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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 09-02-18

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 18 février 2009 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 18 February 2009

  • [01] Commission assesses Stability and Convergence Programmes of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom
  • [02] Commission assesses Stability and Convergence Programmes of Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Latvia and Malta; presents reports under excessive deficit procedure
  • [03] Setting up of European Asylum Support Office proposed by the Commission
  • [04] Commission outlines policy priorities for 2010
  • [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

  • [05] 116000 EU missing children hotline working in five Member States
  • [06] Construction output down by 2.2% in the euro area
  • [07] Statement by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission on the vote in the Poslanecká snmovna (House of deputies) of the Czech Parliament on the Treaty of Lisbon
  • [08] Assessing the risks in nanotechnology: Commission’s Scientific Committee adopts opinion
  • [09] Le Commissaire l'énergie accueille très favorablement l'inauguration de CORESO
  • [10] Commission clears acquisition of Hitachi Koki by Hitachi
  • [11] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2009-02-18 Reference: MEX/09/0218 Date: 18/02/2009 EXME09 / 18.02

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    18/02/09


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 18 février 2009 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 18 February 2009

    [01] Commission assesses Stability and Convergence Programmes of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom

    Today the European Commission examined the updated Stability and Convergence Programmes of 17 EU countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom (see IP/09/274 for separate programmes). These assessments are seen against the background of a sharp economic slowdown. A majority of the countries concerned (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom) have adopted fiscal stimulus measures in 2009 to cope with the economic crisis, in line with the Economic Recovery Plan proposed by the Commission and endorsed by EU leaders. In the UK, the expansionary measures coupled with the adverse impact of the downturn have significantly weakened the country's budgetary position. Hungary has made considerable progress to put its public finances on a sounder footing and needs to sustain this effort to secure investor confidence. Similarly, in Bulgaria and Estonia, the fiscal policy stance is appropriately geared towards diminishing macro-economic imbalances.

    [02] Commission assesses Stability and Convergence Programmes of Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Latvia and Malta; presents reports under excessive deficit procedure

    Today the European Commission has examined the updated Stability and Convergence Programmes (SCPs) of Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Latvia and Malta. Against the background of the ongoing sharp economic downturn, budgetary positions are estimated to have deteriorated markedly in 2008 and to continue deteriorating in 2009 in Ireland, Spain, France and Latvia. In Spain and France this also reflects significant economic stimulus packages adopted in line with the European Recovery Plan that called for timely, targeted and temporary fiscal measures in Member States with fiscal room for manoeuvre. Ireland and Malta have taken a number of measures to support the economy as part of a broader consolidation effort, which seems adequate in light of the macro-fiscal and competitiveness challenges in these countries. Greece has not adopted fiscal stimulus measures, an adequate posture in view of still positive growth and its high debt and large economic imbalances. Latvia also refrained from adopting short-term fiscal stimulus measures given the need to re-balance its economy and restore investor confidence. As all six countries had a budget deficit of more than 3% in 2008, the Commission also adopted reports under the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. In accordance with Article 104.3 of the Treaty, the reports analyse the reasons for the breach of the 3% reference value, taking due regard of the economic background and other relevant factors. The Commission examined another 11 SCPs today, but in all cases the budgetary position remains within the limits of the Pact (see IP/09/273).

    [03] Setting up of European Asylum Support Office proposed by the Commission

    The Commission today adopted a proposal for a Regulation to establish a European Asylum Support Office. This proposal is presented under the Pact on Immigration and Asylum in response to a request by the European Council. What is proposed is the speedy establishment of an operational agency to coordinate and step up cooperation on asylum between Member States, so helping to harmonise different national practices. The Office will also help to align existing asylum rules in the EU.

    [04] Commission outlines policy priorities for 2010

    The Commission has today presented its Annual Policy Strategy which paves the way for establishing a policy agenda for 2010. While ensuring the continuity of the institution’s strategic planning system, the Annual Policy Strategy takes account of the fact that a new Commission will be in office in 2010. It will be for the next Commission to review the policy priorities at the start of its mandate, and to turn them into an operational programme when it draws up its Work Programme for 2010. The impact of the current financial and economic crisis is likely to be significant both in 2009 and in 2010 and can be expected to remain the focus of the Commission's work.

    [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [05] 116000 EU missing children hotline working in five Member States

    Two years ago, the European Commission reserved 116000 as a common missing children telephone hotline (IP/07/188) for the entire EU and called on Member States to get it up and running. While last year, the 116000 number was only working in Hungary (IP/08/1129), after repeated calls from the Commission, all EU Member States have today made the number publicly available to hotline providers. The number has also been assigned to service providers in nine Member States, compared to seven last year. 116000 is now a working service in five countries (Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania). It will also be functioning soon in two further countries (Belgium and Slovakia). After having closely monitored that 116000 is reserved by EU countries, as required under EU law, the Commission now calls once again on Member States to support and guide would- be 116000 hotline operators so that parents and children can call 116000 when they need it, everywhere in Europe.

    [06] Construction output down by 2.2% in the euro area

    In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 2.2% in the euro area (EA15) and by 1.7% in the EU27 in December 2008, compared with the previous month. In November, construction output decreased by 1.7% and 1.1% respectively. Compared with December 2007, output in December 2008 dropped by 10.1% in the euro area and by 6.7% in the EU27. Compared with 2007, average construction output for 2008 decreased by 2.7% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU27. These first estimates are released by Eurostat.

    [07] Statement by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission on the vote in the Poslanecká snmovna (House of deputies) of the Czech Parliament on the Treaty of Lisbon

    I very much welcome the approval of the Treaty of Lisbon by the lower house of the Czech Parliament earlier today. This is an important signal of the Parliament's commitment to Europe at a time when the Czech Presidency is working with dedication and competence to lead the European Union. I hope that the Treaty will be approved quickly by the Senate so that the ratification process can be finalised.

    [08] Assessing the risks in nanotechnology: Commission’s Scientific Committee adopts opinion

    Today, the Commission’s independent Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) publishes its opinion on the most recent developments in the risk assessment of nanomaterials. The opinion builds on and confirms earlier ones published in 2006 and 2007. In this latest opinion, SCENIHR indicates that methodologies to assess exposure to manufactured nanomaterials to humans and the environment and the identification of potential hazards require further development. For lack of a general approach, SCENIHR maintains its earlier recommendation to perform risk assessment case-by-case for each nanomaterial. The SCENIHR’s opinion, citing a number of laboratory studies, identifies some nanomaterials that present hazards to human health and the environment. In particular, carbon nanotubes that resemble asbestos fibres, would pose the same risk. In addition, some studies illustrate that some nanoparticles (NPs) can penetrate cells, generate free radicals, interact with DNA, and interfere with protein assembly. At present, the Commission has no evidence that these hazards exist outside the laboratory but more research is needed on the risk of nanomaterials used in materials available today. As a response to these important findings, SCENIHR calls for co-ordinated research strategies to address these issues and provide comparable and reliable risk assessment data. SCENIHR also stresses that nanomaterials are similar to chemicals in that some may be toxic and some may not. The SCENHIR opinion contributes to current discussions on several legislative EU proposals dealing with nanomaterials. Furthermore, the Commission is planning to hold a scientific hearing on this SCENHIR opinion. The Commission has been financing research and development projects on nanotechnology since 1998. It will convene the EuroNanoForum 2009 on 2-5 June under the Czech EU Presidency. Concerning risk assessment, the Commission is organizing a meeting to promote information exchange and networking between national risk assessment bodies on 17 March 2009. It will hold the 3rd Nano “Safety for Success” Dialogue on 3-4 November 2009, global conference to review the latest developments in nanotechnology including safety issues. Various actions and events that are being organised on the field make part of the European Action Plan on nanoscience and nanotechnologies (2005-2009). Link to the opinion: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/scenihr_opinions_en.htm#nano">http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/scenihr_opinions_en.htm#nano A layman version of the 2006 opinion is available at: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions2/en/nanotechnologies/index.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions2/en/nanotechnologies/index.htm SANCO website on nanotechnologies: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/nanotechnology/nanotechnology_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/nanotechnology/nanotechnology_en.htm European Action Plan on nanoscience and nanotechnologies: “Nanosciences and nanotechnologies: An action plan for Europe 2005-2009” [COM(2005) 243] <a href="http://cordis.europa.eu/nanotechnology/actionplan.htm">http://cordis.europa.eu/nanotechnology/actionplan.htm

    [09] Le Commissaire l'énergie accueille très favorablement l'inauguration de CORESO

    Andris Piebalgs, Commissaire en charge de l'énergie, a salué l'inauguration, ce jour, de CORESO, le premier centre de coordination technique régional commun, initiative conjointe de RTE et ELIA. Sur la base de l'accord intervenu entre les deux gestionnaires de réseau français et belge le 5 septembre 2008, ce centre développera la gestion prévisionnelle, contribuant ainsi une meilleure surveillance des flux électriques dans la région du centre-ouest européen. National Grid, le GRT britannique, est sur le point de formaliser son entrée au sein de CORESO, alors que Vattenfall Europe Transmission, le GRT allemand, est en phase de prise de participation minoritaire. " Je le dis et redis: cet accord est un exemple concret et important de coopération étroite entre gestionnaires de réseau (GRT). Comme vous le savez, le renforcement de la coopération entre GRT constitue l'une des pierres angulaires du troisième paquet "marché intérieur de l'énergie". Je suis également convaincu que le pas franchi aujourd'hui va dans le sens d'une sécurité énergétique accrue dans cette région et dans l'UE. Je souhaite que cet accord soit suivi d'autres initiatives de ce type dans le reste de l'Europe".

    [10] Commission clears acquisition of Hitachi Koki by Hitachi

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Hitachi Koki Co., Ltd. of Japan by Hitachi, Ltd. of Japan, part of the Hitachi Group. Hitachi is active in information and telecommunications systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, digital media and consumer products, high functional material and components, logistics and financial services. Hitachi Koki manufactures power-driven tools and life science instruments. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [11] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo sur La Commission adopte une proposition de règlement visant la création du Bureau européen d'appui en matière d'asile

    • Memo on Energy Council - Brussels, 19 February 2009

    • Speech by Commissioner Hübner 'Networking for Results', Brussels

    • Speech by Vice-President Verheugen at the ECSA-EMEC 2009 Reception on European Shipbuilding, Brussels

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    EDF / EnBW / ERSA

    EDF / EnBW / Kogeneracja

    Lagardere / Sumitomo / HFG From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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