EXME 11 / 31.01
Midday Express of 2011-01-31
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission presented today its Communication on the progress of renewable energy in the EU. It shows that the 2020 renewable energy policy goals are likely to be met and exceeded if Member States fully implement their national renewable energy action plans and if financing instruments are improved. It also stresses the need for further cooperation between Member States and a better integration of renewable energy into the single European market. Estimates indicate that such measures could lead to 10 billions Euros savings each year.
The EU's cohesion policy - worth almost €350 billion over 7 years - provides support for 455 national and regional development programmes across the EU. In the context of both the EU budget review and the Europe 2020 Strategy, a number of options for reforming the policy when the current funding period ends in 2013 are under discussion. The Fifth Cohesion Forum opening today in Brussels will be the last opportunity for Member States and regions to make their voices heard before the Commission presents its legislative proposals on the future cohesion policy, due out by summer 2011. Organised every three years, the Commission has invited top policy-makers from the 27 Member States to the two-day event which expects around 800 participants.
More than six million young people in the EU leave education and training with lower secondary level qualifications at best. They face severe difficulties in finding work, are more often unemployed and more often dependent on welfare benefits. Early school leaving hampers economic and social development and is a serious obstacle to the European Union's goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Commission today approved an action plan that will help Member States to achieve the Europe 2020 headline target of reducing the EU average rate of early school leavers to under 10%, from the current level of 14.4%, by the end of the decade.
Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Gamma by Gilde and Parcom
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over Gamma by the Dutch companies Gilde and Parcom, who are both private equity investment firms. Gamma is a publicly listed Dutch company, which is active in the development, manufacturing and sales of innovative, textile-based products like sail cloth, mattress fabrics, process and conveyor belts and filtration products applied in various industries. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition of Crucell by JNJ
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of the whole of Crucell of the Netherlands by Johnson & Johnson of the US. JNJ produces consumer health and care products. Crucell is active in the research, development, production and sale of biologic medicinal products (i.e. vaccines, proteins and antibodies) for the prevention or treatment of infectious diseases. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
The total number of passengers transported by air fell by 6% in the EU27 in 2009 compared with 2008, to 751 million, showing the impact of the economic crisis. This is the first fall recorded in the EU since 2002, marked by the effect of 11 September 2001 on passenger numbers. The number of passengers decreased by 8% on intra-EU flights in 2009, to 318 million, by 4% on extra-EU flights to 271 million and by 5% on national flights to 162 million. Total freight and mail transported by air in the EU27 also fell in 2009 compared with 2008, by 12%. Quarterly data indicate that air transport has already begun to recover from the effects of the economic crisis. There was a gradual improvement throughout 2009, with passenger numbers falling by 12% in the first quarter, compared with the same quarter of 2008, then by 7% in the second quarter, by 5% in the third quarter and by 1% in the fourth quarter of 2009. In the first quarter of 2010, passenger numbers increased by 2% compared with the first quarter of 2009. Preliminary data for April 2010 indicate that the volcanic eruption in Iceland brought a temporary halt to this recovery, with passenger numbers falling by 18%, compared with April 2009. These figures are published in a report from Eurostat on air transport in the EU27 in 2009. This report also looks in detail at national, intra-EU and extra-EU air transport of passengers and freight, as well as the most important airport pairs within the EU27.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 2.4% in January 2011 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 2.2% in December 2010. Euro area inflation is measured by the Monetary Union Index of Consumer Prices (MUICP). To compute the MUICP flash estimates, Eurostat uses early price information relating to the reference month from Member States for which data are available as well as early information about energy prices. The flash estimation procedure for the MUICP combines historical information with partial information on price developments in the most recent months to give a total index for the euro area. No detailed breakdown is available. Experience has shown the procedure to be reliable (21 times exactly anticipating the inflation rate and 3 times differing by 0.1 over the last two years). Further information can be found in Eurostat News Release 113/2001 of 5 November 2001.
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