Midday Express of 2009-02-23
European Commission - MEX/09/0223 23/02/2009
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EXME09 / 23.02
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
23 / 02 / 09
The European Commission today adopted two Communications related to disasters: a Community approach to reducing the impact of natural and man-made disasters within the EU, and a strategy for supporting disaster risk reduction in developing countries. The Communications, adopted as a package, represent a first attempt to establish a more strategic approach. Proposed action at Community level focuses on areas where a common approach is more effective than separate national approaches, such as developing knowledge, linking actors and policies, and improving the performance of existing Community disaster prevention instruments. With regard to developing countries, the Commission is setting out an EU strategy to help reduce the impact of natural disasters on countries considered to be high-risk. Both Communications contribute to the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for action 2005-2015, adopted at the world conference on disaster reduction.
Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner visits Seville in Spain tomorrow to take part in the signing ceremony of a 'JEREMIE' agreement between the region of Andalusia and the European Commission. JEREMIE, which stands for Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises, is a partnership between the Commission, European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund, aimed at improving access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and to support business creation. Securing credit is crucial for entrepreneurship, competitiveness, innovation and growth, and of critical importance for European SMEs in these difficult times in the global economy. The regional government will be represented at the signing ceremony by President Manuel Chaves. Andalusia is the second Spanish region (after Catalonia) to sign such an agreement.
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (AMO) of the US by Abbott Laboratories (Abbott), also of the US. Abbott is active in the development, manufacture and sale of a diversified line of health care products. AMO develops, manufactures and sells eye health care products. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, amendments to the Italian recapitalisation scheme which was approved by the Commission on 23 December 2008 (see IP/08/2059). The changes essentially give banks another option for remunerating bonds. The modified scheme is consistent with the Commission's guidance on support measures for banks during the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). It provides in particular for an adequate remuneration of the state intervention and appropriate incentives for an early exit of the aid scheme. The modified measures are therefore compatible with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty allowing aid to remedy a serious disturbance in a Member State's economy.