EXME 10 / 15.06
Midday Express of 2010-06-15
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
With more than € 500 million already disbursed and 97 % of funds committed after only one year and a half from its adoption, the € 1 billion EU Food Facility has provided a fast and efficient response in tackling food insecurity. The Commission present today a booklet on the use of the Food Facility. It shows that around 50 million people all over the world are receiving support from the facility and results are starting to show. Faced with an impressive number of high–quality proposals but a limited budget, the European Commission is calling on other donors to help funding projects under the newly launched "Food Facility Auction Floor".
The European Commission proposed today to ensure that electric cars placed on the European market are safe and that consumers are protected against direct contacts with parts of the car under voltage. These measures will speed up the introduction of safe electric cars on European roads which have strong potential for reducing CO2 emissions. The Commission also proposed today to drastically reduce European legislation on car type approval by ending the duality between EC Directives and UNECE Regulations.
We often see the "CE marking" on some of the products we buy, but what does it really mean? Under the slogan "CE marking makes Europe's market yours!", the European Commission is carrying out an information campaign on the CE marking. The marking signals that a product is in compliance with all relevant EU legislation, making it eligible to be marketed and sold throughout the EU. By affixing the CE marking on a product, a manufacturer is declaring, on his sole responsibility, conformity with all relevant legal requirements, in particular those which ensure health, safety, and environmental protection. Legal and economic repercussions of non-conformity abuses are so great that it will deter the vast majority of legitimate businesses from not respecting these laws. This campaign is directed primarily to economic operators, to raise their awareness and understanding of the CE marking.
A faster and more secure procedure for intra-EU transfers of explosives
For enterprises in the explosives sector, the formalities for explosives transfers across EU borders will become more secure and much less burdensome due to the use of the new SCEPYLT integrated electronic system. The new procedures on the granting of intra-EU transfer of explosives approvals are laid down in a European Commission Decision which was adopted today. The rules are designed to improve security and to speed up the time for the granting of approvals significantly. This is a win-win situation, as industry will receive the authorisations more quickly and Member States will have less work when granting them. The system will also improve the information exchange between the Member States, as every Member State will be able to see at all times which authorisations have been granted by the other participating Member States. SCEPYLT also introduces a systematic filing of all decisions made.
State aid: Commission approves extension of the Swedish guarantee scheme for credit institutions
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six months extension until 31 December 2010 of a Swedish guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the extension of the measures, initially approved on 29 October 2008 (see IP/08/1600), to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1945). In particular, the extended measures are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The extended scheme includes higher premiums for the state guarantee, in order to provide an incentive for banks to refinance themselves on the markets without state support and to limit distortions of competition. The Commission has therefore concluded that the extended measures represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Swedish economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU.
The number of persons employed in the euro area (EA16) was stable in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat. In the same period, the number of persons employed in the EU27 decreased by 0.2% (455 000 persons). In the fourth quarter of 2009, employment declined by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU27. These figures are seasonally adjusted.
The first estimate for the euro area (EA16) trade balance with the rest of the world in April 2010 gave a 1.8 billion euro surplus, compared with +2.6 bn in April 2009. The March 2010 balance was +4.5 bn, compared with +1.5 bn in March 2009. In April 2010 compared with March 2010, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 2.4% and imports by 3.5%. The first estimate for the April 2010 extra-EU27 trade balance was a 10.2 bn euro deficit, compared with -7.8 bn in April 2009. In March 20102 the balance was -7.2 bn, compared with -9.2 bn in March 2009. In April 2010 compared with March 2010, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 2.4% and imports by 2.8%. These data are released by Eurostat.
The Council decided on 14 June 2010 to unblock the ratification process of the Stabilisation and Association agreement (SAA) between the EU and Serbia. Recalling in the Council Conclusions that cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is an essential element of the SAA, Ministers agreed to submit the agreement to their respective parliaments for ratification, as well as to the European Parliament for its approval.
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