Midday Express of 2013-01-08
European Commission - MEX/13/0108 08/01/2013
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EXME 13 / 08.01
Midday Express of 2013-01-08
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
After five years of economic crisis and the return of a recession in 2012, unemployment is hitting new peaks not seen for almost twenty years, household incomes have declined and the risk of poverty or exclusion is on the rise, especially in Member States in Southern and Eastern Europe, according to the 2012 edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe Review. The impact of the crisis on the social situation has now become more acute as the initial protective effects of lower tax receipts and higher levels of spending on social benefits (so-called "automatic stabilisers") have weakened. A new divide is emerging between countries that seem trapped in a downward spiral of falling output, fast rising unemployment and eroding disposable incomes and those that have so far shown good or at least some resilience. The latter tend to have better-functioning labour markets and more robust welfare systems.
The Commission adopted today a Communication on Customs Risk Management and the Security of the Supply Chain. It sets out a strategy to enable customs to better tackle risks associated with goods being traded in international supply chains. It involves more rational use of resources, better quality and availability of trade data, and deeper partnership with trade and international partners. This proposed new EU approach will supplement national work by integrating a wider scope of information and intelligence from many sources.
According to the latest research, a majority (56 %) of Europeans believe that air quality has deteriorated in the last 10 years. In Italy, as many as 81 % hold this view, and in Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Spain, 70-75 % of survey participants believe that this is the case. The research – a Eurobarometer called Attitudes of Europeans towards Air Quality – shows strong support for further action at EU level. Almost four out of five participants (79 %) believe that the EU should propose additional measures to address air pollution. The survey specifically asked participants if they were aware of EU air quality standards and national emission ceilings, and out of those who know about these instruments (25 % in both cases), more than half (58 % and 51 %) were of the view that they should be strengthened. The findings will now feed into an on-going review on EU air policy by the Commission which is due for the second half of 2013.
In December 2012, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area increased slightly by 0.05 points to 1.12. The improvement was driven by more positive assessments of production expectations and order books (overall and export), while managers' assessments of past production and the adequacy of their stocks of finished products remained broadly stable.
In December the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) improved by 1.3 points in the euro area, to 87.0 and remained broadly unchanged (+0.3 points) at 88.4 in the EU. Economic sentiment in the euro area improved among consumers and across all sectors, except retail trade. In the EU, economic sentiment registered increases in industry and construction, which were partly offset by decreases in services and retail trade. EU consumer confidence remained broadly unchanged.
In November 2012 compared with October 2012, the volume of retail trade rose by 0.1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.2% in the EU27, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In October retail trade fell by 0.7% in both zones. In November 2012, compared with November 2011, the retail sales index dropped by 2.6% in the euro area and by 1.3% in the EU27.
The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.8% in November 2012, up from 11.7% in October. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.7% in November 2012, stable compared with October. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with November 2011, when they were 10.6% and 10.0% respectively.
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