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EXME07 / 11.9


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

11 / 09 / 07

Sur la base d'une mise à jour effectuée pour les sept plus grands Etats membres de l'UE, la Commission européenne prévoit une croissance économique de 2,8 % dans l'UE et de 2,5 % dans la zone euro en 2007. Ces prévisions constituent une révision à la baisse de 0,1 point de pourcentage par rapport aux prévisions de printemps. Des fondamentaux solides et un contexte mondial encore favorable devraient continuer à soutenir la croissance européenne. Néanmoins, la turbulence récente sur les marchés a clairement accentué les risques qui pèsent sur la croissance. En ce qui concerne l'inflation, les prix à la consommation devraient augmenter de 2,2% dans l'UE et 2% dans la zone euro en 2007 (soit une progression de 0,1 point de pourcentage par rapport aux prévisions de printemps) sous l'effet de l'augmentation des prix des produits de base.

Six years ago today our understanding of security was fundamentally changed. Since the New York attacks, there are persistent threats to European security. Recent arrests in Denmark and Germany are a reminder of this. The European Commission today launches a communication for strengthening the public private partnership on security research and innovation with the creation of the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) which will meet for the first time today. By ensuring the link between security research and innovation by the private sector and research centres and security policy making, it will enable a long term approach to deliver effective policies and ultimately better security for EU citizens. Security research can lead to the development of concrete and useful technology like optical identification of explosives and video detection systems while preserving the civil liberties of our citizens.

La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui la cinquième mise à jour de la liste communautaire de compagnies aériennes interdites dans l'Union européenne, établie en mars 2006 et déjà modifiée en juillet dernier. Cette nouvelle liste remplace la précédente et est immédiatement disponible sur le site Internet de la Commission. Par ce biais, la Commission interdit au sein de l'UE deux nouvelles compagnies aériennes jugées peu sûres, l'une d'Ukraine, Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines, et l'autre iranienne, Mahan Air.

The United Kingdom and Ireland will be allowed to keep units like the pint of beer and milk - and miles, yards, feet and inches on roads. The proposal is also important for the current trade relations with the United States as the European Commission has proposed to indefinitely extend the use of supplementary indications next to metric units. The Commission proposal is based on the results of a public consultation in early 2007, which underlined the smooth functioning of the Directive 80/181/EEC. It allows that both metric and other measurements can continue to be used in the UK and Ireland, if so desired.

Les résultats préliminaires du premier essai clinique d'un vaccin novateur contre l'influenza aviaire H7N1 ("grippe aviaire") montrent que ce produit est sûr et bien toléré par les volontaires sains. Ce vaccin a été mis au point par une équipe de scientifiques européens, de la conception du virus vaccinal à la réalisation de ce premier essai clinique, et a été cofinancé par le programme-cadre de recherche de l'Union européenne. La Commission européenne a également annoncé aujourd’hui les résultats de son dernier appel de propositions concernant de nouveaux projets de recherche sur l'influenza: avec plus de €27 millions pour 11 nouveaux projets de collaboration, la Commission poursuit son soutien de longue date aux solutions scientifiques novatrices contre cette maladie mortelle.

  • Foot-and-Mouth Disease in the UK : trade restrictions adapted

A Decision concerning the trade ban for live ruminants and their products from Great Britain, which was implemented due to Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), was endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. Under the Decision agreed today, animals and animal products from Great Britain may be dispatched again to other Member States. However, the trade ban continues to be enforced for animals which had been within the surveillance zone in Surrey, where the outbreaks occurred. These animals cannot be directly dispatched from the UK until after 9 November 2007, in order to protect the internationally recognised FMD-free status of other EU Member States. The Foot-and-Mouth Disease situation in the UK is now considered to be fully contained, with no further outbreaks since the 2nd case was reported on a farm within the Surrey protection zone on 7 August. At the Standing Committee meeting, UK authorities also provided detailed findings from the investigation into the origin of the FMD outbreak. It appears that the outbreaks may have been the result of biosecurity issues on the Pirbright site, where two FMD labs are located, close to the affected holdings. The Commission reminded all Member States that there are strict rules in place for virus-handling laboratories in the EU, and it is the responsibility of the national authorities to ensure that these are fully and properly implemented. The Commission will carry out inspections in Pirbright and other FMD laboratories across the EU over the coming months, and will decide on further action that may be needed to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

The European Commission today proposed to grant aid to help regions in Germany and France to recover from storm damage. European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) aid worth €166.9 million would go to Germany to assist recovery from damage caused by the storm Kyrill early this year; and €5.29 million has been earmarked for La Reunion, France, hit by tropical cyclone Gamède last February.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Energie Investimenti by GDFI

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Energie Investimenti S.p.A. of Italy by GDF International S.A.S. (GDFI) of France, belonging to the group Gaz de France S.A. GDFI is active in the exploration, supply and distribution of gas; energy-related services. Energie Investimenti supplies natural gas in Italy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

The European Commission, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) have joined together to support stronger action and advocacy on gender equality to influence the aid effectiveness agenda. The programme "EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace" will support the integration of gender equality as a key driver of development in the international assistance agenda. The programme will also promote the involvement of women in conflict prevention and peace-building in line with the commitments of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. With a total budget of €4,7 million (€2,5 million EC contribution), the programme will have a duration of 3 years (2007-2009) and will cover 12 countries: Cameroon, DRC, Ghana, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

  • Financial services : public hearing on non-equities markets transparency

Today the European Commission is holding a public hearing on transparency in non-equity markets, i.e. classes of financial instrument other than shares. The hearing will assist the Commission in preparation of a report that it is required to produce under the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). This report will investigate whether and to what extent new requirements on pre- and post-trade transparency should be introduced at EU level to the trading in non-equity financial instruments such as bonds and derivatives. Representatives from the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, the Committee of European Securities Regulators, the Securities Exchange Commission and many private sector and consumer representatives will speak in what promises to be an interesting and topical agenda. The public hearing follows a related call for evidence launched in June 2006 (see IP/06/768, IP/06/1549). More information is available at:

According to provisional data from Eurostat, the EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of €18.7 billion in the second quarter of 2007, as compared with a deficit of 10.8 billion in the second quarter of 2006 and a deficit of 32.0 billion in the first quarter of 2007. In the second quarter of 2007, the EU27 external balance of trade in services recorded a surplus of €21.0 billion, as compared with a surplus of 19.5 billion in the second quarter of 2006 and a surplus of 15.2 billion in the first quarter of 2007.

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