|Reference: MEX/12/0718 Event Date: 18/07/2012|
EXME 12 / 18.07
Midday Express of 2012-07-18
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Tomorrow, President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, accompanied by EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will visit Mozambique to discuss bilateral relations, future cooperation. President Barroso will meet with President Armando Guebuza and members of the government of Mozambique. During the visit three new bilateral agreements will be signed with the aim to boost local economic development, to support for civil society groups and to reinforce the rule of law and public accountability. President Barroso will also attend the Summit of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) at the invitation of the incoming Presidency.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, travels to Egypt on Thursday. During her visit, she will meet new President Mohamed Morsi and Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. The High Representative will discuss recent political developments in Egypt and reiterate the EU’s continued support to the democratic transition in the country.
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production rose by 0.1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.6% in the EU27 in May 2012, compared with the previous month. In April 2012, production decreased by 3.7% and 6.9% respectively. Compared with May 2011, production in May 2012 dropped by 8.4% in the euro area and by 6.9% in the EU27.
The European Commission has temporarily approved, under EU State aid rules, an injection of € 1 650 million of core Tier 1 capital into Caixa Geral de Depósitos S.A. (CGD) for reasons of financial stability. Portugal committed to provide a restructuring plan for CGD within six months of the injection. The Commission will take a final decision on the compatibility of the capital injection with EU state aid rules when assessing the restructuring plan.
Commission clears acquisition of Le Meridien Hotel Nuremberg by HHR and Starwood
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Le Meridien Grand Hotel Nuremberg of Germany by HHR Euro CV of the Netherlands, together with Stvarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide of USA. HHR is active in the investment in, and disposition of hotel real estate located in Europe. Starwood owns, manages and franchises hotels worldwide. The hotel to be acquired offers accommodation in the city of Nuremberg and has negligible activities in the EEA. The operation was therefore examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
2012 Report on Public Finances in EMU published today – ongoing consolidation and reforms of the EU's fiscal governance
The 2012 Public Finances in EMU Report, published today, brings together a review of recent key policy developments and analytical findings concerning public finances in the EU. The report shows that even if the EU is experiencing difficult economic times, concerns over debt sustainability maintain the pressure to pursue fiscal consolidation. Continuous efforts in this direction will ease the pressure on sovereign debt spreads, while decisions taken by the European Council in June should help dispel uncertainties in the banking sector and boost recovery. The report provides a technical analysis of the effect of fiscal consolidations on debt, and shows that the conditions for a consolidation leading to an increase rather than a decrease in debt are extreme and that such debt-increasing effect of consolidations would in general be short-lived. The report presents a complete description of the reform process of EU fiscal governance, analysing both the 2011 reform (the 'Six Pack') and the new proposals on enhancing monitoring which are currently being discussed in the Council and the European Parliament, and the Fiscal Treaty. Connected to this description, a further analytical part of the Report considers the operation of the fiscal frameworks within a context in which fiscal powers are increasingly devolved to sub-national authorities and shows that this process may be highly beneficial to the general government budget if sub-national authorities are themselves responsible for financing their own expenditures. The report is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/2012/public-finances-in-emu-2012_en.htm
A call for close cooperation between the EU and Japan on youth unemployment in the UN, ILO and OECD was issued by European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor at the opening of the 14th EU-Japan Symposium on Social and Employment issues in Tokyo today. He pointed out that unemployment in the EU keeps rising and particular for young people, with 22.4% of people under 25 unemployed on average across the EU - a rate more than twice as high as that for adults - and over 50% in Spain and Greece. Andor highlighted the measures taken by the Commission to tackle the issue and in particular to assist Member States with the highest youth unemployment rates. He announced his intention to issue a Youth Employment package by the end of the year, which will include initiatives on Youth Guarantees to help young people to get into the job market by smoothing the transition from school to work and a quality framework on traineeships. Commission Andor also discussed labour market challenges when he met Yoko Komiyama, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. See SPEECH/12/564 and MEMO/12/574 .
Aviation: Assessment of the situation in respect of the screening of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) at EU airports
The European Commission today adopted its assessment on the screening of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) at EU airports. The assessment is based on results of trials carried out at a number of EU airports and on extensive consultations with a wide group of stakeholders, it takes stock of the present situation and recommends a way forward in respect of LAGs screening at European airports. The risk posed by liquid explosives to civil aviation is still significant and Liquid Explosive Detection Systems manufacturers have made considerable progress in recent years to develop instruments which can adequately address this risk. The Commission's assessment indicates that the removal of the LAGs restrictions on April 2013, as currently envisaged in EU law, could present a considerable operational risk mainly due to the scale of the change. Faced with security and operational risks and the need to safeguard passenger interests, a phased approach will be necessary to introduce the screening of LAGs. Starting in January 2014, the Commission recommends that passengers should be able to carry on board all duty free LAGs provided that they are screened. In the light of the experience gained and in close cooperation with its European and international partners, the Commission will then bring forward proposals for subsequent phases to achieve the final objective of screening all LAGs at the earliest possible date. To implement these recommendations, the Commission will bring forward proposals to amend the existing legislation on LAGs in Autumn 2012, with the agreement of the Member States and the European Parliament.
(for more information: H. Kearns - Tel. +32 229 87638 - Mobile +32 498 98 7638)
The European Commission has opened proceedings against Microsoft in order to investigate whether the company has failed to comply with its 2009 commitments to offer users a choice screen enabling them to easily choose their preferred web browser. On the basis of information it has received, the Commission believes that Microsoft may have failed to roll out the choice screen with Windows 7 Service Pack 1, which was released in February 2011. This is despite the fact that, in December 2011, Microsoft indicated in its annual compliance report to the Commission that it was in compliance with its commitments. From February 2011 until today, millions of Windows users in the EU may have not seen the choice screen. Microsoft has recently acknowledged that the choice screen was not displayed during that period.
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