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EXME 13 / 01.02
Midday Express of 2013-02-01
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
What is the role and place of migrants in Europe? The Commission is inviting students at schools of art, graphics and communication from all the 27 European Union Member States and Croatia to reflect on the contribution migrants make to societies in Europe. The EU-wide competition challenges students to produce artwork that expresses their views on the issue, capturing the role migrants play in our lives. With the goal of stimulating a constructive debate, while reflecting on the situation of migrants in Europe, the Commission gives Europe’s up-and-coming talent the chance to bring their perspective to the fore.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 2.0% in January 2013, down from 2.2% in December 2012. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, energy (3.9% compared with 5.2% in December) is expected to have the highest annual rate in January, followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (3.2%, stable compared with December), services (1.7% compared with 1.8% in December) and non-energy industrial goods (0.8% compared with 1.0% in December).
The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.7% in December 2012, stable compared with November. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.7%, also stable compared with November. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with December 2011, when they were 10.7% and 10.0% respectively. Eurostat estimates that 25.926 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 18.715 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in December 2012. Compared with November 2012, the number of persons unemployed was nearly stable in both the EU27 and the euro area. Compared with December 2011, unemployment rose by 1.763 million in the EU27 and by 1.796 million in the euro area.
Business and trade unions from across the EU discuss wage developments
László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion has welcomed the first ever meeting at EU level of representatives of national trade unions and business organisations to exchange views on wage developments. At the meeting, taking place in Brussels on 1st February, they will discuss how wages have evolved in recent years in relation to productivity and what this has meant for domestic demand and employment in individual countries and the EU as a whole. The will also discuss inequalities in wage distribution across income groups. The "tripartite" meeting is organised by the EU's Employment Committee, comprising representatives of Member States, and is based on a proposal made by the European Commission in its Employment Package of April 2012 ( see MEMO/12/252). The Commission's recent analysis of wage developments during the crisis will serve as a background document (see IP/13/5). The meeting aims to give national social partners a greater say at the European level by sharing their views and enriching the EU-level analysis of wage developments. "This timely initiative feeds into the debate and work concerning the importance of the social dialogue as a cornerstone of the social dimension of Economic and Monetary Union" commented Commissioner Andor.
Commission clears acquisition of ALSO-Actebis by Droege
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by the German Droege of sole control over ALSO-Actebis of Switzerland. ALSO-Actebis is active in the wholesale distribution and logistics for products, solutions and services in the IT, communication and consumer electronics. Droege is active in management consultancy services with majority holdings in undertakings in pharmaceuticals, safety systems, health, human resources and ICT distribution. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears creation of car dealership joint venture
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed creation of an Italian joint venture PAG Italy S.r.l ("PAG Italy") by Japanese company Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”) and the US company Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (“PAG”). PAG Italy owns and operates BMW dealerships in Italy. Mitsui is a major trading house engaged in a number of worldwide commodities and other businesses, including the sale of motor vehicles, motorcycles, motor vehicle and motorcycle parts and accessories. PAG operates automobile dealerships in North America, the United Kingdom and Germany. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Patient Safety: New EU Rapid Alert platform for human Tissues and Cells
A secure alert platform launched by the European Commission will improve the safety of patients undergoing transplantation and medical procedures involving human tissues and cells, e.g. bone marrow, cornea, skin, oocytes, sperm, etc. From today, national health authorities can use the web-based Rapid Alert system for Tissues and Cells (RATC) in case of alerts relating to human tissues or cells transferred across borders. Timely exchange of urgent information between Member States can ensure that cross-border incidents are prevented or contained and immediate measures taken to ensure the safety of patients. The RATC will be used in parallel with existing national vigilance systems which collect and manage alerts on tissues and cells donated and used within a Member State. A high volume of tissues and cells are donated and transplanted every year in the EU. More than 130 000 units of tissues and cells were donated and over 60 000 transplants performed in 2011 alone. Many of these tissues and cells pass national borders during these processes. Vigilance beyond national borders, as provided by the RATC, is therefore extremely important. In addition to quality and safety defects of tissues/cells, the RATC can be used to raise the alarm on illegal and fraudulent activities in this field, as well as on developing epidemiological situations (e.g. disease outbreaks) which may have cross-border implications. For more information on human tissues and cells: http://ec.europa.eu/health/blood_tissues_organs/tissues/index_en.htm
Commission study explores use of "mountain product" label
The European Commission is publishing today a study on the "Labelling of agricultural and food products of mountain farming" reviewing farming in mountain areas. This study looks at existing labelling schemes for mountain products in EU Member States. It explores options on regulating the use of the term "mountain product" - now protected at European level by the new Quality Regulation, which entered into force on 3 January 2013. The Regulation sets out the conditions for the use of the term "mountain product" and empowers the Commission to provide for practical rules, ie the extent to which there can be a derogation from the rules of origin, such as the extent to which animal feed can originate from outside and/or stages of processing can take place in non-mountain zones.. The study will serve as a useful basis in this process. “Mountain areas are a haven of biodiversity and they are home to many farm activities with deeply rooted methods of production”, said Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş. "We believe that the "mountain product" term will help mountain farmers to communicate the specificities of mountain products and maximise their production potential”. More information on: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/newsroom/104_en.htm
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