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EXME 11 / 22.02

Midday Express of 2011-02-22

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

European Commission meets Russian Government for executive-to-executive talks

President José Manuel Barroso and the European Commission will host the Russian Government led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on 24 February 2011. These executive-to-executive talks will cover the full range of EU-Russia relations, from support to Russia's modernization process to trade and energy matters, from deeper technological cooperation to international affairs.

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Dutch temporary scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000 under stricter conditions

The Commission authorised a twelve-month extension until 31 December 2011 of a temporary Dutch scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000 per beneficiary. The beneficiaries must have applied for aid no later than 31 December 2010 and the Dutch authorities must grant the aid no later than 31 December 2011. The Commission found the extension of the scheme, initially approved on 1 April 2009 ( IP/09/527), to be in line with the stricter conditions of its Temporary Framework for businesses' access to finance during the crisis adopted in December 2010 to stimulate a gradual return to market conditions (see IP/10/1636).

Youth on the Move at "didacta" education fair, Stuttgart

The European Commission will promote its 'Youth on the Move' initiative at didacta, Europe's largest education fair, in Stuttgart, Germany, on 22-26 February. One of the Europe 2020 'flagships', Youth on the Move aims to encourage quality education, training and mobility to equip young people for the job market. Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "The EU needs even more young people who are highly skilled, knowledgeable and innovative if it is to prosper in the future." German Olympic fencing champion Britta Heidemann, who is one of the ambassadors for Youth on the Move, has sent a special video message to the event, aimed at students: "Take your lives into your own hands. Good education and training are essential for this." (see her video message) European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, will visit the fair on 25 February. More information [in German].

Taxation: Commission seeks views on taxation of the financial sector

Today, the Commission (DG Taxation and Customs) is launching a public consultation on the taxation of the financial sector, to receive as wide as possible feedback on the ideas set out in the Commission's Communication last October (see IP/10/1298). In particular, the Commission would like to collect views from market participants, regulators, social partners, NGOs and other stakeholders on the impact and feasibility of the various policy options, the potential design of the tax and possible problems. Comments that address the issues from an EU-wide perspective would be most useful, although important country-specific comments are also welcome. The feedback received from this consultation, along with the results of a thorough Impact Analysis currently being carried out, will help to shape proposals on the taxation of the financial sector, which Commissioner Šemeta intends to publish by summer 2011. For more information and to participate in the public consultation, see:

Commissioner Hedegaard to visit South Africa for talks on climate change, global sustainability

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, will participate in a meeting of the United Nations High Level Panel on Global Sustainability and hold bilateral talks on international action to combat climate change in Cape Town, South Africa, on 23-25 February. Commissioner Hedegaard was invited to join the Global Sustainability Panel by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon when he set it up last year. The panel, which has a mandate to formulate a global blueprint for sustainable growth and low-carbon prosperity, is co-chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma and Finnish President Tarja Halonen. Besides taking part in the panel meeting on 24-25 February, Commissioner Hedegaard will also have a series of meetings on climate change as part of follow-up to the Cancún UN climate conference last December and preparations for the next conference, to be hosted by South Africa in Durban at the end of this year. She will hold talks with South Africa's Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Nkoana Mashabane, who will chair the Durban conference, as well as with representatives of civil society. As several of the panel members are also involved in the international climate negotiations, the visit offers an opportunity to have more profound discussions on the way forward.


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Actamax by DSM and DuPont

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture headquartered in the US, Actamax Surgical Materials LLC ("Actamax"), by the Dutch company DSM PTG, Inc., a subsidiary of Royal DSM N.V. ("DSM"), and the US company E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company ("DuPont"). After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not alter the competitive landscape as the joint venture will be active in a market different from those of its parents.

Concentrations: la Commission autorise le projet d'acquisition des segments d'activité «papiers décor» et «papiers abrasifs» d'Arjowiggins par le fabricant suédois de papier Munksjö

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet d'acquisition des segments d'activité d'Arjowiggins concernant les papiers décor, les papiers minces, les papiers beaux arts et les papiers abrasifs par l'entreprise suédoise Munksjö AB. Ce projet d'acquisition donnera naissance à l'une des plus grandes entreprises au monde sur le marché des papiers décor. La nouvelle entité demeurera confrontée à une concurrence effective dans l'Espace économique européen (EEE), notamment de la part de Technocell (Allemagne), Malta Decor (Pologne) et un certain nombre d'acteurs de plus petite taille.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo on The EU-Russia Partnership – basic facts and figures

Speech by Commissioner Potočnik 'Towards the Green Economy', Nairobi

High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton visits Egypt

Speech by Commissioner De Gucht "Shoulder to shoulder: the European View of the Transatlantic Relationship and the State of the WTO" - rediffusion

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