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EXME08 / 31.03


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

31 / 03 / 08

L’Europe doit stimuler sa capacité de créer et d’innover, pour des raisons tant sociales qu’économiques. La Commission a donc adopté aujourd’hui une proposition proclamant l’année 2009 «Année européenne de la créativité et de l’innovation». La décision sera prise dans le courant de l’année par le Conseil et le Parlement européen.

After having decreased for three months in a row, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area rebounded in March. The relatively high level of the indicator points to sustained industrial production growth in the first quarter of this year, in line with the increase recorded in January. The rise in the BCI is due to industry managers' more optimistic appraisal of the production trend in recent months and of their total order books. By contrast, their production expectations continued to decline, while their views of export order books and stocks of finished products remained unchanged.

In March, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose by 1.7 points in the EU and decreased by 0.6 points in the euro area, to 102.0 and 99.6 respectively. Following a continuous decline since mid-2007, the indicator rebounded somewhat in the EU on the back of a sharp improvement in services confidence in the UK. Meanwhile, it weakened further in the euro area and now stands just below its long-term average.

Le lundi 31 mars 2008, cent douze fonctionnaires et hauts représentants des institutions européennes et slovènes se rendront dans soixante-dix-neuf lycées de Slovénie pour parler de l’Union européenne avec les élèves. Le projet «Les fonctionnaires retournent à l’école», porté par la Commission européenne, permet à des fonctionnaires et à des hauts représentants du pays qui préside le Conseil de retourner dans leur lycée et de présenter l’Union européenne aux élèves sur la base de leur propre expérience. En Slovénie, le projet se déroule sous le patronage du commissaire européen à la science et à la recherche, M. Janez Potočnik.

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 3.5% in March 2008 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 3.3% in February. 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 (16 times exactly anticipating the inflation rate and 8 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.

  • Commission clears acquisition of GMPL by Scholz and TTC

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Green Metals Poland (GMPL) by Scholz AG of Germany and Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) of Japan. Scholz trades and processes ferrous and non-ferrous scrap and steel. TTC provides logistics services for the automotive industry and trades metals, machinery, chemicals and other products. GMPL is active in the collection and processing of metal and non-metal waste and scrap. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • How can taxation policy enhance competitiveness and growth? : The European Commission organises the second Brussels Tax Forum on 7-8 April 2008

László Kovács, the Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs Union, is organising the second Brussels Tax Forum on 7-8 April. The topic chosen for this year's Forum is "Taxation policy: enhancing competitiveness and growth in a European way". The conference will focus on how taxation can contribute to promoting growth and competitiveness in the European Union, without undermining its social model. The Brussels Tax Forum is an annual conference that brings together policy makers, experts, stakeholders and the general public from all over the world to discuss tax issues of particular political and general interest. Commissioner Kovács will participate in a press briefing at 15.20 on Monday 7 April, together with Vice-President of the European Commission Mr Verheugen, President of EU ECOFIN and Minister of Finance of Slovenia Mr Bajuk, and French Finance Minister Ms Lagarde in the Mansholt room of the Commission's Charlemagne building in Brussels (Rue de la Loi, 170 – 1040 Brussels). Webstreaming of the conference will be available on 7 and 8 April from this web link: Webstreaming of the press conference will be available on 7 April from this web link: Further information on the Forum as well as the programme can also be found at this web link:,,


The European Commission has opened a detailed investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition by Finnish company Nokia of Navteq, a US company. Nokia produces mobile phone handsets and Navteq is one of two producers of navigable digital maps, a crucial input for navigation services that can be distributed via mobile handsets. The Commission's initial market investigation has indicated that the proposed merger raises serious doubts with regards to vertical competition concerns. A decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has until 8th August 2008 to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Aearo, a US producer of protective equipment, by the US company 3M. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, starts a two-day visit to the Czech Republic Sunday, combining regional visits and addressing the annual European Banking Forum in Prague. The Commissioner will visit Moravia-Silesia and the South-East to meet regional and local stakeholders in charge of implementing EU co-financed regional programmes. In Prague, she will discuss the future prospects of global and local players in international business and finance with Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, and leading participants at the European Banking Forum, where she is a keynote speaker.

A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

Oracle / BEA

Total France/ S-Oil/Total Isu Oil

TATA Motors / Jaguar / Land Rover


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