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EXME 12 / 14.08
Midday Express of 2012-08-14
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission has ruled that the Czech telecoms regulator (ČTÚ) must withdraw its plans to include wholesale broadband services based on cable and Wi-Fi platforms into its definition of the wholesale broadband access product market.
The European Commission has expressed serious doubts about a new proposal from the Latvian telecoms regulator (SPRK) regarding fixed termination rates which would negatively affect consumers in Latvia. Termination rates are the rates telecoms networks charge each other to deliver calls between networks, and each operator has market power over access to customers on its own network. These costs are ultimately included in call prices paid by consumers and businesses.
In June 2012 compared with May 2012, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.6% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.9% in the EU27. In May production rose by 0.9% and 0.8% respectively. In June 2012 compared with June 2011, industrial production dropped by 2.1% in the euro area and by 2.2% in the EU27.
GDP fell by 0.2% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU27 during the second quarter of 2012, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2012, growth rates were 0.0% in both zones. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP fell by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU27 in the second quarter of 2012, after 0.0% and +0.1% respectively in the previous quarter.
Commission clears acquisition of sole control of HKS Scrap Metals by TSR Recycling
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition by TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG ("TSR Recycling", Germany) of the whole of HKS Scrap Metals B.V. ("HKS", The Netherlands), by way of purchase of shares. TSR is active in trading and processing of ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap. HKS is active in collecting, processing and trading of ferrous metal scrap. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Ship-borne measurements show EU policies have improved air quality in harbours
Sulphur dioxide emissions from shipping have sharply decreased in EU ports thanks to stricter EU rules for sulphur content in fuels used by ships at berth or at anchor in ports. Scientists at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission's in-house science service, measured key air quality parameters in Mediterranean harbours before and after the entry into force of the low-sulphur requirements in January 2010. They found that in the EU harbours Civitavecchia (IT), Savona (IT), Barcelona (ES) and Palma de Mallorca (ES), the concentration of sulphur dioxide had fallen by 66% on average. Sulphur dioxide is one of the main chemicals responsible for formation of acid rain and particulate air pollution, posing risks to human health and the environment. Measurements taken in the port of Tunis, where the EU rules do not apply, showed that levels of this noxious substance remained the same. The JRC study published today in the scientific journal Atmospheric Environment confirms that the decreases in sulphur dioxide and consequently the improvement of the air quality in harbours are a direct consequence of the application of EU requirements. The air quality measurements were carried out using an automated monitoring station on the cruise ship Costa Pacifica which followed a fixed weekly route in the Western Mediterranean during 2009 and 2010. For further information and JRC news release, please see: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/downloads/jrc_120814_newsrelease_shipemissions_en.pdf
EU support to save mothers' lives and improve local services in Ghana
The European Commission will support Ghana with new development programmes to reduce maternal deaths in the country by improving skills in maternal care, increasing emergency and new-born care (providing training on life-saving skills and increasing the use of emergency equipment, for example) and by making family planning services more available. This will contribute to the goal of reducing the number of deaths during childbirth in Ghana from 451 to 185 per 100,000 live births by 2015. Currently, less than one in two women in Ghana receives skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth. The EU will also help to improve local services, especially in the areas of water, sanitation and road infrastructure. The programme will work towards making roles and relationships between levels of government clearer. Service delivery in key decentralised sectors, notably sanitation and maintenance of the road network, will also improve. The total amount of this funding decision for Ghana is €97 million. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/documents/aap/2012/pr_aap_2012_gha.pdf
Following massive flooding in the Philippines, national authorities have begun a large-scale emergency response. The European Commission will complement on-going efforts with €700,000 of humanitarian aid which will be distributed through its partner organisations.
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