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Daily News – 24.09.2012

EXME 12 / 24.09

Midday Express of 2012-09-24

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Eurobarometer: 71% of Europeans in favour of more competition in national and regional rail

71% of EU citizens support the opening of their national and regional rail systems to competition. The total support is above 60% in all but two Member States (Netherlands and Luxembourg). 78% of EU citizens think that more competition will be good for passengers.

Environment: many Europeans still exposed to harmful air pollutants

Almost a third of Europe's city dwellers are exposed to excessive concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM). Particulate matter is one of the most important pollutants in terms of harm to human health as it penetrates sensitive parts of the respiratory system. The EU has made progress over the past decades to reduce the air pollutants which cause acidification, but a new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that many parts of Europe have persistent problems with outdoor concentrations of PM and ground level ozone.

European Commission to review US compliance package in the WTO Boeing case

The European Commission today confirms that it has received the compliance notice from the US in the WTO case DS 353, the so-called "Boeing case". "In March this year, the WTO ruled that billions of dollars of subsidies to Boeing were illegal, and the US were given until today to bring those to an end. We will now immediately review their compliance package to check whether the US have taken the necessary steps to end these subsidies and their adverse effects", said John Clancy, EU Trade spokesperson. For further information:

Mergers: Commission authorises acquisition of Translohr by Alstom Transport and the Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint acquisition by Alstom Transport and France’s Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement (Strategic Investment Fund) of Translohr from the French group, Lohr. The Commission concluded that the proposed merger would not give rise to any competition concerns as the merged entity would continue to face several other credible competitors.

Commissioner Andor encourages Germany to continue inclusive growth efforts

"Despite its good performance, Germany cannot rest on its laurels" and needs to address the challenges of an ageing population, potential skill shortages and readjusting for imbalances in the euro area by creating the conditions for wages to grow in line with productivity. This is the key message that Commissioner Andor is delivering today to an audience of politicians, social partner representatives and civil society actors at the Commission's Representation in Berlin. Andor points out that although Germany has a low unemployment rate it needs to take action to improve the labour market participation of women and of disadvantaged groups. He also recalls that "Germany has stepped up its competitiveness by increasing wages more slowly than other euro-area countries. The Commission’s Employment Package recognises that wage developments should take account of the competitive position of the Member States and that targeted increases… might be feasible where wages have lagged significantly behind productivity developments". He also points out that problems of labour-market segmentation and in-work poverty may arise when people risk being locked in to mini-jobs." Andor also expresses his concerns about the negotiations in the Council related to the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) for the next programming period 2014-2020. "The risk that EU investment in people could be significantly reduced has become very real. This would be unique in the developed world and a huge mistake in my view." SPEECH/12/633

Ryder Cup: Vassiliou sends 'good luck' message to Team Europe

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for sport, has sent a 'good luck' message to 'Team Europe' ahead of the 2012 Ryder Cup tournament in which the 12 best European golfers take on their counterparts from the United States. The tournament, held every two years, is taking place at the Medinah Country Club, Chicago, from September 28-30. Commissioner Vassiliou said: "This is the only major sporting fixture in which Europe plays as a single squad rather than as separate nations, so it's a chance for all European sports fans to get behind the same team. And, as everyone knows, when Europe plays as a single team, we are a match for anyone! I wish the best of luck to Europe Captain José María Olazábal and his players. "Since 1979, Team Europe has won the Ryder Cup eight times outright and retained the trophy once by tying, with Team USA winning seven times. Team Europe won the last Ryder Cup, held in 2010 at Celtic Manor in Wales. The European Commission has proposed a sport chapter as part of Erasmus for All , the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. The proposed budget for sport is €34 million a year on average in 2014-2020. Support will focus on transnational projects aimed at boosting the exchange good practices, non-commercial European sport events of major importance and work to strengthen the evidence base for policy-making. The main beneficiaries will be public bodies and civil society organisations active in grass-roots sport. To find out more: Ryder Cup 2012 Team Europe, DG Education and Culture , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of German-based IT company Magirus by rival Avnet of the US

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the German Magirus by Avnet of the US, both distributors of information technology (IT) products. Given the competitive constraint exerted by alternative distributors and IT manufacturers, the Commission found that the proposed acquisition would not give rise to competition concerns.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo, "Statement of the Troika on the Greek review mission" - rediffusion

Memo "Agriculture: résultats de la réunion du Groupe à Haut Niveau sur le vin" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor: "Fostering inclusive growth: Germany's challenges in an EU context"

Speech by Commissioner Janez Potočnik: "Any Future for the Plastic Industry in Europe?" –rediffusion