EXME 12 / 27.09
Midday Express of 2012-09-27
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions covering many sectors aim at ensuring proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses. The Commission has taken today 361 decisions, including 27 reasoned opinions and 12 referrals to the European Union's Court of Justice, out of which 6 include financial penalties. A summary of the main decisions can be found in the MEMO/12/708. On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.
The European Commission's new strategy for "Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe" outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs, and an annual boost of EUR 160 billion to EU GDP (around 1%), by 2020.
Global aviation is changing dramatically and Europe has been harder hit by the recession than many other regions. The European Commission has today set out an ambitious package of proposals to boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry by opening negotiations with key partners to access new business opportunities in the fast growing markets, developing new tools to fight unfair competition and creating the right regulatory conditions to stimulate investment.
In September the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) decreased by 0.9 points in the EU, to 86.1, and by 1.1 points in the euro area, to 85.0. In both areas, the decrease was due mainly to weaker confidence among services and retail trade managers, and consumers. While confidence in industry decreased in the euro area as well, it remained broadly stable in the EU. On the positive side, construction managers in both areas were less pessimistic than in August. Among the largest Member States, sentiment worsened in Poland (-2.2), France (-1.6), the Netherlands (-1.2) and Germany (-1.1), while it improved in the United Kingdom (+0.4) and in Spain (+1.3). Sentiment remained broadly unchanged in Italy (-0.1).
In September 2012, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area decreased by 0.16 points to 1.34. The decline was driven by a more negative assessment of production expectations, order books (overall and export) and past production. Managers' assessment of the adequacy of their stocks of finished products was slightly more positive. The decrease in September follows a slight recovery in August.
Stronger controls on drug precursors used in heroin and methamphetamine production have been proposed by the Commission today. Drug precursors are legal chemicals contained in a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, perfumes and plastics, but which can also be illegally diverted to produce narcotics. The two proposals adopted today seek to close loopholes in current legislation on drug precursors that could be exploited by illegal drug producers. They reinforce the controls on specific chemicals, both within the Single Market and at the EU borders through Customs. In doing so, the proposed new rules can contribute to early stage prevention of illicit drug manufacturing, which is an important pillar of the EU drug strategy.
You can wait 75 years for a glimpse of Halley's comet, but did you know you can make one yourself in just a few minutes? All it takes is a mixture of day-old dry ice, water, mud and a few other components - and you have a comet of your very own. How cosmic is that? Learning how to make a comet with space scientists in London, creating a cloud with meteorologists in Bolzano, Italy. and exploring the San Antonio volcano with geologists in the Canary Islands are just a few of the highlights of the 7th Researchers' Night , taking place at a host of venues throughout Europe tomorrow evening (28 September).
Five projects which have shown outstanding performance in promoting the teaching and learning of languages were honoured today at the first 'European Language Label of the Labels Awards'. The winning initiatives (see details below) are based in Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Norway and Romania. The awards were presented to representatives of the projects by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at the 'Multilingualism in Europe' conference in Limassol, Cyprus, which is one of nearly 500 events taking place across Europe to mark the European Day of Languages.
The European Union has announced additional funding of €15 million in order to continue delivering immediate relief to the victims of two humanitarian crises in Pakistan. These funds will provide assistance to those affected by the on-going conflict in the north of the country as well as to the victims of three successive years of major flooding in the south. The additional funding brings the European Commission's 2012 humanitarian contribution for Pakistan to a total of €70 million.
As a major donor in the Syrian crisis and a leading advocate on behalf of the affected civilians and aid organizations, the European Union has jointly with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan brought together relevant stakeholders to discuss the most pressing challenges, coordinate activities and identify ways to bring relief to violence-hit communities.
Occupational health and safety – good for workers, good for business
The significant benefits for both workers and business of EU legislation on occupational health and safety, "the most advanced in the world", are outlined by European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor to a conference in Budapest today. "Thanks to the extensive EU legislation implemented in the Member States, statistics on accidents at work show that workplaces across the EU are now much safer and workers are better protected than in the past", he explained. "The two EU strategies on health and safety at work have certainly contributed to this success." For business, Andor noted, "a sound working environment contributes to company performance, improves staff well-being, reduces absenteeism and staff turnover, and brings greater job satisfaction - a good working environment is a big factor in competitiveness and can play a crucial role in increasing the workforce’s potential." The Commission will present the findings of the current EU Strategy on Health and Safety at Work at the end of 2012 and could adopt the strategy for the forthcoming period 2013-20 by the middle of next year. The Commissioner also mentioned the significant international dimension, which involves dialogue with China, work with ASEM and cooperation with the ILO. See SPEECH/12/651
European Tourism Day 2012 – Overcoming seasonality and boosting tourism in coastal areas
Tourism has an enormous capacity to contribute to Europe's emergence from the economic crisis. However, seasonality and a lack of new, innovative concepts keep Europe from harvesting the full potential for growth and jobs of this important sector and its rich and diverse destinations. Coastal and maritime tourism is of particular importance as it is the largest single maritime economic activity and the major sub-sector of the tourism industry, and can significantly increase its already highly valuable contribution to the European economy. Nonetheless, costal and maritime tourism also faces numerous challenges, including the need to extend the tourism season, increasing competition from non-European destinations and sustainability concerns. These two themes, seasonality and coastal and maritime tourism, are being discussed today in Brussels during the 2012 edition of European Tourism Day. On this occasion, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, stressed the need for an all-season European tourism industry. The promotion of coastal and maritime tourism in Europe is part of the Commission's Blue Growth initiative ( IP/12/955) proposed by Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and fisheries. The Blue Growth initiative identifies policy areas where Europe's oceans and seas can substantially and sustainably contribute to economic growth and employment, in line with Europe 2020 strategy. Conference web site: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=6061
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