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EXME 12 / 17.10
Midday Express of 2012-10-17
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission has concluded that public funding of 3 billion GBP (around €3.7 billion) granted by the United Kingdom (UK) for the creation of a bank investing in environmentally friendly projects, is in line with EU state aid rules. The Green Investment Bank (GIB) will invest only in projects that could not obtain sufficient funding from the markets. The set-up of the GIB is expected to further the UK's 2020 target in reducing carbon emissions and accelerate the development of a "green economy".
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether Italian measures to reduce taxes and contributions due by companies in areas affected by natural disasters, mainly earthquakes and floods, are in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission is concerned that these measures granted may have gone beyond compensating the actual damage suffered. The opening of a formal investigation allows the Commission to examine these measures more closely and gives interested parties the possibility to submit comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.
Women's entrepreneurial potential is underexploited and the EU needs more women entrepreneurs to create growth and new jobs. This was the main message of today's European SME Week Summit in Brussels which focuses on encouraging women to consider setting up and running their own business, usually a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). With Europe moving further towards having national economies based on adding value through services, the need for more and better qualified human capital will only grow. This is where women can play a key role. The fact that women only account for 34.4% of the self-employed in Europe suggests that they need more encouragement to become entrepreneurs. This leaves considerable untapped human potential that is sorely needed to boost economic growth and create the new jobs required in today’s difficult economic climate. If more women can be motivated to start up and lead companies, this could generate growth and jobs across the EU.
The European Commission has today proposed to update the Radio Equipment Directive. The proposal aims to make sure all market players comply with the rules regarding the avoidance of interference, so that consumers do not have problems when opening car doors, monitoring their babies or listening to radio. The Commission also proposes to clarify and simplify the Directive, to facilitate its application and to eliminate unnecessary burden ultimately increasing all stakeholders' confidence in the regulatory framework.
On the occasion of the Sixth EU Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, will participate and deliver a speech in a conference aiming to shape future actions and ensure that all actors will work together towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings. The Cyprus Minister of Interior, Eleni Mavrou, and the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, will also take part in the event, organised by the European Commission and the Cyprus Presidency of the EU. Trafficking in human beings remains a serious issue in the European Union. According to the estimations of the International Labour Organisation, 880,000 people in the EU are victims of forced labour, including forced sexual exploitation. That is 1.8 persons per 1,000 inhabitants. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, 93% of Europeans agree that EU Member States should cooperate to tackle trafficking in human beings.
The European Commission and UN Women today launched Spring Forward for Women, a new joint regional programme for the South Mediterranean Region. The programme aims to support national and regional stakeholders to empower women economically and politically in the context of the progress that has followed the Arab Spring. The new programme was signed by European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, and UN Women Assistant-Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director Policy and Programmes, John Hendra.
Today, EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and the President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, signed two agreements which will help Malawi to reach the Millennium Development Goals. The EU will contribute to a new government programme designed to strengthen agricultural productivity and expand the area under irrigation. With this programme, Malawi aims to increase its maize yield by two thirds and almost double household incomes in agriculture. This will contribute to the goal of 6% of annual growth in Malawi.
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production rose by 0.7% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.2% in the EU27 in August 2012, compared with the previous month, according to first estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July 2012, production increased by 0.1% in the euro area and decreased by 0.1% in the EU27. Compared with August 2011, production in August 2012 dropped by 5.5% in the euro area and by 6.8% in the EU27.
Jobs and growth in focus at Education, Training and Youth Forum
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will open the 2012 European Education, Training and Youth Forum in Brussels tomorrow (18-19 October, Hotel Crown Plaza – Le Palace, rue Gineste 3). The event gathers 350 stakeholders from the education, training and youth sectors, national and regional policy-makers, along with employer, trade union and civil society representatives. The main focus will be on how to maximize the contribution of education and training to jobs and growth. The outcome of the discussions will be shared with EU Education Ministers ahead of their meeting in November. Erasmus for All , the Commission's proposed new €19 billion funding programme for education, training and youth, would enable up to 5 million young people to boost their skills and employability through opportunities to study, train or volunteer abroad. The new programme would represent 1.6% of the overall EU budget compared with 0.7% now. To find out more: DG Education and Culture . Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU
Two new Directors for OLAF – European Anti-Fraud Office
On December 16 Mrs Petra Kneuer will take up the post of Director of "Investigations I" in Directorate "OLAF A" in the European Anti-Fraud Office. Mrs Kneuer is currently working as a Senior Trial Lawyer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Previous assignments included various functions for the Federal Prosecutor General in Karlsruhe and Berlin and at the Ministry of Justice of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Mrs Beatriz Sanz Redrado will also take up her new post of Director "Investigation Support" in Directorate "OLAF C" on the same date. Mrs Sanz Redrado currently acts as Chair of the Independent Audit Oversight Committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). She is also Group Auditor at Groupe Galeries Lafayette. Previously, she worked inter alia in various audit functions at DCNS and at Marks& Spencer in Paris.
European Commission highlights ocean energy at international conference in Dublin
The European Commission is participating in the 4th International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) to highlight the strategic importance of ocean energy in the context of Blue Growth . The Conference is taking place in Dublin from 17 to 19 of October 2012. The ICOE will bring together over 750 international experts, academics, policy makers and leading companies to exchange views, share information and best practices, and stimulate collaboration on the development of ocean renewable energy technologies. Ocean energy – i.e. energy derived from harnessing the power of tides and waves or differences in temperature or salinity - was identified as one of the five most promising growth areas in the Commission's Communication on "Blue Growth: opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth", adopted on 13 September 2012. While not yet as developed as the offshore wind energy –the other component of marine renewable energy – it is estimated that ocean renewable energy has the potential to contribute up to 15% of the EU's energy mix, create thousands of new jobs and contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Commission is therefore paying particular attention to developments in the ocean energy sector and to events such as the ICOE as it will analyse the prospects of developing an EU-policy on ocean energy in the coming months.
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