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EXME 10 / 25.03

Midday Express of 2010-03-25

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

Chemicals: New European Commission determined to make REACH a success

Vice President Tajani and Commissioner Potočnik have swiftly followed up on their undertaking given during their Hearings in the European Parliament by together visiting the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, in Helsinki on 25 March. They are taking action to make progress towards the registration of chemicals and the management of substances of very high concern. Of particular importance is the smooth implementation of the registration of high-volume chemicals by the REACH deadline of 30 November 2010 by implementing solutions to practical problems to support industry’s work, in particular SMEs. Both Commissioners also announced their common approach on the identification and management of substances of very high concern. They also welcomed progress on the translation of the guidelines for the implementation of REACH. Both commissioners underlined their commitment to the success of REACH, the European Chemicals Regulation.

More women in top jobs key to economic growth, says EU report

Only one in 10 board members of Europe's biggest listed companies is a woman and all central bank governors in the EU are male. The economy would benefit by having full representation of both men and women in top positions, says a new report presented by the European Commission today. It comes ahead of a new strategy for gender equality that will be adopted by the European Commission later this year.

La Commission prend d'importantes mesures pour optimiser l'utilisation de l'espace aérien européen

La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui des règles sur la gestion des courants de trafic aérien afin d'optimiser l'utilisation de l'espace aérien disponible. Ce nouveau règlement est une étape importante de la mise en œuvre de la fonction de gestionnaire de réseau européen prévue par le paquet «ciel unique II».

European social partners meet EU to debate exit from the crisis and Europe 2020 strategy

Today, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero representing the Presidency of the Council met the European social partners to look at how Europe can exit the current economic and financial crisis. Discussions also focused on the Commission’s proposal for a new ten-year integrated economic and social strategy: Europe 2020. This Tripartite Social Summit has demonstrated the broad consensus on the need to combine a successful exit strategy with an ambitious structural reform agenda. László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion along with representatives of the future Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies also participated actively in the discussions.

Conference "What future for Milk?" on Friday, 26 March 2010

More than 400 delegates from all parts of the dairy supply chain plus political and administrative stakeholders will attend a Conference in Brussels tomorrow to discuss the prospects for the dairy sector against the background of recent extreme price volatility and a future milk production without quotas.. The event will be opened by EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloș, who described the Conference as "an important part of the process of preparing the sector for the challenges and opportunities ahead". Prices paid to dairy farmers fell to particularly low levels last spring – well below the costs of production for many farmers. The Commission's use of market support tools, notably public intervention and private storage aid, was instrumental in putting a floor in the market and helping not only to stabilise prices but also creating the foundation for the recovery later in the year. The conference will in particular discuss important issues currently on the agenda of the High Level Group on Milk.

Commission launches the second EU Health Prize for Journalists

Today, the European Commission launches the second EU health prize for journalists in print and on-line articles. The prize is part of the 'Europe for Patients' campaign launched in September 2008. It aims to stimulate and reward high-quality journalism that raises awareness of healthcare and patients' rights issues. This year's prize follows on from the first health prize for journalists which attracted over 460 articles from journalists from all across the European Union.

La commissaire Georgieva souligne la dimension humanitaire de la crise d'Haïti lors d'une conférence organisée par Bill Clinton en prélude au sommet des donateurs en faveur d'Haïti, qui se tiendra à New York

«Si la reconstruction d'Haïti doit assurément demeurer une de nos priorités, nous ne devons pas pour autant oublier la situation d'urgence humanitaire dans laquelle se trouvent encore des millions d'Haïtiens», a déclaré Mme Kristalina Georgieva, commissaire européenne chargée de la coopération internationale, de l'aide humanitaire et de la réaction aux crises, soulignant ainsi la dimension humanitaire que continue de revêtir la crise en Haïti. Cette déclaration est intervenue ce jour lors d'une conférence à New York coprésidée par la commissaire et M. Bill Clinton et qui s'adressait aux organisations non gouvernementales participant à l'aide au pays ravagé par le séisme.

The European Commission strengthens relationship with Oversees countries and territories (OCTs)

Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs opened today in Brussels a two-day conference between the European Union and OCTs countries. The 2009 OCT-EU Forum aims at strengthening relations between the two sides and paving the way for a new partnership agreement. The European Commission also presented the Communication "Elements for a new partnership between the EU and the OCTs", based on enhancing competitiveness, strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerability and promoting regional cooperation in these countries. For the 10th European Development Funds, 286 million euros are allocated to OCTs.

Commission clears JV between E.ON Carbon Sourcing and Masdar

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed joint venture between E.ON Carbon Sourcing of Germany and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) of United Arab Emirates. E.ON is a service provider, whose main activities are the generation and supply of electricity and gas. Masdar is renewable energy company. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

European Maritime Day Conference 2010: registration now open

Since its launch in 2008, European Maritime Day is celebrated every year on 20 May. This year's European Maritime Day Stakeholder Conference will be held in Gijon, Spain from 18 to 21 May. The programme comprises around 50 workshops, which cover an array of maritime issues, under the leitmotiv of innovation for sustainable growth of maritime sectors and coastal regions. The highlight of the conference will be plenary sessions on 20 May. Speakers include Diego Lopez Garrido, Spanish State Secretary for Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, as well as H.R.H. Felipe de Borbón, Prince of Asturias. The full programme of the conference can be found at the website below. Registration to the conference is open as from today. This is the 3rd edition of European Maritime Day and its annual conference has already established itself as the meeting place for European stakeholders representing all maritime sectors and activities. This year's event is co-hosted by the Spanish Presidency of the EU, the European Commission and the Government of the Principality of Asturias. Last year's edition in Rome attracted over 1200 participants. Besides the conference in Gijon, European Maritime Day will be celebrated with various maritime events across Europe around 20 May. Conference programme and registration available at: http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeday

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Finnish plans to grant temporary tax exemption for sales of agricultural land

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation under the EU State aid rules into a Finnish scheme to grant temporary exemption from capital gains tax for sales of agricultural land. The Commission has doubts whether the measure would be compatible with EU law. Opening a formal investigation allows the Commission to examine the measure in detail and gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments. The Finnish authorities plan to grant tax relief to natural persons or estates of deceased persons selling agricultural land in the 2009 and 2010 tax years. In order for the seller to be eligible for this tax exemption, the agricultural land has to be sold to a practising farmer on condition that the buyer continues cultivating it. The objective is to increase ownership of agricultural land by active farmers, thereby creating larger and better structured farms. The Commission’s preliminary assessment concludes that the scheme notified appears to fulfil the criteria for being considered State aid. The Commission decision expresses doubts whether the scheme in question would be compatible with the applicable State aid rules and invites the Finnish authorities to clarify a number of points about its plans. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case number N 417/2009 in the State aid register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Call for tenders for an evaluation of CAP measures applied to the sheep and goat sector

The European Commission has launched a call for tenders for an evaluation of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) measures applied to the sheep and goat sector. The objective of this evaluation is to analyse the economic aspects of the sector since the introduction of the 2003 CAP Reform. The impacts of the measures laid down in the single CMO Regulation and the Regulation on common rules for direct support schemes for farmers will be assessed. In particular, the evaluation will concentrate on the impacts on (i) sheep and goat production; (ii) the supply of sheep and goat meat to the processing industry; (iii) profitability, competitiveness and market orientation of the sector; and iv) farmers' income. The evaluation will examine the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of the measures, as well as their coherence with the rural development policy, sanitary measures, the measures applied under state aid schemes, and the EU information and promotion policy. The maximum budget attributed to this project is € 300 000. The deadline for submitting offers is 3 June 2010. The Commission intends to award the contract before the end of 2010, following the evaluation of the offers received. The contractor will have to carry out the evaluation within 10 months from the signature of the contract. Details are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/tenderdocs/2010/83951/index_en.htm

Enregistrement de six dénominations de produits agricoles

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 espagnols "Chorizo Riojano" (charcuterie - IGP), "Chirimoya de la Costa tropical de Granada-Málaga" (fruit - AOP) et "Alubia de La Bañeza-León (haricot – IGP), de l'huile d'olive italienne "Colline Pontine (AOP), pour le Royaume-Uni, de "Yorkshire Forced Rhurarb" (AOP), et, pour la France, de "Farine de Petit Épeautre de Haute Provence" (IGP). Les six dénominations s'ajoutent à la liste d'environ 900 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

Rediffusion

Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Plastal Germany by Faurecia

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of German car plastic components maker Plastal GmbH, by Faurecia SA, a subsidiary of Peugeot that also makes components for the car industry. 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 Commission speeds up registration and authorisation for safer chemicals

Speech by President Barroso at the European Parliament Plenary in advance of the European Council, Brussels – en rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso following the meeting with Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip, Brussels

Closing remarks by Commissioner Füle 'Moldova Donors Forum', Brussels

Speech by Commissioner Damanaki 'Integration in maritime affairs: the way forward', Brussels

Speech by Commissioner Rehn 'The Giegold Report on the 2009 Annual Statement of the euro area', Brussels


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