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Midday Express of 2013-06-07
Commission Européenne - MEX/13/0607 07/06/2013
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EXME 13 / 07.06
07 / 06 / 13
The European Union and Morocco sign partnership on migration and mobility – Under EMBARGO until 13:30 CET
With the signature of a Mobility Partnership today by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and M. Saad dine El Otman, Minister of foreign affairs and cooperation of Morocco, the relations between Morocco and the EU will be strengthened in the fields of migration and mobility. The mobility partnerships include a number of political objectives and initiatives that will be to put in place in order to strengthen cooperation in managing migration flows and the circulation of persons. As part of the initiatives, the EU and Morocco will start negotiations on a visa facilitation agreement for certain categories of persons, such as students, researchers and business men (see IP/13/513).
In 2012, 15.2 million foreign citizens worked in the EU27, accounting for 7% of total employment. Among these foreign citizens, 6.6 million were citizens of another EU Member State and 8.6 million were citizens of a country outside the EU. In the EU27, the employment rate for citizens of another EU Member State (67.7%) was slightly higher than for nationals (64.6%) and significantly higher than for citizens of a country outside the EU (53.7%). As regards unemployment, the unemployment rate for citizens of another EU Member State (12.5%) was higher than for nationals (9.8%), but significantly lower than for citizens of a country outside the EU (21.3%). This information comes from a publication issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, based on the 2012 results of the European Labour Force Survey. This survey contains data on employment and unemployment, as well as on a large range of other indicators related to the labour market, of which a small selection is shown in this News Release.
The EU27 external current account recorded a surplus of 21.8 billion euro (0.7% of GDP) in the first quarter of 2013, compared with a deficit of 7.7 bn (-0.2% of GDP) in the first quarter of 2012, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2013, compared with the first quarter of 2012, the deficit of the goods account turned into a surplus (+0.8 bn euro compared with -32.8 bn). The surplus of the services account fell slightly (+29.8 bn compared with +31.2 bn), as did the surplus of the income account (+11.9 bn compared with +12.2 bn), while the deficit of the current transfers account increased (-20.7 bn compared with -18.3 bn). These data are not seasonally adjusted and are subject to revision.
We are delighted that the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) - EU Council of Ministers has approved over €31.5 billion of funding for EU development cooperation with ACP countries for the period 2014-2020. Recent crises affecting Africa demonstrate more than ever the need for us to work together with the ACP group to fight poverty and promote sustainable growth. The support we’re announcing today shows that the EU remains as committed as ever to development cooperation with our partner countries and to making a difference to people's lives. With our ACP partners today, we have explored how we can get the best possible results and impact from our development work going forward. We believe that, to eradicate poverty once and for all, we need to do this together. Full statement here .
The results of the public consultation on unconventional fossil fuels
The European Commission has presented the results of an online consultation on unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas), which generated more than 22 000 responses. Opinions on this issue diverge. However, if the industry is to develop with public support, responses show a call for action, as "do nothing at EU level" was the least favoured option. Other elements highlighted were a strong need for information, the lack of public acceptance, and the lack of a clear legal framework. A large majority found it important to address issues such as strategic planning, underground risk assessment, well integrity, monitoring, waste management and disclosure of the use of chemicals to minimise environmental, climate and health risks of unconventional fossil fuels. The Commission Work Programme for 2013 includes a new initiative on "Environmental, Climate and Energy Assessment Framework to Enable Safe and Secure Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction", which should be completed by the end of this year. The main findings of the public consultation as presented today at the occasion of a Stakeholders' event will be uploaded here .
OLAF signs new agreement with Ukraine to combat illicit tobacco trade
Europe's Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and Ukraine have signed an agreement to step up the fight against illicit tobacco trade. Illegal smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol into the EU takes place mainly via its Eastern border, causing over €10 billion losses every year for the EU budget and national budgets. It is therefore a priority for the European Commission to tackle the influx of smuggled cigarettes coming from Ukraine and other Eastern neighbours such as Russia, Moldova and Belarus. Today's agreement sets out a framework for practical cooperation between OLAF and the Ukrainian authorities on measures to prevent and detect cigarette smuggling, including, including for example information exchange between relevant authorities and undertaking joint investigations. This forms part of the broader EU strategy to step up the fight against illicit tobacco products which was adopted by the Commission yesterday (see IP/13/512 , MEMO/13/509).
The European panel in charge of monitoring preparations by the 2014 European Capitals of Culture, Riga (Latvia) and Umeå (Sweden), has recommended that the European Commission should award them the Melina Mercouri Prize in recognition of the quality of their preparations. The prize amounts to €1.5 million for each city.
European transport ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday 10 June, under the chair of Mr Leo Varadkar, Ireland's minister for transport, tourism and sport. Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport and mobility, will also attend, representing the European Commission. The Council is expected to agree "general approaches" – that is, political agreements pending the position of the European Parliament – on a number of legislative proposals, including rail interoperability, roadworthiness (inspection and registration), occurrence reporting in civil aviation and marine equipment. Ministers will also consider the current state of play regarding the Connecting Europe Facility, the future funding instrument for trans-European networks in the transport, energy and telecommunications sectors. On the sidelines of the Council meeting, the European Union and Israel will sign an aviation agreement.
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the general staffing activities of USG People N.V. in Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain and Switzerland by Randstad N.V of the Netherlands. Both Randstad and USG provide temporary employment services, permanent placement services and human resources services. The parties' activities overlap in the provision of temporary employment services in Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the parties' moderate combined market positions resulting from the proposed transaction and the presence of a number of strong players providing temporary employment services in all relevant countries. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.6908 .
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Cocoa Ingredients Division of Petra Foods Limited of Singapore by Barry Callebaut AG of Switzerland. The Commission's investigation confirmed in particular that customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all markets concerned and that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors.
3. Commission clears acquisition of FRHI Holdings by Qatar Investment Authority and Kingdom Holding Company
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of FRHI Holdings Limited of Cayman by Qatar Investment Authority ("QIA") and Kingdom Holding Company ("KHC") of Saudi Arabia. FRHI is a global hotel management company operating 97 hotels and resorts worldwide under the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel brands. QIA is the sovereign investment fund of the State of Qatar. KHC is a diversified investment holding company, active inter alia in hotel real estate and management firms. It holds interests in leading hotel brands such as Four Seasons and Mövenpick. 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.6909.
Speaking at a conference on 6 June László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, set out the importance of good quality apprenticeships and traineeships in the transition from education to work and for implementing the Youth Guarantee. "Boosting apprenticeships and traineeships in the EU is thus crucial to putting a Youth Guarantee in place, in both quantitative and qualitative terms", said Andor. The conference highlighted how European funds can be used to help develop new apprenticeship and traineeship schemes or improve existing ones, and presented a new Helpdesk providing advice to EU Member States on setting up, running, improving and evaluating such schemes.
Commissioner Vassiliou to meet Jacques Rogge, President of Olympic movement
Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner responsible for sport, will hold talks with the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, on Monday (10 June). The meeting is part of the Commission's 'structured dialogue' with the sports movement, which aims to increase cooperation in areas such as the fight against doping and match-fixing, as well as promoting joint efforts to encourage athletes to continue their education alongside their sporting careers. They will also discuss priorities for the future EU Work Plan for Sport and Erasmus for All, the new programme for education, training, youth and sport, which will fund initiatives at the grassroots level. The Commissioner will also address other topical issues, such as a possible future EU Week of Sport. To find out more: DG Education and Culture , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU .