000. The deadline for submitting offers is 2nd September 2011. The Commission intends to award the contract before the end of 2011, following the evaluation of the offers received. The contractor will have to carry out the study within 8 months from the signature of the contract. Details are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/tenderdocs/2011/216734/index_en.htm

CAP: Commission launches a call for tenders for a pilot project on "Assessing farmers' costs of compliance with EU legislation in the fields of environment, animal welfare and food safety"

The purpose of the pilot project is to analyse the costs of compliance with environmental, animal welfare and food safety legislation for both EU and third country farmers, to compare the situation between the EU and main trading partner countries and to draw conclusions with respect to the impact on the competitiveness of EU agriculture. The maximum budget attributed to this project is € 1 500 000. The deadline for submitting offers is 30 September 2011. The Commission intends to award the contract by the end of 2011, following the evaluation of the offers received. The contractor will have to carry out the study within 24 months from the signature of the contract. Details are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/tenderdocs/2011/216721/index_en.htm

Commission clears acquisition of Raphael by Talis

The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control by Talis International Holding GmbH of Germany, holding company of the undertaking comprising the Talis Group, over Raphael Valves Industries of Israel. Both Talis and Raphael are active in the development, manufacturing and distribution of valves and other products and equipment for the water industry, including water production, transmission, distribution and sewage. The transaction was examined by the Commission under the simplified merger review procedure.

Autre matériel diffusé :

European Commission experts to assess Danish border measures

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EU-Justice Commissioner Reding on UK's Kenneth Clarke's support for EU victims of crime proposal - rediffusion

Commission consultation on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the EU - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

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