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EXME 12 / 24.02
Midday Express of 2012-02-24
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Switching your bank account may not be as easy as you hope. Results of a consumer market study published today show that more than two thirds of mystery shoppers were not able to switch their bank account successfully. The Commission's 2007 inquiry into the retail banking sector identified significant barriers to customer mobility. These findings were followed by extensive consultation which led the European Commission to urge the Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) to act. EBIC established a self regulatory initiative based on common principles, which was expected to bring clarity for consumers, but today's results show that self regulation in this case is clearly not delivering the desired results.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will travel to Moldova and Georgia on 27 and 28 February respectively to launch negotiations on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) between the EU and the two countries.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the branded colour TV business of the Dutch company Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. by TPV Technology Limited, a manufacturer of colour TVs and computer monitors based in Bermuda. The Commission concluded that the transaction will not raise competition concerns due to the limited overlaps between the parties' activities and to the fact that sufficient alternative sources of supply will continue to be available to the merged entity's customers in all markets concerned.
Commission conference to identify strategies for combating food crime
A conference on food-related crime opens in Brussels on Monday 27 February. This two day event, organised as part of the European Commission's 'Better Training for Safer Food' programme, will gather representatives of food control authorities, police forces, judicial bodies and other stakeholders from across the EU. The conference will be opened by European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud, Algirdas Šemeta and closed by European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli. Sub-standard food products on the market could be the result of fraudulent practice or simply negligence whereas fraudulent practices are the likely basis where counterfeit food products are concerned. Organised crime concerning food is a relatively recent phenomenon. As illegal practices in the area of food increase, it is clear that more information is necessary to combat the problem. What is clear, however, is that illegal practices in the area of food are on the increase. The magnitude of food-related crime has recently been demonstrated. The Europol-led 'Operation Opson' conducted between November and December 2011 led to the seizure of over 13 000 bottles of substandard olive oil, 30 tonnes of fake tomato sauce, around 77 000 kg of counterfeit cheese, some 12 000 bottles of substandard wine, five tonnes of substandard fish and seafood and nearly 30 000 counterfeit candy bars. The conference aims to facilitate exchange of experience between competent authorities at Member State and European levels on existing legal and judicial instruments, and discuss possible improvements. It should also allow for exchange of good practice as well as discussion on the existing information networks and control and traceability procedures and their future reinforcement. This should lead to strengthened coordination between all actors and the identification and development of new strategies for combating food-related crime. Finally, the conference should also help raise awareness of the problem of food-related crime amongst the general public, and encourage people to be vigilant when making purchases. For more information: Better Training for Safer Food homepage ; Executive Agency for Health and Consumers pages on Better Training for Safer Food ; web-streaming of conference on 27/02 ; web-streaming of conference on 28/02 .
Commissioner Hedegaard in Brazil for green growth and climate talks
Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will be in Brazil 27-29 February for a series of bilateral meetings and field visits in the capital Brasilia and in São Paulo. These meetings will in particular address progress in the international climate negotiations under the UNFCCC. The visit also occurs just a few months before the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Brazil from 20 to 22 June and discussions will also focus on the opportunity that the Rio+20 Conference represents to shape the way towards a greener economy and to improve multilateral environmental governance. Commissioner Hedegaard will meet with Brazil's Foreign Minister, Antônio Patriota, the Minister of Environment, Mrs Izabella Teixeira and with members of the Permanent Joint Committee on Climate Change of the National Congress. During the field visits, the Commissioner will visit laboratories specialising in carbon flows from land-use in agriculture and in protected Ecological Reserves.
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