EXME 12 / 15.05
Midday Express of 2012-05-15
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Emissions of greenhouse gases from installations participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) decreased by more than 2% last year, according to the information provided by Member State registries. Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: ''ETS Emissions decreased by more than 2% in 2011 despite an expanding economy recovery. This good result shows that the ETS is delivering cost-effective emissions reductions. It also emphasizes why the ETS remains the engine to drive low-carbon growth in Europe. However, there is still a growing buffer of unused allowances. This is why the Commission, as announced last month, is now reviewing the time profile of phase 3 auctions with a view to reducing the number of allowances for auction in the early years of phase 3''.
In May 2011, in the midst of dramatic changes sweeping the Southern Neighbourhood, the EU completed a major review of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). According to a policy of “more for more”, committed reformers in the EU’s Southern and Eastern neighbourhood would be awarded greater and broader EU support. EMBARGO UNTIL 15H00
GDP remained stable in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 during the first quarter of 2012, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the fourth quarter of 2011, growth rates were -0.3% in both zones.
Commission assesses the Pre-Accession Economic Programmes of the six candidate countries
The European Commission has examined the candidate countries' 2012 Pre-accession Economic Programmes (PEPs).The macroeconomic conditions of the candidate countries have, in general, held up relatively well in the first half of 2011, but GDP growth started to decelerate since the second quarter in line with slowing global activity. All economies registered positive output growth in 2011, with the exception of Croatia whose economy stagnated after two years of recession. Labour markets remained characterised by sizeable slack, although lower unemployment was reported in some countries. Inflation accelerated in most countries, in line with the evolution of international commodity prices, but decelerated in the second half of 2011 amid slowing economic performance. Looking forward, all candidate countries foresee continued positive economic growth in the medium-term driven mainly by domestic demand. But output growth is set to slow in most candidate countries in 2012, particularly in Turkey, and to a lesser extent in Iceland, Montenegro and Serbia, before it accelerates in all countries in 2013 and 2014.In terms of fiscal framework, all programmes envisage a largely expenditure-based adjustment leading to a continuous gradual decline in fiscal deficits. Two candidate countries, namely Montenegro and Iceland are projecting a budget surplus by 2014. Each year, the candidate countries submit their programmes which include a medium-term macroeconomic scenario, a fiscal framework, and a structural reform agenda. Programmes were submitted by Croatia, Iceland the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey and for the first time this year, Serbia. On the basis of the Commission's assessment, the Ministerial Meeting between the ECOFIN Council and their counterparts from the candidate countries take place on 15 May. The Commission assessment of the candidate countries' programmes is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/international/enlargement/pre-accession_prog/pep/2012-05-15-pep-assessments_en.pdf
2012 Ageing Report published today – an ageing EU population and its consequences on the economy and public finances
The 2012 Ageing Report, published today, analyses demographic trends in the EU and the euro area and looks into their consequences on the economy and on public finances. The EU population will be slightly higher in 2060 (517 million in 2060, up from 502 million in 2010). At the same time, it will be much older, with 30% of EU citizens aged 65 or over. Today, there are four people of working age to each person aged over 65; while around 50 years from now, there are projected to be just two. Furthermore, on the basis of current policies, age-related public expenditure (pensions, healthcare and long-term care) is projected to rise by 4.1 percentage points between 2010 and 2060 to around 29% of GDP. Public pension expenditure alone is projected to rise by 1.5 percentage points to nearly 13% of GDP by 2060. However, the report shows a lot of variation across EU Member States, largely depending on the progress each country has made on pension reforms. The report confirms that coping with the challenges posed by an ageing population will require determined policy action, along with a comprehensive approach towards implementing the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Ministers at today's EU Council for Economic and Financial Affairs adopted conclusions on the report. The report is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/articles/structural_reforms/2012-05 15_ageing_report_en.htm
Bluefin tuna: Commissioner Damanaki expects full compliance during 2012 fishing season (16 May-14 June)
The European Commission is ready for the 2012 bluefin tuna fishing campaign. In close collaboration with the Member States concerned, all necessary measures are being taken to ensure that the EU fishing fleet fully respects the rules during the main fishing season. From 16 May to 14 June purse seiners are allowed to fish for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic. Vessels from seven EU member states are active in the bluefin tuna fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus). Together with bluefin tuna fish traps, another important sector in the fishery, they account for 80% of the EU's quota. The EU's overall quota is 5 756 tonnes for 2012 (the same as in 2011), compared to 7 087 in 2010. Based on the experiences of previous years and taking into account the particularities of this year's campaign, a strict control and inspection programme has been put in place to monitor all aspects of the bluefin tuna fishery and enforce the rules. It involves a significant deployment of inspectors, patrol vessels and aircrafts and is coordinated by the Commission, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the Member States concerned. The Commission also monitors catches and analyses Vessel Monitoring System data (a satellite based control system) on an hourly basis to ensure that all rules, and particularly the individual vessels' quotas, are fully respected.
The trade and development agreement concluded by the EU and four Eastern and Southern African states Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe will take effect today.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of Trelleborg Vibracoustic, a joint venture combining the automotive anti-vibration systems activities of Freudenberg of Germany and Trelleborg of Sweden. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because a number of strong competitors will remain active on the market. As a result, customers will still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all the markets concerned.
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