Daily News of 2013-10-02
European Commission - MEX/13/1002 02/10/2013
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EXME 13 / 02.10
02 / 10 / 13
The European Commission has proposed to create a new scoreboard to allow for better and earlier identification of major employment and social problems in the framework of the European Semester, the EU's yearly economic policy-making cycle. Further involving trades unions and employers at both the EU and national level in the definition and implementation of policy recommendations during the European Semester, making better use of EU and national budgets to alleviate social distress and removing barriers to job mobility are also proposals that feature in a Communication on the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), adopted by the European Commission today. Currently, there are persistent employment and social divergences between countries, particularly within the euro area, according to the European Commission's latest Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review published today. The Review also underlines that labour market and social conditions remain critical, and inclusive growth will require further strategic investments and structural reforms. Press material available soon: IP/13/893 , IP/13/879 and MEMO/13/837 .
"REFIT - Fit for growth" – Commission takes ambitious next steps to make EU law lighter, simpler and cheaper
Today, the Commission takes another important step in ensuring that EU legislation is fit for purpose. In a Communication the Commission sets out in a concrete way, policy area by policy area, where it will take further action to simplify or withdraw EU laws, ease the burden on businesses and facilitate implementation. It is the result of a screening of the entire stock of EU legislation. The Commission also announced today the intention to publish a scoreboard to track progress at European and national in this regard. This exercise is at the heart of the Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT).
Whereas regulation at EU level is essential in many areas, it is often accused of stifling businesses, especially the smallest ones, or of interfering too much in citizens' daily lives. 74% of Europeans believe that the EU generates too much red tape (EB79). In response to that concern, the Commission has made a concerted effort over the past few years to streamline legislation and reduce regulatory burdens. In his 2013 State of the Union address on 11 September, President Barroso stressed the importance of smart regulation and declared that the European Union needs to be "big on big things and smaller on small things". Press release and fact sheet with examples will be available after adoption. Infographics and further information: http://ec.europa.eu/refit . Twitter: #EUfit4growth, #EU4citizens, #EU4business.
The European Commission has today adopted a communication on regulated professions. It foresees first a transparency exercise: each Member State will have to report the list of professions it regulates. The Commission will then publish this list in the form of a European map of regulated professions that will clearly display which professions are regulated and for which countries. Member States are then invited in a second stage to conduct over the next two years a mutual evaluation of the respective barriers they have in place limiting access to certain professions. Improving access to regulated professions can facilitate the mobility of qualified professionals in the Single Market and the cross-border provision of professional services. Also, in order to provide a more complete picture of the barriers affecting the access to and exercise of regulated professions, a report on the findings of the peer review on legal form and shareholding requirements conducted under the Services Directive is also published today (see MEMO/13/839).
The European Commission has concluded that an expropriation compensation granted by the Netherlands to the alcohol producer Nedalco for relocating its site in Bergen op Zoom, in the Dutch region of Noord-Brabant, was in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found that the compensation did not give any selective advantage to the company and thus did not involve state aid in the meaning of the EU rules.
The European Commission has concluded that a planned monetary compensation in favour of Simet SpA, which provides bus services to and from Calabria, is incompatible with EU state aid rules. By a judgment of March 2010, the Consiglio di Stato (Italian Supreme Court for administrative matters) recognised Simet’s right to obtain compensation retroactively for its inter-regional scheduled bus services between 1987 and 2003. The Italian authorities then notified the measure to the Commission, who opened an in-depth investigation in May 2012 (see IP/12/518). The Commission found no justification for any such monetary compensation.
The European Commission has decided that the aid granted by France to the motor vehicle manufacturer Renault to help it conduct the ‘HYDIVU’ research and development programme complies with the EU rules on state aid. The aim of this project is to develop a diesel hybrid technology for vans. At the end of the project, Renault will equip the Trafic and Master ranges with a new hybrid engine. The diesel consumption and CO2 emissions for these two models will be reduced considerably. The state aid addresses a genuine market failure without giving rise to an undue distortion of competition.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of IT service provider CSS by rival Arrow
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of CSS Computer Security Solutions Holding GmbH and its subsidiaries, including Computerlinks AG, all of Germany, by Arrow Electronics Inc. of the US. Arrow is a global wholesale distributor of electronic components, enterprise computing solutions and ancillary support services to industrial and commercial users. Computerlinks is a global value-added distributor of enterprise computer products, focusing on the distribution of software and network equipment and related services. CSS is the holding company of Computerlinks. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns as it would not alter the market situation in the European Economic Area (EEA). The transaction 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.6994 .
Commissioner Piebalgs to discuss the role of local authorities on the 100-year anniversary of the municipal movements
EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will take part on 2 October in two events on the relation between Local Authorities and Development in Rabat, Marocco (the 'World Congress of the United Cities and Local Governments' and the 'World Summit for Local and Regional Leaders'). The events celebrate 100-year anniversary of the municipal movements. The role of local authorities in partner countries is key to achieving better governance and the sustainable development outcomes set out in the international agenda, including the fight against poverty.
The Commissioner is expected to reaffirm EU commitment to staying engaged with local authorities and their associations in partner countries (according to the Commission policy document on Empowering Local Authorities, available here). Commissioner Piebalgs will also discuss the founding blocks of our future cooperation in support to Local Authorities.
The events will be a space for debating current and future challenges that Local Authorities of the world are facing, with the involvement of international organisations, development agencies, practitioners, civil society organisations and corporate sector. Other topics that will be discussed are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the development agenda once the MDGs reach their target date by 2015.
Catherine Ashton will visit Egypt from Wednesday 2 October until Thursday 3 October. During her visit, the High Representative will meet Interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawy, Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa El Deen, Minister of Defence General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, as well as Amre Moussa, President of the Constitutional Committee, Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Pope Tawadros II, leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and leading representatives of the National Salvation Front, the Freedom and Justice Party, El Nour and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy and Reject the Coup.
On 3-4 October the UN High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development will convene in New York. For the second time in history, it will bring together policy makers and practitioners from around the world to reflect on a bolder approach to migration and development. Representing the EU at this meeting, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said: "Unleashing the full potential of migration for economic development is one of the great challenges for the 21st century. We have to promote concrete measures which make a meaningful contribution to the lives of migrants and protect their rights."
Commissioner Dacian Cioloş visits Senegal and Ghana
Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development will visit Senegal and Ghana to meet key partners of the European Union (EU) in the agricultural sector from the 2nd to the 6th of October. "Agriculture will be at the heart of the cooperation between the EU and Africa during the period 2014-2020. I am pleased to discuss with decision-makers, agricultural stakeholders and academics the most effective ways to promote a strong agriculture, increasing food security and local development while preserving natural resources", stated Commissioner Cioloş. In Senegal, the Commissioner will meet the President of the Republic of Senegal, Mr Macky Sall, and the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Papa Abdoulaye Seck. He will also meet farmers' representatives, participate at a seminar on the main challenges and opportunities for agriculture in Senegal and visit farms in the Niayes region. In Ghana, the Commissioner will meet the vice-president of Ghana, Mr Kwesi Amissah Arthur, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado and representative of farmers' organizations. He will also participate at a round-table discussion on the challenges, opportunities and strategies proposed to unlock the economic potential of agriculture development in Ghana and visit farms in the South-East of Ghana.
New Director for the Office for Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements.
The Commission has decided to appoint Marc Lemaître, a Luxemburgish national born in 1973, to the post of Director of the Office for Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements. Marc Lemaître has a degree in economics from Université Libre de Bruxelles and an MA in European Economic Studies from the College of Europe (Bruges). Mr Lemaître joined the Commission in September 2007 as Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Hübner then responsible for Regional Policy and he has been Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Lewandowski responsible for Financial Programming and Budget since February 2010. Prior to joining the Commission, Marc Lemaître worked from 1996 onwards for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, mostly on EU Affairs.
This appointment will take effect on 16 November 2013.
What Commissioners said
Europe reached a transport milestone in 2013 and is ready to embark on a new era in infrastructure. With the successful conclusion of negotiations on the EU’s next seven-year budget and the revised policy for the Trans-European Transport Network, Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said Europe was finally in a position to connect East, West and all corners of Europe. “In practical terms, the next stage is to get things moving on the ground,” Kallas said in a speech to the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium. “But this is not about simply spending the cash. The emphasis for the future of European transport should be to make sure that this ambitious programme for infrastructure development is guided by a real Connecting Europe Philosophy.” EU transport policy was a development strategy binding together remoter regions, cities and towns, and facilitating access to a huge market, Kallas said. Its real and ultimate goal was to bring Europe’s peoples and economies closer together in a genuine single European transport area, he said.