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EXME 13 / 20.02
Midday Express of 2013-02-20
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
The European Commission has called on Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states. This means better performing active inclusion strategies and a more efficient and more effective use of social budgets. The call features in a Communication on Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion just adopted by the Commission.
The European Commission has today proposed to provide Italy with five million euro from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 1,517 former workers of Antonio Merloni S.p.A. with their re-integration into employment. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.
The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules the state compensations to be granted through the new risk equalisation scheme (RES) for the provision of private medical insurance in Ireland for the period 2013 to 2015. The objective of the scheme is to promote intergenerational solidarity by ensuring better risk sharing between health insurers in the Irish PMI market. The Commission has found that the RES is in line with EU rules on services of general economic interest (SGEI).
The European Commission has authorised, an amendment to the restructuring plan and the privatisation contract for Brodosplit, one of the Croat shipyards in difficulty. The amendment concerns a modest increase in the total amount of restructuring aid to Brodosplit, as well as additional compensatory measures. Croatia committed to sign the privatisation contract by 28 February 2013.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into a number of public support measures granted by Estonia in favour of its flag carrier airline Estonian Air. At this stage, the Commission has doubts whether these measures are in line with EU state aid rules. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the measures under assessment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
The European Commission invites comments on a proposal for new competition rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements, through which a licensor permits a licensee to exploit patents, know-how or software for the production of goods and services. The proposal aims to update the current regime in order to strengthen incentives for research and innovation, facilitate the diffusion of intellectual property and stimulate competition. In light of stakeholders' submissions, the Commission will adopt a new regime before April 2014.
Commission clears acquisition of IHI Charging Systems International by IHI Corporation
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of IHI Charging Systems International (“ICSI”), of Germany, by IHI Corporation ("IHI"), of Japan. IHI is an industrial conglomerate with worldwide activities including in aerospace, energy systems, pharmaceutical sector, social infrastructure and security related technology, distribution systems, machinery and ships. ICSI is active in research and development, production, marketing and distribution of turbo chargers for automotive use in passenger cars and light trucks. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
As the debate about the future of Europe is gathering pace, the European Commission is reaching out to different European towns asking citizens directly for their views. On 22 February 2013, Vice-President Viviane Reding will be in Coimbra (Portugal) to hold a debate with over 200 citizens about their expectations. The debate will feed into the upcoming Citizenship Report 2013 and accompany the work on the Commission's proposals for treaty change to shape a stronger European Union for the future. The coming months and years will be decisive for the future course of the European Union. Since the State of the Union Speech by Commission President Barroso in September ( SPEECH/12/596), the debate about the future of Europe is in full swing: At the end of last year the Commission presented a Blueprint for the development of Economic and Monetary Union (see IP/12/1272), which was followed by a report by the four Presidents of the Council, of the Commission, of the Eurogroup and the ECB. Before the European elections in 2014, the Commission will come forward with its proposals for political union.
During a two-day visit to Burundi (21-22/02), EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will announce an €18 million new project on food security for the benefit of around 20,000 households and to treat 80,000 undernourished children in the country. He will also launch a second project, worth €50 million, to provide access to sustainable energy for a million of Burundi's citizens, particularly for those living in rural areas.
Registration of "Pa de Pagès Català" as a protected denomination
The European Commission has added the traditional Catalan bread " Pa de Pagès Català " to the list of protected geographical indications (PGIs). This denomination has been added to the list of more than 1,100 products already protected by the legislation on protection of geographical indications, denominations of origin and traditional specialties. More information on quality products as well as the list of protected denominations are available at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm
Director-General appointed at the Directorate General Informatics (DIGIT)
Stephen Quest has been appointed Director-General of DG DIGIT. He is currently Director of the Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements (Paymasters Office) and was previously Head of Cabinet to Commissioners Dalia Grybauskaitė and Algirdas Šemeta (Financial Programming and Budget). Prior to that he was Assistant to David O'Sullivan the then Secretary-General of the Commission. His career in the Commission dates back to 1993, and he has also worked on social policy, education & training and environmental policy. Since 2000 Mr Quest has been involved extensively on questions related to the reform and modernisation of the Commission administration, the reform of the EU budget and, more recently, the delivery of corporate services and IT systems. Stephen Quest is British and studied history at the University of York. He began his civil service career in 1987 in the UK Department of Employment. He is married and has four sons. This appointment will take effect on March 1, 2013.
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