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Daily News – 21.02.2012

EXME 12 / 21.02

Midday Express of 2012-02-21

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Europe can do better: President Barroso welcomes best practice report on administrative burden reduction and calls on Member States to learn from each other

Today President Barroso received the Chairman of the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens, Dr. Edmund Stoiber, who handed over the Group's report "Europe can do more" on best practice in Member States to implement EU legislation in the least burdensome way.

Merger: Commission clears acquisition of FNZ Group by two equity firms

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of joint control by H.I.G. Europe Capital Partners of Luxembourg and General Atlantic LLC of USA, of Kiwi Holdco Cayco and its subsidiaries (collectively the "FNZ Group" of UK). H.I.G. Europe Capital is a global private equity investment firm. General Atlantic is an equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies. The FNZ Group is provider of integrated wealth management platforms. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

First meeting of EU-Jordan Task Force to support the ongoing reforms in Jordan

The first meeting of the EU-Jordan Task Force will take place at the King Hussein Centre at the Dead Sea in Jordan on 22 February. The Task Force will demonstrate the EU´s determination to accompany Jordan on its process of democratic reforms towards a just and inclusive society with democratic rights, social justice and economic opportunity as key features. It will be co-chaired by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh. Bernardino León, the EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Region, will also participate.

Commission Action team leaves for Italy

Only three weeks after the Informal European Council the, European Commission Action team is travelling to Italy, a Member State suffering from a very high youth unemployment rate. In Italy, 30,1 % of young people is without a job. Youth unemployment affects particularly holders of university degrees as well as women and disadvantaged groups. The Action team will work closely with a team of national experts on identifying further targeted actions to tackle youth unemployment and to support the small and medium enterprises – a key driver for jobs and growth. Building on the work already done by the action Group on Cohesion between Italy and the European Commission, the Team will especially see how to continue and reinforce action in order to promote the use of 29% of EU Structural Funds that are still to be allocated in Italy on projects that will make the biggest difference in the short time. In general, implementation of the Structural Funds remains below EU average particularly in the Southern regions and a quicker uptake could bring new opportunities. This will be achieved by further developing the reorientation of the use of Structural Funds already defined within the Cohesion Action Plan adopted by the Italian Authorities in agreement with the European Commission. For example, initiatives to encourage the employment of young people, measures to facilitate the transition from education to labour market, or action to increase the apprenticeships and vocational training opportunities, also in coordination with programmes as Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci, are all concrete proposals that will be considered during the meetings with the Italian administration. The Action team will work in partnership with the national authorities to find concrete solutions, best adapted to the specific economic and social situation on the ground. The meetings will also offer an opportunity for the Action Team to have an exchange of views on policy solutions linked to the ongoing and forthcoming labour reforms in Italy with a special focus on supporting, complementing and speeding up actions to increase youth access to the job market. 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.

Registration of two denominations of agricultural products

The European Commission has entered two names in the register of protected geographical indications (PGI). The names registered today are: for United Kingdom, the potatoes called "New Season Comber Potatoes/Comber Earlies" and for Italy, a fruit called "Limone di Rocca Imperiale". The two denominations are added to the list consisting of well over 1000 protected products under the Regulation for protection of geographical indications, designations of origin and traditional specialities. Further information on quality products as well as the list of protected denominations is available at:


Concentrations: la Commission autorise la création d’une entreprise commune entre SENOBLE et AGRIAL dans le secteur laitier

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet de création de SENAGRAL, une entreprise commune qui sera contrôlée par SENOBLE et AGRIAL, deux compagnies françaises actives dans le secteur laitier. L'entreprise commune sera active dans le domaine de la production et de la commercialisation de produits laitiers frais sous private label en France, en Allemagne et au Benelux. La Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que l’opération envisagée ne poserait pas de problème de concurrence, en particulier parce que l'entité créée aura à affronter de nombreux concurrents sur les marchés concernés.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso on the agreement reached in the Eurogroup on a second financial assistance programme for Greece

Memo "Where the European Union stands on reducing administrative burdens – Questions and Answers"

Statement by Vice-President Rehn at the Eurogroup (21.02.2012) – rediffusion

Memo " The EU and Jordan: long-standing relationship"

Speech by Commissioner Cioloș: "Meeting the Challenge" – EMBARGO UNTIL 12h45 CET