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Daily News – 22.06.2011

EXME 11 / 22.06

Midday Express of 2011-06-22

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

College points:

European Commission seeks to modernise Professional Qualifications Directive

In consultation with stakeholders, the European Commission is seeking to modernise the Professional Qualifications Directive ( Directive 2005/36/EC). Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said "Updating the Professional Qualifications Directive is one of the priorities of the Single Market Act and will help make the European economy more competitive while encouraging growth and job creation. We need to make it easier for professionals to go to where job vacancies exist. We will consider a number of important issues during this process including the creation of a professional card for interested professions and improving the training requirements for certain professions."

Antitrust: Commission fines Telekomunikacja Polska S.A € 127 million for abuse of dominant position

The European Commission has imposed a fine of €127 554 194 on telecoms operator Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (TP) for abusing its dominant position in the Polish market in breach of EU antitrust rules (Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). As a dominant company TP is under an obligation to allow remunerated access to its network and wholesale broadband services in order to allow the effective entry of alternative operators on downstream broadband markets. But it consistently refused to do so or made it difficult for more than four years.

Aide d'Etat : La Commission ouvre une enquête approfondie sur la restructuration de SeaFrance

La Commission européenne a ouvert une enquête formelle afin d'examiner si le plan de recapitalisation à hauteur de 223 millions d'euros de la société SeaFrance par la SNCF est compatible avec les règles de l'Union européenne en matière d'aides d'État. La Commission vérifiera notamment si l'entreprise peut, de façon réaliste, redevenir viable à long terme sans soutien public et si sa participation aux coûts de restructuration est suffisante. SeaFrance fournit des services de transport maritime (passagers et fret) sur la liaison Calais-Douvres. L'ouverture d'une enquête donne aux tiers la possibilité de présenter des observations. Elle ne préjuge en rien de l'issue de la procédure.

Other issues:

Commission awards final contracts making Galileo a reality

The final two contracts, out of six, for Galileo, Europe’s global navigation satellite programme will be signed at 16.00 by the European Space Agency on behalf of the European Commission at the prestigious Le Bourget Aerospace Fair in Paris. The combined valued of the two contracts is €355 million. The contract signed with Thales Alenia Space (FR), for a value of €281 million, ensures the formatting of navigation information for broadcast by the satellites. The contract signed with Astrium (UK), for a value of €73.5 million concerns the "housekeeping" of the satellites including the maintenance and correct positioning of the satellites in orbit. Signature of these contracts is essential for the deployment and provision of three initial services by Galileo in 2014:

State aid: Spring Scoreboard shows Member States spending more to boost Europe's competitiveness

State aid to support expenditure in research, development and innovation has steadily increased in the last 10 years to support job creation and increase Europe's competitiveness. The European Commission's 2011 spring Scoreboard, shows R&D&I State aid stood at 0.09% of GDP in 2009, the last year for which figures are available, against 0.05% in 2005. Of the total R&D expenditure in the EU in 2009 (2.01 % of GDP), one third (0.65 % of GDP) was publicly funded but only 13% (€10.6 billion) of public funnding was qualified as state aid. This year's edition of the Spring State aid Scoreboard, focuses on support to achieving the Europe 2020 objectives through smart, sustainable and inclusive initiatives of general common interest in areas such as research, development and innovation (R&D&I), environmental protection, regional development or training. State aid measures in these fields can correct market failures, improve the functioning of markets and thus enhance European competitiveness.

From farm to fork

The food chain usually starts on the farm, within the agricultural sector, where some of the products are already processed. Most of the food consumed in the EU is however processed within the manufacturing sector, before it is distributed through wholesalers and finally purchased by consumers in shops or restaurants. An overview shows that there were just over 48 million people employed within the EU27’s food chain in 2008, equivalent to more than a fifth of total employment. The food chain was made-up of almost 17 million different holdings/enterprises and generated 750 billion euro of value added, equivalent to around 6% of the GDP of the EU27. Four fifths of the holdings/enterprises within the food chain were agricultural holdings. These holdings also generated the majority of employment (56%) within the food chain. However, value added was more evenly spread over the different actors in the food chain, with 26% each of total value added recorded in agriculture and food & beverage manufacturing, 20% in food & beverage retailing, 17% in food & beverage services and 11% in food & beverage wholesaling. This information is extracted from two publications issued by Eurostat.

Industrial new orders up by 0.7% in euro area

In April 2011 compared with March 2011, the euro area (EA17) industrial new orders index rose by 0.7%. In March3 the index fell by 1.5%. In the EU271, new orders increased by 0.2% in April 2011, after a drop of 1.7% in March. Excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment, for which changes tend to be more volatile, industrial new orders decreased by 0.6% in both zones. In April 2011 compared with April 2010, industrial new orders grew by 8.6% in the euro area and by 6.9% in the EU27. Total industry excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment4 rose by 7.3% and 6.0% respectively. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

Online privacy – reinforcing trust and confidence

A vision for online privacy based on the principles of transparency, fairness and user control was outlined today by European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. "Privacy is not just about technical features. Without privacy, consumers will not trust the online world. And without trust, the digital economy cannot reach its full potential." Speaking at a workshop on online tracking protection and browsers, Kroes called for "timely and correct" implementation of the e-Privacy Directive, to give consumers more control over what data is stored or accessed on digital systems. She was clear that the Commission would use its "full powers" to address delays. Noting that browser tracking can help target advertising, Kroes nonetheless stressed that "users should be able to know, and control, when and to whom they give their information and how it will be used". Underlining that self-regulation by the industry had been helpful but limited in scope, she also highlighted the advantage of emerging "do-not-track" (DNT) technology. DNT lets customers tell their service providers that they do not wish their internet activities to be tracked: a much broader privacy solution than those already out there. But she stressed if DNT is to work, it would need to be further standardised. "I challenge you to agree a DNT standard by June 2012...if I don't see a speedy and satisfactory development I will not hesitate to employ all available means to ensure our citizens' right to privacy". EMBARGO 13:30 CET

The Launch of the European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath

The European Commission and Airbus together with the European Aviation Industry and European Biofuels producers will announce the Launch of the European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath. The international aviation organisations IATA and ICO have jointly promised that the aviation industry will reduce its net CO² emissions by 50% by 2050 compared with 2005. To achieve this goal, aviation could rely on on advanced or second generation biofuels. These are biofuels which are not produced from biofuels which can also used as food but from biofuels made of wood, residues and wasteels. Technology for second generation biofuels mature, but still expensive. To drive costs down, there is a need to produce on a large scale. The Commission and the Industry will make an announcement in this regard. Please find more information at:


Wroclaw to be the European Capital of Culture in Poland in 2016

Brussels, 21 June 2011 - Today the Polish city of Wrocław was recommended for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2016 by an independent selection panel. It will host the title along with a Spanish city, to be selected next week. The formal nomination by the EU's Council of Ministers will take place in May 2012.

New graduate scheme in the field of chemical policies at ECHA

Brussels/Helsinki 21 June 2011: European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani proposed a new graduate scheme in the field of chemical policies in Helsinki today. Via this initiative, young university graduates or students coming towards the end of their studies will be able to get an inside view into the work of the ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, which is managing the practical aspects of the European Commission’s REACH Regulation.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Commission decision against Telekomunikacja Polska - frequently asked questions (see also IP/11/771)

Statement by President Barroso following the confidence vote in the Parliament on the new Greek Government - rediffusion

President Barroso and President Van Rompuy welcome the re-election of Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General - rediffusion

Statement by Commissioner Potocnik following the Environment Council – reidiffusion

Green Paper on the modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive – frequently asked questions

Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the EU – Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Council – rediffusion

Statement by Commissioner Malmström: more leadership needed in Member States to defend solidarity, tolerance and mutual respect

Message of condolences from President Barroso to Mr Dmitriy Medvedev, President of the Russian federation, following the plane accident in Karelia

Opening remarks by President Barroso at the press conference in advance of the European Council - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioenr Kroes "Online privacy – reinforcing trust and confidence" EMBARGO 13:30 CET

Speech by Commissioner Andor "Moving from hopes and aspirations to concrete action - EU funding and the new EU framework for national Roma integration strategies"