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EXME 13 / 26.02

Midday Express of 2013-02-26

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Mobile communications: Fresh €50 million EU research grants in 2013 to develop '5G' technology

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes announces €50 million for research to deliver 5G mobile technology by 2020, with the aim to put Europe back in the lead of the global mobile industry. "I want 5G be pioneered by European industry, based on European research and creating jobs in Europe – and we will put our money where our mouth is," Kroes said.

Commission to recover €414 million of CAP expenditure from Member States

A total of €414 million of EU agricultural policy funds unduly spent by Member States is being claimed back by the European Commission today under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds. This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Formally speaking, because some of these amounts have already been recovered from the Member States the net financial impact of today's decision will be some €393 million.

Health and Safety: Commission proposes to improve workers' protection against exposure to hazardous chemicals

The European Commission has proposed to better protect workers from risks linked to exposure to chemicals at the workplace. In particular, the Commission has proposed to amend five existing EU health and safety Directives on protection of workers from exposure to harmful chemicals to align them with the latest rules on classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals ( Regulation (EC) 1272/2008). The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for adoption.

At risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU27 - In 2011, 27% of children aged less than 18 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion - Risk of poverty decreases with increasing education level of parents

In the EU27, children are at greater risk of poverty or social exclusion than the rest of the population. In 2011, 27% of children aged less than 18 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU27, compared with 24% of adults (aged 18-64) and 21% of the elderly (aged 65 and over). Persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion are those who are at least in one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty, severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity. In a majority of Member States, children are more affected by at least one of the three forms of poverty or social exclusion than the other two age groups. In 2011, the highest shares of those aged less than 18 who were at risk of poverty or social exclusion were registered in Bulgaria (52%), Romania (49%), Latvia (44%), Hungary (40%) and Ireland (38% in 2010), and the lowest in Sweden, Denmark and Finland (all 16%), followed by Slovenia (17%), the Netherlands (18%) and Austria (19%).

Commissioner Andor: Living standards in Europe and the importance of social investment

"In the current climate, governments seek to consolidate their budgets and boost growth at the same time. This makes social welfare spending a prime target for cuts, which is why it is important to spend not more, but more effectively". This is the key message delivered by László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, in a keynote speech at the Institute for Public Policy Research conference "Revitalising social Europe” in London on 26 February 2013. As suggested in the Social Investment Package adopted by the Commission on 20 February 2012 (see IP/13/125 , SPEECH/13/141 , MEMO/13/117 and MEMO/13/118), Commissioner Andor underlined that Social investments today are essential, as they help prevent Member States having to pay much higher financial and social bills tomorrow. "Clearly, what matters is looking to the future and avoiding short-sighted policies. Avoiding policies that axe spending in the name of competitiveness and short-term savings, but in reality jeopardise future competitiveness and longer-term prosperity" said Andor. On social and employment policy, Commissioner Andor noted that the EU's competence is limited but does cover combating discrimination in employment and ensuring respect for free movement within the EU's Single Market. "EU social legislation goes hand in hand with access to the Single Market. One cannot have the one without the other — if you want a level playing-field." Andor concluded "We must work to ensure that employment and social cohesion are given substance in EU policy — on a par with financial consolidation and economic growth. The recovery must bring jobs and opportunities for people, not just profits for companies and banks. Social Europe means caring about people and helping them to help themselves. Social Europe means giving everyone a real chance and beating the crisis together." - See SPEECH/13/161

Commissioner Andor: Investing in health pays off

"Every death or injury at the workplace is something to deplore. You often hear that occupational safety and health impose heavy administrative burdens on businesses and are an obstacle to competitiveness. Let me debunk this myth: consequences of bad health and safety management are very serious not only for the victims, but also for employees, employers, the government and the general public. Top management and owners of companies, especially SMEs, must improve risk prevention at the workplace". This is the key message that László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion delivered at the conference “Health and Safety: Fit for the future” hosted by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in London on 26 February. Andor referred to the EU Strategy on safety and health at work for 2007 to 2012, which aims to reduce by 25% the total incidence rate of accidents at work across the EU. "A safe working environment is a key factor in competitiveness. It can help meet the EU’s targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Investing in occupational safety pays, even and especially during a crisis ", Andor concluded. See SPEECH/13/162

Energy Research: Symposium on the benefits and limitations of nuclear fission for a low carbon economy

On 26 and 27 February 2013 a Symposium on the benefits and limitations of nuclear fission for a low carbon economy will be held in Brussels. The Symposium is organised by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee, on the request of the EU Council. The symposium has been prepared by two different studies, one from a multidisciplinary group of experts and the other by the European Group on Ethics. The Symposium will be attended by about 350 participants from industry, government, politics, science and civil society. The Symposium aims to discuss the benefits and limitations of nuclear fission for a low carbon economy with an open debate on all its aspects, taking into account the huge energy challenge which Europe is facing. Special emphasis will be given to research needs for a sustainable, secure, reliable and competitive energy mix, including nuclear fission. The goal is also to strengthen the links between science, civil society, industry and policy makers in order to keep a sustained focus on increased safety, risk-mitigation, safeguards and security. Further information and the registration form can be found on the following website:

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following the 16th EU-Ukraine Summit - rediffusion

Memo "What did the EU ever do for the mobile industry?"

Memo "EU-Justizkommissarin Viviane Reding und Bundesverbraucherschutzministerin Ilse Aigner sehen in europaweiter Datenschutz-Reform „historische Chance" - rediffusion

Memo "Statement by Commissioner Potočnik on the establishment of a UN Environment Assembly" –rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor "EU policy on health and safety at work: myths and facts"

Speech by Vice-President N. Kroes: "Smashing barriers and thinking big" – UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 13H00 CET

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor: "Living standards in Europe and the importance of social investment" – UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 12H30 CET

Discours par Vice-Président Maroš Šefčovič: "L’avenir de l’UE: entre crises et mutations" – rediffusion

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