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EXME 12 / 20.06

Midday Express of 2012-06-20

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

The outermost regions: Commission unveils plan to support jobs and growth

Today the Commission adopts its communication on "The outermost regions: an asset for Europe", which proposes a renewed strategy for eight regions: the four French overseas departments, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion and Martinique, the overseas Collectivity of St Martin; the Portuguese autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira and the Spanish Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands. The aim is to support the outermost regions (OR) realise their potential above all through diversification and modernisation of their economies. This means developing new practices in traditional sectors like agriculture or fisheries and exploiting the potential for developing new products arising from their biodiversity and marine ecosystems, as well as developing their potential as centre for climate and space research, astrophysics and renewable energy. The Communication also sets out how, across a very wide range of sectors, the Commission will be engaged to mitigate their permanent constraints, to ensure their full integration in the single market, and their improved integration in their geographical neighbourhoods.

The European Commission boosts its humanitarian aid for Syria as Commissioner Georgieva visits Syrian refugees

The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian aid by EUR 10 million for those affected by the escalating violence in Syria, Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva announced today during a visit to a refugee camp in Turkey.

High Level Group report recommends gradual opening of EU road haulage market

Gradual opening of domestic road transport markets should be considered as a key step towards completing the Single European Transport Area says a report handed over to Vice-President Kallas today. In June 2011, a High Level Group of academics was mandated to draft a report on the situation of the EU road haulage market. The High Level Group considers that allowing a step-by-step opening of the market will increase the flexibility of operations and competition in national markets, whilst ensuring fair competition and maintaining adequate social norms. The Commission will take into consideration these conclusions in its own report on the situation of the EU road haulage market, to be published in 2013.

State aid: Commission invites comments on use of General block exemption Regulation

In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM) (see IP/12/458), the European Commission has launched the review of the general block exemption regulation (GBER) which exempts certain categories of aid from the obligation of prior notification to the Commission (see IP/08/1110). The review starts with a public consultation, seeking stakeholders' views on the functioning of the regulation since its entry into force in 2008. In light of the submissions received and its own experience in applying the Regulation, the Commission will propose a revised draft regulation in 2013, with a view to contributing to the objectives of SAM. Submissions can be made until 12 September 2012.

First estimates for 2011 - GDP per capita in the Member States ranged from 45% to 274% of the EU27 average in 2011

Based on first preliminary estimates for 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita expressed in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) varied from 45% to 274% of the EU27 average across the Member States. The highest level of GDP per capita in the EU27 was recorded in Luxembourg with a level of more than two and a half times the EU27 average. The Netherlands were just above 30% of the average, while Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Austria were between 25% and 30% above. Finland, Belgium and Germany were between 15% and 20% above the average, while France and the United Kingdom were between 5% and 10% above. In Italy and Spain, GDP per capita was around the EU27 average. Cyprus was around 10% below the EU27 average, while Slovenia, Malta, Greece, the Czech Republic and Portugal were between 15% and 25% lower, and Slovakia was around 25% below. Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Lithuania were between 30% and 40% lower than the average, while Latvia was around 40% below, Romania around 50% below and Bulgaria 55% below.

Vice-President Kroes and Commissioner Vassiliou enhance cooperation between research and innovation

An agreement bringing together the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) ICT Labs and the EU's Future Internet public-private partnership will be signed on 21 June in the presence of Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for Digital Agenda, and Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The aim of the agreement is to build stronger synergies between research, innovation and education. Concentrating resources and expertise in this way will generate important network effects, meaning more start-ups, more patents and more economic growth for Europe. EIT ICT Labs are one of the Institute's three 'knowledge and innovation communities' which bring together top universities and research institutes with leading businesses across Europe, while the Future Internet PPP promotes the development of European-scale platforms for smart systems in areas such as transport, health and energy. The agreement highlights the importance of creating synergies between them on research and innovation; such partnerships are a key component of 'Horizon 2020', the EU’s new programme for research and innovation 2014-2020. The EIT ICT Labs and Future Internet PPP will focus on ICT infrastructure, entrepreneurship, business development, education and training. The agreement will also enable both to build on the results of Future Internet PPP projects in an effective way. To find out more: DG Education and Culture ; Commissioner Vassiliou's website ; Twitter @VassiliouEU ; EIT ICT Labs ; Future Internet

Commission launches call for proposal to improve freight transport

The European Commission is launching a €64.6 million call for proposals to fight road congestion and make freight transport greener. The projects selected will support these two key objectives of the EU transport policy. The top-ranked projects in the evaluation process will be offered grant contracts of up to five years. This year's call has the following political priorities: short sea shipping (SSS) projects, single wagonload and inland waterways transport projects. This sixth call for proposals is dedicated to the creation and upgrading of freight transport services under the second Marco Polo programme. The general aim of this programme is to help companies introduce services that shift freight off the road and on to more environmentally friendly modes such as short-sea shipping, rail and inland waterways. Businesses and entrepreneurs across the European Union and beyond are invited to submit proposals until 21 September 2012. The full call, including information on how to apply for a grant, is available on the Marco Polo website: .

Commission clears the acquisition by Aegon Spanje Holding B.V. of a 50% shareholding in Liberbank Vida y Pensiones, Seguros y Reaseguros, S.A.

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Aegon Spanje Holding BV of a 50% shareholding in Liberbank Vida y Pensiones, Seguros y Reaseguros, S.A., from Liberbank, S.A.. Liberbank Vida is active in the field of life insurance and pension products in Spain. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

•Commission clears acquisition of Arkema's Vinyl Products business by the Klesch Group

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control by Klesch Chemicals Limited (Malta), which is part of the Klesch Group over the vinyl products business of the French chemicals group Arkema. The Klesch Group is currently active in oil refining and aluminium. Arkema's Vinyl Products business comprises Arkema's business units for the production of chlorine and chlorinated derivatives, caustic soda, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), pipes, compounds and profiles. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

New directors appointed for communication, youth and sport

The College has decided to appoint Ms Sixtine BOUYGUES as Director "Strategy and Corporate Communication" in the Communication Directorate-General. Ms Bouygues, a French national, is currently a Head of Unit in that Directorate, responsible for Strategy and Corporate Communication Actions. The decision will take effect on 1 July 2012. Also appointed to the post of Director is Ms Chiara GARIAZZO, who will take charge of "Youth and Sport" in the Education and Culture Directorate-General. Ms Gariazzo, who is Italian, is currently a Head of Unit in the Justice Directorate-General, responsible for financial support for migration and borders. The decision will take effect on 1 September 2012.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso and President Van Rompuy on the results of the G20 summit in Los Cabos - rediffusion

G20 summit: Statement by President Barroso after the G20 discussions on the global economy and the European debt crisis – rediffusion

Memo ""Wise men" hand over report on situation of the EU road transport market"

Memo "Q/A: The European Commission's work to help refugees"

Memo: "Joint Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, on the occasion of the World Refugee Day"

Memo "EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting: 20-21 June in Copenhagen"

Speech by Vice President J. Almunia: "Presenting the Annual Competition Report for 2011", ECON Committee, European Parliament- rediffusion

Memo ""Climate change: CO2 emissions from new cars dropped by 3% in 2011"

Memo "Joint statement by Janez Potočnik and Ida Auken on the Rio+20 Declaration" -rediffusion

Speech by A. Vassiliou: "State on play on 'Erasmus for All' and 'Creative Europe"; ECON Committee, European Parliament - rediffusion

Discours de M. Barnier: "Révision de la Directive sur l'intermédiation en assurance (IMD)", Conférence de la Fédération européenne des intermédiaires d'assurance (BIPAR) - Une priorité : la protection des consommateurs" – rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Stefan Füle: "Address to political parties representing the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community" - rediffusion

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