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EXME09 / 03.09
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
03 / 09 / 09
Consumers in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia now have access to consumer magazines and websites, which provide independent, comparative testing of consumer products, following a three-year EU project co-financed by the European Commission. The final results of the programme, including a sample of 5 product studies and up-to-date circulation figures for the magazines were published today in Brussels. Over a three year period, the EU programme co-financed a total of 18 comparative tests, for use by consumer organisations, on a wide range of everyday products - from washing machines, to digital cameras, mobile phones, vacuum cleaners, child restraints, washing detergents, sun-tan lotions portable music players and TV sets. The aim of the EU programme is to provide finance, training and expertise to build the capacity of consumer organisations in testing products and publishing the results in consumer magazines.
Paweł Samecki, European Commissioner responsible for Regional Policy, will be in the Skåne-Blekinge region (South Sweden) on 4 September. During meetings with regional policy-makers, the Commissioner will discuss priority issues for the EU Swedish Presidency: Europe's response to the economic crisis, the future of Cohesion Policy and the EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy. The Commissioner will also visit EU-funded projects in Malmö, notably "Moving Media Southern Sweden", recognised as a key innovative approach to digital media policy.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the planned acquisition of US hardware and software vendor Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation, a US database and application software company. The Commission’s initial market investigation indicated that the proposed acquisition would raise serious doubts as to its compatibility with the Single Market because of competition concerns on the market for databases. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 19 January 2010, to take a final decision on whether the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it.
Today the European Commission declared its support for a new Global Framework for Climate Services that is being discussed at the 3rd World Climate Conference (WCC-3) in Geneva. Proposed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the purpose is to obtain more scientifically reliable data and prediction systems for climate forecasting. It will set new international foundations for the provision and use of science-based climate information and prediction. This initiative comes in the run up to the Copenhagen Conference that will take place in December this year.
The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a six months prolongation until 31 December 2009 of a Hungarian recapitalisation and guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 12 February 2009 (see IP/09/253), is in line with its guidance Communications on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the extended measures are non discriminatory, limited in time and scope; they provide for a market-oriented remuneration and foresee adequate safeguards to minimise potential distortions of competition. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Hungarian economy and as such are compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty.
In July 2009, compared with June 2009, the volume of retail trade1 fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA16) but increased by 0.2% in the EU27. In June retail trade remained stable in the euro area and rose by 0.3% in the EU27. In July 2009, compared with July 2008, the retail sales index decreased by 1.8% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU27. These first estimates come from Eurostat.