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EXME09 / 29.05


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

29 / 05 / 09

Le Président de la Commission, M. José Manuel Barroso, a aujourd’hui confirmé la proposition de la Commission visant à allouer 109,4 millions d’euros suite aux ravages de la tempête Klaus en janvier 2009 dans le sud-ouest de la France. Cette aide sera affectée au remboursement du coût de mesures d’urgence telles que les opérations de secours, le nettoyage des zones sinistrées et la remise en état des infrastructures de base.

The European Commission has authorised under EC Treaty state aid rules two schemes aimed at helping companies to deal with the current economic crisis. The measures allow national, regional and local authorities to grant aid in 2009 and 2010 to businesses facing funding problems because of the current credit squeeze. The first scheme enables grants of up to €500 000 per company, while the second one provides for aid in the form of guarantees. Both schemes meet the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures, which gives Member States additional scope to facilitate access to financing in the present economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993). In particular, they are limited in time and only apply to companies that were not in difficulties on 1 July 2008 (before the credit crunch) They are therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty, which permits aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.

Jan Fischer, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico and EU Commissioner Vladimír Špidla have opened today the fourth plenary session of the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) in the Czech capital Prague. 250 high-ranking participants from all relevant stakeholders are discussing risks, opportunities and transparency issues of nuclear energy.

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.0% in May 2009 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 0.6% in April. Euro area inflation is measured by the Monetary Union Index of Consumer Prices (MUICP). To compute the MUICP flash estimates, Eurostat uses early price information relating to the reference month from Member States for which data are available as well as early information about energy prices. The flash estimation procedure for the MUICP combines historical information with partial information on price developments in the most recent months to give a total index for the euro area. No detailed breakdown is available. Experience has shown the procedure to be reliable (18 times exactly anticipating the inflation rate and 6 times differing by 0.1 over the last two years). Further information can be found in Eurostat News Release 113/2001 of 5 November 2001.

  • The Commission has adopted a Regulation on active and intelligent packaging

The Regulation will introduce an authorisation scheme for substances used for active and intelligent functions in food contact materials, in particular food packaging. It will require the safety evaluation of such substances by the European Food Safety Authority. A single market will be created for the use of active and intelligent packaging by laying down criteria which ensure their safety while allowing for a competitive position of this new type of packaging. Active food contact materials and articles are intended to extend the shelf-life or to maintain or improve the condition of packaged food. They incorporate components that would release substances into food or absorb substances from food. Examples are oxygen absorbers or releasers of preservative or flavourings. Intelligent food contact materials and articles monitor the condition of packaged food or the environment surrounding the food. Examples are indicators for storage temperature or microbial contamination. The proposed Regulation will introduce specific labelling rules and will require the business operator to issue a declaration of compliance so that an adequate information flow on their safe use is ensured throughout the business chain.


  • Standing Committee on Plant Health approves temporary derogation from emergency measures against pine wood nematode

A Commission proposal to provide a temporary derogation from the current emergency measures has received the favourable opinion of the Standing Committee on Plant Health. The proposal derogates to the Decision that was voted on 24 April 2009, which provides for enhanced controls by 16 June 2009 by Portugal and the other Member States on wood packaging material movements and which requires that pallets and other wood packaging materials -including those originating from other Member States- be treated and marked before leaving Portugal. In order to avoid disproportionate disruption of trade, the proposal voted on Wednesday 27 May foresees that the provisions for wood packaging material originating outside continental Portugal will apply as of 1 January 2010. The Commission and the Member States count on the efforts of the wood packaging materials, transport and logistics industries to adapt as soon as possible to the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No 15 requirement in order to be fully ready to implement it when the derogation expires at the end of 2009.

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

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