EXME 09 / 25.11
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
25 / 11 / 09
Women represent only 30% of European researchers and only 18% of full professors, according to the latest edition of the "She Figures", a survey on Statistics and Indicators on Gender Equality in Science published today by the European Commission . Even if the number of female researchers is growing faster than that of men (+6.3% annually compared to +3.7% from 2002 to 2006) - and despite an increase in the proportion of female PhDs of +6.8% over the same period, the under-representation of women in scientific disciplines and careers remains a serious challenge in Europe. The publication of the "She Figures 2009" coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki Group on Women in Science, through which the EU Member States and the European Commission worked together to address gender inequalities in science.
Despite a general improvement in education and training performance in the EU, progress is too slow, which means that the majority of the reform targets set for 2010 will not be reached. The economic downturn underlines the urgency of reform and continuous targeted investment in education and training systems to meet core economic and social challenges. These are the main conclusions from two reports on the progress of education reforms and European co-operation presented by the European Commission today.
- Commissioner Samecki in Bulgaria (26-27 November): EU investment can help cities become growth engines
Paweł Samecki, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, is visiting the North-East and South-East regions of Bulgaria on 26 and 27 November to see first-hand how the European Union's cohesion policy is helping to improve citizens' quality of life and providing support for local businesses. The Commissioner will see EU-funded projects in the cities of Burgas and Varna, including environmental, educational and social developments. He will be joined by Rosen Plevneliev, Minister for Regional Development and Public Works, and Nona Karadjova, Minister of Environment and Water.
The Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership will be launched during a donor conference, jointly organised by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the EU, on 26 November in Stockholm. The Partnership will promote investment in energy efficiency in the Eastern Partnership region, starting in Ukraine with a particular emphasis on the district heating sector. During the conference, donors will make pledges for a Fund to support the Partnership in its objectives, which will serve to leverage much larger sums lent by the International Financial Institutions. The European Commission is ready to support the initiative by: contributing €10 million per year over a four year period to complement Ukraine's own contribution to the Fund; finance projects under the Initiative, from the Neighbourhood Investment Facility; help mobilise actions under the initiative through the Covenant of Mayors; and contribute to creating the conditions for investment by assisting the necessary legislative and policy reforms under the INOGATE energy programme.
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'État, une mesure prise par la Suède pour limiter les conséquences préjudiciables de la crise financière actuelle sur les entreprises exportatrices. Elle a conclu que cette mesure satisfaisait aux conditions énoncées dans son cadre temporaire pour les aides d'État destinées à favoriser l'accès au financement dans le contexte de la crise économique et financière actuelle (voir IP/08/1993). La mesure prévoit en particulier une rémunération conforme aux conditions du marché et concerne une couverture des risques actuellement indisponible sur le marché privé. La Commission a autorisé la mesure jusqu'au 31 décembre 2010.
- Economic impacts of Climate Change in the EU – new report by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre
The PESETA final report (Projection of economic impacts of climate change in sectors of the European Union based on bottom-up analysis), makes an assessment of the annual economic impacts of global warming in Europe in agriculture, river flooding, coastal systems and tourism. The study also illustrates different regional impacts of climate change across the EU. Damages would occur mainly in Southern and Central Europe, while Northern Europe would be the sole region to benefit (in economic terms and for the aspects studied) from climate change. Link: http://www.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pressroom
- Commission publishes agricultural trade statistics 1999-2008
The publication provides tables and graphs describing the EU's agricultural trade position in the world as well as detailed trade information - per chapter and/or at aggregated product level and by region - in values and quantities for the period 1999 to 2008 for the EU-27 (1999 to 2007 for Candidate countries) and based on Eurostat data. It is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/agrista/tradestats/2008/index_en.htm
- Commission calls on European public authorities to step up green purchasing
The European Commission will call for greater take-up of green public procurement practices by European public authorities tomorrow at a conference organised by the Swedish presidency of the EU. Pavel Misiga, Head of the Environment and Industry Unit at the Commission's Directorate-General for Environment, will underline the potential public authorities have to stimulate the market for more sustainable products. Europe's public authorities are influential consumers: every year they spend the equivalent of 17% of EU GDP – or more than €2,000 billion – on the purchase of goods, services and works. By including environmental considerations in their tendering procedures, public authorities can save energy, water and resources and reduce waste and pollution while getting best value for money. GPP is being recognised more and more as a powerful tool to answer the challenges faced by Europe from climate change and the global economic crisis and can contribute to greening the economy. In 2008, the Commission issued a policy document to support the take-up of GPP as part of a package of measures under the EU's Action Plan on sustainable consumption and production. The Commission has set a target for half of all tendering procedures in EU Member States to be green by 2010. This target is linked to a process for setting common criteria for 10 priority product and service groups. The Commission provides a training toolkit and guidance to help public authorities apply the criteria. The conference, "Green Public Procurement – taking it to the next level," takes place on 26 November 2009 in Stockholm. For further details on the EU and green public procurement, visit http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm.
- Survey reveals overwhelming support for EU action on disaster management
EU citizens strongly support more EU action to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, an EU barometer survey published today reveals. A very large majority (90%) of EU citizens feel that common measures and standards should be adopted across the EU to deal with disasters more effectively. Europeans are also strongly in favour of cooperation with both neighbouring countries in Europe and countries elsewhere in the world in times of crisis. However, the level of personal preparedness is low, with almost two thirds (63%) admitting that they have not even considered taking measures to prepare themselves for natural or man-made disasters. Flooding (45%), violent storms (40%) and industrial accidents (29%) are the most widely feared risks; however risk perceptions vary considerably across the continent. About a third of EU citizens say they feel informed about measures in place to deal with disasters at national level. However only around 15% say they feel informed about measures and policies in place at EU level. Scientists (53%), followed by national governments (33%) and journalists (29%) are the most widely trusted source of background information about possible disasters. Further details: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm
- Commission agrees with Canada and Iceland to fight illegal fishing
The European Commission has just signed two administrative cooperation agreements with Canada and Iceland which mark a new step in the parties' efforts to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The EU has been committed to fight against IUU fishing for over a decade, but intensified its actions by adopting the so-called "IUU Regulation" in September 2008. The Regulation forms part of the EU fisheries control policy and will enter into force on 1 January 2010. The agreed records between the parties recognise that the control systems in place in the two countries equal the level of control laid down in the European Regulation. The agreements will also enhance the cooperation in the fight against IUU fishing between the respective authorities. One of the core elements of the IUU Regulation is the introduction of a catch certification scheme which will ensure that all maritime fisheries products which are to be traded with the EU are obtained in compliance with existing conservation and management measures. The IUU Regulation is a transparent and non-discriminatory instrument applying to all fishing vessels engaged in the commercial exploitation of fishery resources in all maritime waters. It seeks to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing in as much as they are linked to the EU either through trade to and from its territory or the involvement of EU nationals in IUU fishing activities conducted under any flag. It also provides a comprehensive legal basis for operational cooperation between third countries and the EU to combat IUU fishing more efficiently. More information on the implementation of the IUU Regulation can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/iuu
- Commission launches consultation on EU 2020: a new strategy to make the EU a smarter, greener social market
The Commission today issued a public consultation document on giving the EU economy a brighter future through the EU 2020 Strategy. EU 2020 aims to deliver greener and socially inclusive growth, as outlined by President Barroso in his Political Guidelines. The new Strategy will build on the achievements of the Lisbon Strategy, while learning its lessons. The consultation paper sets out a vision for how EU 2020 will focus on entrenching recovery from the crisis, helping to prevent a similar one in future and on three thematic objectives: creating value through knowledge; empowering people in inclusive societies; and creating a competitive, connected and greener economy. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 15 January 2010. The new Commission will then make a detailed proposal to the Spring European Council.
- European Commission welcomes European Parliament approval of sweeping reforms to strengthen competition and consumer rights on Europe’s telecoms markets
With a broad majority across political parties, the European Parliament has today, at its plenary session in Strasbourg, formally approved the EU’s telecoms reform package, proposed by the Commission in November 2007 (IP/07/1677). 500 million EU citizens will soon benefit from more consumer choice through enhanced competition on Europe’s telecoms markets, from better coverage with fast internet broadband connections across Europe, and from a stronger entrenchment of their right to privacy with regard to telecoms operators. European consumers will also enjoy a substantial number of new rights, such as the right to switch fixed or mobile operator in one working day while keeping their number; the right to be better informed about the services they subscribe to; and the right to be informed about data breaches from their telecoms operator. Operators must also give consumers the option of signing a contract which lasts no longer than 12 months. Under the new EU rules, national telecoms authorities will furthermore have the power to set minimum quality levels for network transmission services so as to promote "net neutrality" for European citizens. In addition, European consumers will see their fundamental rights regarding internet access reaffirmed and strengthened by the telecoms reform. A new internet freedom provision, included in the package at the insistence of the European Parliament, makes clear that in view of the fundamental rights that EU citizens enjoy, including the right to privacy, national authorities cannot restrict internet access for public policy reasons unless there has been a prior, fair and impartial procedure and effective and timely judicial review. The European Parliament’s approval of the reform today follows a political agreement reached on 5 November between Parliament, Council and Commission negotiators (MEMO/09/491). It paves the way for the entry into force of the EU telecoms reform in December this year. Thereafter, Member States have 18 months to transpose the reformed EU Telecoms rules into their national telecoms laws.
- Concentrations: la Commission approuve le projet d’acquisition par Nutreco des activités de production d'aliments pour animaux de Cargill en Espagne et au Portugal
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement sur les concentrations de l'UE, le projet d’acquisition, par la société néerlandaise Nutreco, des activités de l’entreprise américaine Cargill dans le secteur des aliments pour animaux en Espagne et au Portugal. Après examen de l'opération, la Commission est parvenue à la conclusion qu'elle n’entraverait pas de manière significative le jeu d'une concurrence effective dans l’Espace économique européen (EEE) ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.
- Autre matériel diffusé
A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):
Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration: