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EXME 12 / 12.10
Midday Express of 2012-10-12
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
On the eve of the upcoming SME Week from 15 to 21 October, the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme has reached an important milestone: the Programme has supported more than 2600 entrepreneurs as more than 1300 exchanges between new and established entrepreneurs have been organised to date. At a ceremony in Brussels last night, entrepreneurs and the local contact points (intermediary organisations) were rewarded for their active and successful contributions to the Programme.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of US-based distributor of mobility/telecommunications products Brightpoint by Ingram Micro of the US, a distributor of electronic products. The Commission concluded that the concentration would not raise competition concerns, because the merged entity will continue to face sufficient competitive constraints, including on narrow market segments.
In August 2012 compared with July 2012, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.6% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.3% in the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July production increased by 0.6% and 1.0% respectively.In August 2012 compared with August 2011, industrial production dropped by 2.9% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU27.
External adjustment and fiscal consolidation examined in the Quarterly Report on Euro Area
In view of the large increases in some Member States' net foreign liabilities and public debt levels in recent years, the latest Quarterly Report on the Euro Area examines a number of policy issues related to external sustainability and fiscal consolidation. The focus section examines the effects of high net foreign liabilities, which include a drag on national income due to payments due on foreign liabilities, slower growth and a greater likelihood of macroeconomic shocks. In the euro area, a number of Member States are undergoing an external rebalancing by reducing their current account deficits. As a result, their net foreign liabilities are moving into safer territory. In other Member States, however, further adjustment is still needed, requiring changes in their economic structure that can be supported by appropriate structural reforms. Other chapters of the Quarterly Report look at various issues surrounding fiscal consolidation. One contribution investigates the prominent question whether consolidation can be 'self-defeating' in that it may fail to reduce government debt as a share of GDP. While debt ratios may indeed initially increase in certain cases in response to fiscal consolidation, the Report finds that the effect is in most cases short-lived. Truly self-defeating consolidation is not impossible but would require very unlikely circumstances. A further topic examines the interaction between fiscal consolidation and labour market rigidities. Such rigidities do not reduce the adverse short-term effects of consolidation but do raise the risk of a rise in long-term unemployment. A final topic analyses the potential impact of a securities transaction tax, concluding that – in addition to generating additional tax revenue – it may also dampen financial sector volatility. However, there may be adverse side-effects on financing costs for productive investment. Link to the complete report: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/qr_euro_area/2012/qrea3_en.htm
Commissioner Vassiliou opens 5th European Heritage Days Forum
The 5th European Heritage Days Forum takes in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 15-16 October. The Forum will bring together policy-makers, heritage experts and the national coordinators of the European Heritage Days to discuss how to improve public awareness of Europe's heritage and the need to protect it for future generations. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "Our heritage is what links our past, present and future. It is part of our DNA, yet is often taken for granted. Cultural heritage is important for growth and jobs. It represents a significant part of the cultural and creative sectors, which provide jobs for 8.5 million people and contribute up to 4.5% of Europe's GDP. Cultural heritage is at the heart of Europe's appeal as an international tourist destination and key for sustainable development and social cohesion. I believe we must do more to support it through the new Creative Europe programme and the EU structural funds". Commissioner Vassiliou will be among the main speakers at the event, together with Eleni Mavrou, the Cypriot Minister of Interior, and Constantinos Yiorkadjis, Mayor of Nicosia, as well as representatives of the Council of Europe, UNESCO and Europa Nostra. Launched in 1985, the European Heritage Days have been organised since 1999 as a joint initiative of the European Commission and the Council of Europe. The 50 signatory countries to the European Cultural Convention take part in the European Heritage Days by opening up historic buildings which are normally closed to the public and putting cultural treasures on view
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik in India
From 15 to 19 October Commissioner Potočnik will be taking part in the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) in Hyderabad, India. The conference is intended to agree the next steps to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 agreed at the previous meeting of the parties in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The Strategic Plan, a ten-year framework for action in support of implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, is the overall framework for biodiversity work in the United Nations system. In line with their commitments in Nagoya, countries have started to update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans to achieve the Aichi Targets – the EU did so in 2011 with the adoption of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. COP 11 is expected to review progress to date and provide further momentum for implementation of the targets. The main item on the agenda will be the mobilisation of resources for action on the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including the use of Innovative Financing Mechanisms. Discussions will also cover the status of biodiversity in the world’s oceans, including ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs). Commissioner Potočnik will be looking to preserve the integrity of the COP10 Nagoya package, in particular continued commitments to the full implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Commissioner Potočnik will be tweeting developments at the Conference at @JanezPotocnikEU
Quality agricultural products: Vietnamese "Phú Quốc" fish extract receives protected status in the EU
The term " Phú Quốc " has been formally registered yesterday (11 October) as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for a naturally fermented Vietnamese fish extract. It has been added to the more than 1000 names of agricultural products and foodstuffs protected as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or PDO. It is the eleventh non-EU product name receiving the protected status, following Columbian coffee, Indian Darjeeling tea and eight Chinese products. For more information on the European system for geographical indications, see: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm
EKIDEN 2012 : 50 équipes de fonctionnaires européens montrent qu'ils ont du cœur (et la forme!) en courant pour une bonne cause
Le samedi 13 octobre à partir de 13h, le Stade Roi Baudouin (et le parc tout autour) sera le théâtre du marathon Ekiden. Des milliers de coureurs s’y relaieront. Chaque équipe compte six coureurs. Cette année, près de 300 fonctionnaires européens et leurs familles vont mouiller leurs maillots bordeaux – avec l'emblème de l'Année européenne 2012, consacrée au "vieillissement actif" et à la "solidarité entre générations", et encouragés par le Vice-Président Maroš Šefčovič, le Commissaire László Andor, le Président du Parlement européen, M. Schulz et le secrétaire générale du comité économique et social européen, M. Westlake (qui court d'ailleurs lui-même). Une occasion sportive et festive pour récolter des fonds au bénéfice de l'Asbl GIVE EUR-HOPE, qui finance des micro-projets de lutte contre la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale en Europe (formation, logement, santé, entre autres). Des actions concrètes ont déjà pu être financées depuis 2011 par GIVE EUR-HOPE, notamment dans les Marolles, et d’autres quartiers de Bruxelles et de Charleroi. Les 50 équipes européennes sont pour 40% constituées de femmes. Le plus jeune participant a dix ans, le plus "vieux" compte 63 printemps. Pour en savoir plus: www.giveeurhope.eu
Some 870 million people in the world are undernourished, and more than 2.5 million children die each year of malnutrition. Tackling this horrifying situation is a priority for the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Today, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso met in Brussels with the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, José Graziano da Silva. They agreed that the EU is a key strategic partner for the FAO and should play a full role in it. They discussed food security including development, resilience and nutrition policies, as well as global governance issues. On Wednesday, Mr Graziano da Silva also met Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloș and Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki.
The EU today requested the establishment of a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel to address the failure of the United States to remove WTO-inconsistent subsidies to Boeing in the DS 353 case, as it was required to do following the decision by the WTO in March 2012.
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