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EXME 11 / 21.06
Midday Express of 2011-06-21
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Energy Commissioner Oettinger launches European Smart Cities and Communities Initiative
At today's Smart Cities and Communities Initiative Launch Conference Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger started the EU's programme for the energy efficient cities of tomorrow. "With a 80 Million Euro package we demonstrate smart integration of urban energy technologies in selected pilot cities. This will kick-start important new markets for European industry. Cities are key to the EU's objectives of 20% energy saving by 2020 and to developing a low carbon economy by 2050, because 70% of the EU's energy consumption takes place in cities." the Commissioner explained. Please find more information at: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/technology/initiatives/20110621_smart_cities_conference_en.htm
Only two social networking sites (Bebo and MySpace) tested on behalf of the European Commission have default settings to make minors' profiles accessible only to their approved list of contacts and only 4 sites ensure minors can be contacted by default by friends only (Bebo, MySpace, Netlog and SchuelerVZ). However, a majority of 14 social networking sites tested do give minors age-appropriate safety information, respond to requests for help and prevent minors' profiles from being searched via external search engines. The number of minors using social networking sites in the EU is growing - currently 77% of 13-16 year olds and 38% of 9-12 year olds who use the Internet.
The European Commission has expressed a number of concerns on a proposal by the Belgian audiovisual regulators to regulate broadcasting services in Belgium. It has also raised some questions on the Belgian telecommunications regulator's proposal to regulate broadband access. In particular, the Commission is asking the Belgian regulators to take full account of market developments in both markets and to further substantiate and justify its reasoning with regard to the broadcasting market. The Commission's role is to oversee the details of remedies proposed by national telecoms regulators to address competition problems so as to ensure that customers and businesses are able to benefit from a fair and competitive single EU telecoms market, and that operators have the regulatory certainty they need to confidently operate EU-wide.
Under new EU-wide rules which apply as of this week, children across the EU will benefit from speedier maintenance payments when families split up. With an estimated 16 million international couples in the EU and 1 million divorces every year, more and more families need to recover maintenance fees when one parent lives abroad and refuses to provide financial help. The new rules set up an EU-wide system for facilitating the recovery of maintenance payments, so that absent parents will no longer be able to evade their obligations.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Australian healthcare software supplier iSOFT by the US IT services provider Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the integration of CSC and iSOFT would not significantly reduce competing IT service providers' access to healthcare software in particular in the UK, where the merging parties' market shares are the highest. iSOFT' competitors would also retain a sufficient customer base.
Based on first preliminary estimates for 2010, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita expressed in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) varied from 43% to 283% of the EU27 average across the Member States. In Spain, Italy and Cyprus, GDP per capita was around the EU27 average, while in France it was around 5% above the average. Germany, Belgium, Finland and the United Kingdom were between 10% and 20% above the average, while Denmark, Ireland, Austria and Sweden were all around 25% above the average. The Netherlands was about one third above the average, while the highest level of GDP per capita in the EU27 was recorded in Luxembourg. Greece, Slovenia, Malta, Portugal and the Czech Republic were between 10% and 20% lower than the EU27 average, while Slovakia was around 25% below. Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia were between 35% and 50% lower, while Romania and Bulgaria were around 55% below the EU27 average. These figures for GDP per capita, expressed in PPS, are published by Eurostat. They cover the 27 EU Member States, three EFTA countries, four candidate countries and three Western Balkan countries.
"Horizon 2020" wins the "You Name it" online vote to name the future EU-funding programme for research and innovation
Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn has announced in a statement today (see MEMO/11/435) that the name chosen, by online vote, for the future EU-funding programme for research and innovation is "Horizon 2020". Three names were shortlisted following the "You Name It" competition (see IP/11/1371). Horizon 2020 received 3 055 votes against 2 785 for Imagine 2020 and 2 478 for Discover 2020. 8 318 votes were received in all. The full name to be put forward towards the end of this year as part of the legislative proposal for the new programme will be: "The Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation". The name was suggested by two competition entrants, Marcela Endlova from the Czech Republic and Beata Zyngier from Poland, who will each win a visit to the European Innovation Convention in December. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said: "I wanted the decision to be made in a democratic rather than a technocratic way. I am delighted at the response and the interest this exercise has generated. We received over 1 600 suggestions for names. I warmly thank the jury and all those who took part and I congratulate the competition winners….. The new name is an important symbol of a new departure and a new adventure….. It is fitting that the new programme should have a name with an optimistic ring that evokes vision, new possibilities and an ambitious view of what EU-funded research and innovation can achieve." The "You Name It" competition was linked to the stakeholder consultation on the Commission's Green Paper on the new research and innovation funding framework for the period post-2013 (see IP/11/138 , MEMO/11/76).
“No fish left on the plate” – Why a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is needed
On June 22, the 'Fish for the Future' group in the European Parliament is organising a lunchtime presentation to explain the need for urgent reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Conference aims to raise awareness ahead of the Commission's forthcoming proposal in July. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Damanaki said: "Environmental, economic and social sustainability are equally important. All three are at serious risk if we do not take action. If we don’t turn the helm away from the present course, we will loose one fish stock after the other and only 9% of our stocks would be at sustainable levels by 2022. Moreover, many fleets would become unprofitable and we'd continue to face a steady need to subsidize the sector, perpetuating overcapacity - and hence overfishing. The worsening of conditions of fish stocks would lead to a further loss of jobs and communities that today depend on fishing would gradually and inevitably decline. We need to build consensus for a profound reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Once it is adopted by the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council will need to maintain high the level of ambition, to meet the expectations of European citizens." Commissioner Maria Damanaki will be joined by Professor Callum Roberts to give a historical analysis, Guus Pastoor from the EU Fish Processors and Traders Association, Tony Long from WWF, and Spanish fisherman Luis Rodriguez. The event is organised by Chris Davies, MEP. For more information and registration: “No fish left on the plate” – Why a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is needed: http://www.alde.eu/event-seminar/events-details/article/no-fish-left-on-the-plate-37472)
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