EXME 12 / 29.11
Midday Express of 2012-11-29
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
For many e-commerce businesses, the weeks leading up to Christmas represent one of the peak periods of the year for sales. However, a number of them are missing out on potential business because of concerns about delivery. Studies show that only 9% of EU consumers buy goods online from other countries, with both e-retailers and consumers expressing their concerns about the shortcomings of current delivery systems used for goods ordered on line. 57% of e-retailers consider cross-border delivery to be an obstacle to trading, while 47% of consumers worry about delivery in cross-border transactions. An efficient delivery (and return) system is key to facilitating further growth in e-commerce and therefore consumer choice and convenience.
The European Commission today put forward a proposal for an Environment Action Programme (EAP) to guide EU environment policy up to 2020. Coming shortly after its recommendations for short term growth [see IP/12/1274], which emphasise the need for ensuring not just the growth of today, but also tomorrow, the Commission has now made proposals aimed at protecting nature, stimulating sustainable growth, creating new jobs and setting Europe on a path to prosperity and health within the limits of the planet.
In November the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 2.0 points in the EU, to 88.1, and by 1.4 points in the euro area, to 85.7. The upswing follows a deceleration in the ESI's downturn since September. The industrial investment survey, however, hints at stagnating real investment in 2013, casting some doubts on these first signals of a recovery. While EU sentiment improved across all sectors, except for construction, where it remained unchanged, the euro area registered increases in industry and retail trade, which were partly offset by decreases among consumers, in construction, and a virtually unchanged level in services.
In November 2012, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area increased by 0.42 points to 1.19. The increase was reflected in all components of the BCI, i.e. order books (overall and export), past production, production expectations and the adequacy of stocks of finished products).
At a ceremony in Brussels today, Nantes, France’s sixth largest city, takes over the title of European Green Capital from Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain. Nantes was awarded the title of European Green Capital 2013 following an intensive Europe-wide competition in 2010.
The European Commission has launched two Calls for Proposals under the 2012 Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) multi-annual and annual programmes, making €1.265 billion available to finance European transport infrastructure projects in all transport modes – air, rail, road, and maritime/inland waterways – plus logistics and intelligent transport systems, and all EU Member States.
The European Commission gives new €67.3 million support to Mozambique's efforts to reduce hunger and chronic malnutrition in the country and accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The new programme will help improve agricultural and fisheries production and increase access to food for vulnerable groups, in particular women and children.
Wood is a natural resource which is used for different purposes, including as a renewable source of energy. In 2010, wood and wood waste1 contributed 5% to total gross inland energy consumption1 in the EU27, and it was the leading source of renewable energy, accounting for almost half of the EU27's consumption of renewables. Among the Member States, the highest shares of wood and wood waste in total gross inland energy consumption in 2010 were recorded in Latvia (27%), Finland (21%) and Sweden (19%), while it was 1% or less in Cyprus, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom. In the majority of Member States, wood and wood waste was the main source of renewable energy. It accounted for more than three quarters of gross inland energy consumption from renewables in 2010 in Estonia (96%), Lithuania (88%), Finland (85%), Poland (81%), Latvia (78%) and Hungary (77%), and less than a quarter in Cyprus (13%) and Italy (24%).
Commission clears acquisition of Atento by Bain Capital
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of the Spanish Atento Inversiones Y Teleservicios ("Atento") by Bain Capital Investors. Atento is a provider of business process outsourcing services, primarily related to client relationship management, and in particular customer care. Bain Capital is a private equity investment firm. Since none of the two concerned companies are active on the same markets or on markets vertically linked, the Commission has concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concern. The operation was examined under the simplified merger procedure.
Commissioner Andor: Europe's human dimension
"Only if policy-makers stay alert to the signals that citizens are sending will they be able to apply policy that focuses on key priorities and addresses the population's main concerns", stated László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion while presenting today the results of Eurofound's third European Quality of Life Survey. The study offers an analysis of the multidimensional nature of quality of life and largely reflects the economic reality, with the highest optimism levels reported in Denmark, Sweden and the lowest levels in Greece, Italy, and Portugal. Commissioner Andor insisted that the survey was a clear signal that we need to look no further than these results for evidence of the need to engage all European and national welfare mechanisms in alleviating the hardships experienced by vulnerable groups and encouraging solidarity. The Annual Growth Survey 2013, adopted on 28th November, identifies once more the tackling of unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis as one of its priorities. This is also why the Commission will present early next year a Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion. The Social Investment Package will provide concrete guidance on the modernisation of welfare states, on the shape of such reforms and on how the EU can support Member States in this context. Commissioner Andor concluded that, "We need to modernise the European social model so that it mobilises a larger share of Europe's human capital and raises its productivity. At the same time, we must ensure social inclusion of disadvantaged people and an adequate level of social protection." More information on the European Quality of Life Survey 2012 - See full version of the speech
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič opens International Organisations Career Development Roundtable in Brussels
Over the next two days (29-30 Nov) Brussels will play host to some 180 Human Resource professionals from around 70 international public and private sector organisations. The event, hosted by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO), the Belgian Foreign Ministry, the Belgian Development Agency and the United Nations Population Fund, is the largest Human Resources event in the multilateral calendar. This year’s agenda focuses on the theme ‘Transforming Hearts and Minds’. Participants will share best practice in finding and nurturing the most talented individuals in order to ensure that international organisations are well equipped to adapt and respond to today's challenges. For more details, see: http://careerdevelopmentroundtable.org/
Vice-President Siim Kallas: Future fuels: a clean and green opportunity for European transport
Developing innovative and cleaner alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe's economy more resource-efficient and reduce transport’s overdependence on oil. But their full-scale deployment has been held back by the high cost of vehicles, poor consumer acceptance and a lack of infrastructure for recharging and refuelling, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas told a conference on future transport fuels. “What we need now is a comprehensive long-term strategy for alternative fuels in Europe,” Kallas said. "Investors need to have the confidence to finance the necessary infrastructure; consumers need to be encouraged to buy the vehicles. EU countries should also set up national policy plans for all alternative fuels", he said. "We need to set targets to build the necessary infrastructure and make it compatible everywhere,” Kallas said. “If we are to create a true single market for alternative fuels and not a fragmented one, will need common standards for infrastructure.” See SPEECH/12/881
The European Commission today adopted a Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union, which provides a vision for a strong and stable architecture in the financial, fiscal, economic and political domains. Commenting on the Blueprint, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said: "We need a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union in order to overcome the crisis of confidence that is hurting our economies and our citizens' livelihoods. We must give tangible proof of the willingness of Europeans to stick together and move forward decisively to strengthen the architecture in the financial, fiscal, economic and political domains that underpins the stability of the Euro and our Union as a whole
The European Commission today adopted the 2013 Annual Growth Survey (AGS), setting out five priorities designed to guide Member States through the crisis to renewed growth. The AGS kick-starts the European Semester for economic policy coordination, which ensures Member States align their budgetary and economic plans with the Stability and Growth Pact and the Europe 2020 strategy.
The European Commission today kicks off the second annual cycle of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) 2013 with the publication of the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR). The report calls for in-depth reviews of developments related to the accumulation and unwinding of macroeconomic imbalances in 14 EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
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