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Daily News – 23.06.2011

Midday Express of 2011-06-23

European Commission - 23/06/2011

EXME 11 / 23.06

Midday Express of 2011-06-23

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

Commission and European Parliament launch Joint Transparency Register to shed light on all those seeking to influence European policy

In an effort to give a further boost to the transparency of the EU's decision-making process, the European Parliament and the European Commission are today launching a joint, public Transparency Register which provides more information than ever before on those who seek to influence European policy.

Fisheries: new reports confirm need for reform of EU fisheries policy

Two recent reports by the European Commission add further weight to calls for significant structural change within the EU fish catching sector and a far reaching reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The 2010 Annual Economic Report on the EU fishing fleet shows a reduction in economic performance of the EU fishing sector in recent years. The report lays out economic trends in the EU fisheries sector in the period 2002-2008. It notably shows that 2008 was the second consecutive year in which the profitability of the EU fleet declined. A second report1, on Member States' fishing capacity, concludes that the size of the EU fishing fleet continues to decrease at a very slow pace, maintaining a situation of overcapacity in most of the fleet. To address these issues, the Commission is currently finalising its proposals for a thorough reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, in which sustainable solutions will be proposed to turn this situation around and ensure a viable economic future for the EU fisheries sector.

Antonio Tajani in Rotterdam to check toy safety in the EU

Rotterdam, 23 June 2011 - Vice-President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship, is today at the harbor of Rotterdam to verify the opening of containers filled with toys that are daily checked to ensure that no harmful toys enter in the EU market.From 20 July manufacturers/importers need to respect strengthened safety requirements for toys imported in the EU. By this date, Member States will need to incorporate all requirements set by the new Toy Safety Directive adopted in 2009. Antonio Tajani, said: "I am delighted to acknowledge that the control measures are effective and provide a safe environment for our children; I am confident that both Members States and industry will help us in achieving this goal". The new rules fulfil the highest safety requirements world-wide, especially those relating to the use of chemical substances. It is particularly important that Member States will ensure enhanced market surveillance.

Commission reveals winners of "RegioStars Awards" celebrating Europe's most innovative regional projects

Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and the President of the RegioStars Jury Ann Mettler, executive director of the Brussels think thank Lisbon Council, will tonight announce the winners of the "RegioStars Awards" 2011. The prize giving ceremony recognises the most innovative projects that have been supported by European Regional Policy, creating hundreds of new jobs from the EU budget, which otherwise would not have been created. Madeira and the Azores in Portugal, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Northern Mid Sweden, Wales in the UK will be at centre stage. Municipalities in the Northern peripheral regions of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands are also winners thanks to a territorial cooperation project. EMBARGO:19:30 CET

Commission launches the "Smart Specialisation platform" to further boost innovation in the EU regions

Today, the Commission launches the "smart specialisation platform" to support regions and Member States in better defining their research and innovation strategies. As there is no "one-size-fits-all" policy solution, the new facility will help the regions to assess their specific Research and Innovation (R&I) strengths and weaknesses and build on their competitive advantage. This is another step on the path to achieving the objectives set by the Member States in the field of research and innovation as part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Commission clears acquisition by General Mills of sole control over Yoplait.

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by General Mills of sole control over Yoplait, of France. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure, in particular because General Mills and Yoplait are not active on the same markets. Yoplait produces and sells fresh dairy products (yoghurts, dairy desserts, fresh cheese and liquid cream). General Mills produces and sells various types of food products: ready-to-eat cereals, main meals, frozen foods, side dishes, desserts, ice-creams, flour and baking mixes, and snacks.

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of the Hungarian bank support scheme for credit institutions

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six months prolongation until 31 December 2011 of the Hungarian bank support scheme for credit institutions. The scheme covers recapitalisation measures. The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme, initially approved on 12 February 2009 (see IP/09/253), to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the prolonged measures are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Hungarian economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of the Hungarian liquidity scheme for credit institutions

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six months prolongation until 31 December 2011 of the Hungarian liquidity scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme, initially approved on 14 January 2010 (see IP/10/19), and prolonged on 28 June 2010 (see IP/10/854) and 7 December 2010 (see MEX/10/1207) to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the prolonged measures are proportionate, well targeted and limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Hungarian economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Greek Winners of 2010/2011 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards honoured

Brussels/Athens, 23 June 2011 - The three Greek winners of the 2010 and 2011 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards will be honoured this evening during a ceremony at Athens' National Observatory. The awards will be presented by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, to the National Observatory of Athens, the Ancient Tower and Adjacent Buildings at Horio-Aghia Triada, Amorgos, and the Ancient city of Messene.

Young use computers more for fun than school work

Young people predominantly use computers and the internet at home for entertainment rather than school-related work, according to a report published by the European Commission today. Using recent international surveys and data from 31 countries (EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey), the 2011 report on " Key data on learning and innovation through ICT at school in Europe ", finds that, on a weekly basis, 83% of 15-year-olds use their computers for fun, while 46% use them for homework. The research shows that only 20% use computers at school for experiments, literacy or foreign languages classes. Schools in the European Union tend to be well-equipped with ICT - at least 50% of pupils attend schools where one computer is available for every two students. Disparities in ICT equipment between countries are much smaller now than 10 years ago, when one computer was shared on average by 5 pupils in Liechtenstein and 41 pupils in Romania. Today, the UK is best equipped with more than one computer per student, while in all other countries between one and four students share a computer, with the exception of Turkey (5.5) and Greece (6). (See page 76 for the pupil-computer ratio in each country). The report states that many schools report difficulties in recruiting qualified ICT teachers and in most countries there is too little on-the-job training. The report is produced by the 'Eurydice' network, which provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies.

European Commission invites nominations for anti-discrimination journalist award

The European Commission today launched the 2011 competition of the EU Journalist Award – Together against discrimination! The award – the only competition for print and online journalists focused on discrimination and diversity issues in the EU – recognises journalists who contribute to a better public understanding of diversity and discrimination issues in the EU. The EU-wide winner and the two runners up will receive vouchers with a value of €5,000, €3,500 and €2,500, respectively. To be eligible, articles must have been published in print or online media in the EU between 18 September 2010 and 10 November 2011. Entries should be submitted online via the EU Journalist Award 2011 website. The competition will close on 10 November 2011. This is the 8th edition of the award. Journalists submitted more than 1,200 articles in 2010. The scheme is part of the European Commission's campaign to raise awareness of EU rights to a life free of discrimination and the benefits of diversity. See http://journalistaward.stop-discrimination.info/

Rediffusion

June 2011: Flash Consumer Confidence Indicator

Brussels, 22 June 2011 - In June 2011, the DG ECFIN (Directorate General for Economic and Monetary Affairs) flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator declined slightly in the EU (down to 11.1 from 10.7 in May 2011), while it remained broadly unchanged in the euro area ( -10.0 after - 9.9 in May 2011).

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Siteco by Osram

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of sole control of Siteco Lighting by Osram, both of Germany. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the merged entities' market shares on a downstream market would be limited and there would still be a number of competitors on the market for light fixtures as well as on the markets for components of the fixtures.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Toy safety is the European Commission’s priority

Q's & A's: Transparency Register

EU-Russian Federation agreement leads to immediate resumption of trade of vegetables - rediffusion

Commissioner Malmström welcomes political agreement on the proposal to amend the Frontex Regulation- rediffusion

Speech by President Barroso on the preparations for the European Council meeting of 23-24 June 2011, European Parliament – rediffusion

Statement of President Barroso following his meeting with Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan – rediffusion

Discours du Vice-Président Tajani "Galileo opérationnel dès 2014 avec plus de satellites grâce à 500 millions d'euros d'économies" -rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Damanaki "European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Olli Rehn "Going the last centimeter for reinforced economic governance" at the joint debate on economic governance at the European Parliament in Brussels- rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Hahn " REGIOSTARS: Regions excel in economic change" EMBARGO: 19:30 CET

Discours du Commissaire Cioloş "Comment remédier à la volatilité des prix des produits agricoles?"

1 :

Report on the Member States' efforts during 2009 to achieve a sustainable balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities

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