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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 96-11-20

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

20/11/1996


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] Livre vert sur les relations UE/ACP: débat ouvert sur un nouveau partenariat pour le 21ème siècle
  • [02] Action plan on fighting trafficking in women for sexual purposes
  • [03] La Commission précise ses intentions sur le 5ème programme-cadre de recherche
  • [04] Un plan d'action pour stimuler l'innovation en Europe
  • [05] Communication on copyright and related rights in the Information Society
  • [06] Telecommunications services: giving the customer choice
  • [07] Mobile phones: no evidence for health risks, but futher research actions under consideration
  • [08] Public procurement: Commission modifies proposals to amend EU rules to take account of GPA
  • [09] Cohesion policy and culture: how to use culture for job creation
  • [10] Commission to recover a further ECU 67.5 million of 1992 CAP expenditure from the Member States
  • [11] Commission adopts ECSC operating budget for 1997
  • [12] La Commission décide d'ouvrir une procédure à l'encontre de l'aide proposée par les autorités espagnoles à Astilleros Zamacona
  • [13] Commission adopts a communication on state aid elements in land sales by public authorities
  • [14] Commission decides to investigate research and development aid to Océ Nederland BV
  • [15] Feu vert de la Commission à l'aide en faveur d'Addinol
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [16] Christos Papoutsis préoccupé par le blocage inattendu du projet d'interconnexion électrique Italie-Grèce

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

    [01] Livre vert sur les relations UE/ACP: débat ouvert sur un nouveau partenariat pour le 21ème siècle

    La Commission européenne a lancé aujourd'hui un débat public élargi sur l'avenir des relations de l'UE avec 70 pays en voie de développement d'Afrique, Caraïbes et Pacifique (ACP) avec l'adoption d'un "Livre Vert" qui présente les défis et les options pour un nouveau partenariat. Alors que la Convention de Lomé s'approche de son échéance (février 2000) et que des négociations avec les pays ACP doivent commencer à l'automne 1998, la Commission a estimé nécessaire d'ouvrir une large discussion auprès des autorités nationales, des milieux économiques et universitaires, des ONG et de l'opinion publique en général sur les adaptations et modifications à introduire dans les relations UE/ACP, à l'aube du 21ème siècle. Entre autres sujets, la Commission s'interroge, dans le Livre Vert, sur la couverture géographique du partenariat et sur le régime commercial à accorder aux pays ACP, ainsi que sur les mesures à prendre pour y développer le secteur privé, accroître la compétitivité et renforcer l'Etat de droit.

    [02] Action plan on fighting trafficking in women for sexual purposes

    The European Commission adopted a Communication on the fight against trafficking in women for sexual exploitation to be presented to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The communication adopted covers a number of issues such as migration, judicial cooperation, law enforcement and social and international aspects. Some are broader action points like improved coordination, information campaigns and training.

    [03] La Commission précise ses intentions sur le 5ème programme-cadre de recherche

    Six priorités de recherche, et pour chacune d'elles, un programme spécifique: la configuration du futur 5e programme-cadre européen de recherche et développement technologique, qui prendra en 1999 le relais du 4e programme-cadre en cours, se précise. Dans un document de travail approuvé par la Commission européenne, sont développées certaines des grandes orientations présentées en juillet 1996 dans sa communication "Inventer demain". A savoir une concentration des efforts de recherche sur six thèmes essentiels pour l'emploi en Europe, la compétitivité et la qualité de la vie: ressources du vivant et écosystème, société de l'information, croissance compétitive et durable, coopération internationale, innovation et participation des PME, accroissement du potentiel humain.

    [04] Un plan d'action pour stimuler l'innovation en Europe

    Promouvoir une "culture de l'innovation", desserrer les carcans administratif, réglementaire et financier qui lèsent les entreprises innovantes, orienter davantage l'effort de recherche sur l'innovation : tels sont les trois axes du plan d'action pour l'innovation en Europe approuvé par la Commission européenne. Mettant en oeuvre les recommandations du Livre vert de la Commission présenté l'année dernière, ainsi que les enseignements du très vaste débat public qui a suivi, le plan d'action est présenté à la demande du Conseil européen de Florence qui avait souligné le lien étroit entre innovation et emploi. Il s'attaque résolument à ce paradoxe: l'Union européenne dispose d'une excellence scientifique mondialement reconnue, mais il y est plus difficile qu'ailleurs de transformer une invention en un produit ou un service nouveau et de l'exploiter.

    [05] Communication on copyright and related rights in the Information Society

    A Communication on copyright and related rights in the Information Society has been adopted by the European Commission. The communication, which is a follow-up to a July 1995 Green Paper, outlines the legislative initiatives required to achieve a pan-EC level playing field for copyright protection in the framework of the European Single Market and presents them in a coherent context. A level-playing field is essential to the success of the Information Society in the European Union, as the content of most of the new interactive services are protected by intellectual property. EU action to be proposed in the first half of 1997, will focus on the reproduction, on-line communications and distribution of protected material, as well as on protection against the circumvention of anti-copy devices and the like. Action at EU level will be undertaken in parallel with action at the world level, on which international negotiations are in progress.

    [06] Telecommunications services: giving the customer choice

    The European Commission has adopted a Green Paper - a consultative document - on a numbering policy for telecommunications services in Europe. The Commission considers that special attention must be given to ensure that customer needs will not be overlooked in a liberalised, multi-operator environment. New mechanisms are proposed that allow customers to keep their telephone number if they decide to switch telephone company or service provider. The Paper includes also a proposal to open special Europe- wide services, such as freephone and premium rate services, which are today often available only on a national level. These services should be based on Europe-wide numbers. The Commission sees this as an important step for the completion of the internal market.

    [07] Mobile phones: no evidence for health risks, but futher research actions under consideration

    "There is no evidence of any health risk emerging from mobile phones, but the results of present research are inadequate to draw firm conclusions on this issue. Further research is therefore required." This is the main conclusion of a report drafted by an expert group which was asked by the European Commission to prepare an action plan for comprehensive research into the effects of radio frequency radiation on health. The Commission intends to decide before the end of this year how the proposed action plan can be integrated in the European research and development programmes.

    [08] Public procurement: Commission modifies proposals to amend EU rules to take account of GPA

    The European Commission modified its 29 March 1995 proposal to amend EU public procurement rules to take account of the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) signed at Marrakech on 15 April 1994. The modifications follow discussions with the European Parliament. They concern in particular the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and telecommunications sectors, covered by the so-called utilities Directive (93/38/EEC). The aim is to ensure that third country suppliers do not enjoy better access to contracts than Community suppliers, to introduce more flexibility concerning technical dialogue between suppliers and procurement entities and to limit as far as possible the scope of the amendments to the sectors covered by the GPA.

    [09] Cohesion policy and culture: how to use culture for job creation

    The European Commission adopted a communication outlining how to use culture for job creation. The Communication titled "Cohesion Policy and Culture - A contribution to employment" illustrates the link between culture and regional development, gives a number of examples of projects cofinanced by the Structural Funds and sets out the framework for intensified assistance to cultural action by the Funds. The document underlines the fact that culture is an increasingly important factor for regional development. Culture contributes directly and indirectly to employment, enhances vocational qualification and supports regional identity. Moreover, it improves locations' attractiveness and offers a tool for sustainable development.

    [10] Commission to recover a further ECU 67.5 million of 1992 CAP expenditure from the Member States

    The European Commission adopted a proposal to claw back ECU 67.5 million paid out by some Member States in 1991 and 1992 under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This brings the total CAP expenditure rejected under Commission decisions this year ECU 855.5 million. An earlier decision in March rejected ECU 788 million. The budgetary corrections decided upon today were left aside in the March decision as they were still subject to discussion under the conciliation procedure (a procedure whereby the member state concerned and the Commission discuss the basis for the correction with a group of independant experts). The funds recovered today relate to CAP expenditure in Greece, Italy, Germay and Spain.

    [11] Commission adopts ECSC operating budget for 1997

    The European Commission adopted the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) operating budget for 1997 taking account the of opinions of the European Parliament. The budget totals ECU 265,5 million. It is in line with the Commission decisions on the gradual phasing out of the ECSC budget. The ECSC levy is reduced from 0,19% in 1996 to 0,17%.

    [12] La Commission décide d'ouvrir une procédure à l'encontre de l'aide proposée par les autorités espagnoles à Astilleros Zamacona

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'examiner la requête déposée par les autorités espagnoles visant à permettre à Astilleros Zamacona, un chantier naval de la région basque, de recevoir une aide de 9% par contrat pour 5 remorqueurs en lieu et place de l'aide de 4,5% normalement applicable, en invoquant des retards dans la livraison des bateaux résultant de perturbations inattendues, substantielles et justifiables affectant le programme de travail du chantier. La Commission doute toutefois de l'applicabilité de cette condition dans cette affaire.

    [13] Commission adopts a communication on state aid elements in land sales by public authorities

    The European Commission adopted a communication to Member States on possible state aid elements in land sales by public authorities. The communication spells out easy-to-meet requirements to avoid sales of publicly owned land to undertakings to avoid hidden state aid to be involved in such transactions and specifies which cases Member States would have to notify to the Commission under state aid control rules of the EU Treaty. The Commission would assume a sale to be at market value and therefore not to contain state aid if it was concluded following an open and unconditional bidding procedure, comparable to a public auction, in which the best or only bid was honoured. Member States may, however, also decide to sell real estate at the market value properly established by independent experts prior to sale. If one of these two procedures, which are described in some detail in the communication, was used, the Commission could assume that no state aid was involved in the transaction.

    [14] Commission decides to investigate research and development aid to Océ Nederland BV

    The European Commission has decided to open an investigation on state aid granted to Océ Nederland BV in 1994 for the development of a digital high- volume copier. In 1994, an advance of ECU 12 million was made available to Océ, with repayment to take place upon successful commercialisation of the product. Concerns relating to the aid granted in 1994 are now focused on the apparent non-application of conditions previously established by the Commission linked to granting of the aid. A new proposal by the Dutch authorities to provide further aid in the form of a repayable advance - once again of ECU 12 million - for work carried out by the company in 1995 on the same project will also be further examined. The proposed aid will be investigated for conformity with the 1996 European Union state aid rules on research & development.

    [15] Feu vert de la Commission à l'aide en faveur d'Addinol

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d'objections à l'égard de l‘aide de sauvetage en faveur de l‘entreprise Addinol Mineralölwerke GmbH située à Lützkendorf (Sachsen-Anhalt). Cette aide consiste en deux prêts, l'un de la part du Land de Sachsen-Anhalt et l'autre de la part de la Bundesanstalt für vereinigungsbedingte Sonderaufgaben (BvS), d‘un montant de cinq millions de DM chacun, remboursables avec un taux d‘intérêt de 7%. Addinol est une entreprise de production de lubrifiant, mazout et bitume qui a été privatisée en 1994. Elle se trouve placée actuellement devant une crise aiguë de liquidités. Conformément aux lignes directrices communautaires pour les aides au sauvetage et à la restructuration des entreprises en difficultés, l‘aide en question permet de soutenir temporairement l‘entreprise en attendant la conception d‘un plan de restructuration.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [16] Christos Papoutsis préoccupé par le blocage inattendu du projet d'interconnexion électrique Italie-Grèce

    Dans une déclaration, en réponse à des questions de journalistes, le Commissaire Christos Papoutsis, responsable de l'Energie, a exprimé sa "vive préoccupation" du blocage inattendu du projet d'interconnexion électrique entre l'Italie et la Grèce, lequel "avait pourtant fait l'objet d'engagements précis pris au plus haut niveau politique lors du Conseil européen de Essen et, à ce titre, bénéficie de financements communautaires considérables". Le Commissaire a souligné l'importance politique majeure de ce projet pour l'Union européenne pour sa valeur économique et stratégique. Il a également indiqué que l'étude d'impact de ce projet avait conduit à l'identification d'un tracé compatible avec la protection de l'environnement. M. Papoutsis a dit que la Commission "souhaite vivement que tout soit mis en oeuvre pour débloquer cette situation" et qu'elle est prête "à assurer son soutien pour trouver les solutions appropriées".

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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