Midday Express of 2013-06-20
European Commission - MEX/13/0620 20/06/2013
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EXME 13 / 20.06
20 / 06 / 13
The Commission has decided today to refer to the EU Court of Justice 10 member States. Financial penalties will be requested against Belgium, Italy and Portugal. The other referrals concern Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. The Commission will also send 47 reasoned opinions to 20 countries (AT, BE, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EL, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, LU, LV, NL, PL, PT, RO, SI, UK). With a total of 186 decisions, the Commission aims at ensuring proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers will take place tomorrow in Luxembourg at 11.00. The European Commission will be represented by Vice-President Olli Rehn, Commissioner Michel Barnier and Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta. The Economic and Finance Ministers will discuss the Commission’s proposal establishing a framework for bank recovery and resolution with a view to reach a general approach. In addition, the Council will be called on to approve the recommendations made by the European Commission on 29 May related inter alia to the Country-specific recommendations and the excessive deficit procedures. The convergence report on Latvia and a package of measures to combat VAT fraud will be also covered by the meeting.
President Barroso will be in Vienna today to meet Chancellor Werner Faymann. They will discuss the preparations of the June European Council, the economic situation and on-going reforms Europe, and an issue of particular importance for Austria: the recent floods. The meeting is followed by a press point at the Chancelor's Office, Ballhausplatz, at 18.15 (time tbc).
The President will also join EU and non-EU heads of state and government and opposition leaders of the European People's Party (EPP). This EEP Summit aims at preparing the next European Council.
More students from Southern Mediterranean countries will benefit from the EU's new programme for education training and youth: this was the message from European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou at a university 'summit' in Nicosia today. The Commissioner said the new programme, due for launch in January 2014, would build on the success of the existing Tempus and Erasmus Mundus programmes. Since 2007, more than €140 million has been allocated for projects involving Southern Mediterranean universities to develop new curricula, retrain teachers, support new teaching methods and invest in equipment. In addition, €150 million has been provided in grants for more than 4 500 students from the region to spend part of their studies in the EU. More than 750 academic staff have also taken part in exchanges organised with European universities.
On Wednesday, 19 June, the European Commission adopted the new Regional Aid Guidelines, replacing its current Guidelines of 2007 and Communication of 2009. The new Regional Aid Guidelines aim at targeting aid to the most disadvantaged regions in order to achieve growth and income convergence over the next seven years, in a context of tight public budgets. The modernised Guidelines aim to ensure investments that would otherwise not take place in disadvantaged regions, therefore bringing real value added for regional development.
LIBE Committee votes in favour of the EUROSUR Regulation
Yesterday Commissioner Malmström welcomed the positive vote by the LIBE Committee on the EUROSUR Regulation. This vote has paved the way for a quick adoption by the European Parliament and the Home Affairs Council. Once formally adopted, the new system should be operational before the end of the year. EUROSUR will equip EU authorities with better tools to fight serious crimes, such as drug trafficking and human smuggling. EUROSUR also has the clear objective of making a serious contribution to the protection and saving of lives of migrants trying to reach European shores by sea and thus will help to diminish the unacceptable death toll. For more information: MEMO/13/580 ; MEMO/13/578
The European Commission welcome's the progress made on two proposals to make life easier for international couples in the European Union. Today the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) voted 23 in favour to 0 against, to back the Commission proposals to make property rights clearer for couples with assets in another EU country. "Today’s vote by the Legal Affairs Committee is another step forward for a Europe for citizens," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.
Yesterday the LIBE Committee voted in favour of the European Commission's proposal on access to a lawyer. This new law would mean anyone who is a suspect – no matter where they are in the European Union – would be guaranteed the right to see a lawyer from the earliest stages of proceedings until their conclusion and ensure that anyone arrested has the opportunity to communicate with their family.
Aviation: a roadmap for drones to boost innovation and create jobs in Europe
Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly referred to as drones, have a huge untapped potential that can bring significant advantages to European citizens and the European economy as a whole, boost innovation and create jobs . For this reason the European Commission asked a group of key stakeholders to develop a roadmap for the development and safe integration of civil RPAS into the European aviation system starting in 2016. According to the roadmap, received by the Commission today at the Paris Air Show, a number of economic, technical and safety related issues need to be addressed before this new technology can be fully exploited. The Commission will examine /how best to support the development of the potential of drones, while addressing the associated risks.
La Commission approuve quatre nouvelles demandes d'enregistrement de dénominations protégées
La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'enregistrement dans la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et des indications géographiques protégées (IGP) de quatre nouvelles dénominations. Il s'agit, pour la France, de la " Saucisse de Montbéliard " (IGP), saucisse de porc fumé de Franche-Comté, et des " Fraises de Nîmes " (IGP), fraises précoces produites sur le "Plateau des Costières" autour de Nîmes ; pour l'Espagne des " Pasas de Málaga " (AOP), raisins secs de la région de Málaga obtenus à partir de raisins du cépage muscat d'Alexandrie séchés au soleil ; et pour la Grèce, de l'"Agoureleo Chalkidikis" ( Αγουρέλαιο Χαλκιδικής ", AOP), huile d'olive extra vierge produite dans la département de Chalcidique à partir de variétés d'olives locales. Ces décisions de la Commission devraient être publiées dans les prochains jours au Journal Officiel de l'Union Européenne. Ces noms rejoindront alors la liste de plus de 1100 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles en ligne à l'adresse: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_fr.htm
The European Commission invites the public to comment on a number of options for possible future improvements of the EU Merger Regulation in two areas: minority shareholdings and the transfer of cases between the Commission and national competition authorities. The Commission services have published a consultation paper. Comments can be submitted until 20 September 2013. The Commission is seeking stakeholders' views on whether any improvements of the current framework are necessary in specific areas.
The European Commission can confirm that on 18 June 2013 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in the sector of cargo train transport services to South Eastern Europe. Inspections took place in several Member States. The Commission has reasons to believe that the companies concerned may have violated Article 101 of the TFEU, which prohibits anticompetitive practices such as price fixing and customer allocation.
Commissioner Hedegaard to visit Hamburg
Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will be in Hamburg on 20-21 June to open an international conference on city building and visit two of Europe's largest urban development projects. HafenCity and the International Building Exhibition (IBA Hamburg), which are transforming urban districts and port areas along the River Elbe, provide the backdrop to the 'Building the City Anew' symposium. Commissioner Hedegaard will visit a number of projects, including the Energy Bunker, a former World War II bunker which is being transformed into a renewable energy plant. She will also meet with the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, and the city-state's State Secretary for Environment, Holger Lange, as well as stakeholders involved in climate policy.
What Commissioners said
This morning Commissioner Potočnik addressed the Scottish Parliament Committee on Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment, the first European Commissioner to do so. He spoke about the need for Europe to change its economic model from one that is resource-intensive to one that is resource-efficient. He stressed that the transition from a linear economy to a circular economy is not merely desirable but actually inevitable. Global resource constraints mean that we have to change the way our economy functions, the way we produce and consume and, in fact, the way we live. The soft laws of economics are coming up against the hard laws of physics and tomorrow's growth will depend on making environment part of our economic policy.
"I welcome last night’s agreement between the European Parliament and the Council. It broadly endorses the Commission approach and priorities, augmenting them with useful additions from the other institutions. I look forward to the institutions confirming the deal so that implementation can begin as soon as possible. I am very pleased with the final text. It sends a clear signal that a strong environment policy is a prerequisite for healthy living and a competitive, resource-efficient and low-carbon economy in Europe. The high level of ambition and the clear definition of where the EU wants to go in terms of protecting our environment will guide policy-making and implementation over the years to come. I would like to thank all those involved in the negotiations which led to this agreement. And now let’s turn our commitments into action so that the programme delivers benefits for people and the environment.”