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EXME 12 / 23.11
Midday Express of 2012-11-23
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Before consumers enter into a loan, they need to understand its real cost and take the time to reflect, especially on the monthly repayment. Following a crackdown on websites offering consumer credits, more than 3 out of 4 sites checked a year ago now comply with EU law (compared with only 30% in September 2011). Further improvements should follow as national authorities pursue their actions on outstanding cases. Of the 70% of sites flagged for further investigation at the time, 10% were finally deemed compliant and 35% were corrected after action by national authorities. The remaining websites either no longer exist or are subject to on-going administrative or court proceedings.
The Schengen area of free movement allows more than 400 million EU citizens from 26 European countries and an increasing number of non-EU citizens, to travel without internal border controls. Today the Commission adopted its second Schengen 'health check', a biannual overview on the functioning of the Schengen area. The report provides a clear account of the state of the Schengen area, to ensure a coherent interpretation and implementation of the common rules amongst all Schengen participating countries.
2013 has been officially named "The European Year of Citizens". 20 years after the introduction of EU Citizenship, the year will focus both on what has already been achieved for citizens and on meeting citizens' expectations for the future. The decision by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal by the European Commission was published in the Official Journal today. Events throughout the European Year will explain how people can directly benefit from their EU rights and which policies and programmes exist. The European Year will also stimulate an EU-wide debate with citizens about what the European Union should look like in the future and which reforms are needed to improve their every-day lives.
The United Nations climate change conference next week in Doha, Qatar must start the hard work of turning last year's agreement to enhance global climate action into reality. The European Union wants an outcome that takes forward all elements of the package of decisions agreed in Durban towards a new global climate agreement by 2015. The EU has also asked the Qatari Presidency to hold ministerial discussions to agree on concrete measures to cut global emissions further before 2020. The EU stands firmly by its part of the deal struck in Durban and its commitment to participate in a second period of the Kyoto Protocol.
In November 2012, the DG ECFIN flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator improved slightly in the EU (-23.7 after -24.3 in October 2012), while deteriorating in the euro area (-26.9 after -25.7 in October 2012).
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast met in Brussels yesterday, to bring the negotiations on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement towards closure.
La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui une mesure spéciale en faveur du Maroc, pour un montant de 25 millions d’euros, qui permettra d’appuyer la mise en œuvre de la deuxième phase de l'Initiative Nationale pour le Développement Humain (2011-2015). Ce nouveau programme se concentrera sur la lutte contre la pauvreté en milieu rural et ciblera 885 communes rurales.
Launch of the New European Financial Coalition Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online
Commissioner Malmström will participate in the launch of the New European Financial Coalition (EFC) against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online. Co-financed by the European Commission, the Coalition brings together key actors from law enforcement, the private sector and civil society in Europe with the common goal of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children online. Members of the EFC join forces to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. Other speakers at the press conference are Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol and Sir Francis Jacobs, President of Missing Children Europe and Head of the EFC Secretariat. The event will also feature a short video testimony from both a victim and a perpetrator of child sexual abuse. Members of the EFC Steering Group include representatives of Inhope, MasterCard, Visa Europe, Paypal, Microsoft, Google, Eurojust, the KLPD, and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC). The press conference will take place at the Press Club, Rue Froissard 95 in Brussels on Monday 26 November at 11h.
Commission proposes 2013 guide prices for fisheries products
The European Commission has tabled its annual proposal on next year’s guide prices for fresh and frozen fisheries products, and the EU producer price for tuna processing. After the positive trend in the market for fisheries products observed in 2010 and 2011, the deterioration of the economic situation has influenced consumer demand and fish prices. Prices for whitefish have broadly tended towards stability or slight decline, with some positive quotations due to the growing consumption in emerging countries. In the light of this development, the Commission proposes a range of -1% to +1.5% for the prices of whitefish species. Pelagic species are in demand in the EU and world-wide due to their affordable prices. Therefore the Commission proposes increasing the guide prices for pelagic species between +1.5% and +2.5%. For frozen fish the prices in the international markets are mixed. The Commission proposes increases between +1% and +3% for Greenland halibut, whole hake, cuttlefish, octopus and squid (logigo) and reductions between -1% and -2% for hake fillets, swordfish, Illex and prawns (parapenaeus). With regard to tuna intended for processing, the Commission proposes increasing the EU producer price by +2%. The proposed guide prices are based on Member States' average market prices over the previous three years. Other factors taken into account include trends of production and market demand, the interests of consumers and the need to avoid withdrawals of fisheries products from the market. For full details of the Commission's proposal, please see table: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/market/proposed-guide-prices_2013_en.pdf
Plant Health: 11 million euros earmarked to combat organisms that endanger plants
Two co-financing decisions amounting to 11 million euros were endorsed today by experts meeting in the Standing Committee on Plant Health. This amount is earmarked to fund 17 programmes in seven Member States that aim to curb the spread of organisms that endanger plants. EU plant health funding is an important trigger to help Member States to safeguard EU agriculture, forests and landscape. On the basis of applications submitted by Member States, the allocation was distributed among: Cyprus (€ 0.13 million), France (€ 0.3 million), Germany (€ 0.22 million), Italy (€ 0.19 million), The Netherlands (€ 0.29 million), Spain (€ 2.27 million), and Portugal (€ 7.6 million). € 3.9 million of Portugal's total amount of allocation is devoted to control outbreaks of pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), a microscopic worm attacking coniferous trees. The rest of the allocation (i.e. € 3.7 million) will help Portugal contain pinewood nematode within the existing demarcated zone, safeguard other Member States and protect trade interests with non-EU countries. Actions taken by Spain to successfully eradicate 3 isolated outbreaks of pine wood nematode in Extramadura and Galicia will also benefit from the financing. As will actions to control the island apple snail (Pomacea insularum),one of the largest freshwater snails, which attacks rice plots and can also have devastating effects on natural wetlands. The potential size of the EU's endangered rice area is 420,000 hectares. The funding will contribute to several other control programmes. For example, Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), an insect that attacks a wide range of woody plant species in France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands; red palm weevil (Rynchophorus ferrugineus) which attacks palm trees in Cyprus and France; Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera) in Germany; and the bacterial canker of kiwi (Pseudomonas syringae pv.actinidiae) in Italy. Those Decisions are intended to be adopted by the Commission by end 2012 and funds will be available from early 2013. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/plant_health_biosafety/index_en.htm
Study on Liquefied Natural Gas solution in the Baltics published
Today the European Commission publishes the study on gas supply issues in the East-Baltic region, requested by concerned Member States. According to the study, the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminal in the East-Baltic area should be built on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The study provides the strategic framework based on which concerned Member States and project promoters should make future decisions. It also identifies the infrastructure required for proper functioning of the internal market and security of supply in the region. See full study on here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/infrastructure/bemip_en.htm
Commissioner Georgieva to launch awareness raising campaign about urban refugees
European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, will open an exhibition 'Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees' on Monday, 26 November 2012, 18.00 to 20.00, at Les Halles de Saint-Géry in Brussels. The multimedia event is a part of an awareness raising campaign about urban refugees, supported by the European Commission. It is implemented by the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian partner of the European Commission. The event will feature a conversation with the World Press Photo award-winning photographer Andrew McConnell who has spent several months documenting the new reality of urban refugees in eight cities across four continents. Through images, refugee testimonials, and video, his work is a unique insight into the lives of today's urban refugees and the challenges they face. For more information: http://www.hidden-lives.org.uk/
European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs at the Global Civil Society Symposium 'Food Security and Nutrition in the Post-2015 Framework' in Cyprus
On Friday 23 November, EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will participate in the Global Civil Society Symposium 'Food Security and Nutrition in the Post-2015 Framework' in Nicosia, Cyprus. The event will contribute to setting specific recommendations on key issues related to the global fight against hunger -such as nutrition, sustainable agriculture; resilience; water; governance; and the role of the private sector- to be included in the post-2015 framework. During his intervention, Commissioner Piebalgs will exchange views with European civil society organisations on the common approach to addressing hunger and under-nutrition beyond 2015 and will stress that the EU is and will remain at the forefront of this fight. This is deemed imperative given that, although the share of underweight children under five declined from 29 per cent in 1990 to 18 per cent in 2010, more actions are needed to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. For more information and to follow Commissioner Piebalgs' speech: http://www.undp-act.org/default.aspx?tabid=72&it=1&mid=762&itemid=0&langid=1&extraId=961
Transport: First transport business summit – "Connect to Compete" – 27 November 2012 and TEN-T Day – 28 November 2012
"Connect to Compete", the first European transport business summit, will be held in Brussels on Tuesday 27 November 2012. Business leaders and major players in industry and the economy, as well as major transport service providers and users, will come together to discuss the challenges faced by transport in Europe today. Three roundtables will be held on the following topics: transport that serves business needs in a competitive internal market; green and innovative transport; and keeping European industry competitive on a global scale. Journalists are welcome to attend, but should register on the conference website . On Wednesday 28 November Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, ministers, members of the European Parliament and key stakeholders will gather in Brussels to discuss the future development of the trans-European transport network during the TEN-T Day 2012, with a special focus on innovation and implementation tools such as TEN-T corridors. For more information please visit http://www.tentdays2012.eu/home.html
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Xstrata, the world's fifth largest metals and mining group, by Glencore, the world's leading metals and thermal coal trader. The clearance is conditional on the termination of Glencore's off-take arrangements for zinc metal in the European Economic Area (EEA) with Nyrstar, the world's largest zinc metal producer, and the divestiture of Glencore's minority shareholding in Nyrstar. The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have the ability and incentive to raise prices for zinc metal, an important input for many EU industries. The commitments address these concerns.
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