Midday Express of 2013-06-26
European Commission - MEX/13/0626 26/06/2013
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EXME 13 / 26.06
26 / 06 / 13
Long-term Investment Funds and E-invoicing
Two of the last proposals from the twelve announced in the Single Market Act II last October are presented by the Commission today. European Long-term Investment Funds will match investors with companies who need financing for the long-term. This is crucial at a time when financing is often scarce and where it exists, too focused on short-term goals. This proposal will be presented to Heads of State and Government at tomorrow's European Council where long-term financing of the real economy is on the agenda. See IP/13/605 and MEMO/13/611 . Electronic invoicing in public procurement is an important step towards paperless public administration (e-government) and can bring significant savings and make life easier both for governments and for businesses active in the Single Market. See IP/13/608 and MEMO/13/614 .
President Barroso meets Prime Minister Dačić of Serbia
President Barroso meets Prime Minister Dačić today. This meeting takes place after the General Affairs Council recommended to the European Council to open accession negotiations with Serbia. The European Commission recommended the opening of accession negotiations in April this year.
The President and the Prime Minister will discuss the progress made by Serbia on its European path, and the next steps, in particular in the implementation of the agreement reached in the EU-facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.
A VIP Corner follows the meeting, at 15:30. President Barroso’s speaking points will be released afterwards.
EU rules not batty when it comes to churches
Several reports in the UK media claim that EU rules to protect bat populations are putting hundreds of bat-infested churches in England at risk.
Well, the Good News for concerned church-goers is that, although bats are indeed a protected species, EU Member States can in certain cases allow their resting places to be disturbed. One reason for doing this would be to prevent serious damage to property.
The Commission is therefore convinced that it is possible for the UK authorities to protect both bats and churches.
Read the full story and more rebuttals from the Spokespersons' Service on our new website: ec.europa.eu/rebuttal
Roma: Commission calls on Member States to step up efforts on integration
The European Commission has called on Member States to deliver on their commitments to ensure equality and to do more to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma. The call follows the Commission's progress report released today on the implementation of Member States' national Roma integration strategies, which is also accompanied by a proposal for a Recommendation, setting out a series of specific policy recommendations to help guide Member States to effectively implement their strategies. For more information: IP/13/607 ; MEMO/13/610
The European Commission has adopted today the draft EU budget for 2014, amounting to €142.01 billion in commitment appropriations and €135.9 billion in payment appropriations, a 6% cut on the 2013 budget. The Commission has a legal obligation to present the draft budget before 1 July. However, the Commission will have to amend the draft budget once a financial framework for the 2014-2020 period will be adopted. Today’s draft is therefore not the final proposal from the Commission.
State of implementation of EU budget 2013
Commissioner Lewandowski informed the College of the state of implementation of the budget at 31 May 2013. 89.9% of commitment appropriations and 60.4% of payment appropriations have already been implemented, both higher than last year's implementation at the same period. Such high implementation rates indicate that the voted budget 2013 will be insufficient to meet the needs till the end of the year. The next budget forecasts from the Commission will be in the autumn.
Commission adopts its third Evaluation report under Art 318 of the TFEU
Today, the Commission adopted its third Evaluation report on the Union's finances based on the results achieved in the year 2012, as required by Art 318 of the TFEU. The Report is brought to the attention of the European Court of Auditors and the Discharge Authority. It provides an overview of performance-related information on EU spending programmes that became available in 2012, covering both progress in implementation of on-going programmes and performance feedback from evaluations, audit reports etc. The Report is accompanied by an Action Plan setting out the provisional planning for the further development of the Report and by a comprehensive overview of the 130 evaluations completed in 2012. The full report is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/evaluation/documents_en.htm .
Europeans consumers are not getting the broadband download speeds they pay for. On average, they receive only 74% of the advertised headline speed they have paid for, according to a new European Commission study on fixed broadband performance.
Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes says: "This is the first time the difference between advertised and actual broadband speeds is confirmed by comparable and reliable data from all EU Member States.” There are significant differences in the European national markets, most likely due to advertising practices. Kroes says “Consumers need more of this sort of data to help make informed choices, so we will repeat the exercise. And we take these first results as further proof of the need for a real connected single market."
Blue Growth strategy to create growth and jobs in the marine and maritime sectors gets further backing
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, welcomed the backing from the EU's General Affairs Council for the progress made in delivering the EU's Blue Growth Strategy. Commissioner Damanaki said: “Today's endorsement of the Council shows that delivering the potential of the Blue Economy in terms of growth, jobs and competitiveness is a European commitment. Blue growth is a long term political strategy and the support for its first steps is very encouraging". More information: see MEMO/13/615
Mergers: Commission clears creation of motorcycle suspension joint venture by Yamaha and Kayaba Industry
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over a newly established joint venture KYB Motorcycle Suspension Co., Ltd. by Yamaha and Kayaba Industry, all of Japan. The joint venture will be active in the production and sale of suspension equipment for motorcycles. Yamaha is active worldwide in the manufacture and supply of motor vehicles and various other products such as pools, water pumps, generators and helmets. Kayaba Industry is active worldwide in the production and distribution of active suspension systems for diverse applications, including for motor vehicles, motorcycles and trains. 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.6904 .
Commissioner Vassiliou at Eastern Partnership Ministerial Conference on Culture, Tbilisi, Georgia
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will take part in the first Eastern Partnership Ministerial Conference on Culture in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 27-28 June. The conference, hosted by the Government of Georgia, in the presence of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, gathers Ministers of Culture from across the region and the EU. The event is an opportunity to assess the impact of the Eastern Partnership Culture programme, which involves the EU, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Since 2011, it has provided €9 million in support for cultural cooperation projects and €3 million for strengthening the work of public authorities. The conference will underline the need for reform in cultural policies and better inter- Ministerial cooperation to take more account of the broad contribution of culture to growth and stability in the region. Commissioner Vassiliou will highlight the opportunities created by the next phase of the Eastern Partnership Culture programme, starting in 2015, as well as the new EU Creative Europe programme, due for launch in January 2014. (Information: http://www.euroeastculture.eu ; http://ec.europa.eu/culture/creative-europe/http://ec.europa.eu/culture/creative-europe/
Rules established on Health Technology Assessment
Health Technology Assessment (HTA) provides policy-makers with information on the benefits and comparative value of health technologies and procedures. It is a key tool when planning healthcare budgets and vital for the long term sustainability of Europe's healthcare systems. The Directive on Patients' Rights in Cross border Healthcare foresees a Network of National authorities or bodies responsible for HTA. Today, an Implementing Act setting out the necessary rules for the establishment, management and transparent functioning of the Network has been adopted. The HTA Network of National authorities will help facilitate efficient use of HTA resources in Europe, create a sustainable system of HTA knowledge sharing, and will promote good practice in HTA methods and processes. To date, the cooperation is conducted by the EUnetHTA consortium, reaching key success on methodological development and testing of pharmaceutical products and medical devices. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/health/technology_assessment/policy/index_en.htm ; www.eunethta.eu
Two New Directors for DG Competition
Linsey McCallum has been appointed as Director "Markets & Cases II: Information, Communication and Media" in DG Competition. Linsey McCallum has been Acting Director in the post since April 2011, with oversight of the Commission's antitrust, merger and state aid work in these sectors. Prior to that, she held a number of posts in DG Competition, including Head of Unit for Transport between 2005 and 2011 and policy assistant to the Director General with special responsibility for mergers and anti-trust between 2002 and 2005. She has also worked as a member of the Cabinet of Vice-President Kinnock and began her career in the Commission as a trade negotiator in 1993. Linsey McCallum is a lawyer by training, studying at the University of Glasgow and the College of Europe in Bruges. She is a British national. The Appointment will take effect from 1 July 2013. Massimo Motta has been appointed as Chief Competition Economist in DG Competition. He is presently working in the Economics Department of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona. Massimo Motta is Italian. Mr Motta will take up his duties no later than 1 October 2013.
New Director for Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
Luc Bagur has been appointed as Director "Resources in Headquarters and in Delegations" in the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid. Luc Bagur is currently a Head of Unit in the Directorate-General, responsible for general coordination. Mr Bagur was an internal auditor in a large French company before joining the Commission in 1995 as an officer in charge of the financial management for the European Development Fund. From 1998 to 2005, he was responsible for policy and organisational issues in relation with the design and the implementation of European Commission external assistance. As Head of Unit from 2005, he has been involved in a number of strategic issues such as the definition of the financial framework for external assistance, the promotion of new aid delivery methods, including macroeconomic support, the promotion of aid effectiveness principles or the strengthening of partnerships with bilateral donors, including division of labour with Member States. He is a graduate in Management studies with a specialisation in finance and audit. Luc Bagur is French. This decision will take effect on 1 July 2013.
New Director in Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General
Matthias Petschke, currently Head of the Commission Representation in Germany, has been appointed as Director "EU Satellite Navigation Programmes" in DG Enterprise and Industry. Matthias Petschke, who is a lawyer by training, joined the Commission in 1995, after having worked in the European Policy Department of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and at the German Permanent Representation. He worked in DG TRADE, first as assistant to the Director General and later as Deputy Head of Unit for FTA negotiations, and from 2004 to 2009 in the Internal Market and Services Directorate-General, as Head of Unit in the Directorate for Public Procurement Policy. This decision will take effect on October 16 2013. Matthias Petschke is German.
What Commissioners said
President Barroso welcomed President Obama's renewed push to tackle global climate change: "The plans set out today are positive steps that will create further momentum for international climate action./…/ Climate action can be a tremendous opportunity to modernise our economies, create jobs and growth, and invest in the dynamic industries of the future. Finding global solutions to the climate challenge is a shared responsibility. They can only be reached on the basis of leadership from all the world's major economies. President Obama's announcement will help give the world confidence that it's possible to win this fight, if we fight it together."
Climate Action Commissioner Commissioner Hedegaard stated: ''I am of course glad to see that the United States is finally moving on climate. After a number of important speeches from President Obama and Secretary Kerry, Europe has been eagerly waiting for the US to set out concrete steps. So this plan is a most welcome step forward and, if implemented, it can put the US on a path towards a low carbon future. This is encouraging news as Europe embarks in the design of our climate and energy policies for 2030"