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EXME09 / 14.01

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

14 / 01 / 09

The third million .eu domain name was registered on 11 January by a German citizen. Two and a half years after its launch, this confirms the success of the .eu top-level internet domain. It is the fourth most popular internet domain among European country domains and the ninth worldwide. By promoting a distinctly European online identity .eu helps citizens and businesses to reap the full benefits of the single market. Multinational companies and SMEs, NGOs and think tanks as well as individual Europeans have all adopted .eu to mark their web presence.

Danuta Hübner, la Commissaire européenne à la Politique régionale, est en visite le 15 janvier dans la région Rhône-Alpes, l’une des régions françaises les plus dynamiques sur le plan économique. La Commissaire sera accueillie par Jacques Gérault, le Préfet de la Région, et par Jean-Jack Queyranne, le Président du Conseil Régional. Elle s’entretiendra également avec les acteurs de la région sur le thème de l’innovation.

The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an emergency recapitalisation worth €1.5 billion that the Irish authorities intend to grant to Anglo Irish Bank. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Guidance Communications on state aid during the current financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). The measure constitutes an adequate means to remedy a serious disturbance in the Irish economy while avoiding undue distortions of competition and is therefore compatible with Article 87.3.b. of the EC Treaty. In particular, the measure is limited in scope, requires an adequate remuneration and provides safeguards to minimise distortions of competition.

  • Consumers: General Product Safety Directive implementation positive record 2004-2008

Today the European Commission adopted a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council, reporting on the first years (2004-2008) of implementation of the General Product Safety Directive (non-food consumer products). Commissioner Kuneva said, “This report finds that the Directive, with its RAPEX system, has proven to be a powerful tool for ensuring a high level of consumer protection. But as always, we will not rest on our laurels. There are also recommendations on how the effectiveness of the framework and its implementation can be further improved, and we will be following up on these". The report suggests scope to develop the framework and actions further, outlining benefits which further coordinated market surveillance between the Member States would bring, given the increasingly global market. It also suggests that efficiency in addressing product safety issues would be increased if the Commission were enabled to act more quickly to create state-of-the-art standards for specific risky products and if a permanent ban could be imposed under the General Product Safety Directive on products or substances when a risk is generally recognised, rather than having to do this through further product specific Directives. For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/prod_legis/index_en.htm

In November 2008 compared with October 2008, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 1.6% in both the euro area2 (EA15) and the EU27. In October production also decreased by 1.6% in both zones. In November 2008 compared with November 2007, industrial production declined by 7.7% in both the euro area and the EU27. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

  • Commissioner Vassiliou addresses UK Houses of Parliament

European Commissioner for Health Androulla Vassiliou will be in the United Kingdom on 15 and 16 January where she will address the House of Lords EU sub Committee and the House of Commons Health Select Committee. The main area of discussion will be the draft Directive on the application of patients' rights in cross border healthcare which was adopted by the Commission on 2 July 2008. Commissioner Vassiliou will have meetings with the Secretary of State for health, Alan Johnson and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn. Commissioner Vassiliou will visit the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), an EU agency responsible for the protection and promotion of public and animal health, through the evaluation and supervision of medicines for human and veterinary use. This visit will be a general introduction to the EMEA and its' work programme.

Rediffusion

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to establish whether an agreement between the Hungarian government and the Hungarian Oil and Gas Company MOL infringes EC Treaty state aid rules. This agreement exempts MOL from the recent increase in mining fees due on revenues from hydrocarbons exploitation. The investigation will allow interested parties to comment on the measure under scrutiny. It does not prejudge the Commission’s final decision.

The Commission authorised today an Austrian scheme which intends to encourage the development of combined transport by supporting the introduction of innovative technologies, systems and equipment.

Cette décision finale de la Commission fait suite à la demande du Danemark de soumettre les entreprises de dragage et de pose de câbles en mer au même régime d'aides que celui réservé jusqu'à présent aux navires de transport maritime enregistrés dans le registre maritime danois international (DIS= Dansk Internationalt Skibsregister). Ce régime exempte les armateurs du paiement de l'impôt sur le revenu et des cotisations sociales de leurs marins.

The European Commission approved today the introduction of a tonnage tax system whereby entities which are tax liable in Slovenia and engaged in international transportation by ship or in a related activity have the possibility to change the tax base for their taxable profits. The Commission decision allows the Slovenian authorities to apply the scheme as from 1 January 2008 for a period of 10 years.

The Commission authorised today the implementation of State aid related to the acquisition of the necessary equipment for the management of the Ostrava airport.

The European Commission decided today that the new Danish system of reduced tariffs in favour of certain categories of passenger travelling in long-distance bus services is compatible with the Treaty.

Today the European Parliament adopted in second reading a Regulation to replace the current legislation on plant protection products, based on a Commission proposal from 2006. The new legislation will increase the protection of human health and the environment, will lead to a better protection of agricultural production and will extend and deepen the single market of plant protection products.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo on Questions and Answers on Plant Protection Products

• Memo on .eu passes the 3 million mark: Frequently Asked Questions

• Speech by President Barrosso: 'Poursuivons l'élan de 2008 pour relever les défis de 2009'


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