EXME 13 / 24.04
Midday Express of 2013-04-24
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and six European Commissioners will meet their African Union (AU) counterparts on 25 and 26 April, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The high-level event, which takes place in year of the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of the African Union (OAU), will launch the preparations of the 4th Africa-EU Summit, due to take place in Brussels in April 2014.
President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs reconfirm commitment to eradicate polio in Abu Dhabi summit
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, are expected to announce a significant new commitment to help eradicate polio, at the Global Vaccine Summit (24-25 April) in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). The Conference, hosted by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon among others, was set up to reconfirm the commitment to vaccinate all children and eradicate polio completely. During the summit President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs will underline the Commission' substantial support on global health: on average half a billion euros goes to health each year, and at least 20% of the new aid budget is planned to be dedicated to human development, of which health is a key part. On polio eradication specifically, the Commission has been made large contributions in the past. Through the GAVI Alliance the Commission funded €83 million and around €400 million on vaccine research through the Commission’s research funding. President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs will also meet Bill Gates to exchange views on key global health issues, as well as polio eradication and nutrition. For more information:
Today the European Commission is proposing to slash red tape for citizens and businesses by doing away with bureaucratic rubber-stamping exercises currently required to get public documents like your birth certificate recognised as authentic in another EU Member State. Currently, citizens who move to another Member State have to spend a lot of time and money in order to demonstrate that their public documents (such as birth or marriage certificates) issued by their Member State of origin are authentic. This involves the so-called 'Apostille' certificate which is used by public authorities in other states as proof that public documents, or the signatures of national officials on documents, are genuine. Businesses operating across EU borders in the EU’s Single Market are also affected. For instance, they will often be required to produce a number of certified public documents in order to prove their legal status when operating cross-border. These requirements date from an era when countries would only trust a public document if it came from the foreign office of another country. However, just as we trust in each other's court judgements, we should be able to trust a Member State's Registry Office issuing birth certificates, without needing their foreign office, justice ministry, or other authorities to vouch for them. Today, the European Commission is therefore proposing to scrap the 'Apostille' stamp and a further series of arcane administrative requirements for certifying public documents for people living and working in other Member States.
Millions of Europeans catch up with their favourite TV series on a smartphone on the way to work, watch online content on their living room TV, or put their own user-generated content online. There are more than 40.4 million "connected TVs" in Europe, and they could be in the majority of EU households by 2016. These changes are sweeping away traditional boundaries between consumers, broadcast media and the internet. The Commission wants to explore what this convergence of technology and content could mean for Europe's economic growth and innovation, cultural diversity, and consumers (especially those that may need protection, such as children).
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will officially launch the new European Market Observatory for Fishery and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) at the European Seafood Exposition later today. The Observatory is an EU-wide interactive web-tool offering up-to-date data on volume, value and price of fisheries and aquaculture products throughout the supply chain, from when they land to port to when they are displayed on supermarket shelves.
Induction programmes designed to offer personalised support and advice for new teachers are now mandatory in 15 EU Member States (Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK) as well as in Croatia and Turkey, according to a European Commission report about the conditions of teachers and school leaders in 32 countries. Although these programmes differ in the way they are organised, they all aim to help newcomers adjust to the profession and reduce the likelihood that teachers will leave the profession early.
An EU-funded research project aims to start testing a new diagnostic tool for malaria one year ahead of schedule. The pioneering smartphone-like device uses cutting-edge nanotechnology to detect not only the malaria infection but also any drug resistance from a pinprick of blood, taking just 15 minutes. The Nanomal project partners say if field trials later this year are successful the device could be deployed in developing countries from 2015.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of European Commission Catherine Ashton is travelling today on an official visit to China and Mongolia.
Europe's Tech Entrepreneur of the Year announced tonight
Neelie Kroes will tonight announce the winners of the European Tech Entrepreneur of the Year and Young European Tech Entrepreneur of the Year awards (announcement at 19:30 CET: IP/13/359 ; SPEECH/13/358). Entrepreneurs are Europe's "secret ingredient" for growing its way out of the current crisis, says Kroes, and the reason why she established the "Europioneer" awards in partnership with The Next Web. "Let's bring to an end the myth, the fairy tale, that all of the good ideas come from Silicon Valley," Kroes says. The goal is to provide a new generation of Europeans with entrepreneur role models – so they see that it can be sexy and enriching to create your own job and be your own boss. From the founders of global successes like Skype, Spotify and Angry Birds to the makers of hundreds of successful niche businesses and mobile apps, the "Europioneers" make for great media profiles and news stories.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over parts of Spano by Mohawk
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of sole control over certain parts of Spano Invest NV of Belgium by Mohawk Industries Inc. of the US. Spano Invest supplies wood-based panels and related products. Mohawk is primarily active in wood panels, flooring and insulation. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular due to moderate market shares and the presence of a number of alternatives. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.6871 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Carl Zeiss Vision by Carl Zeiss AG
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Carl Zeiss Vision by Carl Zeiss AG, both of Germany. Carl Zeiss AG currently already holds joint control over Carl Zeiss Vision together with EQT III Fund. Carl Zeiss Vision manufactures a broad range of ophthalmic lenses, production systems for eyeglass lens production, ophthalmic diagnostic systems and viewing aids. Carl Zeiss AG is active in the optical and opto-electronic industries, offering products and services for medical technologies, for the semiconductor, automotive and engineering industries as well as for optical consumer goods. It is controlled by Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung which also owns Schott AG, active in manufacturing specialty materials, components and systems for different industries, such as household appliances, pharmaceuticals and solar energy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.6893 .
State aid: working document on evaluation of state aid granted by EU Member States
As part of the State aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative, the competition services of the European Commission published an issues paper on the possible role and scope of an evaluation of state aid that has been granted by Member States. In particular, the paper explains the context and rationale of evaluation and raises some key issues about how evaluation can be the most effectively designed in the field of State aid. As the state aid rules are being revised under the umbrella of SAM, the requirement of evaluation is being gradually introduced (for instance the new broadband guidelines). The issues paper will serve as a basis for discussion in the workshop between the Commission services, Member States and other stakeholders scheduled for 23 April 2013 in Brussels. Any further comments or views on this paper can be sent to Stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu with the reference number HT.3751. The issues paper is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/modernisation/evaluation_issues_paper_en.pdf
The European Commission has today adopted a decision to provide additional financial support to Lebanon to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis in the country.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of Olympic Air by Aegean Airlines. The companies are the two main Greek airlines offering passenger air transport services on Greek domestic and international routes. Each of the companies operates a base at Athens International Airport. The Commission has concerns that the transaction may lead to price increases and poorer service on several domestic Greek routes out of Athens, where the merged entity would have a monopoly or an otherwise strong market position. The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 3 September 2013, to take a decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA).
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