Midday Express of 2009-12-01
European Commission - MEX/09/1201 01/12/2009
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EXME 09 / 01.12
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
01 / 12 / 09
The Treaty of Lisbon enters into force today – 1 December 2009. The occasion will be marked by a ceremony in the City of Lisbon organised jointly by the Portuguese Government, the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission. The Commission believes that the new treaty provides significant new benefits for citizens and will settle the institutional debate for the foreseeable future. This will allow the European Union to fully concentrate on managing a smooth exit from the economic and financial crisis and pushing ahead with the 2020 strategy for greener growth.
Paweł Samecki, the European Commissioner
for Regional Policy, will today announce details of the European Union's major
contribution in support of the fight against organised crime in southern Italy.
The EU cohesion policy will invest €64 million on re-developing property
seized from the mafia in the 2007-2013 period. This follows a successful pilot
project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which
contributed €11 million for the conversion of 50 former mafia properties
into educational, agri-tourism or other legal business ventures.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control of Uttam Galva Steels Limited of India by ArcelorMittal S.A. of Luxemburg and the Miglani Family of India. 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.
The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.8% in October 2009, the same as in September. It was 7.9% in October 2008. The EU271 unemployment rate was 9.3% in October 2009, compared with 9.2% in September. It was 7.3% in October 2008. Eurostat estimates that 22.510 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.567 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in October 2009. Compared with September, the number of persons unemployed increased by 258 000 in the EU27 and by 134 000 in the euro area. Compared with October 2008, unemployment went up by 5.002 million in the EU27 and by 3.149 million in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat.
The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a second prolongation of six months of a Spanish guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the second prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 23 December 2008 (see IP/08/2049) and prolonged for a first period of six months on 26 June 2009 (see IP/08/1495), to be in line with its Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis. In particular, the extended measures are limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Spanish economy and as such are compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty.
The European Commission has published feedback
statements summarising the responses received to its public consultations on
Responsible Lending and Borrowing (see IP/09/922)
and on the report of the Expert Group on Credit Histories (see IP/09/921).
The former invited stakeholders' views on issues such as the advertising and
marketing of credit, creditworthiness and suitability assessment, advice
standards, the role and regulation of credit intermediaries and how better to
encourage consumers to borrow responsibly. The latter consultation invited input
on the recommendations put forward by the Expert Group on Credit Histories in
its June 2009 report. The feedback statements summarise the wide range of views
expressed by well over 100 diverse stakeholders. The feedback statements,
together with all contributions authorised for publication, are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/finservices-retail/credit/responsible_lending_en.htm
Water policy directors of EU
Member States have issued a guidance document to help water managers reduce the
vulnerability of Europe's water resources to climate change. The document is the
first result of follow-up to last April's European Commission White Paper on
adaptation to climate change (see IP/09/519),
which sets out a framework to strengthen Europe's resilience to climate impacts.
As climate change is predicted to cause significant changes in the quality and
quantity of water across Europe, the document provides guidance to water
managers in Member States on taking account of the impacts of climate change and
increasing the resilience of water systems to climate change when implementing
EU policies and legislation that address sustainable water management.
Particularly relevant in this context are the Water Framework Directive, the
Floods Directive and the EU strategy on water scarcity and droughts. The
guidance document has been discussed with a wide range of stakeholders and
experts across Europe. It has been drafted by experts from the United Kingdom,
France, Spain and the European Environment Agency under the coordination of
Germany and the European Commission. The document recommends combining immediate
action on monitoring and improving understanding of climate-driven impacts on
water resources with implementation of actions to improve resilience and ensure
that long life-time investments are made 'climate-proof' by taking future
climate impacts into account. Further information Document 'river basin
management in a changing climate' http://circa.europa.eu/Public/irc/env/wfd/library?l=/framework_directive/climate_adaptation&vm=detailed&sb=Title
Commission webpage on water management http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/index_en.htm
Commission webpage on climate change adaptation http://www.ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/adaptation/index_en.htm
The Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement on judicial cooperation in criminal matters about to be settled between the EU and Japan is the first "self-standing" EU – third country MLA Agreement,. This agreement is meant to bring significant added value in the EU relations with Japan. It will contribute to combating crime, while respecting justice, principles of the rule of law and democracy, as well as judicial independence. Cooperation tools will be more effective and delays and costs should be significantly reduced.
The EU decided today that the citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia will be able to travel without visa to the Schengen area as of 19 December 2009.
Le Vice-Président de la Commission européenne, Jacques Barrot, responsable du dossier "Justice, Liberté, Sécurité" et la Commissaire Ferrero-Waldner, en charge des Relations Extérieures, le Ministre de l'Intérieur suédois M. Billström et le Ministre géorgien d'Etat pour l'intégration européenne et euro-atlantique, ont lancé aujourd’hui, avec les Ministres responsables des Etats membres intéressés – Allemagne, Belgique, Bulgarie, Danemark, Estonie, France, Grande Bretagne, Grèce, Italie, Lettonie, Lituanie, Pays Bas, Pologne, Roumanie, République tchèque et Suède) un partenariat pour la mobilité entre l’Union européenne et la Géorgie, en signant une Déclaration commune qui les engagent dans la réalisation d'initiatives concrètes dans le domaine de la migration.
Parents will have the right to longer parental leave, under new rules agreed by EU ministers today. The revised Directive on Parental Leave will give each working parent the right to at least four months leave after the birth or adoption of a child (up from three months now). At least one of the four months cannot be transferred to the other parent – meaning it will be lost if not taken – offering incentives to fathers to take the leave. The new Directive also provides for better protection against discrimination and a smoother return to work. It puts into effect an agreement between European employers and trade union organisations.