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EXME 10 / 31.05
Midday Express of 2010-05-31
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The Commission today proposed legislation to combat illicit arms trafficking through improved tracing and control of imports and exports of civilian firearms from and to the EU territory. The adoption of the proposal by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU would bring the European Union legislation in line with Article 10 of the UN Firearms Protocol.
Important notice: business surveys data for May 2010 are now classified in accordance with an updated version of the Nomenclature of Economic Activities (NACE rev. 2); the current developments should therefore be interpreted with caution. In May, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) declined, moving back to 100.0 (-1.9 points) in the EU and to 98.4 (-2.2 points) in the euro area. While Industry sentiment continued to improve, all other sectoral sentiment indicators dropped in the EU and the euro area.
In May, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area improved marginally. The current level of the indicator suggests that economic activity in industry will continue to recover in the coming months, although it has still some way to go to reach its pre-crisis height. Please note that the results are influenced by the change of classification of economic activities (NACE Rev.2) that has been implemented for the business surveys in May. The results for this month are based on NACE Rev.2 classification, while data up to April 2010 are based on NACE Rev.1. Internal checks indicate that the changeover has affected the level, making interpretation more difficult. This level shift did not, on the whole, affect the direction of the change, but its magnitude.
For its creative approach in attracting business start-ups in this rural region of central France, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani awarded today the Auvergne region's "Entrepreneurs in Residence" the Grand Jury’s Prize at the 2010 European Enterprise Awards ceremony. The high-level jury representing business, government and academia, selected the project of the Regional Development Agency for its impressive results in helping entrepreneurs to set up their residence and business in this volcanic landscape and creating over 200 businesses generating 600 jobs not only in the tourism sector, but also in trade and services. Five other initiatives from Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden, also received awards in the ceremony which was jointly organised by the European Commission, the Spanish EU Presidency and the Committee of the Regions. The event closed the second European SME Week, the European Commission's pan-European campaign to promote entrepreneurship and small businesses (SMEs) in Europe.
Today and tomorrow, Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development, along with Heads of State and Government from African continent and representatives of international institutions, will be taking part in the XXV Africa-France Summit in Nice. Whilst representing the European Commission, the Commissioner will take part in debates on Africa's role in global governance, peace and security and also climate and development policy. Commissioner Piebalgs will also hold a series of bilateral meetings.
Vice President Maroš Šefčovič in Madrid to discuss Lisbon Treaty and political priorities of Barroso II Commission
Vice President Maroš Šefčovič will travel to Madrid on Monday May 31 and Tuesday June 1 to discuss the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and the enhanced democratic possibilities resulting from it, and to introduce the political priorities of the new Commission. On Monday, he will speak at the Forum Europa (Nueva Economia) on the Lisbon Treaty and the European Citizens' Initiative. He will also participate in the meeting of COSAC, which brings together the European Affairs Committees of national parliaments. The Vice-President will hold a number of meetings with leading members of the Spanish government, including Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, First Vice-President and Minister for the Presidency, Diego Lopez Garrido, Secretary of State for the EU, and Francisco Javier Rojo, President of the Spanish Senate.
EU command post exercise to test European solidarity clause
A major European disaster simulation exercise is taking place near Carcassonne in France from 1-4 June. The command post exercise will test the capability of command posts from different countries to cooperate during a major earthquake. This is the first European civil protection exercise that explicitly tests the new Solidarity Clause in the Lisbon Treaty. While no operational teams will be deployed, the command posts will work under realistic conditions in the field. The exercise is being organised by France and involves civil protection teams from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain. A European civil protection team reinforced by a liaison officer from the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre in Brussels will coordinate the international teams. The Command Post exercise is 75% co-financed by the European Commission under the Civil Protection Financial Instrument. For More info on Commission's humanitarian aid: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm
State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Irish guarantee scheme for financial institutions
The European Commission has authorised a prolongation of the Irish guarantee scheme for financial institutions by one month, until the end of June 2010. All the conditions remain as laid down in the original decision (see IP/09/1787). The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme to be in line with its Guidance Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495), because it is limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that it represents an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Irish economy and as such is compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.6% in May 2010 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 1.5% in April. 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 (19 times exactly anticipating the inflation rate and 5 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.
28 May 2010, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made the following statement: "Last Monday, with the communal elections, Burundi set an important first and hopeful step in an election process which can lay the basis for sustainable democracy in the country. I congratulate the Burundian population for their massive participation in the elections and the electoral authorities for their continuous, successful efforts in their organisation notwithstanding huge logistical challenges. I particularly welcome the peaceful and dignified context in which the elections took place, and I trust that all political parties and other stakeholders will continue to act with responsibility and in full respect of the law in the coming days and weeks ahead of the Presidential elections of 28 June”.
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