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EXME 10 / 29.11
Midday Express of 2010-11-29
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission's autumn forecast foresees a continuation of the economic recovery currently underway in the EU. GDP is projected to grow by around 1¾% in 2010-11 and by around 2% in 2012. A better than expected performance so far this year underpins the significant upward revision to annual growth in 2010 compared to the spring forecast. However, amid a softening global environment and the onset of fiscal consolidation, activity is expected to moderate towards the end of the year and in 2011, but to pick up again in 2012 on the back of strengthening private demand. With the economic recovery taking hold in the EU, labour-market conditions are expected to slowly improve over the forecast horizon, as is the budgetary situation. The unemployment rate is projected to fall to around 9% in 2012, with the public deficit declining to about 4¼% of GDP. Developments across Member States are nevertheless set to remain uneven.
The Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area registered a further gain in November, although the improvement was less marked than in the previous month. The level of the indicator now stands at its highest since December 2007, suggesting that the recovery in industry will continue in the coming months. The modest rise in BCI was mainly due to significantly brighter export order books and to more optimistic production expectations. The stocks of finished goods component improved also somewhat in November, but remained at very low level. On the contrary, managers' assessment of the production trend observed in recent months decreased.
In November, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) improved further in both the EU and the euro area. The indicator increased strongly, climbing by 1.3 points to 105.2 in the EU and by 1.5 points to 105.3 in the euro area. These results were boosted by strong positive readings in Germany.
Research Ministers of the EU Member States and Associated Countries, together with the European Commission, are announcing in Brussels today three new pan-European energy research infrastructures. A wind research facility is planned in Denmark, a concentrated solar power installation in Spain and a nuclear research reactor in Belgium. The overall investment is about € 1.2 billion. They will be part of the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) . The announcement will take place at the Belgian Presidency ENERI Conference, at the Square, Mont des Arts, Brussels. Energy research infrastructures play an important part in realizing the European Strategic Energy Technology (SET)-Plan .
State aid: Commission authorises extension of bank support schemes in Spain
The European Commission has authorised, under EU Treaty state aid rules, a six month prolongation of a Spanish guarantee scheme for credit institutions until 30 June 2011. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 23 December 2008 (see IP/08/2049), to be in line with its Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495). In particular, the extended measures are limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Spanish economy and as such are compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EU Treaty.
State aid: Commission approves transfer of second tranche of impaired assets under Irish asset relief scheme NAMA
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, the transfer of the second tranche of assets to the Irish National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). The Commission found this transfer to be in line with the approved scheme (see IP/10/198) and with its guidance on the treatment of impaired assets (see IP/09/322). In particular, the transfer satisfies predefined transparency and disclosure requirements, the assets fulfil the criteria for participation in the scheme and their valuation complies with the requirements of the Commission's guidance and results in adequate burden sharing. The Commission also continues to rely on the commitments of the Irish authorities related to the exercise of certain specific rights conferred to NAMA so as to avoid undue distortions of competition. The Commission therefore concluded that the transfer of the second tranche of assets to NAMA 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 EU Treaty.
Commission clears acquisition by ATP, PFA and CPD of Danish Bank FIH
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over the Danish Bank FIH Erhvervsbank by the Danish public pension fund Arbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension (ATP), the Danish pension and life insurer on the corporate market PFA Pension forsikringsaktieselskab (PFA), the Swedish Folksam group active in life and non-life insurance and the Danish financial advisory company CPD. FIH is a Danish Bank specialising in lending to corporate entities. Its main business segments are corporate banking, property finance, structured finance, capital markets, M&A advisory services, investment banking. The Commission examined the transaction under the simplified merger review procedure.
Europe aims for modern and ambitious policy on Corporate Social Responsibility
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Enterprise & Industry, Commissioner Lázsló Andor (Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) and Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services) will today and tomorrow call on business and other stakeholders to support a new political initiative for the promotion of corporate social responsibility (CSR). At a two day meeting of the European Multi Stakeholder Forum on CSR, they will stress how responsible enterprises can contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy. They will also launch debates on key emerging issues such as company reporting and disclosure of non-financial information, and the implementation of the new UN Framework on Business and Human Rights. The European Multi-stakeholder Forum on CSR provides a platform for open discussion between a range of actors – Members of the European Parliament, national governments, business and investor representatives, academics and civil society stakeholders – on how to promote an even stronger uptake of responsible practices among European businesses. Further details on the CSR Forum: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/corporate-social-responsibility/multi-stakeholder-forum/2010-meetings/index_en.htm
Vice President Tajani visits London
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani will be on an official visit to London on 29 and 30 November to meet with members of the UK Government, the House of Commons, the Confederation of British Industry and the UK Federation of Small Business. He will also visit the London Stock Exchange, the London Metal Stock Exchange and the Tate Modern. The aim of the visit is to present and discuss industrial and innovation policy, SMEs’ access to finance, tourism and raw materials policy. For more details on the visit, see the Vice President’s diary .
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