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EXME 10 / 13.09
Midday Express of 2010-09-13
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The economic recovery in the EU has gained ground of late. GDP growth in the second quarter of 2010 was particularly strong, and more balanced towards domestic demand than previously anticipated. While activity is still expected to moderate in the second half of the year, the outlook is for a slightly improved quarterly profile compared to the spring forecast, due to the spill-over of some momentum from the second quarter. For 2010 as a whole, real GDP growth is now projected at 1.8% in the EU and 1.7% in the euro area, a sizeable upward revision. The recovery remains fragile however, with uncertainty high and developments across Member States uneven. The Commission's inflation forecast for 2010 is broadly unchanged since the spring, at 1.8% in the EU and 1.4% in the euro area.
European citizens continue to show resolute support to aid provided to developing countries according to a special Eurobarometer published today. One week before the UN High Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, the survey shows that 89% of respondents consider development aid is important or very important. Two in three Europeans believe that the EU should honor, or even improve, on its promises to increase development aid to 0.7% of GNI by 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goal. This support, shared by a vast majority of citizens regardless of the nationality, has remained consistently high despite the financial crisis and the economic situation in Europe. In this context, three quarters (76%) of Europeans believe that there is added value in EU countries working together which contributes to avoid duplication and ensure aid effectiveness.
New rules to enhance and improve the safety performance of ships were adopted today by the European Commission. The rules will introduce, from January 1st 2011, a new online register to "to name and shame" shipping companies which are performing poorly on vital safety inspections (port state controls), while those with strong safety records will be given good public visibility. Port state controls are crucial for preventing shipping disasters and the tragic loss of life and huge environmental damage that can result. Companies and states which show up as poorly performing will be subject to more intensive, co-ordinated inspections in EU ports. Manufacturers or other industries will be able to choose the shipping companies they use for freight or passengers in full knowledge of their safety record.
The European Commission, together with the Belgian Presidency, holds tomorrow (14 September) in Brussels (The Square, rue Mont des Arts) a conference on building a Knowledge based BioEconomy. The European bio-economy is estimated to be worth over € 2 trillion, employing around 22 million people, and the prospects for further growth are promising. Senior scientists, stakeholders and European and national policy makers will take part in the conference. Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will, along with other leading personalities, give a press conference at the venue at 11h00. Partly based on the conference results, the European Commission will launch this autumn an open consultation on the "EU strategy towards a sustainable bio-based economy 2020", which will lead into a policy Communication in the second half of next year. Alongside the conference, an exhibition of selected bio-based products will range from food and feed to the prototype of the first bio-based tyre, a collaboration between European and US industry. The Commission will also host the International Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy Forum on 15 September 2010.
La Commission rappelle aux entreprises qu'elles doivent enregistrer les substances chimiques les plus couramment utilisées ou les plus dangereuses pour le 30 novembre de cette année au plus tard, soit dans moins de 12 semaines. L'enregistrement des substances chimiques est l'une des priorités de REACH, le règlement de l'UE sur les substances chimiques et leur utilisation sûre. Il est également rappelé aux entreprises qu'elles doivent notifier la classification et l'étiquetage de leurs substances chimiques à l'Agence européenne des produits chimiques (ECHA) pour le 3 janvier de l'an prochain au plus tard.
European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has today unveiled the Commission's Marine Knowledge 2020 proposal to unlock the potential of Europe's marine knowledge. This three-pronged approach seeks primarily to enhance our understanding of Europe's seas and oceans, make using marine data easier and less costly and foster competitiveness among marine data users.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will make a key visit to Brazil, which currently holds the presidency of Mercosur, and Argentina on 13-16 September. The Commissioner will explore with his counterparts how to advance the ongoing EU-Mercosur trade negotiations and how to seize the potential export opportunities in these markets.
The European Commission has appointed Prof. Dr. Wouter P.J. Wils as Hearing Officer for competition cases. As of 16 September 2010, he will join Michael Albers, who was appointed as Hearing Officer in 2008. Both Hearing Officers are invested by the Commission with independent decision-making powers, are not members of the Directorate General for Competition and report directly to the Commissioner for Competition, Joaquín Almunia.
State aid: Commission authorises Bulgarian temporary scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a Bulgarian measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. Aid of up to €500 000 per firm may be granted until the end of 2010 to small and medium-sized enterprises facing funding problems because of the current credit squeeze. The scheme meets the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary framework for state aid measures (see IP/08/1993), as it is limited in time, respects the aid thresholds, and is limited to companies that were not in difficulty before 1 July 2008. It is therefore compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which permits aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
Commission clears acquisition by CPPIB and Onex of joint control of Tomkins
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ("CPPIB", Canada) and Onex Corporation ("Onex", Canada) of joint control of Tomkins plc ("Tomkins", United Kingdom) by way of public bid. CCPIB is a federal non-agent Canadian crown corporation and professional management organisation created by a Canadian Act of Parliament to invest on behalf of the Canada Pension Plan and Onex is a private investment fund. Tomkins is active in the manufacture and supply of a variety of products for the industrial, automotive and building products markets. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Seminar on state of Europe's Fish Stocks convenes tomorrow
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will open a one-day seminar on the state of fish stocks in European waters tomorrow. Representatives of the principal scientific advisory bodies, the fishing and environmental sectors and the Commission will make presentations at the seminar to an eclectic audience including journalists, MEPs, members of the public and representatives from the Member States, NGOs and the fishing industry. The idea behind the seminar is to provide an overview of the state of fishery resources in Europe. The presentations will look both at the short-term aspects – identifying any unexpected events for 2012 – and at the longer-term aspects, with trends over the last decade identified and economic factors affecting the fleets reviewed. During what promises to be an informative event with lively and interesting debates, the catching sectors and NGOs will be invited to present their points of view. The day's deliberations will conclude with the Director-General for DG MARE explaining the Commission's strategy and drawing conclusions from recent experiences.
La Commission européenne a approuvé un régime d'aide permettant d'indemniser les entreprises pour les dommages causés par les inondations qui ont frappé le land de Saxe en août 2010. Elle estime que la mesure est conforme à l'article 107, paragraphe 2, point b), du traité sur le fonctionnement de l'Union européenne qui autorise les aides destinées à remédier aux dommages causés par les calamités naturelles.
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