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EXME 12 / 15.11
Midday Express of 2012-11-15
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission has stepped up its action to fight illegal fishing worldwide by warning eight third countries that they risk being identified as countries it considers non-cooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The countries in question are Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu. Today's decision is the first of its kind and it highlights that these countries are not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. It identifies concrete shortcomings, such as lack of dialogue or lack of actions to address deficiencies in monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries, and suggests corrective actions to resolve them. The decision will not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting trade. The eight countries have been notified and given a reasonable time to respond and take measures to rectify the situation. The Commission has also proposed an action plan for each country. Should the situation not improve, the EU could take further steps, which could entail trade measures such as a ban on selling fisheries products to the EU.
The Commission has launched a Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources, a strategy for ensuring that enough good quality water is available to meet the needs of people, the economy and the environment.
Euro area annual inflation was 2.5% in October 2012, down from 2.6% in September. A year earlier the rate was 3.0%. Monthly inflation was 0.2% in October 2012. EU annual inflation was 2.6% in October 2012, down from 2.7% in September. A year earlier the rate was 3.4%. Monthly inflation was 0.3% in October 2012.
GDP fell by 0.1% in the euro area (EA17) and increased by 0.1% in the EU27 during the third quarter of 2012, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2012, growth rates were -0.2% in both zones. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP fell by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU27 in the third quarter of 2012, after -0.4% and -0.3% respectively in the previous quarter. During the third quarter of 2012, GDP increased by 0.5% in the United States compared with the previous quarter (after +0.3% in the second quarter of 2012) and fell by 0.9% in Japan (after +0.1%). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP rose by 2.3% in the United States (after +2.1% in the previous quarter) and by 0.2% in Japan (after +3.4%).
Patient safety : Commission publishes report on state of play in the Member States
The Commission is today publishing a report on patient safety. The report focuses on the state of implementation of a number of actions to increase patient safety agreed to by the EU's member states in 2009. Patient safety means that patients are not exposed to unnecessary harm or potential harm associated with healthcare, including the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections. The report concludes that Member States have implemented various measures such as embedding patient safety in public health polices and identifying competent authorities on patient's safety; however more effort is needed towards actions targeting patients, e.g. patient empowerment, and health professionals, e.g. more education and training. The report also shows that the economic crisis slowed down the implementation because of changing public health priorities. The crisis should not undermine patient safety: for the sake of the patient and because unsafe care has a cost: research shows that between 13 and 16% of hospital costs are due to healthcare related injuries and ill health. In the current financial context it is crucial to reduce the costs of unsafe care and to develop cost-effective patient safety programmes. On the prevention and control of Healthcare associated infections, 26 out of 28 responding countries have implemented a combination of actions to prevent and control such infections, in most cases (77 %) in the context of a national/regional strategy and/or an action plan. Thirteen Member States reported that the adoption of the Recommendation had triggered initiatives on Healthcare associated infections, in particular on implementation of inter-sectoral mechanisms, on monitoring and assessing strategies to prevent and control infections, and on strengthening information campaigns towards healthcare workers. The report also shows that a number of areas need particular attention. More efforts are needed to ensure adequate numbers of specialised infection control staff, receiving regular training, and with dedicated time for this task in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Tailored basic infection prevention and control structures and practices in nursing homes and other long term care facilities should be reinforced. Finally, information on Healthcare associated infections to patients should be improved and their involvement in the compliance with infection prevention and control measures should be strengthened. Link to full report: http://ec.europa.eu/health/patient_safety/policy/index_en.htm
Governments and stakeholders join forces against rising obesity levels
The Platform for action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity met yesterday on the occasion of the annual joint discussion and follow up of the Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity Health-Related Issues. Representatives of the 27 Member States and stakeholders discussed current issues regarding the fight against obesity given its link to non-communicable diseases. As obesity levels are increasing throughout the EU, work by the Platform's stakeholders aimed at implementing the EU strategy becomes increasingly important. There are more than 300 commitments already undertaken by the food industry, public health advocates, non-government organisations, advertisers and the medical profession in the framework of the Platform as well as several national strategies by government organisations. These range from awareness campaigns to advocacy and consumer actions on the importance of healthy diets and physical activity to advertising restrictions, labelling requirements and other specific actions. At their joint meeting, stakeholders and government representatives agreed to keep up the momentum in this work. This was demonstrated, for example, by new initiatives announced on this occasion such as a voluntary commitment of the EU food industry on front-of-pack GDA (Guideline Daily Amount) labelling of food, the addition by advertisers of nutrition criteria in defining foods not to be advertised to children as well as the results of Member States efforts to reduce salt in food as a follow up to Council Conclusions of 2010. This work is increasingly relevant to the worldwide efforts to prevent non communicable diseases which are responsible for 63% of all deaths in the world and are linked to risk factors such as unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction releases its annual report 2012
The 2012 Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe, launched by the EU drugs agency in Lisbon this morning, highlights the many challenges Europe faces in addressing this complex phenomenon. This year’s analysis shows that drug use levels remain high in Europe and that today’s drug market is volatile and dynamic, especially with regard to stimulants and synthetic substances. Nevertheless, the report presents some positive signs that, for Europe’s major illicit drugs (heroin, cocaine and cannabis), consumption levels have peaked or are in decline in some countries. Delivering a message marking the report’s launch today, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, says: "This new analysis from the EMCDDA is particularly welcome as it highlights the drug problems we share across the European Union and informs the work we are currently undertaking to strengthen Europe’s strategic and operational approach to drug trafficking and use. I am particularly struck by the speed of developments we are now seeing in the area of synthetic drugs. I think it is clear to all that strong and coordinated actions are required if we are to respond effectively in this area". New drugs continue to be reported in the EU at the rate of over one per week. European drug policy is based on a balanced approach that deals with the demand as well as the supply of illicit drugs. Understanding how the illicit drug market works has been a high priority in the ongoing European strategy and action plan on drugs. Commissioner Malmström continues: "A good example of our approach is represented by the work done with heroin. The progress we see today is the result of long-term efforts to reduce both heroin demand and supply. Vigorous policing along heroin trafficking routes has been important, but equally important has been the significant increase in availability of drug treatment that has helped reduce demand for heroin across the EU". Over half of the estimated 1.4 million regular opioid users in the EU and Norway have access to opioid substitution treatment today. For more, including the Commissioner’s speech, see: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/events/2012/annual-report
Commissioner Andor: managing restructuring through a European framework
"Restructuring is a topical issue that affects every country in Europe and a major source of concern in the context of the recession. Not only managing but also anticipating this phenomenon is a crucial element of the new labour market dynamism." This is the key message that László Andor is delivering today at the conference "Restructuring: managing change in a socially responsible way". Andor stresses that restructuring operations can have negative consequences for the surrounding economy if not managed properly. He underlines the potential of the Commission's Green Paper initiative of identifying successful practices in the field of restructuring and smoother adaptation to change for both companies and workers. He recalls that the Commission will adopt a European framework which should propose solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises to develop their own planning strategies and to anticipate their skills need. Lastly, Andor underlines the key role of the EU funds in support of restructuring processes which could be reinforced through their integration into general policy orientations defined at European level. "We need to encourage regions to be proactive and create the best possible conditions for companies to quickly adapt to economic changes" Andor concludes. (See Speech/12/816)
Rencontre d'Androulla Vassiliou avec Geneviève Fioraso sur l'IET et l'enseignement supérieur (Paris, 15 novembre 2012)
Lors du prochain sommet européen qui se tiendra le 22 et 23 novembre, les chefs d'états de l'Union européenne devront fixer le budget européen pour la période 2014-2020. Dans un contexte de crise, il s'agit de préserver un niveau de financement adéquat pour les politiques d'éducation et d'innovation, source de croissance future et d'avenir pour nos jeunes telles que le programme pour l'Institut européen d'innovation et de technologie (IET) (voir la proposition de budget de la Commission européenne) et Erasmus. A l'occasion d'un déjeuner de travail sur l'IET et les réformes de l'enseignement supérieur en France et en Europe, suivi d'une table ronde sur l'IET en présence des acteurs français, Mme Geneviève Fioraso, ministre de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, et Madame Androulla Vassiliou, Commissaire européenne en charge de l'éducation, de la culture, du multilinguisme et de la jeunesse, discuteront, entre autres, les enjeux essentiels de ces négociations budgétaires en matière d'enseignement et d'innovation mais également sur les réformes des systèmes d'enseignement supérieur engagés au niveau européen et français. (Point presse: Jeudi 15 novembre, à 14h15, au Ministère de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, 21 rue Descartes 75005 Paris). (Questions/Réponses sur l'IET et l'implication de la France dans l'IET (Voir MEMO/12/839). Dina Avraam: +32 2 2959667)
Bridget Jones director opens event on Creative Europe, film and media literacy
The acclaimed British director Beeban Kidron, whose films include Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, will open a debate in Brussels tomorrow (16 November) on the new Creative Europe funding programme and what it means for film and media literacy. Kidron is also well-known in the industry for launching FILMCLUB , an educational charity which sets up after-school film clubs in schools. As from 2014; Creative Europe – which will encompass the current MEDIA and Culture programmes – will not only support the development, distribution and promotion of European films but will also focus on building a future audience for European cinema through schemes such as Kidron's. The event takes place in Brussels' Albert Hall (Chaussée de Wavre 649-651, 10:00-17:00). To find out more: MEDIA portal of the European Union ; Androulla Vassiliou's website ; Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU
Registration of two food names as protected denominations
The European Commission has added two denominations of agricultural and food products to the list of protected denominations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs). These are, for the United Kingdom, a seasoned pork sausage " Newmarket Sausage " (PGI) and for Spain, a seasoned table olive " Aceituna Aloreña de Málaga (PDO). These denominations have been added to the list of more than 1,000 products already protected by the legislation on protection of geographical indications, denominations of origin and traditional specialties. More information on quality products as well as the list of protected denominations are available at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm
Aviation: ten years of safe flights in Europe
Today Vice-President and Commissioner for transport Siim Kallas joins the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in celebrating their 10th anniversary. He stated: "EASA has become an indispensable part of the European aviation safety system. I congratulate all those who have contributed to achieve such outstanding results. We must now focus on maintaining and improving this excellent record. Aviation safety deserves to be a priority in the European policy agenda, and I count on EASA continuing to play a key role for the years to come." EASA has calculated that in the past ten years the rate of fatal accidents per 10 million flights within its flying zone has improved significantly. European citizens now enjoy one of the safest aviation sectors in the world. For more information please see the EASA website .
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