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EXME09 / 24.02


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

24 / 02 / 09

The European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, today met the future members of a high level panel due to review the European Research Council (ERC). The aim of this review, which comes after two years of operations, will be to scrutinize the ERC’s structure and mechanisms, to take stock of its achievements and to give advice on the direction this pioneering research funding initiative should take for the future. The review will be conducted by eminent representatives of the science and policy domains from the EU and US.

Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, is visiting Greece from 25 to 27 February. She will meet Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and members of the government to discuss the contribution of the EU's Cohesion Policy to the European Economic Recovery Plan and the policy's role as a driver for investment in innovation, research and development in Greece. The Commissioner will also address the "Innovation, Research and Development in the framework of the European Regional Policy" conference in Athens and visit projects backed with European investment in the Epirus and the Ionian Islands regions.

Today, the EU and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan signed an aviation agreement which will restore legal certainty regarding bilateral air services agreements between Pakistan and EU Member States.

In December 2008 compared with November 2008, the euro area (EA15) industrial new orders index fell by 5.2%. In November the index decreased by 5.4%. In the EU27 new orders declined by 6.4% in December 2008, after dropping by 5.1% in November. Excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment, for which changes tend to be more volatile, industrial new orders fell by 4.7% in the euro area and by 6.4% in the EU27. In December 2008 compared with December 2007, industrial new orders decreased by 22.3% in the euro area and by 23.3% in the EU27. Total industry excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment dropped by 22.1% in the euro area and by 21.2% in the EU27. Compared with 2007, the average new orders index for 2008 fell by 5.0% in the euro area and by 4.9% in the EU27. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Constellation Energy Commodities by Goldman Sachs

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of the international commodities business of Constellation Energy Commodities Group (CECG) of the US by J. Aron & Company, controlled by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc of the US. Goldman Sachs is active in banking, securities and investment services. The international commodities business of CECG focuses primarily on global coal trading and freights services The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.


Les villes de Stockholm et de Hambourg ont été désignées aujourd'hui comme les premières lauréates du nouveau prix de la Capitale verte de l'Europe. La capitale suédoise sera la capitale verte de l'Europe en 2010 suivie par Hambourg en 2011. Ce nouveau prix lancé par la Commission européenne encourage les villes à améliorer la qualité de la vie urbaine en tenant systématiquement compte de l'environnement dans l’aménagement urbain. Les prix ont été décernés par M. Janez Potočnik, commissaire chargé de la science et de la recherche, lors d'une cérémonie qui s'est tenue à Bruxelles cet après midi.

Budapest a reçu aujourd'hui le prix de la Semaine européenne de la mobilité 2008. Un groupe d'experts indépendants a jugé que la capitale hongroise avait accompli les meilleurs efforts pour sensibiliser le public à la pollution atmosphérique due au trafic et promouvoir des solutions plus propres durant la Semaine européenne de la mobilité. Elle a devancé la ville d'Almada, au Portugal, et la capitale croate Zagreb. Les prix ont été remis par M. Janez Potočnik, commissaire chargé de la science et de la recherche, lors d'une cérémonie qui s'est déroulée à Bruxelles cette après-midi.

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