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EXME 13 / 10.04

Midday Express of 2013-04-10

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Commission proposes to modernise the EU's trade defence instruments

The European Commission today made a proposal that aims at adapting the EU's rulebook to tackle unfair competition from dumped and subsidised imports to the contemporary challenges facing the EU's economy.

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments from CEZ concerning the Czech electricity market and makes them legally binding

The European Commission has accepted a set of commitments offered by CEZ, the Czech electricity incumbent. These commitments are now legally binding. The Commission had concerns that CEZ may have abused its dominant market position by reserving capacity in the transmission network in order to prevent competitors from entering the market. After the Commission opened an investigation under EU antitrust rules that prohibit such behaviour (see IP/11/891), CEZ offered to divest a significant generation capacity. Following a consultation of market participants (see IP/12/766), the Commission is satisfied that the final commitments offered by CEZ adequately address its concerns.

Internal security: What progress has been made?

Organised crime is still a major challenge for the internal security of the EU. Cybercrime, along with trafficking in human beings and the increase in violent extremism are also major security threats that the EU continues to face, together with money laundering and corruption. These threats are outlined in the Commission's annual report on the implementation of the EU's Internal Security Strategy, released today. It highlights areas under each of the objectives of the strategy (2011-2014) where Member States and EU agencies should pay particular attention.

Labour costs in the EU27 - Hourly labour costs ranged from €3.7 to €39.0 across the EU27 Member States in 2012

In 2012, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €23.4 in the EU27 and €28.0 in the euro area (EA17). However, this average masks significant differences between EU Member States, with hourly labour costs ranging from €3.7 in Bulgaria, €4.4 in Romania, €5.8 in Lithuania and €6.0 in Latvia, to €39.0 in Sweden, €38.1 in Denmark, €37.2 in Belgium, €34.6 in Luxembourg and €34.2 in France. When comparing labour cost estimates in euro over time, it should be noted that data for those Member States outside the euro area are influenced by exchange rate movements. Within the business economy, labour costs per hour were highest in industry (€24.2 in the EU27 and €30.3 in the euro area), followed by services (€23.7 and €27.6 respectively) and construction (€21.0 and €24.3). In the mainly non-business economy (excluding public administration), labour costs per hour were €22.9 in the EU27 and €27.2 in the euro area. Labour costs are made up of wages & salaries and non-wage costs such as employers' social contributions. The share of non-wage costs in the whole economy was 23.7% in the EU27 and 26.1% in the euro area, varying between 8.2% in Malta and 33.6% in France

Mergers: Commission clears joint control of Iberdrola Renovables France by GE and Munich Re

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of joint control of French company Iberdrola Renovables France by US company General Electric Company ("GE") and German company Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft in München ("Munich Re"). Iberdrola Renovables France operates on-shore wind farm projects and holds interests in companies operating in the renewable energy business in France. GE is a global diversified manufacturing, technology and services company. Munich Re is a multinational (re)insurance company. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.6870 .

Concentrations: la Commission autorise la création d'une entreprise commune par ERDF, la CDC et UEM

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l’UE sur les concentrations, la création de l'entreprise commune Efluid par ERDF, la Caisse des Dépôts et consignations (CDC) et UEM, tous basés en France. Efluid aura pour objet la conception et l'édition de logiciels destinés aux entreprises du secteur des fluides (électricité, gaz, eau, chauffage urbain). ERDF est le gestionnaire du réseau public de distribution d’électricité en France. CDC est un établissement public français à statut légal spécial remplissant des missions d'intérêt général telles que la gestion des fonds privés auxquels les pouvoirs publics souhaitent apporter une protection particulière et l'investissement ou l'accord de prêts dans des activités au nom de l'intérêt général. UEM est une société anonyme française d’économie mixte locale présente dans les secteurs de l’électricité, du chauffage urbain, de la télévision par câble et de l’éclairage public. L'opération a été analysée sous la procédure simplifiée. Plus d'information est disponible sur la page concurrence du site internet de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro M.6815 .

Commission brings EU and African stakeholders together to boost agriculture and agri-food sector in Africa

The Commission is organizing today in Brussels a meeting of business leaders and policymakers from sub-Saharan Africa and the EU. The objective is to map out strategies for boosting agriculture and the food processing sector in Africa, so as to develop the sector's strong potential for growth, strengthen food security and support development in rural communities. Participants will look at the various components of agri-food chains and how they can add value to commodities - from enhancing productivity at farm level, to upgrading value chains by empowering farmers' organizations and integrating them in strategic partnerships. "60% of the sub-Saharan population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Development in Africa cannot be separated from farming" said Dacian Cioloș, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. "The EU stands ready to provide African agribusinesses with the expertise needed to address the production and productivity gap. This partnership between European and African stakeholders could go from innovative production methods, to producer organisations, and moving up the added-value chain." Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development, said: "With public funding under increasing strain, this task must fall more to the private sector", adding that development funding places emphasis on better access to land, forests, food, water and energy for the poor, without harming the environment: "Agriculture and agri food are much higher on the development agenda of most African countries. As we mark the 10 year of the Maputo Declaration and head towards the 2014 African Union year on agriculture and food security, we need to move into action mode." The workshop will be webstreamed live on the internet, with the recording also available afterwards. More information at:

Commissioner Piebalgs participates in the 3rd Assises of Decentralised Cooperation for Development

Organised by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission, the event brings together several hundred representatives of local and regional authorities from the EU and developing countries to continue the political dialogue with the European institutions on the challenges of development cooperation. This 3rd edition of the Assises represents a unique opportunity to debate the main issues to be addressed in the European Commission's communication on the role of local authorities in development cooperation (expected to be adopted later this year) and in the post-2015 International Agenda on Development. European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will highlight that the importance of local authorities’ involvement for global commitments to bear fruits, so they need to have a stronger role in our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and in our continued efforts to eradicate poverty once and for all. For more information:

Juvenes Translatores contest: Commissioner Vassiliou presents awards to Europe's best young translators

The 27 teenage winners of the Commission’s annual Juvenes Translatores contest for young translators will receive their trophies from Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, in Brussels on Thursday 11 April. More than 3 000 pupils aged 17, from schools in each EU Member State, sat the contest. Each had two hours to translate a text from an EU official language of their choice into one of the EU’s 22 other official languages. The results were marked by Commission translators who shared their impressions in this video: . One winner was selected for each Member State. The award ceremony will take place in the Commission's Charlemagne building at 11:00. At 14:30, the winners will gather in front of the Berlaymont for a photograph. For details of the list of winners and their schools, see IP/13/55 . Special guests at the ceremony include the winners of a separate translation contest inspired by Juvenes Translatores for Turkish university students.. The Juvenes Translatores award ceremony can be followed live at . To find out more: Contest website , Facebook page Twitter: @translatores , Blog for teachers , DG Translation , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU .

Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn to visit Hannover Messe

Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will on Thursday visit Hannover Messe, the world's largest industrial trade fair and a showcase for engineering excellence, to present the EU's next research funding programme, Horizon 2020. The commissioner will give a keynote speech at the MobiliTec hybrid-electric technology forum and visit a number of stands, including that of the EU's joint technology initiative with the fuel cells and hydrogen industry (FCH). The Commission is due this summer to make proposals on the future of the JTIs under Horizon 2020. She will also visit the Russia pavilion ahead of the launch later this year of the EU-Russia Year of Science and hold talks with Gabriele Heinen Kljajic, Minister for Science and Culture of the State of Lower Saxony.

New Director appointed as Head of DG ECFIN's Athens Office

The College has decided to appoint Mr Margaritis SCHINAS as the Director-level head of the Athens office of the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN). Mr Schinas will coordinate on the ground in Athens both the work of DG ECFIN staff and the team of the Task Force for Greece, in the context of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and the provision of technical assistance in support of Greece's efforts to return to sustainable growth and job creation. He will also maintain regular contacts with the Greek authorities and stakeholders, working in liaison with the Commission's Representation in Athens. Mr Schinas, a Greek national, is currently the Deputy Head of the Bureau of European Policy Advisers. He was the Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Kyprianou from 2004-2007, and Deputy Head of Cabinet for Vice-President Loyola de Palacio during the Prodi Commission. Mr Schinas started working for the European Commission in 1990, and also served a term as an MEP from 2007-2010. He holds an MSc from the London School of Economics, a Diploma of Advanced European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges and a Degree in Law from the University of Thessaloniki. The decision will take effect on 16 May 2013. At the same time, the College appointed Mr Enrico TRAVERSA as Principal Legal Adviser 'JLS team' in the Legal Service. Mr Traversa is currently a Legal Adviser in the Legal Service's AFFAIR team, dealing with establishment, services, business law, movement of capital, transport, intellectual property and information society. The decision takes effect on 1 May 2013.


HRVP Catherine Ashton hosts conference on Women's Leadership in the Sahel Region

A High-Level Conference on Women's Leadership in the Sahel Region was held today in Brussels. The event brought together 40 women, civil society leaders of several generations, peace and security experts, peace activists, government officials and gender equality advocates from the Sahel region. Members of the European Parliament, African and European Ambassadors, senior officials from the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union and the United Nations participated in the event. They heard directly from the crisis-affected women from the Sahel region their views and recommendations on women's economic empowerment and political participation, and their role in peace and recovery.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Ms Alenka Bratušek, Prime Minister of Slovenia – rediffusion

Q&As: Modernisation of the EU’s Trade Defence Instruments

Statement by Commissioner Michel Barnier welcoming the agreement reached on disclosure requirements for the extractive industry and loggers of primary forests and on simpler accounting requirements for small companies - rediffusion

Discours par le Commissaire Cioloș: "Quels leviers pour renforcer la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique?"

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