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Daily News – 14.08.2013

EXME 13 / 14.08


14 / 08 / 13

Euro area and EU27 GDP both up by 0.3%

GDP rose by 0.3% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 during the second quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates2 published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2013, growth rates were -0.3% and -0.1% respectively.

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP fell by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU27 in the second quarter of 2013, after -1.1% and -0.7% respectively in the previous quarter.

In light of these and other recent indicators, Vice-President Rehn has made the following comments: "Today's figures, when combined with other recent positive survey data are encouraging and suggest the European economy is gradually gaining momentum. They support the European Commission’s 2013 spring forecast and its projections for a subdued, mild recovery in the second half of 2013. The data also supports, in my view, the fundamentals of our crisis response: a policy mix where building a stability culture and pursuing structural reforms supportive of growth and jobs go hand in hand. This slightly more positive data is welcome - but there is no room for any complacency. Self-congratulatory statements suggesting "the crisis is over" are not for today." For more information see MEMO/13/745 and STAT/13/122 .

Commission announces €13.7 million boost to cross-border digital public services

Following the successful collaboration between EU Member States, industry, national administrations, academia, the private sector and local communities on a series of projects to make living, working, travelling, studying and doing business across borders easier, the European Commission is making a €13.7 million investment to further develop cross-border digital public services. The new "e-SENS" project (Electronic Simple European Networked Services) will help develop digital public services which make it easier for companies to do business in their own Member State and elsewhere in the EU -including setting up a company, fulfilling legal requirements and taking part in public tenders. It will also link up national digital services for citizens who visit a different Member State on holiday, or for work or study.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission said: "Enabling the many digital public services which we have across Europe to work together in a secure and efficient way is a win-win for everyone: governments can make the best of their on-line strategies; businesses can cut the costs of doing business in the single market; and citizens have less bureaucracy to deal with as they move around Europe."

Other news

Digital Agenda: Swiss, French & German scientists develop miniature artificial insect eyes which could help prevent accidents

Scientists in Switzerland, Germany, and France explored how the insect eye works and designed and built the first fully-functional miniature curved artificial compound eyes. The "CURVACE" project received €2 million in EU funding to develop the miniature "insect" eyes, which have high industrial potential in mobile robotics, smart clothing and medical applications.

In the future, the artificial compound eye could be used in areas where panoramic motion detection is primordial.

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “Nature provides us with many extremely sophisticated solutions when it comes to solving problems. The research programmes financed by the EC give us the possibility to get inspired, understand, copy and recreate on an industrial scale some of the great things Mother Nature has brought us, so we can improve the lives of our fellow citizens.”

La Commission approuve temporairement la prolongation d'une aide au sauvetage en faveur de la banque française Crédit Immobilier de France

La Commission européenne a autorisé la prolongation d'une garantie publique que la France a octroyée au Crédit Immobilier de France pour ses besoins de trésorerie immédiats et son augmentation à un montant maximal de 19 milliards d'euros. Cette prolongation permettra à la banque de finaliser son plan de résolution en accord avec les règles relatives aux aides d'Etat et de le notifier à la Commission d'ici le 28 novembre 2013, tout en satisfaisant ses besoins de trésorerie durant cette période. Cette autorisation est valable jusqu'à ce que la Commission adopte une décision finale sur le plan de résolution ou, à défaut de présentation du plan dans le délai imparti, jusqu'au 28 novembre 2013. La Commission avait initialement approuvé la garantie en février 2013 pour une période de six mois et pour un montant de 18 milliards d'euros (voir IP/13/148). La version non confidentielle de la décision temporaire sera publiée sous le numéro SA.37075 dans le registre des aides d'État figurant sur le site internet de la DG Concurrence , dès que tous les problèmes de confidentialité auront été résolus. Le bulletin d'information électronique State Aid Weekly e-News fournit la liste des dernières décisions relatives aux aides d'État publiées au Journal officiel et sur l'internet.

Commission approves liquidation aid for resolution of Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, liquidation aid supporting the resolution of the Lithuanian bank AB Ukio Bankas. The bank was declared insolvent in February 2013 and part of its assets and liabilities were taken over by another Lithuanian bank, AB Siauliu Bankas, selected in a competitive process. The cash grant of €231.4 million bridged the gap between the value of the transferred assets and liabilities. The Commission found the aid measure to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 , IP/08/1901 , IP/09/322 , IP/10/1636 and IP/11/1488). In particular, the measure ensures the viability of the bank's transferred business in the context of its integration into a sound bank, while limiting distortions of competition by the market exit of Ukio Bankas as an independent entity. Moreover, a sufficient own contribution by the bank to the losses and costs of restructuring is ensured through absorbing losses with previously available capital, transfer of substantial proportion of its assets to AB Siauliu Bankas and the contribution of the shareholders and subordinated loans holders of Ukio Bankas. The Commission has therefore concluded that it represents an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Lithuanian economy and as such is compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Commissioner Piebalgs to attend Presidential inauguration in Paraguay

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will represent the European Union (EU) in tomorrow's ceremony of inauguration of the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, after having been elected in April this year. While in Paraguay, the Commissioner will take stock of the country's progress and challenges and will discuss priorities for future EU development cooperation. Commissioner Piebalgs said: "We are glad to have accompanied Paraguay in some of its most crucial reforms in the last years, such as education, social protection policies, reducing poverty and improving business environment. Now we have to look ahead and to ensure that future cooperation addresses the real priorities for the Paraguayan people and builds on past EU actions." See also MEMO/13/743 .