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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 09-02-16

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] "RegioStars Awards" for Europe's most innovative regional projects
  • [02] EU Member States on course for analogue terrestrial TV switch-off
  • [03] Ouverture des «débats de Bruxelles» dans le cadre de l’Année européenne de la créativité et de l’innovation 2009 (AECI 2009)
  • [04] Erasmus Mundus s’ouvre un public toujours plus large
  • [05] Education and care for young children: how European countries face today's challenges
  • [06] La Commission entame des consultations sur un éventuel statut de la fondation européenne
  • [07] Regional unemployment rates in the EU27 ranged from 2.1% to 25.2% in 2007
  • [08] Commission clears acquisition of Itínere Infraestructuras by Citi Infrastructure Partners
  • [09] Commission discusses with experts support measures for the European car industry
  • [10] Commissioner Dimas marks Kyoto anniversary with call for global action
  • [11] EU seeks UNEP decision to start negotiation process on a binding international agreement on mercury
  • [12] Schools in Europe achieve creativity and innovation through eTwinning online projects
  • [13] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2009-02-16 Reference: MEX/09/0216 Date: 16/02/2009 EXME09 / 16.02

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    16/02/09


  • [01] "RegioStars Awards" for Europe's most innovative regional projects

    Tonight Wallonia, Wales, Réunion Island, North Rhine-Westphalia and Greece take centre stage in Europe as winners of the 2009 RegioStars Awards. Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and the President of the RegioStars Jury, Mr Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, will award prizes to the most innovative projects which have been supported by European Cohesion Policy. The Awards take place during a two-day conference in Brussels entitled “Regions for Economic Change – Networking for Results” (<a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/259&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=enhttp://europa.eu/rapid/setlanguage.do?language=en">IP/09/259). EMBARGO 20h00 CET

    [02] EU Member States on course for analogue terrestrial TV switch-off

    Europe is leading the world in switching from analogue to digital television. The European Commission is driving a coordinated approach to the freeing up and future use of the radio spectrum because it wants to ensure that EU citizens can enjoy the benefits of digital television, including a growing range of interactive TV services (such as high definition TV or video on demand), available on multiple transmission platforms including terrestrial, cable, satellite, TV on internet and mobile TV networks. For that to happen, Member States are gradually closing down spectrum-hungry analogue transmissions and moving to digital broadcasting. Overall, the switch-off of analogue terrestrial TV transmission in Europe is well on track. Switch-off has already been completed in five Member States (Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and The Netherlands) and by 2010 the process should be well advanced in the whole EU. The 2012 EU target for switch-off is expected to be met by almost all Member States.

    [03] Ouverture des «débats de Bruxelles» dans le cadre de l’Année européenne de la créativité et de l’innovation 2009 (AECI 2009)

    «Stimuler l'économie européenne de la connaissance», tel est le thème du premier débat organisé Bruxelles l’occasion de l’Année européenne de la créativité et de l’innovation 2009. Les questions abordées porteront sur la société de la connaissance et sur la manière de canaliser le potentiel créatif de l’Europe afin de concevoir des solutions, des produits et des services innovants capables de soutenir la croissance économique. Une attention particulière sera accordée au tout nouvel Institut européen d'innovation et de technologie (IET).

    [04] Erasmus Mundus s’ouvre un public toujours plus large

    Erasmus Mundus – le programme européen de coopération et de mobilité dont la vocation est de renforcer l’excellence et l’attractivité de l’enseignement supérieur européen dans le monde et de favoriser la coopération avec les pays tiers – entre dans une nouvelle phase, doté d’un budget en nette hausse et d’un champ d’application élargi.

    [05] Education and care for young children: how European countries face today's challenges

    The European Commission today presented a new study on early childhood education and care in Europe, and on what measures are taken to favour participation of the most disadvantaged social groups. Examining national policies in 30 countries, the study explores how early childhood education and care is organised in Europe, what the benefits of the different systems are, and what is needed to provide effective education and care to the youngest.

    [06] La Commission entame des consultations sur un éventuel statut de la fondation européenne

    La Commission européenne a lancé une consultation publique sur les difficultés que rencontrent les fondations qui ont des activités l'étranger, sur le contenu d'un éventuel statut de la fondation européenne et sur la manière dont un tel statut pourrait influer sur le comportement des donateurs et des fondateurs. La consultation est liée une étude de faisabilité publiée au même moment par la Commission. Les réponses seront prises en compte pour apprécier la nécessité d'établir un statut et évaluer ses incidences. Les réponses sont attendues d'ici le 15 mai 2009.

    [07] Regional unemployment rates in the EU27 ranged from 2.1% to 25.2% in 2007

    Regional unemployment rates varied widely across the EU27 in 2007, from 2.1% in the region of Zeeland in the Netherlands, to 25.2% in Réunion, a French Overseas Department. Of the 263 NUTS 2 regions of the EU27 for which data are available, 28 had an unemployment rate of 3.5% or less in 2007, half the average for the EU27. They included eight regions in the Netherlands, seven in Italy, five in the United Kingdom, three each in the Czech Republic and Austria and two regions in Belgium. At the other extreme, 14 regions had a rate of 14.2% or higher, double that of the EU27: five regions in Germany, four in France (all of the Overseas Departments), two each in Spain and Slovakia and one region in Belgium. The data on regional unemployment, compiled on the basis of the EU Labour Force Survey, are taken from a report3 published by Eurostat. This report contains further analysis of unemployment rates in the EU regions.

    [08] Commission clears acquisition of Itínere Infraestructuras by Citi Infrastructure Partners

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Itínere Infraestructuras S.A. of Spain by Citi Infrastructure Partners, L.P., belonging to Citigroup of the US. Citi Infrastructure Partners, L.P. is a venture capital fund focusing on infrastructure. Itínere Infraestructuras S.A. is active in infrastructure concessions. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [09] Commission discusses with experts support measures for the European car industry

    Upon invitation of the Commission experts from the Member States and representatives of the automotive industry today discuss support measures for the car-sector. As the situation of the European automobile industry is severely hit by the financial crisis, many Member States have introduced or plan to introduce scrapping schemes for vehicles. However, such support measures need to be effective and coordinated within the EU. The Commission offers guidance and provides a platform for the exchange of views on the advantages and challenges for the scrapping schemes for cars. Moreover the Commission informed about available support to sustain employment in the car industry and to facilitate restructuring. More information on EU car policy: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/automotive/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/automotive/index_en.htm

    [10] Commissioner Dimas marks Kyoto anniversary with call for global action

    European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, marking tomorrow's fourth anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force, called on the international community to follow the EU in committing to take serious action to cut greenhouse gases. "The European Union is on track to achieve its Kyoto target for 2012, but the speed of climate change means Kyoto must now be followed by a much bolder global agreement," Commissioner Dimas said. "The EU is committed to cutting emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 if other developed countries commit to comparable reductions and developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and capabilities. It is time for our international partners to follow our lead so that negotiations on the new global agreement can shift into top gear." The new agreement, which will take over from Kyoto in 2013, is due to be concluded at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. The next round of negotiations will take place at the end of March in Bonn. The Commission's most recent progress report, based on projections by member states, shows the EU-15 will achieve its 8% Kyoto emissions reduction commitment (<a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1534&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1534). By 2006, EU-15 emissions were 2.7% below the levels in member states' chosen base years (1990 in most cases). The latest emissions data, for 2007, will be published in late spring. The Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997 and came into force on 16 February 2005. In requiring developed countries to reduce their emissions by an average of 5.2% between 1990 and 2012, and by creating market-based mechanisms to help them do so at least cost, the Protocol represents a crucial first step towards limiting world emissions of greenhouse gases. The Copenhagen agreement will have to be far more ambitious, however. The latest scientific evidence shows global emissions will need to stabilised by 2020 and then at least halved from 1990 levels by 2050 to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels. The Commission set out its vision for the Copenhagen agreement in a Communication on 28 January (<a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/141&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/09/141).

    [11] EU seeks UNEP decision to start negotiation process on a binding international agreement on mercury

    The European Union is calling on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council to start the negotiation process on an international legal agreement on mercury, at its meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, this week (16-20 February). The EU strongly favours legally binding measures to regulate the toxic metal, which poses a major threat to humans, animals and ecosystems. The agreement would address the whole life cycle of mercury and could be designed to allow other substances to be covered in the future, once they have been recognised as being of global concern. Since the UNEP Governing Council called for a reduction of mercury releases in 2003, many measures have been undertaken worldwide, mainly on a voluntary basis. European environment ministers, however, believe that voluntary initiatives alone will not be enough. The EU has made considerable progress in addressing the global challenges of mercury since it launched the EU mercury strategy in 2005. This has resulted in restrictions on the sale of measuring devices containing mercury, a ban on exports of mercury from the EU that will come into force in 2011, and new rules on safe storage. The EU is also seeking a decision from the Governing Council on the process to strengthen the science-base for policy making on biodiversity and ecosystem services. This includes the consideration of an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The Global Ministerial Environment Forum, associated with the Governing Council meeting, will discuss theses issues, as well as the environmental implications of the current global crises and ways forward in the debate on international environmental governance. <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/mercury/index.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/mercury/index.htm

    Rediffusion

    [12] Schools in Europe achieve creativity and innovation through eTwinning online projects

    eTwinning is an EU initiative to encourage schools to network with each other over the internet. With around 50,000 registered users across Europe, increasing numbers of teachers in Europe have proven that they are finding new ways to develop and innovate teaching and learning. At this year's annual eTwinning onference in Prague on 13-15 February, the European Commission is awarding prizes to ten outstanding eTwinning school projects.

    [13] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Telecoms Ministerial in Prague: "Next Steps in EU Telecoms"

    • Memo on Early childhood education and care in Europe: tackling social and cultural inequalities

    • Memo on State aid: Overview of national measures adopted as a response to the financial and economic crisis From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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