Midday Express of 2013-06-14
European Commission - MEX/13/0614 14/06/2013
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EXME 13 / 14.06
14 / 06 / 13
EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership: Ministers to discuss negotiating mandate
The EU’s trade ministers gather at the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) in Luxemburg today to discuss the negotiating mandate for the EU-US trade and investment partnership (TTIP) that had been proposed by the European Commission in March this year IP/13/224 The trade deal is expected to boost the EU’s economy by 0.5% of its GDP, or €119 billion annually, due to the removal of tariffs and unnecessary red tape. The ministers will also discuss the preparations for the next WTO Ministerial Conference in December this year, the EU-Canada trade agreement, decision-making procedures in trade policy, labour conditions in Bangladesh, and trade relations with China. A press conference with Commissioner De Gucht and the Irish Presidency is expected to start at 13:00 (Time to be confirmed). It can be followed live via EbS+ .
This afternoon, President Barroso will travel to Rome. He will meet the President of Italy, Mr. Giorgio Napolitano, and Prime-Minister Mr. Enrico Letta. European and global economy and fight against youth unemployment will be on the agenda. President Barroso and Prime-Minister Letta will give a joint a press conference tomorrow, 15 June, at 14:00 local time.
The President will also meet Pope Francis at a private audience in the Vatican. This will be an opportunity to discuss common interests with the Head of the Vatican State and of the Catholic Church, in particular the initiatives to overcome the economic crisis in Europe.
Tomorrow afternoon, the European Commission will be awarded with the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Jacques Diouf prize for its contribution towards the improvement of global food security through its rapid 1 billion response to the 2008 food crisis under the “EU Food Facility”. This award marks the great success of the “EU Food Facility”, launched in response to what was the worst world food crisis in recent years. Press release and the speech of the President will be released after this event.
Promoting global fairness and boosting sustainable growth, jobs and development will be at the heart for the EU at the G8 summit, which starts on Monday in Lough Erne (UK). European Commission President Barroso, who is attending the G8 for the 9th time, and European Council President Van Rompuy will represent the EU at the summit. The main topics on this year's agenda, as put forward by the UK presidency, are trade, taxation and transparency, but leaders will also discuss global economy, foreign affairs and food security. A comprehensive background note explains the European Union's role and actions on all main G8 subjects. Read also President Barroso's op-ed article on the G8, published earlier this week by the G8 Research Group of the University of Toronto, and the joint press release from the European Commission and the European Council. A joint press conference will be organised on Monday, before the start of the summit in Lough Erne. More details will follow by esPRESSo.
Data surveillance programme, PRISM, discussed at EU-U.S. Ministerial in Dublin
In light of recent news reports on the data surveillance program PRISM, Vice-President Reding has said she will raise the matter with her U.S. counterpart, Attorney General Holder, in the context of the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial taking place in Dublin today. Following their meeting, Vice-President Reding and Attorney-General Holder will speak at a press conference at 12:10 (13:10 CET) at Dublin Castle. Ahead of the EU-U.S. Ministerial Meeting, Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "The respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law are the foundations of the EU-U.S. relationship. This common understanding has been, and must remain, the basis of cooperation between us in the area of Justice."
European Green Capital Award for 2015
Tonight, Friday 14 June, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik will announce the winner of the European Green Capital Award for 2015 at a ceremony in Nantes, France, which currently holds the title. The four finalists are Bristol, Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana. The European Green Capital Award is presented to a city in the vanguard of environmentally friendly urban living. The jury evaluates cities on their record of achieving high environmental standards, their commitment to on-going and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and the extent to which they can act as a role model and promote best practice in other European cities. For more information: http://www.europeangreencapital.eu/ .
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Intermec by Honeywell, both of the United States. Intermec is a manufacturer and supplier of barcode scanners, scanning engines and ruggedised mobile computers (i.e. computers that are specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh usage environments and conditions, such as strong vibrations, extreme temperatures, etc.)., The Commission found that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity will continue to face several credible competitors in the relevant markets.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of ista by CVC
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of ista International GmbH of Germany and of its direct shareholder ista Luxemburg GmbH of Luxembourg (collectively “ista”) by CVC Capital Partners SICAV-FIS S.A. of Luxemburg). ista supplies metering and sub-metering services. CVC's activities include investment advice and managing investments. The parties are not active in the same markets, nor are their activities related in any way. The operation was therefore 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.6939 .
Commission launches the 2013 Health Prize for Journalists
Today, the virtual doors swing open to journalists from across the EU wishing to participate in the annual EU Health Prize for Journalists. Winners can pick up EU-wide recognition and cash prizes for excellence in health journalism, by submitting their articles on line until 30 September 2013. The journalist prize, now in its fifth run, aims to stimulate and award high quality journalism that raises awareness about good health, healthcare and patients' rights. The Prize is now open to 28 European countries, in view of Croatia's accession on 1 July. Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, said: "Journalists have a key role to play in communicating health messages to Europeans. Whether it's on staying healthy, on patients' rights or on how to navigate the health system journalists are well placed to inform citizens. That is why EU health journalists are invited, for the fifth year running, to 'Be a Winner in the EU Health Prize for Journalists". (For more information: IP/13/536).
Irish start-up Trustev, has won Europe's leading start-up award, sponsored by the European Commission. Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Trustev (@trustev, www.trustev.com) offers real time, online verification using social fingerprinting technology. Trustev is mirroring the way merchants make real life selling decisions. It means online retailers can be certain that they are dealing and transacting with real human beings.
Commissioner Hahn hails opening of ‘New Europe Bridge’ as a potent symbol of European Cooperation
Commissioner Johannes Hahn will today mark an historic moment between Bulgaria and Romania, when ‘New Europe Bridge’ officially opens between the two countries. This ‘potent symbol of European cooperation’ is of strategic importance for the EU as a key link in a route that could stretch from Northern Europe, the Baltics, through Central Europe, Romania and Bulgaria, and eventually, to Greece. ‘Today the New Europe Bridge is not just opening for traffic, but it is ushering in a whole range of opportunities for business and research on both sides of the water, and beyond," Commissioner Hahn said. It is hoped that the new bridge will lead to the creation of further connections that will benefit not just the regions of Calafat and Vidin, but Europe in the wider sense. (See IP/13/537).
The number of persons employed decreased by 0.5% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.2% in the EU272 in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the fourth quarter of 2012, employment decreased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU27. These figures are seasonally adjusted. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment fell by 1.0% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU27 in the first quarter of 2013 (after -0.8% and -0.5% respectively in the fourth quarter of 2012). Eurostat estimates that, in the first quarter of 2013, 221.9 million men and women were employed in the EU27, of which 145.1 million were in the euro area. These figures are seasonally adjusted.
Euro area annual inflation was 1.4% in May 2013, up from 1.2% in April. A year earlier the rate was 2.4%. Monthly inflation was 0.1% in May 2013. European Union annual inflation was 1.6% in May 2013, up from 1.4% in April. A year earlier the rate was 2.6%. Monthly inflation was 0.1% in May 2013.
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead