EXME 12 / 27.04
Midday Express of 2012-04-27
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
High-speed Internet underpins all sectors of the economy and will be the backbone of the Digital Single Market. For every 10% increase in the broadband penetration the economy grows by 1 to 1.5%. In this context the European Commission is seeking views on how to cut the costs of setting up new networks for high speed internet in the EU. In particular, the Commission wants to explore how to reduce the costs associated with civil engineering, such as the digging up of roads to lay down fibre, and which can account for as much as 80% of the total cost. The Commission believes it could cut the cost of broadband investments by a quarter. Input is sought from all interested public and private parties including telecoms and utility companies for instance, investors, public authorities and consumers.
Burma/Myanmar, 27 April 2012 - Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, will travel to Burma/Myanmar from 28 to 30 April. She will inaugurate the Office of the European Union to Burma/Myanmar in Yangon on 28 April and hold meetings with President U Thein Sein as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aujourd’hui, à Sarajevo, la Bosnie-Herzégovine, la Croatie, le Monténégro et la Serbie ont réaffirmé leur engagement à trouver des solutions durables pour les réfugiés et les personnes déplacées à la suite du conflit survenu dans la région de 1991 à 1995. À cette occasion, la communauté internationale des donateurs a promis 261 millions d’euros pour soutenir le programme régional de logement, lors de la conférence internationale des donateurs en faveur de solutions durables pour les réfugiés et les personnes déplacées.
"You have the right to… - a Letter of Rights". Soon this will be the reality for anyone who is arrested or detained anywhere in the European Union. EU Justice Ministers today adopted a new law that the European Commission had proposed to ensure defendants' right to information during criminal proceedings. Under the 'Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings', suspects of a criminal offence will be informed of their rights in a language they understand. The measure will ensure that EU countries will give anyone arrested – or subject to a European Arrest Warrant – a Letter of Rights listing their basic rights during criminal proceedings. Once it will have entered into force (two years after it is published in the EU's Official Journal – which is expected to take place within weeks), the new law will apply to an estimated 8 million criminal proceedings every year in all EU 27 Member States. Currently this right only exists in about one third of Member States.
Commission clears the acquisition by PGGM and Barclays of joint control over UPP Group
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by PGGM Vermogensbeheerof The Netherlands and Barclays Bank PLC of indirect joint control over UPP Group of UK, currently solely controlled by Barclays. PGGM provides services in the field of pension fund management, asset management, management support and policy advice to various regulated Dutch pension funds. Barclays is a global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. UPP Group provides solutions for the funding, design, development and operation of, and on-going facilities management services for, academic and residential facilities to universities in the UK. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
"EU development aid goes to the people that need it the most " – Commissioner Piebalgs comments on the International Development Committee's report on EU development assistance
Today, UK's International Development Committee published a report on EU development assistance. EU development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, made the following comments: I take note with interest on the findings of the International Development Committee report on EU aid. I'm satisfied to note that it highlights the improvements we have made in our work; recognising that the 'Agenda for Change' - a new EU policy to focus our work on fewer sectors and direct more aid to the poorest countries where it can have the biggest impact - is helping to make our aid even more effective. I am also pleased to see that the report underlines the clear advantages of giving money through the EU - namely that for Member States, it is cheaper, more efficient and can help them to work in countries where they would not otherwise have had the resources to work themselves. (…) However, it is simply not true to suggest that EU aid is going to the wrong people. People tend to forget that the Commission is not just an aid donor, unlike other aid agencies. An important part of our work is also to provide financial assistance to countries which are classified as developing countries and wishing to join the EU, both to support their reforms and to prepare them for implementing European standards and policies. This is delivered through separate instruments than the ones clearly aimed at fighting poverty – the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund. With these instruments, around 65% of EU aid is going to Least Developed Countries. (…) Indeed, in the current economic climate, it makes more sense than ever for Member States to carry out development work through the EU - helping to improve coordination and maximise the impact of our aid, making a difference to even more of the world's poorest people as a result. EU taxpayers must also be fully reassured that the Commission has a strong track record of good management of its aid. In fact, EU administrative costs – estimated at 5.4% - are lower than the average administrative costs of the principal donors for bilateral aid. It is about transparency and good management. It's important not to forget that EU aid has pulled millions of people out of poverty and saved countless lives over the last ten years. Full statement available here: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/headlines/news/2012/04/20120427_en.htm
The European Commission has decided to further investigate whether the Polish telecoms regulator, UKE, should allow the incumbent Polish telecoms operator, Telekomunikacja Polska (TP) to give alternative operators only limited access to its future fibre based networks so they can also offer high-speed Internet. The Commission has serious doubts whether UKE's decision not to impose cost-oriented prices for access to these networks contravenes EU telecoms rules. In the Commission's view, UKE's decision could have a negative effect on competition and the future development of fibre networks. Conditions for access to TP's fibre network will determine whether, and at what price, alternative operators, including those established in other Member States, will be able to provide telecoms services to Polish consumers. The Commission has therefore suspended UKE's plans and started a 3 month investigation.
The Commission has today stepped up calls on Member States to ensure that the ban on individual sow stalls is fully applied from 1 January 2013. Council Directive 2008/120/EC on the protection of pigs requires that sows and gilts (immature female pigs) are kept in groups during approximately 2 months and a half of their pregnancy in all pig holdings keeping 10 sows or more from 1 January 2013. As a result, pigs will be moved from individual narrow stalls to more welfare friendly systems.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, met with the Foreign Minister of Vietnam, Pham Binh Minh, today in the margins of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Brunei. They discussed the bilateral relationship between the European Union and Vietnam as well as EU's relations with ASEAN.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, met with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa, today in the margins of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Brunei. Their discussion focused on bilateral relations between the European Union and Indonesia as well as regional and global issues.
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