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EXME 12 / 03.10
Midday Express of 2012-10-03
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Single Market. A lot has been achieved. For European consumers the Single Market means more choice at lower prices. For citizens, the Single Market has given them the capacity to travel freely, to settle and work where they wish. For young people it has opened the opportunity to study abroad – more than 2.5 million students have seized this opportunity in the last 25 years. For the 23 million companies in the EU the Single Market has opened up access to 500 million consumers and generated foreign investment. The message is clear, the evidence is there: a strong, deep and integrated Single Market creates growth, generates jobs and offers opportunities for European citizens which were not there 20 years ago.
Today, the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice-President Catherine Ashton have made proposals on improving the EU's support to countries undergoing major political, social and economic reforms – so-called transition countries. This comes at a time of historical transformational changes in the Southern Neighbourhood region following the popular uprisings witnessed over the past year and a half in the Arab world and beyond. Swift, tailor-made, comprehensive and driven by the reform countries themselves, EU support uses the full range of EU policies and instruments and the rich experience it has with such transitions.
Nanotechnology is delivering major advances today and also has the potential to allow “game changing” technological breakthroughs and rekindle economic growth. In recognition of this fact, the European Commission today adopted a Communication on the Second Regulatory Review on Nanomaterials, which also includes the Commission’s plans to improve EU law to ensure the safe use of nanomaterials.
The European Commission has today welcomed the commercial launch in Austria of a new European Union loan guarantee facility for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI), developed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Investment Bank Group, will help small firms gain access to finance by guaranteeing some of the risk that banks take on through their lending. The European Investment Fund, which is managing the facility, today signed a first RSI agreement with UniCredit Bank Austria to support up to €120 million of lending over the next two years.
Today Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, International Cooperation and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, proposed a new policy to help vulnerable communities across the world build resilience to future crises.
Après avoir été saisie d'une plainte, la Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir une procédure formelle d'examen concernant une taxe française appliquée dans le secteur laitier (taxe FranceAgriMer). La Commission émet des doutes au sujet de la compatibilité des modalités de perception et d'utilisation avec le droit de l'UE et en particulier avec les règles relatives aux aides d'État. L'ouverture d'une enquête formelle autorise la Commission à procéder à un examen plus approfondi et donne aux parties intéressées la possibilité de présenter leurs observations. Elle ne préjuge pas l'issue de la procédure.
The European Commission has authorised under EU State aid rules the prolongation until 2015 of an Italian scheme which remunerates companies for the provision of instant interruptibility services in Italy's largest islands, Sardinia and Sicily. The Commission found, in particular, that these services are still needed and remunerated at market value; therefore the scheme does not constitute state aid in the meaning of the EU rules. However, this finding is based on the current market situation and is therefore limited until the end of 2015.
The European Commission has concluded that financial arrangements regarding Munich airport's terminal 2 are in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission found that loans by public entities to finance terminal 2 as of 2000 were granted on market terms and therefore did not involve state aid in the meaning of EU rules. Before 2000, EU state aid rules did not apply to the financing of airport infrastructure.
The European Commission has authorised Greece, under EU state aid rules, to prolong until 2030 exclusive rights granted to OPAP, the Greek public gambling operator, to operate 13 games of chance, and to grant an exclusive licence to the same operator to operate 35,000 Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) until 2022. The Commission concluded that OPAP will pay an adequate fee in exchange of the exclusive rights and VLT license and therefore received no undue economic advantage.
In August 2012 compared with July 2012, the volume of retail trade1 rose by 0.1% in the euro area2 (EA17) and fell by 0.1% in the EU272. In July3 retail trade increased by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. In August 20124, compared with August 2011, the retail sales index fell by 1.3% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU27.
The jobs and inclusive growth potential of social enterprises
"As the negotiations on the future programming period are set to start, I wish to make the support of social enterprise one of the priorities of the European Social Fund." This is the message that László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion is delivering today at the conference "Social enterprises and the Europe 2020 Strategy" organised by the European Economic and Social Committee's Various Interests Group. Andor points out that social enterprises already account for 10% of European businesses and employ 6% of the EU's working population. Social enterprises have an important job-creating potential and they are a factor of social inclusion and empowerment, for example by employing people from disadvantaged groups or by providing services to vulnerable persons. "The European Social Fund already plays a useful role in a number of countries and regions to support social entrepreneurship", says Andor, "but I am convinced that they can be used even better in the future, especially if they would be used in the context of a truly integrated strategy with a closer link to the Europe 2020 priorities and the related targets including for social inclusion." Speech available at 14h45 at the following link .
Enregistrement de deux dénominations de produits agricoles
La Commission européenne a ajouté deux dénominations à la liste des indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit, pour la Slovénie, de l'huile de pépins de courge" Štajersko prekmursko bučno olje " et, pour la France, de la viande fraîche " Agneau de lait des Pyrénées ". Ces dénominations s'ajoutent à la liste de plus de 1000 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet à l'adresse: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_fr.htm
Common Agricultural Policy: "Milk package" fully applicable
The so-called "Milk Package", designed with a view to the longer term future of the dairy sector following the end of the EU dairy quota system in 2015, is fully applicable from today. Drafted on the basis of the conclusions of a special High Level Group set up after the 2009 milk market crisis, this series of measures is aimed at boosting the position of dairy producers in the dairy supply chain and preparing the sector for a more market-oriented and sustainable future ( IP/10/1691). The new regulation was published on 30 March 2012, with some elements entering into force on 2 April and others only today (6 months later). Commenting on the new rules, Commissioner Cioloş said:" It is a step change for the milk sector taking place today with the milk package being fully implemented. It is important that producers take advantage of this new regulatory framework to get better organized and thus to carry real clout in the food chain". The package provides for written contracts between milk producers and processors and for the possibility to negotiate contract terms collectively via producer organizations. It also sets out new specific EU rules for inter-branch organizations, allowing actors in the dairy supply chain to dialogue and carry out certain activities. The package also entails a series of transparency-enhancing measures. The measures will apply until mid-2020. The Commission is mandated to report in 2014 and 2018 on the market situation and the implementation of the measures. These reports (to the Council & the European Parliament) will assess in particular the effect of these measures on milk producers and milk production in disadvantaged regions and will cover potential incentives to encourage farmers to enter into joint production agreements. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/milk/index_en.htm
Commission clears creation of JV between Comsa, Naviland and Grupo Logístico Sesé
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the creation of a joint venture between Naviland Cargo of France, Comsa Rail Transport and Grupo Logístico Sesé, both of Spain. CRT provides rail logistics and transport services; Naviland provides rail and intermodal freight transport services and operates intermodal transport terminals; Sesé provides road transport, intermodal transport, forwarding and logistics services. The Joint Venture will be active in the freight transport by land between Portugal and Germany. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Building on success: EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn sets out his vision for EU funds in Poland
Commissioner Hahn travels to Poland today to launch the first of a series of concrete discussions with regions and ministries around Europe on cohesion policy for the next EU spending round. He starts in Poland with an outline on how EU structural funds can best be deployed to deliver more growth and jobs there. The visit comes at a critical phase in talks between EU member states and the European Parliament on the EU's 2014-2020 budget and on the Commission's proposals for future cohesion policy. Commissioner Hahn will be attending the annual review meeting on Poland's National Strategic Reference Framework in Warsaw. He will also be visiting EU funded projects in the region of Podlaskie region, where he will meet the Marshal of the Voivodeship, Jaroslaw Dworzanski and address the General Assembly of the Conference of Periipheral and Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR).
At a high-level conference in Brussels, business leaders and policy-makers strongly supported the creation of a Connecting Europe Facility as proposed by the European Commission for the European Union's new financing period 2014-2020. With up to 50 billion euros the Connecting Europe Facility could become a key instrument for targeted infrastructure investment at European level to ensure the smooth functioning of the Single Market and boost sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness across the European Union.
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