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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-02-03

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

03/02/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Financial services: Germany referred to Court over investment trust restrictions
  • [02] La Commission lance le programme Leonardo da Vinci 1997
  • [03] EU to seek fair access to Japanese ports
  • [04] Franz Fischler: "The EU's agricultural sector must adapt to meet future challenges"
  • [05] Christos Papoutsis: "Tranfer of SMEs is vital for their survival"
  • [06] L'inflation de l'UE se maintient au taux minimum record de 2,2%
  • [07] Eurostat tranche sur des opérations comptables

  • [01] Financial services: Germany referred to Court over investment trust restrictions

    The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice under EC Treaty infringement procedures (Article 169) because of restrictions imposed on investment trusts established in other Member States. The European Commission considers the restrictions violate EC Treaty rules on the freedom to provide services (Article 59) and the free movement of capital (Article 73b). The German legislation in question, the AuslandsInvestmentGesetz (AIG), imposes an absolute ban on marketing to the public of units in investment undertakings of the closed-end type (i.e. with no obligation to buy back units from the investor). Even though it applies to both domestic and foreign undertakings, the European Commission considers that it obstructs the activity of suppliers which are established in other Member States and which lawfully provide their services there. Moreover, holders in Germany of units in investment funds of the closed-end type do not enjoy the same tax advantages as holders of other investment fund units.

    [02] La Commission lance le programme Leonardo da Vinci 1997

    La Commission européenne a lancé l'appel à propositions 1997 pour le programme de formation professionnelle Leonardo da Vinci. L'appel énonce les cinq priorités de l'année 1997, auxquelles les propositions des promoteurs devront répondre: l'acquisition de compétences nouvelles; le rapprochement entre établissements d'enseignement ou de formation professionnelle et les entreprises; la lutte contre l'exclusion; l'investissement dans les ressources humaines; la généralisation de l'accès aux connaissances et la promotion des capacités professionnelles par les outils de la société de l'information dans la perspective de la formation tout au long de la vie. Afin d'informer les promoteurs potentiels et de permettre des contacts entre eux dans le but de monter des partenariats transnationaux, la Commission organise des journées d'information et de contact, qui se dérouleront, du 3 au 6 février 1997, à l'hôtel Président WTC, à Bruxelles.

    [03] EU to seek fair access to Japanese ports

    The European Commission will hold consultations with the Japanese Government on Wednesday February 5 in an attempt to facilitate access of imports to Japan. This follows an European Union complaint to the World Trade Organisation last October that the loading and unloading of ships in Japan is controlled in a way that effectively restricts competition in Japanese ports and creates unnecessary obstacles to imports. Under the Japanese port system, "stevedoring companies", contracted to load and unload ships, are organised through the Japan Harbour Transportation Association (JHTA) which controls most cargo activities in Japan through an opaque "prior consultation system". The JHTA can exercise unwarranted power over shipping lines by demanding burdensome prior consultation of any changes in carriers' schedules and use of port services. The Commission hopes the discussions next Wednesday in Tokyo will form the basis for the resolution of the problem so as to reduce the complexity of import formalities in Japanese ports.

    [04] Franz Fischler: "The EU's agricultural sector must adapt to meet future challenges"

    Speaking to the New Zealand Crop and Food Research Institute in Canterbury, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Franz Fischler rejected the idea of total liberalisation of trade in agriculture in the next World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations. Given the broad differences between the WTO partners in terms of objectives, political priorities and economies of scale it is impossible, he said, to contemplate free trade in agriculture. He expressed the hope however that future adaptations to the Common Agriculture Policy would facilitate the constructive and progressive participation of the EU in future WTO negotiations with a view to concluding a balanced agreement which recognised the differences in priorities and objectives of the different trading partners in relation to the agricultural sector.

    [05] Christos Papoutsis: "Tranfer of SMEs is vital for their survival"

    "The European Commission is determined to make every effort to assist in facilitating the transfer of businesses and ensuring their survival", stated Commissioner for Enterprise Policy Christos Papoutsis, at his opening address of the Forum on the Transfer of Ownership in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, which is organised at the initiative of the European Commission, in Lille, today. He emphasised that transfer of SMEs is "vital for their survival" and that "coordinated efforts are essential for achieving success at both Member State and European Union level" and he called all "to respond to the challenge of improving the environment for the transfer of enterprises". "It clearly makes no economic sense to let obstacles of any kind, including legal and taxation ones, stand in the way of successful transfers". There is an imperative need to improve the business environment "so that we will be able to strengthen competition and contribute to the creation of employment".

    [06] L'inflation de l'UE se maintient au taux minimum record de 2,2%

    En décembre 1996, l'inflation de l'UE s'est maintenue au taux minimum record de 2,2% atteint en novembre, selon Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg. C'est une nouvelle fois le taux le plus bas depuis 1983, date à laquelle Eurostat a commencé à compiler ses chiffres pour les 15 Etats membres actuels. En décembre 1995, le taux s'était élevé à 3,0%. En décembre dernier, le taux d'inflation a atteint 3, 3% aux Etats-Unis et 0,2% au Japon. Au sein de l'UE, six Etats membres ont enregistré des taux d'inflation se situant en-dessous de la moyenne, tous inférieurs à 2,0%. Le taux le plus bas a été constaté en Suède, où le taux a diminué une nouvelle fois de 0,2%, suivie de la Finlande (0,8%). La Grèce détenait le taux le plus élevé, avec 7,5%. Elle était précédée par le Portugal et l'Espagne, avec des taux considérablement inférieurs (resp. 3,3% et 3,2%). Dans les autres Etats membres, les taux étaient bien inférieurs à 3,0%.

    [07] Eurostat tranche sur des opérations comptables

    Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg, a pris des décisions sur huit types d'opérations comptables pour fixer les règles permettant d'assurer une meilleure comparabilité dans la procédure d'évaluation du déficit et de la dette dans les Etats membres. Suite à des demandes d'éclaircissement présentées par plusieurs Etats membres, Eurostat a entamé de larges consultations au niveau de l'UE avec le concours des groupes techniques compétents. Après avoir entendu leur avis, Eurostat a arrêté les règles méthodologiques qui devront être désormais appliquées par les Etats membres et mises en oeuvre dès le 1er mars 1997. La façon d'enregistrer les intérêts sur les Bons postaux italiens, les ventes d'or par la Banque nationale de Belgique, le traitement de "coupons courus" sur obligations assimilables en France, le crédit-bail au Royaume-Uni et les "swaps" en Finlande constituent quelques exemples de cas pratiques sur lesquels des décisions de portée générale viennent d'être prises.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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