EXME 11 / 14.07
Midday Express of 2011-07-14
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission has today launched a debate on the future of promotion and information schemes for EU agricultural products. With the publication of a Green Paper on these issues, the Commission is looking at how to shape a more targeted and more ambitious strategy for the future, which will make clearer to consumers – both in the EU and beyond - the quality, traditions and added-value of European agricultural and food products.
The European Commission has increased by 6 million its humanitarian support for the people of Pakistan affected by last year's floods and the ongoing conflict.
The views of telecoms operators, Internet service providers, Member States, national data protection authorities consumer organisations and other interested parties are being sought by the European Commission on whether additional practical rules are needed to make sure that personal data breaches are notified in a consistent way across the EU. The revised ePrivacy Directive ( 2009/136/EC), which entered into force on 25 May 2011 as part of a package of new EU telecoms rules, requires operators and Internet service providers to inform, without undue delay, national authorities and their customers about breaches of personal data that they hold (see IP/11/622 and MEMO/11/320). The Commission wants to gather input based on existing practice and initial experience with the new telecoms rules and may then propose additional practical rules to make clear when breaches should be reported, the procedures for doing so, and the formats that should be used. Contributions to the consultation are welcome until 9th September 2011.
In 2010, EU Customs seized more than 103 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) at the EU's external borders. According to the Commission's annual report on EU Customs enforcement of IPR published today, the number of shipments stopped by customs almost doubled compared to last year, rising from 43,500 in 2009 to almost 80,000 in 2010. Today’s report also gives statistics on the type, origin and transport method of IPR infringing products stopped at the EU's external borders. For the first time, the report also indicates the value of the goods detained which is estimated at over € 1 billion. The top categories of articles stopped by customs were cigarettes (34%), office supplies (9%) other tobacco products (8%), labels, tags and emblems (8%), clothing (7%) and toys (7%). 14.5% of all detained articles were household products such as shampoos, soaps, medicines or household appliances (hair dryers, shavers, computer parts) which could potentially have health and safety implications for consumers. One of the major trends this year is the growing number of detentions of postal packages.
The Commission today adopted a regulation permitting, as of January 1, 2012, a pre-movement treatment for dogs travelling to listed Member States claiming echinococcus-free status.Finland, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta are the Member States currently on the list. To be on the list, these Member States are obliged to introduce surveillance programmes and report the results to the Commission once a year. Positive findings need to be transmitted to the Commission and the other Member States immediately.
Euro area annual inflation was 2.7% in June 2011, unchanged compared to May. A year earlier the rate was 1.5%. Monthly inflation was 0.0% in June 2011. EU annual inflation was 3.1% in June 2011, down from 3.2% in May. A year earlier the rate was 1.9%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in June 2011. These figures come from Eurostat. In June 2011, the lowest annual rates were observed in Sweden (1.5%), Slovenia (1.6%) and the Czech Republic (1.9%), and the highest in Romania (8.0%), Estonia (4.9%) and Lithuania (4.8%). Compared with May 2011, annual inflation fell in fourteen Member States, remained stable in six and rose in six. The lowest 12-month averages up to June 2011 were registered in Sweden (1.5%), the Czech Republic and the Netherlands (both 1.8%), and the highest in Romania (7.8%), Estonia (4.7%) and Greece (4.6%).
In 2010, 32.5 million foreign citizens lived in the EU27 Member States, of which 12.3 million were citizens of another EU27 Member State and the remaining 20.2 million were citizens of countries outside the EU27. Foreign citizens accounted for 6.5% of the total EU27 population. On average in 2010, foreign citizens living in the EU27 were significantly younger than the population of nationals (median age 34.4 years compared with 41.5 years). These figures come from a report published by Eurostat.
Innovation for stronger regions - Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn at the Committee of the Regions
Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn this morning called on regions to join forces for "better inter-action and synergy between EU regional policy and research and innovation policy." She promised that this would be a priority as well in the Commission's legislative proposals, due this autumn/winter, for the future Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the new Common Strategic Framework for Cohesion Policy. In a speech at the Committee of the Regions (add hyperlink), the Commissioner asked Europe's regions to "play to their strengths by focusing research and innovation investment on a selected number of competitive areas that have the best chance of boosting economic growth and prosperity". She said that such "smart specialisation strategies" would help boost Europe's overall research and innovation performance and "bridge the innovation divide between the strongest performers and those regions that are catching up." She added: "This can only be achieved with political buy-in from regional and local authorities across Europe." The Commissioner called for regional authorities "to use public procurement to support innovative products and services". She also used the speech to remind regional representatives of funding opportunities tailored to regions' needs under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research. The Structural Funds are also an important source of investment, with 25 percent of the available funding for the period 2007-2013 dedicated to innovation in the broad sense, and more than 14 percent earmarked for core research, technological development and innovation.
Informal meeting of EU Development Ministers in Sopot
EU Ministers of Development will meet on 14th and 15th of July in Sopot (Poland) for an informal Development Council. They will discuss issues on the agenda of the Commission and the EU for the coming months: Development strategies for Central Asia and for the Pacific region; the future architecture of development financial instruments; joint programming and the preparation of the next UN Conference on aid effectiveness in Busan. A press conference will be organised on 15th July at 3pm.
Cyprus has requested assistance through the European Civil Protection Mechanism after the devastating explosion at Zygi naval base near Larnaca.The authorities of Cyprus have asked for electricity generators because Vassilikos power station – the largest on the island – suffered extensive damage, severely limiting energy production. The Cypriot authorities have also asked for assistance in assessing the damage to the power station and its restoration. To that end the European Union will deploy an assessment and coordination team of experts. A liaison officer from the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) of the European Commission will arrive in Cyprus tomorrow to prepare the arrival of the team.
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