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EXME 12 / 05.06
Midday Express of 2012-06-05
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Just in time for the summer holidays, the EURO 2012 Football Championship and the London 2012 Olympics, the European Commission has launched an application for smartphones explaining how to use the European Health Insurance Card. The Card gives people access to state-provided healthcare in case of illness or an accident during travel and temporary stays in 31 European countries. The Card is available – free of charge - from national health insurance providers. It guarantees access to urgent treatment under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.
Today Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik launched the European Resource Efficiency Platform to provide high-level guidance and advice on policy measures designed to transform the European economy towards a more sustainable growth path. Resource efficiency is a pillar of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and is therefore a top priority for the European Commission. The primary task of the Platform will be to determine how to achieve the milestones and vision set out in the Commission's Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe , including the ultimate vision of decoupling resource use and its impacts from economic growth.
The first EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue was held in Islamabad on 05 June 2012. The Pakistan side was led by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the European Union delegation was led by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
Team Culture: Launch of new initiative to highlight contribution of culture to jobs and economic recovery
The role of culture at a time of crisis is the focus of a new initiative by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Uffe Elbæk, the Danish Minister for Culture, They are taking part in a launch event in Brussels tomorrow (6 June) to highlight the impact of culture on jobs, growth, innovation and creativity. The meeting, at the EGG, rue Bara 173, brings together European decision-makers, representatives of the cultural and creative sectors and members of Team Culture 2012 including Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, Stojan Pelko, Slovenia’s former State Secretary for Culture, and Josephine Green, who was senior director of trends and strategy at Philips Design. Team Culture 2102, which was instigated by Elbæk under the Danish Presidency of the EU, will present concrete examples of how culture and the arts can help to overcome the economic crisis and boost competitiveness. They will also present a joint manifesto entitled 'Turn to Culture' . Commissioner Vassiliou said: “Culture is part of the solution to the challenges we face in getting Europe back on track. The cultural and creative sectors employ 8.5 million people and account for up to 4.5% of EU GDP. They have proved resilient during the crisis, but they need more investment to achieve their full economic potential by reaching new markets and audiences. That is why the Commission has proposed a significant increase in funding under the new Creative Europe programme (€1.8 billion in 2014-2020), which will support culture, cinema and a loan guarantee scheme which would generate €1 billion for small and medium sized enterprises, which are a motor for growth in Europe.” Uffe Elbæk added: “Europe is facing a severe economic crisis and the EU and national governments throughout Europe are searching for a solution. As part of the solution, we should turn to culture as a source of creativity, innovation and hope for the future. After having initial talks with Commissioner Vassiliou and other key players in the EU system, I launched Team Culture in order to stimulate a European debate about the role of art and culture in society today. I am sure these examples and the discussions at the meeting will inspire and encourage all of us to seek new creative ways to move on.” Later this year, the Commission will publish a strategy paper on the cultural and creative sectors, setting out the challenges they face and the opportunities they offer if they get the right backing. To find out more: DG Education and Culture , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , The Danish Presidency's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU
Road safety: Commission reports on how blind spot mirrors help reduce road fatalities
The European Commission published yesterday a report on implementing the legislation known as "blind spot mirrors directive". Directive 2007/38 required the retrofitting of all existing lorries with mirrors aimed at reducing or eliminating blind spots. Blind spots are areas outside the driver's field of vision which are particularly important for the safety of motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. The report shows that the number of fatalities resulting from accidents involving heavy goods vehicles and motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians has been effectively reduced following the retrofitting of blind spot mirrors. The Commission also stresses that training and awareness of road users concerning the danger of blind spots is essential to avoid accidents.
In April 2012 compared with March 2012, the volume of retail trade fell by 1.0% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.1% in the EU272. In March retail trade rose by 0.3% and 0.8% respectively.In April 2012, compared with April 2011, the retail sales index fell by 2.5% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU27.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Wavin N.V., a manufacturer of pipe systems of the Netherlands, by Mexichem Soluciones Integrales Holding S.A. de C.V., of Mexico. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because the merged entity would continue to face sufficient competition.
The European Commission has put on hold, pending further investigations, plans of the German telecoms regulator (BNetzA) to set price levels for dedicated secure lines of ultra-fast broadband lines that are rented out to competitors- so-called "very high bandwidth leased lines", which the incumbent German telecoms operator, Deutsche Telecom (DT), can charge alternative operators.
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