EXME 12 / 26.09
Midday Express of 2012-09-26
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Ranging from simple sticking plasters to the most sophisticated life-supporting machines, medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices are central to our health and quality of life. To ensure that these devices serve the needs and ensure the safety of European citizens, the European Commission today proposed two Regulations which are fit for purpose, more transparent and better adapted to scientific and technological progress. The new rules aim to ensure that patients, consumers and healthcare professionals can reap the benefits of safe, effective and innovative medical devices. The medical device sector is highly innovative, particularly in Europe and has an estimated market value of around €95bn.
The European Commission today presented a strategy to unlock the full potential of the cultural and creative sectors in the EU to boost jobs and growth. These sectors, which include companies and other organisations active in architecture, artistic crafts, cultural heritage, design, festivals, film and television, music, performing and visual arts, archives and libraries, publishing and radio, already account for up to 4.5% of GDP and up to 8.5 million jobs in the European Union. But the creative and cultural sectors also face major challenges stemming from the digital shift and globalisation, as well as from a high fragmentation of markets along cultural and linguistic lines. Access to finance remains a major difficulty.
A special 3D microchip, being designed by an EU-funded research project, looks set to drastically cut the electricity and the installation costs of servers in cloud computing data centres, cementing Europe's place as the home of green computing.
Post-Millennium Development Goals: Three pillars for "Decent Life for Everybody"
During the first High Level Panel meeting on the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda beyond 2015, Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stated: " It is true that the MDGs have been hugely successful; but the job is only half done. And the world faces additional and greater challenges, than we were aware of in 2000. We know it can be done. The only question is whether, collectively, we are willing to do it. Thus, the new framework must apply to, and be relevant to, every citizen on the planet; rich or poor. It should promise, by 2030, a Decent Life For Everyone. Every single global citizen. To achieve this, I suggest we need to work around three pillars: First, updated and modernised MDGs, providing decent living standards for all; second, focussing on the drivers for prosperity, creating jobs and guaranteeing justice and equity; and third, each country must therefore have its own obligations towards its citizens in terms of the good stewardship of its own precious natural resources".
La Commission approuve temporairement la deuxième prolongation des garanties sur le refinancement de Dexia SA et DCL
La Commission Européenne a temporairement approuvé une deuxième prolongation jusqu'au 31 janvier 2013 de la garantie publique octroyée par la Belgique, la France et le Luxembourg à Dexia SA et Dexia Crédit Local (DCL). Cette garantie couvre les besoins de financement du groupe afin de permettre la mise en œuvre d'un plan de résolution ordonnée. En même temps, la Commission a étendu le champ de son enquête approfondie relative à la restructuration de Dexia, ouverte en 2011 (voir IP/11/1592), afin de couvrir également cette mesure. En décembre 2011, la Commission avait temporairement autorisé une garantie publique temporaire pour un montant en principal de maximum 45 milliards d'euros jusqu'au 31 mai 2012 tout en ouvrant une enquête approfondie sur la mesure. Par la suite, cette garantie temporaire a été prolongée une première fois le 31 mai 2012 pour une période d'émission allant jusqu'au 30 septembre 2012 (voir IP/12/523) et le montant principal maximal a été relevé à 55 milliards d'euros le 6 juin 2012 (voir IP/12/578). De plus amples informations sur l'enquête sont disponibles à l'adresse suivante: SA.33763 (Belgique), SA.33760 (France) et SA.33764 (Luxembourg).
Commission clears acquisition of the UK gas distribution network MGN Gas Networks by Cheung Kong (Holdings), Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of MGN Gas Networks (UK) Limited (“MGN”), of the UK, by Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited (“CKH”), Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (“CKI”) and Power Assets Holdings Limited (“PAH”), all of Hong Kong. CKH is active in property development and investment, hotel and serviced suite operation, property and project management and investment in securities. CKI invests in energy, transportation and water infrastructure and related businesses in Hong Kong, mainland China, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. PAH is active in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Hong Kong, as well as investments in power generation assets and electricity and gas distribution networks in mainland China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, Canada and New Zealand. MGN owns, operates and maintains the principal gas distribution network within Wales and the South West of England, one of the eight regulated gas distribution networks in the UK. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission approves restructuring aid for Lithuanian Central Credit Union
The European Commission has concluded that a recapitalisation of LTL 6 million (about €1.738 million) of the Lithuanian Central Credit Union (LCCU) is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the restructuring plan is suitable to make the institution viable in the long term, ensures that the LCCU and its member credit unions sufficiently contribute to the cost of restructuring and minimises distortions of competition. Notably, the member credit unions provided more fresh capital to the LCCU than the State, thus covering more than 50% of LCCU's capital needs. The LCCU is a cooperative institution that provides financial services, liquidity and solvency support to some 62 smaller credit unions in Lithuania, notably in remote rural areas, where branches of normal banks are rarely present. The LCCU also operates as a supervisor, a clearing house and an issuer of payment cards for its member credit unions. It ran into trouble when LTL18.5 million of deposits in AB Snoras Bank proved unrecoverable when that institution defaulted. The restructuring plan therefore focuses on strengthening LCCU's risk supervision. It also foresees a repayment of the capital in the shortest possible timeframe.
A review of US efforts to comply with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on illegal subsidies in the so-called "Boeing case" by the European Union shows that the US has not lived up to its obligations. The European Commission therefore decided to challenge the US non-compliance at the WTO.
Europe's best young scientific minds met in Bratislava today for the 24th annual Awards Ceremony for the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). The top three prizes went to teams from Ireland, Poland and Austria for projects in Physics, Chemistry and Engineering. Runners up were also recognised for their projects in areas as diverse as Physics, Computer science, Mathematics, Social sciences and Biology. This year, Canada won the International Prize for contestants from outside the EU with a project in Environment. This year's competition attracted 117 contestants aged 14 to 21, grouped in 79 projects, from 36 countries and EU schools.
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