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EXME 10 / 15.09

Midday Express of 2010-09-15

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

I. Résultats de la Commission du 15 septembre 2010 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 15 September 2010

Youth on the Move – strengthening support to Europe's young people

Five million young Europeans are looking for a job. Many of them will miss opportunities because they lack the right qualifications or experience. Today, the European Commission launches Youth on the Move, a new flagship initiative aimed at helping these young people to gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to make their first job a reality. Part of the EU’s new Europe 2020 strategy, Youth on the Move proposes 28 key actions aimed at making education and training more relevant to young people's needs and encouraging more of them to take advantage of EU grants to study or train in another country. This will increase young people's employability and access to the labour market.

Des marchés européens de produits dérivés plus sûrs et plus transparents

Dans le cadre de ses travaux visant à mettre en place un système financier plus sûr, la Commission européenne a présenté aujourd'hui une proposition de règlement destinée à améliorer la sécurité et la transparence du marché des produits dérivés de gré à gré (OTC). Dans ce projet de règlement, elle propose que les informations relatives aux contrats dérivés de gré à gré soient communiquées à des référentiels centraux et qu'elles soient accessibles aux autorités de surveillance. D'autres informations seront également mises à la disposition de tous les participants au marché. La Commission propose aussi que les contrats dérivés de gré à gré normalisés soient compensés par des contreparties centrales, ce qui aura pour effet de réduire le risque de crédit de la contrepartie, c'est-à-dire le risque de défaillance de l'une des parties au contrat. Cette proposition de la Commission, qui s'inscrit dans le droit fil des engagements pris par l'UE dans le cadre du G20 et de l'approche retenue par les États-Unis, doit maintenant être examinée par le Parlement européen et par les États membres. Une fois adopté, ce règlement s'appliquerait à partir de la fin 2012.

New framework to increase transparency and ensure coordination for short selling and Credit Default Swaps

The European Commission today adopted a proposal for a regulation on short selling and certain aspects of Credit Default Swaps (CDS). Its main objectives are to create a harmonised framework for coordinated action at European level, increase transparency and reduce risks. The new framework will mean regulators – national and European - have clear powers to act when necessary, whilst preventing market fragmentation and ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal market.

State aid: Commission clears restructuring of Latvian bank Parex

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a thorough restructuring of Parex that before the crisis was Latvia's second biggest bank. Under the plan submitted by the Latvian authorities the core assets and operations of Parex are transferred into a newly established bank called Citadele, with the remainder of Parex turned into a resolution bank. The Commission is satisfied that the restructuring plan will ensure the long-term viability of Citadele banka, whilst allowing an orderly realisation of the assets remaining in Parex. The plan also includes an adequate contribution of the legacy capital holders to the restructuring costs as well as safeguards to limit the distortive effects of the received aid.

State aid: Commission authorises a Slovak aid of €11 million towards the purchase of digital TV decoders by socially vulnerable persons

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a €11 million aid scheme supporting the purchase of digital television terminal equipment for socially vulnerable groups in Slovakia. The Commission found the measure to be in line with Article 107(2)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, that allows aid of a social character. In particular, the measure observes the principles of neutrality and non-discrimination between the different types and technologies as well as the geographical origins of decoders. The scheme has been approved until 1 July 2013.

State aid: Commission finds against planned regional subsidy to Italian energy company Fri-el Acerra

After a careful investigation, the European Commission has concluded that a €19.5 million regional investment aid that Italy intended to grant towards the takeover and conversion, by Fri-el Acerra S.r.l, of a closed thermoelectric power plant into a power plant fuelled by bioliquids is not compatible with EU state aid rules. This is because the project in Acerra, in the Italian southern region of Campania, was launched well before the aid was granted, showing that the financial incentive was not necessary to attract the investment. The size of the regional aid itself did not appear commensurate with the benefits for the region. It should be noted that as the aid has not yet been paid out, this decision does not give rise to recovery.

State aid: Commission clears regional German investment aid for Wacker Chemie

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, €97.5 million in regional investment aid that the German authorities intend to grant to Wacker Chemie AG for the production of solar grade polysilicon in Nünchritz, eastern Germany. The project involves investments of €800 million for the construction of a new plant. The Commission found the measure to be compatible with the requirements of the Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-2013 (see IP/05/1653), and in particular with its rules on large investment projects. The positive impact of the investment on regional development will outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.

II. Other news

European Mobility Week 2010: 'Travel Smarter, Live Better'

From 16 to 22 September 2010, hundreds of towns and cities across Europe and beyond will take part in European Mobility Week, the biggest global event dedicated to sustainable urban travel. The 2010 campaign theme – Travel Smarter, Live Better – recognises the detrimental effects that current urban transport trends have on citizens' health. The aim is to encourage local authorities to promote alternatives to the car and highlight their positive impact on public health and the environment.

Pêche: la Commission propose des possibilités de pêche en mer Baltique pour 2011

La Commission européenne a présenté sa proposition de possibilités de pêche pour 2011 concernant les stocks halieutiques de la mer Baltique. Sur la base d'avis scientifiques, la Commission propose d'augmenter les possibilités de pêche du cabillaud de la mer Baltique, mais de réduire considérablement les possibilités applicables aux stocks pélagiques (hareng et sprat). La proposition de possibilités de pêche sera examinée en octobre lors du Conseil «Pêche».

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn appoints experts to identify future members of the European Research Council Scientific Council

The European Research Council (ERC) Identification Committee will identify new members for the ERC Scientific Council, due for partial renewal in February 2011, and maintain a pool of candidates for the future. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn has appointed six highly-respected research personalities to the Identification Committee: Prof. Eero Vuorio (chair), Director of Biocenter, Finland and former Chancellor of the University of Turku; Prof. Ann Dowling, Head of the Department of Engineering, Cambridge University; Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell, Economist, University of Barcelona and former ERC Secretary General; Prof. Grety Mirdal, Clinical Psychologist, University of Copenhagen; Prof. Arnold Schmidt, Emeritus Professor at the Photonics Institute of the Technical University of Vienna; Prof Maciej Zylicz, President of the Foundation for Polish Science. For more details and how to recommend candidates: Also ERC:

Commission clears acquisition by Metinvest of IISW

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Metinvest B.V. of sole control of PJSC Ilyich-Steel and PSC Ilyich Iron and Steel Works (together the "IISW"), both of Ukraine. Metinvest B.V. is a holding company, registered in The Netherlands, of a vertically-integrated mining and metals group based in Ukraine. IISW is a fully-integrated steelworks, specialized in the production of flat finished products. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Euro area and EU27 employment stable

The number of persons employed in the euro area (EA16) and in the EU27 was stable in the second quarter of 2010 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat. In the first quarter of 2010, employment was also stable in the euro area and declined by 0.2% in the EU27. These figures are seasonally adjusted. Falls in employment were recorded in agriculture (-0.9% in the euro area and -0.4% in the EU27), manufacturing (-0.5% and -0.3% respectively), construction (-0.3% and -0.4%) and trade, transport & communication services (-0.2% in both zones). Employment in financial services & business activities increased by 0.6% in both the euro area and the EU27, and grew by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively in other services (which mainly includes public administration, health and education). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment fell by 0.6% in both the euro area and the EU27 in the second quarter of 2010. In the first quarter of 2010, employment decreased by 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. Eurostat estimates that, in the second quarter of 2010, 220.7 million men and women were employed in the EU27, of which 144.3 million were in the euro area. These figures are seasonally adjusted. These quarterly data on employment provide a picture of labour input consistent with the output and income measure of national accounts.

Euro area annual inflation down to 1.6%

Euro area annual inflation was 1.6% in August 2010, down from 1.7% in July. A year earlier the rate was -0.2%. Monthly inflation was 0.2% in August 2010. EU annual inflation was 2.0% in August 2010, down from 2.1% in July. A year earlier the rate was 0.6%. Monthly inflation was 0.2% in August 2010. These figures come from Eurostat. In August 2010, the lowest annual rates were observed in Ireland (-1.2%), Latvia (-0.4%) and Germany (1.0%), and the highest in Romania (7.6%), Greece (5.6%) and Hungary (3.6%). Compared with July 2010, annual inflation rose in ten, remained stable in nine and fell in eight Member States. The lowest 12-month averages up to August 2010 were registered in Ireland (-2.3%), Latvia (-2.0%), Portugal and Slovakia (both 0.3%), and the highest in Hungary and Romania (both 5.0%) and Greece (3.5%).


Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Öger Tours by Thomas Cook

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of German tour operator Öger Tours GmbH by Thomas Cook Group plc of the UK. The Commission has concluded that the proposed transaction will not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo Youth on the Move – Frequently Asked Questions (see also IP/10/1124)

Memo Proposal for a Regulation on Short Selling and Credit Default Swaps - Frequently asked questions

Memo Commission proposal on OTC Derivatives and Market infrastructures – Frequently Asked Questions

Memo State aid: Overview of national measures adopted as a response to the financial/economic crisis

Memo Informal Council Meeting to enhance waterborne transport role in the EU transport and logistic chain

Memo European Commission's proposal on fishing opportunities: why and how?

Statement by Vice-President Reding on the latest developments on the Roma situation, Brussels – en rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Kroes 'Digital Technologies for Ageing Well – the European Union Strategy from Research to Reality', Odense – EMBARGO 13h30 CET

Speech by Vice-President Kroes 'Who pays what? Broadband for all and the future of Universal Service Obligations', Copenhagen – EMBARGO 16h15 CET

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