Midday Express of 2013-05-17
European Commission - MEX/13/0517 17/05/2013
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EXME 13 / 17.05
17 /05 / 13
Next steps on structural reform of the banking sector
The Commission is meeting today key stakeholders of the banking sector in the context of its consultation on the Structural Reform of the Banking Sector, launched yesterday and which runs until 3rd July 2013. The objective of this work, following on from the Liikanen report ( IP/12/1048), is to ensure that the EU treats in a comprehensive manner the problems that can arise from banks being too big and too complex and to avoid that taxpayers end up having to rescue banks and pay the bill. In this context, structural reform may for the biggest and most complex banks be necessary in addition to the other adopted or on-going reforms in the banking sector. Commission proposals are envisaged for early autumn 2013. Additional information on the meeting programme and on the consultation .
The European Commission has launched a call for proposals of EUR 31.5 million for the best 45 eco-innovation projects. Businesses throughout Europe have until 5 September 2013 to put in their proposals for bringing novel environmental solutions to the market in the following 5 areas: material recycling, water, sustainable building products, green business, and the food and drink sector.
European Maritime Day is the main annual event where politicians and stakeholders from all maritime sectors come together. This year's edition will take place in Malta on 21-22 May, and the theme is 'coastal development and sustainable maritime tourism'. Experts from all maritime sectors and from all over Europe will discuss how to drive the tourism industry forward and maintain its position not only as a sector for sustainable growth, but also as a crucial driver for the wider economy and a key contributor to the EU's Blue Growth agenda. The European Commission co-hosts the event and Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will give a key-note speech to open the conference, alongside ministers from Malta and Sweden among others.
The European Commission is notifying the Faroe Islands of its intention to adopt measures in support of the sustainability of herring fisheries shared with the Faroe Islands. The measures may include restrictions in the imports of herring and associated species fished by Faroese interests and restrictions on the access of Faroese vessels in EU harbours. This action follows the unsustainable, unilateral quota setting by the Faroe Islands for herring in the North-Atlantic.
In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 1.7% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.1% in the EU27 in March 2013, compared with the previous month, according to first estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In February 2013, production declined by 0.3% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU27. Compared with March 2012, production decreased by 7.9% in the euro area and by 7.2% in the EU27 in March 2013.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Lieken by Agrofert
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Lieken of Germany by Agrofert of the Czech Republic. Agrofert is active in various sectors including: agriculture; chemicals and food, in particular industrial bakery products. Lieken manufactures and supplies bread and cake products and other products. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns in the Member States affected by the merger, i.e. the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, given the very limited overlap between the parties' activities, the existence of buyer power and the presence of other competitors, which are not capacity constrained. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.6891
What Commissioners said
Speaking at the 11th European Business Summit in Brussels yesterday, President Barroso debated the European Commission's response to the uncertainty that marks business and industry in Europe today. The President said: "Our policy response is clear: we address in a comprehensive manner the different challenges of fiscal consolidation. We continue the structural reforms for competitiveness and we promote the investments that give hope to the real economy. And of course we pursue an active agenda linking Europe even closer to the international economy." President Barroso also stressed that by fighting unsustainable public debt, by creating an integrated system of banking supervision and resolution and by pushing Europe's competitiveness agenda, the European economy can be rebalanced.
On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, Vice-President Reding attended the first international IDAHO conference in the Hague. Vice-President Reding said: "Homophobia and transphobia are violations of human dignity and are incompatible with the values and principles of the European Union. According to EU citizens, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread in all Member States, with certain countries reporting that up to 77% of the national LGBT Communities are affected. Laws and policies are in place to support the fight against discrimination and it is the role of the Commission to ensure that this principle of law is respected in every EU action and upheld by Member States when they implement EU law. The common EU strategy must be to ensure that our actions make a difference. Our roadmap must be to do things that matter now and not only focus on things that might matter in the future."
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead