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EXME 13 / 07.03

Midday Express of 2013-03-07

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Commission wants to simplify life for SMEs by easing the top 10 most burdensome EU laws

The 20.8 million European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) create 85% of all new jobs in Europe, they employ 2/3 of the workforce in the EU and they contribute significantly to innovation and growth. Following the principle "think small first", and in line with the Small Business Act of 2008, the Commission has put SMEs at the heart of its smart regulation agenda to help growth and job creation in Europe. In a broad consultation initiated by the Commission, around 1000 SMEs and business organisations have now identified the top 10 most burdensome EU laws. The purpose of this broad consultation was to check where EU regulation might be impeding jobs and growth and to identify areas or issues which would require further examination and action where necessary. The result published today indicates that SMEs see the biggest difficulties and costs as a consequence of the rules regarding the REACH chemical legislation, value added tax, product safety, recognition of professional qualifications, data protection, waste legislation, labour market related legislation, recording equipment for road transport, public procurement and the modernised customs code.

Environment: What should we do about plastic waste? New Green Paper opens EU-wide reflection

Plastic has become an unavoidable material in our modern world. Plastics are versatile and durable, but this durability can make disposal problematic. A Green Paper published by the European Commission today aims to launch a structured discussion about how to make plastic products more sustainable throughout their life cycle and reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment.

Employment: Commission proposes €3.6 million from Globalisation Fund for former workers of Agile S.r.l. in Italy

The European Commission has today proposed to provide Italy with €3.6 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 856 former workers of information technology services company Agile S.r.l. to find new jobs. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.

Employment: Commission proposes €3.9 million from Globalisation Fund to help former tobacco workers in Austria

The European Commission has today proposed to provide Austria with €3.9 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 270 workers made redundant by Austria Tabak GmbH and by 14 suppliers and downstream producers with their re-integration into the labour market. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.

Pharmaceuticals: New symbol '(' to identify medicines undergoing additional monitoring

An inverted triangle will shortly appear on the inside leaflet of certain medicinal products on the EU market, following a legal act adopted by the European Commission today. The symbol will allow patients and health care professionals to easily identify medicinal products that are undergoing additional monitoring, and its accompanying text will encourage them to report unexpected adverse reactions through national reporting systems.

Antitrust: Commission closes preliminary investigation into E5

In March 2012 the Commission confirmed that it had requested information from five large telecom operators (the "E5": Deutsche Telecom, France Télécom, Telefónica, Vodafone and Telecom Italia) and from the mobile sector association GSMA about the way standards for future mobile communications services are being developed.

EU citizens think more women in power in developing countries would make a positive difference

On the eve of International Women’s Day 2013, a new Eurobarometer shows that 78% of Europeans think that having more women in positions of political power in developing countries would ‘make things better’.

8 March 2013: International Women’s Day - Almost a third of women and 5% of men having a young child worked part-time in 2011

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2013, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes a selection of data on women in employment and on reconciliation of work and family life. The tables in this News Release only show a small part of the large amount of gender based data available at Eurostat. A dedicated section on the topic of gender equality is available on the Eurostat web site.

Commissioner Andor: tackling early school leaving

"26% of the migrant population in Europe are early school leavers. Early school leaving also has a strong gender dimension. And too few children with a working class background are able to pass secondary school exams. Let me put it bluntly, the danger we face is the following: every child that doesn't become a future taxpayer will potentially have to be supported by our welfare state. Beyond economic costs, there are social costs as well, for instance the impact on social cohesion or criminality", said László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion on 7 March 2013 at the conference "Integration of young people excluded by early school leaving and unemployment" hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels. Andor referred to the Social Investment Package adopted on 20 February 2013, which includes a Recommendation on "Investing in Children" that pleads for a much stronger social investment and focus on quality early childhood education and care. "There is a broad consensus that access to early childhood education and care is an effective policy instrument to reduce early school leaving. I would also like to recall the Youth Guarantee scheme: the costs of implementing it are much lower than inaction. Investing in young people's employability is vital in order to preserve our growth potential" Andor concluded. See SPEECH/13/196

Commissioner Andor: Nothing to fear but fear itself

"FDR’s New Deal remains one of the best available examples and sources of inspiration we have for a progressive crisis response. It would be good to act on some of the lessons sooner rather than later. We have nothing to fear but fear itself." This is the key message that will be delivered by László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, at the public debate on '80 years of the new deal: lessons for Europe today', in Brussels on 7 March 2013. Drawing on key lessons from the New Deal area, Andor will say "perhaps the key lesson from FDR’s New Deal for EMU 2.0 is that the issue of federal fiscal transfers should not be a taboo. A large and diverse economic union needs solidarity at the federal level if it is to emerge from a deep crisis united. Federal solutions like the establishment of an EMU automatic stabilisation mechanism in the form of EMU unemployment benefit scheme should be openly discussed." "For FDR", Andor noted, "re-establishing confidence meant decisively addressing the real problems of people, rather than focusing mainly on the financial markets. And he strengthened confidence by pursuing reflation and supporting social dialogue, not the other way round. European governance and policy coordination is developing quite rapidly, but we would certainly need a New Deal in terms of strengthening social dialogue and bringing the whole of society on board. Without social union, national welfare states have very little chances to survive. If we want Europe to be fair and democratic, we need a social union. As in the '30s, the solution lies in closer economic policy coordination with greater focus on employment, tighter financial sector regulation, greater solidarity on the federal level and more democratic legitimacy." See SPEECH/13/200UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 18:00 CET


Antitrust: Commission fines Microsoft for non-compliance with browser choice commitments

The European Commission has imposed a €561 million fine on Microsoft for failing to comply with its commitments to offer users a browser choice screen enabling them to easily choose their preferred web browser. In 2009, the Commission had made these commitments legally binding on Microsoft until 2014 (see IP/09/1941 ). In today's decision, the Commission finds that Microsoft failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from May 2011 until July 2012. 15 million Windows users in the EU therefore did not see the choice screen during this period. Microsoft has acknowledged that the choice screen was not displayed during that time.

Transport and Environment: Aberdeen and Zagreb win EU sustainable mobility awards

The European Commission has announced the winners of the 2012 European Mobility Week Award and of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans Award. The cities were presented with their awards by European Commissioners Siim Kallas and Janez Potočnik at a joint award ceremony in Brussels, Belgium (Théâtre du Vaudeville) on 6 March.

La commission approuve la demande d'enregistrement de 3 dénominations de produits agricoles

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'enregistrement des produits suivants dans la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et des indications géographiques protégées (IGP): pour l'Italie, la figue de Barbarie " Ficodindia di San Cono " (AOP) cultivée dans une région de Sicile, pour l'Allemagne, les asperges " Spargel aus Franken / Fränkischer Spargel / Franken-Spargel "(IGP) cultivées en Franconie et, pour la Finlande, le poisson " Kitkan viisas " (AOP) pêché dans les lacs de la zone de plateaux du Koillismaa. Cette décision devrait être publiée dans les prochains jours dans le Journal Officiel de l'Union Européenne . Ces 3 noms rejoindront alors la liste de plus de 1100 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles en ligne à l'adresse:

Autre matériel diffusé :

Top 10 most burdensome EU laws for small and medium-sized enterprises: How the Commission is helping SMEs

Memo "Questions and answers on support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Horizon 2020- The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation"

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel - rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand – rediffusion

Joint statement by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, U Thein Sein:  Building a Lasting EU-Myanmar Partnership - rediffusion

Statement following the meeting of President Barroso with Mr Rossen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria – rediffusion

Memo "Questions and answers: New 'black symbol' for medicinal products"

Memo "Questions and Answers: What has the EU done for women? 50 years of EU action on Gender Equality for One Continent"

Memo "Justice Council 8 March 2013

Memo "German Minister for the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich and EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding emphasise the importance of the EU General Data Protection Regulation for the digital single market and the protection of fundamental rights in Europe"

Memo "Two years after Fukushima – nuclear safety in Europe"

Memo "EU and Thailand launch negotiations for Free Trade Agreement" – rediffusion

Statement by Vice President Almunia on Microsoft - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Štefan Füle: "Enlargement in perspective: how do candidate and potential candidate countries perceive accession in the light of the current crisis?" – rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn at the 5th European Networking Event/Düsseldorf: "Successful R&I in Europe 2013"

Speech by Commissioner Andor at the European Parliament Conference "Integration of young people excluded by early school leaving & unemployment": "Tackling early school leaving"

Speech by Commissioner Andor at the Public evening debate on "80 YEARS OF THE NEW DEAL: LESSONS FOR EUROPE TODAY": "Nothing to fear but fear itself: From depression to recovery in the 1930s and in today’s European Union" – UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 18:00 CET

Speech by Vice-President Reding: "The EU's Data Protection reform: Decision-Time is Now"

Speech by Vice-President Šefčovič : "Ethics and the European Commission"

Speech by Commissioner Janez Potočnik: "Moving in the right direction – cleaner transport for improved health and sustainable economic growth" – rediffusion

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