Midday Express of 2010-04-15
European Commission - MEX/10/0415 15/04/2010
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EXME 10 / 15.04
Midday Express of 2010-04-15
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Des chercheurs de premier plan issus de toute l’Europe se réunissent aujourd’hui à Stockholm pour définir une stratégie de recherche paneuropéenne dans la lutte contre les maladies neurodégénératives telles que les maladies d’Alzheimer et de Parkinson. Il s’agit de la première des nouvelles «initiatives de programmation conjointe» de l’Union européenne, conçues pour lui permettre de s’attaquer à de grands défis qu’aucun État membre agissant isolément ne pourrait relever efficacement. Les initiatives de programmation conjointe visent à relever ces défis communs par la recherche sur fonds publics, en fédérant les chercheurs, les travaux de recherche existants et les organismes de financement nationaux et en assurant un partage plus efficient d’outils, de techniques et d’autres ressources entre États membres. Ce type d’effort peut contribuer de manière substantielle à la réalisation des objectifs de la stratégie Europe 2020, qui fait de la recherche et de l’innovation les moyens essentiels pour améliorer la qualité de la vie et créer de nouvelles sources de croissance.
La Commission européenne a décidé d’allouer 21 millions d’euros à deux nouveaux projets de recherche sur le cancer, dans le cadre d’un effort international de recherche coordonné depuis 2007 par l’International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), qui vise à élucider pleinement les mutations du génome humain (soit les informations héréditaires de l’organisme, exprimées par les gènes) intervenant dans de nombreuses formes de cancer. Il est en effet fondamental de comprendre ces mutations pour améliorer la prévention, la détection précoce, le suivi et le traitement d’une maladie qui a tué 7,5 millions de personnes dans le monde en 2007.
The Commission's seventh DIPECHO (Disaster Preparedness ECHO) Action Plan, worth €10 million, will target the most vulnerable local communities and their institutions involved in risk reduction in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Furthermore, regional programming could take into account the whole of Central America. It is estimated that approximately 800,000 people will benefit directly from this Action Plan. Funds will be channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.
The number of dangerous consumer products notified through the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products ("RAPEX") rose by 7% in 2009 compared to 2008, the Commission's annual RAPEX report shows today. This rise from 1866 notifications in 2008 to 1993 last year shows that the capacity of the RAPEX system has increased again in 2009, following more effective market surveillance by Member States. European businesses are also taking their responsibilities in the consumer product safety area more seriously and recall their unsafe products from the market more readily. They also begin to use the dedicated rapid alert system for business ('Business Application') more systematically. Toys, clothing and motor vehicles were the most frequently notified products in 2009. In addition, the results of an EU market surveillance exercise, involving 13 countries checking the safety of toys, were also presented today, and show that around 20% did not comply with the relevant safety requirements.
Earth observation to support sustainable town planning in European cities
With Urban Atlas, Europe’s urban planners have new tools to ensure that towns and cities grow and prosper not only sustainably but also safely. An exhibition running from 15-30 April in the European Commission Berlaymont building in Brussels will show 27 Urban Atlas maps and related satellite images exhibited (one town per EU Member State) out of a total of 125 cities in the EU mapped so far. Urban Atlas, a digital satellite based mapping tool, offers reliable and comparable urban planning information delivered through the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security’s (GMES) Land services. The system enables urban planners and authorities to better assess the risks and opportunities in their urban areas as they unfold, ranging from the threat of flooding and the impact of climate change, to identifying new infrastructure and public transport needs. The list of the towns available is in the EEA website: http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/urban-atlas For more information on GMES: http://ec.europa.eu/gmes/index_en.htm
Commission clears acquisition of Spotless by BC Partners
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Spotless Group of France by BC Partners Holdings Limited of Guernsey. Spotless is a manufacturer of laundry, household, shoes and plant & pet care products and glass lens cleaners. BC Partners is a private equity company which operates as an integrated team through offices in Europe and North America to acquire and develop businesses and create value in partnership with management. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
State aid: Commission approves second prolongation of Slovenian liquidity scheme for the financial sector
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, the second prolongation until 30 June 2010 of a Slovenian liquidity scheme for the financial sector. The Commission found the second prolongation of the measure, previously prolonged on 19 October 2009 and initially approved on 20 March 2009 (see MEX/09/1019 and IP/09/452), to be in line with its guidance on support measures for banks during the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the extended measure is limited in time and scope. The Commission therefore concluded that the second prolongation of the scheme represents an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Slovenian economy and as such is compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty.
"A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings"- Exhibition of Roma photos in Berlaymont
The photographer Zsuzsanna Ardó ( www.ardo.org) has been extensively involved in work with Roma communities in Hungary and Romania, mainly for Amnesty International. The pictures exposed were taken over the past couple of years. The exhibition organised by Directorate General Education and Culture under the banner of the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion takes place on the first floor of the Berlaymont between 15 and 30 April and will open with a cocktail on the 15th of April at 5 pm. The "butterfly effect" comes from the chaos theory in physics and meteorology. It means that changing one little thing somewhere on the planet can trigger a global response. For example, a closer look at the discrimination endured by the largest European minority, the Roma, can bring a positive change in perceptions and ultimately in society.
On 14 April President Barroso chaired a meeting of the Cyprus Steering Group in which Vice-President Viviane Reding and Commissioner Štefan Füle participated. It was the first meeting of the Group under the Barroso II Commission. The Group discussed the results of the ongoing settlement talks and looked in particular at EU related aspects of a future settlement. Leopold Maurer, the personal representative of President Barroso to the UN Good Offices Mission reported on his mission. The overall assessment was that important progress has been made by the leaders of the two communities Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat towards a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.
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