EXME 13 / 15.02
Midday Express of 2013-02-15
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
A first 20 million Euro stabilisation support package was approved today under the Instrument for Stability (IfS) to provide immediate support to Mali's law enforcement and justice services, the Malian local authorities, dialogue and reconciliation initiatives at local level, and the first phases of the upcoming electoral process. This decision puts into practice commitments agreed by the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council of 17 January.
Entrepreneurship is the most powerful driver of economic growth and job creation. But which initiative in Europe is most creative and most successful in supporting business set-up and the creation of new jobs? To discover the answer to this question, the European Commission launched today the 2013 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The awards recognise the best public initiatives and public-private partnerships in promoting business development and entrepreneurship. This year, a new category rewarding successful projects contributing to the green economy has been added.
The European Commission today asked the Council to give its green light for negotiations on a new international agreement on trade in services. To begin with, 21 WTO Members will be at the negotiating table, but the EU is keen to encourage others to join. The EU is also pushing for the agreement to dovetail with WTO rules so it can be later folded into the WTO system.
The first estimate for the euro area (EA17) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in December 2012 gave a 11.7 bn euro surplus, compared with +8.0 bn in December 2011. The November 2012 balance was +13.0 bn, compared with +4.9 bn in November 2011. In December 2012 compared with November 2012, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 1.8% and imports by 3.0%. The first estimate for the December 2012 extra-EU27 trade in goods balance was a 0.7 bn euro deficit, compared with -0.2 bn in December 2011. The November 2012 balance was -1.9 bn, compared with -9.3 bn in November 2011. In December 2012 compared with November 2012, seasonally adjusted exports decreased by 1.9% and imports by 1.6%. During 2012, euro area trade in goods recorded a surplus of 81.8 bn euro, compared with -15.7 bn in 2011. The EU27 recorded a deficit of 104.6 bn in 2012, compared with -162.7 bn in 2011.
"Developing strategic thinking in the EU – Global trends 2030" to be discussed at the ESPAS conference on 18-19 February
What are the major trends facing the EU in terms of the economy, society, governance and power? How can the EU and other strategic partners shape the right policy responses? Around 200 key experts from around the world will exchange views and insights on this topic at the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) 2013 conference in Brussels, on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 February. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will deliver the opening speech on Monday at 15h45. Under the motto "Developing strategic thinking in the EU – Global trends 2030", the conference will feed into the on-going work to deliver a final ESPAS report to be published in 2014 and which should have a clear impact on decision-making in the next EU institutional cycle. The ESPAS initiative is a unique and original project in the EU context aiming to strengthen the Union's collective capacity to detect, identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead. More information and live web streaming at http://webcast.ec.europa.eu/eutv/portal/espas2013 .
"Sustainable economic growth, price stability and balanced budgets are pointless without well-developed social policy mechanisms that promote inclusive employment and guarantee adequate social protection to all European citizens". This is the key message that László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion is delivering today at the forum "Social and Employment Policies in Europe" organized by Eurofound in Dublin. He took the opportunity to announce the key elements of the Social Investment Package to be adopted by the Commission on 20 February. This Package is grounded on the idea that social policies should empower people from an early age, strengthen their ability to adapt to risks such as changing career patterns and enhance their opportunities to participate in society across the life course. Member States are expected to reflect this in the reforms of their social protections systems as part of the Europe2020 strategy and make the best use of EU funds, notably the ESF, to support this. "Sustained investment in human capital and social cohesion is needed now more than ever. This is the only way that we can achieve inclusive economic growth" Andor concludes.
Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, Tonio Borg, is visiting Greece
Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Mr Tonio Borg, is in Athens since yesterday, making an official visit to Greece. This is the first official country visit for the Commissioner. On the invitation of the Greek Health Minister, Mr Andreas Lykourentzos, Commissioner Borg met with the Minister yesterday, and with the Minister for Rural Development and Food, Mr Athanasios Tsaftaris today, to discuss issues concerning the health sector, human and animal health and several other topics in relation to the food chain. The Commissioner will also meet with Mr Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructures, Transport & Networks and his deputy to discuss Consumer Policy.
Speaking out on silent disasters: campaign launches on Monday
A campaign to raise awareness about silent disasters – emergencies which remain largely unknown but which have devastating and long-lasting circumstances – is to start on Monday, 18 February, at 12:30, at the European Parliament in Brussels. The one-month-long initiative is carried out by the European Commission in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) alongside the Red Cross in 11 European countries. The campaign will kick off with a panel discussion on silent disasters with Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Red Cross. Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, will deliver the keynote speech at the event. The "Silent Disasters" campaign will make European citizens, policy-makers and the media more aware about little-known disasters, about the need to bring relief even to places which we don't see in our evening news, and about the importance of helping vulnerable communities build their resilience to disasters. For more information about the campaign, visit www.ifrc.org/silentdisasters .
Commission clears acquisition of Enerjisa by E.ON
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Enerjisa Enerji A.Ş. of Turkey by E.ON SE of Germany and Hacı Ömer Sabancı Holding A.Ş., also of Turkey. Enerjisa is active in the fields of electricity, gas, steam and metering of electricity, mainly in Turkey. E.ON's activities cover all levels of the supply chain in the fields of electricity and gas. Sabancı is mainly active in the banking and insurance sector, but also in the fields of cement, food, electronics retail and industrials. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition of discount retailer B&M by equity fund CD&R
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC ("CD&R") of the USA of sole control of B&M Retail Limited ("B&M") based in the UK. CD&R is a private equity investment group, which originates, structures and frequently acts as lead equity investor in management buyouts, strategic minority equity investments and other strategic investments. B&M is a discount retailer active in the sale of daily consumer across the UK, offering a range of food and non-food products. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
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