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Daily News – 17.04.2013

EXME 13 / 17.04

Midday Express of 2013-04-17

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

The ATLAS network prepares for the biggest anti-terrorism exercise at EU level

On April 17 and 18, 2013, the EU Member States anti-terrorist police forces are uniting as part of the European sponsored ATLAS Network, which carries out the most complex preparation and crises response simulation so far at European level. The simulation involves simultaneous terrorist attacks in 9 different EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania).

February 2013 compared with January 2013 - Euro area production in construction down by 0.8% - Down by 0.4% in EU27

In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 0.8% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU27 in February 2013, compared with the previous month. In January 2013, production declined by 2.1% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU27. Compared with February 2012, production in February 2013 increased by 0.8% in the euro area, but dropped by 1.1% in the EU27.

Reviving the Mediterranean blue economy through cooperation

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will address the 12th Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) Conference in Athens on Thursday, April 18. Commissioner Damanaki will call for cooperation among all relevant stakeholders in the region in order to make the most of the current momentum targeting a marine and maritime agenda for growth and jobs. The two-day Conference, organised by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), will bring together ministers from EU Member States, Southern partner countries and other coastal States of the Mediterranean region, along with prominent speakers and stakeholders. Through roundtable discussions, conference participants are expected to discuss several proposals concerning clustering, maritime training, safety and surveillance, coast guard cooperation, achieving synergies across projects, opportunities for investment in the sectors of the blue economy and private sector involvement. Alongside Commissioner Damanaki, key speakers will include Greek Prime Minister, Mr Antonis Samaras, Vice-President of the EIB, Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive and Assistant Secretary-General of the IMO, Mr Andrew Winbow. The Conference will be held at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre. Programme and further information is available at:

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Polbita. by Alior Bank and Erste Group Bank

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Polbita sp. z o. o. jointly by Erste Group Bank AG of Austria and Alior Bank S.A. of Poland, controlled by Carlo Tassara S. p A. of Italy. Polbita is a retailer of personal care products in Poland. Alior provides retail banking services, while Erste is a provider of financial services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under case number M.6878 .

New Director for Directorate General Translation

Merit-Ene Ilja has been appointed as Director "Translation" in DG Translation. Merit-Ene Ilja is currently Head of Unit in DG Translation, responsible for professional and organisational development issues. Her main expertise lies in legal and technical translation: she has been involved in translation operation management since 1995, being in charge of translation of the acquis communautaire into Estonian before Estonia's accession to the EU, managing the Estonian language unit in the Council of the EU from 2004 to 2008 and the Estonian language department of DG Translation from 2008 to 2011. She also has an academic background, working as a lecturer at the University of Tartu from 1984 to 1995. She is Estonian and studied linguistics at the University of Tartu. This decision will take effect on May 1 2013.

Transport – Public debate: boosting the market take-up of clean power vehicles

Saturday 4 May 2013, at 11:00. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport invites all interested parties to participate in a public debate on "Clean Power for Transport" during the Open Doors Day of the European Institutions. The debate will take place on a hydrogen bus located at the entrance to the Berlaymont building. As the number of places is limited, please register by e-mail: There will be a specific focus on the Commission's new Clean Power for Transport package, adopted on 24 January 2013. The package proposes a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels, and common EU standards for relevant equipment. The event will also be an occasion to discover the construction and processes of a hydrogen bus, and to visit an exhibition of clean fuel vehicles outside the Berlaymont building. Free admission but the number of places is limited. Please register in advance. For further information:

Transport – Public debate: Do you know your passenger rights?

Saturday, 4 May, 15h00, at the Cercle des Voyageurs, Rue des Grandes Carmes, 16-18, 1000 Brussels. Are you aware of your passenger rights when you travel by plane, train, bus or even by boat? No matter which transport mode you choose, if your trip is cancelled or delayed you have specific rights under European law. The European Union is the only place in the world where citizens benefit of passenger rights in all transport modes. Speaker: Ms. Flor Diaz Pulido, Deputy Head of Unit of the passenger rights unit of the Directorate-General Mobility and Transport. Representatives of the European Centre of Consumers in Belgium will also take part in the debate. Free admission but registration is mandatory. Please register at or by tel: 02 295 35 27. Places are limited.


Commission publishes European test results on horse DNA and Phenylbutazone: no food safety issues but tougher penalties to apply in the future to fraudulent labelling

Launched last month, the coordinated EU-wide testing for horsemeat DNA and phenylbutazone 1 requested, and co-financed, by the European Commission in the wake of the horsemeat scandal has revealed that less than 5 % of the tested products had horse DNA and that about 0.5 % of the equine carcasses tested were found to be contaminated with bute.

Strengthening Europe's preparedness against natural and man-made disasters

The European Commission today presents a package consisting of two parts: The EU strategy on adaptation to climate change sets out a framework and mechanisms for taking the EU's preparedness for current and future climate impacts to a new level; and, in a related measure, the Commission also adopted a Green Paper on insurance in the context of natural and man-made disasters. This public consultation launches a wide debate on the adequacy and availability of existing insurance options.

Commission moves to enhance business transparency on social and environmental matters

The European Commission has today proposed an amendment to existing accounting legislation in order to improve the transparency of certain large companies on social and environmental matters. Companies concerned will need to disclose information on policies, risks and results as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on the boards of directors.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Reforms continue despite political tensions

The European Commission issued today a report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's progress in implementing EU-related reforms and on steps taken on good neighbourly relations and on the 'name issue', as requested by the Council last December.

State aid: Commission extends inquiry into public support measures for Estonian Air

The European Commission has extended the scope of an in-depth investigation opened in February 2013 into public support measures in favour of Estonian Air (see IP/13/133) to include the decision by Estonia on 28 February 2013 to increase a previous rescue loan by €28.7 million. The Commission will now investigate whether the measure is in line with EU state aid rules. The extension of the investigation will give interested third parties an opportunity to comment on this additional measure. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

State aid: UK video games tax relief faces Commission scrutiny

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed UK video games tax relief. The objective of the measure is to provide an incentive to video games developers to produce games meeting certain cultural criteria. However, the Commission considers that there is no obvious market failure in this dynamic and growing sector and that such games are produced even without state aid. Consequently, at this stage, the Commission doubts that the aid is necessary. The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge its outcome. It gives the UK and other interested parties the opportunity to comment.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Déclarations du Président Jose Manuel Barroso et du Commissaire Michel Barnier suite à l'adoption définitive de nouvelles règles imposant des exigences prudentielles plus strictes pour les banques – rediffusion

Speech by President Barroso at the plenary debate with the Prime Minister of Finland, Jyrki Katainen - rediffusion

Memo "Disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies and groups (proposal to amend Accounting Directives) - Frequently asked questions" – rediffusion

Memo "Questions and Answers: EU strategy on adaptation to climate change" – rediffusion

Memo "EU strategy on adaptation to climate change" – rediffusion

Memo "Commission welcomes today's vote of the European Parliament on groundhandling services" – rediffusion

Memo "Commissioner Hedegaard's statement on today’s vote by the European Parliament on the backloading proposal" – rediffusion

Memo "European Commission welcomes European Parliament's vote to extend mandate of ENISA and strengthen EU Cybersecurity" - rediffusion

Memo "Press points by Commissioner Štefan Füle on the Spring Reports on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo" – rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Štefan Füle: "Presentation of the spring reports" – rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Reding: "Hungary and the Rule of Law - Statement of the European Commission in the Plenary Debate of the European Parliament" – rediffusion