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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-11-11

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

11/11/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Sommet du Dialogue Social
  • [02] Commission clears the acquisition of Woodchester investment by GE Capital
  • [03] Commission clears the joint venture OBS! Danmark between FDB, NKL and KF
  • [04] Positive action for women: statement by Padraig Flynn on the Marschall case
  • [05] Padraig Flynn says there is a health and safety problem in the sectors excluded from the Working Time Directive
  • [06] Ritt Bjerregaard: "The trend is clear: People want better, more environmental friendly products on the market"

  • [01] Sommet du Dialogue Social

    Le Président de la Commission européenne, Jacques Santer, et le Commissaire responsable pour l'Emploi et les Affaires Sociales, Padraig Flynn, ont invité les partenaires sociaux européens de l'UNICE, de la CES et du CEEP à contribuer à la préparation du Conseil européen extraordinaire sur l'emploi du 21 novembre prochain. Cette contribution sera définie dans le cadre du Sommet du Dialogue Social, le 13 novembre à Bruxelles, auquel participera également le Président en exercice du Conseil européen, Jean-Claude Juncker. Dans ses "Propositions de lignes directrices pour les politiques de l'emploi des Etats membres en 1998", la Commission appelle à un engagement collectif pour la lutte contre le chômage et en faveur de l'emploi. Lors du Sommet du Dialogue Social, la Commission réitérera son appel aux partenaires sociaux de prendre des initiatives en ce sens.

    [02] Commission clears the acquisition of Woodchester investment by GE Capital

    The European Commission has approved, under the Merger Regulation, the operation by which American company General Electric Capital Corporation (GE Capital) acquires control of Woodchester Investment plc, an Irish financial services group. Both companies are active in the financing of assets sector, in particular equipment and vehicle financing. In its investigation of the merger, the Commission found that the operation will not result in any significant combined market shares in the sector of financing of assets, and therefore it has decided not to oppose the merger.

    [03] Commission clears the joint venture OBS! Danmark between FDB, NKL and KF

    The European Commission has cleared under the Merger Regulation the establishment of the joint venture OBS! Danmark A/S, which will be owned with one third each by Fællesforeningen for Danske Brugsforeninger of Denmark (FDB), Norges Kooperative Landsforening of Norway (NKL) and Kooperativa Förbundet of Sweden (KF). OBS! Danmark will own and operate the OBS! chain of hypermarkets in Denmark. The OBS! chain is today wholly owned by FDB. The operation involves a financial participation of KF and NKL in the OBS! chain in Denmark, but does not change the market structure of the Danish market for retailing of daily consumer goods. It was therefore found that the operation will not impede competition in the European Union.

    [04] Positive action for women: statement by Padraig Flynn on the Marschall case

    The European Court of Justice today delivered its judgment in case C 409/95 (Marschall/Land Nordrhein-Westfalen). The Court has said that a national law which gives priority to women in promotions in the public sector in cases where there are male and female candidates who are equally qualified for the post in question, does not conflict with Community law provided that certain conditions are satisfied and the promotion of a male candidate is not excluded from the outset. Today's ruling expands upon the Kalanke judgment of October 1995 which found a similar but automatic provision in the Land of Bremen to be illegal. Commenting on the Marschall case, Padraig Flynn, European Commissioner with responsibility for Employment and Social Affairs, said he "was delighted with the ruling. The Court has recognised that certain deep-rooted prejudices and stereotypes as to the role and capacities of women in working life still persist. The Court has concluded from this that priority given to equally qualified women - which is designed to restore the balance - is not contrary to Community law provided that an objective assessment of each individual candidate, irrespective of the sex of the candidate in question, is assured. The view taken by the Commission after Kalanke has been vindicated by this ruling. The vast majority of approaches to positive action, which permit a degree of flexibility in their application and which stop short of rigid automatic quotas, are not called into question. The new Amsterdam Treaty Article 119 (4) will, on coming into force, strengthen this situation."

    [05] Padraig Flynn says there is a health and safety problem in the sectors excluded from the Working Time Directive

    Speaking today in Luxembourg to the General Assembly of the Federation of Transport Unions, Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn said: "There are workers in all the excluded sectors who have no protection against risks to their health and safety through having to work excessively long hours." The Commissioner explained that the European Commission's White Paper on excluded sectors comes down in favour of the option which would mean introducing framework measures to extend the full provisions of the Working Time Directive to all non-mobile workers. There would have to be suitable adjustment of the existing exceptions to take account of things like the need for continuity of service and other operational requirements. These measures would also apply certain provisions of the Working Time Directive to all mobile and offshore workers, i.e. four weeks' paid annual leave and health assessments for night workers. They would also provide guarantees of adequate rest periods and for a ceiling on the numbers of hours to be worked annually. Furthermore, the Commission also announced its intention to introduce or amend specific legislation for each sector or activity when it came to working time and rest periods for mobile workers and offshore workers. "This would include amendment of Regulation 3820/85, which applies specifically to driving time in the road haulage sector. We are looking to provide in particular new working time limits on driving, loading, unloading and the like," Mr Flynn said.

    [06] Ritt Bjerregaard: "The trend is clear: People want better, more environmental friendly products on the market"

    Speaking at a conference on sustainable consumption in London, Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard focused on the important role that consumers play in securing sustainable consumption through their daily choice of products they buy. The Commissioner mentioned the European Eco-label scheme, which follows a scientifically based "cradle to grave" approach, as a good example of consumer information, enabling consumers to make environment-conscious choices. She said: "The environment requires a European Eco-label, which consumers throughout the European Union will recognise as a guarantee of better environmental performance. To make sustainable consumption a success story, consumers must be active partners and clearly express their priorities. The time for consumers to look at prices only, is over. Environmental cost is just as important. It is our responsibility to teach and inform consumers about this approach. We should all aim to become active promoters of the environmental consumption."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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