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Midday Express of 2013-07-03

European Commission - MEX/13/0703   03/07/2013

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EXME 13 / 03.07

DAILY NEWS

03 / 07 / 13

Round table on Youth Employment in Europe in Berlin

President Barroso and Commissioner Andor participate in the Round table for Promotion of Youth Employment in Berlin today. 20 Heads of State or Government have confirmed their attendance. Besides President Barroso, President Van Rompuy, President Schulz, EIB President Hoyer and representatives of EU Social Partners will also attend.

The morning session is between Employment Ministers and Heads of the Public Employment Services. In the afternoon, a number of Heads of State or Government will present positive examples about their Member States' labour market policies or, as applicable, problems faced by their labour market policies.

President Barroso will explain the task of the Commission as the European interconnector through which ideas and experience can flow to help provide tailor-made solutions for national youth employment plans. He will outline concrete actions and emphasise the added value of EU level action complementing national efforts, while stressing that the onus is on Member States to reform labour markets as well as education and training systems conducive to support young people. He will call on Member States benefiting from the Youth Employment Initiative to adopt a plan to tackle youth unemployment, including through the implementation of the Youth Guarantee before the end of 2013 and express the readiness of the Commission to support them through experts and action teams.

The event will conclude with a press conference from 17:15-18:00 in which President Barroso will participate alongside with Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, President Grybauskaite, President Van Rompuy, President Schulz and Federal Labour Minister von der Leyen. It will be broadcasted at EbS. The statement will be available on RAPID (SPEECH/13/601)

Commission clarifies rules on public investment for growth

President Barroso has announced that the Commission will consider allowing temporary deviations from the structural deficit path on a case by case basis. Following commitments in the Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union and during the negotiations in the Two Pack, as well as calls by the European Council, the Commission has examined the options and concluded that this can be done in the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. The deviation in the structural deficit must be linked to spending on projects co-funded by the EU – either under the Structural and Cohesion policy, Trans-European Networks or the Connecting Europe Facility – and the investments concerned must have a positive budgetary effect in the long term.

"Today I would like to announce that when assessing the national budgets for 2014 and the budgetary outcomes for 2013, we will again, in full respect of the Stability and Growth Pact, consider allowing temporary deviations from the structural deficit path towards the medium-term objectives set in the country specific recommendations on a case by case basis," President Barroso said. "Today, Vice-President Olli Rehn is writing to his colleagues, the finance ministers, and to the European Parliament to explain our approach in detail, as agreed in the Two-Pack agreement."

Other news

Commission invests EUR 281.4 million in new environment and climate projects

The European Commission has approved funding for 248 new projects under the LIFE+ programme, the European Union's environment fund. The projects cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, climate change, environmental policy and information and communication on environmental issues across all Member States. Overall, they represent a total investment of some EUR 556.4 million, of which the EU will provide EUR 281.4 million.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “The LIFE+ programme continues to support the goal of turning the EU into a resource efficient, greener and more competitive low-carbon economy.” Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard added: "I am happy to see confirmed this year that an ever rising share of LIFE projects is going to contribute to climate action. And we want to improve this even more: The new LIFE programme from 2014 to 2020 will foresee a tripling of the amount which is currently spent on climate action."

LIFE+ is the European Union’s financial instrument for the environment and has a total budget of EUR 2 143 billion for the period 2007-2013. The Commission launches one call for LIFE+ project proposals per year.

State aid: Commission consults on new state aid rules for airports and airlines

The European Commission is inviting comments on its review of EU state aid rules on the public financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines. During the last ten years, the market environment of the aviation industry has changed considerably. The Commission proposal takes account of this evolution and provides guidance on how Member States can support airports and airlines in line with EU state aid rules. In light of the submissions received, the Commission will adopt revised guidelines in the beginning of 2014.

EU and Japan join forces to tackle data explosion and build 100Gbps internet – 5000 times faster than today’s average EU speed

The European Commission and Japan today announce six research projects aiming at redefining internet architectures to increase the efficiency of networks in carrying data. One project aims to build networks 5000 times faster than today’s average European broadband speed (100Gbps compared to 19.7Mbps) There is a pressing need for new and more efficient networks in light of a massive online data explosion that is expected to continue over the next decade. The projects, will receive €18m in funding, and touch on challenges such as cyber security, network capacity, storage, high density data traffic and energy efficiency.

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, said: "Our Future Internet should know no barriers, least of all barriers created because we did not prepare for the data revolution.”

7 State Aid decisions:

1. Commission temporarily approves rescue aid for Cimos Group

The European Commission has concluded that a state guarantee of €35 million to be granted by the Slovenian government to Cimos Group is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found, in particular, that the aid is limited in time and scope. The Commission has approved the measure temporarily, until it can take a position on the restructuring plan to be submitted by Slovenia by 21 November 2013.

2. Commission opens in-depth investigation into public funding in favour of Gdynia-Kosakowo airport

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether Polish plans to fund the conversion of the former military airport Gdynia-Kosakowo (Poland) into a civil aviation airport are in line with EU state aid rules. Gdynia-Kosakowo is only 25 kilometres from the existing uncongested airport of Gdansk. At this stage, the Commission has serious concerns that the public funding would give the beneficiary an undue economic advantage over its competitors, in particular the Gdansk airport. The opening of an investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit their views; it does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

3. Commission opens in-depth inquiry into State measures in favour of Slovak company Novácké chemické závody (NCHZ)

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether the non-payment of social security contributions and other liabilities due to the Slovak state during the bankruptcy proceedings of NCHZ was in line with EU State aid rules. The opening of an investigation gives interested third parties the opportunity to submit comments; it does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

4. Commission approves €114 million aid for extension of Greek Piraeus port

The European Commission has found a €113.9 million Greek support for an infrastructure project of €120 million at the Port of Piraeus to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the project will further the objectives of EU transport policy and cohesion without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.

5. Commission opens in-depth investigation into Slovenian measures in favour of Renault subsidiary Revoz

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether Slovenian plans to grant public financing to car maker Revoz, d.d., a subsidiary of Renault S.A of France for an investment project in the Novo Mesto region are in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission will verify whether the positive effects of the project for regional development outweigh the distortions of competition triggered by the public support. The opening of a formal investigation gives interested third parties the possibility to comment on the proposed measure. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

6. Commission approves aid for infrastructure investment at Finnish Vaasa Airport

The European Commission has found Finnish plans to grant an investment aid of €320 000 to modernise and enhance the infrastructure of Vaasa airport, on the West coast of Finland, to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the project will improve regional connectivity without unduly distorting competition in the internal market. Vaasa is a small regional airport, with less than 500 000 passengers per year. The project aims at meeting increasing demand from airlines and passengers.

7. Commission approves Swedish support scheme in favour of young workers

The European Commission has authorised a Swedish scheme to subsidise combined work-and-training contracts for young workers aged 15 to 24 (Vocational Introduction Employment) under EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute to the fight against youth unemployment, in line with EU objectives, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.

Telecoms: Commission blocks Austrian proposals to regulate wholesale leased lines

The European Commission has asked the Austrian Regulator (TKK) to withdraw its proposal to regulate the wholesale market for terminating segments of leased lines which are commonly used by businesses to connect geographically distant offices. TKK has proposed to reintroduce regulation of these dedicated capacity lines in densely populated areas (e.g. Vienna, Linz, Graz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Wels, Feldkirch, Steyr, Klagenfurt, Dornbirn, Bregenz and Hallein) and to regulate access to very high bandwidths in all parts of Austria. The Commission first expressed serious doubts about TKK's proposal in May 2013 (see IP/13/405).

Sustainable trade: Commissioner De Gucht set to launch a multi-stakeholder initiative for Bangladesh

On 8 July, EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will host a meeting in Geneva launching a multi-stakeholder initiative with the aim to improve labour and safety conditions for workers in Bangladesh. The initiative (called also ‘Sustainability Compact’) gathers representatives from the EU and the governments of Bangladesh and the United States, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as employees, employers, industry and other key stakeholders. Following the recent collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh there is an urgency to intensify on-going efforts to improve working conditions and promote corporate social responsibility in the ready-made garment industry. The initiative will contribute to this aim.

Good Progress at Second Round of EU-Japan Trade Talks

The EU and Japan today completed the second round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which had started on 24 June in Tokyo. In fourteen different working groups, the EU and Japan negotiating teams discussed topics ranging from trade in goods, services, investment, competition, government procurement, and trade and sustainable development. An agreement between the two economic giants is expected to boost Europe’s economy by 0.6 to 0.8% of its GDP and will result in growth and the creation of 400,000 jobs. It is expected that EU exports to Japan could increase by 32.7%, while Japanese exports to the EU would increase by 23.5%. The next round of negotiations will be in Brussels on 21-25 October 2013 with a further round envisaged early next year. For more information on the EU-Japan trade talks IP/13/645 . Overview of the EU’s FTA negotiations: MEMO/13/576 .

May 2013 compared with April 2013 - Volume of retail trade up by 1.0% in euro area - Up by 1.2% in EU27

In May 2013 compared with April 2013, the volume of retail trade rose by 1.0% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.2% in the EU27, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In April retail trade decreased by 0.2% and 0.5% respectively.

In May 2013, compared with May 2012, the retail sales index dropped by 0.1% in the euro area, while it rose by 0.5% in the EU27.

What Commissioners said

President Barroso welcomes first Lithuanian EU Presidency

President Barroso yesterday congratulated Lithuania at the start of its first Presidency of the Council of the EU, which he said comes at time when the EU must be "focused on delivery". He highlighted in particular Lithuania's geographical location and history, which give it a privileged position to strengthen the Eastern Partnership bonds. He also welcomed the Presidency's focus on the internal energy market, justice and home affairs and the MFF, which he said would be an important task for the Presidency. "The Lithuanian Presidency will be crucial in completing the preparatory work to allow all MFF programmes to start on 1st January 2014," he said. "I know it will be in this spirit of results, concrete results for the citizens, that we will work with you and I wish all success to the Lithuanian presidency, all success to our common European project."


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