EXME 12 / 24.01
Midday Express of 2012-01-24
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The ERC supports another 294 senior top researchers in Europe
With a budget of just over €660 million, the European Research Council (ERC) is funding 294 top researchers in the fourth competition for its coveted Advanced Grants. These established scientists will perform ground-breaking 'blue sky' research over the coming five years across Europe. Open to all domains, the grants are worth up to €3.5 million each. The demand for ERC funding is still on the rise; the number of applications increased by 13% compared to the last Advanced Grant call. The projects selected cover a wide array of topics, for instance new treatments of visual impairment (presbyopia), and a better use of sustainable fuels for automotive and aeronautic engines. The projects will be carried out in universities or research institutions in 20 countries across Europe. http://erc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/press_release/files/press_release_adg2011_results.pdf
Aujourd'hui la nomination des nouveaux membres du Comité de Surveillance de l’Office européen de lutte anti-fraude (OLAF) a été formellement approuvée par le Parlement européen, le Conseil et la Commission européenne.
In November 2011 compared with October 2011, the euro area (EA17) industrial new orders index fell by 1.3%, after a rise of 1.5% in October. In the EU27 new orders decreased by 1.4% in November 2011, after an increase of 0.2% in October. Excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment, for which changes tend to be more volatile, industrial new orders dropped by 0.5% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU27. In November 2011 compared with November 2010, industrial new orders decreased by 2.7% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU27. Total industry excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment fell by 2.5% and 1.5% respectively..
In 2011, the number of nights spent in hotels and similar establishments in the EU27 reached a peak of 1.6 billion nights, up by 3.8% compared with 2010. The evolution of the number of nights spent in hotels in the EU27 showed alternating phases of growth and decline over the last decade. After a low point in 2003, the number of nights spent grew steadily for four successive years. In 2008 and 2009, the number of nights spent in the EU27 fell, but in 2010 began to recover from the crisis to reach a new record in 2011 for both nights spent by residents and by non-residents.
Internet amplifies the potential of the Single Market for SMEs
Today, Tuesday 24 January at 13.30, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship will be keynote speaker at the event: "The Single Market Opportunity: Getting Europe’s SMEs Online", hosted by Google and its Getting Business Online partners from across Europe. In occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Single Market, the event will showcase how the Internet amplifies the potential of the Single Market for SMEs. The Information and Communication Technology and the Internet offer essential infrastructures and tools to allow competitiveness and increased innovation capacity in all sectors. Case studies, interactive, panel sessions and a European SME exhibition will focus on the challenges and opportunities experienced by SMEs from across the European Union.
Commission consults on the regional State aid rules
The European Commission has launched a public consultation as the first step of a revision of the European Union rules on regional state aid rules. These rules lay down the provisions on the basis of which state aid granted to promote the economic development of certain disadvantaged areas within the European Union can be considered compatible with the internal market. This consultation offers stakeholders the opportunity to provide input to the Commission at an early stage of policy making. Member States and other interested parties are invited to express their views on the EU rules currently applicable to regional state aid and to suggest possible amendments to these rules. The Commission will carefully analyse the outcome of this consultation before deciding to what extent changes to the current rules are necessary and will, if appropriate, come forward with a proposal for revised rules. Comments can be submitted until 26 April 2012. Previous relevant documents and the consultation are available at: http://www.acceptance.ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2012_regional_stateaid/index_en.html
Commission and OECD boost co-operation on early childhood education and care
The European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are stepping up policy co-operation in the area of early childhood education and care. The first fruits of this enhanced collaboration will be seen at a meeting today in Oslo (Norway), where the Commission's Director-General for Education and Culture, Jan Truszczyński, will join representatives of OECD countries to share ideas on how to make policies for the youngest work better in practice. The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, said: "I very much welcome the fact that the Commission is reinforcing its cooperation with the OECD to help our Member States improve education and care for our youngest children and make it more equitable. Investing in our youngest citizens is the best investment that we can make for Europe's future." The new "Erasmus for All" programme , proposed by the Commission for 2014-20, aims to support innovation and quality at all levels of education across the EU, including projects and partnerships focused on early childhood education and care. Later this year the Commission will launch a new expert policy group that will look into ways of improving the quality and accessibility of early childhood education. Set up at the request of EU Education Ministers, the group will report back in the first half of 2014. More information: European Commission: Early Childhood Education and Care ; European Commission: " Early Childhood Education and Care - providing all our children with the best start for the world of tomorrow " [COM(2011) 66, February 2011]; OECD-Norway roundtable " Starting Strong: Implementing Policies for High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care ", Oslo, 23-24 January 2012; Commissioner Vassiliou's website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/index_en.htm .
In January 2012, the DG ECFIN flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator improved in the EU (up to -21.0 from -22.1 in December 2011) and remained broadly stable in the euro area (at -21.0 compared with -21.3 in December 2011).
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, travels to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th January. The visit marks the latest stage in her ongoing efforts to encourage the two sides to return to the negotiating table, in line with the Quartet statement from September. It follows the recent start of face-to-face meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman.
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