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Daily News – 20.09.2012

EXME 12 / 20.09

Midday Express of 2012-09-20

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Financial report presents data on 2011 EU budget

The European Commission has released its annual financial report which describes how the 2011 budgetary cycle was managed. The financial report provides detailed information on the sources of EU financing and gives a basic overview of EU expenditure. "The report's main aim is to provide a transparent account of the Union's financial matters. For the first time ever, this year the publication comes in an e-version with interactive tables, making it possible to compare data across a wide range of criteria. I hope this will help readers digest the financial information more easily and enable them to get new insights into the EU budget", says the Commissioner responsible for Financial Programming and Budget Janusz Lewandowski.

The European Union and China join forces to address environment, urbanisation and climate change challenges

Today Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce of the Republic of China, signed a financing agreement promoting the environment, transition towards a low-carbon economy and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in China.

European Union support for improving access to clean water and sanitation in Egypt

The European Commission approved new funding of € 10 million to improve access to drinking water and sanitation for over 15 million people in Egypt. This comes as a first contribution from the €303 million European Water Initiative led by top European Financial Institutions to support Egypt’s water supply and sanitation sector for the benefit of the population.

Children in Europe start learning foreign languages at an increasingly early age

Children are starting to learn foreign languages at an increasingly early age in Europe, with most pupils beginning when they are 6-9 years old, according to a report published by the European Commission. A majority of countries or regions have lowered the starting age for compulsory language learning in the past 15 years and some even offer it in pre-school - the German speaking community in Belgium, for instance, provides foreign language learning for children as young as 3. The Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe 2012 report confirms that English is by far the most taught foreign language in nearly all European countries, with French, Spanish, German and Russian following far behind.

Competition: Commission signs EU cooperation agreement with China

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in her capacity as Commission Vice-President, Zhang Ping, Chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and Fu Shuangjan, Vice Minister of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, have signed today in Brussels a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation between the European Commission's competition department and China's antitrust authorities.

Mergers: Commission approves joint venture between Euler Hermes and Mapfre in delcredere insurance

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture between the insurance companies Euler Hermes S.A. of France and Mapfre S.A. of Spain, which will encompass their respective delcredere businesses in Spain, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, as well as Mapfre's delcredere business in Argentina. Delcredere insurance protects policy holders against the risk of their clients' insolvency. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the operation would not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure in Europe.

Labour Monthly monitoring: unemployment still on the rise

The latest monthly labour market analysis of the European Commission, for July, confirms that the number of unemployed people in the EU remains on the rise, a rise that has been continuous for the past 16 months and translates into a new high of 25.254 million unemployed. It also confirms that unemployment increase is more pronounced in the euro area than in the EU as a whole and that the gap between Member States continues to widen. The widest gap is between Austria and Spain with respectively 4.5 % and 25.1 % unemployment rates and is the widest ever over the past decade. The outlook for the coming months is poor. A survey of EU managers indicates that they expect employment in industry, services and the construction sector to decrease. A survey of consumers also indicates that their fears about unemployment have also markedly worsened in most Member States. Those data highlight once again the value and timeliness of the Employment Package presented by the Commission in April ( IP/12/380) and of the Country Specific Recommendations adopted in July ( MEMO/12/386).

Promoting employment and participation in society of older people – a challenge for the next 50 years

The relevance to all United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) member countries of the issues addressed by the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing, namely the employment, participation in society and independent living for older people, is underlined by European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor in his speech to the UNECE conference on Ageing in Vienna today. He recalls that Europe is the only continent with a negative projected population growth rate over the next 50 years which is why we need more action to promote active ageing. Andor highlights the Commission's initiatives in this area including the European Innovation Partnership, that seeks to increase European's healthy lifespan by two years by 2020; the European Accessibility Act that the Commission will present later this year to establish a framework for accessible or 'designed for all' goods and services; and the development with UNECE of an active ageing index to monitor progress. Andor will also encourage Member States to foster an active ageing culture that includes older people via specific strategies and measures at national level.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn meets French ministers in Paris

Today, on 20 September, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science is in Paris to meet with Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister for European Affairs and Geneviève Fioraso, Minister for Higher Education and Research. The aim of these meetings is to discuss the importance of investments in research and innovation both at national and EU level for future growth and jobs. She will also advocate for a strong Horizon 2020, which is currently being negotiated with the European Parliament and the Council as part of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). In the same context, Commissioner will also meet with the Laurence Parisot, President of MEDEF and Hugues Arnaud Mayer, President of the Research Commission.

Fisheries: Commission hosts state of fish stocks seminar

The European Commission will host a seminar on the state of fish stocks in European waters. The seminar aims to discuss the latest scientific research on EU fisheries and how it should be applied in practice for the 2013 fishing season and in the long term. Invited scientists will present the biological status of the fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas, and explain how they assess it. The latest data on the economic performance of EU fisheries will also be presented. A panel discussion with representatives of the Commission, Regional Advisory Councils, Advisory Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture, catching and processing sectors, and NGOs will be held. The seminar is open to the press and public but pre-registration is required. It will take place from 9h to 13h in the Albert Borschette Conference Centre, 36, rue Froissart, Brussels. Simultaneous translation into FR-DE-EN-ES-NL-PT will be provided. Programme and registration form:

Commission's 'Ex-smokers' campaign wins two prestigious Euro EFFIE Awards

Last night, at an award ceremony in Brussels, the European Commission's "Ex-smokers are Unstoppable" campaign, developed by Saatchi & Saatchi Brussels (SSB) was awarded two top prizes at the prestigious Euro EFFIE Awards. "Ex-smokers are Unstoppable" received the golden award for the category general healthcare. In addition, the campaign received the special EFFIE award for best demonstration of innovation in magazine or newspaper advertising. The Euro EFFIE award aims to promote and recognise excellence in marketing communications among campaigns that have proven effective in at least two European countries. “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” is a European initiative covering all 27 counties of the European Union. It aims to inspire and help the EU's 28 million smokers in the 24 to 35 age bracket quit smoking. The campaign’s effectiveness is demonstrated in the 220 000 Europeans now seeking to quit smoking with its free online health tool iCoach. After just three months, 40% of iCoach users surveyed reported that they had quit smoking. With this latest success, “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” has become the first anti-smoking campaign to be recognised at the Euro Effies. For more information, please visit the campaign website, available in all EU languages:


15th EU-China Summit: joining forces in challenging times

The 15th EU-China summit will take place in Brussels on 20 September. The EU will be represented by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The People's Republic of China will be represented by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Introductory remarks by President Barroso at the EU-China Summit – rediffusion

Statement after the meeting between President Barroso and EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti – rediffusion

Joint statement by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy and the President of the rotating Council Presidency, the President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias on the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (2014-2020) – rediffusion

Memo "EU relations with China" - rediffusion

Memo "Statement by EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on the LIBE Committee orientation vote on the Dublin Regulation and the Reception Conditions Directive" - rediffusion

Memo "Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Edi Rama, Chairman of the Socialist Party of Albania" – rediffusion

Memo "Press statement after the trilateral meeting between the European Commission, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina" – rediffusion

Memo "Press statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle, following his meeting with Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development" – rediffusion

Memo "Déclaration du Commissaire européen au Développement Andris Piebalgs et du Ministre Malien des Affaires Etrangères, M. Tiéman Coulibaly" – rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou at the EU sport forum in Nicosia: "The fight against match-fixing" EMBARGO UNTIL 15:00 CET

Speech by Commissioner László Andor at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Ministerial Conference on Ageing in Vienna: "Promoting employment and participation in society of older people – a challenge for the next 60 years"

Speech by Vice-President Neelie Kroes at the High Level Conference on Digital Agenda for Europe in Sofia: "Building the Connected Continent"