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EXME09 / 05.02

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

05 / 02 / 09

High level representatives from business, higher education and politics are meeting in Brussels on 5-6 February for the 2009 European University-Business Forum. The forum is an opportunity to network, showcase successful partnerships and discuss new forms of cooperation between higher education institutions and businesses. Its objective is to achieve more intense forms of collaboration and more structured relationships between the two sides to better meet the challenges of globalisation.

The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a German Risk-Capital Regulation temporarily adapting certain existing risk-capital schemes to the Commission's Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993). Thus, the measure will allow for more flexible risk-capital investments until 2010.

The European Commission has authorised, under the state aid rules of the EC Treaty, the first in a series of aid measures for businesses planned by the United Kingdom to deal with the current economic crisis. This measure will enable aid of up to €500 000 to be granted per company in 2009 and 2010 to businesses in difficulty as a consequence of the crisis or facing funding problems because of the credit crunch. The scheme meets the conditions laid down in the Commission’s Temporary Framework giving Member States additional possibilities for providing businesses with improved access to financing during the economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993). It is therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty, which permits aid intended to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des règles du traité CE sur les aides d'État, un régime visant à soulager les entreprises qui rencontrent des problèmes de financement en raison du resserrement du crédit durant la crise économique actuelle. Il permet aux pouvoirs publics, aux collectivités territoriales et à certains organismes publics d'accorder des aides sous forme de taux d’intérêt réduits pour des prêts de toutes durées conclus jusqu’au 31 décembre 2010. Le régime remplit les conditions de l'encadrement temporaire de la Commission en matière d’aides d'État qui donne aux États membres des possibilités supplémentaires pour faciliter l’accès au financement dans le contexte de la crise économique et financière actuelle (voir IP/08/1993). Il est par conséquent compatible avec l'article 87, paragraphe 3, point b) du traité CE, qui permet des aides pour remédier à une perturbation grave de l'économie d'un État membre.

Le 6 février, José Manuel Barroso, président de la Commission européenne, accompagné de neuf membres de cette dernière (les vice-présidents Verheugen, Barrot, Kallas et Tajani ainsi que les commissaires Dimas, Almunia, Ferrero-Waldner, Piebalgs et Ashton) se rendront à Moscou pour y rencontrer le président russe, Dimitri Medvedev, le Premier ministre, Vladimir Putin, et d'autres membres du gouvernement. Cette rencontre à haut niveau permettra d'aborder d'importantes questions bilatérales et de s'accorder sur l'orientation stratégique des relations UE-Russie pour les années à venir. La Commission et le gouvernement russe s'entretiendront de leurs préoccupations communes les plus pressantes telles que la crise économique mondiale et les négociations internationales sur le changement climatique, mais aussi de tout un éventail de questions bilatérales aussi essentielles que la sécurité de l'approvisionnement énergétique, le commerce et les problèmes de passage des frontières.

The EU's 'For Diversity. Against Discrimination' prize for journalists has been awarded today to a French article about gay football players, in a tie with a Danish article about women who convert to Islam. The third prize went to a Portuguese article while the special Roma Award has been won by a Greek journalist. The award ceremony will take place in Prague this evening at the Kaiserstejnsky Palace.

Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, will address the 2nd Baltic Sea stakeholder conference in the German city of Rostock (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) today. This is the last in a series of major consultation events aimed at shaping the Commission's plans for an EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The strategy seeks to boost economic development and improve environmental conditions in and around the Baltic Sea. During her visit, Commissioner Hübner will also hold talks with the Minister President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Erwin Sellering.

La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui le tout premier plan d'action de l'Union européenne pour la conservation et la gestion des requins. Ce plan vise à garantir l'adoption, si nécessaire sur la base du principe de précaution, de mesures efficaces en vue de favoriser la reconstitution des stocks de requins menacés, ainsi que la formulation de lignes directrices pour la gestion durable des pêcheries concernées, y compris celles dans lesquelles les requins sont capturés en tant que prises accessoires. Le plan prévoit également des mesures destinées à approfondir les connaissances scientifiques concernant les stocks et pêcheries de requins. Les mesures envisagées concernent non seulement les requins, mais aussi les espèces apparentées, comme les pocheteaux et les raies, et s'appliqueront dans toutes les zones d'activité de la flotte communautaire, que ces zones soient situées dans les eaux communautaires ou non. La Commission s'attachera également à assurer la cohérence entre la politique communautaire en faveur des requins et l'action menée par l'Union européenne en la matière dans le cadre des organismes et accords internationaux.

  • Joe Borg to discuss strategy for the Baltic Sea at Rostock Conference

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Joe Borg will arrive in Rostock tomorrow morning where he will attend the closing session of the Stakeholder Conference on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region hosted by the Commission's Directorate General for Regional Policy. Commissioner Borg will take the opportunity to meet with a number of conference participants, among them in particular the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Mr Erwin Sellering, and with the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection, Till Backhaus. In his closing address Commissioner Borg will outline some of the initiatives of particular relevance to the congested Baltic Sea that are currently being developed as part of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, such as maritime spatial planning and maritime surveillance. The EU's emerging Integrated Maritime Policy marks a shift from a purely sectoral approach to more cooperative and coordinated policy-making that takes account of all the maritime activities and sectors concerned, thus exploiting synergies and preventing potential conflicts. While in Rostock, Mr Borg will also visit a local fish processing company, and the Institute of Applied Ecology which works on nature conservation, infrastructure development and regional planning in the Baltic and North Sea basins. For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs

  • Commission Expert Group calls for removing barriers to electronic invoicing

The Expert Group on Electronic Invoicing published its interim report, which sets out a vision for a European Electronic Invoicing (EEI) Framework. Despite having great potential, the Expert Group asserts that e-invoicing, the electronic transfer of billing and payment information between supplier and buyer, is still held back by a number of barriers before it could achieve mass-adoption. The mid-term report sets out a number of initial recommendations to remove or reduce these barriers. Efforts for harmonised legal provisions and greater standardisation should be stepped up for example to allow trading parties to inter-operate in a truly open environment. As a follow-up, the Group intends to draft a code of practice for the guidance of trading parties, their service providers and tax authorities and to develop a network model which supports interoperability, choice of services, and European reach for the exchange of invoices.The Group is composed of stakeholders from the public sector and large and small enterprises as well as financial services providers and standardisation organisations. Its mandate is to design an EEI Framework by the end of 2009. This framework should promote the emergence and the development of open and interoperable e-invoicing services across Europe, bringing significant benefits to citizens and business, including SMEs throughout the Internal Market. Further information on the Expert Group and the interim report can be found at: DG Internal Market and Services: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/einvoicing/index_en.htm DG Enterprise and Industry: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/ict/policy/einvoicing/einvoicing_en.htm

  • 240 agricultural acts withdrawn from EU legislation

As part of the Commission's drive to reduce the regulatory burden and red-tape and in the framework of the Communication on simplification and better regulation of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Commission today adopted a Communication removing 240 obsolete agricultural legislative acts adopted before 2007 from the legislation in force. In the early stages of EU law, from the 1950s, the number of legislative acts continually increased, many of which were adopted without an expiry date. These pieces of legislation therefore remain formally in force even though their legal effects have ceased, in many cases for a long time. These 240 pieces of legislation which will now be withdrawn relate mostly to temporary measures, exceptional market support measures, granting of financial contributions and transitional measures linked to the accession of New Member States. The acts relate to the following sectors of the CAP: cereals, fruit and vegetables, bananas, wine, milk, beef and veal, rice, oils and fats, sugar and tobacco. The Commission will continue this exercise of cleaning up EU legislation.

Rediffusion

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Czech generic pharmaceuticals firm Zentiva by Sanofi-Aventis Europe of France, a producer of originator medicines. To remedy the Commission's competition concerns in different therapeutic areas on a number of national markets, Sanofi-Aventis committed to divest fifteen drugs in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Estonia. In the light of these commitments, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not cause competition concerns in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

La Commission européenne se félicite du rapport adopté aujourd'hui par le Parlement européen, qui présente des recommandations concernant la future politique de l'UE en matière de changement climatique. L'approbation du rapport final de la commission temporaire sur le changement climatique témoigne de l'importance que le Parlement attache à une action ambitieuse de l'UE pour relever le défi climatique. Le Parlement rejoint dans ses recommandations le point de vue exprimé par la Commission dans sa communication de la semaine passée relative à un nouvel accord mondial sur le climat.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo on State aid: Commissioner Kroes meets French Industry Minister Luc Chatel on car support measures

• Memo "For Diversity - Against Discrimination" Journalist Award – Questions and answers – EMBARGO 18h30 CET

• Memo Questions et réponses sur le plan d'action en faveur des requins

• Memo Antitrust: Commission confirms sending Statement of Objections to alleged participants in prestressing steel cartel

• Speech by Commissioner Hübner 'The Sea of Opportunity', Rostock – EMBARGO 14h00 CET -

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

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

DSV/Vesterhavet/DFDS


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