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EXME 12 / 29.06
Midday Express of 2012-06-29
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Today, the EU and Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) signed a comprehensive Association Agreement which also includes an ambitious trade component. The signing ceremony took place at the occasion of the Meeting of Presidents of SICA (Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana, Central American Integration System) in Honduras. The EU was represented by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and by the European External Action Service Managing Director for the Americas, Christian Leffler. The six Central American countries were represented by their respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers for Trade in the Presence of the six Presidents. The agreement consists of three pillars: political dialogue, cooperation and trade. The provisions related to the free trade area will enter into force at the end of this year, beginning of next year at the latest; whereas the Agreement as a whole will enter into force as soon as it is ratified by all parties.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas responsible for transport met today with top-level representatives of the European transport and logistics sector. The occasion was the launch meeting of the High Level Group on Logistics (HLGL), set up to provide strategic advice on the future transport policy measures with impact on logistics.
The European Commission is inviting comments on its first draft of a revised communication on the application of EU state aid rules to short-term export credit insurance. After a first round of consultations and based on its experience in applying the communication, the Commission proposes to clarify and simplify the current rules, which will expire on 31 December 2012. Comments on the draft communication should be submitted by 21 September. In light of the comments received, the Commission will adopt a reviewed communication in December 2012.
The European Commission has temporarily authorised, under EU State aid rules, an impaired asset measure and an asset relief measure in favour of FIH Erhvervsbank A/S. The public support measures are approved for a period of six months in order to preserve financial stability. In parallel, the Commission has opened a formal investigation because it is concerned that the State may not be adequately remunerated for its support and because of the risks remaining in FIH's balance sheet.
The European Commission has today set out the detailed rules aimed at reducing the risk of settlement failures linked to naked short selling, as well as the means by which market participants should disclose significant short positions to the market. The technical standards adopted today by the Commission are based on the work of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). They notably specify the details of the so-called "locate rule," which ensures that short sales do not result in a failure to deliver. The new rules also detail how ESMA is to determine the shares which are exempt from the Short Selling Regulation1 by virtue of their principal trading venue being outside the Union. Together with the Short Selling Regulation that they implement, the regulations adopted today will create a more transparent, orderly and stable market by reducing the risks tied to short selling.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 2.4% in June 2012 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It was also 2.4% in May.
EU internal defence market is opening slowly
Until recently, fragmentation of the European defence market and divergent national approaches caused many problems for the European defence industry, which still operates in a highly regulated environment at a national level. But, according to the European Commission report on the transposition of Directive 2009/43/EC, published today, important first steps towards an internal market for the transfer of defence goods have been taken. Such transfers are needed for the supply of components or for assembling final products. The Directive simplified these transfers, in particular by introducing an EU wide coherent licencing system for the transport of defence-related products through one or more Member States. Timely transposition of the Directive, due since June 2011, proved challenging for Member States, and only 19 of them officially communicated full transposition in their national law (see below). However, the report underlines the advantages of the Common Military List at EU level replacing previous different lists established at national level, and of the system to certify defence companies resulting in increased mutual trust and common recognition of defence companies’ reliability. The Commission also opened today a new Register of Certified Defence Recipients (CERTIDER), encompassing a centralized list of companies certified by Member States. More information
A Commission conference entitled “Trade Secrets: Supporting Innovation, Protecting Know-how” is taking place in Brussels today
In the EU's knowledge-and-information based economy, investment and sustainable growth can be seriously harmed by misappropriation of trade secrets. An adequate level of protection, together with effective means of redress, helps to ensure fair competition. It also provides confidence for businesses to invest in, and allocate resources to, innovative processes and products. Company representatives, a wide range of economic and legal experts, and business organisations will discuss a number of themes: the role of trade secrets in innovation and competitiveness in the EU; the importance of trade secrets for SMEs and start-ups; examples of real cases theft of trade secrets and attempts to achieve redress within the EU, and the adequacy of the existing legal framework within the Member States to respond to this challenge. The Conference will have as a backdrop the recently published report by Hogan Lovells, and the preliminary findings of an ongoing study by Baker Mckenzie, both commissioned by Commission services. The conference will announce a major survey on the issue due to be run this autumn. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/iprenforcement/conferences/index_en.htm
State aid: Commission authorises extension of guarantee scheme in Spain
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a six month prolongation of a guarantee scheme on debt instruments issued by credit institutions in Spain, until 31 December 2012. The original scheme was approved in December 2008 ( IP/08/2049) and extended in June 2009 ( MEX/09/0625), December 2009 ( MEX/09/1201), June 2010 ( IP/10/854), November 2010 ( MEX/10/1129) and June 2011 ( IP/11/673). It was reintroduced in February 2012 ( MEX/12/0209). The Commission found the extension of the measure to be in line with its guidance on support measures for banks during the financial crisis. In particular, the extended measure is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission has, therefore, concluded that the guarantee scheme represents an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Spanish economy and as a such, is compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the EU Treaty. During the application of the crisis rules for state aid to banks, the Commission has been authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for periods of six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly.
Commission approves prolongation of the reactivated German rescue scheme for financial institutions in Germany
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, the prolongation of a German rescue scheme for financial institutions in Germany until 31 December 2012. The scheme covers guarantees, asset relief and recapitalisation measures in favour of financial institutions in Germany. It was initially approved on 28 October 2008 (see IP/08/1589), modified on 12 December 2008 (see IP/08/1966 and prolonged on 22 June 2009 (see MEX/09/0622), 17 December 2009 (see MEX/09/1217) and 23 June 2010 (see IP/10/789). On 5 March 2012, the European Commission had authorised the reactivation of the German rescue scheme for financial institutions until 30 June 2012 (see MEX/12/0305 MEX/12/0305). The present prolongation also aims at maintaining stability in the German financial sector by enabling permitting new applications for stabilisation measures through using the instruments which initially were available only until end 2010, such as the recapitalisation of companies, risk assumption and guaranteeing of liabilities. The conditions of the reactivated scheme remain unchanged. The Commission found the prolongation of the reactivated scheme initially approved to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 , IP/08/1901 , IP/10/1636 and IP/11/1488), because they are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission therefore concluded that the measures were compatible with Article 107(3) (b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Polish bank recapitalisation scheme
The European Commission has authorised until 31 December 2012, the extension of a Polish bank recapitalisation scheme. The scheme was initially approved on 21 December 2009 (see IP/09/253), and prolonged on 5 July 2010, on 16 December 2010 (see MEX/10/1216), on 28 June 2011 (see MEX/11/0628) and on 27 February 2012 (see MEX/12/0227). The Commission found the extension of the measure to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/11/1488). In particular, the extended measure is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that the scheme represents an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Polish economy and as such is compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
L'UE soutient le renforcement de la compétitivité du secteur privé au Cameroun
L'Union européenne adopte un programme de 4 ans pour renforcer la compétitivité des entreprises camerounaises. L'objectif principal de ce projet est d'améliorer le climat des affaires en augmentant la qualité des produits locaux à travers des activités telles que la sensibilisation des acteurs économiques aux normes et à la certification, le renforcement de l'assistance aux petites et moyennes entreprises, ainsi que des plans de mise à niveau pour certaines entreprises. Avec un financement de 10 millions d'euros (soit 6,5 milliards de Fcfa), ces mesures répondent à la volonté des entreprises camerounaises de se mettre à niveau en matière respect des normes de qualité internationales. Site du Commissaire Piebalgs : http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm
Commission clears joint control of Hyundai Capital UK Limited by Santander Consumer UK PLC and Hyundai Motor Company
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the creation of a joint venture for the provision of finance for the purchase of the motor vehicles and insurance brokering services in the UK by Santander Consumer UK PLC ("SCUK") and the Hyundai Motor Company ("HMC"). SCUK is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Santander Group active in the provision of financial services in the UK, including the wholesale and retail finance for the purchase of motor vehicles. HMC is a Korean company active in the manufacturing and supply of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, spare parts and accessories for motor vehicles worldwide as well as in the provision of wholesale and retail financing outside the EEA. The joint venture will be named Hyundai Capital UK Limited and will be active in the provision of retail (consumer) and wholesale finance for the purchase of the motor vehicles and insurance brokering services in the UK. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger welcomed today's signature of the Inter Government Agreement and the Host Government Agreement to implement the Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline (TANAP).
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger welcomes today's decision of the Shah Deniz Consortium (Azerbaijan) for the "Nabucco West" pipeline.
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