EXME 12 / 22.11
Midday Express of 2012-11-22
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Today the European Commission approved new financial assistance for the Turkish Cypriot community. The €27.2 million programme will focus on promoting the economic integration of the island, with the overall objective to help prepare for its reunification.
Commissioner Andor: tackling long-term care challenges
"Without decisive actions by the Member States, supported by the Commission, we not only risk an under-supply of care services for an ageing population, but also the vanishing of a precious source of employment for the years to come" was the key message from László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the opening of the European Symposium for Family Assistants in Brussels. Andor stressed that "We need to improve the quality of care jobs and working conditions in the care sector in order to make them appealing to new labour market entrants. Tackling issues such as unsociable working hours, wage levels and gender pay gaps, as well as work-life balance arrangements is essential particularly for women, who represent the large majority of the health workforce." This will be one of the issues addressed in the Social Investment Package the Commission intends to present in early 2013, which will underline the need for Member States to sustain social investment in human capital and social infrastructure. "This is a challenging message in times of austerity and budgetary constraints but there is clearly a need to adapt the European Social Models to a new demographic and societal reality. This adaptation should translate into more effective social spending in order to avoid much higher costs in the long run." Lastly, Andor underlines the key role of the European Social Fund, used both to facilitate families to take care of children and elders and to train care professionals. See SPEECH/12/852
Commission calls for learning boost for older people
The European Commission has published a statement today calling on authorities and organisations in Member States to do more to promote the benefits of lifelong learning, active ageing and intergenerational solidarity. Today only 3.6% of older people are involved in learning. Yet studies show that lifelong learning encourages older people to stay in work longer, helps to ensure healthy ageing and active participation in society, and decreases their risk of social exclusion or poverty. It also reduces the 'digital gap': nearly 50% of people aged 55-74 in Europe have never used a computer. The statement was adopted at the "One Step Up in later life: learning for active ageing and intergenerational solidarity" conference in Brussels, which gathered around 200 participants including government officials, stakeholder organisations, trade union and employer representatives, businesses and beneficiaries of the Commission's Grundtvig programme, which supports adult education. The event, opened by Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, also highlighted the need to modernise education and training systems to reflect the fact that 30% of the European population will be aged over 65 in the coming decades. (To find out more: The EU's adult learning policy ; European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations ; DG Education and Culture ; Commissioner Vassiliou's website ; Twitter @VassiliouEU)
Commission facilitates importation of pharmaceutical active substances from Switzerland
Switzerland has today been listed as the first third country with standards in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients equivalent to those of the EU. After a successful assessment, the European Commission concluded that the regulatory framework applicable to active substances exported to the Union from Switzerland, the respective controls and the enforcement activities are equivalent to those of the Union. This means in practice that Switzerland will not have to issue a 'written confirmation' for each consignment of active substance for medicinal product for human use imported into the EU as of 2 July 2013. The 'written confirmation' aims at verifying that the active substance is manufactured in compliance with standards of good manufacturing practices. Being listed by the European Commission or issuing a 'written confirmation' are two possible options introduced by the Falsified Medicines Directive to ascertain the quality of imported active substances. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/health/human-use/index_en.htm ; http://ec.europa.eu/health/human-use/quality/index_en.htm ; http://ec.europa.eu/health/files/documents/active_pharmaceutical_ingredients_leaflet_en.pdf
Award ceremony for the European Union Prize for Literature 2012
The 12 winners of the 2012 European Union Prize for Literature will receive their awards this evening during a ceremony at the Albert Hall in Brussels. The awards will be presented by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Doris Pack, Chair of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee, in the presence of representatives of the worlds of literature, culture and politics. The European Union Prize for Literature honours the best new or emerging authors in the 37 countries involved in the EU Culture Programme (27 EU Member States as well as Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). The winners of the 2012 European Union Prize for Literature were announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 9 October - see IP/12/1082 . To find out more: Website of the prize: http://www.euprizeliterature.eu/ , Culture portal of the European Union http://ec.europa.eu/culture , Androulla Vassiliou's website , Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU
Commissioner Damanaki at aquaculture conference in Spain
On Friday 23 November, Commissioner Maria Damanaki will be delivering a keynote speech at the high-level conference “European aquaculture: the path for growth”, organised in La Coruna, Spain, by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of Spain and the Government of Galicia together with the European Commission. The aim of the conference is to have an exchange of views on topics to include in the future Strategic Guidelines for the promotion of European aquaculture. These Guidelines have been announced in the framework of the reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy and have the objective to identify common priorities and support EU Member States in developing multiannual aquaculture plans. The European aquaculture sector has promising growth potential and the reformed Common Fisheries Policy can give the necessary impetus to the sustainable growth of European aquaculture. A joint press point is scheduled just before 16h00. The conference will be web-streamed on Friday 23 November, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Commission clears acquisition of Guardian Corporation by Koch Industries
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Guardian Industries Corp. by the privately owned US industrial conglomerate Koch Industries . Koch is active worldwide in refined products, chemicals, pulp, paper and wood building products, man-made fibers and intermediate chemicals and polymers, crude oil services, mineral services, energy services, capital services, road and construction materials and chemical technology. Guardian is a worldwide manufacturer of float glass, fabricated glass products and coated injection molded plastic parts for automotive and other applications. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition by Mid Europa Partners of part of Walmark
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Mid Europa Partners (MEP) of the UK, of a 50% shareholding in Walmark, from seven Czech individuals. Walmark is active in the production and distribution in Poland of dietary supplements, OTC pharmaceuticals and other related products. MEP is an investment fund focused on Central Europe and Turkey which owns, amongst others, Zabka, a chain of convenience stores in Poland. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
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