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EXME 12 / 25.10
Midday Express of 2012-10-25
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The United Nations Rio+20 world summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, aimed to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development. To follow up on the conference, the European Commission wishes to develop specific actions and concrete measures to make sustainable development a reality, within the EU and globally. A public consultation is being held to gather views and ideas. These will be an input to a Communication from the Commission on the follow-up to Rio+20, planned for the first quarter of 2013. The consultation is open until 15 January 2013.
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the IT products distribution business of Specialist Computer Holdings of the United Kingdom by Tech Data Europe, a wholesaler of IT, consumer electronics and telecommunication products. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because the parties have moderate market shares and will continue to face a number of competitors in all the markets concerned.
Digital spending - the acquisition of media products in digital format - tripled from 2006 to 2010 worldwide, with the recording music sector now achieving 30% of its global sales in the digital market. The digital success of the music sector contrasts other media and content industries, which are moving at a slower pace towards digital with distribution. Only 6% of film/video, newspapers, magazines and book sales were digital, according to the Joint Research Centre's (JRC) report on "The media and content industries. A quantitative overview", which represents an important contribution to the Commission's recent initiative to boost growth and jobs in the cultural and creative sectors. Sectoral studies on production, distribution, pricing and consumption in cinema, music, newspapers, videogames, book publishing and broadcasting have contributed to this overview, whose findings will be discussed at a conference today in Brussels.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, will travel to the Western Balkans next week. She will be in the region for a joint visit with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The European Commission has launched an environmental app that can be downloaded to Apple and Android devices. Zoe Makes a Splash! is an interactive digital storybook aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 11 and is free to download. The app tells the story of two inquisitive children who are shown the importance of water in society. Their guide is an articulate frog, who also alerts them to the impact of polluted water and shows them how it can be avoided. Fun animations and interactive features alternate with more serious educational sections, where users learn about the hydrological cycle and water treatment.
Two new initiatives to boost private investment in the Neighbourhood region were presented today at the Strategic Board meeting of the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) in Brussels.
European Union gives new support migration in West Africa
The European Union has announced new support for the work of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in helping to improve migration procedures; enabling people to move more freely throughout the region. The EU will train national institutions in migration policy and migration management in the areas of border management, document and identity security, labour migration management and counter trafficking. The protection of migrants’ and cross-border populations’ rights will be strengthened through prevention, advocacy and assistance (including complaint mechanisms and legal assistance). The project's specific objective is to improve free movement of people and migration management in West Africa by supporting the implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement of Persons’ Protocols and the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration. The programme is funded with €26 million. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/documents/aap/2012/pr_aap-spe_2012_west-africa.pdf
Air transport: Commission adopts new rules for safe commercial flights
EU citizens will have safer flights following today's publication of a new regulation with modernised binding rules for commercial operations of airplanes and helicopters. The previous regulation on commercial air operations was adopted in 2006. These updated rules reflect scientific and technological developments in the aviation industry and changes in international aviation standards since then. The aim of the regulation is to boost efficiency in air operations while maintaining a high level of safety. To achieve this, the new rules provide for a simple, risk-based process of certification and oversight; they reflect scientific and technological state of the art in the field of air operations, based on evidence worldwide; and they introduce proportionality with regard to the scale and complexity of operations – for example by distinguishing between different types of operations such as local or international flights. As a consequence of the new rules, airlines will not need to get re-certified every year and small businesses will be subject to lighter administrative procedures. The regulation also introduces the first EU-wide rules for helicopters to replace the various national ones existing today. This regulation enters into force three days following its publication. A two-year transitional period will allow for a flexible and smooth conversion to the new regime. See Regulation 965/2012.
European Civil Justice Day: new online tool for cross-border money claims
To mark this year's European Civil Justice Day, the European Commission is making it even easier for individuals and businesses to claim back money in cross-border disputes. The European Payment Order makes it quicker and simpler for creditors to recover uncontested debts where one of the parties lives in a different EU Member State to where the case is to take place. The Payment Order is now available with new forms as an online tool in the European e-Justice portal – the EU's online portal for access to justice in the European Union. The new forms make the Payment Order easier to use, following feedback from users and practitioners. European Civil Justice Day is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the Council of Europe and aims to raise people's awareness of their rights to access justice anywhere in Europe. The European Day of Civil Justice is celebrated each year on 25 October. It aims to bring justice closer to citizens, to inform them on their rights and to promote the work of the European Commission and of the Council of Europe in the field of civil justice, through simulation of procedures and information sessions. European Commission – European procedures in civil justice: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/civil/commercial/eu-procedures/index_en.htm . European Day of Civil Justice: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/events/EDCJ/default_en.asp
The European Commission has proposed to set up a Fund to help the most deprived persons in the EU. The Fund would support Member State schemes providing food to the most deprived people and clothing and other essential goods to homeless people and materially-deprived children. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the European Union's Council of Ministers for approval.
Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission today announced the conclusion of negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on a new European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan. The Action Plan sets out the objectives of EU-PA bilateral relations for the next five years.
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