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EXME 11 / 19.01

Midday Express of 2011-01-19

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

Financial services: additional legislative proposal to complete the framework for financial supervision in Europe

Following the launch of the three new European Supervisory Authorities on 1 January 2011 ( MEMO/11/1), the Commission now proposes to make targeted changes to legislation in the area of insurance and securities regulation to ensure that the new Authorities can work effectively. In particular, the proposal sets out in detail the scope for the Authorities to exercise their powers, which include the possibility to develop draft technical standards and to settle disagreements between national supervisors. The proposed directive will now be sent to the Council and the European Parliament for consideration.

Commission decision lays the foundation for reinforced international cooperation on the supervision of auditors

The European Commission today adopted the first decision recognising the equivalence of the audit oversight systems in 10 third countries . This equivalence decision paves the way for reinforced cooperation between Member States and third countries which have been declared equivalent, so that they can mutually rely on each others' inspections of audit firms. The decision also grants a transitional period to auditors from 20 third countries allowing them to continue their audit activities in the EU while further assessments are carried out.

Niger: EU to observe the presidential and legislative elections

The European Union is deploying an Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the presidential and legislative elections in Niger, scheduled to take place on 31 January 2011.

€40 million start-up fund for junior researchers in Europe in 2011

€40 million, to cover over 400 grants, will be offered to researchers starting their first full-time research job in a European research institute in 2011. The €100 000 'career integration' grants are funded through the EU's Marie Curie programme and aim to encourage European scientists to return to Europe, as well as to attract the best junior researchers of other nationalities to work at European universities, companies and other institutions.

EU moving towards 'recycling society' but room for progress remains

The European Commission today published a report on Member States' performance in the prevention and recycling of waste. This shows that some Member States have made excellent progress, but that we are still some way from achieving the long-term goal of becoming a 'recycling society' – one that not only avoids producing waste but also uses it as a resource.

Euro coin counterfeiting in 2010

The number of counterfeit euro coins removed from circulation in 2010 increased by 8% compared to the year before, with a total of 186 000 coins seized, compared to 172 100 in 2009. Overall, the level of counterfeit coins remains extremely low, proving that the combined efforts of the Commission/OLAF (the EU's anti-fraud office), other EU institutions and the Member States, are paying off. The 2-euro coin remains by far the most affected by this criminal activity, representing almost 3 out of every 4 counterfeit coins.

Tax Policy Group to discuss VAT, Financial Sector Tax and Code of Conduct on Business Taxation

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud and Audit, will today chair the second meeting of the re-launched Tax Policy Group (TPG). This Group brings together personal representatives of EU Finance Ministers to discuss key tax policy issues. Among the topics for discussion at today's meeting are Financial Sector Taxation (see IP/10/1298), the recent VAT Green Paper (see IP/10/1633) and the Code of Conduct for Business Taxation. The Group, which was re-launched by Commissioner Šemeta in October 2010, provides a regular forum for high-level discussions on the scope and priorities for EU tax policy.

Commission appoints two new Deputy Directors General in DG Enterprise and Industry

The Commission has appointed Daniel Calleja Crespo and Paul Weissenberg as Deputy Directors General in the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry. Mr Calleja Crespo, a Spanish national, will become DDG responsible for the directorates for regulatory policy, industrial innovation and mobility industries, SMEs and entrepreneurship, tourism, corporate social responsibility, consumer goods and international regulatory agreements, as well as International Relations and will be Special Envoy for SMEs. He is currently Director for Air Transport in DG MOVE. He will take up his new duties on 16th February. Mr Weissenberg, a German national, will be responsible for the directorates for chemicals, metals, the mechanical, electrical and construction industries, raw materials, and space, security and GMES, as well as EU Satellite Navigation Programmes. He is currently Director for Space, Security and GMES in DG ENTR. He will take up his new duties on 1st February.

EU-Switzerland agreement on the protection of Geographical Indications

Member States gave their green light yesterday for an EU-Switzerland bilateral agreement for the protection of their respective Geographical Indications (GIs) for agricultural products and foodstuffs. The agreement will protect the GIs of each of the two parties on the territory of the other. It covers the GI's registered before 15 September 2009 - approximately 800 GIs registered in the EU and 22 GIs registered in Switzerland. This will ensure that the entire range of Geographical Indications is protected, as the agricultural trade agreement between the EU and Switzerland, in force since 1 June 2002, already covers the protection of wines and spirit drinks. The agreement also introduces a mechanism for updates and makes provision for regular consultations which will be of particular use when it comes to integrating new Geographical Indications. Negotiations on this agreement were concluded in December 2009 (see IP/09/1953). The Agreement will be signed in the near future and sent to the European Parliament for its approval, after which it will enter into force.

Construction output down by 0.9% in euro area

In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 0.9% in the euro area (EA16) and by 0.4% in the EU27 in November 2010, compared with the previous month. In October, production increased by 0.3% and 0.6% respectively. Compared with November 2009, output in November 2010 dropped by 6.8% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU27. These first estimates are released by Eurostat.


Commission strengthens the European dimension of sport

The European Commission has adopted new proposals aimed at strengthening the societal, economic and organisational dimensions of sport. Athletes, sport organisations and citizens are expected to benefit from the plans, which flow from the EU's new role under the Lisbon Treaty to support and coordinate sport policy in the Member States. Action is foreseen in areas where challenges cannot be sufficiently dealt with at national level alone. The Commission's proposals follow a consultation with Member States and sport stakeholders and take account of the experience gained in implementing the 2007 White Paper on Sport. In 2009-2010 the Commission provided more than €6 million to support around 40 sport projects aimed at promoting health, social inclusion, volunteering, access for the disabled, gender equality and the fight against doping. Twelve new projects will be launched in 2011 (see annex).

La Commission présente l’examen à mi-parcours des programmes de navigation par satellite Galileo et EGNOS

La Commission européenne présente aujourd’hui son examen à mi-parcours des programmes de navigation par satellite Galileo et EGNOS. Grâce aux récentes avancées dans le développement de Galileo, et notamment à la signature de quatre grands contrats et aux essais menés sur les quatre premiers satellites opérationnels, le système de navigation par satellite assurera ses services initiaux à partir de 2014. Il devrait permettre de conquérir une part plus importante du marché de la technologie spatiale et de rendre l’Europe indépendante dans un secteur important pour son économie et le bien-être de ses citoyens. Des progrès considérables ont également été accomplis en ce qui concerne le programme EGNOS, qui accroît la précision des signaux émanant des systèmes de navigation par satellite. La promotion de la technologie de navigation par satellite s’inscrit dans le cadre de la stratégie Europe 2020 et contribue à un développement économique durable.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo Commission decision lays the foundation for reinforced international cooperation on the supervision of auditors – Frequently Asked Questions

Memo Questions/Réponses: Les Droits des Patients dans les Soins de Santé Transfrontaliers – also available in English

Speech by President Barroso at the post-European Council debate, European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg

Speech by President Barroso at the Hungarian Presidency debate, European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg

Memo Commission strengthens the European dimension of sport – Frequently Asked Questions – en rediffusion

Memo on The Mid-term Review of the European Satellite Radio Navigation Programmes Galileo and EGNOS: Questions and Answers – en rediffusion

Memo on Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the truck sector – en rediffusion

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik following today's debate in College on air quality – en rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Füle 'Discussion on the Kacin Report and the European integration process of Serbia', Strasbourg – en rediffusion

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