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Daily News – 17.02.2012

EXME 12 / 17.02

Midday Express of 2012-02-17

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Digital Agenda: EU funded project helps citizens compare and reduce their energy consumption via TV, PC and social networks applications

Citizens and business often waste energy because they do not realise which appliances and lighting use the most energy. An EU-funded project tested in the United Kingdom and Bulgaria is helping to change that – showing consumers reduced energy usage by an average of 8% when provided with an "information dashboard" about their energy use.

State aid: Commission approves guarantee scheme on liabilities for merging banks in Denmark

The European Commission has authorised a Danish guarantee scheme on liabilities for merging banks. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because the measure targets a genuine market failure, is not discriminatory and requires the merged entity to be viable.

Environment: environmental impact assessment now more user friendly

To help Member States' authorities and developers manage the environmental consequences of construction projects more easily, the Commission has brought together all existing EU legislation governing environmental impact assessments. The original Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive and its three subsequent revisions have been combined to create a more compact, clearly translated and user-friendly version which comes into force today.

December 2011 compared with November 2011 - Construction output up by 0.3% in euro area - Down by 0.4% in the EU27.

In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17) and fell by 0.4% in the EU272 in December 2011, compared with the previous month. In November, production increased by 0.2% and 0.6% respectively. Compared with December 2010, output in December 2011 increased by 7.8% in the euro area and by 7.4% in the EU27. Compared with 2010, the average construction output index in 2011 decreased by 1.1% in the euro area, but increased by 0.7% in the EU27.

Eurostat launches public consultation on International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

The "Six-Pack" legislative package (see MEMO/11/364) marks an important reinforcement of economic governance in the EU. One of the elements of the Six-Pack - Directive 2011/85/EU on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States - calls on the Commission to assess the suitability of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) for EU Member State government accounting. High quality government finance statistics are needed to ensure sound EU fiscal surveillance, and the implementation of harmonised and comparable accruals-based accounting practices for all sectors of government could help ensure high quality data. As a first step in the assessment of the feasibility of applying IPSAS EU-wide, Eurostat is today launching a public consultation. Taking into account both the potential benefits and resource implications of any recommendations on future IPSAS implementation, Eurostat is calling on the wide range of stakeholders who might be interested in this assessment to provide their input. Contributions concerning any aspect of the suitability of IPSAS for EU Member State government accounting are welcome. Further information on the consultation, including a questionnaire for responding to it, can be found at: . Contributions may also be provided to not later than 11 May 2012.

Fisheries: joint statement of Commissioner Damanaki and Norwegian Minister Berg-Hansen on mackerel

Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, on behalf of the European Union, and Lisbehth Berg-Hansen, Minister of Fisheries, on behalf of Norway, have expressed their disappointment and grave concern following the inconclusive outcome of the meeting on mackerel fishery in the North-East Atlantic, held in Reykjavik from 14 to 16 February 2012 between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands (the so-called coastal states). In spite of five rounds of consultations in autumn 2011 and early 2012, at which the EU and Norway submitted three series of proposals, it is particularly disappointing that neither Iceland nor the Faroe Islands really engaged in the negotiation process. It is regrettable that neither Iceland nor the Faroe Islands have made proposals, which would have respected the principles on which stock sharing arrangements have been negotiated by those same Parties in the past. The EU and Norway have built up the mackerel stock on a sustainable basis. This sustainability is being directly threatened by the recent development of new and unilateral fisheries by Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The Union and Norway call on Iceland and the Faroe Islands to reduce their current unsustainable fishing levels. We remain ready in the future to continue to seek a reasonable and fair quota sharing arrangement, which will respect the rights and obligations of all Parties. For more information:

Merger: Commission clears creation of a joint venture between Bouygues Immobilier and Schneider Electric

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the creation of new joint venture between Bouygues Immobilier and Schneider Electric, both of France. Bouygues Immobilier is a subsidiary of the Bouygues Group which is active in the building sector. Schneider Electric is a subsidiary of the Schneider electric Group which is specialised in the energy management. The joint venture will offer services designed to improve and optimize energy efficiency in new and old office buildings. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Merger: Commission clears acquisition by EuroChem of sole control of certain fertiliser assets from BASF Antwerpen

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Dutch-based EuroChem International Holding B.V., controlled by EuroChem Group SE , of sole control of certain fertiliser assets controlled by Belgium-based BASF Antwerpen N.V. EuroChem SE is active in the mining of minerals for fertilisers and the manufacture and sale of fertilisers. BASF Antwerpen manufactures interalia mineral field fertilisers. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.


EU-Morocco: Agricultural agreement sign of credibility

The European Commission welcomes the positive vote of the European Parliament on the Agricultural agreement with Morocco. Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloș, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton expressed their satisfaction with the approval of this Agreement during the plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Discours par le Président Barroso au Session plénière du Comité des régions: "Le renouveau européen en marche" - rediffusion

Memo on the preparation of Eurogroup and Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Brussels, 20 and 21 February 2012

Memo "Statement following the meeting between Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker and Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik"

Memo on Competitiveness Council – 20-21 February 2012

Memo: " Frequently asked questions: EU fight against money-laundering and terrorist financing moves up a gear: European Commission takes action to meet the revised international standards adopted by the Financial Action Task Force" - rediffusion

Memo: "Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomes the adoption of revised international standards in support of the fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing" - rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Šefčovič: "The strength of the community method in tackling the crisis and the role of the Lisbon Treaty"

Statement of Commissioner László Andor on the White Paper on Pensions - rediffusion

Top News from the European Commission

Calendrier hebdomadaire du 20 au 26 février 2012