EXME 11 / 18.11
Midday Express of 2011-11-18
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Since its creation five years ago, the European Commission's Better Training for Safer Food initiative (BTSF) has trained almost 30.000 professionals worldwide, thus contributing significantly to making food in the EU safer than it has ever been. Effective official controls on food safety and veterinary issues are vital for protecting public, animal and plant health. Harmonisation in this area allows businesses across the EU and beyond to compete on a level playing field and reap the benefits of increased trade in safe food.
Today, the European Commission has approved 14 programmes in 11 Member States to promote fresh fruit and vegetables both on the internal market and in third countries. The total budget for the programmes, running for a period of three years, is € 34.1 million of which the EU contributes € 17.0 million (50%). This was one of a set of measures proposed by the Commission this summer to address the difficult market situation faced by this sector as a consequence of the E-coli crisis (see IP/11/829 ).
The EU needs to boost its relationships with non-EU States to better reap the mutual benefits migration can bring. Although migration is high on the European Union’s political agenda, the Arab spring and events in the Southern Mediterranean in 2011 further highlighted the need for a coherent and comprehensive migration policy for the EU. That is why today the European Commission proposes to strengthen dialogue and operational cooperation with non-EU partner countries in the area of migration and mobility. The new approach is detailed in a renewed 'Global Approach to Migration and Mobility' which places mobility of third country nationals at its centre and which makes partnerships more sustainable and forward-looking. Mobility of third country nationals across the external EU borders is important as it applies to a wide range of people, such as short-term visitors, tourists, students, researchers, business people or visiting family members and linked to visa policy.
Where do you apply for a German work permit? Does an Indian citizen need a residence permit to study in Spain? And if you have been exploited for work, who can you call for support? Today, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, launched the 'EU Immigration Portal', a website with hands-on information for foreign nationals interested in moving to the EU. The site, ec.europa.eu/immigration , is also directed at migrants who are already here and would like to move from one Member State to another. It provides specific information for each category of migrants about migration procedures in all 27 Member States.
On the 20 November, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will arrive in Togo for a two-day visit to look at the country's progress and challenges in the wake of renewed development cooperation with the EU, post-2007.
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is immediately increasing its funding to the Sahel region of Africa to safeguard the lives of half a million people in a rapidly developing food crisis.
The European Commission has announced this year's winners of the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme Awards. The six winning organisations not only showed excellence in respecting and safeguarding the environment, but also in applying innovative solutions to involve different stakeholders. The awards were handed out last night in Krakow, Poland.
Commissioner Hedegaard to visit Oslo
On 21 November Commissioner Hedegaard participates in the Zero Emission conference on green growth in Oslo where she will deliver a keynote speech - read more on www.zerokonferansen.no . The Commissioner will also meet with the Norwegian State Secretaries for Environment and Finance, Mrs Heidi Sørensen and Mr Kjetil Lund respectively, as well as with representatives of the business community and civil society.
Solar Energy: Desertec and Medgrid sign Memorand of Understanding
In the margin of the Energy Council on 24 November, Desertec Industry Initiative (DII) and Medgrid will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on future cooperation. Desertec aims at creating the framework for generating sustainable and climate-friendly power in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa. Medgrid is promoting new high capacity electricity links around the Mediterranean. Desertec and Medgrid are complementary and mutually reinforcing, the first focusing on energy generation and the second on energy transmission: an increased collaboration between Desertec and Medgrid will create strong synergies. Energy Commissioner Oettinger takes part in the signing event of the Memorandum of Understanding at the Justus Lipsius building Room 50.4. Journalists are invited to a photo opportunity and press statement on 24 November at 9:00 CET. For further information and registration please contact the press team of Energy Commissioner Oettinger. Information on the Mediterranean Solar Plan here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/international/euromed_en.htm
Barroso, Rehn and Vassiliou to address Global Jean Monnet conference on economic governance
"European Economic Governance in an International Context" will be the theme of the European Commission's 2011 Global Jean Monnet Conference on 24-25 November. Speakers will include Commission President José Manuel Barroso (by video-link), Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, Nobel Prize laureate economist Robert A. Mundell, former Commission Vice-President Etienne Davignon and Members of the European Parliament. The conference will discuss what measures are needed to maintain stability in the Euro area, the instruments required for effective crisis intervention, fiscal and macroeconomic coordination, political and institutional aspects of economic governance, as well global macroeconomic governance. The event, which takes place in the Commission's Charlemagne building in Brussels, brings together 450 participants including economists, Jean Monnet professors, other academics and journalists. Advance registration is required on the following website: http://globaljm2011.teamwork.fr . Type in NPEC to enter the site.
Better cooperation in cross border tax collection
The Commission adopted today tools that will allow better cross border recovery of tax debts by Member States. These tools include, in particular, a uniform instrument to allow debt recovery decisions to be enforced. The aim is to avoid problems of translation and recognition of foreign legal and procedural instruments. Another concrete tool is a uniform notification form that will enable taxpayers in other Member States to be notified of official documents and decisions. The measures adopted today, which are part of the implementing measures for the Directive on mutual assistance in the recovery of claims , will facilitate and accelerate cooperation between Member States' tax administrations, leading to more efficient revenue collection. For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/tax_cooperation/tax_recovery/index_en.htm
Annual Research Conference 2011 to focus on new growth models for Europe
On Monday 21 November 2011, the Annual Research Conference 2011 (Brussels, Charlemagne building) will explore the main features of new growth models, identify obstacles to realising and expanding the potential for real income gains, and draw implications for policy-making at both national and EU levels. The conference will also discuss the need to rethink the role of fundamental growth drivers in the EU. Moreover, it will consider ways to achieve smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive economic growth. The adaptation of growth and convergence patterns across the EU in response to changing internal and external conditions will also be on the agenda. The opening speech will be delivered by Vice-President Olli Rehn. The information and the program of the conference can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/events/2011/2011-11-21-annual-research-conference_en/index_en.htm
Today, the European Union and the United States have initialled a new agreement on the transfer of air passengers' data for flights from the EU to the US. If adopted by the European Parliament and EU Member States in the Council of Ministers, the new agreement on Passenger Name Records (PNR) will replace the current agreement from 2007, improving data protection whilst providing an efficient tool to fight serious transnational crime and terrorism.
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