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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-06-27

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

27/06/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 26 juin 1997 - Outcome of Commission's meeting of 26 June 1997

  • [01] Financial Services - Commission adopts Communication on enhancing consumer confidence
  • [02] La Commission demande au gouvernement flamand de mettre fin au monopole publicitaire de VTM
  • [03] Commission orders Blokker to divest Dutch Toys "R" Us operations
  • [04] Interim Agreements Georgia and Armenia concluded - entry into force this Summer
  • [05] Télévision numérique: la Commission engage une procédure d'infraction à l'encontre de l'Espagne
  • [06] Marchés publics: la Commission décide de saisir la Cour de Justice au sujet de la construction du stade de France
  • [07] Commission decides to end legal action against Germany and Italy for non-respect of environmental directives
  • [08] Commission decides to seek financial penalties against Greece over waste
  • [09] Municipal voting: Commission decides to refer Belgium to Court of Justice
  • [10] Droit de séjour: la Commission décide de poursuivre la Grèce et l'Italie devant la Cour de Justice
  • [11] Commission opens infringement proceedings against 10 Member States in relation to BSE
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [12] La Commission autorise l'acquisition de Th. Goldschmidt AG par VIAG
  • [13] Commission authorises the acquisition by Ferrostaal AG of sole control of DSD Dillinger Stahlbau GmbH
  • [14] Albania: Commission approves humanitarian aid worth ECU 1.7 million

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 26 juin 1997 - Outcome of Commission's meeting of 26 June 1997

    [01] Financial Services - Commission adopts Communication on enhancing consumer confidence

    A Communication outlining measures to enhance consumer confidence in financial services within the Single Market has been adopted by the European Commission. Building on contributions received during consultations on a May 1996 Green Paper, the Commission has concluded that further financial services initiatives are needed to meet adequately consumers' needs and expectations. The Communication therefore announces a series of forthcoming financial services initiatives including proposals for Directives on distance contracts for financial services and protecting victims of car accidents abroad, an update of the insurance intermediaries Directive, a review of the consumer credit Directive and an extension of the Recommendation on new means of payment (with a proposal for a Directive if progress is insufficient). The Commission will also consider an initiative on unregulated financial intermediaries, monitor voluntary agreements concerning consumer information and redress (and propose legislation if progress is insufficient) and launch pilot projects on tackling over-indebtedness.

    [02] La Commission demande au gouvernement flamand de mettre fin au monopole publicitaire de VTM

    La Commission européenne vient d'adopter ce jeudi une décision qui déclare incompatible avec le droit communautaire l'exclusivité légale conférée en matière de publicité télévisée à la chaîne privée VTM. Ce droit avait été accordé à VTM notamment par décisions de l'exécutif flamand de novembre 1987 et décembre 1991, sur la base des dispositions de la législation flamande sur les média, qui limitent à une seule société non publique le droit de s'adresser à l'ensemble de la Communauté flamande et de diffuser de la publicité. La décision de la Commission, prise en application des articles 90 et 52 du traité CE permet définitivement à VT4, ainsi qu'à d'éventuels autres opérateurs de la Communauté de s'installer ou créer un établissement secondaire en Flandre afin de transmettre sur le réseau de télédistribution belge, des messages de publicité télévisée destinés au public flamand.

    [03] Commission orders Blokker to divest Dutch Toys "R" Us operations

    The European Commission has decided that the acquisition of the Dutch Toys "R" Us stores by Blokker in February 1997 leads to the strengthening of Blokker's dominant position in the Dutch market of specialised toy outlets and, therefore, is incompatible with the common market. Blokker has been required to divest the Toys "R" Us stores to an independent third party unconnected to the Blokker group. While this order ensures that effective competition is restored on the market the divestiture process is also intended to optimise the possibilities for the Toys "R" stores to be sold to a third party. Blokker is one of the major retail operators in The Netherlands. Its principal activities are retail trade in household articles, toys and other products. Blokker sells toys through its chains of specialised toy outlets (Bart Smit and Intertoys) and through its household articles retail shops. Toys "R" Us is one of the worlds largest toy retailers

    [04] Interim Agreements Georgia and Armenia concluded - entry into force this Summer

    The European Commission adopted a decision to conclude the Interim Agreements with Georgia and Armenia on behalf of the European Coal and Steel Community and Euratom. This will allow the two Interim Agreements (IA) to enter into force within the next two months. The Interim Agreements put into force the trade-related provisions of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with these countries, which have yet to be ratified. The Interim Agreements formally liberalise trade in goods other than steel, textiles and coal and offers both sides MFN treatment regarding tariffs and duties. Georgia and Armenia commit themselves to raise protection of intellectual property rights to European levels. The Interim Agreements also provide for mutual assistance in customs matters. "The guarantees of the Interim Agreement will stimulate growth in bilateral trade and is an excellent basis for the further integration of these two countries in the global economy", Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek commented.

    [05] Télévision numérique: la Commission engage une procédure d'infraction à l'encontre de l'Espagne

    La Commission européenne a pris la décision d'envoyer à l'Espagne une "lettre de mise en demeure". Cette lettre marque la première étape d'une procédure formelle d'infraction en application de l'article 169 du traité CE. La Commission considère que la loi espagnole 17/1997 concernant les services à accès conditionnel (télévision payante) et de télévision numérique est contraire aux règles fondamentales du traité CE sur la libre circulation des marchandises et la libre prestation de services (articles 30 et 59). En outre, la loi espagnole n'a pas été notifiée à la Commission comme elle aurait dû l'être en application de la directive 83/189/CEE (concernant la notification des normes techniques nationales) et la Commission considère la loi incompatible avec la directive "Télévision sans frontières" (89/552/CEE) et celle relative aux normes de transmission de télévision (95/47/CE). Le dossier revêt, selon la Commission, un caractère d'extrême urgence en raison des effets négatifs possibles sur le développement du marché des services de télévision numérique en Espagne. L'Espagne a été invitée à répondre dans un délai de quinze jours civils à compter de la réception de la lettre de mise en demeure.

    [06] Marchés publics: la Commission décide de saisir la Cour de Justice au sujet de la construction du stade de France

    La Commission européenne vient de décider la saisine de la Cour de justice contre la France pour infraction à la directive marchés publics des travaux (93/37/CEE) lors de la passation du marché relatif à la construction du stade de France à Saint Denis dans la banlieue parisienne, prévu pour la coupe du monde de football en 1998. Les griefs soulevés par la Commission concernent la qualification du contrat en tant que concession et le non- respect du principe de l'égalité de traitement, compte tenu des modifications de l'offre en cours de procédure.

    [07] Commission decides to end legal action against Germany and Italy for non-respect of environmental directives

    The European Commission has decided not to pursue further legal action against Germany and Italy for non-respect of certain environmental directives in the fields of bird protection, groundwater, and waste. In January 1997 the Commission had proposed financial penalties under Article 171 of the Treaty against Germany and Italy for non-compliance with previous judgments of the Court of Justice. The present decision follows the notification by Germany and Italy of measures to comply with the directives in question. Since the two Member States have now fulfilled their obligations under the relevant European Union environmental legislation, the Commission has decided to end the infringement procedures.

    [08] Commission decides to seek financial penalties against Greece over waste

    The European Commission has decided to make a second application to the Court of Justice and to seek financial penalties against Greece for infringing European Union environmental law. Greece has failed to comply with a previous Court judgment concerning waste. The Commission also decided to propose to the Court a daily penalty of ECU 24,600. The penalty would apply to each day of non-compliance with the second judgement of the Court under Article 171 of the Treaty. The present Commission decision relates to non-respect of a 1992 Court judgment concerning Greece's failure to comply with Community waste legislation on the island of Crete (Council Directive 75/442/EEC on waste and Council Directive 78/319/EEC on toxic and dangerous waste ). In particular, Greece has not taken the necessary measures to ensure the safe disposal of waste on the island.

    [09] Municipal voting: Commission decides to refer Belgium to Court of Justice

    The European Commission has decided to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice for failure to implement the Directive on municipal elections (94/80). The Directive, which gives European Union nationals living in another Member State the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections in the country of residence, was due to be implemented in national law no later than 1 January 1996. The Commission has also closed infringement proceedings against Spain concerning the same Directive following the adoption of a law granting voting rights in municipal elections to nationals of other Member States. "The Commission takes violations of Community law concerning citizens' rights very seriously indeed, as we stressed in our recent report on EU citizenship", commented Single Market Commissioner Mario Monti. "We cannot expect people to take seriously efforts made by the Union to make citizens' concerns a priority if Member States fail to implement their rights in practice."

    [10] Droit de séjour: la Commission décide de poursuivre la Grèce et l'Italie devant la Cour de Justice

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour de Justice de violations du droit communautaire par la Grèce et l'Italie dans le domaine du droit de séjour. L'infraction de la Grèce concerne la pratique de soumettre la délivrance d'un titre de séjour à un ressortissant de pays tiers membre de la famille d'un citoyen de l'Union européenne (UE) au paiement d'un droit supérieur à celui exigé pour la délivrance de la carte de séjour au citoyen de l'UE. En ce qui concerne l'Italie, l'infraction vise la mauvaise transposition des directives relatives au droit de séjour des étudiants, retraités et autres inactifs. Le Commissaire responsable pour le Marché unique, Mario Monti, a déclaré: "la libre circulation doit être une réalité tangible pour les citoyens, comme l'ont souligné notre rapport sur la citoyenneté de l'Union et le plan d'action concernant le marché unique. La Commission ne tolérera pas que les Etats membres continuent de violer les droits des individus d'exercer leur droit à la libre circulation au sein du marché unique."

    [11] Commission opens infringement proceedings against 10 Member States in relation to BSE

    The European Commission on 26 June 1997 decided to open the first stage of infringement proceedings under Article 169 of the EC Treaty against 10 Member States in respect of their apparent partial failure to implement and/or enforce some aspects of European Union (EU) Legislation concerning Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE). The Member States are: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Portugal. The decision concerns the first stage of the proceedings, namely the dispatch of letters of formal notice giving the Member States concerned the opportunity of submitting their observations within one month. The presumed infringements are principally inadequate implementation of Commission Decision 96/449/EC (heat treatment system for processing animal waste) and failure to sufficiently control the respect of Commission Decision 94/381/EC prohibiting the use of mammalian tissues in feeding stuffs destined for ruminants. Commenting on the decision, Mr Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the meticulous implementation of all legislation relating to BSE is vital if it is to be eradicated and the possible risks to human health pending eradication are to be avoided. Given that some of the shortfalls could be relatively easily resolved, Mr Fischler expressed the hope that Member States would address these matters as soon as possible so that the infringement procedures can be terminated.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [12] La Commission autorise l'acquisition de Th. Goldschmidt AG par VIAG

    La Commission européenne a approuvé l'acquisition de Th. Goldschmidt AG ("Goldschmidt") par VIAG AG ("VIAG"). Goldschmidt est une entreprise active dans la chimie, la métallurgie et les technologies de soudure. VIAG est un conglomérat actif sur le plan international. L'opération envisagée ne conduit ni à des additions de parts de marché ni à des relations verticales entre les parties qui risqueraient de créer ou de renforcer une position dominante.

    [13] Commission authorises the acquisition by Ferrostaal AG of sole control of DSD Dillinger Stahlbau GmbH

    The European Commission has approved the intention of the company Ferrostaal AG to increase its interest of 38,1% in DSD Dillinger Stahlbau GmbH ("DSD"), held by its subsidiary SGI Saarländische Gesellschaft für Industriebeteiligungen mbH, to altogether 100%. DSD produces industrial engineering and installation services, in particular in the fields of steel constructions, industrial plant installations, air conditioning equipment, as well as construction of bridges. The proposed operation did not raise competitive concerns.

    [14] Albania: Commission approves humanitarian aid worth ECU 1.7 million

    The European Commission has approved a programme of humanitarian aid worth ECU 1.7 million for Albania. The aid, managed by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable non-governmental organisations to carry out a coordinated action over the next six months. The action will aim to bring aid to people particularly vulnerable to the effects of the current crisis, and to rehabilitate some schools and health facilities that were looted and damaged last March.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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