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Daily News of 2013-11-15

European Commission - MEX/13/1115   15/11/2013

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EXME 13 / 15.11


15 / 11 / 13

Europe's budgetary surveillance moves into full gear

Today, the Commission presented a major package of budgetary surveillance announcements, covering 13 euro area Member States and 3 non-euro Member States, with a special focus also on the euro area as an economic entity in its own right. For the first time, the Commission has issued opinions on euro area Member States' Draft Budgetary Plans, which from this year must be submitted to the Commission by 15 October, at the same time as draft budgets are sent to national parliaments. Assessments have also been published regarding compliance with Council recommendations under the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP), potential breaches of the debt and deficit criteria under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), and on certain Member States' plans for structural reforms with a budgetary impact outlined in their Economic Partnership Programmes (EPP).

On publication of the budgetary package, Vice-President Olli Rehn said: “We have reached a turning point on the road to economic recovery and today we reach a milestone in the implementation of Europe's strengthened economic governance. Today's Commission opinions on national budgetary plans support the euro area Member States in their pursuit of stronger growth and fiscal sustainability. Because in an economic and monetary union, national budgetary decisions can have an impact well beyond national borders. Member States have given the Commission the responsibility to issue these opinions and I trust that they will thus be taken on board by national decision-makers”. See also MEMO/13/995 .

European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2013: EU steps up its fight against drug-resistant bacteria

A survey published by the European Commission today reveals a decrease in antibiotic use in humans since 2009 and growing public awareness that antibiotics do not kill viruses. However, this positive news is overshadowed by data released in parallel by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showing a marked increase in Europe of multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria resistant to the carbapenems – last-line antibiotics used to treat healthcare associated infections. European Commissioner for Health, Mr Tonio Borg said: "I am deeply concerned about the fact that antibiotics, which have allowed us to treat previously deadly bacterial infections and save many lives, are now becoming less and less effective. I cannot stress enough how seriously the Commission takes the challenge posed by antimicrobial resistance. "European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, added: "Research and innovation are essential if we are to turn the tide against antimicrobial resistance. These new projects will add to the excellent work on-going to develop new drugs and treatments." See also IP/13/1081 , MEMO/13/994 and MEMO/13/996

Other news

President Barroso travels to Asia for Summits and bilaterals

On 17 November, President Barroso pays a bilateral visit to Mongolia. The EU and Mongolia signed a Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) in April this year and this will be the first EU visit at President’s level to Mongolia. President Barroso will hold talks with President Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Altankhuyag followed by a joint press conference (at 12:00 local time) with the President of Mongolia.

On 19 November, President Barroso will represent the EU at the 21st Japan - EU Summit in Tokyo. Japan will be represented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The summit will mark a major upgrade of EU-Japan relations following the official launch on 25 March 2013 of negotiations for a truly strategic partnership agreement. A joint press statement is expected to be issued at the end of the summit.

On 21 November, the President will attend the 16th China – EU Summit in Beijing, which will mark the 10th anniversary of EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The Summit provides an opportunity to launch new initiatives to take the relationship forward in the next decade. President Barroso will also meet the new Chinese President, Xi Jinping. After Beijing, the President will visit Hong Kong and Macao.

Press information: visit to Mongolia press release , EU-Japan Summit press release and EU-Japan Summit factsheet .

President Barroso meets the Prime Ministers of Romania and Moldova

Commission assesses the implementation of Visa Liberalisation Action Plans by Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia

Ahead of the Vilnius Summit on 28-29 November, the Commission is issuing three progress reports on the implementation by Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia of their respective Visa Liberalisation Action Plans (VLAP). The key conclusions are as follows: the Republic of Moldova has met all the benchmarks set in the four blocks of the second phase of the VLAP; Ukraine has made substantial progress in all four blocks of the VLAP and in particular since the end of 2012, speeding up its implementation and adopting a number of substantial legislative packages in order to tackle the identified gaps; Georgia has made very good progress during the first few months. Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said: "I wish to congratulate the Moldovan authorities for their steadfast commitment and considerable efforts during the last three years. The progress achieved will pave the way for a Commission proposal aiming at allowing visa-free travel to the EU (Schengen area) for Moldovan citizens holding a biometric passport… I also wish to congratulate Ukraine and Georgia for their progress. Ukraine is very close to moving to the second, practical stage of the implementation of the Action Plan, and Georgia has made a very good progress during these first few months of the implementation of its Action Plan."

Commission reports on the border situation in La Línea (Spain) and Gibraltar (UK)

Today the European Commission sent letters to the authorities of Spain and the United Kingdom addressing the issues raised by the border and customs controls between Spain and Gibraltar and providing recommendations in order to optimise the current situation. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation at the crossing point of La Línea de la Concepción and has asked to receive information from both authorities within six months on how the recommendations have been taken into consideration.

Commission welcomes Nestlé pledge on jobs and apprenticeships

The public and private sectors need to work much closer together in the fight against youth unemployment and invest more in equipping young people with the skills and training they need. This was the message from Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at the launch of 'Nestlé needs YOUth', a new initiative inspired by the Commission's European Alliance for Apprenticeships. The Swiss multinational has pledged to create 20 000 jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships across Europe in the next three years. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras also took part in today's launch event in Athens.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Galerie Commerciale de Kirchberg by CNP Assurances and Immochan

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over Galerie Commerciale de Kirchberg by CNP Assurances and Immochan. CNP Assurance is a French insurance company also active in the commercial real estate sector. Immochan, which is a subsidiary of the Auchan Group, is active in the commercial real estate sector. The Auchan Group is active in food distribution, in particular through supermarkets and hypermarkets. Galerie Commerciale de Kirchberg owns and manages a shopping gallery in Luxembourg. The Commission assessed the effects of the proposed transaction on the markets for real estate and insurance services. It concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns given the limited combined market position of the parties. 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.7022 .

Booming Thailand consumer market offers a wealth of opportunities for EU businesses

Thailand is one of the most advanced economies in the ASEAN region, and helping European companies expand into its market could bring great benefits to enterprises on both sides. Therefore, stepping up business cooperation with this country will be the main purpose of tomorrow's visit to Bangkok by Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. He will be accompanied by 40 companies and business associations from 15 member states, nearly half of them SMEs. The combined turnover of these companies is € 96 billion and they employ nearly 500.000 people. Furthermore, the participating associations represent more than 20 million EU companies with a combined turnover of more than 41 billion. This visit is part of the "Missions for Growth" to help European enterprises, especially small and medium sized businesses, better profit from fast growing international markets. During the visit, the Vice President will also sign two letters of intent with Thailand's high-level officials to strengthen cooperation and dialogue on SME policy and sustainable tourism.

Towards an efficient VAT system: 7th Brussels tax forum

On Monday 18 November the 7th Brussels Tax Forum will gather 250 participants from 37 countries to discuss the EU VAT system, and how to improve its efficiency. Among the topics to be discussed are the fight against VAT fraud, improving VAT compliance and the role of VAT in fiscal consolidation. Commissioner Šemeta will host the Forum and deliver the opening address. Among the other high-level speakers are Belgian State Secretary John Crombez, Portuguese State Secretary Paulo Nuncio and MEP Sharon Bowles. This annual event is an important opportunity for policy-makers, stakeholders and experts to come together, exchange views and discuss solutions on key issues in the field of EU taxation.

Environment: European Week for Waste Reduction begins

European citizens generate over 500 kg of municipal waste per person every year. Tomorrow the European Week for Waste Reduction starts and will run until 24 November. The aim is to encourage citizens to reduce their waste and to encourage debate on issues of resource efficiency and circular economy, as well as proposing new ways to spread the word about reducing waste, reusing products and recycling materials. Activities will peak during the Waste Prevention Thematic Days, focused on Reuse, with local activities such as second-hand markets, repair workshops and swap parties. The project, coordinated by the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Waste Management (ACR+) and supported by the EU's LIFE+ programme , covers 17 countries, including 3 non-EU Member States. Linked to the EWWR, a European Clean-Up Day will be launched to take place around 10 May 2014. “Let’s Clean Up Europe” will challenge volunteers to clean up waste in their neighbourhoods and on beaches. The aim is not only to clear up litter, but to generate a debate about waste and how we manage it.

Commissioner Damanaki attends ICCAT meeting in Cape Town, South Africa

Ahead of the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to be held in Cape Town on 18-25th November 2013, the European Commission has reemphasised the importance of ICCAT continuing to manage fish stocks in a way that allows for sustainable yield for fishermen and ensures a stable flow of products to the markets. European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "The fishing sector has made significant and painful sacrifices over the past years to allow bluefin tuna to recover. The excellent news is that these efforts have started to bear fruit and ICCAT has played a leading role in these green shoots of recovery. However, much work remains to be done and we must all maintain our efforts to keep up the momentum". See more:

Produits agricoles de qualité: La Commission approuve deux nouvelles demandes d'enregistrement de dénominations protégées

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'enregistrement dans le registre des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et des indications géographiques protégées (IGP) de deux nouvelles dénominations. Il s'agit, pour la France, des « Rillettes de Tours » (IGP), charcuterie de la région de Tours caractérisée par sa texture sèche liée au mode de fabrication traditionnellement suivi dans cette région ; et pour l'Espagne de " Cebolla Fuentes de Ebro " (AOP), un oignon au goût légèrement sucré cultivé dans la vallée centrale de l'Ebro dans la province de Saragosse. Ces noms rejoindront alors la base de données de plus de 1200 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Pour plus d'information, consulter les pages internet sur les produits de qualité et la base de données DOOR reprenant les dénominations protégées.

October 2013 - Euro area annual inflation down to 0.7% - EU down to 0.9%

Euro area annual inflation was 0.7% in October 2013, down from 1.1% in September. A year earlier the rate was 2.5%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in October 2013. European Union annual inflation was 0.9% in October 2013, down from 1.3% in September. A year earlier the rate was 2.6%. Monthly inflation was -0.1% in October 2013.


(for more information: AGENDA/13/40)

László Andor:  investing in children today for our collective well-being tomorrow

"Because prevention is better than cure, we need to invest more in children now — for their well-being today and our collective economic and social future tomorrow", said László Andor at the Eurochild conference taking place in Milan today. Recalling the policy guidance issued in the Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage of February 2013 (see IP/13/125 , MEMO/13/117), Andor continued: "Shifting resources to preventive health measures and early childhood education and care can improve children's socio-economic situation and encourage women to get into the labour market". "Investment and also social investment requires money. The major part needs to come from the Member States themselves. They should realise that if they invest now, they avoid much higher costs for individuals and society at a later stage. The EU is helping through the different EU funds", Andor concluded.

(for more information: Speech/13/931 - J. Todd - Tel. +32 229 94107 - Mobile +32 498 99 4107)


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