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Daily News of 2013-10-17

European Commission - MEX/13/1017   17/10/2013

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EXME 13 / 17.10

DAILY NEWS

17 / 10 / 13

New EU transport network to promote growth and competitiveness

Transport is vital to the European economy: without good connections Europe will not grow or prosper. Today the Commission presents the nine major corridors which will act as a backbone for transportation in Europe's single market, and revolutionise East–West connections. The new EU infrastructure policy will put in place a European transport network across 28 Member States to promote growth and competitiveness. It will replace today’s transport patchwork with a network that is genuinely European.

“This is a pivotal moment for European transport.” Vice-President Kallas said. “We have shifted the focus from individual projects onto a core network of strategic corridors that will join East and West and all corners of a vast geographical area – from Portugal to Finland, from the coast of Scotland to the shores of the Black Sea. This is the EU’s added value.” Transport should be seen as investment in our future growth, added the Vice-President. “It does not, and should not, stop at borders. That is what European transport policy is all about.”

President Barroso meets Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada

The negotiations between the European Union and Canada on a comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement are well advanced. In this context, President José Manuel Barroso and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada will meet at the European Commission tomorrow with the objective of completing these negotiations. The European Commission believes that reaching an agreement would generate substantial new opportunities for growth and jobs and increase the mutual trade in goods and services. The meeting will be followed by a VIP corner at 13.30. More info: Trade relations between Canada and the EU and Factsheet the EU-Canada trade agreement and Intellectual Property Rights .

We've hit the first big Digital Agenda target ahead of schedule – meaning everyone has a real chance to get digital

Not yet an equal chance, and not everyone will take it. But it's an important step forward. The way we achieved it via better and more satellites and we're launching a website that shows citizens how to find a good satellite broadband option near them (starting from €10 a month). But we've got more to do – fast broadband for all, and that's why it's urgent to push forward our big telecoms reform package. (IP/13/968)

Other news

Infringements decisions: Commission acts for full and proper implementation of European legislation

The Commission has decided today to refer to the EU Court of Justice Belgium, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany and Spain.

The Commission will also send 12 reasoned opinions to 10 countries (AT, CY, CZ, DE, EE, FI, FR, IT, PL, RO). With a total of 108 decisions, the Commission aims at ensuring proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

A summary of the main decisions can be found in the MEMO/13/907 . On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12 .

Antitrust: Commission consults on commitments offered by Samsung Electronics regarding use of standard essential patents

The European Commission invites comments from interested parties on commitments offered by Samsung Electronics (Samsung) in relation to the enforcement of the standard essential patents (SEPs) it owns in the field of mobile communications. The Commission has concerns that Samsung’s seeking of injunctions against Apple in the European Economic Area (EEA) on the basis of its mobile SEPs may have amounted to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules (see IP/12/1448). To remedy these concerns, Samsung has offered to abstain from seeking injunctions for mobile SEPs for a period of five years against any company that agrees to a particular licensing framework. Interested parties can now submit their comments within one month. If the Commission concludes, in light of the comments received, that the commitments address the competition concerns, it may decide to make them legally binding on Samsung. More information on MEMO/13/910.

Le Président Barroso participe à un débat public sur l'avenir de l'Europe à Liège

Au cours d'un débat qui se déroulera aujourd'hui, le Président de la Commission européenne, José Manuel Barroso, Didier Reynders, Ministre Fédéral belge des Affaires étrangères, du Commerce extérieur et des Affaires européennes et Jean-Claude Marcourt, Ministre wallon de l'Economie discuteront des enjeux économiques, politiques et citoyens de l'Europe de demain. Ce débat, au programme de la visite officielle du Président Barroso en Wallonie, s'inscrit dans la série des « Dialogues avec les citoyens » organisés tout au long de cette Année européenne des citoyens 2013. Il se déroulera à quelques mois des élections européennes en mai 2014. Le Président rencontrera aussi des étudiants à l'Université de Liège et inaugurera le chapiteau de la campagne "Jeunesse en mouvement", qui accueillera du 17 au 19 octobre de nombreux acteurs actifs en matière de la jeunesse. Le Président rencontrera aussi les représentants de l'industrie spatiale. Vous pouvez suivre tous les dialogues à cette adresse: http://ec.europa.eu/european-debate/index_fr.htm . L’Année européenne des citoyens ( IP/13/2), http://europa.eu/citizens-2013/fr/home . La déclaration de presse du Président et son discours à l'Université de Liège seront disponibles plus tard.

Transport: EU launches new infrastructure policy

Transport is vital to the European economy: without good connections Europe will not grow or prosper. Today the Commission presents new maps showing the nine major corridors which will act as a backbone for transportation in Europe's single market, and revolutionise East–West connections. This new EU infrastructure policy will put in place a European transport network across 28 Member States to promote growth and competitiveness. It will replace today’s transport patchwork with a network that is genuinely European. Financing for transport infrastructure will triple for the period 2014–2020 to €26 billion. This EU funding will be tightly focused on the core transport network where there is most EU added value. To prioritise East–West connections, almost half the total transport infrastructure funding will be ring-fenced for cohesion countries.

Youth Guarantee: Commission works with Member States to prepare for immediate implementation

The European Commission and Member States are meeting to discuss the practical implementation of the Youth Guarantee at a seminar today and tomorrow. The event forms part of an on-going programme set up by the Commission to help Member States design and develop their national Youth Guarantee schemes, which also includes technical support and financial assistance. Commissioner László Andor said, "I am delighted that all 28 Member States are meeting to discuss how best to deliver concrete results for their young people. Through learning from each other and with Commission support, Member States have the tools to finalise their Youth Guarantee implementation plans and ensure that no young person is left without hope or opportunity. I look forward to receiving the final Member State plans, so that implementation of the Youth Guarantee can begin immediately."

August 2013 compared with July 2013 - Euro area production in construction up by 0.5% - Up by 0.4% in EU28

In August 2013 compared with July 2013, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector rose by 0.5% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July 2013, production in construction rose by 0.7% and 1.3% respectively. In August 2013 compared with August 2012, production in construction decreased by 4.7% in the euro area and by 2.5% in the EU28.

Second estimate for the second quarter of 2013 - EU27 current account surplus 39.4 bn euro - 41.7 bn euro surplus for trade in services

The EU27 external current account recorded a surplus of 39.4 billion euro (1.2% of GDP) in the second quarter of 2013, compared with a surplus of 2.6 bn (0.1% of GDP) in the second quarter of 2012, according to a second estimate released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2013, compared with the second quarter of 2012, the deficit of the goods account moved into surplus (+18.1 bn euro compared with -11.2 bn) and the surplus of the services account grew (+41.7 bn compared with +39.7 bn). The deficit of the income account decreased (-4.0 bn compared with -11.5 bn), while the deficit of the current transfers account increased (-16.5 bn compared with -14.5 bn).

New eco-friendly labs in Italy provide scientific support to EU policy

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn are today inaugurating new laboratory and office space at the Ispra site of the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The new more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient infrastructure will replace many unsustainable scattered buildings, leading to a 6% energy saving of the JRC site in Ispra (Italy). Bringing together around 450 scientists in one place, the new infrastructure will facilitate multi-disciplinary work and exchange of ideas. The move marks an important milestone in the renewal of the Commission's third biggest site after Brussels and Luxembourg. The investment in the site strengthens the JRC's capability to deliver top-level scientific advice for policy-making and enhances the JRC's support for Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation programme that will be launched at the end of this year.

Developing the Outermost Regions' full potential: Commissioner Hahn kicks off annual conference

Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn will join the Presidents of Europe’s Outermost Regions today at their annual conference on the French Island of Reunion. Commissioner Hahn will welcome the Outermost Regions' commitment in providing Action Plans - first proposed by the Commission - on how they intend to make the best use of EU funds for 2014-2020. Commissioner Hahn will also be travelling to Mayotte which will gain Outermost Region status in January 2014. The conference on October 18 is hosted by Didier Robert, President of the Regional Council of La Reunion, and current chair of the group of eight Outermost Regions (see IP). The governments of Spain, Portugal and France will be represented at the conference, as well as the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU. Speaking ahead of the conference, Commissioner Hahn said: "The Action Plans have encouraged a shift in perception. We are no longer defining the Outermost Regions by their handicaps but by their many assets. Now, we need to make sure these plans feed into the programmes and keep our foot on the gas."

Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean engage in the fight against climate change

The EU hosted an informal round table meeting on climate change with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on 16-17 October in Brussels. Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs underlined at the event that climate change, as a priority in our current cooperation, will be further strengthened in the future, with more assistance to our partners in the region.  The proposed regional budget amounts to 340M€ for Caribbean and 1,1 Bn€ for Latin America, subject to completion of European budget negotiations (full speech here).

Ministers, senior officials and experts on climate policies and EU-LAC cooperation shared experiences in climate change policies, and discussed possible joint initiatives.

EU and UNIDO met to discuss future development cooperation

EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, today met Mr Li Yong, Director-General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) at the annual EU - UNIDO High Level Review meeting in Brussels to discuss how the two organizations can support inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and countries in transition. The meeting assessed on-going cooperation and identified new opportunities to jointly help reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development, after 2015, once the current Millennium Development Goals reach their target date. Innovative approaches to boost productive employment, sustainable energy, green industries and agro-industrial value chains were discussed. Between 2006 and 2012, EU and UNIDO have worked together in more than 80 countries.

Sur invitation des autorités maliennes, l'Union européenne déploiera une mission d'observation électorale à l'occasion des élections législatives programmées pour novembre et décembre 2013 au Mali

La Haute Représentante de l'Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité et vice-présidente de la Commission, Catherine Ashton a déclaré: "L'Union européenne déploie pour la seconde fois cette année une mission d'observation électorale au Mali à la demande des autorités de ce pays. Le déploiement de cette mission est l'expression de notre soutien à l'achèvement de la transition politique, au plein retour à l'ordre constitutionnel et à une stabilité durable au Mali." Une équipe cadre de 9 experts et analystes est déployée au Mali à compter d'aujourd'hui. 20 observateurs de long terme les rejoindront le 25 octobre, suivis par près de 40 observateurs de court-terme une semaine avant le scrutin.

What Commissioners said

Commissioner Barnier's speech at the British Banking Association's Conference in London today

Commissioner Barnier delivered a speech this morning at the British Banking Association's Annual International Banking Conference in London which focussed on 'UK Banks and the EU single market: what now?' Mr Barnier said that "The financial reforms undertaken in Europe in recent years have been far-reaching but they were necessary. Not only to shake off the failings of the past, but to put us back on the path to growth."

Better satellite broadband means Every European can now get digital

Vice President Neelie Kroes speech at the European Parliament with the European Satellite Operators Association said: "Every European digital. That's my motto, my vision, my bumper sticker. Every household, every business, every public service, and every classroom on our connected continent." She will explain that we had 99.4% coverage by the end of 2012, but the final 3 million EU citizens without broadband, who live mostly in isolated areas, now too can benefit from broadband thanks to satellite connections. There are 148 satellites providing services to Europeans. Basic packages start from €10 per month, with 20 Mega bits per second packages from €25 per month. She also warned that achieving basic broadband is yesterday’s challenge. Europe needs lightning-speed connectivity. We have to focus immediately on investing in new, fast networks. The EU's next focus is on meeting our target of Next Generation Networks, which are 30 Mega bits per second or more, for all by 2020.

A failing telecoms sector hurts all businesses. We need to end dead business models like roaming.

Neelie Kroes is this morning telling Business Europe that they need to listen to all their members, and not just their telecoms members when considering their position on the European Commission's telecoms reforms.

In very tough language Kroes is seeking to show that clinging to dead business models like roaming will hurt all businesses, and ultimately telecoms operators themselves. "If we want to lead we have to act now. Not in 2020, not next year, but now. Europe has to ride that wave, not drown in it...Ultimately, all digital innovation relies on one thing: telecoms networks. The fact is, roaming rip-offs don't lead to investment. They never have, and they won't. Tomorrow's telecoms business models are built on data. They won't be built on roaming, any more than they're built on faxes and telegrams.”


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