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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-12-11

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] State aid: Commission authorises €212 million German film support scheme
  • [02] State aid: Commission endorses €47 million aid to BVG in Poland
  • [03] Ranking Europe's universitiesc
  • [04] State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed €52.7 million aid to Dell Products Poland
  • [05] State aid: Commission endorses €28 million aid to Masdar for production of thin-film solar modules in Thüringen, Germany
  • [06] Aides d'État: la Commission autorise la France accorder une aide de 54,5 millions € en faveur du programme de R&D Iseult-Inumac
  • [07] Vers un transport ferroviaire fret européen plus compétitif
  • [08] Eastern Congo crisis: Commissioner Louis Michel on humanitarian mission to North Kivu
  • [09] Culture Programme Conference "Culture in Motion" 12 December 2008
  • [10] La Commission va recouvrer auprès des États membres 528,5 millions € correspondant des dépenses au titre de la PAC
  • [11] State aid: Commission consults on draft Best Practices Code on state aid proceedings
  • [12] State aid: Commission approves Dutch authorities' recapitalisation of SNS REAAL
  • [13] Clearer rules on State aid to Motorways of the Sea
  • [14] Commission proposes Private Storage Aid scheme to help Irish pork market
  • [15] EU27 current account deficit € 26.0 billion
  • [16] GDP per inhabitant in the Member States ranged from 37% to 267% of the EU27 average in 2007
  • [17] Commission clears joint venture between Danfoss and VKR Holding
  • [18] Commission clears acquisition of Airbus Filton Wing Component Operation by GKN
  • [19] Third Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) meeting on 12 December in Washington
  • [20] e-Commission 2006-2010: towards an integrated administration
  • [21] EU and Norway reach agreement on fishing possibilities for 2009
  • [22] Safe, innovative and accessible medicines: a renewed vision for the pharmaceutical sector
  • [23] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Hägglunds Drives by Robert Bosch
  • [24] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-12-11 Reference: MEX/08/1211 Date: 11/12/2008 EXME08 / 11.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    11/12/08


  • [01] State aid: Commission authorises €212 million German film support scheme

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules a €212 million German film support scheme until 31 December 2013. The scheme covers measures such as script writing, film production, distribution and exhibition. The Commission found that the scheme is compatible with the cultural and sectoral derogations of the EC Treaty (Article 87.3.d and Article 87.3.c), in line with the Cinema Communication rules concerning aid to film production (see IP/01/1326). In particular, the aid to cinemas has been approved on economic and social grounds, particularly for smaller cinemas.

    [02] State aid: Commission endorses €47 million aid to BVG in Poland

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, public funding of over €47 million for an investment project by BDN Sp. z o.o. Sp.k. belonging to BVG Medien Beteiligungs GmbH ("BVG") and linked to the Heinrich Bauer Verlag. The investment is intended to fund a new rotogravure printing plant in Nowogrodziec, south-west Poland. The Commission's in-depth investigation, launched in March 2008 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/444&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/444), revealed that the project was in line with the requirements of the EU rules on regional aid and in particular with the 2002 Multisectoral Framework (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/02/242&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/02/242). In particular, the production capacity created by the project was found to remain below 5% of the size of the relevant markets.

    [03] Ranking Europe's universitiesc

    The European Commission has launched a call for tenders for the design and testing of a new multi-dimensional university ranking system with global outreach. This initiative builds on earlier EU-funded work on mapping the different strengths and missions of universities and responds to an invitation by the French Presidency of the EU to explore and test the feasibility of a new ranking system for higher education and research institutions in Europe, in comparison with other world regions. The first results of the envisaged pilot project will be available in the first half of 2011.

    [04] State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed €52.7 million aid to Dell Products Poland

    The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into €52.7 million aid for a project of Dell Products Poland for the establishment of a new manufacturing plant in Łdź (Poland). The Commission has doubts as to its compatibility with the rules on regional aid for large investment projects (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1653&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/05/1653) and in particular needs to verify more closely the definition of the market for the products to be made at the plant, the extent of the increase in production capacity resulting from the investment and the extent to which demand for these products is in decline. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested parties the possibility to comment on the proposed measure. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

    [05] State aid: Commission endorses €28 million aid to Masdar for production of thin-film solar modules in Thüringen, Germany

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, €28 million of regional investment aid, which the German authorities intend to grant to Masdar for the production of thin-film solar modules in Thüringen, Germany. The project involves investments of €143 million and is expected to create at least 184 new jobs. The Commission found the measure to be compatible with the requirements of the Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-2013 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1653&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/05/1653) and in particular with the rules on large investment projects, because Masdar would not gain significant new market shares and the investment takes place in a fast growing market, the photovoltaic sector. Therefore the positive impact of the investment on regional development outweighs the potential distortions of competition.

    [06] Aides d'État: la Commission autorise la France accorder une aide de 54,5 millions € en faveur du programme de R&D Iseult-Inumac

    La Commission européenne a décidé, en application des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d’État, de ne pas s’opposer au soutien financier de 54,5 millions € accordé par la France au programme de recherche-développement Iseult-Inumac. Ce programme est mis en œuvre par un consortium de six partenaires piloté par Guerbet, un holding privé spécialisé dans les produits de contraste pour l'imagerie médicale. Son objectif est d’améliorer l'imagerie par résonance magnétique (IRM) haut champ afin de mieux diagnostiquer, suivre et traiter des maladies telles que l’Alzheimer, les attaques vasculaires cérébrales et les tumeurs cérébrales. La Commission a constaté que l’aide est compatible avec son encadrement des aides d'État la R&D&I (voir <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1600&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/1600), car elle incite la R&D améliorer la santé publique, ce qui n’aurait pas été possible sans cette aide. Ces aspects positifs l’emportent clairement sur les distorsions éventuelles de la concurrence.

    [07] Vers un transport ferroviaire fret européen plus compétitif

    La Commission européenne vient de franchir un pas décisif pour la promotion du transport international de marchandises par rail. La proposition de règlement adoptée aujourd'hui prévoit de déterminer, ensemble avec les Etats membres, des corridors ferroviaires internationaux offrant aux opérateurs une infrastructure performante et de qualité pour le transport de fret. Il s'agit d'un élément incontournable de la revitalisation du rail et de la mise en place d'un système de transport européen la fois efficace et durable.

    [08] Eastern Congo crisis: Commissioner Louis Michel on humanitarian mission to North Kivu

    Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, arrived in Goma in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this morning. His aim is to assess the humanitarian situation in the region where some 250,000 people have been displaced since renewed fighting in August. Commissioner Michel wants to speak with victims of the conflict and humanitarian aid workers. He will visit centres for internally displaced people (IDPs) near Goma and a medical centre in Rutshuru to learn directly about the humanitarian priorities and practical challenges. Yesterday evening, he met with the United Nations' special envoy and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Nairobi to receive an update on discussions between rebels in North Kivu (CNDP) and the government of DRC. On Thursday morning, Commissioner Michel held talks with President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. On Friday, Commissioner Michel will meet with DRC President, Joseph Kabila.

    [09] Culture Programme Conference "Culture in Motion" 12 December 2008

    The first Conference on the EU's flagship funding programme in the area of culture, the Culture Programme 2007 – 2013, takes place on Friday, 12 December. The Conference will present past and on-going project results from the current and previous EU Culture Programmes. The aim of the event is to enable an exchange of experience and good practices between cultural operators and programme beneficiaries.

    [10] La Commission va recouvrer auprès des États membres 528,5 millions € correspondant des dépenses au titre de la PAC

    En vertu d’une décision adoptée par la Commission européenne, les États membres vont devoir rembourser un montant total de 528.5 Mio EUR correspondant des dépenses irrégulières effectuées dans le cadre de la politique agricole commune (PAC). Ce montant sera reversé au budget communautaire en raison de procédures de contrôle inadéquates ou du non- respect des règles communautaires en matière de dépenses agricoles. En effet, si les États membres sont responsables des paiements et de la vérification des dépenses effectuées au titre de la PAC, la Commission est tenue de s’assurer que les États membres ont correctement utilisé les fonds mis leur disposition.

    [11] State aid: Commission consults on draft Best Practices Code on state aid proceedings

    The European Commission has launched a public consultation on a draft Best Practice Code on the conduct of state aid control proceedings. The Code will provide, after consultation with Member States in January, guidance on the day-to-day conduct of state aid proceedings. It aims to improve the effectiveness, transparency and predictability of the procedures at each step of the investigation, thereby fostering co-operation between the Commission and Member States. In particular, it proposes increased pre- notification contacts, mutually agreed planning for the most difficult cases and a stricter enforcement of existing procedural rules. This is in line with the objective announced in the State Aid Action Plan (2005) which called for more effective, simple and predictable procedures in the field of State aid. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on the draft by 28 January 2009.

    [12] State aid: Commission approves Dutch authorities' recapitalisation of SNS REAAL

    The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an emergency recapitalisation worth €750 million that the Dutch authorities intend to grant to SNS REAAL N.V. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Guidance Communications on state aid to overcome the current financial crisis (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1495&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1495) and on the recapitalisation of financial institutions in the current financial crisis (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1901&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1901). The measure 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 measure is limited in time and scope, requires an adequate remuneration and provides safeguards to minimise distortions of competition.

    [13] Clearer rules on State aid to Motorways of the Sea

    The European Commission clarified today the way Member States may provide State aid to projects aimed at launching new Motorways of the Sea links. These projects are selected under the Marco Polo II and the trans-European transport networks programmes. If Community funding is available but not sufficient to fully support the projects, Member States may fill the funding gap.

    [14] Commission proposes Private Storage Aid scheme to help Irish pork market

    Given the exceptional circumstances and the difficulties that the pigmeat market in Ireland is experiencing, the European Commission has decided to propose to the Management Committee, which is meeting today, to introduce an urgent market support measure in the form of a specific private storage aid scheme. This EU-funded storage scheme will involve only meat coming from pigs reared in Ireland on farms not affected by contaminated feed. Under the aid scheme, a maximum of 30,000 tonnes of pigmeat can be stored for a period of up to 6 months. The level of aid varies according to the cut of meat. The matter is being discussed with representatives of the 27 Member States during today's management committee. The scheme is expected to enter into force in the coming days.

    [15] EU27 current account deficit € 26.0 billion

    The EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of € 26.0 billion in the third quarter of 2008, compared with a deficit of € 9.7 billion in the third quarter of 2007 and a deficit of € 30.9 billion in the second quarter of 2008. In the third quarter of 2008, the EU27 external balance of trade in services recorded a surplus of € 21.2 billion euro, compared with a surplus of € 23.5 billion in the third quarter of 2007 and a surplus of € 20.5 billion in the second quarter of 2008. These provisional data, issued by Eurostat will be subject to revision.

    [16] GDP per inhabitant in the Member States ranged from 37% to 267% of the EU27 average in 2007

    In 2007, GDP per inhabitant in Luxembourg, expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS), was more than two-and-a-half times the EU27 average, while Ireland and the Netherlands recorded levels about 50% and 30% respectively above average. Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland and Germany were between 15% and 25% above the EU27 average. France, Spain and Italy registered GDP per inhabitant between 0% and 10% above the EU27 average, while Greece and Cyprus were between 0% and 10% below the average. Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Malta and Portugal were between 10% and 25% lower than the EU27 average. Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland were between 30% and 50% lower, while Romania and Bulgaria were about 60% below the EU27 average. These data for 2007, 2006 and 2005, published by Eurostat are based on revised purchasing power parities, and the latest GDP and population figures. They cover the 27 EU Member States, the three EU Candidate Countries, three EFTA Member States and four Western Balkan countries.

    [17] Commission clears joint venture between Danfoss and VKR Holding

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the joint venture between Danfoss A/S and SolarCAP, controlled by VKR Holding A/S, all of Denmark. Danfoss manufactures and sells thermostats, valves and controls for heating, refrigeration and industrial automation. SolarCAP sells solar collectors for combined heating systems. VKR Holding manufactures and sells windows, decoration for windows, natural ventilation and thermal solar energy. The joint venture will develop and sell integrated solar pumps. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [18] Commission clears acquisition of Airbus Filton Wing Component Operation by GKN

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of of parts of the Airbus Filton operations currently owned by Airbus UK Limited and Airbus SAS by GKN plc of the UK. GKN engineers, manufactures and supplies components for the automotive, off-highway and aerospace industries. The acquired business manufactures parts and wing sub-assembly for current Airbus aircraft programmes. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [19] Third Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) meeting on 12 December in Washington

    Five European Commissioners will be present at the third meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) in Washington, underlining the importance the European Commission attaches to advancing economic cooperation between the European Union and the United States of America. Together with the TEC co-president, Vice-President Günter Verheugen, Commissioner Charlie McCreevy Commissioners Catherine Ashton and Meglena Kuneva as well as Commissioner Lászl Kovacs will represent the European Commission in Washington. The US delegation, under co-presidency of President Bush's Advisor for International Economic Affairs Dan Price, is expected to include Secretaries Gutierrez (Commerce), Schafer (Agriculture), Leavitt (Health and Human Services) and Ambassador Schwab (US Trade Representative). Highlights on the agenda of the next TEC meeting on 12 December 2008 are the EU’s recognition of the equivalence of U.S. accounting standards, the current financial crisis and its implication for the real economy, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, the regulatory cooperation on import safety and consumer protection issues, as well as discussion on Secure Trade, the EU-US Investment Dialogue and the EU-US Financial Markets Regulatory Dialogue.

    [20] e-Commission 2006-2010: towards an integrated administration

    Three years after Vice-President Kallas launched the e-Commission initiative, progress is encouraging and most of the actions are delivering their expected value. Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become an essential part of policy initiatives at EU level, e.g. in the internal market, environment, home affairs and border security fields. Innovative use of ICT also contributes to reducing the administrative burden, increasing transparency and ensuring compliance. Furthermore, the streamlining of administrative processes through a more effective use of ICT underpins the initiative for administrative simplification launched by Vice‑President Kallas in 2006. For more information: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/ecomm/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/ecomm/index_en.htm

    [21] EU and Norway reach agreement on fishing possibilities for 2009

    Norway and the European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the EU, reached a wide-ranging agreement on the management of their shared fisheries which represents a significant deepening of the already strong cooperation between the two parties. The agreement includes the setting of fishing possibilities for 2009 for the seven main jointly managed fish stocks in the North Sea (cod, haddock, saithe, whiting, plaice, mackerel and herring), along with a number of associated conditions designed to reduce unproductive fishing pressure and encourage the recovery of depleted stocks, in particular cod. In particular, the EU has committed to minimise and ultimately eradicate discards in these fisheries, including consideration of a discard ban in the context of the next reform of the CFP. The present agreement prepares this step by introducing a number of measures to enhance selectivity, including real-time area closures to protect juvenile and undersized fish concentrations, 'low cod gears' to prevent cod catches, and a ban on 'high grading' (the practice of discarding legally caught but less valuable fish in order to increase the final value of the total catch). Fishing opportunities are based on the latest available scientific advice. In the case of North Sea cod, following the most recent advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the parties agreed to raise the total allowable catch (TAC) for 2009 by 30%. The TAC for plaice was increased by 11% (in line with the EU management plan) while that for whiting was decreased by 15%. Both parties agreed to continue to cooperate in securing continued responsible fisheries and ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable exploitation of the marine resources for which they are responsible. There are currently four joint multi-annual plans in place for cod, haddock, saithe and herring, and revised versions of those for cod, saithe and herring were also agreed this year. Norway and the EU also agreed on a series of balanced exchanges of fishing possibilities in the North Sea and North-East Atlantic, giving extended opportunities to both Parties to fish in a sustainable manner on species of common interest. A table with main outcome of the negotiations for 2009 is available here: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/press_corner/press_releases/2008/com08_92_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/press_corner/press_releases/2008/com08_92_en.htm

    Rediffusion

    [22] Safe, innovative and accessible medicines: a renewed vision for the pharmaceutical sector

    The EU has been losing ground in pharmaceutical innovation. European patients still suffer from inequalities in the availability of information about medicines, whilst counterfeits are on the rise. To address these challenges, the Commission has tabled a package, consisting of four key parts: 1. A communication to launch reflections on ways to improve market access and to develop initiatives to boost EU pharmaceutical research. 2. A proposal to tackle the growing issues of counterfeiting and illegal distribution of medicines, 3. Proposals to enable citizens to have access to high-quality information on prescription-only medicines and 4. Proposals to improve patient protection by strengthening the EU system for the safety monitoring ('pharmacovigilance') of medicines.

    [23] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Hägglunds Drives by Robert Bosch

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Hägglunds Drives AB, a Swedish manufacturer of hydraulic drives systems and motors, by Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany. 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.

    [24] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Information to patients on prescription-only medicinal products

    • Memo on Protecting the legal supply chain against counterfeited medicines

    • Memo on Strengthening pharmacovigilance to reduce adverse effects of medicines

    • Memo on Antitrust: Commission confirms sending Statement of Objections to alleged participants in power transformers cartel

    • Memo sur Proposition de règlement relatif au réseau ferroviaire européen pour un fret compétitif

    • Speech by Commissioner Hübner 'Financial Engineering in EU Cohesion Policy', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner McCreevy 'A fair deal for Europe's creators', London

    • Speech by Commissioner McCreevy 'An exchange of views on Public Procurement', London

    • Speech by Commissioner Kroes 'Collective redress in Europe', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner McCreevy 'Private Equity: Progress on Disclosure and Transparency (Walker Guidelines)', London

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Sanofi-Aventis/Zentiva

    Telenet/Concentra/VAR/JV From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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