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EXME 11 / 06.12
Midday Express of 2011-12-06
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
"Value Added Tax (VAT) is paid for by citizens, collected by businesses and accounts for over 20% of national revenues. It therefore has a significant impact on every single EU citizen. However, it is now 40 years since the EU VAT system was first set up, and the regime no longer fits with our service-driven, technology-based economy. The time has come for an ambitious VAT reform." said Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit.
The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings to investigate whether international publishers Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing, France), Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany) have, possibly with the help of Apple, engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in the European Economic Area (EEA) , in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will treat the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
Enregistrement de deux dénominations de produits agricoles
La Commission européenne a ajouté deux dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires à la liste des indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit de la pomme de terre grecque " Πατάτα Νάξου (Patata Naxou) " (IGP) et des gâteaux espagnols "Mantecados de Estepa" (IGP). Les deux dénominations s'ajoutent à la liste d'environ 1000 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet à l'adresse: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_fr.htm
GDP increased by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.3% in the EU27 during the third quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2011, growth rates were +0.2% in both zones. Compared with the third quarter of 2010, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.4% in both the euro area and the EU27, after +1.7% in both zones for the previous quarter.
Antitrust and Intellectual property rights: Commission consults on review of current regime for licensing of technology
The European Commission invites comments on the application of EU antitrust rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements, i.e. patent, know-how and software licensing. The aim is to strengthen the incentives for research and innovation, facilitate the diffusion of intellectual property and stimulate competition. The current regime, which entered into force in May 2004, will expire in April 2014. In light of stakeholders' submissions, the Commission will make a proposal on how to assess technology transfer agreements after the expiry of the current regime. All stakeholders, including consumer interest associations, public authorities, and, in particular, the business community (including SMEs) who have had experience of applying the current rules on technology transfer agreements and/or are affected by such technology transfer agreements, are encouraged to participate in the consultation. Comments can be submitted until 3 February 2012. The questionnaire is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2012_technology_transfer/index_en.html
Solar in Algeria: Desertec signs Memorandum of Understanding
Only after two weeks, Desertec signs a second cooperation agreement aimed to produce solar energy in Northern Africa: In the margins of the EU-Algeria Meeting on renewable energies and energy efficiency this Friday, 9 December, Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) and Sonelgaz will sign a Memorandum of Understanding. Desertec aims at creating the framework for generating sustainable and climate-friendly power in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa. Sonelgaz is the Algerian gas and electricity supplier and plays a key role in implementing Algeria's renewable energy programme. Together Desertec and Sonelgaz combine technology, engineering and access to the local market. Two weeks ago, Desertec signed a cooperation agreement with Medgrid, an industrial initiative. Whereas Desertec focuses on the production of solar, Medgrid focuses on the transmission network. Energy Commissioner Oettinger will attend the signing event at the Berlaymont building (13th floor, Salon 2). Journalists are invited to a photo opportunity on 9 December at 8:30 CET. For further information and registration please contact the press team of Energy Commissioner. Information on the Mediterranean Solar Plan here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/international/euromed_en.htm
Appointment of Chief Scientific Advisor
President Barroso has today appointed the Commission's first Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Anne Glover. Professor Glover will provide high-level and independent scientific advice throughout all stages of policy development and delivery. The Chief Scientific Advisor will provide advice directly to the President, and will give regular updates on major scientific and technological developments.
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