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EXME 13 / 27.02
Midday Express of 2013-02-27
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end in 2015 and the Rio+20 conference launched the process for the formulation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Commission acknowledges that both challenges must be tackled together through a joined up approach.
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, will host the first direct talks between the European Commission and the EU's capital cities tomorrow, February 28. Commissioner Hahn will call on the 20 mayors attending to show leadership in the push for recovery and growth. He has argued for a more central role for capital cities as Europe’s economic and social powerhouses. He is also pushing for a more prominent urban dimension in Cohesion Policy and across all EU policies. The event aims to promote dialogue between the mayors of Europe’s capitals: between themselves, the European Commission and to mobilise them to fulfil the goals of the Europe2020 Agenda for Growth.
In February the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) continued its recovery that has started in October/November of last year. The marked improvement by 1.6 points in the euro area (to 91.1) and 1.2 points in the EU (to 92.0) was driven by increases in industry and services. Consumer confidence also improved marginally. Retail trade and construction, on the other hand, booked moderate decreases. Amongst the seven largest Member States, economic sentiment improved in Germany (+2.5), Spain (+1.5), France (+1.3), the Netherlands (+0.8), Poland (+0.5) and Italy (+0.3). UK sentiment slightly slipped (-0.5).
In February 2013, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area increased by 0.36 points to 0.73. The assessment of current order books (overall and export), production expectations and past production improved significantly. The assessment of the adequacy of stocks of finished products remained virtually unchanged.
The implementation of commitments in the 2012 EU budget amounted to €144.4 billion, or 99.9% of the budget. Payment appropriations in 2012 amounted to €137.7bn (99.6%), almost €10bn more than in 2011. Those are the figures in the information note on budget implementation presented by Commissioner Lewandowski to the college this 27 February 2013.
16.2%: that’s the size of the gender pay gap, or the average difference between women and men’s hourly earnings across the EU, according to the latest figures released today by the European Commission. The news comes ahead of the 2013 European Equal Pay Day on 28 February. The EU-wide event marks the extra number of days that women would need to work to match the amount earned by men: currently 59 days, meaning this year the day falls on 28 February. To help tackle the pay gap, the Commission is highlighting a series of good practices by companies in Europe which have taken on the problem. It is the third time the Equal Pay Day takes place at European level, following its launch by the Commission on 5 March 2011 (see IP/11/255) and the second day on 2 March 2012 (see IP/12/211).
Commissioner Hedegaard to visit United States for climate talks
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, will visit the United States from 28 February to 3 March for talks with US government officials, members of Congress, and the World Bank. In Washington she will have meetings with, among others, Michael Froman, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs; Todd Stern, United States Special Envoy for Climate Change; Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Rachel Kyte, Vice-President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank; and Congressman Henry Waxman and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, the initiators of a new bicameral task force on climate change. Commissioner Hedegaard will also see John Podesta, Chair of the Center for American Progress, and have a lunch meeting with non-governmental organisations hosted by the World Resources Institute. She will finish her trip by delivering a keynote speech at a European Conference at Harvard University.
A World Trade Organization panel found that China's anti-dumping duties on X-ray security scanners from the EU were in breach of WTO anti-dumping rules. WTO rules say that anti-dumping duties can only be imposed under strict conditions to address cases in which exports sold below fair value cause damage to the domestic industry of the importing country, so-called "injurious dumping". The panel agreed with the EU that these conditions were not met by China in this case. The panel concluded that China also failed to respect due process and transparency requirements and called on China to bring its measures in line with WTO rules. The report marks a clear victory for the EU. If it is not appealed within 60 days, China will be expected to remove its duties on EU imports of X-ray security scanners.
Today Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs hosted a coordination meeting of EU development ministers to reinforce the European Union's common response to Mali's development challenges.
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