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EXME 09 / 30.11
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
30 / 11 / 09
What can be done to make sure that children’s voices are heard and their rights respected during adoptions? That is a question which the European Commission and the Council of Europe intends to respond to at a joint conference on Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe: Ensuring the Best Interests of the Child.
On the eve of World AIDS Day 2009 (1st December), the European Commission can announce that it has invested over one billion Euros in the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As a founding member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the European Commission has to date pledged €1,072.5 million covering the period 2002-2010 and has recently made new policy commitments to do more, better, together. According to the latest figures, new HIV infections have been reduced by 17% over the past eight years and that the most progress is seen in sub-Saharan Africa. However worldwide, the number of people living with HIV now reaches 33 million, with the fastest spread of the epidemic occurring on the threshold of the European Union, in the neighbouring countries of Eastern Europe.
How will economic policies adapt in 2020 when a quarter
of the EU population is over 65? Can economics better predict how banks will
react to credit crunches in the future, and what their impact will be on the
wider economy? How will the economy work when dwindling natural resources make
it harder to satisfy our energy needs? The European Commission today unveiled
breakthrough research that could help economists answer questions like these by
using economic simulation software. Produced by an EU-backed research project
worth €2.5 million that came to a successful end today, the software
applies simulation technology also used for computer generated images (CGI) in
movies. It predicts the interaction between large populations of different
economic actors, like households and companies, banks and borrowers or employers
and job-seekers, who trade, and compete like real people. By giving each
simulated agent individual and realistic behaviour and interactions that show
how markets will evolve, these massive scale simulations can better test new
policies tackling future societal challenges.
How can victims of crime get assistance in the EU? Who should EU citizens call if they need non-urgent medical help or advice? New helplines like these should be available soon throughout the EU thanks to a decision taken by the European Commission today. It reserves two new "116" numbers for services of social value. The helpline numbers 116 006 and 116 117 will be reserved for victims of crime and for citizens calling non-emergency medical services across the EU.
Today, the European Community (EC) signed a Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Agreement with Jordan. This agreement will help structure and enhance S&T cooperation in areas of common interest such as energy and sustainable development where joint research efforts could bring common solutions and mutual benefits. It opens a new chapter of scientific cooperation between the EC and Jordan, an important partner in the EU´s neighbourhood policy.
Today, the European Community (EC) and Japan marked a firm commitment to strengthen their collaboration in research by signing a Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Agreement. This agreement will help them identify common research priorities and areas of common interest, such as energy and environment, in which joint research efforts could be particularly promising. It will also provide a framework to establish mechanisms for enhanced S&T cooperation, such as reciprocal participation in research programmes, exchange of researchers, and coordinated calls for proposals.
In a letter just sent, the European Commission welcomed the proposal of the Lithuanian regulatory authority for telecommunications, Ryšių reguliavimo tarnyba (RRT), to decrease mobile termination rates (MTRs) in Lithuania by around 60% in the coming two years. MTRs are the wholesale prices which mobile operators charge for terminating calls on their respective networks. As a result of RRT's proposal, mobile termination rates in Lithuania will be amongst the lowest in the EU. In addition, as from 31 December 2012 at the latest, RRT plans to set MTRs at the level of the cost of an efficient operator, based on a cost model in line with the Commission's Recommendation on Termination Rates (IP/09/710). However, RRT wanted to reserve the possibility to introduce a transitional period until July 2014 prior to reaching efficient termination rates. The Commission's letter stresses that no such additional transitional period should be granted. The Commission also reminded RRT that the obligation for operators to grant access to their respective networks to competitors is unilateral and unconditional.
The European Commission has today approved an application from Lithuania for assistance under the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The application will now be sent to the European Parliament and the Council who have to approve the release of the funds. If approved, the €258,163 requested will help 480 employees made redundant from Snaigė – a manufacturer of electrical equipment – and two of its suppliers – UAB Jugos kabeliai and UAB Hoda.
The European Commission has today approved an application from Germany for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The application will now be put before the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union for decision. If approved, the €6.2 million requested will help 1,793 automotive workers made redundant by the Karmann group back into employment.
Paweł Samecki, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, will call for a stronger focus on objectives, performance and results when he addresses the sixth European conference on evaluation of the EU cohesion policy in Warsaw on Monday (30 November). Organised by the European Commission at the invitation of the Polish Minister for Regional Development, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the event will discuss new methods for assessing the impact and added-value of the policy, which aims to reduce economic disparities and to promote long-term sustainable growth and jobs. Around 500 experts, responsible for evaluating the cohesion policy at national and regional levelin the 27 Member States, will participate in the conference.
The European Commission has approved measures to provide information on, and to promote agricultural products in third countries. Member States submitted 20 programmes to the Commission to be examined. The 10 programmes that have been accepted are from France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Romania. The products covered are PGI and PDO, wine, fruit and vegetables, meat, spirits, olive oil, and organic products. The EU contribution is € 11.1 million (50% of the total budget of the programmes).
On 26 November 2009 the Council paved the way for the conclusion, by the European Community (EC), of the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Convention is the first international legally binding instrument establishing minimum standards for the protection and safeguarding of a full range of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of persons with disabilities around the world. It is also the first comprehensive human rights convention to which the EC is becoming a party.
At the Informal Meeting of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers in Jönköping in July this year, it was decided to collect examples of labour market measures that have been implemented or modified by Member States in response to the crisis. Today, on the occasion of the Employment and Social Policy Council in Brussels, Employment Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and Swedish Minister for Employment, Sven-Otto Littorin, are presenting the 27 different responses which may be of use and inspiration to other Member States as they tackle the crisis. See link below for booklet: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=429&type=2&furtherPubs=yes
Up to now, a two-dose vaccination schedule is always required for the three centrally authorised pandemic H1N1v influenza vaccines Focetria®, Pandemrix® and Celvapan®. With vaccination campaigns ongoing in the European Union, about 5 million people have been vaccinated so far. Following the positive scientific opinion issued by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) at the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) on 19th November, the European Commission today authorised a single dose regime of the vaccines Focetria® and Pandemrix® for • adults aged between 18 and 60 years. • children and adolescents, from 9 years on, for Focetria®, and from 10 years on for Pandemrix®. Pandemrix® may also be used as a single dose for elderly persons above 60. This enables a substantially higher number of people to be vaccinated in a short period. This will also lead to important savings for the vaccination campaigns of national health systems.
2008, EU27 external trade in services recorded a surplus of 78.4 billion euro,
compared with a surplus of 86.9 bn in 2007 and a surplus of 71.4 bn in 2006. The
decreased surplus in 2008 was mainly due to smaller surpluses in financial
services (+30.7 bn euro in 2008 compared with +33.3 bn in 2007) and "other
business services", which includes miscellaneous business, professional &
technical services (+33.1 bn compared with +35.6 bn), and to increased deficits
in royalties & licence fees (-13.8 bn compared with -8.5 bn) and travel
(-20.3 bn compared with -18.7 bn). These deteriorations were partially
compensated by increased surpluses in transportation (+24.1 bn compared with
+19.9 bn), computer & information services (+17.3 bn compared with +14.8 bn)
and insurance services (+7.6 bn compared with +6.8 bn). These data, issued by
Eurostat are subject to revision.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.6% in November 2009 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was -0.1% in October. 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 available4 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.
La Commission européenne a ajouté six dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires à la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit des produits italiens "Fromaggio di Fossa di Sogliano" (fromage - AOP), "Marrone di Combai" (marrons – IGP) et "Aglio Bianco Polesano" (ail – AOP), de la pâtisserie allemande "Bremer Klaben" (IGP), du fromage polonais "Redykolka" (AOP) et, pour le Royaume-Uni, "Cornish Sardines" (IGP). Les six 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
The Commission adopted today a Decision establishing a European Committee of Experts on Rare diseases. The Committee will be composed of one representative per Member State from ministries or government agencies responsible for rare diseases designated by the Government of each Member State, representatives from patient's organisations, the pharmaceutical industry and Community experts in the field of rare diseases. The Committee will assist the Commission in formulating and implementing the Community's activities in the field of rare diseases. It should help all EU countries to tackle rare diseases more evenly and effectively and maximise the limited resources available by avoiding fragmented efforts and duplication. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/non_com/rare_diseases_en.htm
The European Commission adopted today a Decision authorising genetically modified (GM) maize MIR604 for food and feed uses and import and processing. MIR604 maize received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and underwent the full authorisation procedure set out in the EU legislation. As Member States failed to return a qualified majority decision for or against this authorisation in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), and then in the Council, the dossier was sent back to the Commission for adoption. The authorisation is valid for 10 years, and any products produced from MIR604 maize will be subject to the EU's labelling and traceability rules. For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm
The European Commission has published today the report of expert group on e-Invoicing. The group was mandated to design a European e-Invoicing framework, to contribute to the uptake of open and interoperable electronic invoicing solutions within the EU. Particular emphasis was put on the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The report, which does not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, will be open for consultation until 26 February 2010. The report together with information on the consultation is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/einvoicing/index_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/e-invoicing/
José Manuel Barroso,
President of the European Commission, today announced the portfolios
responsibilities for the next Commission. The President has held detailed
consultations with all the Commissioners-designate in order to assign the right
jobs to the right people. The President believes that this team can deliver the
agenda for change he set out in the political guidelines he presented in
September, following his nomination by all 27 Member States and before his
approval as President of the next Commission by the European Parliament.
A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):
Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration: