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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 96-11-12

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>

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Paroleb

12/11/1996


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Court of Auditors' report 1995: Commission reacts to Court's observations
  • [02] Court of Auditors' "statement of assurance" (or DAS) 1995 - the Commission's response
  • [03] Economic Sentiment continues to improve
  • [04] Statement by Padraig Flynn on the Europan Court of Justice ruling on the UK challenge to the "Working Time Directive"
  • [05] Commission refocuses trade policy towards market opening for European companies
  • [06] Commission clears the creation of a joint venture between ESPN and STAR
  • [07] Commission clears Allianz' acquisition of sole control in Vereinte
  • [08] Mario Monti: Making the single market effective
  • [09] 10,8% de chômeurs dans l'UE en septembre

  • [01] Court of Auditors' report 1995: Commission reacts to Court's observations

    The European Commission welcomes the Court of Auditors' Annual Report as it reflects a shared concern about sound and efficient management of the Community budget. The Court's observations have played an important role in launching the reform of the financial management and control of EU expenditure to which the present Commission is firmly committed. The Commission notices the Court´s balanced approach as it clearly identifies specific areas of responsibilities of the Commission and the Member States. This is of a particular importance as 85% of the Community budget is executed by the Member States. The Court also widely recognizes efforts made by the Commission in the Sound and Efficient Management (SEM 2000) programme. In this context the Court stresses the importance of further clarifying which expenditure is eligible for assistance from Structural Funds in Member States.

    [02] Court of Auditors' "statement of assurance" (or DAS) 1995 - the Commission's response

    The Court of Auditors has produced a Statement of Assurance (or DAS for "Déclaration d'Assurance") on the 1995 Community Budget which concludes that accounts and balance sheet are reliable. The European Commission welcomes the overall conclusions of the Statement of Assurance. It agrees that the errors in payments are still too high and it will take measures in the framework of Sound and Efficient Management (SEM 2000) to launch necessary improvements. The Commission insists that such errors - of which 90% occured in Member States - do not necessarily represent a corresponding damage to the Community budget. Moreover discussions on the sampling approach used in the DAS still continue. The Commission shares the Court's view that it will take several years before DAS audit will have sufficiently gained maturity to enable trends in error rates to be identified.

    [03] Economic Sentiment continues to improve

    According to preliminary figures from the Commission's monthly business and consumer surveys, capacity utilization in manufacturing has increased to 81.0% in October (80.8% in July). Improving order-book assessment and increasing production expectations could lead to a further rise in capacity utilization, giving then a stimulus to investment. Consumer confidence has gone up for the first time since March, reinforcing the improvement of the overall economic climate. The economic sentiment indicator increased in all countries, except for Italy, and for Europe it reached its highest level of the current year.

    [04] Statement by Padraig Flynn on the Europan Court of Justice ruling on the UK challenge to the "Working Time Directive"

    Commenting on today's ruling by the European Court of Justice on the UK challenge to the "Working Time Directive", Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn said: "I am delighted that the Court has rejected the UK case on all grounds with the exception of the provision concerning Sunday in principle to be included in the weekly rest period (Article 5). The European Commission has always believed and argued that the legal base (Article 118A) was correct and that the number of hours people work is a health and safety issue. I am, therefore, pleased that the Court has confirmed this view." The main aim of the Directive is to protect employees against the adverse effects on their health and safety caused by working excessively long hours, having inadequate rest or disruptive working patterns.

    [05] Commission refocuses trade policy towards market opening for European companies

    The European Commission has unveiled today the EU‘s new Market Access Strategy designed to sharpen Europe's ability to remove the most persistent barriers to European exports. In a bid to help business to expand abroad and create jobs, it will focus much of its efforts and resources on the elimination of barriers to European exports. This strategy will regroup all the multilateral and bilateral tools at Europe's disposal and urge businessmen to tell the Commission systematically where the worst barriers are. Over 700 obstacles have already been identified, hitting sales of anything from toys to Brazil, cars to Indonesia, silk to the US or CDs to China. The Commission will then use a database to list market hurdles by sector and by country, monitor legislation to open those markets and recommend the right action - whether a WTO panel or a bilateral negotiation for example - where markets remain closed. Speaking in Brussels today to the Market Access Symposion, Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan called on businessmen gathered in Brussels to tell the Commission where the worst barriers are in the markets they want the most. In return the Commission will use all the trade instruments - at national, European and world level - to maximise Europe's efforts to remove those barriers.

    [06] Commission clears the creation of a joint venture between ESPN and STAR

    The European Commission has approved an operation by which ESP, Inc. (part of The Walt Disney group) and Star Television Limited (part of the News Corporation group) will create a joint venture to distribute principally Asian-interest sports programming via non-standard television in 27 Asian countries and to acquire rights to distribute such programming. Non- standard television includes all forms of television distribution, other than free, terrestrial UHF or VHF television, e.g. cable, microwave, satellite dish services, and any form of encrypted service, including encrypted terrestrial UHF or VHF television.

    [07] Commission clears Allianz' acquisition of sole control in Vereinte

    The European Commission has given the green light to the proposed acquisition of sole control of the German insurance company Vereinte Holding AG by Allianz AG Holding. The proposed acquisition is linked to a reorganization of shareholdings between Allianz and Münchner Rückversicherung-Gesellschaft AG, which should, according to Allianz, create the necessary precondition in terms of competition law, for its takeover of Vereinte. The Commission had recently cleared the acquisition of control in Hermes Kreditversicherungs-AG by Allianz. Two other parts of this proposed reorganization, i.e. the acquisition of a minority stake in Vereinte Krankenversicherung by Allianz from Münchner Rück and the sale of its majority stake in DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung AG by Allianz to Münchner Rück, were notified to the Bundeskartellamt.

    [08] Mario Monti: Making the single market effective

    "The Single Market is beginning to deliver the promised results", declared today Internal Market Commissioner Mario Monti at the CBI Conference in Harrogate. It is serving as the launching pad for improving competitiveness and for attaining higher levels of job creation and sustainable growth. This is indeed the evidence which results from the 1996 review on the impact and effectiveness of the Single Market, even if it is still too early for many Single Market measures to have taken full effect. "But there is no room for complacency", stressed Mr Monti. The benefits and the opportunities would have been greater if Member States had been more diligent on applying the rules, and reducing over-regulation. Now it is up to business to make the most of the Single Market: too many companies, especially SMEs, seem to be unaware of, or reluctant to take on, new opportunities and challenges. Generally, companies have not completely exploited their potential scale economies. Mr. Monti is calling for a renewed commitment to the Single Market: this is an area where CBI can play a very useful role.

    [09] 10,8% de chômeurs dans l'UE en septembre

    Avec un taux de 10,8% en septembre, le chômage dans l'UE15, corrigé des variations saisonnières, est resté identique durant quatre mois, selon les chiffres publiés aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg. Le taux de chômage s'était élevé à 10,7% au mois de septembre de l'année dernière. Selon Eurostat, le taux de chômage est resté stable dans la plupart des Etats membres au cours du troisième trimestre. Il a toutefois continué d'augmenter en France (de 12, 3% en juin à 12,5%) et de se réduire au Royaume-Uni (de 8,3% à 8,1%), au Portugal (de 7,4% à 7,1%) et en Finlande (de 16,2% à 15,1%). Outre la France et la Finlande, l'Irlande (12,4%), l'Italie (12,2% en juillet) et l'Espagne (21,4%, le taux le plus élevé au sein de l'UE) enregistraient des taux supérieurs à la moyenne communautaire. Le Luxembourg conservait le taux le plus bas, avec 3,2%. A titre de comparaison avec l'UE, le chômage s'élevait à 5,2% aux Etats-Unis et à 3,3% au Japon.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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