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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 09-03-13

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 calls for doubling funding for ICT research and innovation
  • [02] Environment: Official launch of EU guide to the sustainable hunting of wild birds
  • [03] Aides d'Etat: la Commission ouvre une enquête approfondie concernant la restructuration de Dexia; autorise certaines mesures urgentes
  • [04] State aid: Commission approves Portuguese state guarantee for €450 million loan to Banco Privado Português
  • [05] Greening buses and trucks! Commission's research centre opens new CO2 emissions testing laboratory
  • [06] Euro area labour costs rose by 3.8%
  • [07] Volume of retail trade up by 0.1% in euro area
  • [08] Commission supplies Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine to Iraq
  • [09] Commissioner Dimas and EU 'troika' to hold climate talks in Washington
  • [10] Neelie Kroes, Commissaire la concurrence: "La politique de la concurrence est au cœur de l'économie : elle doit être au cœur de la relance"
  • [11] Commission clears acquisition of Torre by Fortress and Unicredit
  • [12] Commission clears acquisition of Dexia-Komm by Dexia Group
  • [13] Commission clears acquisition of CNP Unicredit Life by CNP Assurances
  • [14] Informal meeting with EU ministers on the situation of GM
  • [15] Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Ciba by BASF, subject to conditions
  • [16] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2009-03-13 Reference: MEX/09/0313 Date: 13/03/2009 EXME09 / 13.03

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    13/03/09


  • [01] Commission calls for doubling funding for ICT research and innovation

    Making Europe the world leader in ICT is the goal of the new strategy proposed today by the European Commission. Today Europe represents 34% of the global information and communication technologies (ICT) market, and its value is growing by 4% per year. However, the value added produced by the EU's ICT sector amounts to only 23% of the total, because both Europe's market and research efforts are fragmented. As a result, Europe is lagging behind its global competitors in ICT research and in the production of innovative ICT-based products and services. The strategy proposed calls on Member States and industry to pool resources and work together more in ICT research and innovation. The strategy also proposes showcase ICT innovation projects to deliver modern services infrastructures in areas like healthcare and energy efficiency.

    [02] Environment: Official launch of EU guide to the sustainable hunting of wild birds

    On Monday the European Commission will officially launch a guide on the hunting of wild birds to ensure the activity is carried out in accordance with EU nature legislation. It aims to clarify the hunting requirements of the EU's oldest nature law, the Wild Birds Directive, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on the 2nd of April 2009. This is one of the key tools in helping achieve the EU's objective of halting biodiversity loss. The guide on sustainable hunting be launched at an official ceremony in Paris by the French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo and the Director-General of the Commission's Directorate-General for Environment, Karl Falkenberg.

    [03] Aides d'Etat: la Commission ouvre une enquête approfondie concernant la restructuration de Dexia; autorise certaines mesures urgentes

    La Commission Européenne a ouvert, en vertu des règles du traité CE sur les aides d'état, une enquête approfondie pour s'assurer que le plan de restructuration du groupe bancaire Dexia permettra de restaurer la viabilité long terme du groupe. Ce plan est accompagné d’une recapitalisation de €6,4 milliards, annoncée en septembre 2008, et du maintien d’une garantie jusqu’ €150 milliards octroyée conjointement par la Belgique, la France et le Luxembourg, Cette dernière a déj été approuvée en tant que aide au sauvetage par décision du 19 novembre 2008 (voir <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1745&format=HTML&aged=0&language=FR&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1745). En parallèle, la Commission a autorisé une garantie des États belges et français sur un portefeuille d‘actifs pour un montant global de USD 16,9 milliards, mesure jugée indispensable pour permettre la vente de FSA, filiale américaine de Dexia, qui est une condition nécessaire pour un retour la viabilité de la banque. Conformément la décision du 19 novembre 2008, les États membres ont notifié la Commission un plan de restructuration de la banque. L'ouverture d'une enquête approfondie donne aux parties intéressées la possibilité de présenter leurs observations sur la mesure envisagée. Elle ne préjuge pas de l'issue de la procédure, et les mesures approuvées en tant que aides aux sauvetages restent valides pendant la période d’examen du plan.

    [04] State aid: Commission approves Portuguese state guarantee for €450 million loan to Banco Privado Português

    The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a state guarantee underwriting a €450 million loan granted to Banco Privado Português by six Portuguese banks. The Commission found the temporary rescue measure to be in line with its Guidance Communication 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=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1495). In particular, the measure is necessary to remedy the severe liquidity problems of Banco Privado Português and to preserve confidence in the financial markets, and is limited to the minimum required to achieve this objective. The Commission has therefore concluded that the measure can be authorised because it is an adequate means to remedy a serious disturbance of the Portuguese economy and as such is in line with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty.

    [05] Greening buses and trucks! Commission's research centre opens new CO2 emissions testing laboratory

    Today European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, opens a new facility for testing fuel consumption and emissions of trucks and buses. The new installation, "VELA 7" at the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Northern Italy), realistically simulates wind drag, tyre/road friction and full drive cycles for real-life articulated lorries of up to 40 tonnes or 12m long buses. It comes at a crucial time since implementation guidelines for new emission standards, notably the Euro VI regarding heavy duty vehicles, must be defined by 1st April 2010.

    [06] Euro area labour costs rose by 3.8%

    Total hourly labour costs in the euro area (EA15) rose by 3.8% in nominal terms in the year up to the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 4.2% for the previous quarter. In the EU27, the annual rise was 4.6% up to the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 4.2% for the previous quarter. The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages & salaries grew by 3.9% in the year up to the fourth quarter of 2008, and non-wage costs by 3.6%, compared with 4.2% and 4.3% respectively for the third quarter of 2008. In the EU27, wages & salaries rose by 4.7% and the non-wage component by 4.2%. For the previous quarter the corresponding rates were 4.3% and 4.1%. The breakdown by economic activity shows that in the euro area hourly labour costs rose at an annual rate of 5.4% in industry, 5.1% in construction and 2.6% in services up to the fourth quarter of 2008. In the EU27, labour costs grew by 6.0% in industry, 5.1% in construction and 3.8% in services. These figures come from Eurostat.

    [07] Volume of retail trade up by 0.1% in euro area

    In January 2009, compared with December 2008, the volume of retail trade rose by 0.1% in the euro area (EA16) and by 0.6% in the EU27. In December retail trade fell by 0.3% and 0.2% respectively. In January 2009, compared with January 2008, the retail sales index decreased by 2.2% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU27. These first estimates come from Eurostat.

    [08] Commission supplies Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine to Iraq

    A consignment of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine has been sent by the European Commission to Iraq, as a contribution towards the vaccination campaign against the disease in the Eastern part of the country. The consignment consists of 500,000 doses of FMD vaccine, formulated from the stocks stored in the premises of the European Community antigen bank by Merial S.A.S. at the request of the Commission. The vaccines are due to arrive in Iraq on 16 March 2009. FMD is a disease of ruminants and other cloven-hoofed animals that is endemic in large parts of Iraq, where a new epidemic wave has started in 2009. In Iraq, vaccination is the disease control measure which can best protect animals against infection from the FMD virus. The Commission received a request by Iraq, through the FAO-based European Commission for the Control of FMD (EuFMD), to provide support for an emergency vaccination campaign against FMD, to be carried out to control the current outbreaks in the East of the country. The vaccination campaign will be monitored by EUFMD and the Commission will continue to assist Iraq in its efforts to eradicate this disease that may also pose a threat to the EU. For more information, see: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/fmd_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/fmd_en.htm

    [09] Commissioner Dimas and EU 'troika' to hold climate talks in Washington

    Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas is in Washington for talks with the new U.S. administration, members of Congress and environmental groups on climate change. Commissioner Dimas will hold an informal meeting with eight U.S. non-governmental environmental groups today (13 March) and then continue the visit on Monday and Tuesday (16-17 March) with the other members of the EU environment 'troika', Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursik and his Swedish counterpart Andreas Carlgren, who are respectively the current and next presidents of the EU Council of environment ministers. The visit will focus on prospects for concluding an ambitious global climate change agreement at the UN climate conference to be held in Copenhagen in December. The troika will hold talks with Todd Stern, US Special Envoy on climate change, Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Carol Browner, Assistant to President Obama for energy and climate change, and Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Commissioner Dimas and Ministers Bursik and Carlgren will also speak at two seminars on climate change organised by the Brookings Institute/Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The troika will hold a press conference at the European Commission's Washington delegation offices at 13.30 on 17 March.

    [10] Neelie Kroes, Commissaire la concurrence: "La politique de la concurrence est au cœur de l'économie : elle doit être au cœur de la relance"

    La politique de la concurrence est un des facteurs clé du succès du marché unique, que nous avons construit depuis 50 ans a souligné Neelie Kroes lors d’une conférence donnée aujourd’hui au Cercle des Européens, Paris, et la Commission Européenne joue pleinement son rôle dans la relance de l’économie. «La politique de la concurrence est au coeur de l’économie: elle doit être au coeur de la relance», Mme Kroes a affirméDans le secteur financier, «plus de 50 décisions touchant la crise bancaire ont été adoptées depuis octobre 2008». La Commission a récemment adopté des lignes de conduites pour le traitement des actifs dépréciés. Deuxième volet de l’intervention de la Commission : l'économie réelle. « Dès décembre 2008, nous avons mis en place un dispositif temporaire de contrôle des aides d’Etat : les Etats-Membres en ont déj fait largement usage pour réinjecter de l’argent frais dans leur économie », a indiqué Mme Kroes. Avec la garantie de ne pas présenter d’obligation de nature protectionniste, le plan automobile français en a bénéficié également. La Commissaire européenne a néanmoins souligné qu’il n’était « plus question d’investir l’argent public fond perdus, sans évaluation ou retour sur investissement. C’est l une avancée majeure » due la réforme de la politique en matière de contrôle des aides d’Etat. « Mieux vaux préparer la relance en misant dès maintenant sur les activités d’avenir plutôt que de maintenir en l’état les modèles d'entreprises du passé qui ont échoué », a déclaré Neelie Kroes. Elle a en outre cité plusieurs exemples de projets d’investissement accueillis positivement la Commission : les aides pour l'environnement, la formation des travailleurs, l’investissement des PME, l'entreprenariat féminin, les développements des régions en difficulté ou la recherche, le développement et l’innovation. « Nous avons les cartes en main pour reconstruire une économie performante, durable et responsable », a conclu la Commissaire. Voir SPEECH/09/113.

    [11] Commission clears acquisition of Torre by Fortress and Unicredit

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Torre SGR S.p.A. (Torre) of Italy by Fortezza RE S.ar.l. of Luxembourg, belonging to the Fortress Investment Group LLC (Fortress) of the US, and Pioneer Investment Management S.G.R.p.A. (Pioneer) of Italy, belonging to the Unicredit Group. Fortress is a US-based global alternative investment and asset management firm, which manages capital for a diverse group of investors including pension funds, endowments and financial institutions. Pioneer is a global investment manager, offering mainly mutual funds and hedge funds to its clients. Unicredit is an international bank based in Italy. It offers a wide range of banking and financial services, including retail and corporate banking services, as well as investment banking and asset management services. Torre is an Italian asset management company, operating in the creation and management of real estate financial products in Italy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [12] Commission clears acquisition of Dexia-Komm by Dexia Group

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Dexia Kommunalkredit Bank AG (Dexia-Komm) of Austria by Dexia Crédit Local (Dexia CL) of France, belonging to the Belgian Dexia Group. Dexia Komm is active in public finance services, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe. Dexia Group provides financial services worldwide. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [13] Commission clears acquisition of CNP Unicredit Life by CNP Assurances

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of CNP Unicredit Life, Ltd. of Ireland by CNP Assurances S.A. of France. CNP Assurances provides life and non-life insurance products in a number of countries including France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. CNP Unicredit Life provides life insurance in Italy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [14] Informal meeting with EU ministers on the situation of GM

    The Vice-President of the European Commission G. Verheugen and his colleagues N. Kroes and V. Spidla will meet this afternoon at 5 pm in the premises of the BERLAYMONT building with ministers in charge of the automotive industry and with representatives of General Motors. They will discuss the situation of General Motors, in particular its European branch, bearing in mind the primary entrepreneurial responsibility in a social market economy. The meeting is a follow up to last week's Competitiveness Council, where the situation of the European automotive industry has been discussed and where it was agreed that the situation of General Motors in Europe merits special attention of all Member States. The EU ministers had already in January committed to closely cooperate and to ensure a transparent and coherent approach when dealing with the crisis in the automotive sector. The objective of the meeting is: to make sure that all Member States and the Commission are of the same level of information, to allow a direct and coordinated exchange of views with General Motors and to confirm that Member States will not take national measures without prior information and coordination with other involved countries and that the internal market has to be protected. General Motors will be represented by the Chief Operating Officer of GM, Detroit, Mr. Fritz Henderson and Mr. Carl Peter Forster, CEO of GM Europe, Zürich. Following current information, 10 countries (AT, BE, CZ, DE, HU, LU, PT, RO, SE, UK) will be represented at ministerial level.

    Rediffusion

    [15] Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Ciba by BASF, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Ciba of Switzerland by BASF SE of Germany, both active in the chemicals industry. To remedy competition concerns the Commission had in relation to a number of specialty chemical products, used inter alia in the paper, dyestuffs, plastics and skin care sectors, BASF offered undertakings to divest activities in the sectors in question. In the light of these commitments, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

    [16] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Discours de la commissaire Kroes 'Politique de la concurrence – au cœur de la relance économique', Paris

    • Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel 'Building on the habit of quality', Prague

    • Speech by Vice-President Wallström 'Cashman report on Public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents', Strasbourg

    • Calendrier hebdomadaire du 16 au 22 mars

    • Top News from the European Commission

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    ENEL/ Endesa From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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