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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-03-19

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

19/03/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] Sexual harassment in the workplace: second stage consultation of the social partners
  • [02] La Commission propose aux Ministres de l'Industrie de l'UE d'adopter des aides à la restructuration des chantiers navals en Espagne, en Allemagne et en Grèce
  • [03] Commission questions Denmark's total ban on metal cans for drinks
  • [04] Commission takes further legal actions against Portugal and Ireland for failing to respect EU rules on the protection of waters against nitrate pollution
  • [05] Commission takes further legal action against the United Kingdom for failing to respect EU rules on the protection of groundwater
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [06] Commission begins an in-depth investigation of the Boeing / McDonnell Douglas Merger

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

    [01] Sexual harassment in the workplace: second stage consultation of the social partners

    The European Commission has launched the second stage consultation with the Social Partners on the possibility of drawing up a comprehensive policy at European Union (EU) level to fight against sexual harassment in the workplace. While the consultation document strongly encourages the Social Partners to negotiate a collective agreement on this issue, it makes it clear that the Commission is ready to go further if such an agreement is not reached. The Commission asks the Social Partners to agree on questions like the definition, prevention and prohibition of sexual harassment and a system of confidential counselling. According to the Social Protocol annexed to the Maastricht EU Treaty, the Social Partners now have to give the Commission their opinion on this document. At this stage, they can decide to negotiate on the issue of preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, in which case they would have nine months to reach a collective agreement at European level.

    [02] La Commission propose aux Ministres de l'Industrie de l'UE d'adopter des aides à la restructuration des chantiers navals en Espagne, en Allemagne et en Grèce

    La Commission européenne a décidé de proposer au Conseil des Ministres de l'Industrie le 24 avril prochain un paquet de mesures en faveur de la restructuration des chantiers navals d'Espagne, d'Allemagne et de Grèce. Ces trois dossiers ne changent pas de manière significative la position concurrentielle de ces chantiers. Dans le cas allemand, l'aide remplace les montants illégalement détournés par Bremer Vulkan au détriment des deux chantiers est-allemands. Dans les cas grec et espagnol, une grande partie de l'aide est justifiée par des intérêts que les entreprises concernées ont dû verser sur des prêts qu'elles avaient contractés parce que pour des raisons soit budgétaires soit juridiques les gouvernements concernés n'étaient pas en mesure de verser l'aide autorisée. A cela s'ajoute pour l'Espagne et l'Allemagne d'importantes réductions de capacité dans les chantiers navals. Un contrôle très strict sera effectué sur les différentes phases de ces restructurations. Si le Conseil des Ministres donne son feu vert aux mesures proposées, la Commission pourra se prononcer formellement sur ces trois cas d'aide. Un élément crucial dans ces mesures, proposées à l'initiative du Commissaire à la Concurrence, Karel Van Miert, est l'engagement de trois gouvernements de ne plus payer d'aides au sauvetage, à la restructuration ou pour compenser de pertes de garantie à ces chantiers à l'avenir.

    [03] Commission questions Denmark's total ban on metal cans for drinks

    The European Commission decided to send a Letter of Formal Notice to Denmark under Article 169 of the EC Treaty stating that Denmark's total ban on the use of metal cans for beers and soft drinks may be contrary to the Packaging Directive (Council Directive 94/62/EEC on packaging and packaging waste). Directive 94/62/EEC has the twin aims of, on the one hand, reducing the environmental impact of packaging waste, and, on the other hand, of ensuring the functioning of the internal market and avoidance of obstacles to trade and of distortion and restriction of competition. The Directive thus strikes a balance between internal market considerations and environmental considerations, and any restrictions on the placing on the market of packaging must be justified accordingly.

    [04] Commission takes further legal actions against Portugal and Ireland for failing to respect EU rules on the protection of waters against nitrate pollution

    The European Commission decided to lodge an application before the European Court of Justice against Portugal for its failure to fully respect the Nitrates Directive (Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources). The Commission also decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Ireland for non respect of the same Directive. These decisions reflect the Commission's concern to make the Nitrates Directive fully effective across the Community. The Directive sets out to lower excessive nitrate levels in surface waters and groundwaters in so far as these are caused by agriculture. The aims are two-fold: to safeguard the quality of drinking water (very high nitrate levels represent a public health risk) and to help combat eutrophication algal blooms and other undesirable changes caused by an excess of nutrients such as nitrates).

    [05] Commission takes further legal action against the United Kingdom for failing to respect EU rules on the protection of groundwater

    The European Commission decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to the United Kingdom under Article 169 of the EC Treaty for its failure to fully comply with a Community directive for the protection of groundwater (Council Directive 80/68/EEC on the protection of groundwater against pollution caused by certain dangerous substances). This decision reflects the Commission's general concern that the vital Community's groundwater resources should be fully protected in accordance with the Directive. The Directive has the aims of preventing the introduction into groundwater of certain toxic, persistent and bioaccumulable substances and of limiting the introduction of certain other less hazardous substances into groundwater. With these aims in view, the Directive provides for a set of strict controls on activities which may lead to groundwater pollution, including in some cases prior authorisation and investigation.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [06] Commission begins an in-depth investigation of the Boeing / McDonnell Douglas Merger

    The European Commission has decided to proceed to an in-depth investigation of the proposed merger between the Boeing Company and the Mc Donnell Douglas Corporation (MDC) and to initiate second phase proceedings under the EC Merger Regulation. The operation which was notified to the Commission on 18th February would lead to the creation of the largest aerospace company in the world. The Commission will, in particular, have to examine to what extent Boeing's leading position in the market for commercial jet aircraft could be strengthened through the proposed merger.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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