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EXME 12 / 26.11

Midday Express of 2012-11-26

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Employment: Commission improves EURES jobseeker mobility network

A Decision to modernise and improve EURES , the pan-EU job search network, has been adopted by the European Commission. The Decision will help to increase mobility of workers across Member States and pave the way for a true European labour market. The EURES reform aims to make it easier for jobseekers to contact employers looking for particular skills, to focus on sectors and occupations with skills shortages and to support targeted mobility schemes for young people.

Commissioner Andor: social innovation is EU's way forward

"Social investment empowers people from an early age and throughout their lives. This way we can anticipate and prepare rather than simply repair" is the key message that, László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion is delivering today at the Conference on Social Innovation and Social Policy Experimentation. Andor stresses that social innovations have aims and means in general good for society but in particular good for individual's capacity to act. He underlines the potential of testing social innovations and trying out ideas before they are adopted more widely which leads to political and social development. He recalls that the Commission and the Member States can facilitate and fast-track social innovation in connection with Europe 2020 Strategy and the Social Investment Package. "Ensure that the Europe of tomorrow is stronger and more capable of delivering growth and cohesion, this is what our fellow Europeans expect and deserve" Andor concludes.

Visa-free travel: Progress, but hurdles remain

How well are countries outside the EU living up to their commitments when it comes to offering visa-free travel to EU citizens? Today, the European Commission adopted its seventh report about breaches of the principle of visa reciprocity in third countries. The report shows that visa-free travel for EU citizens has been achieved towards more countries in the past year, for example with Brazil. For some countries, however, EU citizens are still required to obtain a visa for travels that should be visa-free.

Europe In Action: The EU's Danube Strategy One Year On

The First Annual Forum of the Danube Strategy in Regensburg, Bavaria will be celebrating the results of the first year of the Danube Strategy. Co-hosted by Bavaria and EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend and deliver the key note speech.

Environment: A good day for nature in Europe

Nearly 25 000 km2 of invaluable natural expanse have been added to the Natura 2000 network. This network of protected sites is the EU's primary tool in the fight to conserve Europe’s rich biodiversity. The Commission has now formally approved the inclusion in the network of a further 235 sites, proposed by Member States for recognition as "Sites of Community Importance". Member States will have six years to put the necessary measures in place to protect these sites. The latest update concerns 20 Member States and covers all nine of the network's bio-geographical regions – the Alpine, Atlantic, Black Sea, Boreal, Continental, Macaronesian, Mediterranean, Pannonian and Steppic regions. Natura 2000 now covers 768 000 km2 (17.9 %) of the EU landmass and more than 217 000 km2 (approx. 4 %) of its seas.

Commission's new proposal for EU budget 2013

Ten days after the unsuccessful end of the conciliation period over next year's EU budget, the Commission is presenting a new Draft Budget for 2013. The new proposal takes into account elements to facilitate convergence between the European Parliament and the Council as well as the imperative need to honour past commitments. The level of commitment appropriations is set at EUR 151 billion (as opposed to EUR 150.9 billion in the original draft budget 2013 from 25 April 2012) whereas the total payment appropriations amount to EUR 137.8 billion (EUR 137.9 billion in the original draft budget 2013). It has to be noted that the Commission’s proposal "amending budget 6" is still on the table for the Council and the European Parliament to agree on.

International Trade in Services: EU27 surplus up to 121 bn euro in 2011

EU27 international trade in services increased in 2011, with EU27 exports of services to the rest of the world rising by 7%, from 567 billion euro in 2010 to 604 bn in 2011, and EU27 imports by 4%, from 464 bn to 483 bn. As a result, EU27 trade in services recorded a surplus of 121 bn in 2011, compared with +103 bn in 2010 and +83 bn in 2009. Financial and computer & information services contributed nearly half of the surplus.

Catherine Ashton travels to Central Asia

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, travels to Central Asia this week. She will start the visit in Kyrgyzstan, where she will chair the EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting in Bishkek on Tuesday, 27 November, before continuing to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan over the following three days.

Second post-programme surveillance (PPS) mission to Latvia carried out jointly by the Commission services and the IMF ends today.

Following the successful conclusion on 20 January 2012 of the three-year financial support by the EU, the second post-programme surveillance (PPS) mission to Latvia was carried out by the Commission services from 20 to 26 November, together with the IMF, with participation from the ECB and the World Bank. PPS missions are scheduled to take place twice a year until 75% of the EU loan provided to Latvia will be repaid.
Latvia's recent macro-economic development is impressive and shows that Latvia has successfully used the financial assistance programme to reform its economy. GDP growth is, at 4.3%, the fastest in the EU; the budget deficit is down to 1.7% and inflation quite low at 2.4% (Commission autumn forecast data for 2012) while the latest unemployment figures confirm the, much-needed, downward trend. It is now important to ensure that current positive developments, in particular the low budget deficit and inflation figures, can be maintained sustainably, by pursuing prudent fiscal policies and by further strengthening the fiscal framework, i.e. adoption of the Fiscal Discipline Law.
The Commission will continue the close monitoring of planned and implemented structural reforms through the Post Programme Surveillance and the European Semester framework. The Commission is encouraged by the proposed reforms in higher and vocational education and the science sectors, which are in line with previous Commission recommendations in these fields. Further steps need to be taken towards the finalisation of the sale of commercial assets of the Mortgage and Land Bank and to establish a single development institution, inter alia to ensure efficient implementation of Structural Funds transfers in the new EU funds planning period. Close monitoring of increasing non-resident bank deposits remains important. The agenda of necessary reforms also includes better targeting of social benefits and ensuring a more effective social policy based on the results of an upcoming World Bank study; pushing forward reform of the management of state-owned enterprises; strengthening capacities of the Competition Council; strengthening public administration reform (HR strategy, wage grid, public procurement) and the judiciary system. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu_borrower/balance_of_payments/latvia/latvia_en.htm

EU Young Translator contest: 3000 pupils battle it out

More than 3 000 teenagers from all over Europe will compete in the annual EU Young Translator Juvenes Translatores contest on 27 November. The contest will be held at the same time in 746 selected secondary schools across the European Union, as well as schools in New Caledonia and the Cayman Islands. For the pupils (2 to 5 per school, born in 1995), the contest is an opportunity to test their language skills against the clock. They have two hours (10:00-12:00 Brussels time) to translate a one-page text in any of the 506 language combinations of their choice from among the EU’s 23 official languages. The texts will be about solidarity between generations, the theme of the European Year . To contact any of the participating schools, get in touch with the European Commission's Representations in each EU country. European Commission translators mark the texts and select one winner per country. The winners will be announced in early February 2013 and invited to Brussels to receive their prizes in April. More information: Contest website: ec.europa.eu/translatores Facebook.com/translatores Twitter: @translatores DG Translation: ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation Androulla Vassiliou's website .

Transport: European Commission announces winners of sustainable mobility funding

Within the framework of its Sustainable Urban Mobility campaign, the European Commission today announced the 20 winning actions set to receive up to EUR 7000 each in financial support. This money will be used to further the activities of the winning initiatives promoting sustainable urban mobility. The full list of winners can be viewed here . The next call for funding applications will open in March 2013 and groups of individuals as well as non-commercial entities (schools, NGOs, public administrations, etc.) are eligible to apply. Applicants are invited to register their actions promoting sustainable urban mobility on  www.dotherightmix.eu .

Commissioner Hedegaard visits the Czech Republic

European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will visit Prague from 26-27 November. She will meet Environment Minister Tomáš Chalupa, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba, and State Secretary for EU Affairs Vojtěch Belling, as well as members of the Czech Senate. Commissioner Hedegaard will also meet with representatives from business and industry and non-governmental organisations. She will address an international conference on energy savings, organised by the Czech Association of Energy Services Providers (APES), which will focus on the energy savings’ potential through the use of energy performance contracts (EPC). At the conference, awards will be presented to the best EPC projects of 2012. Commissioner Hedegaard will visit the historic Prague National Theatre to see how energy consumption in the building is being optimised. The theatre set up an energy performance contract in 2006 with its local energy partner to replace inefficient equipment and has saved €1.2 million since the project began.

Commission supports protection of food and agricultural product names in Africa

The European Commission signed in Zanzibar (Tanzania) a cooperation agreement with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to improve the protection of traditional agricultural products (geographical indications or "GIs") in Africa. This will involve, among other matters, promoting the GI legal framework, informing producers and other stakeholders and enhancing the public's awareness of GIs and their potential for African producers. Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "This cooperation will result in better protection for farmers' traditional and indigenous products across Africa. This is an important initiative, which will help secure the interests of African farmers.” He added, "I urge officials on both sides to work together and with stakeholders to make the geographical indications programme a reality in 2013. This will make a strong contribution to the FAO's International Year of Family Farming in 2014." Dr Gift Sibanda, ARIPO's Director General, declared: "I am delighted with this agreement. We took a strategic decision last year to develop geographical indication protection. Through this cooperation with the Commission, we hope to build a system of effective GI protection, suited to African farmers' needs". The agreement was signed on the occasion of the 36th session of ARIPO 's Administrative Council held in Zanzibar. For further information on the agreement and the proposed product names: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/developing-countries/gi/memorandum-aripo/ip_en.htm

Enregistrement d'une dénomination de produit agricole

La Commission européenne a ajouté une dénomination de produit agricole et alimentaire à la liste des indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit, pour l'Allemagne, de la carpe miroir " Aischgründer Karpfen ". Cette dénomination s'ajoute à la liste de plus de 1000 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet à l'adresse: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_fr.htm

Rediffusion

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Irish electrical company Cooper Industries by rival Eaton

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Cooper Industries of Ireland by Eaton Corporation of the US. The transaction combines the electrical equipment and component businesses of Cooper and Eaton. The Commission's investigation confirmed that following the transaction customers in the electrical components industry will continue to have alternative electrical products suppliers.

Catherine Ashton travels to Georgia

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, will travel to Georgia on Monday where she will meet Prime Minister Ivanishvili and President Saakashvili.

EU High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton selects new Director for South and South East Asia

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, today announced her intention to make a further senior appointment in the EEAS Headquarters. Ugo Astuto will become the new Director for South and South East Asia

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following the Special meeting of the European Council on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 - rediffusion

Memo "Employment: how the EURES jobseeker mobility network works"

Memo "Employment: Commission improves EURES jobseeker mobility network – frequently asked questions"

Memo "Details on the new additions to the Union lists of Natura 2000 sites"

Memo "Mission for Growth: Antonio Tajani, fostering economic ties and mutual benefit for EU and Moroccan SMEs"

Memo "Digital Agenda: European Commission supports research on Cyber security"

Memo "Statement by the EC, ECB, and IMF on the Mission to Cyprus" - rediffusion

Memo "Statement by Vice-President Rehn on Cyprus" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor: "Developing more effective instruments and strategies to support social innovation in the EU: the way forward"

Speech by Vice-President N. Kroes: "Supporting the Cultural and Creative Sector" - UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 15H00 CET

Statement by Vice-President Reding ahead of the International Day for Eliminating Violence against Women - rediffusion


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