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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-11-12

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

12/11/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] La Commission présente un cadre de référence pour le débat sur l'emploi
  • [02] Création d'emplois: la Commission suggère une réduction du taux de TVA sur certains services
  • [03] Pour un apprentissage européen: un "Europass-Formation"
  • [04] Pour une Europe de la connaissance
  • [05] A Europe-wide market for defence products is vital if the industry is to survive
  • [06] Free movement of workers: Commission adopts Action Plan
  • [07] Commission proposes extending social security regulation to third country nationals
  • [08] Infringement procedures against four Member States in relation to BSE
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [09] Commission proposes conclusion of EU/US Veterinary agreement
  • [10] Commission refers the case Preussag/Hapag-Lloyd/TUI to the Bundeskartellamt
  • [11] Symposium confirms the role of Leader in rural development

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

    [01] La Commission présente un cadre de référence pour le débat sur l'emploi

    La Commission européenne a adopté une communication du Président Jacques Santer sur "les politiques communautaires au service de l'emploi". Cette communication fournira un cadre de référence aux débats des Chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement lors du Conseil Européen extraordinaire sur l'Emploi du 21 novembre prochain. Elle n'est donc pas destinée à être approuvée par le Conseil européen. Ce document est l'illustration que les politiques communautaires ne sont pas parallèles à celles des Etats membres, mais qu'au contraire elles s'y imbriquent. 1°) L'action de l'Union crée le cadre indispensable pour assurer la compatibilité de l'action des Etats membres et pour en assurer le plein potentiel: cadre macro-économique, marché unique, fiscalité, réformes structurelles du marché du travail, emploi et développement soutenable. 2°) L'action de l'Union soutient et complète celle des Etats membres: recherche et innovation, ressources financières accrues pour les petites et moyennes entreprises, promotion d'une société de la connaissance, partenariats pour le financement du réseau transeuropéen, fonds structurels au service de l'emploi et du développement. Au-delà du cadre de référence présenté aujourd'hui, la première priorité pour la Commission reste l'adoption par le Conseil européen des lignes directrices pour l'emploi.

    [02] Création d'emplois: la Commission suggère une réduction du taux de TVA sur certains services

    A la veille du Conseil européen sur l'emploi des 20 et 21 novembre, la Commission européenne soumet à l'attention du Conseil l'idée d'autoriser les Etats membres à appliquer, à titre expérimental et sur base optionnelle, un taux de TVA réduit sur certains services à forte intensité de main- d'oeuvre fournis localement. Si l'accueil est favorable, la Commission envisage de présenter une proposition de directive permettant aux Etats membres qui le souhaitent d'introduire cette mesure et de vérifier pendant une durée de trois ans si c'est un moyen efficace pour stimuler l'emploi sans porter atteinte aux objectifs de consolidation budgétaire et de bon fonctionnement du Marché Unique.

    [03] Pour un apprentissage européen: un "Europass-Formation"

    La Commission européenne a adopté un projet de décision du Conseil des Ministres visant la promotion de "Parcours européens de formation en alternance et par l'apprentissage". Cette proposition pose la première pierre de ce qui devra devenir un véritable "Erasmus" de l'apprentissage. Elle prévoit la mise en place d'un document communautaire d'information, "Europass-Formation" destiné à appuyer la mobilité européenne en attestant qu'un apprenti a suivi un ou plusieurs "Parcours européen de formation". Dans le prolongement à la fois de sa communication de juin 1997 ("Développer l'apprentissage en Europe" - COM(97)300) et dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre des conclusions du Conseil européen d'Amsterdam, la Commission, en soulignant le rôle essentiel de la coopération entre l'établissement de formation et les entreprises, entend contribuer ainsi au renforcement de cette méthode de formation au niveau européen. Sous une forme ou une autre, la formation en alternance et par l'apprentissage bénéficie déjà à près de 50% des jeunes en formation professionnelle initiale dans les 15 Etats membres de l'Union européenne.

    [04] Pour une Europe de la connaissance

    La Commission européenne a adopté une communication "Pour une Europe de la connaissance". Cette communication présente les orientations de la Commission quant aux futures actions communautaires dans les domaines de l'éducation, de la formation et de la jeunesse pour la période 2000-2006. Elle sera examinée dans les prochaines semaines avec les Conseils des Ministres concernés, ce qui permettra à la Commission de préparer des propositions d'actes juridiques au printemps 1998. Une décision sur les nouveaux programmes dans les domaines de l'éducation et de la formation sera prise en 1999, pour entrer en application le 1er janvier 2000.

    [05] A Europe-wide market for defence products is vital if the industry is to survive

    The European Commission adopted a strategy in order to deal with the problems facing european defence industry. The European defence-related industry is too fragmented to be sustainable. The sharp drop in demand following the end of the cold war, combined with fierce competition from newly created 'giant' corporations in the United States has put the future of this industry at stake. The strategy addresses these problems and is aimed at facilitating the necessary restructuring process. The Communication comprises an Action plan responding to the urgent need for actions called for by industry, and a draft Common Position related to the development of a European Armaments policy, for discussion by the Council.

    [06] Free movement of workers: Commission adopts Action Plan

    In a Communication adopted today, the European Commission sets out a comprehensive Action Plan to improve the conditions for the free movement of workers within the European Union (EU). Action will focus on five areas: improving existing legislation, making the European labour market more transparent, enhancing cooperation with and between national authorities and social partners, giving greater visibility to the right of free movement, and developing innovative projects with the support of the European Social Fund. The Commission's strategy builds on the recommendations made last March by the High Level Panel on free movement of people. It highlights the crucial role of labour mobility in the proper functioning of the Single Market and in the promotion of a skilled, trained and adaptable workforce, recently underlined in the Commission's Guidelines for Member States Employment policies for 1998. The Commission will present the relevant legislative proposals to the Council before the end of 1998.

    [07] Commission proposes extending social security regulation to third country nationals

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council of Ministers' regulation aimed at extending to third country nationals the provisions of Council Regulation 1408/71 on the application of social security schemes to employed people and their families moving within the European Union (EU). The great majority of the 13 million third country nationals legally residing and working in the EU have to date been excluded from the coordination mechanisms introduced by Regulation 1408/71, aimed at safeguarding the social security rights of workers moving within the EU and to avoid any loss or duplication of social protection coverage. Based on the principles of non discrimination and equality of treatment, the proposed regulation, once adopted, will also achieve an important legal and administrative simplification, because the social security coordination between Member States for third country nationals is currently regulated by numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements, generating considerable legal confusion and heavy administrative costs.

    [08] Infringement procedures against four Member States in relation to BSE

    The European Commission today decided the immediate pursuit of the infringement procedure by the issue of Reasoned opinions against three Member States (France, Spain and the United Kingdom) for non respect of various aspects of EU Legislation relating or relevant to BSE. It also decided to issue a new letter of warning to Portugal. On 26 June 1997 and 16 September 1997, the Commission had opened infringement procedures under Article 169 of the EC Treaty against a total of eleven Member States (Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom). Today it reconsidered the issue in the light of the reactions of the Member States concerned to the Commission's letters of formal notice. In respect of the remaining seven Member States, the Commission has not yet decided to take further action at this stage. In no case has the immediate closing of the infringement procedure been proposed.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [09] Commission proposes conclusion of EU/US Veterinary agreement

    The European Commission today adopted a proposal to the Council of Ministers put forward by Mr Franz Fischler, Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, to conclude a veterinary agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US) for animals and animal products. The objective of the agreement is to facilitate trade in live animals and animal products between the EU and the US by establishing a mechanism for the recognition of equivalence of sanitary measures operating in the two regions. The recognition by an importing country of the sanitary measures applied by an exporting country can permit greater efficiency in the utilisation of inspection and verification resources. This proposal includes application of the principle of regionalisation for the main animal diseases and lists those commodities for which equivalence is recognised. For those commodities where equivalence is not yet recognised, it sets out a programme of work towards recognition and the trade conditions applicable in the interim. The total trade between the EU and the US in the products covered by this draft Agreement for 1995 was about $ 1,500 million in each direction. This figure conceals significant differences in the importance to each party of certain commodities. It should be stressed that nothing in this draft Agreement changes EU legislation. Similar agreements have been, or are being negotiated with New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Australia, Canada, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.

    [10] Commission refers the case Preussag/Hapag-Lloyd/TUI to the Bundeskartellamt

    The European Commission has decided to refer the proposed acquisitions by Preussag AG ("Preussag") of sole control of Hapag-Lloyd AG ("HL") and of Touristik Union International GmbH & CO KG ("TUI") to the Bundeskartellamt for further investigation as far as the markets for airtravel package tours, sea cruises and the provision of charter flights are concerned. These activities are clearly definable aspects of the proposed operations referring to product markets which present all the characteristics of a distinct national market. So far, foreign competitors are active only to a small extent on the German tourism markets. Furthermore, with regard to the markets for airtravel package tours and the provision of charter flights, barriers to market entry seem to be not unimportant. On the basis of the data provided by the Bundeskartellamt in its request (based on Article 9 of the Merger Regulation) and in view of the results of its own investigation the Commission has concluded that there are indications that the proposed concentrations could result in the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in these markets.

    [11] Symposium confirms the role of Leader in rural development

    On 9, 10 and 11 November, Franz Fischler, Member of the European Commission responsible for agriculture and rural development, brought together in Brussels representatives from some 800 local groups that have benefited from the Leader Community Initiative, and over 200 politicians, to consider the possibilities for a new Community Initiative for rural development. In his closing address to the colloquium, Mr Fischler said it is important that, at a time when we are developing the future rural development policy, we get the views of the people directly involved on the ground. The discussions over the last two days, he said, help both to confirm the general approach to rural development outlined in Agenda 2000 and also gives us some ideas for reflection as we draft the detailed plans for the future. It is clear, he added, that the Community Initiative for rural development should be continued in the framework of the present Leader philosophy. Leader projects must continue to focus on small geographical units, the principle of the bottom-up approach must be maintained and strengthened where necessary and bureaucracy be minimised so that those involved can concentrate on development activities rather that cutting through the different layers of red tape. While EU expenditure on Leader is only a small part of the total expenditure on Rural Development the fact that it acts as a catalyst to encourage people to work together in developing their region will inevitably create structures which will continue to benefit their region over and above that which arises from Leader activities.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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