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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 09-02-12

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] Strengthening the international humanitarian response: Commission adopts €27 million capacity-building programme
  • [02] State aid: Commission authorises support package for Hungarian financial institutions
  • [03] State aid: Commission approves €1.5 billion capital injection from the Belgian public authorities for Ethias group
  • [04] Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner announces assistance of €149 million to Egypt for education, transport and public services and civil society programmes
  • [05] Commission re-launches Europe Direct information network
  • [06] Toward a visa-free regime between the European Community and Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, Barbados and Seychelles
  • [07] Industrial production down by 2.6% in euro area
  • [08] Commission clears acquisition of BGZ by Rabobank
  • [09] La Commission européenne appuie la décision de l'Union Africaine mettant en place des sanctions ciblées l'encontre de la junte militaire en Mauritanie
  • [10] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2009-02-12 Reference: MEX/09/0212 Date: 12/02/2009 EXME09 / 12.02

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    12/02/09


  • [01] Strengthening the international humanitarian response: Commission adopts €27 million capacity-building programme

    The European Commission has adopted a new funding decision for €27 million to strengthen global humanitarian preparedness and the response capacity of international organisations. Daily experience confirms the view of the Commission's humanitarian partner organisations that there are still significant gaps to be filled, notably in respect of logistics, pre- positioning and disaster-preparedness in sectors such as health, water/sanitation, shelter, food assistance and protection.

    [02] State aid: Commission authorises support package for Hungarian financial institutions

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules a Hungarian package intended to stabilise the markets as a response to the global financial crisis. The package will provide eligible credit institutions with new capital and guarantees on short and medium term newly issued debt, under strict conditions. The Commission found the measures to be in line with its guidance Communications on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1495&format=HTML&aged=0&language=FR&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1495 and <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1901&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1901). In particular, the package ensures non discriminatory access, is limited in time and scope, provides for a market-oriented remuneration and foresees adequate safeguards to minimise potential distortions of competition. The Commission therefore concludes that the scheme is an adequate means to remedy a serious disturbance in the Hungarian economy and is as such compatible with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty.

    [03] State aid: Commission approves €1.5 billion capital injection from the Belgian public authorities for Ethias group

    Under the EC Treaty rules on state aid, the European Commission has approved a capital injection of €1.5 billion from the Belgian Government for the insurance and banking group Ethias. It concluded that the measure was in line with its communication providing guidance 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) as well as its rescue and restructuring aid guidelines (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/04/172&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">MEMO/04/172). The aid is limited to the minimum required to enable the Ethias group to continue operations and provides for an adequate return on the capital provided by the state authorities. It is therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty, which permits aid intended to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.

    [04] Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner announces assistance of €149 million to Egypt for education, transport and public services and civil society programmes

    The European Commission is now making available a package worth €149 million to Egypt within the 2008 Annual Action Programme under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner made the announcement in the presence of the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population Prof. Dr. Hatem El-Gabaly on the occasion of his visit to Brussels. The focus of the programmes financed under this package will be on education, reforms in the transport sector, improvement of the water and waste water services and support for civil society.

    [05] Commission re-launches Europe Direct information network

    A second generation of the Europe-wide network of Europe Direct information centres for 2009—2012 was launched today. The new network will extend possibilities for citizens to get practical information and advice on exercising rights in the European Union. The general public will be able to turn to one of the 500 information centres to get their specific questions on EU matters answered. The Europe Direct centres will also provide feedback from citizens to the EU institutions, and actively promote local and regional debate on EU topics.

    [06] Toward a visa-free regime between the European Community and Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, Barbados and Seychelles

    Mutual visa-free travel becomes soon a reality between the European Community and Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, Barbados and Seychelles – The Commission approves the draft Council Decisions on the signature and conclusion of short-stay visa waiver agreements with these six countries.

    [07] Industrial production down by 2.6% in euro area

    In December 2008 compared with November 2008, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 2.6% in the euro area (EA15) and by 2.3% in the EU27. In November production decreased by 2.2% in both zones. In December 2008 compared with December 2007, industrial production declined by 12.0% in the euro area and by 11.5% in the EU27. Compared with 2007, the average industrial production index for 2008 fell by 1.7% in the euro area and by 1.6% in the EU27. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

    [08] Commission clears acquisition of BGZ by Rabobank

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Bank Gospodarki Żywno[ciowej S.A. (BGZ) of Poland by Rabobank International Holding B.V. (Rabobank) of The Netherlands. BGZ is currently jointly controlled by Rabobank and the State Treasury of the Republic of Poland. Rabobank is active in retail and corporate banking, financial services and the provision of mortgages. BGZ provides banking services to private individuals, small and medium enterprises and large corporate and government institutions. BGZ specialises in banking services to customers in rural areas and small towns, as well as customers from the agricultural and food-processing sectors. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    Rediffusion

    [09] La Commission européenne appuie la décision de l'Union Africaine mettant en place des sanctions ciblées l'encontre de la junte militaire en Mauritanie

    Le Commissaire européen au Développement et l'Aide humanitaire, Louis Michel, a déclaré: "J'appuie totalement cette décision de l'Union Africaine tout en regrettant qu'on en soit arrivé ce stade. Depuis des mois la communauté internationale demande aux différentes parties en conflit de définir une solution consensuelle que nous pourrions appuyer. Je suis déçu de constater que la junte continue mettre en œuvre sa propre solution entrainant ainsi le pays dans l'isolement international avec des conséquences politique et socio-économiques graves. Je continue croire qu'il existe des possibilités de convergence entre toutes les parties mais ceci nécessite, contrairement ce que l'on constate, un dialogue direct et une volonté de trouver un consensus".

    [10] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Report on Progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism in Bulgaria

    • Memo on Report on Progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism in Romania

    • Speech by Commissioner Dimas 'Will the EU meet its 2010 target? What more needs to be done?', Brussels

    • Opening Remarks by President Barroso at the Joint Press Conference with Czech Prime Minister Topolánek, Brussels From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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