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EXME 14 / 26.03


26 / 03 / 14

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

EU-US summit

The EU-US Summit will take place this afternoon in Brussels. The EU will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and the United States will be represented by President Barack Obama. Summit discussions will cover the economy, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, global challenges and foreign policy cooperation.

Ahead of the Summit, President Barroso said: "We have an excellent occasion to take stock of our relations, map the way ahead and highlight the strengths of the transatlantic relationship. The Summit will highlight the significant contributions that the EU-US strategic partnership makes to transatlantic and global peace and prosperity, and will be an opportunity to support and promote our negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."

A Joint Statement will be issued following the meeting, and a press conference is scheduled at 14:00 . President Barroso's speaking points will be available afterwards.

For more information please also refer to MEMO/14/212 .

Other news

Plant Health: ban on import of five fruits and vegetables from India endorsed by Member States

Emergency measures proposed by the Commission to ban the import of certain fruits and vegetables [Colocasia sp (taro, eddo) Mangifera sp, (mango) Momordica sp (bitter gourd), Solanum melongena (eggplant) and Trichosanthes sp (snake gourd)] from India, were today endorsed by Member State experts meeting at the Standing Committee on Plant Health. The measures prohibit the import of some fruits and vegetables from India to tackle the significant shortcomings in the phytosanitary certification system of such products exported to the EU. This decision had to be taken due to a high number of such consignments being intercepted at arrival in the EU with quarantine pests, mainly insects, like non-European fruit flies. Though the prohibited commodities represent less than 5 % of the total fresh fruits and vegetables imported into the EU from India, the potential introduction of new pests could pose a threat to EU agriculture and production. Such pests were found in 207 consignments of fruits and vegetables from India imported into the EU in 2013. The measures will apply from May onwards. A revision will take place before 31 December 2015. For more information please visit the European Commission's webpage for EU rules on plant health and biosecurity

Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the sector of automotive exhaust systems

The European Commission can confirm that on 25 March 2014 Commission officials undertook unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the automotive exhaust systems industry in several Member States. The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 101 and 102 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Transport Business Summit 2014: opportunities and challenges of transport

Tomorrow Vice-President Kallas and the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport will host the second Transport Business Summit in Brussels. The conference will bring together industry leaders and decision-makers to discuss transport's role in driving Europe's economy forward. Vice-President Siim Kallas said "I am looking forward to welcome many distinguished guests to our second Transport Business Summit and would like to express a particularly warm welcome to our keynote speaker former Prime Minister of Italy Mario Monti"  The World Bank will present their new "Logistics Performance Index" ranking the performance of different countries on logistics. Vice-President Siim Kallas will set out in his key note speech the major challenges for the next Commission and reflect on recent developments in European transport policy. Speakers include representatives from the shipping industry like Mr Søren Skou, CEO Maersk and Mr Thomas Rehder, CEO, Carsten Rehder Ship Brokers and Shipping as well as Mr Karl Ulrich Garnadt, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo and Mr Björn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle representing aviation. Mr Christian Kern, CEO ÖBB-Holding AG and both Mr Simon Enstone, Vice President of Nissan and Mr Niklas Gustavsson, Executive Vice President of AB VOLVO will share the views of the rail and road industry. Following a kick-off presentation by the World Economic Forum on their scenario for the transport of the future, a distinguished group of European business people will join in the debate on how to make the most of transport to create opportunities for business: Cindy Miller, UPS President Europe, Mr Reinier de Graaf, OMA partner, Mr Luis Alvarez, CEO BT Global Services and Mr Mohamed Marfouk, Global Operations Director of LVMH. The Transport Business Summit will be live streamed on . Please follow the event on twitter - #EUTransport

Africa-EU university boost: Commission backs plan to double size of partnership scheme

African and European universities face similar challenges: the need to modernise, provide relevant curricula and offer students more opportunities to broaden their skills to increase job prospects. These issues will be among the themes addressed by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at a meeting with representatives of 60 African universities in Brussels tomorrow, 27 March. The 'African Higher Education Harmonisation and Tuning' event, jointly organised by the European Commission and African Union Commission, focuses on student mobility, recognition of qualifications and credits, as well as the development of new and joint degree programmes. Over the next seven years, it is envisaged that the new Erasmus+ programme will provide grants for 25 000 African students and academics to study or train in Europe, and around 2 750 African researchers will receive support from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

European Neighbourhood Policy Package

On 27 March the 2014 European Neighbourhood Policy Package will be adopted, assessing the implementation of the ENP in 2013 in the 16 partners in our neighbourhood - Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. Although 2013 has been a year of crises in some of its partners , reflecting political instability and difficult socio-economic conditions across a number of countries in the neighbourhood, the EU has continued to support efforts to enhance democratic governance, build security and support sustainable and inclusive development. Crucial political and economic reforms were implemented in several countries while in other countries, democratic reforms and economic recovery achieved in previous years was threatened by national and regional security challenges.

Technical briefing off the record for accredited media: Thursday 27 March, 10 a.m. in Berlaymont press room.

For further information: Press release on the ENP package 2014 IP/14/315 (available on 27/3/2014) .

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