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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-12-05

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission presents policy options for EU strategy on invasive species
  • [02] TEN-Ts: Commission finances over €1.7 billion in railway projects
  • [03] Health security: Building stronger global collaboration
  • [04] Media launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009
  • [05] Developing links in higher education between Europe and Africa
  • [06] Sri Lanka: European Commission condemns killing of aid worker – and announces additional aid package
  • [07] A quarter of children aged less than three in formal childcare
  • [08] Commission clears acquisition of SNCM by Veolia Transport
  • [09] Commission clears acquisition of Zehnacker by Sodexo
  • [10] Commission clears acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America
  • [11] What kind of protection for European consumers? Top consumer experts debate
  • [12] Curvy cucumbers, curious carrots and bendy beans back on the shelves
  • [13] Président Barroso, invité par Lech Walesa Gdansk
  • [14] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Gamesa Energía's wind farm business by Iberdrola Renovables
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-12-05 Reference: MEX/08/1205 Date: 05/12/2008 EXME08 / 05.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    05/12/08


  • [01] Commission presents policy options for EU strategy on invasive species

    The European Commission presented a series of policy options for developing a strategy to deal with species from abroad which are threatening European biodiversity. Invasive species are a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe. One such example is the Harlequin ladybird, originally from Asia, which poses a deadly threat to native ladybirds in the UK, as well as to butterflies and other insects. Invasive species can disrupt local flora and fauna and cause considerable damage to nature and human health. They can also have significant economic impacts: controlling invasive species and repairing the damage they do is estimated to cost European economies at least €12 billion each year. Although some EU countries have legislation to protect their national biodiversity, there is no harmonised approach across the EU. The Communication puts forward a number of policy options for a coordinated approach and measures that can be put in place immediately, including a Europe-wide early warning system to report new and emerging species.

    [02] TEN-Ts: Commission finances over €1.7 billion in railway projects

    Vice-President Antonio Tajani responsible for Transport signed today 11 financing decisions under the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-Ts) programme for the period 2007-2013. The decisions concern important railway works in Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary. The signature took place in Verona at a conference discussing the future of TEN- T policy.

    [03] Health security: Building stronger global collaboration

    Today, health ministers from G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US), Mexico and the World Health Organisation attend the 9th ministerial meeting of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) hosted by the Commission in Brussels. The aim of the GHSI is to forge stronger global collaboration on health security by addressing health threats from chemical, biological and radio/nuclear agents and by developing preparedness and response on pandemic influenza. A communiqué setting out the achievements of the GHSI to date and defining future areas of joint work to promote collective health security was agreed at the end of the meeting.

    [04] Media launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009

    The European Commission launches today the communication campaign for the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 with the slogan “Imagine. Create. Innovate”. The aim of the Year is to promote creative and innovative approaches in different sectors of human activity and contribute to better equip the European Union for the challenges ahead in a globalised world.

    [05] Developing links in higher education between Europe and Africa

    For the first time, major African and European universities, higher education experts and Erasmus Mundus Alumni students gathered in Brussels on 4 and 5 December to examine ways to strengthen links between higher education institutions in Africa and Europe and increase the mobility of students, researchers and teachers between the two continents.

    [06] Sri Lanka: European Commission condemns killing of aid worker – and announces additional aid package

    The European Commission strongly condemns the assassination of an aid worker in Batticaloa in Sri Lanka. The 28 year old victim worked for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in a shelter programme financed by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO). The Commission extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Mr Vigneswaran. ECHO partner NRC has already lost three staff members in Sri Lanka in the past two and a half years.

    [07] A quarter of children aged less than three in formal childcare

    In the EU25 in 2006, the number of children aged up to compulsory school age was estimated at around 30 million. Among these children, 26% of those less than three years old were attending formal childcare, while the percentage rose to 84% among those three years old to compulsory school age. The children not attending formal childcare were cared for by a parent, child minders or relatives, friends etc. The shares for attending formal childcare differed significantly among Member States. For children aged less than three the highest percentages were recorded in Denmark (73%), the Netherlands (45%) and Sweden (44%), and the lowest in the Czech Republic and Poland (both 2%). For children aged three to compulsory school age, the highest proportions were observed in Belgium (98%), Denmark (96%) and France (94%), and the lowest in Poland (28%), Lithuania (56%) and Malta (57%). These figures are published by Eurostat.

    [08] Commission clears acquisition of SNCM by Veolia Transport

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of SNCM of France by Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement group of France. Veolia Environnement is active in water and wastewater services, waste management, energy and climate conditioning services and transport services. SNCM provides sea transport between the French continent and Corsica and also international sea lines to Sardinia, Tunisia and Algeria. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [09] Commission clears acquisition of Zehnacker by Sodexo

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Zehnacker Group GmbH (Zehnacker) of Germany by Sodexo SA of France. Sodexo supplies food and facilities management services, service vouchers and cards. Zehnacker provides a full range of facilities management services and food services solutions. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [10] Commission clears acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. of the US by Bank of America Corporation (BAC), also of the US. BAC is active in retail, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management. Merrill Lynch is active in global markets, investment banking and wealth management. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [11] What kind of protection for European consumers? Top consumer experts debate

    High-level academic, business and political experts in consumer affairs, as well as leading consumer representatives, are meeting on 5 and 6 December at "Consumer Days", a conference organised by the French presidency to discuss the challenges and prospects of European consumer policy. The two most important topics for roundtable discussion are the recent blueprint for the Directive on Consumer Rights, and the effectiveness of schemes for mass consumer complaints. EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva gave the opening speech at the conference this morning, in which she highlighted the advantages that the proposed Consumer Rights Directive offers to European consumers, while also stressing the importance of raising consumer awareness of their rights, wherever they shop. Details of the event: <a href="http://www.ue2008.fr/PFUE/lang/en/accueil/PFUE-12_2008/PFUE- 05.12.2008/journees_de_la_consommation__renforcer_la_confiance_du_consommateur_europeen">http://www.ue2008.fr/PFUE/lang/en/accueil/PFUE- 12_2008/PFUE-05.12.2008/journees_de_la_consommation__renforcer_la_confiance_du_consommateur_europeen

    [12] Curvy cucumbers, curious carrots and bendy beans back on the shelves

    The European Commission today formally adopted the Regulation repealing specific marketing standards for 26 types of fruit and vegetables. This is the final step in the process following the vote by Member States in November (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1694&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=nl">IP/08/1694). For 10 types of fruit and vegetables, including apples, strawberries and tomatoes, marketing standards will remain in place. But even for these 10, Member States could for the first time allow shops to sell products that don't respect the standards, as long as they are sold with an appropriate label. In other words, the new rules will allow national authorities to permit the sale of all fruit and vegetables, regardless of their size and shape. The new rules will apply from 1 July 2009. The Commission's initiative to get rid of these standards is a major element in its ongoing efforts to streamline and simplify EU rules and cut red tape.

    [13] Président Barroso, invité par Lech Walesa Gdansk

    Ce samedi, 6 décembre, le président de la Commission européenne José Manuel Barroso, va participer l'ouverture de la conférence intitulée "Solidarité pour le futur" (Solidarity for the Future"), qui aura lieu en Pologne, Gdansk, l'initiative de Lech Walesa, légendaire leader du mouvement Solidarnoś et l'ancien président de la République de Pologne. Cet événement est organisé l'occasion du 25ème anniversaire du Prix Nobel pour la Paix que L. Walesa a eu en 1983. De nombreuses personnalités viendront Gdansk, parmi elles les lauréats de Nobel pour la Paix, comme le Dalai Lama, Frederik Willem de Klerk, Adolf Perez Esquivel, Shimon Peres, Shrin Ebadi, mais également le président Nicolas Sarkozy, l'ex-président de la République Tchèque, Vaclav Havel, Valdas Adamkus, président de Lituanie, et chanteur Bob Geldof. Lors de sa visite Gdansk, le président Barroso rencontrera le Premier Ministre de Pologne Donald Tusk.

    Rediffusion

    [14] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Gamesa Energía's wind farm business by Iberdrola Renovables

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Gamesa Energia's businesses for the promotion and development of wind farms in continental Europe, UK, Mexico and the Dominican Republic by Iberdrola Renovables, a Spanish energy company. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo Antitrust: Commission market tests commitments proposed by RWE concerning German gas market

    • Memo Communiqué: 9th Ministerial Meeting of the Global Health Security Initiative

    • Memo Energy Council 8 December 2008

    • Discours du Président Barroso 'De la crise a la relance: il n'y a pas de temps perdre!', Luxembourg

    • Speech by Commissioner Kroes 'EU state aid rules – part of the solution', Luxembourg

    • Discours du Président Barroso 'Une nouvelle page dans l'Histoire de la Cour de justice des Communautés européennes', Luxembourg

    • Speech by Commissioner Kuneva 'Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights', Paris

    • Speech by Commissioner Borg 'Building on past achievements for a brighter future', Brussels

    • Calendrier hebdomadaire du 8 au 14 décembre

    • Top News from the European Commission

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Arizona / Abieta From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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