Midday Express of 2013-07-01
European Commission - MEX/13/0701 01/07/2013
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EXME 13 / 01.07
01 / 07 / 13
Croatia has become today the 28th Member State of the European Union. Croatia's accession marks another milestone in the construction of a united Europe. It also provides fresh evidence of the transformative power of the European Union: torn by conflict only two decades ago, Croatia is now a stable democracy, capable of taking on the obligations of EU membership and of adhering to EU standards. President Barroso said: "Croatia's accession to the European Union is a historic event, which returns the country to its rightful place at the heart of Europe. I look forward to Croatia's contribution to the EU, which will be a success story – to the benefit of the Union, of the people of Croatia and of South East Europe as whole."
The European Commission has informed some of the world's largest investment banks of its preliminary conclusion that they infringed EU antitrust rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements by colluding to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009. The sending of a statement of objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the investigation (see MEMO/13/632).
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "It would be unacceptable if banks collectively blocked exchanges to protect their revenues from over-the-counter trading of credit derivatives. Over-the-counter trading is not only more expensive for investors than exchange trading, it is also prone to systemic risks."
Today EU Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn presented the first evaluation report on the macro-regional strategies. The European Commission's first study weighs up the success of the EU's two macro-regional strategies and asks if this approach can be a model for the future. The EU's Danube and Baltic Strategies, involving over 20 EU and non EU countries, have pioneered a unique kind of cooperation, based on the idea that common challenges faced by specific regions, whether environmental, economic or security related, are best tackled collectively and that it makes sense to plan together for the most effective deployment of the funds available. Commenting on the report, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, said: “Today's study shows the clear value of our macro regional strategies. The intensified cooperation of the countries involved has resulted in literally hundreds of new projects and new networks in the Danube and the Baltic regions. Above all, participants tell us that cooperation – including with non EU member states - has been significantly strengthened." The Commissioner stressed the necessity of an active involvement of all players: "But, if we want to ensure lasting success the approach must be placed at the heart of government and regional policy plans – particularly in the design of new programmes and projects for the next financial period – and backed up by enough resources. We need even stronger ownership by the regions themselves, delivering clearer decision making and greater visibility." At the request of the European Council the Commission will present a new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region by the end of 2014. The feasibility of a macro-regional strategy for the Alps is currently under discussion.
The euro area (EA17) unemployment rate was 12.1% in May 2013, up from 12.0% in April. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable compared with the previous month. In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with May 2012, when they were 11.3% and 10.4% respectively. Eurostat estimates that 26.405 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 19.222 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2013. Compared with April 2013, the number of persons unemployed increased by 16 000 in the EU27 and by 67 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 2012, unemployment rose by 1.324 million in the EU27 and by 1.344 million in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.6% in June 2013, up from 1.4% in May, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, food, alcohol & tobacco is expected to have the highest annual rate in June (3.2%, stable compared with May), followed by energy (1.6% compared with -0.2% in May), services (1.4% compared with 1.5% in May) and non-energy industrial goods (0.7% compared with 0.8% in May).