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EXME 12 / 09.07
Midday Express of 2012-07-09
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission has today announced the final and biggest ever set of calls for proposals for research under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). In total, €8.1 billion will support projects and ideas that will boost Europe's competitiveness and tackle issues such as human health, protecting the environment and finding new solutions to growing challenges linked to urbanisation and managing waste. The funding – which is open to organisations and businesses in all EU Member States and partner countries - makes up the lion's share of the EU's proposed €10.8 billion research budget for 2013. This announcement comes just days after EU leaders emphasised the importance of research and innovation in the Compact for Growth and Jobs.
A new Eurobarometer survey shows that Internet users are very concerned about cyber security: 89% avoid disclosing personal information online, and 74% agree that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year. 12% of internet users across the EU have already experienced online fraud, and 8% have fallen victim to identity theft. Nonetheless, 53% have not changed any of their online passwords during the past year.
The EU and its Member States have once again been confirmed as the largest provider of Aid for Trade in the world, despite the current economic crisis, according to a new monitoring report presented by the European Commission today. In fact, the EU accounted for around a third of total worldwide Aid for Trade in 2010; maintaining the all-time high registered the year before and totalling some €10.7 billion committed.
State aid: Commission approves extension of Polish bank guarantee scheme
The European Commission has authorised until 31 December 2012, the extension of a Polish bank guarantee scheme. The scheme was initially approved on 25 September 2009 (see IP/09/1360) and prolonged in February 2010 (see MEX/10/0209), June 2010 (see IP/10/864), December 2010 (see MEX/10/1216), June 2011 (see MEX/11/0628) and February 2012 (see MEX/12/0208). 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 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).
Fisheries: new report confirms need to reduce overcapacity
A new report on member states' efforts to balance fishing capacity with fishing opportunities published by the European Commission supports calls for significant changes within EU fisheries policy. It confirms the very slow pace at which the EU fishing fleet continues to decrease in size. Overcapacity, i.e. too many fishing boats for the volume of fish that can be caught, remains one of the main obstacles to achieve sustainable fisheries. In 2010 fleet capacity expressed in engine power and tonnage was reduced on average by 2 and 4 per cent respectively. This figure is similar to previous years. At this rate, eliminating overcapacity quickly will be difficult, especially as technological progress at least partly compensates for capacity reductions. Several Member States have concluded in their national reports that fleet reductions would contribute to achieve healthy fisheries. Changes in the current policy are thus necessary. The report's findings put into question the efficiency of publicly financed capacity reductions. A 2011 Court of Auditors' report also concluded the failure of the current measures, and advocates either a new approach or better application of existing measures. All Member States have kept fleet capacity within the allowed capacity ceilings. However, these capacity ceilings do not impose sufficient restrictions to help reduce overcapacity. In its proposals for a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, the Commission has proposed that Member States introduce a system of transferable fishing concessions for large vessels to contribute to industry-induced fleet adjustments and improved economic performance. In addition Member States are obliged to ensure that for the whole fleet the fishing capacity is in balance with the fishing opportunities. More information: Annual report on Member States' efforts during 2010 to achieve a sustainable balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/fishing_rules/fishing_effort/index_en.htm
The Commission adopted today its amended proposal for the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The original proposal was presented on 29 June2011; one year later this technical update responds to two needs: the budgetary impact of Croatia's accession to the EU, and the effects of the most recent economic data affecting Member States' allocations under structural funds.
30 scientists supported by the European Union's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions for research training and mobility were involved in the discovery of the Higgs Boson or so-called 'God Particle', the European Commission confirmed today. The sub-atomic particle, which experts believe is the basis for all matter in the Universe, was identified at CERN, the European nuclear research facility in Geneva, Switzerland. The discovery has been hailed as one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of science. The 30 scientists are part of two EU-backed initiatives, which have received €6.5 million in funding.
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