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Daily News – 29.06.2009

EXME09 / 29.06


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

29 / 06 / 09

The euro-area economy is still deep in recession territory but the EU's strong and coordinated policy response is providing tangible support to economic activity and sentiment indicators and financial markets have started to send some tentative signs of improvement, the Quarterly Report on the Euro Area shows. The QREA provides a preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of banking support measures implemented by Member States and discusses challenges ahead, particularly in terms of debt sustainability. A first focus section assesses the impact of the economic and financial crisis on potential growth. A second focus section discusses the economic and budgetary challenges posed by population ageing in times of crisis.

The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area increased slightly in June. However, the level is still far below the previous historical lows of 1993. This suggests that year-on-year industrial production growth will still have been negative in May and will remain subdued in June. The rise in the BCI reflects an overall easing, except for conditions related to order books. Managers' production expectations continued to improve in June, and their perception of the production trend observed in recent months increased significantly. Managers' opinion of stocks of finished goods also continued to improve. In contrast, both order books and export order books continued to worsen, reaching new record lows.

In June, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for the EU and the euro area continued to improve for the third month in a row. However, in both areas, the level is still below the lows reached in the previous trough at the end of 1992. The ESI increased by 3.2 points in the EU and by 3.1 points in the euro area, to 71.1 and 73.3 respectively.

Incompatibility of chargers for mobile phones is a major inconvenience for users and also leads to unnecessary waste. Therefore, the Commission has requested industry to come forward with a voluntary commitment to solve this problem so as to avoid legislation. As a result major producers of mobile phones have agreed to harmonise chargers in the EU. In a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”), which was submitted to the Commission today, the industry commits to provide chargers compatibility on the basis of the Micro-USB connector. In addition new EU standards to ensure continued safe charger use will be developed to facilitate the implementation of the MoU. The first generation of new inter-chargeable mobile phones should reach the EU market from 2010 onwards.

Aujourd'hui, Janez Potočnik, membre de la Commission européenne chargé de la science et de la recherche, participera à l'action d'information sur la recherche dans l'UE organisée à Belgrade. Il s'adressera à des scientifiques et à des représentants d'entreprises et de ministères serbes pour souligner l'importance d'une coopération accrue de la Serbie en matière de recherche, notamment dans le cadre de l'Espace européen de la recherche (EER), et il annoncera un appel de propositions spécial pour la région des Balkans occidentaux. Cette action d'information sera pour les scientifiques et les représentants des entreprises serbes une occasion unique d'obtenir des informations détaillées sur les possibilités de financement qu'offre le 7e programme-cadre de recherche (7PC) et d'intensifier le dialogue et la constitution de réseaux en vue de faciliter l'intégration de la Serbie dans l'Espace européen de la recherche. Pendant sa visite à Belgrade, Janez Potočnik rencontrera Božidar Đelić, vice-premier ministre de Serbie, qui est chargé à la fois de l'intégration européenne et de la science et de la technologie, afin de discuter en détail de la stratégie nationale de la Serbie en matière de recherche et de sa contribution aux objectifs de l'EER. Le commissaire rencontrera également le président de la Serbie Boris Tadić et le premier ministre Mirko Cvetković.

A set of practical measures aimed at improving the functioning of the Single Market at national, regional and local levels has been put forward by the European Commission, so that all citizens and businesses can make full use of their Single Market rights. Member States are being asked to implement a number of new guidelines in critical areas such as making practical information on opportunities in other EU countries easily available, improving cooperation between national authorities and strengthening the transposition, application and enforcement of Single Market rules on the ground. The progress in introducing the measures will be jointly monitored by the Commission and national administrations, and after four years the Commission will report on the overall progress achieved. The Commission has issued these measures in the form of a non-binding 'Recommendation'.

There is no reason to expect electricity disturbances this Summer under usual weather conditions. This is the main conclusion of the Electricity Supply Outlook Report presented today by the newly founded European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed this coordinated approach of European electricity transmission network operators aiming to ensure uninterrupted services to citizens and industry in general and also for this Summer. "Rising demand for electricity and energy in general requires good coordination between European electricity companies and networks. Only in this way we can ensure uninterrupted service to citizens and industry and to make rational use of resources available", said Commissioner Piebalgs.

The European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, will today welcome representatives to the opening of the Second Joint Meeting of the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) in San Sebastian, Spain. The meeting, which follows on from the first such event held in Kobe, Japan, in 2007, will run until 3 July. Objectives for the five days include a review of the actions agreed in Kobe, a workshop on reducing overcapacity in the global tuna fleet, and the agreement of a new plan of action for the next two years.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Caceis by Crédit Agricole

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Caceis SAS of France by Crédit Agricole, S.A., also of France. Crédit Agricole is active in banking and insurance services. Caceis is currently a joint venture between Natixis and Crédit Agricole, active in fund custody and fund administration for institutional clients. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo on Harmonisation of a charging capability of common charger for mobile phones - frequently asked questions (see also IP/09/1049) –EMBARGO 12h30 CET

• Memo EU launches “Click a Tree” campaign

• Memo Questions and Answers on Regional Fisheries Management Organisations

• Speech by Commissioner Rehn 'The European Future of Turkey', Crans Montana Forum, Brussels

• Speech by Commissioner Potočnik 'Towards full integration of Serbia into the European Research Area', Belgrade

• Speech by Commissioner Borg 'The Common Fisheries Policy: charting the course ahead', Brussels – EMBARGO 13h30 CET

• Speech by President Barroso 'Educate, connect, inspire', Lindau