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EXME09 / 11.05
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
11 / 05 / 09
Le 13 mai 2009, les ministres des affaires étrangères de l'UE rencontreront leurs homologues du «groupe de Rio», un forum rassemblant les pays d'Amérique latine et des Caraïbes, à Prague (République tchèque), pour discuter de questions présentant un intérêt majeur pour les deux régions, notamment l’impact de la crise économique et financière et une stratégie durable en matière de sécurité énergétique et de changement climatique. La 14e réunion ministérielle entre l'Union européenne et le groupe de Rio offrira également l’occasion de débattre d'une initiative de la Commission en vue de créer une facilité destinée à financer l’interconnectivité dans la région, pour contribuer à l’intégration régionale et faire face à la crise économique. La réunion sera suivie, le 14 mai, de réunions de la troïka ministérielle avec l’Amérique centrale, le Mercosur, le Mexique et le Chili pour examiner l’état des relations bilatérales avec ces régions et pays. L'UE sera représentée par l'actuelle présidence de l'Union en la personne du ministre tchèque des affaires étrangères, M. Jan Kohout, et par Mme Benita Ferrero Waldner, commissaire chargée des relations extérieures et de la politique européenne de voisinage. Le groupe de Rio sera présidé par le Mexique, représenté par la ministre mexicaine des affaires étrangères, Mme Patricia Espinosa.
Les lauréats du concours «Union européenne et citoyenneté» ont été désignés aujourd'hui. Plus de 2500 étudiants en art et en graphisme de 16 ans ou plus ont participé au concours en créant une bande dessinée d'une page, sans paroles, pour illustrer la notion de citoyenneté dans l'Union européenne.
Today around twenty high-level representatives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in Europe gathered at the Commission headquarters at the invitation of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, for an informal dialogue with the EU. The meeting was co-chaired by Commission President Barroso and the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering. This year's meeting focused on a major European and global challenge: The economic and financial crisis and ethical contributions for European and global economic governance.
Today the Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on aviation security charges in Europe. The proposal follows a recent report on the financing of aviation security. The aims are to ensure transparency, non-discrimination and consultation of airlines when fixing the level of charges, as well as the cost-relatedness of security charges. It also proposes to establish an independent supervisory authority in each Member State.
The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, amendments to the original recapitalisation measure (Tier 2 capital) of the Latvian JSC Parex Banka, initially approved on 24 November 2008 (see IP/08/1766). Under the proposed changes, Latvia would acquire newly issued ordinary shares and subordinated term debt. The Commission found that the amendments were in line with its Communication on the recapitalisation of banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1901). In particular, the measure is subject to an adequate remuneration, does not exceed the minimum necessary and is limited in time. The amended support package for JSC Parex Banka is therefore compatible with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty, which allows aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
Meeting in Montreal, Canada, on Saturday 9 May, the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) adopted a revised International Standard for the Protection of Privacy (ISPP). The revised Standard replaces the Standard that entered into force on 1 January 2009, which posed problems from the perspective of EU legislation on the protection of personal data. The Commission greets the adoption of the revised Standard as a successful outcome of cooperation between the EU and WADA and is looking forward to continued dialogue and cooperation with WADA over data protection issues, in particular at the EU Conference on Anti-Doping in Athens on 13-15 May.
Following a proposal from the European Parliament and with the support of the City of Athens the European Commission is organising an EU Conference on Anti-Doping. The Conference will take place in Athens on 13 to 15 May. Representatives of EU sport governmental authorities will meet with key stakeholders involved in the fight against doping, including national anti-doping organisations (NADOs) of the EU Member states, accredited laboratories in Member States, the Council of Europe, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), athlete trade unions and sport academics. They will discuss topics where the EU can provide added value by complementing the action of other actors at International, European and national level.
Today 150 citizens from across the EU met top policy-makers in Brussels to hand over their recommendations on how to tackle the economic and social challenges facing Europe. This "Citizens' Summit" is the culmination of the first phase of the 2009 European Citizens’ Consultations, involving some 250,000 online users and 1,600 people representing a cross section of the societies in all 27 Member States.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joe Borg, begins a week-long visit to Australia, starting in Canberra. Mr Borg will be meeting Australian political and business leaders to explore avenues for enhanced cooperation on a wide range of issues. He will be discussing with them how to strengthen and develop topics ranging from international maritime governance, regional fisheries management and trade to illegal fishing practices and piracy. To commence his visit, Mr Borg will meet the Hon Peter Garrett MP, Australian Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, to discuss the environmental aspects of fisheries and ocean management. Later on, the Commissioner will be the host at the celebration of Europe Day. At the end of the day, he will meet the Australian Finance Minister and business leaders to explain how the EU has provided necessary resources and is developing measures to tackle the current economic crisis. The following day's schedule will begin with a meeting on the trade in fisheries products and other trade-related issues with the Hon Simon Crean MP, Minister for Trade. Mr Borg will then deliver a public lecture at the Australian National University on the EU's contribution to international maritime governance and the new EU Integrated Maritime Policy. He will round off the day's engagements with talks with the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. They are expected to focus on how the EU and Australia can work together to bolster maritime security and combat piracy. On Thursday, the Commissioner will meet the Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, to discuss fisheries cooperation and other relevant issues. Mr Borg's visit is designed to build further on the excellent relationship between the EU and Australia to provide a solid basis for constructive dialogue and discussion on the many issues which unite both parties and on the concerns they share.
Today 11 May, Commissioner László Kovács in charge of Taxation and Customs Union and Chinese Customs Minister Sheng Guangzu opened in Brussels the 4th session of the EU-China Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC). The main issue of the meeting is to advance customs cooperation in the area of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) enforcement and supply chain security. In particular, both sides are expected to agree on a roadmap for the implementation of the EU-China action plan on IPR enforcement (IP/09/193) and they will review the progress made in the pilot project aiming to create smart and secure trade lanes between the European Community and China (IP/06/1206). The European Community and China signed on 8 December 2004 an Agreement on Customs Co-operation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters to increase co-operation. This agreement entered into force on 1st April 2005. In this context, an EU-China Joint Customs Co-operation Committee (JCCC) was launched in order to promote future developments of customs legislation and to strive for the solution of problems encountered in the application of customs rules.
A major disaster simulation exercise is taking place in Hungary from 11-14 May. The EU-HUNEX Decathlon 2009, a week long exercise, will test response capacity in case of an earthquake. The exercise, which will provide training opportunities for international rescue teams, is being organised by Hungary, and in addition to domestic teams it involves civil protection teams from Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, a rescue team from the Danube-Kris-Mures-Tisa Euro Region, and civil protection coordination and assessment experts from Germany and France. EU-HUNEX is being co-financed by the Community's Civil Protection Mechanism, with the Commission funding 72% of the eligible costs. The Civil Protection Mechanism in Brussels will be activated during the exercise. Since its launch in 2001, the Mechanism has monitored close to 100 disasters and has been active in over 60. The most recent interventions of the Community Mechanism include this year's earthquake in Italy and floods in Namibia. The Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), based in the European Commission, is the central operating hub of the Mechanism. It links the civil protection authorities of 30 participating European countries and facilitates the coordination of international teams. For more information: European civil protection – http://ec.europa.eu/environment/civil/index.htm EU-HUNEX DECATHLON 2009 – http://www.eu-hunex-decathlon2009.eu/
The European Commission strongly welcomes the global consensus to add nine dangerous chemicals used in farming and industry to a list of substances to be banned under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The agreement, reached during the 4th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Stockholm Convention meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, is the result of four years of efforts by the European Union to eradicate the chemicals and will remove a serious health threat to millions of people worldwide. It is the first time the Convention has been amended to include new substances since it came into force in 2004. The EU had nominated the majority of the chemicals, which are already heavily restricted in the European Union because of the risks they pose to human health. POPs can lead to cancer, birth defects and immune and reproductive system dysfunction. Once released into the environment they remain there for decades and make their way up the food chain, accumulating in the fatty tissue of animals and humans. The nine chemicals which will join an existing list of 12 POPs, known as the “dirty-dozen”, are: commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether, commercial octabromodiphenyl ether, Chlordecone, hexabromobiphenyl, alpha hexachlorocyclohexane, beta hexachlorocyclohexane, Lindane, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride and pentachlorobenzene. The European Commission also welcomed the endorsement at the Geneva meeting of a business plan to promote effective alternatives to DDT and a network to strengthen efforts to phase out polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).The Commission was also encouraged by the commitment by the Parties, including the key developing countries, to reach a prompt conclusion on negotiations concerning rules on complying with the Convention. The meeting also agreed on closer coordination between the Stockholm Convention and its sister treaties – the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions – on hazardous chemicals and waste. Further information: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/pops/index_en.htm
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'État, un renforcement supplémentaire des fonds propres de l'entité qui sera issue du rapprochement des groupes Caisse d'Épargne et Banque Populaire, à hauteur de 2,45 milliards d'euros. Cette mesure d'aide des autorités françaises se rajoute à l'aide en faveur des groupes Caisse d'Épargne et Banque Populaire déjà approuvée dans le cadre du dispositif français de renforcement des fonds propres des établissements de crédit, par décisions de la Commission des 8 décembre 2008, 28 janvier 2009 et 24 mars 2009 (voir IP/08/1900, IP/09/158 et IP/09/461). Cette mesure est conforme aux communications de la Commission relatives aux mesures de soutien aux banques durant la crise (voir notamment IP/08/1495 et IP/08/1901).
The European Union and China have today called for an early and successful conclusion to the Doha Round of world trade talks, and pledged their commitment to closer cooperation to keep trade and investment flowing in the economic downturn. EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan spoke to the press following the second meeting of the EU-China High Level Trade and Economic Dialogue (HED), between the European Commission and the Chinese government. They reiterated the adherence of both the EU and China to the conclusions of the G20 summit in London, particularly highlighting the message that economic openness is vital to recover from the financial and economic crisis. The Dialogue was attended by a total of 14 Commissioners and Director Generals from the European Commission and 12 Chinese Ministers and Vice Ministers.
Le Mouvement de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant rouge célèbre aujourd’hui sa journée mondiale, à l’occasion de l’anniversaire de son fondateur Henri Dunant.
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid expressed his regret today on learning of the cancellation of the 'Mandate Darfur' conference, an event which aimed to bring together Darfurian civil society representatives of every community in order to build a mandate for peace.
A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):
Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :