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EXME 11 / 13.05
Midday Express of 2011-05-13
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Increasing number of Europeans enjoy their holidays: 68% of EU citizens travelled for private reasons in 2010 compared to 65% in 2009. These findings of a new Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism confirm other indicators that tourism has recovered from economic crisis. Preference still inclines towards traditional tourist destinations (58%), while 28% would like to discover emerging destinations. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani presented today the Eurobarometer at the European Tourism Stakeholders Conference organised by the Hungarian Presidency and the European Commission in Budapest.
Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and Valerie Amos, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, are setting out on a four-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. Between 14 and 17 of May, they will visit the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Commissioner Georgieva and Baroness Amos will gather first-hand information on the current humanitarian needs, and will reiterate the commitment of the European Union and UN OCHA to assist the most vulnerable Palestinians in their daily challenges. They will underline the need for improved humanitarian access to the people in need across the Gaza Strip, and the importance of respecting international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.
Today the European Commission is set to award €12 million in support of the Government of Ukraine in order to pursue further its regional development efforts, particularly in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. The Joint Cooperation Initiative in Crimea (JCIC) is aimed at supporting the social and economic development of the Crimea with a specific focus on tourism, building social infrastructure and promoting Foreign Direct Investment. It will help to meet essential community needs by generating new opportunities for economic development.
Half of young Europeans ready to work abroad
Brussels, 13 May 2011 - According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 53% of young people in Europe are willing or keen to work in another European country, but lack of cash discourages many of them from taking a first step towards this by spending part of their education abroad. The survey highlights a huge gap between the widespread desire of young people to work abroad and actual workforce mobility: less than 3% of Europe's working population currently lives outside their home country. The survey, conducted in the context of the Commission's 'Youth on the Move' strategy, is published on the eve of the 2011 European Youth Week (15-21 May).
The EU economy is set to further consolidate its gradual recovery, with prospects for 2011 looking slightly better than projected in the autumn. GDP is projected to grow by around 1¾% this year and by close to 2% in 2012. This outlook is supported by better prospects for the global economy and overall upbeat EU business sentiment. Inflation, however, is rising faster, reflecting the increase in commodity prices.. Headline inflation is projected to average almost 3% in the EU and 2½% in the euro area this year, before easing to about 2% and 1¾% respectively in 2012. Meanwhile, labour-market conditions are expected to slowly improve over the forecast horizon. The unemployment rate is projected to fall by ½ percentage point to a little over 9% and to 9 ¾ % in the EU and the euro area by 2012. Fiscal consolidation is progressing, with the public deficit set to decline to about 3¾% of GDP by 2012. The prospects continue to vary considerably for individual Member States, however.
GDP increased by 0.8% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 during the first quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat. In the fourth quarter of 2010, growth rates were +0.3% in the euro area and +0.2% in the EU27. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 2.5% in both the euro area and the EU27 in the first quarter of 2011, after +2.0% and +2.2% respectively in the previous quarter. During the first quarter of 2011, US GDP increased by 0.4% compared with the previous quarter (after +0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2010). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, US GDP rose by 2.3% (after +2.8% in the previous quarter).
Mr. Joseph Jamar will take office as the Head of the Representation in the Netherlands on May 16th, the official opening day of the Europe House. Mr. Jamar has been Acting Director for Directorate ''Resources, Communication'' in the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission since 2010. He began his career at the Commission in 1989.
Quality products: Four Chinese agricultural products receive protected status in the EU
The honey pomelo "Guanxi Mi You", the apple "Shaanxi ping guo" and the tea "Longjing Cha" have this week been formally registered as Protected Denominations of Origin (PDO) and the yam "Lixian Ma Shan Yao" as Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). They are part of the 10 Chinese product names to be protected in the EU register as part of the "10 plus 10" project. At a meeting today, Mr Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will hand over the registered GI certificates for these products to Mr Zhi Shuping, Chinese Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). The "10 plus 10 project" started in July 2007 when EU and China formally lodged applications for the protection of 10 agriculture GIs in each others' territories. While the geographical indications (GI) systems are similar, significant differences in procedures and linguistic problems had to be overcome. Before being approved, the applications are treated and examined by each side according to the exacting legal and administrative standards, including the right of any interested party to oppose registration. Speaking ahead of the meeting Commissioner Ciolos said:"As my recent trip to China showed me, our system of GIs is very important for providing consumers with guarantees of quality, tradition and food safety, as well as giving producers protection from imitation and a useful marketing tool. Our shared goal is now to build on this success by putting in place a broader agreement on GI's, for the mutual benefit of farmers and consumers in China and Europe". The 10 celebrated European products that will soon be registered in the official AQSIQ Chinese GI register are: Grana Padano; Prosciutto di Parma; Roquefort; Pruneaux d'Agen/Pruneaux d'Agen mi-cuits; Priego de Cordóba; Sierra Mágina; Comté; White Stilton Cheese/ Blue Stilton Cheese; Scottish Farmed Salmon and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. On the EU side, five Chinese products have now received protected status: The four today as well as the vermicelli, Longkou Fen Si. For the five remaining "Dongshan Bai Lu Sun" (asparagus), "Jinxiang Da Suan" (garlic), "Pinggu Da Tao" (peach), "Yancheng Long Xia" (crayfish) and "Zhenjiang Xiang Cu" (vinegar) the protection procedure is ongoing. For more information on the European system for geographical indications, see at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm
CAP: Commission launches a call for tenders for an ex-post evaluation of the EU Forest Action Plan (2007-2011).
The aim of this retrospective evaluation is to assess the implementation, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of the measures relating to the EU Forest Action Plan. The evaluation will cover all Member States for the period of 2007-2011, giving more emphasis to the period not covered by the mid-term evaluation of the Action Plan, which was completed in 2009. The contract will be awarded under the best-value-for-money procedure. The maximum budget attributed to this project is € 230 000. The deadline for the submission of offers is 15 July 2011. The Commission intends to award the contract in September/October 2011, following the evaluation of the offers received. The contractor will have to carry out the study within 6 months following the signature of the contract. Details are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/tenderdocs/2011/147513/index_en.htm
First discussions by the Tax Policy Group on cross-border venture capital investments in the EU and on quality of taxation
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud and Audit, will today chair the third 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. Today, the Group will hold a first discussion on cross-border venture capital investments and on the means to ensure that taxation rules do not hinder investment in innovative and fast growing SMEs within the EU. As part of its agenda, the Group will also consider the important role that taxation plays in fiscal consolidation and economic growth in the context of the "Europe 2020" strategy. The objective is to see to what extent tax systems can better support sustainable and inclusive growth. Environmental taxation for which the Commission proposed to revise the Energy Taxation Directive last April ( IP/11/468 , MEMO/11/238) is also part of today's discussions. The Group is expected to exchange views on the issue and in particular on how the EU could make the best possible use of taxation to support sustainable growth.
The Tax Policy Group, which was re-launched by Commissioner Šemeta in October 2010 ( IP/10/131), provides a regular forum for high-level discussions on the scope and priorities for EU tax policy.
EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs to participate in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) - EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Budapest
On Monday, 16 May, Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will attend the ACP - EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Budapest, Hungary. The Commissioner will deliver a speech and participate in the open debate. The main subject of discussion will be governance, democracy and human rights in the ACP countries.Created by the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint Parliamentary Assembly is a unique institution, which brings together the representatives of the people from both the European Union and ACP, providing a platform for debate, making them involved in designing and monitoring National development Strategies and Programs.
Commissioner Damanaki meets fisheries Ministers from 17 non-EU countries
Today, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki is meeting Ministers from several third countries with which the EU currently has fisheries partnership agreements. This is the first time such a meeting is convened, and was deemed necessary by the Commissioner to discuss the future of such agreements in view of the upcoming reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. This one-day event, to be held in the Commission's premises (Charlemagne Building) in Brussels, will provide an opportunity to exchange views on several issues, such as the scientific dimension to sustainable fishing in third countries waters, the governance framework and the effectiveness of financial support in developing the fishing sectors of third countries. The Commission will listen to its partners' ideas and expectations on the future of the partnership. The general principles and orientations emerging from the conference will feed into the reform proposals expected later this year. Aside from a strong Ministerial presence from EU Member States, 17 Ministers will attend from Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and Greenland. Ahead of the meeting, Maria Damanaki said: "The aim is to give the floor to the Ministers of our partner countries, who know better their situation and can express their expectations and their ambitions. I have also invited the European ministers and the European Parliament. The creation of a new generation of fisheries agreements is the way to go and it will be a fundamental element of the overall reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy."
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement sur les concentrations de l’UE, le projet d'acquisition de Speedy 1 Limited par Itochu Corporation. Les deux entreprises fournissent des services de réparation et de remplacement dans le secteur automobile et sont présentes sur le marché de la fourniture en gros de pneus de remplacement aux prestataires de services de réparation. Après examen, la Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que cette opération n’entraverait pas de manière significative le jeu d'une concurrence effective dans l’Espace économique européen (EEE) ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.
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