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EXME 13 / 21.01

Midday Express of 2013-01-21

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Catherine Ashton travels to Latin America

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, travels to Peru and to Chile this week for a series of bilateral meetings with leaders of Latin American countries and to participate in the EU- CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit in Santiago de Chile.

State aid: Commission temporarily approves rescue recapitalisation of Portuguese bank Banif

The European Commission has temporarily approved, under EU state aid rules, a recapitalisation totalling €1.1 billion granted by Portugal to Banco Internacional do Funchal S.A. (Banif) for reasons of financial stability. Portugal committed to provide a far-reaching restructuring plan for Banif by 31 March 2013. The Commission will take a final decision on the compatibility of the capital injection with EU state aid rules after the assessment of the restructuring measures to be proposed by Portugal.

Pension funds – An important aspect of the European social model

"Pension funds are there — first and foremost — to serve a social purpose. Only in second place should they act as financial institutions, given the huge assets they manage", stated European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor in a conference today in Brussels on the role of pension funds in active ageing and solidarity between generations. He added that the long-term sustainability of Economic and Monetary Union also calls for solidarity and it is vital to clarify and strengthen its social dimension, as it has been acknowledged by the Heads of State or Government at their last Summit in 2012. The upcoming weeks will be crucial to see how this discussion will take shape with a view to the June 2013 European Council. A key contribution to the debate on the EU approach towards social reform will be the Social Investment Package that the Commission will be presenting on 13th February. It will set out an agenda for social policy to help the Member States carry out the structural reforms needed to come out of the crisis stronger, more cohesive and more competitive. The speech will be available at 6 PM.

Kroes receiving wide-ranging political report on media freedom in EU

Vice President Neelie Kroes today received a keenly-awaited independent report into media freedom across Europe from former Latvian President Prof. Vaire Vike Freiberga. The report contains recommendations for consideration by a number of Commissioners on matters such as appropriate EU powers, regulator independence, competition and media pluralism, journalist codes of conduct and net neutrality. A political debate and further consultation will follow before detailed Commission reaction. Report available here: , Comments on the Report can be sent to .

Commission and UNESCO to call for joint action on literacy

The European Commission and UNESCO will call for joint action to reduce the number of young people and adults lacking basic reading and writing skills, both in Europe and world-wide, at a meeting in the European Parliament tomorrow (22 January). Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will outline what the EU can do at the political level to boost literacy; she will underline that, in addition to investing in education, everyone can contribute to improving literacy levels, from parents to employers and health services. H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, chair of the EU High Level Group on Literacy and special envoy for UNESCO on Literacy for Development, will present the main findings of the report , which includes recommendations addressed at all age groups. Mmantsetsa Marope, Director for Basic Learning and Skills Development at UNESCO, will present UNESCO’s strategy to improve literacy-rates through formal and non-formal programmes. The event is hosted by MEP Marietje Schaake. To find out more: EU leading action to boost literacy in developing countries: . Press release and memo about the High Level Group report on Literacy - Literacy website and Europe Loves Reading campaign. Androulla Vassiliou's website . Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU


6th EU-Brazil Summit. An Ever-Closer Relationship

The EU and Brazil have enjoyed an ever-closer relationship embodied in the Strategic Partnership, established in July 2007. In this context, they will meet at the highest level on the occasion of the 6th EU-Brazil Summit, which will be held in Brasilia on 24 January 2013. The Strategic Partnership has been generating a steady diversification of the EU-Brazil relationship marked by a substantive intensification of high-level political exchanges and the establishment of some 30 dialogue areas. The 6th Summit will provide the occasion to reinforce the already solid ties between the two strategic partners.

Summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC): Creating Alliances for Investment and Sustainable Development

EU leaders will travel to Santiago, Chile, on 26-27 January for a summit with their counterparts from Latin America and the Caribbean under the theme "Alliance for Sustainable Development: Promoting Investments of Social and Environmental Quality". Bringing together the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the bi-regional partnership, the Summit will give new impetus to cooperation and the building of common positions on global issues and shared challenges. Summit discussions will also review political developments and address crucial issues and opportunities currently faced by the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr. Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro

Memo "EU leading action to boost literacy in developing countries"

Memo "Preparation of Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Brussels, 22 January 2013" - rediffusion

Memo "EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit Santiago de Chile, 26-27 January 2013" – rediffusion

Memo "EU Strategic Partnership with Brazil" – rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Damanaki: "The Arctic: an EU Perspective"

Speech by Vice-President N. Kroes: "Freedom of expression as the foundation of democracy" - UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 18H00

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor: "The role of pension funds in active ageing and solidarity between generation - UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 18H00

Speech by Commissioner Štefan Füle: "Remarks following the meeting with Habib Ben Yahia, Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union" – rediffusion

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