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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-05-08

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] G8 employment ministers meet to strengthen social dimensions of globalisation
  • [02] Commission launches a second edition of the young translators' contest
  • [03] Consumers: 50% of misleading airline websites corrected
  • [04] Commission launches public consultation on medical devices
  • [05] Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to visit Ecuador on 10-12 May
  • [06] Six of the best: European cultural heritage projects
  • [07] «L'Europe se rapproche des citoyens»: visite de fonctionnaires de l'UE chargés de la coopération au développement dans des établissements scolaires l'occasion de la journée de l'Europe
  • [08] The Tempus Programme: modernising higher education in the EU's neighbouring countries
  • [09] L'UE27 a consacré 27,2% du PIB la protection sociale - les dépenses par habitant sont les plus élevées au Luxembourg, au Danemark et en Suède
  • [10] The European market economy through statistics
  • [11] Commission welcomes pioneering move to halt destructive fishing practices in northwest Atlantic
  • [12] Commission recommends abrogation of excessive deficit procedure for Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
  • [13] Commission assesses readiness of 10 EU countries to adopt the euro; proposes Slovakia joins euro area in 2009
  • [14] 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union: a resounding success but testing times ahead
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-05-08 Reference: MEX/08/0508 Date: 08/05/2008 EXME08 / 08.05

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    08/05/08


  • [01] G8 employment ministers meet to strengthen social dimensions of globalisation

    European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimír `pidla will this weekend represent the EU at a high level meeting of employment and labour ministers from the world's eight largest economies. The special G8 meeting on employment in Niigata, Japan, will focus on labour market reform, addressing growing social disparities, the social dimension of globalisation and of environmental challenges like climate change. The conclusions of the meeting will feed into the main G8 Summit taking place in Hokkaido Toyako in July.

    [02] Commission launches a second edition of the young translators' contest

    EU Member States' school students can try their hand at translation in the second edition of "Juvenes Translatores" (young translators) contest that the Commission launches today. Encouraged by the enthusiasm of, and positive feedback from the participants in the first contest, organised in 2007–2008, the Commission decided to organise it again. All EU schools will be invited to register between 1 September and 20 October 2008 for a contest to be held on 27 November 2008.

    [03] Consumers: 50% of misleading airline websites corrected

    EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today published the mid term report on an EU wide enforcement investigation - involving 15 EU national authorities as well as Norway – against misleading advertising and unfair practices on airline ticket selling websites. The report shows that there are "serious and persistent consumer problems" throughout the airline industry as a whole. 1 in 3 websites surveyed (137 out of 386 originally checked by the 13 reporting countries) have had to be followed up with enforcement action over the last 7 months for breaches of EU consumer law. Over 50% of those websites have been corrected during this time.

    [04] Commission launches public consultation on medical devices

    Today the European Commission has launched a public consultation with the aim to modernise and simplify the legislation on medical devices. Since the nineties the safety of medical devices in Europe has been guarded by a series of medical devices Directives. Their introduction also contributed to free trade, innovation and competitiveness within Europe. However, in recent years a number of drivers have come into play that require a revisit of this legislation. Experience indicates that the current system does not always offer a uniform level of protection of public health in the European Union. New and emerging technologies present new challenges to the current framework, highlighting gaps and pointing to a certain scarcity of expertise. In addition, in recognition that the medical devices market is a global one, to keep European industry competitive, the Community regime needs to further converge on globally applied rules. And finally, the legal framework has been criticised as being too fragmented and difficult to follow and fraught with national variation. This situation has motivated the Commission to consider a revision of the legal framework in order to meet the growing expectations from European citizens.

    [05] Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to visit Ecuador on 10-12 May

    Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commission for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, will make her first official visit to Ecuador on 10 and 12 May. During her visit she will meet the Ecuadorian President, the Minister of External Relations, the President of the Constitutional Assembly and representatives from the business world to discuss EU-Ecuador relations, the situation of the region and the negotiations under way for an Association Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community of which Ecuador forms part. This visit will take place only weeks after the 3rd round of negotiations for an EU-Andean Community Association Agreement held in Quito, and on the eve of the meeting to be held between the EU Heads of State and Government and the Latin American and Caribbean countries in Lima on 16-17 May.

    [06] Six of the best: European cultural heritage projects

    The six winners of the 2008 "European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards" are outstanding projects in the Czech Republic, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Romania. The prizes announced today serve as recognition of exceptional conservation, research and education efforts and are each worth € 10 000. The prizes are awarded jointly by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, the pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage. They will be presented at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 12 June 2008 in Durham Cathedral in the United Kingdom.

    [07] «L'Europe se rapproche des citoyens»: visite de fonctionnaires de l'UE chargés de la coopération au développement dans des établissements scolaires l'occasion de la journée de l'Europe

    Le 9 mai, aux quatre coins de l'Europe, des élèves pourront s'entretenir avec des «ambassadeurs» de la Commission européenne du rôle que joue l'Union européenne dans le monde. En se rendant dans les établissements scolaires pour aller la rencontre des élèves européens (des jeunes de 13 18 ans) et écouter ce qu'ils ont dire, ces «ambassadeurs» de la Commission encourageront un débat sur l'engagement de l'Union européenne en faveur de la solidarité. Cette «Journée de l'Europe dans les écoles», organisée en collaboration avec les autorités régionales, vise sensibiliser les jeunes aux actions menées par l'UE pour lutter contre la pauvreté dans le monde. Le commissaire chargé du développement et de l'aide humanitaire, M. Louis Michel, participera cette initiative et rencontrera des élèves en Belgique.

    [08] The Tempus Programme: modernising higher education in the EU's neighbouring countries

    The European Commission has launched the fourth phase of the Tempus programme, which supports the modernisation of higher education in the 28 partner countries of Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. A conference held in Cairo, Egypt, on 7-8 May 2008 will concentrate on the issue of quality and the experience of the Tempus programme in this field since its beginnings in 1990. The conference will also serve as a platform for dialogue between academics, experts and students from the 27 EU Member States and 28 Tempus partner countries.

    [09] L'UE27 a consacré 27,2% du PIB la protection sociale - les dépenses par habitant sont les plus élevées au Luxembourg, au Danemark et en Suède

    Dans l'UE27, les dépenses de protection sociale représentaient 27,2% du PIB en 2005. Dans l'UE25, ce taux était de 27,4% en 2005, contre 27,3% en 2004 et 27,4% en 2003. La moyenne de l'UE27 continuait de masquer de fortes disparités d'un État membre l'autre. En 2005, la part des dépenses de protection sociale dans le PIB dépassait 30% en Suède (32,0%), en France (31,5%) et au Danemark (30,1%) et était inférieure 15% en Lettonie (12, 4%), en Estonie (12,5%), en Lituanie (13,2%) et en Roumanie (14,2%). Ces informations proviennent d'un rapport publié par Eurostat.

    [10] The European market economy through statistics

    The pocketbook Key figures on European business, published by Eurostat summarises the main features of European business in a concise and simple manner. The publication consists of fourteen short chapters, focusing on particular aspects of the European business economy; from the size and structure of business sectors to the importance of foreign controlled enterprises. This edition includes a special feature on the factors of business success, which presents an analysis of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs for 15 Member States. The special feature gives an insight into the issues that determine the success and growth of newly born enterprises, as well as the motivation of entrepreneurs and the difficulties they face.

    [11] Commission welcomes pioneering move to halt destructive fishing practices in northwest Atlantic

    The European Commission has applauded the pioneering decision to prevent damage to vulnerable marine ecosystems which emerged yesterday from the extraordinary meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO). Meeting in Montreal, Canada, NAFO responded positively to the international call of the United Nation General Assembly for Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) to take measures to prevent significant adverse environmental impacts resulting from bottom fishing activities. The NAFO decision was based on a detailed proposal from the European Union, supplemented by provisions tabled by Canada. The decision is especially significant since bottom-fishing activities are overwhelmingly predominant in the NAFO area. The provisions adopted will lead to the detailed mapping of the fishing grounds in the NAFO area and an assessment of the impact of current and new fishing on vulnerable marine ecosystems. In addition, procedures have been agreed to ensure that the risk of encountering vulnerable marine ecosystems in new fisheries are minimised. With the adoption of this measure, the Commission is confident that the obligations and deadlines laid down in the December 2006 UN Resolution have been met. The Commission also believes that this initiative sets an excellent precedent for other RFMOs, such as the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), which are due to examine this issue shortly.

    Rediffusion

    [12] Commission recommends abrogation of excessive deficit procedure for Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

    The European Commission today recommended that the Council abrogates the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) for Italy and Portugal since their budget deficit fell below 3% of GDP in 2007 and is projected to remain below this ceiling also in 2008 and 2009. This means that for the first time since 2002 not a single euro-area Member State is subject to the close surveillance of its public finances provided for in the 'corrective arm' of the Stability and Growth Pact. Today, the Commission concluded that the conditions were also met to close the EDP procedures concerning the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which in the latter case also clears a hurdle for adopting the euro (see separate press release IP/08/715). Assuming the Council endorses the recommendations, only two countries will be left in EDP (Poland[1] and Hungary), compared with 12 in spring 2006 – the most ever to be simultaneously in EDP.

    [13] Commission assesses readiness of 10 EU countries to adopt the euro; proposes Slovakia joins euro area in 2009

    The European Commission today concluded that Slovakia meets the criteria for adopting the euro and made a proposal to the Council to this effect. The regular Convergence Report on euro readiness, adopted by the Commission, shows that the other nine countries with a so-called 'derogation' have made progress on the road to the single currency, but do not yet meet all the conditions for euro adoption. The Council of EU finance ministers (ECOFIN) will take the final decision on the adoption of the euro in Slovakia in July, after Parliament has given its opinion and EU heads of state and government have discussed the subject at their summit meeting in June.

    [14] 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union: a resounding success but testing times ahead

    The euro is a resounding success. The protection provided by an international currency with a market of nearly 320 million people, supported by sound public finances and stable macroeconomic policies, is particularly welcome in these times of uncertainty and worrying increases in the prices of energy and food. But as we complete 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), we must acknowledge that there is still work to be done. The euro area’s governance and coordination of economic policies must be improved. This will involve both deepening and broadening economic surveillance arrangements to guide fiscal policy over the cycle and in the long term and, at the same time, address divergences in growth, inflation and competitiveness. We also need to better project our voice in the global arena, to reflect the euro’s weight as an international currency used well beyond its borders. Only then will the benefits of the single currency become fully apparent to the citizens of the euro area.

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Airline Ticket selling website – EU Enforcement Results. Questions and Answers

    • Memo on Frequently asked questions about the Tempus Programme

    • Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel 'The future of the sugar industry in Europe', Copenhagen - EMBARGO 1.15 p.m. -

    • Calendrier hebdomadaire du 12 au 18 mai 2008

    • Top News from the European Commission

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Eurogate/ APMM From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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