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Midday Express of 2009-11-27

European Commission - MEX/09/1127   27/11/2009

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EXME 09 / 27.11

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

27 / 11 / 09

The language industry has been less affected by the economic crisis than other sectors, according to a study carried out for the European Commission. The study, the first to analyse the size of the language industry EU-wide, covers translation, interpreting, localising and globalising, subtitling and dubbing, language technology tools, multilingual conference organisation and language teaching. It puts EU-wide turnover at EUR 8.4 billion (2008). This is set to increase by at least 10 % annually, over the next few years, to between EUR 16.5 billion and EUR 20 billion by 2015. This is one of the highest growth rates in EU industry.

The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area improved in November for the eighth consecutive month. Nevertheless, it remains at a subdued level, suggesting that year-on-year growth in industrial production was still negative in October. The rise in the BCI is due to a broad-based improvement in sentiment among managers. The majority of companies report higher production expectations. A better outlook for export and overall order books also helped. Managers' assessment of the production trend observed in recent months improved as well. Finally, stocks of finished goods continued to decline. The level of stocks now stands just below its long-term average.

In November, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose to 87.9 (+1.9 points) in the EU and to 88.8 (+2.7) in the euro area. The indicator has improved in both areas for eight consecutive months since its trough in March 2009, though it still remains significantly below the long-term average.

The European Commission published today the twelfth update of the Community’s list of airlines banned in the European Union which comprises those of three additional countries following safety deficiencies highlighted by audits. With this update the ban imposed upon three airlines is lifted and one airline is allowed to resume operations under conditions given satisfactory improvements in safety.

In a letter sent today, the European Commission has asked the Polish telecoms regulator, Urząd Komunikacji Elektronicznej (UKE), not to unnecessarily prolong asymmetric termination rates in favour of P4, the latest entrant in the Polish mobile telephone market. Currently P4 charges other operators around 1.5 times more for connecting calls on its network than its competitors. The Commission calls upon UKE to bring its pricing methodology in line with the Commission's Recommendation on Termination Rates of May 2009 (IP/09/710) and to swiftly reduce P4's mobile termination rates (MTR) to the level of the cost of an efficient operator. Termination rates are an important cost element when consumers call a phone which is connected to another network. They are included in everyone's phone bill and eventually paid by the calling customer.

Today, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) officially launched its 2nd Call for proposals. The public-private partnership between the European Commission (EC) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) is inviting research consortia to submit proposals for 9 scientific topics. The aim of the Call is to speed up the discovery and development of new medicines for diseases such as cancer and inflammatory and infectious diseases. IMI will also fund projects to improve data exchange between industry and the scientific community, an important aspect of knowledge management. The Commission's contribution to this 2nd Call of €76.8 million is expected to be at least matched by in-kind contributions from the member companies of EFPIA.

On November 27, EU Youth Ministers will meet in Brussels to adopt a new framework for EU cooperation in the youth field from 2010 until 2018.

The 12th EU-China Summit in Nanjing on 30 November 2009 provides an excellent occasion to discuss with China the way towards an ambitious result at climate global conference starting one week later in Copenhagen. The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Council, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr Fredrik Reinfeldt and the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, accompanied by Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner. The Chinese Delegation will be headed by Premier Wen Jiabao. The Summit will also address the financial and economic crisis as well as the bilateral relationship and international issues, like non-proliferation, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma/Myanmar.

Today, the EU Council decided that 2011 will be designated the "European Year of Volunteering". The organisation of the Year had been proposed by the European Commission and received a positive opinion by the European Parliament.

  • Enregistrement de deux dénominations de produits agricoles

La Commission européenne a ajouté deux dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires à la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit de la salade italienne "Insalata di Lusia" (IGP) et des fraises polonais "Truskawka kaszubska" ou "kaszëbskô malëna" (IGP). Les deux dénominations s'ajoutent à la liste d'environ 850 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet à l'adresse: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/index_fr.htm

  • Commission clears proposed joint venture between Nokia and SAP

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed joint venture between Nokia Corporation (Nokia) of Finland and SAP AG of Germany. Nokia develops and supplies mobile handsets, mobile and fixed telecom networks and associated services and Internet-based services. SAP develops and distributes software applications and provides associated support services. The joint venture will provide product authentication and anti-counterfeit services to business customers and government authorities. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Pliant by Apollo

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Pliant Corporation (Pliant) of the US by Apollo Management, L.P. and its affiliates (Apollo), also of the US. Apollo is an investment fund. Pliant manufactures and sells flexible films and packaging. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Subsidiaries of Interbrew Central European Holding by CVC

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of certain companies active in the beer sector in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and other non-EEA central European countries (Target Group) of Luxembourg, currently part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev group of, Belgium, by CVC Capital Partners SICAV-FIS S.A. and its affiliates (CVC) of Luxembourg, part of the UK CVC group. CVC provides investment advice and investment fund management. The Target Group produces, sells and distributes beer in Central and Eastern Europe The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commissioner Kovács to discuss: "What taxation for a low carbon economy?"

EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs László Kovács will give the opening speech at a conference entitled "What Taxation for a Low Carbon Economy", which takes place in Brussels on Monday 30 November 2009. Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today, and substantial mitigation efforts are needed to tackle it. The emission trading system (ETS) has been chosen as the EU's main instrument in this context, but other complementary instruments also should be explored. This includes the role that taxation could or should play with respect to emissions in the non-ETS sector. The conference will focus on possibility of addressing global warming through targeted taxation instruments, taking into account broader economic and social considerations. It will bring together high level policy makers, experts, a broad spectrum of stakeholders and the general public from all over Europe, to discuss this important subject at a very timely moment of the run up to the international climate change conference in Copenhagen. Commissioner Kovács will also do a press point at 10.30 in the press area of the ground floor of the Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi, Brussels. For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/gen_info/tax_conferences/low_carbon/index_en.htm

In the first half of 2009 the value of EU27 exports to China fell to 37 bn euro, compared with 39 bn in the first half of 2008, and imports decreased to 103 bn from 112 bn. As a result, the EU27 trade deficit with China dropped from 73 bn in the first half of 2008 to 65 bn in the same period of 2009. The fall in EU27 trade with China recorded between the first halves of 2008 and 2009 was less steep than the general downward trend in the EU27's total external trade, leading to an increase in the share of China in the EU27's total external trade in goods to more than 7% of exports and 17% of imports in the first half of 2009, compared with 6% and 14% respectively in the first half of 2008. China is the EU27's second most important trading partner, after the USA. It should be noted that between 2000 and 2008, EU27 trade in goods with China had more than tripled in value, and the share of China in the EU27's total external trade in goods doubled. On the occasion of the 12th European Union - China summit, which will take place on 30 November in Nanjing, Eurostat issues data on trade in goods between China and the EU. Data on trade in services and investments can be found in the recent News Release published for the previous EU - China summit.

  • Fisheries: Commission proposes that the Council denounce the EU-Guinea Fisheries Partnership Agreement

The political situation in the Republic of Guinea prompted the European Commission to withdraw its proposal on the signing of a fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and Guinea (see MEX/09/1021). Commissioner Joe Borg, responsible for maritime affairs and fisheries, informed the EU Presidency and the European Parliament of this intention and received their backing. As a final step in this process, the Commission has now adopted a proposal under which the Council would denounce the agreement which, by virtue of a Council Decision of May 2009, has been applied provisionally since 1 January 2009. The Commission has also decided to suspend the payment of EUR 1.5 million to Guinea under the provisional application of the Protocol to the agreement. In the prevailing circumstances, until the conditions in Guinea can guarantee that European funds will be put to proper use, the Commission cannot make a financial transfer to the Guinean authorities. The Commission will be keeping a close eye on developments in the situation through the consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. Within this framework, the European Union has already suspended its development assistance to Guinea until such time as there is a satisfactory resolution to the crisis. Any humanitarian aid assistance, which is strictly non-political and provided on a needs basis, remains unaffected. This decision means that, once the Council has notified Guinea of the denunciation of the agreement, the European fleet currently operating in Guinean waters will be required to leave that fishing area forthwith. The Commission has asked the Member States concerned to keep their fleets abreast of developments. Background: Following the tragic events of 28 September last, during which more than 150 peaceful demonstrators were killed by the ruling military junta, the Commission decided to withdraw its proposal on the signing of a fisheries agreement with the Republic of Guinea. These acts of violence were widely condemned by the international community. Many international and regional organisations and countries joined the European Union in deciding to impose sanctions on the ruling junta.

Rediffusion

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP- of the US of Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL from its current owner, BAA of the UK. Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo on Digitised books, digital libraries and media literacy on the agenda at the Council of Ministers in Charge of Culture and Audiovisual Policy, 27 November 2009

• Memo on Statement by Commissioner Almunia after the transmission of the government amendments to the 2010 budget law

• Memo on Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, 30 November and 1 December 2009, Brussels

• Speech by Commissioner Kuneva: "Revision of the Package Travel Directive"

• Speech by Commissioner Kroes: "Better targeted aid is the name of the game"

• Speech by Commissioner Borg: " Making the Common Fisheries Policy reform work for the outermost regions"

• Calendrier hebdomadaire du 30 novembre au 6 decembre

• Top News from the European Commission

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

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration:

Safran/SIA/Safran Electronics Asia


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