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EXME 11 / 15.11
Midday Express of 2011-11-15
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
Is there a need to change the EU rules on family reunification of migrants? Today, the Commission launched a public debate on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the EU. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the Commission will decide whether any policy follow-up is necessary – such as setting up clear guidelines, modifying the current rules or leaving the legislation as it is. Stakeholders and the general public are invited to have their say at ec.europa.eu/yourvoice . The background and contact details can also be found here . EMBARGO UNTIL 14H00 CET.
Recent events, be it the Arab Spring or the terrorist attacks in Norway, illustrate how important it is for the EU to be able to react quickly and effectively to rapidly evolving crisis situations. This is why the European Commission will increase the funding available for Home Affairs and will improve and simplify the way EU financing is delivered. EMBARGO UNTIL 14H00 CET.
The Annual report 2011, released today by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), shows drug use to be relatively stable in Europe, with some positive signs that cocaine use may have peaked and that cannabis use continues to decline among young people. But signs of stability in the use of the more established drugs are offset by the emergence of new threats. These include the increase availability of synthetic drugs, the rapid appearance of new substances and widespread 'polydrug' use (the use of more than one type of drug at one time). Also highlighted in the report are new concerns over the potential for HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs.
A new European network of mentors to promote female entrepreneurship through the sharing of know-how and experience has been launched today by the European Commission. Women only account for 34.4% of the self-employed in Europe. To raise this share, successful businesswomen will assist women entrepreneurs who established a new enterprise two to four years ago. The mentors will give these new entrepreneurs concrete advice on how to run and grow their enterprises in this early, critical phase of the businesses as well as help them to develop the necessary soft skills and coach them. The network will cover 17 European countries; 170 mentors will participate in it.
Roundtable on the ethical aspects of Information and Communication Technologies
Today in Brussels the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) organises a Roundtable on the ethical aspects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The roundtable is part of a broader public consultation the EGE is holding to prepare its Opinion to the European Commission on policy options for governance in the area of ICT. Participants of the Round Table represent a broad cross-section of society and speakers include representatives of the UN Internet governance forum, the Council of Europe, Google, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Associations, the EU Data protection supervisor and renowned academics. The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) is an independent, pluralist and multidisciplinary body which advises the European Commission on ethical aspects of science and new technologies. The Roundtable will be broadcast at http://webcast.ec.europa.eu . For more information on the EGE and the ongoing public consultation (deadline 21 November) see: http://ec.europa.eu/bepa/european-group-ethics/welcome/index_en.htm .
The first estimate for euro area (EA17) trade with the rest of the world in September 2011 gave a 2.9 bn euro surplus, compared with +0.5 bn euro in September 2010. The August 2011 balance was -4.4 bn, compared with -6.2 bn in August 2010. In September 2011 compared with August 2011, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 1.0% and imports by 3.2%. The first estimate for the September 2011 extra-EU27 trade balance was a 10.5 bn euro deficit, compared with -13.9 bn in September 2010. In August 2011 the balance was -17.8 bn, compared with -19.3 bn in August 2010. In September 2011 compared with August 2011, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.7% and imports by 3.4%.
Euro area and EU27 GDP up by 0.2%. +1.4% in both zones compared with the third quarter of 2010. GDP increased by 0.2% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 during the third quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2011, growth rates were +0.2% in both zones.
GMOs : Member States fail to endorse proposals to authorise two GM soybean products for food and feed uses
Two proposals to authorise genetically modified (GM) soybean products were not endorsed yesterday by Member States during a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH). They will now be examined by the appeal committee set up by Regulation (EC) No. 182/2011 . The Commission presented to SCoFCAH one proposal for the authorisation of GM soybean A5547-127 and another one on the renewal of the authorization of GM soybean 40-3-2. Both authorisations concern food and feed uses, not cultivation. The Commission tabled the proposals following applications submitted by Bayer Cropscience AG (A5547-127) and by Monsanto (40-3-2) and after favourable scientific assessments from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which addressed all safety concerns. EFSA concluded in both opinions that these soybeans are as safe as their non-genetically modified counterparts, with respect to potential effects on human and animal health or the environment. EFSA also addressed the questions raised by Member States before delivering its scientific opinions. For more information, please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm
GMOs : EU reinforces controls on Chinese rice products
The European Union decided yesterday to reinforce its controls on imports of Chinese rice products. In a move to respond to an increasing detection of products contaminated with unauthorised genetically modified (GM) rice, Member States endorsed a European Commission Decision to that effect at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH). The Commission based the Decision on an audit carried out in China by its Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in March 2011 and on the continuing notifications through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). The mission's initial findings indicate an uncertainty as to the level, type and number of GM events, which may have contaminated rice products originating in, or consigned, from China. They also indicate that there is a risk of further introductions of non-authorised GMOs in such rice products. The endorsed Decision provides for the use of a screening method that can detect up to 26 GM rice events potentially present in the food and feed chain in China. The existing obligation for the Chinese authorities to provide a pre-export analytical report to demonstrate the absence of GM rice events is maintained. However, the analytical report's verification is reinforced from the current random requirement to 100% of all consignments of rice products originating from China. Since September 2006 rice products originating in or consigned from China contaminated with the unauthorised GM rice Bt63 have been notified through the RASFF. To address this issue, the Commission adopted an emergency measure ( 2008/289/EC) in April 2008 to facilitate controls on rice products from China entering the Union. Despite measures announced by the Chinese authorities to control the presence of unauthorised GM rice, alerts continued to be notified by Member States, and in March 2010 new GM rice events were found. In light of these findings, the continuing alerts, and taking into account that no GM rice products are authorised in the Union, it is was considered necessary to extend the scope of the original decision and to reinforce controls prior to free circulation of the such products onto the market. The endorsed measure will be reviewed in six months. For more information please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm
La Commission autorise Alstom et Bouygues à constituer une entreprise commune de plein exercice
La Commission européenne a autorisé les entreprises françaises Alstom Holdings, Bouygues Immobilier et Exprimm (ces deux dernières sont des filiales du groupe Bouygues) à constituer une entreprise commune de plein exercice, nommée Embix, en vertu du règlement de l’UE sur les concentrations. La société Alstom Holdings est la société faîtière du groupe multinational de sociétés Alstom. Bouygues Immobilier et Exprimm font partie du groupe Bouygues. L'activité d'Embix consistera dans l'offre de services de gestion intelligente de l'énergie à destination des portfolios de bâtiments et des éco-quartiers. L'affaire a été examinée selon la procédure simplifiée.
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