Midday Express of 2009-04-03
European Commission - MEX/09/0403 03/04/2009
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EXME09 / 03.04
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
03 / 04 / 09
Twenty-seven students from EU secondary schools will each receive a prize and a diploma in Brussels today for producing the best translations in their respective countries in the “Juvenes Translatores” (‘young translators’ in Latin) translation contest. The prizes will be presented by Leonard Orban, the European Commissioner for Multilingualism. The contest was organised in November 2008 by the European Commission to promote language learning and to give visibility to the profession of translator.
European Commissioner Danuta Hübner will be in Japan from 4 to 6 April to take part in a conference in Tokyo on EU-Japan regional policy cooperation and to meet political leaders. The visit is an opportunity to share experience on initiatives in the EU and Japan to revitalise regional economies in response to the financial crisis. Commissioner Hübner will hold meetings with, among others, Hiroyuki Ishige, Vice-Minister at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Kiichi Miyazawa, Vice-Minister for Regional Revitalisation, Ryu Shionoya, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Hiroshi Nakada, Mayor of Yokohama City.
Three years after its launch, the .eu top-level internet domain continues to be a success story. There are now more than three million internet domains under Europe's own top-level domain. Even the financial crisis has not stopped this growth: the number of .eu domains increased by 2% during the first quarter of 2009, and .eu was firmly entrenched as the fifth most popular country code top-level domain worldwide. By promoting a distinctly European online identity .eu can help citizens and businesses to reap the full benefits of Europe's single market. Multinational companies and SMEs, NGOs, think tanks as well as citizens have all adopted .eu to mark their web presence. They are not the only ones. Early last month, Sweden made a symbolic gesture by being the first Member State to adopt ".eu" for its official website dedicated to the Presidency of the European Union that will start on 1 July: www.se2009.eu.
Afin d’aider les pays en développement à améliorer leurs systèmes en matière de sécurité des aliments au profit de leurs populations et de leurs économies, Androulla Vassiliou, commissaire européenne à la santé, a lancé aujourd’hui au siège de l’Union africaine à Addis-Abeba, en Éthiopie, une nouvelle initiative intitulée «Une meilleure formation pour des denrées alimentaires plus sûres en Afrique – BTSF-Afrique». Le lancement de cette initiative a eu lieu lors d’une conférence de haut niveau tenue dans la capitale de l’Éthiopie. Au cours des deux prochaines années, BTSF-Afrique permettra d’utiliser 10 millions d’EUR pour financer des actions de renforcement des capacités. Lancé en 2005, le programme BTSF a fourni des formations à des autorités compétentes des États membres de l'Union européenne et des pays tiers chargées de vérifier la bonne application des règles de l’UE concernant les denrées alimentaires et les aliments pour animaux, la santé et le bien-être des animaux et la santé des végétaux.
Today, the European Union and Mongolia signed an aviation agreement which will restore legal certainty regarding bilateral air services agreements between Mongolia and EU Member States.
The European Union Member States, through the Community Civil Protection Mechanism, have come to the aid of Namibia, following the worst floods in the country in decades. More than 350,000 citizens have been affected and some 13,000 displaced. The European Commission activated the Community Civil Protection Mechanism on March 23 following a request from Namibia. An expert team was immediately deployed there to coordinate the relief effort on the ground. Assistance is being provided by the Austrian authorities in the form of emergency health kits, tarpaulins and mosquito nets. The first items are scheduled to arrive over the weekend. This complements financial donations from several EU Member States through other channels.
Taking goods and services together, the EU27 and the USA account for the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world. The significant amount of bilateral trade and investment illustrates a high degree of interdependence of the two economies. On the occasion of the European Union - USA summit, which will take place on Sunday 5 April in Prague, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, issues data on trade and investments between the USA and the EU27.
The European Commission has welcomed with mixed feelings the outcome of the meeting of Heads of Delegation of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) held in London last week, attended by the European Union, Iceland, Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation. The EU endeavoured to give an effective response to the 2006 UNGA resolution demanding that vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) be closed for bottom-gear fishing activities. The EU delegation proposed an extensive list of areas inside the NEAFC area to be identified as VMEs. The EU proposal covered areas that have been either recommended by ICES or identified through the work of the OSPAR Commission, an intergovernmental organisation to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. The EU list also included VMEs proposed by Norway which are stretching from Iceland down to the Azores. In doing so, the European Commission's motivation was to follow a precautionary approach and prevent damage to sensitive habitats. The EU also considers that the current thresholds of corals and sponges taken during fishing operations, identifying the existence of potential VMEs, are too high and need to be reduced in 2009. Unfortunately, NEAFC parties were not able to agree on the ambitious EU plan. In order to make at least some progress in the right direction, the EU decided ultimately to support the Norwegian proposal for the closure of a smaller number of areas. "The proposed NEAFC measures can only be a first step and need to be extended urgently if NEAFC is to respond to the expectations of the international community and protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Atlantic effectively" said Joe Borg, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. The Commission has stated that the EU will continue to work with the other NEAFC Parties during 2009 in order to ensure that the organisation gives a more positive and effective response to the UNGA Resolution
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), which met in Tunis last week for its annual session, adopted a number of recommendations towards sustainable fisheries management. Among other things, agreement was reached on the setting up of a GFCM fishing fleet register and on the use of at least 40 mm square mesh in trawl fisheries –to avoid small fish and other marine organisms from being accidentally caught in the nets. Moreover, the newly introduced obligation to equip all vessels measuring more than 15m overall length with a satellite-based monitoring system is an important step making it possible, on the one hand, to follow fleet developments and monitor fishing activity, and on the other to provide reliable data for scientific evaluation. Eventually, a compromise solution was also found to improve protection in an area of the Gulf of Lions, where according to the GFCM Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) special attention is needed to protect adult specimen of hake in the spawning phase. The fishing effort of all demersal fishing activity in this area has been frozen pending the preparation of further scientific advice. For another highly problematic issue, the sardines of the Adriatic Sea, SAC was given a mandate to improve the scientific basis so as to better understand the state of small pelagic stocks and fisheries in this sea. All GFCM members are now required to submit catch statistics as well as biological and economic data on their fisheries and aquaculture activities; this will improve future scientific analysis and create a level-playing field in the provision of scientific advice. An overall reduction by at least 10% of the fishing effort all over the Mediterranean was agreed as well. With respect to the effective functioning of the organisation, a performance review system was introduced, as is customary in other regional fisheries management organisations, and a Finance and Administration Committee was created to secure the smooth functioning and optimal use of funds. The European Commission was the leading force behind most of the tabled proposals.
Sécurité routière: une nouvelle directive* européenne, applicable à partir du 31 mars 2009, permettra de sauver la vie de piétons, cyclistes et cyclomotoristes. En effet, un certain nombre d'accidents de la route sont causés par des conducteurs de poids lourds qui n'aperçoivent pas les autres usagers situés à proximité immédiate ou le long de leur véhicule. Ces accidents surviennent le plus souvent lors d'un changement de direction ou sur les ronds-points. Désormais, tous les poids lourds devront être équipés, du côté du passager, de rétroviseurs qui élargiront le champ de vision des conducteurs et renforceront la sécurité des véhicules. Ces rétroviseurs représenteront un potentiel important de réduction du nombre des morts sur les routes de l'Union européenne. Selon les estimations plus de 400 personnes décèdent chaque année suite à un accident avec un poids lourd qui tournait à droite, prenait un embranchement vers une autoroute ou empruntait un rond-point. La plupart d'entre elles sont des usagers vulnérables tels que les cyclistes, les piétons, les motocyclistes. * Directive 2007/38/CE du Parlement européen et du Conseil du 11 juillet 2007 concernant le montage a posteriori de rétroviseurs sur les poids lourds immatriculés dans la Communauté (JO L 184 du 14.07.2007)
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