Daily News of 2013-10-25
European Commission - MEX/13/1025 25/10/2013
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EXME 13 / 25.10
25 / 10 / 13
Last night President Barroso called on Member States for urgent action in the digital economy and investment in ICT, after the first day of the European Council. "Europe has been a global leader in this sector but it has lost ground to key competitors. We are simply not using the full opportunities offered by the digital economy", said the President. On the economic situation, President Barroso believes there are reasons to be "cautiously optimistic" but "the recovery is still fragile". He said: "We have seen a return to positive growth in the euro area in the second quarter of the year. We must stay the course on fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. We also have to address the very important issue of targeted investment."
This morning President Barroso participated in an event with the UK on better regulation in the margins of the European Council. His statement will be available here .
Health: EU law on Patients' Rights in Cross-Border Healthcare enters into force
"Today is an important day for patients across the European Union", EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said. "As of today, EU law in force enshrines citizens' right to go to another EU country for treatment and get reimbursed for it. For patients, this Directive means empowerment: greater choice of healthcare, more information, easier recognition of prescriptions across-borders. The Directive is also good news for Europe's health systems, improving cooperation between Member States on interoperable eHealth tools, the use of health technology assessment, and the pooling of rare expertise", Commissioner Borg stated. See also MEMO/13/932 and Q&A: MEMO/13/918 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of AE Holding by Triton
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of the Austrian company AE Holding (Alpine Energie) by Triton of Jersey. AE Holding is active in various types of electrical installations. Triton is a group of independent equity funds and companies, some of which provide electrical installations. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because there are only limited overlaps between the parties' activities and the market shares of the merged entity remain low. 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.7034 .
President José Manuel Barroso in Geneva
On Monday President José Manuel Barroso will be in Geneva to meet the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr. Peter Mauer. The two Presidents are expected to discuss the situation in Syria, in Central African Republic, and in the Horn of Africa. The cooperation between ICRC and the European Commission will be addressed as well. This is the second time President Barroso and President Maurer meet. Their first meeting was held in December 2012, in Brussels. A media stakeout of the two Presidents will take place from 10:45 to 11:00 am, at the Humanitarium New Building (entrance by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museu, 19, avenue de la Paix – 1202 Geneva – Switzerland, +41 22 730 34 43 - email@example.com).
President Barroso will also visit the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
At 5 pm, the University of Geneva’s Global Studies Institute will bring together 700 of its alumni of European studies - among them President José Manuel Barroso, who graduated in Geneva in 1985. The President will deliver a speech on the future of Europe titled "Quels visages pour l'Europe dans 50 ans?" and will pay tribute to Denis de Rougemont, founder of European Studies in Geneva.
In 2012, forests and other wooded land occupied around 40% of the total area of the EU, cropland a quarter and grassland a further fifth, while artificial areas, such as buildings, road and rail networks accounted for 5%. These data are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union and are based on a large scale land survey, the Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS), conducted most recently in 2012. LUCAS is the largest harmonised land survey ever implemented in the EU, with data collected in 27 EU Member States by 750 field surveyors at 270 000 points
The European Union should work more closely with Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in areas of common interest such as education and training, new skills for a changing world and strengthened cultural ties to enhance understanding between their peoples. This is the message that Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will deliver at the 2013 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar, on 29 October. During her three-day visit, the Commissioner will meet Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, chairman of WISE and President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, the Qatari Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, to discuss shared challenges and opportunities for closer cooperation. The discussions will focus on the Commission's new strategy for the internationalisation of higher education and the launch of the Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes, due to begin in January.
The European Union and Japan continued their negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement in a third round discussions this week in Brussels. The negotiations focussed on discussing each side’s proposals for the text of the future FTA in all areas of the trade agreement – from market access for goods and services to investment, non-tariff barriers and the further opening of the Japanese public procurement market. An agreement between the two economic powerhouses is expected to boost Europe’s economy by 0.6 to 0.8% of its GDP and may create up to 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 take place in early 2014.
14 countries from Europe's Danube "macro region" will gather for this year's Danube Forum in Bucharest on Monday October 28. Hosted by EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the 2nd Annual Danube Forum will discuss how to strengthen the impact of the EU's Danube Strategy to tackle some of the region's most pressing challenges like energy security and pollution, crime, missing transport links to lack of competitiveness and the brain drain. Foreign and Regional Development Ministers from 9 EU member countries and 5 non EU members will join Commissioner Hahn to take stock of current achievements and challenges, assess progress to date and reflect on the future implementation of the Danube Strategy. It comes after Member States formally endorsed the European Commission's macro regional strategies at the General Affairs Council earlier this week.
A concrete step in the making of a European area of Justice is just two days away. On 27 October the deadline for Member States to implement the first EU law on rights of suspects in criminal procedures will expire. The EU law guarantees citizens who are arrested or accused of a crime the right to obtain interpretation throughout criminal proceedings, including when receiving legal advice, in their own language and in all courts in the EU. "This can be an historic moment for justice in Europe: the first ever law on fair-trial rights for citizens will become a concrete reality – if Member States live up to their legal obligations," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead
What Commissioners said
At their fourth High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) taking place yesterday in Brussels, the European Commission and the Chinese government, represented among others by Vice-Premier Ma Kai, discussed how to deepen their bilateral economic and trade relationship. At a time when the EU and China are both engaged in serious economic reforms, the two sides met to make the case for more balanced trade, increased business opportunities and further economic cooperation. At a press briefing, Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President in charge of economic and monetary affairs, reminded of the serious challenges to our economies, underlying the importance of global economic governance to tackle problems that have effects across borders, affecting the world economy. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht addressed the upcoming negotiations for an EU-China investment agreement and underlined that such an agreement needs to address both the protection of investments, but critically also an improved access for European companies to the Chinese market.
Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs has today participated in the closing session of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Forum of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy in Brussels. The event has mobilised NGOs from both continents to discuss issues such as migration, food security, poverty and peace and security. In his speech, Commissioner Piebalgs highlighted that CSOs have an important role to play in Africa-EU relations and, more generally, form an essential part of any truly democratic system. He has also recalled that, as watchdogs for pluralism, inclusive policy-making, people’s concerns and participatory democracy, they have a crucial role to play in shaping the discussions and decisions for the Africa-EU Summit in Brussels in April 2014. Read his full speech here: SPEECH/13/855 and more info on the event: http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/newsroom/events/jaes-sm-joint-africa-eu-civil-society-forum
(for more information: A. Polack – Tel: +32 229 90677 – Mobile: +32 460 79 0677)
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