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EXME09 / 17.04


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

17 / 04 / 09

The European Commission will deploy an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the next Presidential and Legislative elections in the Republic of Malawi scheduled to take place on 19 May 2009. The EU EOM will consist of 55 observers, led by Ms Luisa Morgantini, Vice-president of the European Parliament and represents a further contribution by the European Commission to support democracy in the Republic of Malawi.

On the eve of the donors’ conference for Pakistan, the European Commission has adopted a new three year programme to fight terrorism, trafficking and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The 2009-2011 Indicative Programme for the Instrument for Stability includes the first global counter-terrorism measures developed by the Commission together with experts from EU Member States. Key priorities are Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the Sahel region in Africa.

The first estimate for the euro area trade balance with the rest of the world in February 2009 gave a €2.0 billion deficit, compared with +1.7 bn in February 2008. The January 2009 balance was -10.9 bn, compared with -11.1 bn in January 2008. In February 2009 compared with January 2009, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 0.5% while imports fell by 0.8%. The first estimate for the February 2009 extra-EU trade balance was a deficit of €10.6 bn, compared with -13.3 bn in February 2008. In January 2009, the balance was -27.2 bn, compared with -30.3 bn in January 2008. In February 2009 compared with January 2009, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 8.0% while imports fell by 1.9%. These first estimates are released by Eurostat.

In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 1.8% in the euro area and by 1.6% in the EU in February 2009, compared with the previous month. In January, production rose by 1.6% and 1.7% respectively. Compared with February 2008, output in February 2009 dropped by 11.8% in the euro area and by 11.2% in the EU. These first estimates are released by Eurostat.

  • Company taxation: The European Commission adopts a report on the functioning of the Interest and Royalties Directive

The European Commission sent today to the Council a report on the functioning of the Interest and Royalties Directive. The aim of the Directive is to eliminate double taxation on cross-border interest and royalty payments between associated companies. The report says that the overall implementation of the Directive has been satisfactory. However, suggestions for more uniform interpretation and legal certainty are proposed. The report also looks at improvements to the existing text, including broadening the scope of the Directive. Discussions on the findings of the report at Council level should provide guidance to the Commission for a future amending legislative proposal. The Report can be found at this web link: Further information on the Interest and Royalties Directive can be found at this web link:

  • Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel at the G8 Agriculture Ministers Meeting

Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will participate in the first G8 Summit to be devoted to agriculture to be held in Treviso, Italy, from 18 to 20 April. Agriculture leaders from the G8 (United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Russia) will discuss ways to identify a common strategy for food security and how to tackle fluctuating prices of agricultural raw materials. During the talks, G8 Ministers will be joined by G5 countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) as well as other countries like Australia, Argentina, Egypt and the Czech Republic. At the end of their Summit, the Ministers will be issuing a joint declaration on food security, to be submitted to the G8 Leaders at their Summit on the island of La Maddalena in July.

  • Commissioner Vassiliou participates in European Patients' Rights Day

As can be seen in the video message filmed to show her support and patronage for European patients Rights Day, Commissioner for Health, Mrs Androulla Vassiliou stated: "When I launched the 'Europe for patients' campaign in September 2008, my main aim was to bring EU healthcare policies closer to citizens. It is important that all citizens are well informed about their rights and how to exercise them and healthcare should be no exception." As the health expectations of citizens grow with new technologies and advancing science, we need to balance these with the challenges of containing rising healthcare costs and an ageing society. People seek health information wherever they can and the internet is fast becoming an important source. The EU health portal, now available in 22 languages provides information about 17 key health topics and aims to to help people to take responsibility for their own health, to raise awareness about health issues and to provide news of health related events and developments across Europe in one easy ‘dose’. The EU health prize for journalists launched earlier this year will also encourage more reporting, information and discussion on health issues. For the third year now, the Active Citizenship Network, an NGO working with over 80 citizens organisations, launches a series of national, regional and local events across Europe to mark European Patients Rights Day on 18 April. This initiative uses grassroots citizens' actions in different countries and settings to different groups of people on patient rights and patient empowerment. Commissioner Vassiliou will participate in the European event on Patients Rights day, in the European Parliament, Strasbourg on 22 April. To view Commissioner Vassiliou's video message: More information on European patients Rights Day The EU health portal

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

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

SoFFin/Hypo Real Estate

GDF Suez Energy Services / Elyo Italia

Air France-KLM/Royal Air Maroc/JV

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