Daily News of 2014-02-04
European Commission - MEX/14/0204 04/02/2014
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EXME 14 / 04.02
04 / 02 / 14
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the European Union – a figure that is expected to rise due to the ageing European population. According to most recently published data, there were an estimated 1.4 million new cases of cancer in men and 1.4 million in women in the EU in 2012. In the same year, approximately 707 000 men and 555 000 women died from cancer. Although significant advances are being made in the fight against the disease, cancer remains a key public health concern and a tremendous burden on European societies. Where does the EU come into the picture? On this year’s World Cancer Day, we present 10 little known facts about EU action in the field of cancer.
Progress towards the Internal Energy Market 2014: Pilot project for EU wide electricity trade starts today
Grid operators and power exchanges from 14 EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Austria, UK, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden) plus Norway will inaugurate today a pilot project for joint electricity trading, so-called day-ahead market coupling. The project, which is a milestone on the way towards a European Electricity Market, had been jointly initiated by the EU Commission, regulators, grid operators and power exchanges in North-Western Europe (NWE). EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger said: "The start of the NWE market coupling proves that the Internal Energy Market 2014 is not just lip service. Fragmented European energy markets will soon be history, which is certainly good news for European customers". NWE market coupling combines all bids and offers in a region and creates a large integrated electricity market in the area concerned, combining 75% of today's electricity consumption in the EU. The Commission just prepares an EU Regulation that will make market coupling binding in the entire EU. It is estimated that EU-wide market coupling can save important costs for the benefit of European customers. More information on this website .
President Barroso meets the President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe
Today in Strasburg, President Barroso meets the President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe. Mr Ashe is the Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and has been elected President of the UN General Assembly last June. President Barroso met Mr Ashe last September, in the margins of the UN General Assembly.
During this meeting, President Barroso and Mr Ashe are expected to review major peace and security developments, namely in Syria and in Central African Republic. They will also exchange views on the Millennium Development Goals/Post 2015 agenda, and on the International climate negotiations.
Teams from the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission visited Bucharest during January 21-February 4 to conduct discussions on the combined first and second reviews under the IMF Stand-By Agreement (SBA) and on the status of Romania’s precautionary balance of payments programme with the European Union. Staff level agreement has been reached. The programme remains broadly on track. Most end-December performance criteria were met and structural benchmarks have either been met or are nearing completion.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Finnish electricity distribution assets by Borealis and First State
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Fortum Oyj group's electricity distribution and meter leasing business of Finland, by Borealis European Holdings and First State Investments International, both of the United Kingdom. Borealis is the exclusive infrastructure manager for OMERS Administration Corporation. First State, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is a global asset management business. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, as there are no overlaps between the acquirers' businesses and the activity of the joint venture. 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.7148 .
In December 2013, compared with November 2013, industrial producer prices rose by 0.2% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November prices fell by 0.1% in both zones. In December 2013, compared with December 2012, industrial producer prices decreased by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.6% in the EU28.The average industrial producer prices for the year 2013, compared with 2012, dropped by 0.2% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU28.
The latest phase of the European Commission's 'Generation Awake' campaign focuses on the environmental, economic, social and personal consequences of using resources unsustainably. It centres round a fully interactive website available in all 24 official EU languages, where cartoon characters show the environmental impact of everyday purchasing decisions. Europe's waste is still a hugely under-used resource - full implementation of EU waste legislation would save EUR 72 billion a year, increase the annual turnover of the EU waste management and recycling sector by EUR 42 billion, and create over 400 000 new jobs by 2020.
Vassiliou: 'Education of utmost importance for new global development agenda'
The role of education in global efforts to combat poverty and boost sustainable development is the focus of a high-level debate organised by UNESCO and the Mission of Norway to the EU in Brussels tomorrow (5 February). Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will be the keynote speaker at the event, which comes as the international community seeks to map out a new global framework for development beyond 2015 when the UN's Millennium Development Goals expire. "Education is of utmost importance for the new global development agenda and I am confident that this will be recognised during the intergovernmental consultations and at the United Nations Summit in 2015. It is crucial that Europe and its international partners continue to support basic education for all and work together to improve equity and quality through a balanced and holistic approach from early childhood to higher education," said Commissioner Vassiliou before the meeting. In 2007-2013, EU bilateral and regional funding for basic primary and secondary education in developing countries, together with support for vocational education and training, amounted to nearly €6 billion. The EU provided a further €2.6 billion in funding for higher education programmes in developing countries in the same period. This support will be increased under Erasmus+, the EU’s new programme for education, training, youth and sport. Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO, and Bjørn Haugstad, State Secretary, Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, will also participate in tomorrow's event. To find out more: Post 2015 development agenda Androulla Vassiliou's website; Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU
Over 100 mayors and representatives of local authorities from around Europe will come together in Brussels on 11 February to discuss current challenges and opportunities around the free movement of citizens in the European Union. The Conference of Mayors, organised jointly by the European Commission and Committee of the Regions, aims to help local authorities pool ideas and share best practices in implementing free movement rules. The meeting is one of the five actions presented by the European Commission on 25 November 2013 to strengthen the right to free movement in the EU, while helping Member States to reap the positive benefits it brings. The event is open to press: journalists wishing to attend can either register on the website or should contact Joshua.SALSBY@ec.europa.eu .
The European Parliament will vote today on the Commission's initiative to do away with a series of arcane administrative requirements, such as the Apostille stamp, which Member States still require to certify public documents for people living and working in other EU countries. It is expected to back the Commission's proposal. Vice-President Reding said: “EU citizens should be able to live, move and work in other EU countries as easily as they can in their home countries. If citizens can move freely, so should their documents.”
Electromagnetic Fields: Scientific committee launches public consultation on preliminary opinion
Today, the European Commission and its Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) launch a public consultation on the preliminary opinion "Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)". The consultation will run until 16 April 2014. Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the scientific evidence of this preliminary opinion online . Once adopted, this opinion will update previous Scientific Committee opinions of 19 January 2009 and 6 July 2009 in light of newly available information. The draft Opinion stems from the review of over five hundred studies, mostly published after the 2009 Opinion. This opinion addresses issues of public concern, e.g. potential health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones and broadcast transmitters, as well as from extremely low frequency magnetic fields originating from power lines and any electrical household appliance at home or in the office. For more information click on: the work of the Commission’s independent scientific committees . See also full report . Follow us on Twitter: @EU_Health
Twitter chat: education, culture and the crisis
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will take part in a chat via Twitter tomorrow, Wednesday 5 February, 11am-noon. It will focus on the new Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes and how investment in education and culture can contribute to overcoming the crisis. More information: #EUchat http://ow.ly/i/4rxAW