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EXME 13 / 19.11
19 / 11 / 13
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
After this morning's plenary debate on the European Union's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020, the European Parliament is set to vote on the EU's future budget around midday. If the EP gave its consent to the MFF today, paving the way to the Council's final approval, the European Commission would welcome the vote. It would mean that two and a half years of intense negotiations are coming to an end.
The Commission's reaction would be available under the following links: : IP/13/1096 , MEMO/13/1004 . Read also the full text of President Barroso's video message of 19 November 2013 .
Press conference [at the European Parliament, Strasbourg] following the vote on the MFF 2014-2020 with Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski and Members of the European Parliament Alain Lamassoure, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Ivailo Kalfin and Minister representing the Council Vytas Leškevičius – is scheduled at 14:00 and streamed live at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20131119-1400-SPECIAL-UNKN .
The EP is also set to vote on the new Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes this afternoon. Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth Androulla Vassiliou will take part in two press conferences [at the European Parliament, Strasbourg] with the rapporteurs: Erasmus+ at 15:00 and Creative Europe 15:30 streamed live at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20131119-1500-SPECIAL-UNKN and http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20131119-1530-SPECIAL-UNKN . Press materials will be issued on both.
The European Commission has today proposed to strengthen the position of consumers and businesses in low-value cross-border disputes. Since 2007, the EU has a procedure to resolve small civil and commercial disputes in a hassle-free way: the European Small Claims Procedure . The key change proposed today would raise the ceiling for filing a claim under the procedure to €10 000, up from €2 000 today. Small businesses will be the big winners of this change – as currently only 20% of business claims fall below the €2 000 threshold. "No consumer or business claim is too small for justice to be served", said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. "Having listened to consumers and businesses, today the Commission is proposing rules that will make a truly European procedure more effective and relevant to daily life. At a time when the European Union is facing big economic challenges, improving the efficiency of justice in the EU is key to restoring growth and boosting trade." For more information: European Small Claims Procedure
Today President Barroso attends the 21st EU-Japan Summit, which comes at an important new stage in EU-Japan relations. Last April the negotiations for two landmark agreements for EU-Japan relations were launched: a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement. These two agreements lay the basis for an intense cooperation for the decades to come. "The free trade agreement alone could boost the EU growth by nearly 1 % and create over 400,000 additional jobs, with comparable benefits for Japan. The strategic partnership agreement will enhance our political cooperation and stimulate further our developing sectoral cooperation, including on research and innovation, energy and people- to-people links," stated President Barroso ahead of the Summit. After the Summit, leaders will issue a joint press statement. President Barroso's statement at the press conference will be available later.
After learning about the devastation and the loss of life caused by Cyclone Cleopatra European Commission President Barroso said: "I was deeply shocked to learn today of the devastation and the loss of life due to the flooding caused by Cyclone Cleopatra. This is a tragic blow to the people of this beautiful island and community. On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to express my condolences to the families of the victims and express our solidarity with the Italian authorities and the people of Sardinia." Read the President's message in Italian .
On Thursday 21 November 2013, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, will meet Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing for the 16th EU-China Summit. They will also meet President Xi Jinping the evening before.
This is the first summit that the European Union will hold with the new Chinese leadership. It marks the 10th anniversary of the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and it will be an important moment to look forward to the next decade of cooperation between the EU and China.
Over the last decade, EU28 international trade in goods with China is characterised by a strong increase in the share of China in the EU28's total trade in goods and a continuous deficit. The share of exports to China in the EU28 total rose from 4.0% in 2002 to 8.6% in 2012, while the share of imports from China also grew, from 9.6% to 18.5% in 2010 and then declined to 16.2% in 2012. As a result, the EU28 trade deficit with China which had increased from 55 billion euro in 2002 to a peak of 171 bn in 2008, fell to 147 bn in 2012.
In September 2013 compared with August 2013, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector fell by 1.3% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In August 2013, production in construction rose by 0.3% and 0.2% respectively. In September 2013 compared with September 2012, production in construction declined by 0.2% in the euro area and increased by 0.2% in the EU28.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Scandferries by 3i
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Scandferries Holding GmBH ("Scandferries") by 3i Group plc and investment entities managed by 3i Investments plc (together "3i"). 3i is an investment fund headquartered in the United Kingdom, whereas Scandferries is the top holding company of the Scandlines group, offering ferry services on three routes between Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties' activities overlap only to a very minor extent. 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.7067 .
Mergers: Commission approves transformation of MANUCO into full-function joint venture by EURENCO and MAXAM CHEM
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a full-function joint venture by EURENCO of France and MAXAM CHEM of Spain. EURENCO is active in the sale of propellants and explosives. MAXAM CHEM is active in civil explosives, hunting and sport cartridges, as well as in defense systems. MANUCO, which is currently already jointly controlled by EURENCO and MAXAM CHEM, has been manufacturing energetic nitrocellulose for its parent companies since 2004. Through the proposed transaction, it will become a full-function joint venture performing on a lasting basis all the functions of an autonomous economic entity. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, because it will not alter the market structure in a negative manner. 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.7031 .
Member States take major step in eHealth cooperation to improve care for patients across EU borders
Guidelines adopted today on the possibility to share patients’ basic health information across borders, mark a major milestone for EU cooperation on eHealth. These guidelines aim to enhance continuity of care and ensure safe and high-quality healthcare as set out in the Cross-border Healthcare Directive. The basic information foreseen, which will only be transferred across borders upon patients’ explicit consent, includes both the patient's administrative data and his/her clinical data, e.g. information about allergies, vaccinations and recent surgical procedures. These guidelines will improve patient safety in cross-border settings, especially in the case of unplanned or emergency care. They can also provide EU countries with guidance on which data to include in their national protocols. The guidelines were agreed by the eHealth Network, co-chaired by the Commission and Austria and represented by all 28 EU countries. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ehealth/policy/index_en.htm
Neelie Kroes is using a speech in Berlin to say that long-term economic growth is only possible if we invest massive amounts in research and education open the results to all. The speech highlights the success of MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses which allow people to learn anywhere, anytime and through any device; as well as Horizon 2020, which will provide nearly 80 billion euros of EU funding for research and innovation. The largest part of Horizon 2020 funding is for Information and Communication Technology research. Kroes is demanding governments act immediately to implement recently agreed legislation on open access: "Public administrations hold a wealth of information. Open it up, become more transparent, and it can fuel a market worth some tens of billions of euros a year. There are huge benefits – for citizens, for researchers, for governments themselves.
Protected quality farm products: Commission approves five new applications
The European Commission has approved the addition of five new quality farm products to the register of protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs). These are, for France " Rigotte de Condrieu " (PDO) a soft cheese made from raw, goat’s milk in the Massif du Pilat, south-west of Lyon ; for Ireland, " Waterford Blaa " (PGI), a soft white bread roll characterized by its white floury top, whose traditional baking dates back to the arrival of French Huguenots in the late 17th century ; for Italy, " Puzzone di Moena / Spretz Tzaorì " (PDO), a cheese produced from cow milk in the alpine valleys of the Fiemme and Fassa and Primiero — Vanoi with a strong and intense taste, and " Pecorino di Picinisco " (PDO), a cheese made of raw goat and sheep milk in the Comino valley, in the Lazio region ; and for Slovenia " Mohant " (PDO) a soft cheese of a distinctive piquant and very marked smell and taste made in the heart of the Julian Alps. The denominations will be added to the list of close to 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.