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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-03-10

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

10/03/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Business and consumer survey - continued recovery
  • [02] Statement of Monika Wulf-Mathies on the movement of companies
  • [03] Signature de la Convention de Financement UE/Maroc - facilité d'ajustement structurel: 120 millions d'Ecus
  • [04] Strong EU support for Romania's reform package
  • [05] EU announces gradual reintroduction of minimum prices on computer chips
  • [06] "EU Common Agricultural Policy - Achievements and challenges ahead" - Address by Franz Fischler in Japan

  • [01] Business and consumer survey - continued recovery

    The economic sentiment indicator augmented strongly in February 1997, reflecting improvements in all sectors. More optimistic assessments of stocks and order-books boosted industrial confidence. Positive employment expectations brought construction confidence to its highest level since December 1995. Consumer confidence in on an upward trend.

    [02] Statement of Monika Wulf-Mathies on the movement of companies

    In response to the current discussion on the movement of companies from and into regions supported by the European Union's (EU) structural funds, Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for regional policy and cohesion, declared on Friday: "The aim of EU structural policy is to help regions lagging behind in development to catch up with the rest of the EU. To achieve this, regions which trail the EU-average also need support above the average. This is, and will be in the future, the underlying principle of EU structural policy. Besides infrastructures and training, the structural funds cofinance national subsidies to enterprises. These subsidies are subject to competition scrutiny. Unfortunately, neither present competition rules nor the structural fund regulations, can sufficiently prevent companies from abusing the system by moving their activities in such a way as to maximize the aid they receive from public sources. This can no longer be tolerated. In the context of the reform of the structural funds for the years after 1999, I have the firm intention to prevent such behaviour. In the near future, I will look at different options to achieve this."

    [03] Signature de la Convention de Financement UE/Maroc - facilité d'ajustement structurel: 120 millions d'Ecus

    Le Vice-Président de la Commission européenne Manuel Marin et M. Mohammed Kabbaj, Ministre des Finances et Investissements extérieurs ont signé la Convention de Financement entre l'Union européenne (UE) et le Maroc relative à la Facilité d'Ajustement Structurel (FAS). Il s'agit d'une aide non-remboursable de 120 millions d'Ecus prélevée sur le programme MEDA, en appui aux réformes économiques et sociales au Maroc. La Commission assure ainsi le leadership d'un programme d'ajustement structurel parmi les baîlleurs de fonds. Le montant en jeu est parmi les plus élevés destinés à cette fin. La FAS s'inscrit dans le cadre de l'appui de l'UE accompagnant l'intégration progressive du Maroc dans la zone de libre-échange euro- méditerranéenne. Cet appui, conçu avec les autorités marocaines, est étroitement coordonné avec les institutions de Bretton Woods qui partagent la même appréciation sur les réformes en cours et encouragent le programme.

    [04] Strong EU support for Romania's reform package

    On the occasion of a two-day visit to Bucharest last week, Commissioner Hans van den Broek voiced his strong support for the government's bold reform package. "My talks with the government confirm our impression that Romania is serious about reforms. The government's programme is ambitious and courageous and therefore wholly appropriate to address the country's problems. The EU will provide tangible support to Romania at this difficult time".

    [05] EU announces gradual reintroduction of minimum prices on computer chips

    Minimum prices on D-RAMs originating in Japan and Korea and sold in the European Union (EU) will be gradually reintroduced as of today. The minimum prices were first agreed upon in January 1990 when dumping by Japanese and later by Korean exporters on the European market was found, but these measures were suspended 21 months ago owing to the rise in D-RAM prices. In the meantime, prices have fallen dramatically to below cost of production of most producers, and EU producers are suffering injury again. The 21-month suspension expires to day, and the measures are due to be reintroduced, but the Commission has decided, after consulting economic operators, to reintroduce them in a flexible, gradual way in order to minimise potential disruption to the D-RAM market until an overall review of the anti-dumping measures is completed until June this year. As part of this flexible approach, companies will not be obliged to raise their prices during March.

    [06] "EU Common Agricultural Policy - Achievements and challenges ahead" - Address by Franz Fischler in Japan

    Addressing the Japanese Agricultural Journalists Association, in Tokyo, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Franz Fischler outlined that "we are fully aware that we are a part of the world community, in which we have not only rights but also obligations. In a new round of trade negotiations the European Union, as the world's largest single trading partner, will fully respect its international obligations; but we will also be fully aware of the concerns of our farmers." He noted that certain of our trading partners have already set their sights on the abolition of some of our direct income support payments to farmers, on further reductions in agricultural support and on increased market access. "While they have every right to mark out their negotiating position, we equally have every right to reject demands which would serve to undermine our interests. This is our social responsibility and it will not be solved by market forces alone. I think that this is a natural aim for the European Union, the largest food importer in the world, and agricultural policy in Japan seems to have much the same objective."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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