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EXME 12 / 03.08
Midday Express of 2012-08-03
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Today, European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, welcomed an announcement by Spain that that it intends to improve legal certainty for property owners along the Spanish coast which have been affected by the Coastal Law. The Coastal Law (Ley de Costas) aims to protect local habitats by designating an area along the entire coastline as a public domain. However, homeowners within the zone claim the law – and the way it has been applied – breaches their rights. Many of those affected by the Coastal Law are European citizens who have exercised their right of free movement and invested their savings in Spanish property.
The latest annual report on public access to documents, released today, shows 6,447 requests were made for Commission documents in 2011. This compares to 6,361 in 2010 – and just 450 when the current rules entered into force in 2001. The relatively small increase compared to previous years suggests that requests are starting to stabilise, perhaps as the right to access documents becomes firmly established in the public mind. Another factor may be the ever increasing size of the Commission's permanent public register of documents, making ad hoc requests less necessary. Another 19,956 documents were added to the public register in 2011, a 7% increase on the 18,661 documents added to the register in 2010.
Today the European Commission has launched a public consultation to collect factual examples of direct tax problems that arise when venture capital is invested across borders. Due to mismatches between the tax systems of the EU's 27 Member States, venture capital funds can face problems of double taxation as well as legal and administrative uncertainty when they invest across borders. These problems could hinder the full development of the venture capital market in Europe and therefore compromise the provision of financing to the EU's most innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The European Union has approved a project that will help the government of Kenya to build and rehabilitate rural roads, thus contributing to job creation. A second project will enhance the competitiveness of Kenyan products through improved standards and regulations, as well as training of authorities, which will lead to more and better exports. Today's decision amounts to a total of €31.95 million.
Consumer safety : new EU Cosmetics Directive makes hair dyes safer
With an estimated 60% of women colouring their hair, sales of hair dye products in the EU are rising steadily. The EU Cosmetics Directive aims to ensure that such products contain only safe substances. Therefore, on basis of the latest scientific advancements, the European Commission today adopted a Directive on Hair Dyes that restricts the use of an additional 24 substances in hair dyes. In April 2003, the Commission and Member States agreed, within the framework of the Cosmetics Directive, to an overall strategy to assess and regulate all hair dyes. As a result, the cosmetics industry was asked to substantiate the safety of all substances used in hair dyes with updated data, focussing primarily on their potentially toxic proprieties. Since then, based on the assessment by the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), the Commission has banned the use in hair dyes of 180 substances and has restricted the use of another 52. With today's adoption of the Directive on hair dyes, the restricted use extends to 24 additional substances. All of them are listed in the annexes of the EU Cosmetics Directive. A last batch of 45 substances remains for assessment by the SCCS. Upon receipt of the individual opinions regarding their safety, the Commission will propose appropriate regulatory measures, such as a restricted authorisation or a ban of these substances. For further information, see the Directive on Hair Dyes in: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/sectors/cosmetics/cosmetic-products/hair-dye-products/index_en.htm
L'UE soutient les réformes de l'Etat et les secteurs de la santé, de l'eau, et de l'assainissement au Togo
L'Union européenne va mettre en œuvre deux nouveaux programmes d'aide au Togo visant, d'une part, à aménager de vastes zones urbaines à Lomé afin de protéger des milliers de gens contre les inondations récurrentes et, d'autre part, à soutenir le gouvernement dans les réformes nécessaires des finances publiques et de la gouvernance économique. http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/documents/aap/2012/aap_2012_tgo_fr.pdf
Spain's Action Plan to improve fisheries control
The European Commission adopted an action plan to improve the catch registration system in Spain. It has been designed jointly by the Commission and the Spanish authorities, following two years of system auditing. The agreed measures will help reinforce the fisheries controls by Spain. Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "A robust control system is a prerequisite for sustainability, and improving controls throughout the EU is a high priority for me. I congratulate Spain on the effort they took and hope that other Member States will follow suit. We are already working with them to that end." Catch data are reported by fishermen so that the control authorities can monitor fishing quotas and prevent overfishing. The Action Plan aims to ensure that the data available to controllers is complete, reliable and timely. It consolidates the measures that the Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAGRAMA) started to implement this year, for example setting up of the Fisheries Information System (Sistema de Información Pesquera) and of a Technical Control Group. New procedures and reinforced logistical support are foreseen to make controls more efficient and cost-effective. The Spanish authorities will also work on creating a culture of compliance among fishermen. The Plan will benefit the fishermen. Thanks to rigorous enforcement of quotas, the stocks will be more abundant and all fishermen will enjoy a fair and equal access to fisheries resources. The Control Regulation provides for instruments to assist Member States in implementing the Common Fisheries Policy, such as system auditing and action plans. Spain is one of the first Member States to benefit from such an action plan.
In June 2012 compared with May 2012, the volume of retail trade rose by 0.1% in the euro area (EA17) and fell by 0.3% in the EU27. In May retail trade increased by 0.8% in both zones. In June 2012, compared with June 2011, the retail sales index declined by 1.2% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU27.
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