EXME 09 / 23.11
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
23 / 11 / 09
Up to 3 000 school students from all over Europe, including Kalix near the Arctic Circle in Sweden, Heraklion in Crete, Saint Martin in the West Indies and Paralimni in Cyprus, will be testing their language skills in the third Juvenes Translatores contest organised on 24 November. The translation contest, whose name means “young translators” in Latin, is held simultaneously in all the participating schools, from 10 to 12 Brussels time (GMT+1) under the supervision of the schools.
The current crisis is taking its toll on EU labour markets, reversing most of the employment growth achieved since 2000, according to the 2009 Employment in Europe Report published today. Men, young people, the low-skilled and workers on temporary contracts have borne the brunt of the employment contraction. Employment in the EU has shrunk by over 4 million jobs since the start of the crisis, although the effect has been somewhat mitigated thanks to the use of shorter working hours and other schemes. But these short term measures, however important, are not in themselves sufficient to ensure a successful exit from the crisis. Employment policies must focus on preparing for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and the Swedish Secretary of State Ola Alterå have signed today in Berlin the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). By their signing the European Union has become the 138th Member of this new organisation that aims at speeding up the use of renewable energy sources in the world. It is the first time that inter-governmental organisation joints this organisation.
- State aid: Commission temporarily authorises Germany to grant limited amounts of aid of up to €15,000 to farmers
The European Commission has today authorised under EC Treaty State aid rules a German scheme worth some €100 million aimed at supporting farmers who encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis. Data provided by German authorities show that the decrease in producer prices has led to an income foregone in the German agriculture sector of some €6 billion. Aid under this new scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form of direct grants, interest rate subsidies, subsidised loans and subsidised guarantees. The German scheme is the first application of the amendment to the Commission's Temporary framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis, which introduced the possibility of granting limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers (see IP/09/1599 ).
- Commission clears acquisition of SAS by JPMC
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Schoeller Arca Systems Services BV (SAS) of The Netherlands by One Equity Partners II, L.P. (OEP), controlled by JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPMC) of the US. OEP is a private equity fund. SAS designs, manufactures, distributes and markets plastic materials handling products. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
- Commission clears acquisition of Ledon Oled joint venture by Symboled and Zumtobel
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Ledon Oled Lighting GmbH & Co. KG (Ledon Oled) of Germany, a newly created company constituting a joint venture, by Zumtobel Holding GmbH (Zumtobel) of Germany and Symboled GmbH, also of Germany. Zumtobel manufactures professional lighting systems and lighting components for indoor and outdoor use, LED (light emitting diodes) modules and LED systems, and offers light management services. Symboled was founded mid 2008 as a spin-off by the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and four individuals for the development, manufacturing and sales of flat lighting and signage systems based on organic LEDs. Symboled has not been operational yet. The joint venture, Ledon Oled, will develop, manufacture and sell organic LEDs for professional lighting and signage systems. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
- Commission clears acquisition of AIG Bank and AIG Credit by SCF
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of AIG Bank Polska S.A. (AIG Bank) and AIG Credit S.A., both of Poland by Santander Consumer Finance S.A. (SCF) of Spain, controlled by Banco Santander S.A. SCF is active in consumer finance. AIG Bank and AIG Credit are both active in retail banking including hire purchase loans, cash loans, credit cards and deposits and insurance brokerage in Poland. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
- Telecoms: European Commission welcomes EU Ministers' approval of broad reform to bring about a competitive single telecoms market
Today, the Council of EU Ministers unanimously approved the EU's telecoms reform package, first proposed by the European Commission in 2007. Today's Council decision comes after a political agreement on the package was reached in a breakthrough meeting between the European Parliament and Council on 5 November (MEMO/09/491). The new rules will enhance competition and investment in Europe's telecoms market, by giving more certainty to companies investing in high-speed optical fibre and wireless networks. It will also open up airwaves for new mobile services. The European Parliament will vote next week, in its Strasbourg plenary session, to formally endorse the telecoms package. The reformed telecoms rules will become EU law once they are published in the EU's Official Journal in December 2009.
At their Council meeting in Brussels today, fisheries ministers addressed a wide range of issues. On the conservation of fisheries resources through technical measures, the Council reached agreement on a Presidency compromise. These technical measures already feature in the annex to the regulation on total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas. Today's agreement ensures that these technical measures will remain in place for 2010. They include: closed areas, the obligation to use sorting grids and square mesh panels, the high-grading ban in the North Sea and the Atlantic, provisions to protect elasmobranchs and gillnet provisions.
- Autre matériel diffusé
A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):
Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration:
Adecco / MPS Group
Bominflot SBI Holding