|Reference: MEX/11/1219 Event Date: 19/12/2011|
EXME 11 / 19.12
Midday Express of 2011-12-19
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
As the working age population in many Member States shrinks, demand for highly skilled people between now and 2020 is projected to rise by over 16 million jobs. If Europe is to meet this demand, gaps in labour shortages need to be filled – for example through mobile and well qualified professionals from other EU Member States. They can be a key source of growth, but only if they can go easily to where jobs are and this requires their qualifications in the EU to be recognised in a fast, simple and reliable way. That is why the Commission has today adopted a proposal for modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive ( Directive 2005/36/EC).
As of today, Liechtenstein is the latest country to become a Member of the Schengen area, the zone without controls at internal borders. Over 400 million Europeans from 26 European countries now enjoy passport-free travel across the Schengen area.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by Volkswagen AG of the exclusive importers and distributors of its passenger car and light commercial vehicle ("LCV") brands in Poland (KPI Polska and Skoda Auto Polska) as well as two other Polish businesses providing financial and insurance services relating to these activities (Volkswagen Bank Polska and Volkswagen Leasing Polska).
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 1.4% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.3% in the EU27 in October 2011, compared with the previous month. In September, production decreased by 1.5% and 1.1% respectively. Compared with October 2010, output in October 2011 decreased by 2.8% in the euro area and by 2.0% in the EU27.
Over €38.6 million from EU Globalisation Fund to help 6,629 redundant workers in Greece and Ireland
The European Commission has made payments to Greece and Ireland from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). A total amount of €39.6 million will help 6,629 dismissed workers back into employment. This follows their redundancy in a number of sectors including construction industry and retail sector. €2.9 million will help 642 former Greek ALDI Hellas workers back into employment. The dismissals were a consequence of the global economic crisis. The decline in the volume of retail sales during the recession followed a similar pattern as that of other economic activities, falling for seven successive quarters from the peak recorded in the first quarter of 2008. In 2009, private final consumption expenditure for Greece followed the same negative trend as the EU-27 average. In 2010, a recovery took place in private consumption at EU-27 level, but in Greece the drop was even steeper than that of the previous year. This decrease severely affected the retail sector and the supermarkets in particular. ALDI Hellas, a newcomer to Greece, was unable to achieve the necessary economies of scale in these circumstances; it decided to halt all activities in Greece and close down all its outlets and logistical centres in the country. €35.7 million will help 5 987 dismissed Irish workers back into employment, following their redundancy due to crisis in three separate sectors of the construction industry (construction of buildings; specialised construction activities; and architectural and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis). The credit crunch severely affected the banks in Ireland, with further effects on mortgage loans and building activity in the country. There followed a substantial decrease in demand for new houses and house renovation, mainly due to the decrease in private investment in the residential sector. The Irish redundancies covered by the three applications occurred throughout the whole Ireland, in a total of over 3 200 enterprises. Among the 5 987 targeted workers are 4 470 redundant apprentices who will be helped to complete their apprenticeships so as to gain recognised qualifications. These payments follow approval of the amounts by the Budgetary Authority - the European Parliament and the Council - on 16 November 2011. The relevant proposal was made by the Commission on 22 September 2011 (for more information see: IP/11/1064) and on 5 October 2011 (see also IP/11/1151).
Passenger rights: Commission publishes a Communication on all transport modes and consults on air passenger rights
The European Commission has published today [19 December] a Communication which provides a general overview of all passengers rights to ensure they are consistently and effectively applied across all modes of transport. In addition, today the Commission has also launched a public consultation on air passenger rights which will be used to revise the current legislation in 2012. Finally it has prepared draft guidelines on the rights of disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility travelling by air to be discussed with Member States and stakeholders; these guidelines will then be finally adopted before the Paralympic Games take place in London next year.
Animal Health: Reallocation of € 236 million to help Member States to combat animal diseases in 2011
The Commission has today adopted the Commission's proposal endorsed by the Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal health held on 6th December 2011 to reallocate € 236 million among Member States to control and eradicate animal diseases in 2011. Member States have provided information on the actual use of Union funds in 2011 for programmes of disease eradication monitoring and control. The Commission has considered the appropriateness of reallocating some funding from national programmes which will not use their full allocation to those that are expected to exceed theirs. Following the request of some Member States the Commission has proposed an increased rate of co-financing from 50% to 60% for eligible measures. This has resulted in an additional funding of € 22.4 million made available for the eradication and control of important animal diseases such as bovine brucellosis, salmonellosis, tuberculosis and TSEs. For more information please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/eradication/index_en.htm
Commission approves additional commitments by Dutch bank insurance company SNS REAAL to ensure proper remuneration of a capital injection
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules, a schedule for the repayment of a Dutch capital injection granted to SNS REAAL in 2008, which was approved by the Commission in January 2010 ( IP/10/ 82). However, in order to ensure an appropriate remuneration, the Commission, when it temporarily approved the measure as rescue aid in December 2008 (see IP/08/1951), required SNS to renotify the measure, if no dividends and coupons had been paid to the State for two consecutive years. In line with its commitment, SNS renotified the measure after not having paid dividends in 2011. In order to achieve a sufficient remuneration despite the unpaid coupons on the State capital, SNS committed to a binding repayment schedule, whereby all outstanding State capital will be repaid at 150% of the issue price. Today's decision introduces adequate safeguards to ensure that SNS has sufficient incentives to comply with the repayment schedule. The Commission, therefore, concluded that the capital injection continues to be compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) that allows granting aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
Commission clears acquisition by Hyundai Motor Company of its wholesale distributors in Germany and France
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by the Korean Hyundai Motor Company ('HMC') of sole control of Hyundai Motor Deutschland, Automobiles Hyundai France, Frey Accessories & Parts ('FAAP') and FEA Services ('FEA'). HMC is active in the manufacture and supply of new motor vehicles, spare parts and accessories world-wide. HMD is active in the wholesale distribution of Hyundai passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, spare parts and accessories in Germany and is Hyundai's exclusive wholesale distributor in that country. AHF is the exclusive wholesale distributor of Hyundai passenger cars and LCVs in France. FAAP is active in the wholesale distribution of spare parts and accessories in France. FEA provides general administrative support services to motor vehicle wholesale distributors in France. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears joint control of Reverdia by DSM and Roquette
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of joint control over Reverdia VOF, by the Dutch company DSM Succinic Acid BV, controlled by Koninklijke DSM NV ("DSM"), and Roquette BV belonging to the French group Roquette Frères. DSM is active in human and animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, performance materials and industrial chemicals. Roquette's business activities include production of starch and starch derivatives. Reverdia will be active in the manufacturing, marketing and sale of bio-based succinic acid (BSA). The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
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