|Tuesday, 17 October 2017|
European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-10-31
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MIDDAY EXPRESSNews from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction GĂ©nĂ©rale Communicationb
 Commissioner HĂĽbner and Commissioner Ĺ pidla to address French Presidency conference on territorial cohesion and future Cohesion PolicyThe European Commission and French Presidency of the European Union, in partnership with the EU Committee of the Regions and Association of French Regions, are holding a conference in Paris on territorial cohesion and the future Cohesion Policy on 30-31 October. Danuta HĂĽbner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Vladimir Ĺ pidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, will both address the event, which provides the first major opportunity to debate the Commission's recently published Green Paper on territorial cohesion (see IP/08/1460).
 European Youth Week 2008: The future challenges for youth on the top of the agendaThe future challenges for young people will be placed at the top of the agenda during the fourth edition of the European Youth Week, to be held from 2-9 November 2008. An unprecedented number of political debates, cultural and other activities will be organised in all corners of Europe, with numerous activities taking place in Brussels for some 200 selected young participants.
 Aide d'Ă‰tat: la Commission autorise le rĂ©gime franĂ§ais de refinancement des Ă©tablissements de crĂ©ditLa Commission europĂ©enne a autorisĂ©, en vertu des rĂ¨gles du traitĂ© CE relatives aux aides d'Ă‰tat, un mĂ©canisme de refinancement des dettes destinĂ© Ă des Ă©tablissements de crĂ©dit, conĂ§u par la France pour stabiliser les marchĂ©s financiers. Ce rĂ©gime prĂ©voit notamment un accĂ¨s non discriminatoire, il est limitĂ© dans le temps et dans sa portĂ©e et Ă©tablit des mesures de garantie adĂ©quates de maniĂ¨re Ă rĂ©duire au minimum les distorsions de la concurrence. La Commission a conclu que le rĂ©gime constitue un moyen appropriĂ©, nĂ©cessaire et proportionnĂ© pour remĂ©dier Ă une perturbation grave de l'Ă©conomie franĂ§aise et est, Ă ce titre, compatible avec les rĂ¨gles de l'UE sur les aides d'Etat (Article 87.3.b) telles qu'explicitĂ©es dans la Communication sur leur application aux banques en temps de crise (voir IP/08/1495).
 State aid: Commission approves Dutch guarantee scheme for financial institutionsThe European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a Dutch guarantee scheme intended to restore and facilitate the financing of Dutch financial institutions, which is hampered by the drying up of the interbank lending market. This in turn endangers the provision of loans to companies and households. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with its Guidance Communication on state aid to overcome the current financial crisis (see IP/08/1495). The scheme constitutes an adequate means to remedy a serious disturbance in the Dutch economy while avoiding undue distortions of competition and is therefore compatible with Article 87.3.b. of the EC Treaty. In particular, the scheme provides for non discriminatory access, is limited in time and scope, requires an adequate guarantee fee and provides safeguards to minimise distortions of competition.
 â€śBarcelona Process: Union for the Mediterraneanâ€ť: Ministers meet in Marseille to endorse its working modalities and to agree priorities for 2009Foreign Ministers from all 43 states of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership meet in Marseille on 3-4 November to endorse plans for the mandate, structure and institutional governance of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. The initiative, launched at the Paris Summit of 13th July, aims at injecting a renewed political momentum into the EUâ€™s relations with the Mediterranean through the reinforcement of shared ownership and the achievement of wider visibility through a far-reaching programme of projects. To these ends, Ministers will examine the details of the Commission's proposals for the functioning of the co-presidency as well as the composition, seat and funding of the Secretariat. In efforts to advance the regional integration process, Ministers will also agree on priorities for the 2009 working programme.
 Commission proposes financial assistance to Hungary and an increase in overall BoP loans ceilingThe European Commission has formally proposed to grant financial assistance for Hungary's balance of payments (BoP). It has also proposed to raise the overall ceiling foreseen in the Regulation establishing a facility providing medium-term financial assistance to European Union countries' BoPs to â‚¬25 billion from â‚¬12 billion at present. Both proposals have been sent to Member States which are expected to endorse them at the finance ministers' meeting (ECOFIN) on 4 November. In the case of the amended ceiling, however, the European Parliament and the European Central Bank will need to give their opinions to the Council before the formal adoption. Despite considerable efforts since mid-2006 to correct its budgetary position and external imbalances, the Hungarian financial markets came under severe stress this month as the global financial crisis deepened and broadened. In view of this, the Hungarian government has now taken steps to accelerate the deficit reduction and to improve fiscal governance as part of a comprehensive economic programme to foster market confidence.
 Euro area inflation estimated at 3.2%Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 3.2% in October 2008 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 3.6% in September. Euro area inflation is measured by the Monetary Union Index of Consumer Prices (MUICP). To compute the MUICP flash estimates, Eurostat uses early price information relating to the reference month from Member States for which data are available as well as early information about energy prices. The flash estimation procedure for the MUICP combines historical information with partial information on price developments in the most recent months to give a total index for the euro area. No detailed breakdown is available. Experience has shown the procedure to be reliable (15 times exactly anticipating the inflation rate and 9 times differing by 0.1 over the last two years). Further information can be found in Eurostat News Release 113/2001 of 5 November 2001.
 Euro area unemployment stable at 7.5%The euro area (EA15) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stood at 7.5% in September 2008, stable compared with August. It was 7.3% in September 2007. The EU271 unemployment rate was 7.0% in September 2008, compared with 6.9% in August. It was 7.0% in September 2007. Eurostat estimates that 16.710 million men and women in the EU27, of which 11.691 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in September 2008. Compared with August 2008, the number of persons unemployed increased by 32 000 in the EU27 and by 52 000 in the euro area. Compared with September 2007, unemployment went up by 132 000 in the EU27 and by 507 000 in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat.
 Commission clears acquisition of Appliances Components Companies, Bianchi Vending and Finder by Goldman SachsThe European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Appliances Components Companies SpA (ACC) of Italy, Bianchi Vending Group SpA (Bianchi) of Italy and Finder SpA (Finder) of Italy and the group of companies controlled by each of them by Goldman Sachs Private Equity Holding LP, controlled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (Goldman Sachs) of the USA, Mr Antonio Corbani and Mr Ferdinando Gelosa. Goldman Sachs is active in investment banking and securities. ACC manufactures motors for the wet industry (washing machines, dryers and dishwashers) and compressors for commercial and household refrigerators. Bianchi manufactures vending machines. Finder manufactures industrial pumps and filters. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
 Democratic Republic of Congo: Commissioner Michel continues regional shuttle diplomacy and announces â‚¬4 million humanitarian aid for vulnerable people in North KivuLouis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, is undertaking shuttle diplomacy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda in an effort to assist towards a diplomatic and political solution to the current crisis. Today he met DRC President, Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa. Tomorrow, he will meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali.
 Danuta HĂĽbner en Martinique: plus de croissance avec la politique de cohĂ©sionDanuta HĂĽbner, la Commissaire chargĂ©e de la Politique rĂ©gionale est en Martinique, pour rencontrer les autoritĂ©s qui gĂ¨rent les fonds structurels europĂ©ens. Elle sâ€™entretiendra avec M. Ange Mancini, le PrĂ©fet de la rĂ©gion. A Fort-de-France, capitale de Martinique, la Commissaire visitera deux projets qui ont bĂ©nĂ©ficiĂ© de lâ€™aide communautaire: une maternitĂ© de rĂ©fĂ©rence europĂ©enne et un projet dâ€™incinĂ©ration des dĂ©chets mĂ©nagers. Pour la pĂ©riode 2007-2013, la rĂ©gion bĂ©nĂ©ficie dâ€™un nouvel investissement de â‚¬ 417 millions du Fonds europĂ©en de dĂ©veloppement rĂ©gional (FEDER).
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