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Midday Express of 2011-05-05

European Commission - MEX/11/0505   05/05/2011

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EXME 11 / 05.05

Midday Express of 2011-05-05

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

A key step towards smart planning for rail journeys across Europe

The European Commission has today adopted standards for exchanging rail travel data, which in future will allow travellers to plan and book rail journeys in Europe. Under the new rules, railways and ticket vendors will have to adapt their information and booking systems to permit the exchange of information related to rail travel. At present, different rail booking and ticketing systems still exist throughout Europe. Today's regulation is a necessary first step towards setting up a European system for the exchange of harmonised data, which will make it much easier to travel by rail in Europe.

Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia sign agreement towards the Single European Sky

Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia have today signed an agreement to create the "Functional Airspace Block – Central Europe" (FAB CE) an important step towards achieving the Single European Sky. Slowly the political objectives of the Single European Sky legislation adopted in 2004 is coming into reality with Member States taking the necessary steps to ensure the creation of functional airspace blocks, or FABs. Today's agreement marks the realisation of the fourth FAB in Europe. The other European Union Member States are expected to sign similar agreements in the coming year.

Youth on the Move: strengthening support for Europe's young people, Florence, 6-10 May

Brussels, 5 May - The European Commission is organising a five-day programme of events in the Italian city of Florence from 6-10 May to promote 'Youth on the Move', the EU initiative aimed at improving education, tackling youth unemployment and encouraging study and training abroad. On 6 May, Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will open a 200 sq metre Youth on the Move tent in the city centre; this will be the focal point for information and awareness-raising activities on the benefits of study, training and volunteering abroad. Independent studies show this experience can boost employability. On 9 May, the Commissioner will participate in a major conference on Europe after the Lisbon Treaty, which will be opened by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek.

Taxation: about 400 participants expected to discuss the future of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Milan

On 6 May 2011, EU Commissioner Šemeta in charge of Taxation, will open a conference on the "Green Paper on the future of VAT – Towards a simpler, more robust and efficient VAT system" in Milan. This conference is organised by the European Commission (DG Taxation and Customs Union). About 400 participants, including business representatives, tax authorities, experts, academics and other stakeholders are expected to attend. This conference fits into the broad consultation that Commissioner Šemeta launched in December 2010 on how to strengthen and improve the current VAT system for tax payers and administrations in the EU ( IP/10/1633). The public consultation is open till 31 May 2011. The Green Paper puts all aspects of the VAT system under review, ranging from the VAT treatment of cross border transactions, the reduction of compliance costs for businesses and the prevention of VAT fraud. Several representatives from the Italian and the German Ministries of Finance, the European Parliament, the Hungarian Presidency of the EU, the OECD and the Bank of Italy will also attend the conference. The outcomes of the conference, together with all the contributions received, will feed the Communication on a new VAT Strategy that the Commission intends to present before the end of this year.

Programme is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/gen_info/conferences/green_paper/programme_en.pdf

Commission aiming to harmonise EU chemicals legislation

The Commission proposed today a recast of the legislation that covers the export and import of dangerous chemicals, known as the PIC Regulation. The proposal aligns definitions with the recent Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals. Under the draft proposals, from 2013, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki will take on administrative, technical and scientific tasks now carried out by the Commission's Joint Research Centre. Importing countries will continue to benefit from a high level of protection against unwanted imports of hazardous substances. The current Regulation on export and import of dangerous chemicals was adopted in 2008 and revised an earlier regulation from 2003. It implements the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade which entered into force in 2004. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/pic

Summary of responses to the consultation on the Solvency II level 2 implementing measures is now available

A summary of the responses received to the consultation carried out on the Solvency II level 2 implementing measures was published today. The purpose of the consultation was to obtain input on the impact of the implementing measures on insurance markets, insurance products and consumers and on the wider social or economic environment. The responses show that stakeholders’ concerns relate to a small number of key issues, namely the impact on long-term products, volatility and pro-cyclicality, proportionality and limiting the reporting burden and the need for transitional measures in certain areas. The Commission Services have set up working parties to develop solutions to several of these issues. The responses together with the results of the fifth quantitative impact study (QIS5) will serve as input when preparing the impact assessment, which will accompany the Commission's proposal for the level 2 implementing measures. The summary can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/consultations/2010/solvency-2_en.htm

Commissioner Andris Piebalgs visits Guinea to discuss the next steps in resuming EU-Guinea cooperation, with the new President Alpha Condé

On 6 and 7 May, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will travel to Conakry, Guinea, to discuss the next steps in resuming the EU-Guinea cooperation. The visit takes place in the context of a gradual return to democratic legitimacy and constitutional order following the democratic election of a new President and the establishment of a civilian government. The Commissioner will announce further measures in support of Guinea which aim at accelerating the resumption of cooperation between the EU and Guinea. Commissioner Piebalgs will meet the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, selected members of his government as well as representatives of opposition parties. Andris Piebalgs will also inaugurate the Forecariah bridge in the presence of the Presidents of Guinea, Alpha Condé, and Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma. This bridge, located about thirty kilometres from the border with Sierra Leone, was funded by the EU, and is a key connection on the regional coastal axis.

Rediffusion

Les sociétés Guerlain et FES Consulting signent la déclaration d'engagement «Davantage de femmes dans les conseils d'administration, une promesse pour l'Europe»

Viviane Reding, vice-présidente et membre de la Commission européenne chargé de la justice, a dévoilé aujourd'hui le nom des deux premières sociétés signataires de la déclaration d'engagement «Davantage de femmes dans les conseils d'administration, une promesse pour l'Europe», par laquelle elles promettent d'améliorer l'équilibre hommes/femmes au sein des conseils d'administration. Guerlain, grande société de parfums et de cosmétiques, et FES Consulting Empresarial, société espagnole de conseil aux entreprises, ont pris l'engagement volontaire de porter la présence des femmes au sein de leur conseil d'entreprise à 30 % d'ici 2015 et à 40 % d'ici 2020. Après avoir rencontré les PDG d'importantes entreprises européennes cotées en bourse ( MEMO/11/124), Mme Reding a, au mois de mars, lancé aux sociétés européennes cotées en bourse le défi de signer la déclaration d'engagement (voir annexe) qui se trouve sur le site internet de la commissaire et est ouverte à toutes les sociétés européennes cotées en bourse.

Commissioner Piebalgs visits Côte d'Ivoire to assure President Ouattara of the EU's full support for a swift and sustainable recovery of the country

As the first EU official to visit Côte d'Ivoire after the crisis, EU Commissioner for Development Cooperation, Andris Piebalgs, will meet President Ouattara on Friday 6 May in Abidjan to confirm EU's full support towards stability and recovery of economic activities. They will discuss the government priorities for short and medium term support to stabilise the country and to ease the conditions of life of the population. Commissioner Piebalgs and President Ouattara will also sign three projects worth €44 million in support of the agriculture sector (€26 million) and reform of the justice sector (€18 million).

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition de Bucyrus par Caterpillar

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet d’acquisition de Bucyrus, entreprise américaine fabriquant du matériel d'extraction minière, par Cartepillar, autre entreprise américaine. L'opération entraînera des parts de marché cumulées élevées à l'échelle mondiale, mais l'accroissement de la part de marché représentée par Bucyrus est relativement faible. En outre, Caterpillar et Bucyrus ne sont généralement pas considérés comme les concurrents les plus directs et plusieurs acteurs importants resteront actifs sur le marché.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Facilitating the exchange of rail data – Frequently asked questions

Statement by Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Portugal

Statement by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, on the conclusion of negotiations on a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the EU and Indonesia-rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Reding "Geminsam für mehr Frauen in Führungspositionen in der Wirtschaft" - rediffusion

Speech by Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner responsible for Home Affairs: "A better management of migration to the EU"- rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Damanaki " Opening speech: Securing the future through reform"


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