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Daily News – 26.07.2012

EXME 12 / 26.07

Midday Express of 2012-07-26

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

EU boosts humanitarian aid for needs in Sudan and South Sudan by €40 million

The European Commission is increasing its support for the victims of the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sudan and South Sudan. The Commission aims to help hundreds of thousands of refugees in South Sudan who have fled the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, and the 37,000 refugees, mainly from Blue Nile, in Ethiopia.

EU doubles humanitarian funding to fight against hunger in Yemen

The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian funding to Yemen by €20 million to curb the deterioration of the already critical humanitarian situation in the poorest Arab country.

New internet service improves greatly GPS reliability

GPS data can now be obtained via the internet in addition to access via the existing satellite signal. Vice President Antonio Tajani launched today in Brussels the European Data Access Service (EDAS) - a new commercial service of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) – designed to make satellite navigation in Europe more reliable and thus more effective for use in commercial applications in difficult surroundings. EDAS will support new services in numerous sectors including high-precision fertiliser spraying, automatic road-tolling, fleet management, inland waterway navigation, dangerous goods transportation or accurate area measurement (for examples see MEMO/12/601). Access to GPS data will also be possible via hand-held devices, using wireless communication from added value service providers.

EU rules to ease cross-border successions are now law

New European Union rules to reduce legal headaches when a family member with property in another EU country passes away will be published in the Official Journal tomorrow. This means that they are becoming EU law. The new regulation on cross-border successions, proposed by the European Commission, and formally adopted by EU Member States last month ( IP/12/576), will make it easier for European citizens to handle the legal side of an international will or succession. The rules will bring legal certainty to the estimated 450,000 European families dealing with an international succession each year. With over 12.3 million EU citizens resident in another EU country, the rules are likely to be of interest to many more. Member States now have three years to align their national laws so that the new EU rules become effective.

Commission launches consultation on a future framework for investment funds

The Commission today launched an in-depth consultation on issues arising in the area of investment funds. The consultation focuses on:

• the issue of money market funds and how such funds should be regulated in future;

• the fund industry's involvement in securities lending and repurchase (repo) arrangements; and

• the fund industry's exposure to certain OTC derivatives that, in future, will be subject to central clearing and the fund industry's approach to investors' redemptions.

State aid: Commission invites comments on rules applying to small aid amounts (de minimis Regulation)

In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM) (see IP/12/458), the European Commission has launched a review of its Regulation applying to small aid amounts - the so-called "de minimis" Regulation (No 1998/2006). Under this Regulation, aid measures below €200 000 are outside the scope of EU state aid control and therefore do not require prior Commission approval (see IP/06/1765 and MEMO/06/482). The first step of the review process is a public consultation, focused on public authorities' and stakeholders' experience with the current Regulation. Submissions can be made until 18 October 2012. In light of the contributions received, the Commission will prepare a revised draft regulation by the end of 2013.

La Commission autorise l'acquisition par CNP Assurances et Cardif Assurance Vie d'un immeuble situé à Charenton-le-Pont (France).

La Commission européenne a autorisé, conformément au règlement sur les concentrations, l'acquisition d'un immeuble par les entreprises CNP Assurances (France) et BNP Paribas, via sa filiale Cardif Assurance Vie (France). CNP Assurances est active dans le secteur de l'assurance de personnes en France, plus précisément dans les segments de l'assurance santé, de l'assurance des emprunteurs, de l'épargne-retraite et du risque-prévoyance. Cardif Assurance Vie est active dans le secteur de l'assurance de personnes en France, notamment dans le segment de l'assurance vie. L'immeuble en question est un bien immobilier à usage de bureaux situé à Charenton-le-Pont dans le département du Val-de-Marne en France. La Commission a estimé que la concentration n'entravera pas de manière significative une concurrence effective dans l'Espace Economique Européen ou dans une partie substantielle de celui-ci. En particulier, les activités des parties ne présentent pas de chevauchement significatif au niveau du marché local de la gestion d'actifs pour compte propre de bureaux. La concentration a été notifiée le 22 Juin 2012.

EU Globalisation Fund pays €1.6 million to help 876 former footwear workers in Spain

The European Commission has made a payment to Spain from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The amount of €1.6 million will help 876 former footwear workers back into employment. The dismissals were the result of increased competition from shoes produced elsewhere in the world and compounded by the current economic crisis. China and India increasingly dominate the world trade in footwear, with countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia continuing to rise their share of world production. This payment follows approval by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers - on 12 June 2012. The relevant proposal was made by the Commission on 4 May 2012 (for more information see: IP/12/448).

Management Committee approves advance of CAP direct payments in all Member States

The Direct Payments Management Committee in its meeting yesterday backed a proposal by the European Commission to permit Member States to advance 50% of the CAP Direct Payments for 2012 aid applications earlier than usual, in order to address liquidity problems which farmers face due to exceptional conditions caused by the ongoing financial crisis and unfavourable climatic conditions. The derogation will allow the advance to be paid from October 16 onwards (ie the first day of the 2013 budget year) rather than from the usual date of December 1. This decision is subject to the necessary controls having taken place. The formal decision will be published in the Official Journal in the coming weeks. Until now 10 MS have officially requested to pay direct payments in advance (PT, SP, IT, GR, LT, HU, FR, LV, RO and IE). For the few member states that maintain "coupled" payments, this derogation will also allow a 80% of the beef and veal payments. In a separate vote, the Committee provided an exceptional derogation for farmers in Northern Italy [Emilia Romagna, Lombardia and Veneto regions] affected by the earthquake at the end of May, to receive advances from August 1 onwards. The special measure will permit Italy to advance 50% of the Direct Payments to farmers in the 113 communes affected by the earthquake and to the milk producers who deliver their milk on a regular basis to the storage centres situated in those communes – within a maximum limit of €40 million for advances paid before 16 October.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo "Joint message by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy on the death of President John Evans Atta Mills of the Republic of Ghana "

Memo " Intellectual Property: Commissioner Michel Barnier determined to ensure equal access to books for visually impaired persons "

Memo "New products and services possible using internet access to satellite navigation data"

Speech by Vice-President J. Almunia: "Statement on Antitrust and State aid issues"