EXME 11 / 24.06
Midday Express of 2011-06-24
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission adopted today a regulation that harmonises the implementation of the zero tolerance policy on non-authorised genetically modified (GM) material in feed. The regulation, which will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, addresses the current uncertainty EU operators face when placing on the market feed products imported from third countries. The regulation sets out a technical zero at the level of 0.1 %, which corresponds to the lowest level of GM material that is considered by the EU Reference Laboratory for the validation of quantitative methods. The regulation is limited to GM feed material for which an authorisation procedure is pending in the EU or for which an authorisation has expired. In addition, this material has to fulfil a set of criteria, which is also outlined in the regulation. The regulation ensures a harmonised approach to controls in all Member States. It also improves the legal certainty for importers of feed from third countries. Different maize products (four million tons imported in the 2008-09 season) and soybean products (33 million tons in soya meal equivalents in the 2008-09 season), imported mainly from Argentina, Brazil and the US, are an essential supplement for the EU's livestock sector. For more information please see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm .
Rien que pour l'année 2009, les États membres ont signalé des cas de fraude suspectée impliquant des fonds de l'UE pour un total de 280 millions €. Même si ce montant représente moins de 0,2 % du budget global de l'Union, la Commission est résolue à intensifier la lutte contre la fraude. . C'est dans ce contexte qu'elle a adopté aujourd'hui sa nouvelle stratégie de lutte contre la fraude, qui doit actualiser et moderniser ses politiques en la matière. Cette stratégie comporte un ensemble de mesures devant permettre à la Commission de gérer ou superviser les fonds de l'UE, à tous les niveaux et dans tous les secteurs, au moyen des meilleurs instruments possibles pour prévenir et déceler les fraudes visant le budget de l'UE. Elle couvrira l'ensemble du «cycle de la fraude», c'est-à-dire aussi bien la prévention et la détection précoce de la fraude que les enquêtes, les sanctions et le recouvrement des fonds détournés. Elle s'appliquera à la fois aux recettes et aux dépenses du budget de l'UE, y compris le budget géré en partie par les États membres. La stratégie présentée aujourd'hui s'accompagne d'un plan d'action de l'UE contre la contrebande de cigarettes et d'alcool le long de la frontière orientale de l'UE.
Budgetary constraints mean that efficient public purchasing is moving up the policy agenda in all Member States. In order to ensure the efficient use of public money, reforms to existing rules should create more flexible and user-friendly tools to reduce costs and the duration of contracting procedures. That is why reform of public procurement legislation is one of the 12 priority actions articulated in the Single Market Act, which was adopted in April 2011.
On Monday, 27 June, the European Commission, together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will launch a new Strategic Framework of Cooperation to address food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide. This agreement will be signed during the Annual Meeting of the FAO in Rome and builds on existing agreements with WFP and FAO.
Improving enforcement of the Posting of Workers Directive: conference June 27th – 28th
As announced in the Single Market Act last year, the European Commission will present two legislative proposals by the end of 2011 to improve the enforcement of the legislation on posting of workers and to clarify the extent to which trade unions may use the right to strike in the case of cross-border operations. To prepare these proposals, the Commission is holding a two-day conference in Brussels June 27th – 28th to present its views and consult stakeholders, hear their views and discuss regulatory options in this respect. The event will bring together over 250 representatives of governments and national administrations from EU and EFTA/EEA countries, social partners at EU and national level, EU institutions and international organisations as well as academics and researchers.
The EU supports the reform of the civil service, private sector development and environmental governance in Sierra Leone
The European Commission has adopted three projects in favour of Sierra Leone to support transition from post-conflict to development, committing a total amount of € 16.5 million from the 10th European Development Fund. The main project focuses on supporting the Government in addressing the weaknesses of the country's civil service (€10.5 millions). Indeed, decades of weak and deteriorating performance of the civil service has plagued the country and hindered its economic and social development. The EU's assistance will also contribute to the economic development of the country, by supporting the Government's growth agenda through a "Support to the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency" (€ 2 million). It will also look at ways to further promote environmental protection and sustainability with a € 4 million grant to the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency.
Commission clears acquisition of PlayPower by Apollo
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by the US investment fund Apollo Investment Corporation of PlayPower Holdings Inc, a US manufacturer of commercial playground equipment, floating dock systems and lifts for boats and personal water craft, The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Agreement between EU and Canada on equivalency in Organic Products
The EU and Canada have reached agreement on an equivalency in organic products. Respective decisions on organic equivalency follow long and intensive discussions between the European Commission and Canadian authorities. The review of each other's rules for organic production and control systems have led to the conclusion that in the EU and Canada the rules governing production and controls of organic agricultural products are equivalent to those laid down in each other's legislation. Both sides furthermore carried out on the spot checks of the production rules and control measures applied in the EU and Canada. On the EU side, the regulation adding Canada on the list of recognised countries has been published on 21 June 2011 ( Official Journal L 161). Canada, on its side, confirmed in writing on 23 June 2011 that it now recognises all EU organic products as equivalent to the Canadian Organic Products Regulation. The equivalency reached will facilitate and hence boost trade in agricultural organic products between the EU and Canada. Following this equivalency, the respective organic logos will be authorised to be used on each other's market.
Dacian Cioloş on the G20 meeting in Paris
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş welcomed the unanimous support of G20 members to the action plan on food price volatility and agriculture yesterday in Paris. "This is an important step in our objective to give more visibility and predictability to farmers all over the world. In the context of growing demand and climate change we need to invest more in agriculture at a global level to tackle price volatility. This is crucial to increase food availability for all. The European Commission welcomes the launch of the AMIS project (agricultural market information system) will show its commitment to increasing the transparency of markets by publishing, as from October, short-term forecasts for the main agricultural products. We will strengthen our cooperation with developing countries especially with the African Union, with which we have already launched projects to increase production capacities, enhance producer organisation and quality. The European Commission will also increase by 50% its investment in research in agriculture for developing countries. On export restrictions, I welcome the commitment of G20 ministers to guarantee that World Food Programme will not be affected by these restrictions, but call for strengthening international rules on this issue. Finally, as set out in last year's Communication on the Common Agricultural Policy towards 2020, mitigation and adaptation to climate change will be a key priority for the European Union's future agricultural policy."
Commissioner Dacian Cioloş comments following the EP plenary adoption of the Dess report on the CAP after 2013
"I welcome the vote by the European Parliament on the report by Albert Dess on the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It is a welcome contribution to the debate triggered by the Communication we published last December. Above all, it shows a coherent EP approach to the reform - and a logical extension to the own initiative report by George Lyon last year. The EP timing is such that these ideas can now feed into our deliberations as we prepare to publish our legislative proposals, probably in October. Finally, the positive attitudes towards the CAP in yesterday's plenary debate and the fact that such a large majority of MEPs have backed the report shows to me that the European Parliament has already grasped how important the CAP will be in the coming years for addressing the broad challenges of food security, the sustainable management of natural resources, green growth and the need to maintain the territorial balance in rural areas."
Androulla Vassiliou at opening of Special Olympics in Athens
The opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Summer Games will take place on 25 June at the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens in the presence of Karolos Papoulias, President of the Hellenic Republic, Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Timothy P. Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics. The 2011 Special Olympics will gather more than 7,500 athletes from over 180 countries, competing in a total of 22 sports. In her opening address, Commissioner Vassiliou will underline the importance of respect for diversity and inclusion, the values at the heart of the Special Olympics. On 26 June, at the OAKA Olympic Aquatic Centre, Commissioner Vassiliou will present awards to the winners of the swimming disciplines. That evening, she will participate in a reception hosted by President Papoulias.
The first Special Olympics World Summer Games took place in 1968 with around 1,000 athletes from 26 US states and Canada. In addition to the 7,000 athletes taking part in this year's event, around 2,500 coaches, 3000 technical officials, 25,000 volunteers, 40,000 family members and thousands of spectators are expected to follow the games, which will last until 4 July. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Greek television and via the European Broadcasting Union at 20.00. The European Commission has supported the European Special Olympics Movement with €10 million over the past two years, of which around €5.3 million will be used to finance the Special Olympics World Games in Athens.
To find out more: Androulla Vassiliou's website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/index_en.htm Special Olympics website: http://www.athens2011.org/en/index.asp
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over Behr by Mahle, both German manufacturers of components for automotive and motor vehicles. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the parties have moderate combined market shares and that a number of other credible suppliers remain in the market.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of German internet electrical goods retailer Redcoon by Media-Saturn, of the Metro AG group which also distributes electric and electronic appliances through the Media Markt and Saturn shops. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that post-transaction the parties' market shares will remain moderate and that the merged entity will continue to face numerous competitors.
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