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Daily News – 20.02.2012

EXME 12 / 20.02

Midday Express of 2012-02-20

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

European Company Law: what way forward?

The European Commission has launched today an in-depth consultation on the future of European company law. Europe needs a company law framework that is adapted to the needs of the society of today and to the evolution of the economic environment. EU company law has played a central part in building the single market. It is now time to see whether today's needs are still met by the existing legal framework. An on-line public consultation paper has therefore been launched to collect comments from all stakeholders. The deadline for sending contributions is 14 May 2012.

Start-ups compete for EIT Entrepreneurship Awards

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the first 'EIT Entrepreneurship Awards' in Brussels on 21 February. The winners will be chosen from among nine start-up companies created as part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology's (EIT) knowledge and innovation communities (KICs). The short-listed companies are based in Spain (2 finalists), the Netherlands (2 finalists), Germany, France, UK, Finland and Sweden (see below for details).

EU launches free trade negotiations with Armenia

The EU decided to launch negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area with Armenia in order to boost economic growth and investment with this Eastern European Partner. The negotiations will cover matters that have become crucial to a modern, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment. They will not only tackle market access conditions but also focus on regulatory approximation, which will help to achieve a closer economic integration of Armenia with the EU.

Commission Action team leaves for Ireland

Today, the European Commission action team is going to Ireland, one of the Member States with very high youth unemployment. Ireland has almost 30% of young people without a job. This is mainly a result of the economic crisis that had a direct impact on sectors of the economy which were traditionally the largest source of labour demand, such as construction, manufacturing, retail or wholesale. Many young people are now unemployed because their skills do not match the needs of the market. Tomorrow, the Action team will be working with a team of national experts to see how the EU structural Funds which remain to be spent on concrete projects, could better target youth unemployment and support SMEs (small and medium size enterprises). For example, short term measures focussing on career guidance, (re)training measures, enhanced cooperation with the social partners and labour market stakeholders preventing early school leaving or supporting self-employment are all concrete actions that can be considered. Another potential way to support young people in the short and mid-term term would be to offer more apprenticeships and traineeships for example via programmes Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci. Newly gained skills can help young people to feel more encouraged to set up their own businesses or search for jobs in SMEs - the key driver for growth and jobs. On all these aspects the Commission team will work in partnership with the national authorities and social partners to find concrete solutions, best adapted to the specific economic and social situation of Ireland. The President of the European Commission, Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, launched this intensive joint effort at the informal meeting of the European Council on 30 January, calling for an extra effort to be made to tackle youth unemployment and prevent the alienation of young people from the labour market; and to focus on helping hard-pressed SMEs. The President proposed to create Action teams of Commission and national experts, with the involvement of national social partners, to develop targeted plans to be included in the National Reform Programmes which will be submitted to the European Commission (mid-April) as part of the European semester of EU economic governance. President Barroso will report back on initial results at the European Council on 1-2 March 2012.

Merger: Commission clears acquisition of Miller Group by GSO Capital Partners

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of the UK company Miller Group Ltd by US-based GSO Capital Partners LP which is part of the Blackstone Group L.P. The Miller Group is active in the field of house building, construction, property development and mining mainly in the UK. Blackstone is a global alternative asset manager and provider of financial advisory services. GSO represents the credit-oriented business of Blackstone and participates in the leveraged finance markets. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.


Major successes for EU-backed films at Berlinale International Film Festival

Two films supported by the European Union's MEDIA programme have been honoured at the closing ceremony of the Berlinale International Film Festival. "A Royal Affair" directed by Nikolaj Arcel won two Silver Bear awards for Best Script and Best Actor. In addition, "L’enfant d’en haut/Sister” by Ursula Meier received a special Silver Bear award and The Portuguese film “Tabu” by Miguel Gomes obtained the FIPRESCI International Film Critics award. In total 18 EU-supported films were screened at the festival (see IP/12/117).

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo "Hungary – state of play on infringement procedures" - rediffusion

Memo: "Consultation on the future of European company law: Frequently Asked Questions"

Speech by Commissioner Šemeta: "EU tax coordination and the financial sector" - rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Reding "The Increasing gender balance on company boards: Good for businesses and the economy" – rediffusion