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EXME 12 / 14.11
Midday Express of 2012-11-14
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission has today formally accepted the Nobel Peace prize money on behalf of the European Union and indicated that it intends to allocate the prize money to children affected by war and conflicts across the world.
The European Union has today launched a drawing and writing contest for 8-24 years olds, with the four winners being invited to the 2012 Nobel Peace prize ceremony in Oslo. This contest is organised in partnership with the European Youth Forum. The four winners will be invited by the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, to be part of the official delegation of the European Union that will travel to Oslo to receive this year's Peace Prize.
Today the European Commission has taken action to break the glass ceiling that continues to bar female talent from top positions in Europe’s biggest companies. The Commission has proposed legislation with the aim of attaining a 40% objective of the under-represented sex in non-executive board-member positions in publicly listed companies, with the exception of small and medium enterprises. Currently, boards are dominated by one gender: 85% of non-executive board members and 91.1% of executive board members are men, while women make up 15% and 8.9% respectively. Despite an intense public debate and some voluntary initiatives at national and European level, the situation has not changed significantly in recent years: an incremental average increase of the number of women on boards of just 0.6 percentage points per year has been recorded since 2003.
The European Commission is taking two important steps to address the growing supply-demand imbalance of emission allowances in the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS). As an immediate first step to address the rapid build-up of the surplus of emissions allowances, the Commission made a formal proposal to revise the auction time profile and delay ("back-load") the auctioning of 900 million allowances in the third phase of the EU ETS starting next year. The Commission also adopted today a report on the state of the European carbon market which sets out a range of possible structural measures that can be taken to tackle the surplus.
The European Commission has today agreed with international partners on new internationally harmonised rules on Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning Systems (LDWS) for commercial vehicles. EU legislation already sets out dates for the obligatory introduction of these safety enhancing technologies in the EU. To promote safety internationally and help the European automotive industry export trade, it is important that these systems are based on globally harmonised standards. At the United Nations' World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, the Commission actively contributed to these and other measures, including the adoption of rules for a new generation of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) called "i-Size" and rules covering the safety of batteries fitted in electric vehicles.
The European Commission has approved a latest tranche of 14 programmes to promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries. The total budget of the programmes, running for a period of three years, is € 53,86 million of which the EU contributes € 27,15 million. The selected programmes cover fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, milk and milk products, PDOs (Protected Designations of Origin), PGIs (Protected Geographical Indications) and TSGs (Traditional Specialities Guaranteed), olive oil, organic products, ornamental horticulture and meat.
Winners of a competition to promote active ageing have been announced by László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. There were six categories of winners in the competition, selected from over 1300 submissions, which was organised as part of the European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.
Today, EU Development Commissioner Piebalgs announced that the EU will support the construction of what will be the largest African photovoltaic power plant, in Burkina Faso. It will provide 32 gigawatt hours per year, the equivalent of 6% of the country's current electricity production. This will cover the energy consumption of around 400,000 people. Commissioner Piebalgs made the announcement before departing to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) where he will attend the Conference of African Energy Ministers and All Africa Energy Week.
The European Commission has cleared under the Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the French trading company CFAO by Toyota Tsusho Corporation of Japan. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure.
In September 2012 compared with August 2012, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 2.5% in the euro area (EA17) and by 2.3% in the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In August production increased by 0.9% and 0.5% respectively. In September 2012 compared with September 2011, industrial production dropped by 2.3% in the euro area and by 2.7% in the EU27.
Commissioner Hedegaard to visit Sweden
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will visit Sweden on 15 November to address a seminar on consumer rights and sustainable consumption. The event coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Swedish Consumers' Association and the 50th anniversary of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. During the visit, Commissioner Hedegaard will call in at Stockholm Central Station to see how body heat from commuters is being used to heat a nearby building, reducing its energy bill by up to 25%. This novel use of a renewable energy source is one of 27 success stories that feature in the Commission's recently launched pan-European communication campaign: 'A world you like. With a climate you like.' The campaign seeks to put practical solutions at the centre of the climate change debate and demonstrate how climate action can increase welfare and bring economic benefits to European citizens: http://world-you-like.europa.eu/en/ Commissioner Hedegaard will also meet with representatives from non-governmental organisations and the media during her visit to Sweden.
The European Commission has approved new programmes for Egypt, to support job creation for unskilled workers, and to enhance the efficiency of the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) system to better respond to the demands of the labour market and to the country's new socio-economic needs.
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