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EXME 12 / 09.11
Midday Express of 2012-11-09
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
More than 100 European personalities from the worlds of education, art, literature, economics, philosophy and sport have signed an open letter to EU heads of state and government in support of the threatened Erasmus student exchange programme. The signatories come from every Member State of the EU and include the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, the president of FC Barcelona Sandro Rosell, Nobel Prize winner Professor Christopher Pissarides and several Olympic champions. They are responding to concerns that student places on the scheme, as well as grants, may have to be severely reduced due to wrangling over the 2012 and 2013 EU budgets. The programme already faces a €90 million shortfall this year and it is feared the situation will worsen in 2013. Over the past 25 years, Erasmus has enabled nearly three million young Europeans to study abroad. More recently, it has also supported job placements in companies abroad. A whole generation has learned what it means to live and work alongside people from another culture, and to develop the skills and versatility which are vital for the modern labour market.
Commissioner Johannes Hahn is in Bratislava today to meet Prime Minister Robert Fico and to participate in concrete discussions with the Council of Government on regional policy for the next EU spending round. The Commissioner and Prime Minister will discuss how EU funds can best be deployed to deliver more growth and jobs in Slovakia. The visit comes at a critical phase in talks between Member States and the European Parliament on the EU's next 7-year budget and the Commission's proposals for future regional policy.
On a visit to Latin America next week, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will travel to Mexico. The Commissioner will then head on to Peru to promote the swift ratification of the trade agreement signed by the EU, Peru and Colombia in June 2012.
Commissioner Andor: Investing for a job-rich recovery
"Europe's workforce is a, if not the, major source of growth, and we need to do all we can to ensure that it realises its potential." This is the key message that Laszlo Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion is delivering today at the University of Edinburgh. Andor underlines the potential of socio-economic governance at both, EU and national levels, more urgent today than it has ever been before. Andor is calling for a closer link between Member States' employment policies and EU funding meant to enhance ambitious and detailed National Job Plans. Last, Andor will underline the key role of the investment in people's skills, as there are sectors in Member States or regions where vacancies are unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. The European Commission is actively fighting the austerity measures. "The European Social Fund is necessary as it has a key role to play in fighting youth unemployment, enhancing people's skills, adaptability and labour market reforms" Andor concludes. SPEECH AVAILABLE AT 15h00
Commission sets up expert group to examine patent law in the field of biotechnology
The European Commission has decided to set up an expert group to examine the implications of patent law in the field of biotechnology and genetic engineering, and to provide high-quality legal and technical expertise which will help the Commission with its reporting obligations under the Biotechnology Directive ( Directive 98/44/EC). The members of the group (maximum 15) will be chosen from experts responding to an open call for applications published today – see annex to Decision. They shall be appointed for a period of two years, renewable once. The Commission invites people with expertise in the field of patent law and biotechnology to apply by 12 December 2012. The full decision, and information on how to apply, can be found at the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/indprop/docs/invent/dec_121107_biotechinventexpertgroup_en.pdf .
Commission clears the acquisition of Taleris by GE and Accenture
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture, Taleris Management of US by General Electric Co, also of US and Accenture of Ireland. GE is a global diversified manufacturing, technology and services company active in manufacturing of commercial and military jet engines and components, as well as electric power and mechanical system for aircraft. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, delivering its services and solutions. Taleris will be a new supplier of Integrated Vehicle Health Management services for optimization of fixed-wing aircraft maintenance and flight operations. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition of joint control by Terex and Gaz of a newly created JV
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Construction Equipment Corporation ("JV") of the Netherlands) by Terex Corporation of USA and Open Joint Stock Company GAZ of Russia. Terex is a diversified global manufacturer of machinery and industrial products. The Basic Element Group operates in various segments such as energy, manufacturing, financial services, construction, aviation and agriculture. The new JV will manufacture construction equipment in Russia and distribute it in Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Quality agricultural products: Chinese "Pinggu Da Tao" peach receives protected status in the EU
The name " 平谷大桃( (Pinggu Da Tao) " has been formally registered as a Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) for a peach belonging to a species of Prunus grown in the hills and countryside of the Yanshan Mountains in the Pinggu region of the Beijing District. The name has been added to the more than 1000 names of agricultural products and foodstuffs (among them 11 non-EU products) protected as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or PDO. It is the ninth Chinese product name receiving the protected status. This protection takes places in the framework of the so-called "10+10 project", in which the EU and China committed themselves to mutually grant protection on each other's territories to 10 of each other's agricultural product names. The related registration procedures have nearly been completed, with one Chinese and three European denominations still to be registered. In addition, the EU and China are working on a mutually beneficial bilateral agreement on geographical indications and a fifth negotiation round was held in Brussels on 13 and 14 September 2012. Other Chinese denominations registered to date in addition to the Pinggu Da Tao, include the wild shellfish Yancheng Long Xia (PGI), the garlic Jinxiang Da Suan (PGI), the green tea Longjing cha (PDO), the fruit Guanxi Mi You (PDO), the apple Shaanxi ping guo (PDO), the yam Lixian Ma Shan Yao (PGI), the pastas Longkou Fen Si (PGI) and the vinegar Zhenjiang Xiang Cu (PGI). For more information on the European system for geographical indications, see: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm
New European Union support to improve health care for mothers and children in Sierra Leone
The European Union will help Sierra Leone reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. A new programme will strengthen health systems and increase the capacity of government and community institutions to deliver quality health services. Funded with €24 million, the project will help to provide drugs and medical supplies, as well as food products and micronutrients (such as vitamins), for treating malnutrition. Doctors will be trained on maternal and child healthcare; health workers will receive training on issues such as the causes of malnutrition and its treatment. Existing health facilities will also be rehabilitated by providing safe water, waste disposal management, hygiene and sanitation. The programme will provide items such as solar refrigerators, as well as adequate medical equipment. Other activities will focus on strengthening the governance of the health sector of Sierra Leone. More information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/documents/aap/2012/pr_aap-spe_2012_sle_p3.pdf
Commissioner Hedegaard to celebrate 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol in Geneva
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will visit Geneva on 11 November to attend a seminar celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer. Commissioner Hedegaard will participate in a high-level panel discussion which will review experience gained during the Protocol's first quarter century and consider how this can help address other global challenges such as climate change. The seminar will be followed by the annual meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol on 12-16 November, also in Geneva.
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