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EXME 10 / 25.11
Midday Express of 2010-11-25
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The new Employment in Europe 2010 report presented today underlines how young people have borne the brunt of the crisis, with unemployment disproportionately hitting 15-24 year olds and reaching over 30% in some countries. Although there are consistent signs of the EU labour market stabilising, with indications of the beginnings of an upturn in some Member States, the crisis has had a profound effect on employment and the overall recovery of the EU economy remains fragile. The rise in unemployment combined with limited opportunities to re-enter work has aggravated the risk of a surge in long-term unemployment or people leaving the labour market altogether. The report stresses that it might be some time before we see a clear upswing for jobs.
On 29-30 November, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, will attend the Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli (Libya). 80 European and African Heads of State and Government will convene under the overarching theme “Investment, Economic Growth and Job Creation” to take cooperation between the two continents to a new, more ambitious level. Through the Africa-EU Partnership established in 2007 the two continents pursue common interests and strategic objectives as equal partners, beyond the focus of traditional development policy. During the Summit, leaders are expected to push for inclusive and sustainable growth as key drivers for development and the fight against poverty. Stronger involvement and strengthening of the private sector is an essential precondition for succeeding in this, as well as a stronger cooperation on Climate change and Peace and security.
A special Eurobarometer on EU-Africa relations published ahead of the EU-Africa Summit in Libya on 29/30 November shows that European citizens broadly agree with the focus of cooperation between the two partners. For Europeans, the main challenges for cooperation are to tackle poverty (38%), peace and security (34%), and human rights (33%). This focus is consistent with the primary EU development policy goal of eradicating poverty, as laid out in the Lisbon Treaty and reflected in the Commission's recent Green Paper on “EU Development Policy in Support of Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development”.
Broadband connections in Europe are much faster than one year ago according to statistics published today by the European Commission. In July 2010 29% of EU broadband lines had speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) (up from 15% one year earlier).Broadband take up continues to grow in the EU with 25.6 subscriptions for every 100 citizens (23.9 one year earlier). Annual growth in mobile broadband is remarkable at 45%, with 6 mobile broadband dedicated access devices (usb-keys or dongles) per 100 citizens. But there is still a long way to go before EU reaches its targets of giving every European access to basic broadband by 2013 and fast and ultra fast broadband by 2020 as outlined in the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581 , MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). Measures to facilitate the roll out and take up of fast and ultra-fast broadband in the EU were presented by the Commission in September 2010 (see IP/10/1142).
The winners of the 2011 European Border Breakers' Awards (EBBA) for emerging talent in European pop, rock and dance music were announced today by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and music promoter Eurosonic. The winners will receive their awards in a ceremony hosted by TV personality and musician Jools Holland at the Eurosonic-Noorderslag music festival in Groningen, Netherlands, on 12 January 2011.
The European Parliament and the Council have given their signature to a regulation that will enable passengers travelling by sea and by inland waterways to enjoy the same rights wherever they travel in the European Union. Among these rights is the right to information or compensation in the case of delay or cancellation of a journey. In addition, the new rules also offer people with a disability or reduced mobility protection when travelling over water. The new regulation will complement existing rights for air and rail passengers.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas is visiting Poland today and tomorrow to discuss transport issues in the run up the Polish presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2011. The Commissioner responsible for transport will meet with the Minister for Infrastructure, Mr Cezary Grabarczyk, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Radoslaw Sikorski and the Presidents of the Polish Railways and PKP Group. Vice-President Kallas will also participate in a regional forum organised by the European Investment Bank on "Diversity in Transport: coherent connections?" and "Energy and Transport Diversity: Sustainable Policies, Priorities and Needs."
Cloud computing and data protection
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes this morning outlined her vision for better cloud computing (which includes online services such as webmail and social networks) in Europe at Les Assises du Numérique conference in Paris. Kroes explained that every European citizen or company should know two things: 1) that their cloud supplier protects their personal data efficiently and transparently in line with EU personal data protection standards and 2) that the governments of all countries hosting computing cloud servers must have legal frameworks in place that guarantee adequate data protection and privacy, with any limited security exception governed by the rule of law. Kroes said: "Data protection is a "must have" feature for consumers, individuals and society in general. A cloud without robust data protection is not the sort of cloud we need." See SPEECH/10/686
Commission hosts anti-jargon conference
Does clear writing by administrations contribute to democracy? Is it possible to draft legal texts that anyone can understand? These issues will be discussed at a conference entitled “Clear Writing throughout Europe” at the European Commission's Charlemagne Building in Brussels tomorrow (26 November), 11:00-17:30. Experts from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK will discuss what their administrations are doing to 'fight the fog'. The European Commission launched its own clear writing campaign in March as part of its efforts to communicate better. Five Commission departments, the secretariat-general, legal service, human resources, communication and translation, have teamed up to provide training and practical guides for officials.
Commission clears acquisition by GDF Suez of sole control of AEP and AET
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by GDF Suez Energia Italia, belonging to GDF Suez group, of the whole of Acea Electrabel Produzione (AEP) and Acea Electrabel Trading (AET). Both AEP and AET are Italian companies currently belonging to Acea Electrabel, a joint venture between GDF Suez Energia Italia and Acea S.p.A., of Italy. GDF Suez generates, transports, stores, distributes and supplies natural gas and generates and sells electricity around the world. AEP is active in electricity generation and wholesale supply in Italy. AET is active in electricity and gas power trading in Italy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
EU/US agreement on cooperation in the field of security research
The European Commission and the Government of the United States have agreed to enhance cooperation in science and technology research to improve the shared capabilities to protect against acts of terrorism and other threats to domestic and external security. Subsequent to the EU-US Vienna Summit Conclusions of June 2006, there was mutual understanding that greater transparency is needed between the security programmes of the two parties. The Implementing Arrangement for Cooperative Activities in the Field of Homeland/Civil Security Research, signed on 18th November 2010, constitutes a formal basis for cooperation in scientific and technological research. It extends and strengthens cooperative activities in areas of common interest and encourages the application of the results of such cooperation to the economic and social benefit of the parties. The Implementing Arrangement is pursuant to the overarching Agreement for Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the United States and the European Commission, as extended and expanded to include security research in July 2009. European Commission Security website: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/security/index_en.htm see also MEMO/10/616
Joint Statement of the Delegations of the Russian Federation and of European Union on the occasion of the conclusion of the bilateral talks on the key issues in the accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO
The negotiators of the Russian Federation and of the European Commission have concluded the bilateral talks on key outstanding elements in the accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO. The reached understanding complements the results of the bilateral negotiations concluded in 2004 with regard to important aspects of Russia's export duty regime and railway fees. The negotiations resulted in a balanced outcome on all the issues concerned by these bilateral talks, in a spirit of taking into account mutual interests.
La Commission européenne salue la décision prise aujourd'hui par un vote du Parlement européen en faveur d'une révision de la législation relative à l'utilisation de substances dangereuses dans les équipements électriques et électroniques. Le projet de législation, proposé par la Commission en 2008, renforcera la réglementation existante en rationalisant les procédures relatives aux futures limitations des substances et en assurant une cohérence avec d'autres textes législatifs portant sur les produis chimiques . Le vote d'aujourd'hui confirme l'approbation en première lecture par le Conseil de cette législation révisée.
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