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EXME 11 / 04.10

Midday Express of 2011-10-04

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

SMEs: Commission report notes economic climate threatens performance; SME Week 3-9 October

The European Commission presented today its 2010 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) report "Are EU SMEs recovering from the crisis?" - including surveys on each EU Member State (the SBA Fact Sheets) - on the occasion of the SME Week taking place throughout Europe from 3–9 October.

Teachers' starting salaries not attractive, says report

In almost all European countries, gross basic salaries for teachers entering the profession are lower than national GDP per capita - and their pay will not even double over the course of their working lifetime, except in a handful of Member States. These are the main findings of a report which compares the salaries of public-sector teachers and school heads in 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. The data, based on the 2009/10 school year, covers pre-primary to upper secondary education. Where figures are available, and taking both salary levels and allowances into account, the best paid teachers in the European Union are in Luxembourg, Denmark and Austria. The least well-paid are in Bulgaria and Romania. Six million teachers are currently employed in the Member States. The report, compiled by the Commission's Eurydice network, is published to coincide with World Teachers' Day (5 October).

Online shopping: cross-border deliveries found reliable but few traders sell abroad in the EU

Have you been tempted by a cheaper online offer from another EU country but wondering how reliable it is to shop from abroad? 'Mystery shoppers' from the EU-supported European Consumer Centres' Network have checked just that. Their report (State of the e-Union) shows the results of 305 purchases in 28 countries. Delivery from abroad has turned out to be reliable overall, with 94% of orders delivered (up from 66% in 2003) and only 1% of the products found to be faulty. But shoppers had more problems when returning the goods (as part of the EU-wide cancellation rights), for example with getting the full costs reimbursed. Also, 60% of websites initially selected for the check as friendly to cross-border sales actually presented problems (e.g. with delivery, payment and language options) which made them unsuitable for online shoppers from other EU countries. The exercise confirms the European Commission's own earlier findings. Before the end of 2011, the Commission will outline its vision and action plan on how to help EU consumers make the most of e-commerce opportunities.

Culture: EU and Brazil sign agreement to step up cooperation

The European Commission and Brazil are to step up joint cooperation on cultural issues. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Ana de Hollanda, Minister of State of Culture of Brazil, today signed a four-year joint action plan focusing on cultural diversity, cultural heritage and the development of a sustainable cultural and creative economy. Culture is a boom area for the European economy, with studies showing that it contributes 4.5% to Europe's GDP and provides jobs for 8.5 million people. Brazil also has a vibrant cultural and heritage sector: the country has 11 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List , including the historic towns of Ouro Preto, Olinda and Salvador de Bahia, which attract thousands of European and other tourists every year.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič calls on national parliaments to get more involved in setting the European Commission's priorities

Vice-President Šefčovič is today (4/10) addressing the 46th COSAC meeting in Warsaw. COSAC gathers the European scrutiny committees of national parliaments across the EU. Following up on President Barroso's State of the Union address last Wednesday (28/9), Vice-President Šefčovič will urge national Members of Parliaments to help set priorities for the European Commission, through its work programme. He will also assess relations between the two partners since the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty two years ago.

How to grow digitally – Neelie Kroes addresses Lisbon Council

The objective of getting every European Digital has never been more important, said European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda today in a speech to the Lisbon Council's Digital Agenda Summit. Removing the barriers to a vibrant digital Single Market not only makes sense to the man on the street – it could also boost the economy to the tune of 1500 euros per year for each and every European. Kroes also referred to a forthcoming proposal, due in November, on public sector open data. Because opening up public sector information is an investment which will pay off in terms of transparency, economic growth and scientific research, "getting out the data under reasonable conditions should become a routine part of the business of public administrations". Kroes also outlined measures to improve trust and security, support the development of broadband networks, and to make sure that, when it comes to new developments in Cloud computing, Europe is "not just Cloud-friendly, but Cloud active".


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of controlling stake in Israeli agrochemical company Makhteshim Agan by China National Agrochemical

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over Israeli agrochemical company Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd. (MAI) by the Chinese state-owned company China National Chemical Corporation (CNAC) and Israeli company Koor Industries (Koor). MAI is currently under the sole control of Koor. The Commission examined the effects of the proposed acquisition in the markets for agrochemical and non-agrochemical products and concluded that it did not raise competition concerns in the European Union. The joint venture partners will continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors in the EU and customers still retain sufficient alternative suppliers in all of the markets concerned.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo "Small and medium sized enterprises: the situation in EU Member States 2010"

Speech by Vice President Šefčovič: "National Parliaments: Key Partners in Setting the EU Agenda"

Speech by Commissioner Füle: "The Role of Civil Society in Transition and Transformation: Lessons from the Enlargement Policy of the European Union" - rediffusion

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