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EXME 11 / 01.08
Midday Express of 2011-08-01
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Today the European Commission agreed to measures that should make a significant contribution to getting some of the EU's most troubled economies back on track. Under the proposal, six countries would be asked to contribute less to projects that they currently co-finance with the European Union. The Commission makes available for Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Latvia and Hungary, supplementary EU co financing, vital for growth and competitiveness-boosting projects in each one of these countries. As a result, they will have to find less national match-funding at a time when their domestic budgets are under considerable pressure and therefore programmes that have not been executed so far for lack of national funding may be launched and inject fresh money in the economy.
One year after the worst monsoon floods in 80 years, vulnerable populations in Pakistan are still struggling to rebuild their lives and recover from the effects of the disaster. The European Union continues to support the worst-affected populations with generous humanitarian aid. More than 20 million people were affected by the floods, over 1,900 people died and an estimated 12.5 million required urgent humanitarian assistance.
The EU increases its support for conflict prevention and resolution in Africa with EUR 40 million
The European Commission confirmed its support to the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) by providing an additional EUR 40 million to the African Union. This brings the EU allocation to APSA to a total of EUR 84.5 million from the African Peace Facility (APF) since 2004. The APSA was established by the African Union (AU) in collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECS) in 2000. Its role is to deal with prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. This renewed EU support will enable the African Union and African Regional Organisations/Mechanisms with a mandate in peace and security to continue to fulfil and strengthen their mandates in order to: 1) enhance synergies built between the African Union Peace and Security Council, the core organ of the APSA, and regional entities dealing with conflict prevention, management and resolution; 2) increase the capacity of the Continental Early Warning System to anticipate and prevent conflicts; 3) contribute the optimal functioning of the Panel of the Wise and mediation structures; 4) provide support to the operational capability of the African Standby Force; 5) enhance the capacity to develop and implement strategies and policies in related peace and security areas; 6) build project and finance management capacity in support of APSA. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/headlines/index_en.htm and http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/peace-facility
State aid: Commission approves amendment of winding-up scheme for credit institutions in Denmark
The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules the amendment of the Danish winding-up scheme for credit institutions until 31 December 2011. Denmark has amended the Act commanding the Deposit Guarantee Fund, so as to allow the Fund to contribute to the bail-out of a failing bank by providing compensation to an acquiring bank. This possibility will only be used, if it is less costly for the fund to provide the needed compensation than to deal with the distressed bank through the winding-up scheme, where the Fund has to compensate the depositors. The Commission found the amended scheme to be compatible with EU rules that allow aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State. In particular, the amended scheme will ensure that the viability of failing banks is restored, the aid amount is limited to the minimum necessary and appropriate burden-sharing is ensured, whilst avoiding undue distortions of competition.
Commission clears the acquisition by Blackstone of Valad Property
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of control by The Blackstone Group L.P. ("Blackstone", USA) of the whole of Valad Funds Management Limited and Valad Property Trust (together "Valad Property", Australia). Blackstone is a global alternative asset manager, which has a controlling stake in Hilton Hotels Corporation. Valad is a real estate investment group, which owns or manages real estate properties or hotels in a number of EEA Member States. The parties' activities do not overlap to a significant extent in the markets on which they are active and there are only minor vertical links between them. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
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