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EXME 12 / 14.06
Midday Express of 2012-06-14
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Today, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström handed the roadmap to visa liberalisation over to the Kosovo government. This document sets out a comprehensive list of reforms that Kosovo will be requested to implement to fulfil requirements related to the freedom of movement, such as reintegration and readmission, document security, border and migration management, the fight against organised crime and corruption and fundamental rights. The pace of the visa dialogue will depend on the Kosovo government’s progress in fulfilling these requirements.
Innovative and inspirational projects from Sweden, Poland, Austria, and two transnational partnerships will tonight take centre stage in Europe as Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, presents the RegioStars 2012 Awards. Together with the President of the Jury, Luc van den Brande, Commissioner Hahn will award five prize categories for good practice in regional development to projects with EU co-investment. EMBARGO UNTIL 19H00 CET
Many disabled and reduced mobility air travellers still face problems of unjustified refusals, and other unfair demands when attempting to travel. As thousands of disabled Paralympians and spectators prepare to travel to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, the Commission has published guidelines to clarify their rights when travelling by air.
Hourly labour costs in the euro area (EA17) rose by 2.0% in the year up to the first quarter of 2012, compared with 2.8% for the previous quarter. In the EU27, the annual rise was 1.7% up to the first quarter of 2012, compared with 2.7% for the previous quarter. The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages & salaries per hour worked grew by 2.0% in the year up to the first quarter of 2012, as did the non-wage component, compared with 2.6% and 3.5% respectively for the fourth quarter of 2011. In the EU27, hourly wages & salaries rose by 1.7% and the non-wage component by 2.1% in the year up to the first quarter of 2012, compared with 2.6% and 3.4% respectively for the fourth quarter of 2011. The breakdown by economic activity shows that in the euro area hourly labour costs rose by 2.5% in industry, by 1.9% in construction and by 1.8% in services in the year up to the first quarter of 2012. In the EU27, labour costs per hour grew by 2.7% in industry and by 1.4% in both construction and services.
Euro area annual inflation was 2.4% in May 2012, down from 2.6% in April. A year earlier the rate was 2.7%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in May 2012. EU annual inflation was 2.6% in May 2012, down from 2.7% in April. A year earlier the rate was 3.2%. Monthly inflation was 0.0% in May 2012.
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič fulfils pledge to get national parliaments more involved in Europe's economic governance
Vice-President Šefčovič will today (14) address the Bundestag's European Affairs Committee on the European Semester, and the important role national parliaments can play in Europe's economic governance. The trip is the first in a series, following his joint pledge with Vice-President Olli Rehn to get national parliaments more involved in the process. While in Berlin, Vice-President Šefčovič will also meet Minister of State Michael Link at the Federal Foreign Office, and Dr Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Chief European Policy Adviser at the Chancellery.
GMOS : Appeal Committee reaches no opinion on authorisation of GM soybean
A proposal for the authorisation of a GM soybean (MON87701xMON89788) for food and feed uses and import and processing (and not cultivation) was presented yesterday by the European Commission to the Appeal Committee since no opinion was obtained during the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health of 2 May 2012. At the Appeal Committee meeting, Member States returned no definitive opinion on the file, either for or against the proposal. As a result of yesterday's inconclusive vote, and following the new rules introduced by the Treaty, it is now for the Commission to decide on the adoption of this decision. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm
Resilience to food crises in the Sahel – the European Commission organises a high-level conference in the Berlaymont
On 18 June the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, and the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will host a high-level meeting aiming to find long-term solutions to the food and nutrition crises which afflict the Sahel region of Africa. The event will gather together representatives of the countries of the Sahel, regional organisations, humanitarian and development agencies, non-governmental organisations and donor governments. The objective is to forge a new partnership to build resilience in the Sahel. The conference will take place in the Commission's Berlaymont building, Schuman Room, between 09:00 and 13.00. Among the confirmed guests are Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF and Nancy Lindborg, the Assistant Administrator for Democracy at USAID. At midday on June 18, Commissioners Georgieva and Piebalgs will come to the Commission's daily press conference to brief the media about the outcomes of the conference. The conference will be preceded by a technical briefing by humanitarian and development experts of the Commission on Friday, June 15. To find out more: About the European Commission's humanitarian work in the Sahel ( http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/hot_topics/looming_hunger_in_the_sahel_en.htm); the Commission's development support in the Sahel; Commissioner Georgieva's website ( http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm); Commissioner Piebalgs's website ( http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm); Twitter @KGeorgievaEU, @APiebalgsEU
Tajikistan's hidden crisis – the EU extends a helping hand
The European Commission is giving €2 million to help people in Tajikistan cope with the after-effects of the harsh winter. The poorest country in Central Asia is exposed to numerous and recurrent natural disasters. After one of the longest and coldest winters in living memory, many vulnerable people have no resources left to support their families, feed their animals, buy fuel or seeds or to pay for medical care. Many of them are now heavily in debt. The Commission's aid will assist people who have exhausted their food supplies and who have lost their animals and crops. Up to 50,000 people will benefit from this aid in the difficult months until the next harvest. The European Commission has been providing humanitarian aid to Tajikistan since 1993, when it funded relief operations for the victims of a civil war which caused a major humanitarian crisis. It is still active today and working on disaster risk- reduction and disaster resilience. The total humanitarian funding provided by the European Commission to Tajikistan since 1993 is more than €175 million. For more information on the European Commission's work in Tajikistan: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/aid/asia/tajikistan_en.htm
EU Commissioner for Development at the EU-ACP Ministerial Meeting
EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will attend the annual African, Caribbean, Pacific Countries (ACP)-EU Ministerial Meeting on 14th and 15th of June in Vanuatu. The Commissioner will participate to a joint side event with the European Investment Bank on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, calling for more involvement of the private sector in such endeavour. Ministers from ACP and the EU will discuss issues of common interest such as the upcoming Rio+20 conference on Sustainable development, Trade cooperation, Migration and Development cooperation. Speech of Commissioner Piebalgs at the side event on Sustainable Energy can be found on his website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/headlines/speeches/index_en.htm
On World Blood Donor day, under this year's motto of “Every blood donor is a hero", the European Commission stresses the importance of safe blood supplies and encourages all European citizens to join the ranks of responsible voluntary donors. Today more than 500 million EU citizens depend on blood donated by less than 15 million donors. This is not enough to meet the needs of all the Europeans who depend on blood to survive from an emergency or to live with a chronic diseases that requires regular transfusions.
The European Commission has today approved an investment of €252 million from the structural funds to build a major highway running through the Peloponnese region in Greece. This project is the second big motorway construction to be approved in one month time and involves a total cost of €296 million, including national and private investments. It will create 6,000 new jobs during the construction phase. It is also another of the 181 priority projects presented by the European Commission last November in order to accelerate the return of growth in Greece, by investing structural funds, of which for the country from 2007 until 2013 in total €20.4 billion is available.
The European Commission has decided to require the Dutch telecoms regulator (OPTA) to amend or withdraw a fixed and mobile termination rates proposal which would negatively affect consumers in the Netherlands. Termination rates are the rates which telecoms networks charge each other to deliver calls between their respective networks. These costs are ultimately included in call prices paid by consumers and businesses. This is the first time that the Commission has issued a recommendation under Article 7a of the Telecoms Directive ( MEMO/11/321).
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