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Daily News – 26.10.2010

EXME 10 / 26.10

Midday Express of 2010-10-26

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

Commission proposes to improve European disaster response

A step towards faster and more efficient EU response to disasters was made today, as the European Commission presented proposals to reinforce the Union's capacity to act on civil protection and humanitarian assistance. The aim is to improve the disaster response of the European Union, both within and outside of its borders.

R&D and the economic crisis: top EU firms cut investment less than US rivals, but Europe still well behind

The European Commission's 2010 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard" shows that R&D investment by top EU companies fell by 2.6% in 2009, even though sales and profits fell much more, by 10.1% and 21.0% respectively. The fall in R&D investment by leading players in the US, at 5.1%, was twice as sharp as in the EU, but the worldwide reduction was lower, at 1.9%. Japanese firms maintained their level of investment. Companies based elsewhere in Asia - China, India, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan - continued the high R&D growth seen in previous years. Japanese car maker Toyota is the world's biggest R&D investor (€6.8bn) for the second consecutive year. Three EU companies feature in the top ten: Volkswagen, the biggest investor based in Europe with €5.8bn, Nokia and Sanofi-Aventis. The Scoreboard covers the top 1400 companies worldwide.

Flexible work arrangements help both employers and employees, says new European Commission study

A European Commission study released today found that employers and workers benefit from flexible working time arrangements. The expert group report comes as ministers for gender equality gather in Brussels for an informal meeting to discuss the new strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 ( IP/10/1149 , MEMO/10/430).

L'UE entend préserver des habitats, une flore et une faune uniques dans la première zone transfrontalière protégée en Europe du Sud-Est

Les lacs de Prespa et leurs alentours sont une zone naturelle unique d'une grande valeur écologique, partagée entre la Grèce, l'Albanie et l'ancienne République yougoslave de Macédoine. La Commission européenne a proposé que l'UE ratifie un accord visant à protéger le développement durable de la zone du parc de Prespa. Cet accord a été négocié par la Commission européenne, la Grèce, l'Albanie et l'ancienne République yougoslave de Macédoine. L'accord marque un net changement dans les mécanismes de coopération locale existants et doit faciliter la bonne mise en œuvre des objectifs de la directive-cadre sur l'eau de l'UE dans le domaine. La zone du parc de Prespa a été désignée «zone transfrontalière protégée» par la Grèce, l'Albanie et l'ancienne République yougoslave de Macédoine, et constitue le premier exemple d'une zone transfrontalière protégée en Europe du Sud-Est.

Galileo: signature d’un grand contrat en vue de la mise en place de services initiaux en 2014

La Commission européenne a annoncé aujourd’hui la signature d’un quatrième contrat, sur un total de six, relatif à la mise en place de la capacité d’opération complète de Galileo, le programme européen de navigation par satellite. Le marché a été attribué à SpaceOpal GmbH, une coentreprise fondée par DLR GfR (Allemagne) et Telespazio S.p.A (Italie), qui assurera la gestion des infrastructures spatiales et terrestres. Ce contrat mènera au déploiement initial et à la fourniture des services Galileo en 2014.

Transport Commissioner congratulates Brussels Airport for carbon achievement commitments

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, today commended Brussels Airport for its commitment to reducing future carbon emissions. At a ceremony held in the departure hall of the airport, Vice-President Kallas presented Mr Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport, with a certificate marking its progress under an industry-led carbon accreditation scheme. Twenty-three airports across 12 countries in Europe are now accredited under the scheme.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Autopista Trados M-45 by Finavias and Abertis

The European Commission has approved, in accordance with the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of Autopista Trados M-45, the company that manages a toll road in the Madrid metropolitan area, by Finavias, a subsidiary of the AXA Group, and Abertis . The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

EU-China-US co-operation on consumer issues in the spotlight at World Expo Shanghai and EU-China-US product safety summit

EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, puts consumer issues in the spotlight today in a keynote speech at the Consumer and Product Safety Day during the Shanghai World Expo. He will also meet with U.S. and China counterparts at the second China-EU-U.S. High Level Trilateral Summit on product safety. Both events focus on developing a modern consumer policy and in particular stronger governance on product safety in today's global market. The Consumer Day will include representatives from the EU institutions, Consumer organisations, the European business sector and a senior representative from China's State Food and Drug Administration. The Trilateral Summit on product safety brings Mr Dalli together with his product safety counterparts Mr. Zhi Shuping, Minister of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and Mrs. Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This trilateral co-operation reflects the determination of all sides to keep product safety at the top of the international political agenda, recognising that open markets can only be built on strong and secure management of global product supply chains.

Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, delivers a speech at a conference 'EU-Kazakhstan: Advanced Partnership Dialogue: Progress, New Visions and Perspectives

Today, Commissioner Piebalgs will participate in a conference hosted by President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The event takes place at the Conrad Hotel in Brussels. The Commissioner will also deliver a speech at the EU-Kazakhstan cooperation exhibition entitled "Investment into Innovation and New Technologies" where the cooperation between Europe and Kazakhstan will be presented. The European Commission stand, coordinated by EuropeAid and with contributions from Joint Research Centre and Directorate General for Research presents the EU-Kazakhstan cooperation programmes, and provides information on the EU development policies, in particular related to energy security and safety, science and technological research and innovation. EU Commissioners Algirdas Šemeta (Taxation and Customs, Audit and Anti-Fraud) will also participate in the event.

The EU supports the recovery of the sugar sector in Zimbabwe

Today, the European Commission agreed to fund a programme to support the reform of the sugar sector of Zimbabwe to the tune of € 13 779 000. This intervention in Zimbabwe forms part of the EC's programme of Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries for 2010. The Zimbabwe Sugar Industry is of strategic importance to the country's economy which is just re-emerging from a drastic decline that culminated in 2008, with a sugar production below 300 000 tons per year. This projects aims at restoring the capacity and the level of production of the sugar industry, on which the livelihood of more than 200 000 people depend. The EU funds will also contribute to the implementation of the national land audit programme, which is critically needed to ensure a proper framework for an increased productivity of the agriculture sector in Zimbabwe.

Commission services launch public consultation on financial reporting on a country-by-country basis by multinational companies.

The Commission services have today launched a public consultation to seek stakeholders' views on financial reporting on a country-by-country basis by multinationals. Currently, international accounting standards do not require listed companies that are active in the EU to disclose financial information on a country-by-country basis in their consolidated accounts. Nevertheless, over the years, there have been calls, including from the European Parliament, to improve the corporate governance of multinationals by imposing additional transparency requirements on their activities in third countries. It was argued that more transparency in financial accounting would provide more information to stakeholders to better assess the different national activities of multinationals. Responding to these calls, the European Commission has now committed itself to come forward with a Communication on this issue, scheduled for adoption in September 2011. The feedback generated from the public consultation will have a direct impact on this Communication. Interested parties are encouraged to send their comments to the Commission by 22 December 2010. To access the consultation webpage, visit:


High Representative Catherine Ashton nominates the top management of the External Action Service

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission has today announced the appointment of Pierre Vimont as the Executive Secretary General of the future External Action Service and David O’Sullivan as its Chief Operating Officer.

Concentrations: la Commission autorise le projet d’acquisition de SSL International par Reckitt Benckiser, sous réserve du respect de certaines conditions

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet de rachat de SSL International par Reckitt Benckiser, deux entreprises pharmaceutiques britanniques. La décision est subordonnée au respect de l'engagement de Reckitt Benckiser de céder les marques de SSL dans le domaine des antalgiques buccaux au Royaume Uni et en Irlande, où l'entité issue de la concentration aurait détenu une position particulièrement forte. Compte tenu de ces engagements, la Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que l'opération n'entraverait pas de façon significative l'exercice d'une concurrence effective dans l'Espace économique européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo Communication on European disaster response

Memo on 2010 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard"

Memo Questions and Answers: International cooperation on product safety

Memo European External Action Service (EAS) - adoption of final legal acts – en rediffusion

Statement by Commissioner Füle on Council's decision to forward Serbia's application to the Commission – en rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Füle ' Implemented reforms and developments in the Republic of Moldova', Strasbourg – en rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, 'An Innovation Union for Sustainable Growth and a Fairer and Greener Society', Brussels – en rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Jadranka Kosor, Prime Minister of Republic of Croatia

Speech by Commissioner Rehn 'Tackling Growth Deficit, Reinforcing Governance and Promoting Global Co-ordination', Brussels