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EXME 12 / 19.04

Midday Express of 2012-04-19

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of medical device company Synthes by Johnson & Johnson

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Synthes Inc. by Johnson & Johnson, both US companies active in the area of orthopaedic medical devices. The Commission's investigation confirmed that, subject to the divestment of Johnson & Johnson's trauma business, the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors and that customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all of the markets concerned.

At the age of 65, both women and men are expected to live a further 9 years in a healthy condition

Healthy life years measure the number of years that a person can expect to live in a healthy condition1. When considering the population aged 65 years, life expectancy is provisionally estimated at 21.0 years for women and 17.4 years for men in the EU27 in 2010. As regards healthy life years, women at the age of 65 in the EU27 in 2010 were expected to live a further 8.8 years in a healthy condition, and men 8.7 years.

Around 8.5 million part-time workers in the EU27 wished to work more hours

Among the 42 million part-time workers in the EU27 in 2011, 8.6 million wished to work more hours, were available to do so and can therefore be considered to be underemployed. These accounted for 20.5% of part-time workers and 4.0% of total employment. In 2010, the corresponding figures were very similar: 41.3 million persons worked part time and 8.5 million were underemployed.

Vice-President Rehn at IMF Spring Meeting in Washington DC 

Vice-President Olli Rehn will represent the European Commission at the IMF Spring Meetings and G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Washington DC on 19-21st April. The main issue at this year's event will be an increase in IMF resources. Last December, euro area Member States committed to provide €150 billion additional bilateral contributions to the IMF. At the last Eurogroup meeting of 30th March, Vice-President Rehn repeated his hope for an increase in IMF resources at these Spring Meetings, and called for financially strong G20 and IMF members to contribute to this global effort.

La Commissaire Vassiliou visite la maison de Robert Schuman à Scy-Chazelles (France)

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissaire européen en charge de l'éducation, de la culture, du multilinguisme et de la jeunesse se rend ce 20 avril à la maison de Robert Schuman à Scy-Chazelles. Elle visitera la maison historique et le nouveau musée attenant et déposera ensuite une gerbe sur sa tombe dans l'église St Quentin. La Commissaire profitera également de sa visite pour rencontrer les représentants du Conseil Général de la Moselle, en charge du site. Robert Schuman (1886-1963) est l'un des pères fondateurs de la construction européenne . Il a notamment endossé en 1950 le Plan Monnet à l'origine de la Communauté européenne du charbon et de l'acier, précurseur de la Communauté économique européenne devenue ensuite l'Union Européenne. Il fut plusieurs fois Ministre et Président du Conseil en France, ainsi que Président du Parlement européen . Mme Vassiliou a déclaré: "Je suis heureuse de visiter cette maison, qui est l'un des 68 sites qui a obtenu le Label du patrimoine européen en 2007 dans le cadre d'un projet intergouvernemental. Devenu depuis novembre 2011 une action de l'Union européenne, le Label mettra en valeur des sites qui symbolisent l’intégration, les idéaux et l'histoire de l'Europe. Notre label incitera un plus grand nombre de personnes et, notamment, des jeunes à réfléchir à la dimension européenne de notre histoire commune. Je suis certaine que le tourisme et l’économie en tireront également parti." To find out more: Le nouveau Label du patrimoine , DG Education and Culture , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , La maison Robert Schuman , Twitter @VassiliouEU

Kroes sets out vision for the internet

Vice President Neelie Kroes will today tell the world’s premier internet conference in Lyon that openness drives her vision for the internet: “The best thing about the Internet is that it is open.” Whether in fighting oppression or the feeling that one is forced to use one website or one brand, maximising openness is the antidote. Kroes will attack “ancient, pre-digital rules” governing issues from open data to procurement to intellectual property. “We need an environment where different models openly compete; and where people can openly choose.” On copyright: “The complicating licensing systems for copyrighted material here in Europe guarantee that Europeans miss out on great content. We must be open to different online business models. That doesn't necessarily mean offering something for nothing ... but there’s more than one way to do it. … If we are too rigid or too constraining in our approach, we will put artificial limits on innovation and discovery. And that's not being open.” On Net neutrality: “I am committed to safeguarding net neutrality. Everyone should have the option of full access to a robust, best-efforts Internet. But, once again, openness here is a subtle term. For me it does not mean banning all targeted or limited offers: it means being transparent about them.” Kroes wants governments to be free to use open standards in their public tenders.

CAP: Commission Conference on Local Agriculture and Short Food Supply Chain on 20 April

On 20 April, the European Commission will hold a conference on "Local agriculture and short food supply chains" - a joint initiative by Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, and John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health & Consumer Policy. The aim is to explore ways and means of mobilising the economic, social and environmental potential of local agriculture, direct sales and small-scale farming with a local market orientation in the context of the post-2013 Common Agriculture Policy. As well as Commissioners Cioloș and Dalli, speakers will include Danish Agriculture Minister & Council President Mette Gjeskow, founder of the "Slowfood" movement Carlo Petrini, mountaineer & former MEP Reinhold Messner, and there will also be a video message from Prince Charles. The Conference is by invitation only, but the plenary presentations and discussions will be webstreamed live in 8 languages, with many presentations & speeches also available on the conference website. There will also be a press conference (Cioloș, Dalli, Petrini, Messner) in the Commission Press Room on Friday, April 20 at 12.30. Details are available at:

CAP: High Level Group on Wine meets for the first time

The High Level Group on wine is meeting for the first time today, bringing together senior officials from Member States, representatives of the sector and observers of the European Parliament, the Council and Croatia. Initiated by European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Cioloș, the Group will hold four meetings to analyse all aspects of wine planting rights, in response to calls from parts of the wine sector in some Member States not to abolish the wine planting rights system. In the 2008 wine reform, EU Agriculture Ministers agreed to end to the system of wine planting rights at the end of 2015 – or 2018 if a Member State so decides - as part of a broader package aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the European wine sector. In his opening remarks to the Group this morning, Commissioner Cioloș underlined the importance of looking to the future rather than remaining focused on the past. "We need a realistic evaluation of what could and could not be a system for managing vineyard areas in the context of today's market realities. In so doing, we must not lose track of 2 key points – the challenge of wine quality, and the challenge of winegrower revenue." The Commissioner's speech is published in French ( Speech/12/281). Details on the European wine sector and on the 2008 wine reform are available at

Commissioner Hahn visits Wales to discuss regional policy now and after 2013

Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, is in Wales for a two-day visit to discuss Wales' position in the ongoing negotiations following the Commission's proposals for the future of cohesion policy after 2013 and the future EU budget. Having met Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales in London yesterday, he will meet First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, and project beneficiaries.

New Deputy Director-General for Human Resources and Security

The College has appointed Mr Fernando FRUTUOSO DE MELO as Deputy Director-General in the Human Resources and Security Directorate-General. Mr Frutuoso de Melo, who is Portuguese and a lawyer by training, is currently the Deputy Head of President Barroso's Cabinet. He moves into this new position with more than 20 years of experience from management and Cabinet positions in the Commission in a vast range of policy areas, including Personnel and Administration, Parliamentary Affairs, Enlargement Policy and Development. The decision will take effect on 1 May 2012.


Growth for Greece: Commission points the way to unlock growth and create jobs

After many months of crisis, the conditions now exist to start moving from crisis to growth in Greece. Agreement on the Second Economic Adjustment Programme and the success of the debt reduction agreement with the private sector mean that all efforts can now be concentrated on much needed growth and jobs. Today the Commission has set out the reasons why it believes Greece can transform itself – through the implementation of the agreed adjustment programme and with the ongoing support and solidarity of the EU, channelled by the Commission. In a new Communication the Commission highlights the steps that need to be taken during 2012, as part of the programme and explains the huge range of support measures that it can mobilise to help Greece begin to generate new economic dynamism, job creation and social cohesion.

Commission presents new measures and identifies key opportunities for EU job-rich recovery

With EU unemployment hitting record levels and forecasts of a grim economic outlook for the months ahead, the Commission has come forward today with a set of concrete measures to boost jobs. The proposal focuses on the demand-side of job creation, setting out ways for Member States to encourage hiring by reducing taxes on labour or supporting business start-ups more. It also identifies the areas with the biggest job potential for the future: the green economy, health services and ICT. The policy communication underlines the need for a stronger employment and social dimension to EU governance and lays down ways to involve employers' and workers' representatives more in setting EU priorities.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Hungarian retail company Magyar Hipermarket by Groupe Auchan

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Magyar Hipermarket Kereskedelmi Kft. ("Magyar Hipermarket") by the French retail group Auchan. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors and that customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all markets concerned.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo: Growth and jobs for Greece – FAQ - rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso at the European Parliament Plenary Debate: "Economic Crisis in the Euro Zone" - rediffusion

Memo: "Tajani: EU assistance for small enterprises in Greece"

Memo: "Q & A on the new Employment package: Towards a job-rich recovery" - rediffusion

Presentation of Commissioner Andor on "Employment Package: Towards a job-rich recovery" - rediffusion

Memo: "Remarks by Vice-President Rehn on the European Investment Bank's contribution to growth and jobs in the EU" - rediffusion

Memo "Statement by HR/VP Catherine Ashton on the decision of the Swiss Government to re-establish quantitative limitations for certain categories of residence permits as regards EU citizens who are nationals of eight of the EU Member States" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Vassiliou at the Forum of the EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue: "A year's good plans shall start with spring" - rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Almunia at the 11th Annual Conference of the International Competition Network in Rio de Janeiro: "International cooperation to fight protectionism" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Šemeta at the European Parliament plenary session: "Call for concrete ways to combat tax fraud and tax evasion" - rediffusion

Speech by Vice-President Tajani: "Discurso en el pleno del Parlamento Europeo sobre Repsol" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissionner Cioloș "Relever les défis de la qualité et du revenu des producteurs "

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