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EXME 13 / 11.11


11 / 11 / 13

Coordinated relief efforts following Haiyan disaster – activation of EU Civil Protection Mechanism

"We are all deeply shocked by the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Haiyan. The priority now is to restore access to remote areas hit by the cyclone, deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left homeless and ensure that they have clean water to drink, emergency food supplies and shelter.", said Commissioner Georgieva.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCP) has been activated to ensure coordinated European relief efforts. This comes in parallel with Sunday's announcement by the European Commission to make available €3 million of emergency funds available for immediate humanitarian needs. The aid, which is being channelled through humanitarian organisations, is targeting the most acute needs of the population in the worst affected areas. The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which monitors the situation 24/7 and is responsible for coordinating the joint European response, has on Sunday night already deployed an advanced assessment team of two experts to the Philippines.

Commissioner Piebalgs, who is in the Philippines during a visit scheduled prior to the cyclone, has convened an emergency meeting of EU Ambassadors in Manila. He said: "We are determined to make sure that EU assistance reaches the most vulnerable ones as soon as possible"

President Barroso sent a message of condolences to the President and the people of the Philippines last Saturday.

Other news

Employment: European Vacancy Monitor highlights opportunities in ICT jobs for young workers

Employment continues to grow in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector , with a 2% increase in the number of employees between 2011 and 2012 in 26 EU Member States (Ireland and Croatia are excluded for methodological reasons). The last issue of the European Vacancy Monitor (EVM) highlights the importance of this sector as a source of employment, including for younger workers. At the same time the report warns that the declining number of tertiary students in the ICT field is likely to lead to future staff shortages in the sector.

Six EU rail freight corridors now operational

Six rail freight corridors have become operational on 10 November 2013. These international corridors aim at fostering transport of freight by rail, making this energy-efficient transport mode more competitive. The six corridors are the Rhine–Alp Corridor, the Benelux–France Corridor, the Atlantic Corridor, the Mediterranean Corridor, the Orient Corridor and the Eastern Corridor (for the routes, see page 9 of the competitive freight handbook). Within these corridors, rail infrastructure managers cooperate across borders in order to develop high-quality rail infrastructure and to improve service quality and reliability in international rail freight. Freight trains will benefit from train paths of good quality with attractive journey times and common punctuality targets. Railway undertakings and authorised applicants such as shippers, freight forwarders and combined transport operators can request pre-arranged cross-border train paths at a single contact point, instead of having to submit individual requests to the various national infrastructure managers. This reduces administrative burden for users. The six new corridors will be complemented by three further corridors that are set to become operational in two years' time — by 10 November 2015. Rail freight corridors form the rail backbone of the future trans-European transport network (or TEN-T). More information .

EU SMEs explore business opportunities in Vietnam

As part of the EU’s efforts to deepen economic relations with countries in the dynamic ASEAN region, Vice President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for Enterprise and industry, will lead a “Mission for growth” to Vietnam on 12 and 13 November. He will be accompanied by 47 representatives from EU industry associations and companies, in particular those operating in key areas of EU-Vietnam business: the tourism, agri-business and manufactured goods sectors. This visit is part of a series of missions to help European enterprises better profit from fast growing international markets. Trade and investment between the EU and Vietnam has been steadily growing over recent years, with EU companies considering the country as a potential production base, a lucrative and growing market and one of the key gateways to the wider and increasingly integrated ASEAN market. However, when compared to Asian competitors, the share of European trade and investment is slowly falling as European small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) face difficulties in establishing a permanent foothold in Vietnam. The main objectives of this Mission for Growth to Vietnam are: to promote innovation and sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU and in Vietnam; to help EU companies, and in particular SMEs, to operate in the ASEAN region; and to promote EU industry in targeted sectors.

Opening up to democracy, Myanmar offers new opportunities for EU enterprises

After decades of isolation under authoritarian rule, Myanmar recently started opening its doors to democracy, foreign investment and a liberal economy. To help both European and Myanmar companies take advantage of new opportunities that will come with Myanmar's reintegration into the global economy, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, will travel to Myanmar from Nov 13th to 15th. During his visit he will be accompanied by more than 100 companies and associations from 16 Member States, representing a turnover of 420 billion euros, to help both Myanmar and European companies form new partnerships and expand into new markets. He will also sign three letters of intent to strengthen cooperation on SME policy, sustainable tourism and raw materials.

19 destinations across Europe win awards for accessible and sustainable tourism

The European tourism sector remains strong amidst the economic crisis ( IP/13/878), but European destinations must continue finding ways to stay competitive and expand into new markets. One of the tourism sectors in Europe that still remains largely untapped is accessible tourism for senior citizens and people with special needs. By developing this sector of tourism we not only support equal opportunities and human rights but also improve the overall quality of tourism destinations, and have the opportunity to extend our tourism season by a few weeks. This is a classic win-win situation and is why the European Commission has decided to dedicate this year's European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) awards to accessible tourism destinations. Tonight in Brussels, representatives of 19 destinations from all over Europe will receive EDEN trophies for their efforts to offer accessible features and equipment such as walking paths adapted to wheelchairs or prams, specially adapted bike rentals as well as adapted access to beaches and mountains. These kinds of services and features make holidays more enjoyable for people with different kinds of special access needs: reduced mobility, visual impairments or learning difficulties; but also for families with children or senior citizens. They also mean better overall quality of services and more comfort for all tourists.

Netherlands scores hat-trick of EU research infrastructures

A key infrastructure helping to turn biomedical research into useful therapies will be given a prestigious EU legal status in Amsterdam tomorrow. The European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure in Medicine (EATRIS) is the third research infrastructure to be hosted by the Netherlands under the "European Research Infrastructure Consortium" legal framework. The goal of EATRIS is to accelerate the development process for drugs and diagnostics to fight cancer, cardiovascular and other diseases like Alzheimer's. The award of ERIC status to EATRIS, hosted by VU University Medical Centre, will be made by European Commission Director-General for Research and Innovation Robert-Jan Smits. Mr Smits will also speak at an event to launch Horizon 2020, the European Union's new seven year research programme that starts in 2014. Click here for more details.

Licences for Europe final plenary meeting on 13 November

On 13 November at 14.00 CET, the final plenary meeting of the Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue will take place in Brussels. It is the culmination of ten months of work and exchanges which brought together a wide range of stakeholders from the audiovisual, music, publishing and video game industries; internet service providers; technology companies; web users and consumers, all contributing their expertise to the dialogue. Licenses for Europe was launched by the Commission in February this year following its December 2012 Communication on "Content in the Digital Single Market". The objective was to deliver by the end of 2013 industry-led solutions to address barriers to the circulation of content in the digital age. At the final plenary meeting, Licences for Europe participants will present their practical solutions to help sort out problems European citizens may face in four areas: cross-border access and portability of services; user generated content and micro-licensing; audiovisual heritage and text and data mining. The meeting will be addressed by Commissioners Barnier, Kroes and Vassiliou (see programme) and will be webstreamed .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Belwind by Parkwind and Summit

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Belwind of Belgium by Parkwind, also of Belgium, and Summit Renewable Energy of the UK. Belwind was previously controlled solely by Parkwind. Parkwind is an investment and development vehicle jointly controlled by the Korys/Colruyt Group and PMV, and is active in the field of wind energy generation plants. Summit was set up as a special purpose vehicle for the present concentration and is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of the Sumitomo Group, which is an integrated trading company which provides a comprehensive range of goods and services in Japan and around the world, including metal products, transportation and construction systems, environment and infrastructure, media, networks and lifestyle related goods and services, mineral resources, chemicals and electronics, exploration and upstream production and sale of natural gas and oil. Belwind operates an offshore wind farm in the Belgian Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Sea. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because there are no overlaps between the parties' activities. 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.7046 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of CPG International by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Ares Management

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over CPG International of the US by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) of Canada and Ares Management LLC of the US. CPG is currently solely controlled by Ares. CPG manufactures and sells engineered building products in the US, Canada and the European Economic Area (EEA). Ares is an asset manager active in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. OTPP administrates pension benefits and investments in pension plan assets on behalf of active and retired teachers in the Province of Ontario. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties' activities do not overlap. 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.7069 .

What Commissioners said

Speech by Vice President Kroes at Cyber Summit in Bonn

Kroes tells Cyber Summit to get clever: when you suffer a data burglary you need a better lock, not a better lawyer Today Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, told the Cyber Summit in Bonn that if we want people to feel more secure online, then we need networks and systems that are strong and secure; as well as the best technology, which is why we are increasing R&D in cyber-security through the Horizon 2020 programme. She said: "Recent revelations about the scale of online spying have been astonishing. But let's not be naïve – this may be the second oldest profession in the world. The fact is, if you want to stop a burglar breaking through your front door, you don’t need a good lawyer, you need a good lock. Our proposed Cyber Security Directive has safeguards, which I call the "three c's": better capabilities to avoid and respond to cyber attacks; better culture; more aware, more proactive and more transparent; and more cooperation between EU countries, at strategic and operational levels."

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