Archive pour mai 2010

Climate change: Commission invites to an informed debate on the impacts of the move to 30% EU greenhouse gas emissions cut if and when the conditions are met

Jeudi 27 mai 2010

The European Commission today presented an analysis of the costs, benefits and options for moving beyond the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020 from 20% below 1990 levels to 30% once the conditions are met. At present these conditions have not been met.

This communication follows the Commission’s Communication on How to reinvigorate international climate negotiations and the Council’s request to present an assessment on the impacts of a conditional move to a 30% emissions cut. The measures taken to support energy-intensive industries against the risk of carbon leakage are also examined as required under the ETS (Emissions Trading System) Directive. The Communication shows that the reduction in EU emissions as a consequence of the economic crisis, together with a drop in carbon prices, has changed the estimations two years ago when the revised ETS was presented. Therefore in light of the new data, an analysis of the implications of the different levels of ambition as a motor for modernising the EU economy and creating new jobs by promoting innovation in low-carbon technologies is provided. This analysis encompasses the efforts required in the main different sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 20%, up to 30%, looking also at the impacts of these efforts and the potential policy options to achieve them. The current context of constrained public finances and economic contraction is also fully taken into account when assessing possible alternatives.

For Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, whether to increase the reduction target for 2020 from 20% to 30% is a political decision for the EU leaders to take when the timing and the conditions are right. Obviously the immediate political priority is to handle the crisis. But as we exit the crisis, the Commission has now provided input for a fact-based discussion. The decision is not for now, but she hopes that the analysis will inspire the debate in the Member States on the way forward.

Cost of meeting targets

Since 2008 the absolute costs of meeting the 20% target have decreased from €70 billion to €48 billion (0.32% of GDP) per year by 2020. This is due to several factors: lower economic growth has reduced emissions; higher energy prices have spurred energy efficiency and reduced energy demand; and the carbon price has fell below the level projected in 2008 as EU ETS allowances not used in the recession are carried forward. However, at the same time, this reduction in absolute costs comes in the context of a crisis which has left businesses with much less capacity to find the investment needed to modernise in the short run.

Since 20071 the EU is committed to move to a 30% emissions cut by 2020 if other major economies take on their fair share of the effort under a global climate change agreement. The cost of reaching the 30% target is now estimated at €81 billion per year by 2020, €11 billion higher that the price tag for the 20% target two years ago. The 30% target would cost €33 billion (0.2% of GDP) more than the 20% target is estimated to cost today.

Low-carbon growth

Countries worldwide are recognising the potential of green, low-carbon growth to create new sustainable jobs and strengthen energy security. Europe’s lead in this revolution cannot be taken for granted as global competition becomes fiercer. The 20% target was seen as a critical driver for modernising the EU economy, but now, with carbon prices lower than expected, its potential as an incentive for change and innovation has decreased. Moreover Europe has also to prepare its long term objectives, as part of the developed countries group, of achieving 80-95% reduction by 2050 at an optimal cost

Options for moving to 30%

The Communication sets out options for meeting the 30% target within the EU ETS and in the other sectors. These include: reducing the number of auctioned allowances under the EU ETS; regulation to promote greater energy efficiency; smart use of fiscal instruments; directing EU cohesion policy funding towards green investments; and improving the environmental integrity of the international carbon credits recognised in the EU ETS.

A measure that is attractive even ahead of a possible move to 30% would be to use some unallocated free EU ETS industry allowances to accelerate innovation in low-carbon technologies, in a similar way to the existing demonstration programme for innovative renewable energy and carbon capture and storage technologies funded with 300 million allowances.

Carbon leakage

The Commission has examined the situation of energy-intensive industries with regard to the risk of carbon leakage (relocation of production from the EU to countries with laxer carbon constraints).

The key conclusion is that the existing measures to prevent carbon leakage from these industries - free allowances and access to international credits - remain justified. The analysis also shows that raising the target to 30% while other countries implement their reduction pledges under the Copenhagen Accord would have a limited impact in terms of carbon leakage, provided the existing measures stay in place.

The Commission will continue closely to monitor the risk of carbon leakage, particularly in relation to third countries which have not yet taken action to limit emissions. Among the potential measures that merit continued examination is the inclusion of imports in the EU ETS.

Next steps

The Communication is addressed to the EU institutions for consideration.

Med-Mem, gateway to Euromed

Jeudi 27 mai 2010

2011 is the year when Med-Mem will see the day, a website which will provide access to more than 4,000 audiovisual documents illustrative of Mediterranean societies and culture throughout their history.

Sharing our Mediterranean audio-visual heritage (Med-Mem) is a project that aims at safeguarding and making accessible to the general public audiovisual archives of the Mediterranean region, particularly those of State Televisions. A selection of more than 4,000 videos, including exceptional historical documents particularly illustrative of Mediterranean societies and culture, will be showcased and presented in three languages – Arabic, English, and French – within their historical, cultural and social contexts from 2011 onwards.

The audiovisual material – coming from the archives of partner Mediterranean TV networks and audiovisual institutes – will be organised into seven major themes covering each aspect of Mediterranean heritage: Art, culture and knowledge; Historical heritage; Historical and contemporary issues; Landscapes and environment; Tourism and cultural sites; Economy; and Social structures and lifestyles. Each theme will have sub-headings relating to the topic and will be searchable through various entries.

For more information on specific subjects, users will find folders classified by theme and linked to video clips accessible through the site.

Thanks to the contribution of teachers, researchers and specialists from the Mediterranean region, “The site will open up a rich collective heritage, while giving a better understanding of the historical and contemporary issues surrounding the Mediterranean”, announces the promotion clip.

As a major contribution to the Union for the Mediterranean: InfraMed Infrastructure Fund is launched

Jeudi 27 mai 2010

Caisse des Dépôts (CDC), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (CDG) and EFG Hermes have launched InfraMed Infrastructure, the first financing facility of the Union for the Mediterranean.

The InfraMed Fund will be the largest fund dedicated to investments in infrastructure in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region. With initial commitments of EUR 385 million, the new fund is targeting commitments of EUR 1 billion.

Augustin de Romanet, CEO of Caisse des Dépôts (France), Professor Franco Bassanini, President of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Italy), Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Anass Houir Alami, CEO of Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (Morocco) and Yasser El Mallawany, CEO of EFG Hermes (Egypt), all of whom members of the Investors Board of the Company, signed today in Paris to set up InfraMed and collectively committed EUR 385 million at first close.

At its first meeting, the Investors Board appointed Professor Franco Bassanini as its Chairman and Messrs Augustin de Romanet and Anass Houir Alami as Vice-Chairmen,

The Board designated Mr Rachid Mohammed Rachid, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Arab Republic of Egypt as Chairman of the Strategic Board that will be responsible for providing strategic advice and orientation on the overall development of the Company’s activities.

It also approved Mr Frederic Ottavy to be appointed as CEO of ‘InfraMed Management’ that will run the Fund. An “Investment Committee” composed of a majority of independent members will approve individual investments.

‘InfraMed Infrastructure’ (the “Company” or the Fund), which will be established under French law, will contribute to the ‘Union for the Mediterranean’ by providing funding to sustainable urban, energy and transport infrastructure projects on the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

The Fund will invest primarily in greenfield projects, compliant with minimum requirements with respect to environmental protection, social impact, transparency and procurement, and with a view to generally holding investments over a longer term than traditional private equity infrastructure funds, the Company being rooted in a philosophy of long term economic return.

A unique characteristic of InfraMed Infrastructure is that it will rely on a partnership with Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (Morocco) and EFG Hermes (Egypt), and with local infrastructure investment funds to be raised by these two institutions in their respective countries. Two newly created funds will invest in infrastructure projects alongside InfraMed that will allocate a minimum of 20% of its investments to each of Egypt and Morocco.

Caisse des Dépôts and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti will each commit EUR 150 million, Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion EUR 20 million, EFG Hermes EUR 15 million and the European Investment Bank (EIB), the financing institution of the European Union, EUR 50 million. The Fund volume is targeted at EUR 1 billion.

For more information on InfraMed, see the briefing note here attached.

Olli Rehn European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Policy Closing key-note address Brussels Economic Forum Brussels, 26 May 2010

Jeudi 27 mai 2010

SPEECH/10/265 Olli Rehn European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Policy Closing key-note address Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED Brussels Economic Forum Brussels, 2 6 May 2010 Ladies and Gentlemen, We have an intensive …

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Disability

Mercredi 26 mai 2010

Around 50 million Europeans are disabled. Even if their rights are covered by the proposed EU anti-discrimination directive, some of them consider that a specific EU law on the rights of people with disabilities is needed and that’s what they told MEPs. Some of the petitions received were debated at the end of April, putting the issue on the European agenda and paving the way for a possible specific law.

An insurance company refusing to pay unemployment benefits to a disabled person, an autistic boy excluded from a school and a public bus which is not accessible with a wheelchair. Those were three of the breaches of disabled people rights that were discussed by Parliament’s Petitions Committee on 26 April. Different faces of the same reality, denouncing discriminatory behaviours towards the disabled.

European Disability Forum

A possible way of addressing the problem was proposed in an earlier petition from the European Disability Forum with the support of 1.3 million citizens from various EU countries.

This petition says that the EU “anti-discrimination” directive proposed by the Commission (but currently blocked by EU Member States in the Council), would not properly address the specific needs of this group. That is why the signatories asked for a specific European law to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

The Petitions Committee decided to table an oral question to European governments asking them to “unblock” the anti-discrimination directive and push it forward as soon as possible.

It has also said that MEPs on the Civil Liberties should be asked for their opinion on the legislation.

In practice this means that petitioners have succeeded in alerting the EU to a possible lack of European legislation on a particular subject. Now, the Commission will have to examine if it a specific law is necessary.

Petitions: what are they?

Any citizen of the European Union or resident in a Member State, may, individually or in association with others, submit a petition to the European Parliament on a subject which comes within the European Union’s fields of activity and which affects them directly.

Austerity Cure in Europe

Mercredi 26 mai 2010

After recovery plans, Europe seems to engage in austerity plans. A response of governments to restore confidence in the market considered excessive by many economists.

This article is only available in French

EU and Latin America agree to strengthen cooperation in civil aviation

Mercredi 26 mai 2010

At a joint EU–Latin America Civil Aviation Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, today signed two “joint declarations” with Latin American aviation leaders that will lay the foundation for closer cooperation in civil aviation between the EU and Latin America.

According to the vice-President Siim Kallas, given the steady growth and common challenges facing our aviation sectors, Europe is pleased with the prospect of enhancing cooperation in civil aviation with Latin America. Cooperation will create opportunities for companies in both the EU and Latin America and result in more and safer flights to the benefit of our citizens.

The Latin American air transport market is forecast to be among the fastest growing in the world over the next 20 years and therefore of increasing strategic importance to the EU and its industry.

In his opening speech at the joint EU–Latin America Civil Aviation Summit, Vice-President Kallas invited Latin America to cooperate more closely with the EU on civil aviation, including improving aviation safety and reducing the impact of flying on the environment.

Mr Kallas welcomed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC) which will enhance cooperation between Latin America and the EU in aviation. The two sides agreed to develop a joint action plan before the end of 2010 setting out the concrete actions of cooperation.

Mr Kallas, together with Brazil’s Minister of Defence, Mr Nelson Jobim, and Mr José Blanco, Transport Minister of Spain, welcomed that the negotiations on two important agreements between Brazil and the EU have been successfully finalised: an agreement on certain aspects of air services – a so-called horizontal agreement – and an agreement on aviation safety. The horizontal agreement modernises the legal framework and establishes full legal certainty for all air carriers operating flights between Brazil and the EU. The aviation safety agreement will expand our cooperation in all areas of safety facilitating trade in aeronautical products and services, reducing costs and simplifying administrative procedures for authorities and industries. The two agreements are expected to be signed at the EU–Brazil Summit in Brasilia on 14 July 2010.

On 5 May 2010, the European Commission proposed to open negotiations with Brazil on a comprehensive air services agreement which could generate significant economic benefits to both sides through a combination of market opening and closer regulatory cooperation. At the aviation summit in Rio, the two sides expressed the hope that negotiations on such an agreement could start during 2010.

The EU–Latin America Aviation Summit was highly successful in bringing together more than 300 leading representatives of the Latin American and EU aviation sectors, representing public authorities, airlines, airports, aerospace industries and service providers. The summit provided a very effective platform for identifying priority areas and ways forward in closer EU–Latin America aviation cooperation for the future.

EU has approved a number of conclusions on electric cars

Mercredi 26 mai 2010

EU industry ministers meeting on Tuesday in Brussels have approved a number of conclusions on electric vehicles in which they call on the European Commission to submit measures to promote the manufacture and sale of these cars.

According to Miguel Sebastian, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Europe has charged up its batteries with regard to the electric car,Europeleads the field in the development of electric vehicles.

The document calls on the European Commission to submit guidelines on possible incentives for promoting the sale of such vehicles, and urges European organisations to establish a model by mid-2011.

Speaking in a press conference following the first session of the Competitiveness Council, the Spanish minister emphasised that five months ago it was difficult to reach an agreement, and today Europe has achieved its goal in record time.

Sebastián stressed that the development of electric vehicles is a great opportunity for citizens and for European industry as a whole, and is an ally for renewable energies and information technologies.

Backing from Germany, Spain, France and Portugal

Parallel to the Council meeting, Germany, Spain, France and Portugal issued a joint communiqué expressing their support for electric vehicles and urging the EC to finance pilot projects on electric mobility, asking that increased efforts be made to achieve a definitive European automobile standard by 2011.

According to the joint communique : the electric vehicle must be the focus of future development and competitiveness, together with research and development, innovation, industrial development and sustainability.

According to estimates made by the EU executive, the number of cars on the road will increase from today’s figure of 800 million to 1,600 by 2020, further increasing to 2,500 by 2050.

According to EU studies, vehicles running on electric batteries will account for between 1% and 2% of the market by 2020; this will increase to 11% or 30% by 2030; the market share of hybrid rechargeable cars, meanwhile, will increase from 2% in 2020 to between 5% and 20% by 2030.

March 2010 compared with February 2010 Industrial new orders up by 5.2% in euro area Up by 5.9% in EU27

Mercredi 26 mai 2010

STAT/10/74 2 5 May 2010 March 2010 compared with February 2010 Industrial new orders up by 5.2% in euro area Up by 5.9% in EU27 In March 2010 compared with February 2010, the euro area 1 (EA16) industrial new orders index 2 rose by 5….

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Brussels, 21 May 2010 Declaration by High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on the human rights of LGBT people in Malawi

Mercredi 26 mai 2010

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN Brussels, 21 May 2010 10103/10 (Presse 134) P 23 Declaration by High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on the human rights of LGBT people in Malawi The EU expresses its concern about homophobia …

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