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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 96-10-09

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: HR-Net News Distribution Manager <dist@hri.org>

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Paroleb

09 / 10 / 1996


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Benchmarking the competitiveness of European industry
  • [02] Employment in Europe 1996 report
  • [03] Rapport intermédiaire sur le transit
  • [04] Commission opens procedure to study aid granted by the Italian government to Alitalia
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [05] Franz Fischler announces BSE research priorities
  • [06] Martin Bangemann et Edith Cresson rencontrent les Ministres des 15 sur la communication par satellite
  • [07] Ritt Bjerregaard: We need market quotas for HCFCs in order to safeguard the EU phase out programme for ozone depleting

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Benchmarking the competitiveness of European industry

    Today the European Commission has approved a Communication proposing benchmarking as a tool for the enhancement of the competitiveness of the EU industry. Benchmarking is a tool to monitor progress on an ongoing basis and to assess the situation against continuously improving best practice world-wide. It goes beyond competitive analysis by providing an understanding of the processes and skills that create superior performance. The Commission has found that Europe's industry is lagging behind major competitors like the United States and Japan, in terms of job creation, productivity levels and employment rates. Export market shares, profit margins and investment returns remain inadequate. High level of costs of key inputs such as labour, energy, water, communications and transport, and low investment in research & development, plants and equipment contribute to EU industry's poor performance.

    [02] Employment in Europe 1996 report

    The European Commission today adopted the Editorial section of the Employment in Europe 1996 report which states, inter alia, that: "The pursuit of stability-oriented macroeconomic policies ..... must be continued without giving in to technology pessimism, fear of global trade liberalisation or beggar-thy-neighbour attitudes through uncoordinated, stand alone-action......" The key political messages and policy conclusions which can be drawn from the Report are to: carry on with stability-oriented macroeconomic policies; promote increased demand; address the structural rigidities; respect solidarity and social justice; redress the distortion against low-wage and low-skill groups; reinforce the skill level of the European workforce; implement preventive policies against long-term unemployment; and promote active labour market measures. These policy ideas will constitute an input for the important discussion on employment which is scheduled at the European Council in December in Dublin.

    [03] Rapport intermédiaire sur le transit

    La Commission européenne entend mener à son terme le plus rapidement possible le processus de réforme nécessaire des systèmes douaniers de transit, car le volume des fraudes constatées atteint un niveau tout à fait inacceptable. C'est à cette fin qu'elle a adopté ce jour une communication par laquelle elle transmet au Parlement européen et au Conseil le rapport intermédiaire de ses services consacré à l'analyse de la crise du transit, en raison notamment des fraudes dont il fait l'objet. Cette analyse est complétée d'une synthèse des suggestions de réforme avancées par diverses sources, publiques ou privées, et de ce qui pourrait constituer une stratégie d'action en la matière. Le rapport est destiné à servir de document de travail et de référence pour l'ambitieux programme de consultation que la Commission entend lancer auprès de l'ensemble des acteurs publics et privés du transit avant de définir ses orientations au début de l'année prochaine, notamment à la lumière des travaux de la Commission d'Enquête sur le transit du Parlement européen.

    [04] Commission opens procedure to study aid granted by the Italian government to Alitalia

    The European Commission decided to open a procedure under article 93(2) of the Treaty to investigate whether the proposed capital injection of 1500 billion lire by the Italian authorities into the airline Alitalia is compatible with the Treaty rules regarding state aid in the aviation sector. For the aid to be compatible the Commission will have to be satisfied that the financing is proposed in the context of a restructuring plan designed to return the company to commercial viability within an established period.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [05] Franz Fischler announces BSE research priorities

    In spite of the known existence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) for over a decade and the research carried out in this area to date, there are still major gaps in our absence of knowledge of the disease. This was stated today by Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Franz Fischler when he announced in conjunction with Professor Charles Weissmann the results of the Weissmann group regarding priorities for research on BSE in the future. Mr Fischler went on to say that the absence of absolute scientific certainty on BSE makes it all the more difficult to deal with the crisis in a rational and methodical way as opponents to any approach chosen can cast doubt on its scientific justification given that virtually nothing about BSE has been 100% confirmed scientifically. It is imperative, he said, both from the point of view of protecting human health and also to have the disease eradicated as fast as possible that the research effort be increased substantially in the immediate future.

    [06] Martin Bangemann et Edith Cresson rencontrent les Ministres des 15 sur la communication par satellite

    Les membres de la Commission européenne responsables pour les Affaires industrielles, Martin Bangemann, et pour la Science, la Recherche et le Développement, Edith Cresson, rencontreront le 10 octobre à Paris à 16 heures les Ministres des Etats membres responsables de la communication par satellite ainsi que les industriels de ce secteur. La discussion portera sur les principales questions industrielles, technologiques et réglementaires, qui affectent ce secteur stratégique pour l'Europe. Elle devrait permettre à tous les acteurs européens de progresser vers une approche plus proactive et coordonnée aux défis globaux qui se présentent à l'Europe dans ce domaine, notamment en provenance des Etats Unis.

    [07] Ritt Bjerregaard: We need market quotas for HCFCs in order to safeguard the EU phase out programme for ozone depleting substances

    For the first time the European Commission has allocated market quotas to the EU producers and importers of hydro-fluorcarbons, HCFCs. The quotas are set in order to ensure that the EU quantitative limit for emission of ozone depleting substances is not exceeded in 1996. HCFCs will be phased out completely in the EU by 2015, five years earlier than required under the global Montreal Protocol. As HCFCs comprize a range of substances with varying potentials for destroying the ozone layer, the quotas are calculated in OPD (ozone depleting potential) tonnes. The quotas allocated to the EU producers and importers of HCFCs add up to a total of 8,079 ODP tonnes for the EU in 1996.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996


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