Midday Express of 2008-10-09
European Commission - MEX/08/1009 09/10/2008
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EXME08 / 09.10
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
09 / 10 / 08
The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules up to €30 million of public funding for a joint initiative by the UK and Irish Governments aimed at providing direct international submarine telecommunications connections to the North West of the island of Ireland. The project is designed to bring the cost of international backhaul connectivity in the region in line with that in major Irish and UK cities and provide the border counties with a resilient and diverse open access network. The Commission found the measure to be compatible with Article 87(3)(c) EC Treaty (that allows aid for the development of certain economic activities or areas, where it does not adversely affect trading conditions), as the project furthers the provision of electronic communications in the region.
The benefits to the economy and consumers of competition policy will be the focus of a high-level conference in Brussels on Monday 13 October hosted by European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes Commissioner Kroes intends to highlight the substantial and proven benefits to consumers of the EU's competition policy, comment on recent problems in financial markets and set out the concrete benefits of the state aid rules (in particular in limiting risks of beggar thy neighbour policies which could aggravate present problems). French Prime Minister François Fillon will address the conference, together with a number of other high-level speakers.
A Flash Eurobarometer study, presented by the European Commission today, reveals that European citizens have a generally negative perception of animal cloning for food production. The study was carried out to assess citizens' attitudes towards animal cloning. It indicates firstly, that the vast majority of citizens has a good degree of knowledge of what is animal cloning ( eight out of 10 stated correctly that "cloning is making an identical copy of an existing animal). Secondly, the study shows that a very high percentage of citizens is negative about cloning for human consumption as 81% feels that the long term effects of animal cloning on nature are unknown while 84% that we don’t have enough experience about the long-term health and safety effects of using cloned animals for food.
EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, has welcomed the encouraging results of a Eurobarometer survey, published today, which shows that almost half (48%) of all consumers think that only a small number of products are unsafe. A further 17% of those surveyed responded that essentially all products are safe. This shows a rise in EU consumers' confidence in product safety, which suffered a blow following a number of high profile product recalls in 2007 (see IP/07/1250). Commissioner Kuneva said that the review of the consumer product safety mechanisms in Europe, following the recall of millions of toys last year, shows that the overall framework for product safety in the EU is sound. Mrs Kuneva pointed out, however, that there are still some unsafe products slipping through the net, and 2% of Eurobarometer respondents claimed to have suffered an injury due to a faulty product. She insisted that there is still a need for constant vigilance to maintain the high standards and to continue to strengthen product safety throughout the EU. The Commissioner was speaking at today's French Presidency conference on injury prevention and product safety in Paris, where she stressed the importance of promoting a strong culture of product quality and safety throughout the EU and with trading partners. She invited all those involved in safety issues, whether business, public authorities or NGOs, at local, national, European and international level, to continue their work in the interest of our consumers. For more information on the EuroSafe Conference: http://www.eurosafe.eu.com/csi/eurosafe2006.nsf/wwwVwContent/16C893D7B27F3AB2C12574730038F6A2?opendocument&context=7CEDCA0517D47B31C1257177003C9226 For more information on the Eurobarometer: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/strategy/facts_eurobar_en.htm
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