Midday Express of 2013-04-29
European Commission - MEX/13/0429 29/04/2013
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EXME 13 / 29.04
Midday Express of 2013-04-29
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
To boost the development of EU aquaculture, the European Commission has issued strategic guidelines, thereby cooperating with Member States and stakeholders in overcoming the challenges facing the sector. The EU aquaculture sector has a significant growth potential and can help to spare overexploited sea resources. The Guidelines presented today will help coordinate efforts across all Member States. They do not create new legal obligations, but present a series of voluntary steps that Member States, the Commission, and stakeholders can take to promote an industry that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and provides consumers with healthy, high-quality seafood.
In April the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) decreased by 1.5 points in the euro area (to 88.6) and by 1.8 points in the EU (to 89.7).
In April 2013, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area decreased by 0.18 points to 0.93. While the assessment of the stocks of finished products remained broadly stable, all other components deteriorated (current order books (overall and export), past production, production expectations). The assessments of past production and overall current order books witnessed particularly sharp declines.
Harpa, the Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Iceland, is the winner of the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award, the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe announced today. Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, Batteríið Architects and Studio Olafur Eliasson, the building has helped to transform and revitalise Reykjavik harbour and brought the city and harbour district closer together. The Emerging Architect Special Mention award goes to María Langarita and Víctor Navarro for the Nave de Música Matadero (Red Bull Music Academy) in Madrid, Spain. The award ceremony will take place on 7 June at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, coinciding with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the prize.
The overall tax-to-GDP ratio, meaning the sum of taxes and social contributions in % of GDP, in the EU272 stood at 38.8% in 2011, from 38.3% in 2010 and 38.4% in 2009. The overall tax ratio in the euro area (EA17) increased to 39.5% in 2011, up from 39.0% in 2010 and 39.1% in 2009. The tax burden varies significantly between Member States, ranging in 2011 from less than 30% in Lithuania (26.0%), Bulgaria (27.2%), Latvia (27.6%), Romania (28.2%), Slovakia (28.5%) and Ireland (28.9%), to more than 40% in Denmark (47.7%), Sweden (44.3%), Belgium (44.1%), France (43.9%), Finland (43.4%), Italy (42.5%) and Austria (42.0%). Between 2010 and 2011, the largest increases in tax-to-GDP ratios were recorded in Portugal (from 31.5% to 33.2%), Romania (from 26.7% to 28.2%) and France (from 42.5% to 43.9%), and the highest falls in Estonia (from 34.1% to 32.8%), Sweden (from 45.4% to 44.3%) and Lithuania (from 27.0% to 26.0%).
In the fourth quarter of 2012, the household saving rate in the euro area was 12.2%, compared with 12.8% in the third quarter of 2012. In the EU27, the household saving rate was 10.7%, compared with 11.0% in the previous quarter. These data come from a detailed set of seasonally adjusted quarterly European sector accounts released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union and the European Central Bank (ECB).
In the fourth quarter of 2012, the business investment rate was 19.7% in the euro area, compared with 20.0% in the third quarter of 2012. This fall was the result of investment decreasing (-1.7%) at a higher pace than gross value added (-0.4%). Total stocks (materials, supplies and finished goods) fell for the fifth quarter in a row.In the EU27 the investment rate was 19.6% in the fourth quarter compared with 19.7% in the previous quarter.These data come from a detailed set of seasonally adjusted quarterly European sector accounts6 released by Eurostat and the European Central Bank (ECB).
New EU support for access to clean water and sanitation in Malawi
The European Commission has announced that it will support Malawi in its efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) related to water and sanitation. The new programme will be focussed on the most vulnerable population in 15 districts and 7 cities, who have limited access to water and sanitation. It will help to build 500 new water points, water and sanitation facilities in 50 health centres, promote hygiene in schools and train local committees to manage the water infrastructure themselves. The programme, which will receive a total amount of €30 million, is co-financed with UNICEF (European Development Fund contribution: €24 million, UNICEF contribution: €6 million). Malawi has already made an impressive effort to achieve the MDG on access to water and sanitation; showing an overall increase in access to safe water, from 41% in 1990 to 83% in 2010, and from 39% in 1990 to 70% in 2010 in basic sanitation. For more information on the EU Development Cooperation with Malawi: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-165_en.htm
GMOs: Member States back Commission control measures on unauthorised GM rice products from China
A Commission proposal to amend the current control measures regarding imports of unauthorised GM rice products originating from China was endorsed yesterday by Member State experts. The key element of this amendment is to extend the scope of the Decision on controls to include any food or feed product containing rice. In light of Member States' experience, the Decision also defines a new common protocol for sampling and analysis of processed products. To further facilitate controls it requires operators to complete a Common Entry Document (CED). The objectives of these changes are to reinforce and improve the efficiency of official controls concerning rice products originating or consigned from China. The EU imports about 50,000 tonnes annually of products currently covered by this Decision which equates to about €50 million. It is now for the Commission to adopt the amended Decision. The new rules will apply 20 days following publication in the Official Journal of the EU. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm
Draft Amending budget 4: Posts adjustments at Court of Justice and two EU agencies - No increase of the EU budget
The Commission has presented an amending budget which reflects the movement of staff posts in the EU institutions. These changes do not affect the overall amount of the EU Budget but have to be formally approved by the Budgetary Authority (European Parliament and the Council). The staff increases in the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems agency (GSA) in Prague will be financed by the agency's budget and those for the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) in Brussels are going to be fully offset by a corresponding staff reduction in the Commission. For the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the Commission requests 7 additional posts to accommodate for the arrival of a new Advocate General. This will be covered without any impact on the Court's total budget. Link to the Draft Amending Budget 4: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/biblio/documents/2013/2013_en.cfm#dab4
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