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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-11-14

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

14/11/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission welcomes social partners' contribution to the Employment Summit
  • [02] L'imposition du travail continue d'augmenter
  • [03] Commission clears the acquisition by ENI of a controlling stake in the Italian telecommunications operator ALBACOM
  • [04] Consultation paper on meat and bone meal
  • [05] La Commission prend des mesures pour protéger les enfants contre les risques d'empoisonnement par ingestion d'huiles pour lampes d'ornement
  • [06] L'école de la deuxième chance ouvre ses portes à Marseille
  • [07] Tadjikistan: Commission approves humanitarian aid worth ECU 9 million
  • [08] EU and India settle WTO dispute
  • [09] Hans van den Broek: "The prospects of Cyprus' accession to the EU can act as a catalyst for the UN efforts to find a lasting settlement"
  • [10] Franz Fischler: "Maintainance of direct payments to farmers will be an irrevocable position of the EU at next WTO-round"

  • [01] Commission welcomes social partners' contribution to the Employment Summit

    Following yesterday's Summit of European Social Partner organisations (trade unions and employers), European Commission President Jacques Santer welcomed the endorsement by the social partners (ETUC, UNICE and CEEP) of the Employment Guidelines. In this joint contribution, the social partners call for the putting in place of a macroeconomic framework conducive to growth and employment, and support the proposal on the Commission's Guidelines to refocus Member States' employment policies on the four priority areas identified in the Guidelines: entrepreneurship, employability, adaptability and equal opportunities. The social partners state their wish to contribute to the process of promoting employment in Europe. The Guidelines call on the national social partners, who were present at yesterday's meeting to take joint action on employability (especially training for the unemployed) and adaptability (especially partnership and work organisation). The Commission looks forward to the concrete contribution which the social partners, at European, national and local level, will make to the implementation of the employment strategy to be discussed at next week's Employment Summit.

    [02] L'imposition du travail continue d'augmenter

    Un rapport publié aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg, montre que l'imposition du travail dans l'Union européenne (UE) atteint de nouveaux sommets. Le rapport concerne l'imposition du travail exprimée en pourcentage de la rémunération des salariés (appelé taux d'imposition implicite). Le chiffre pour les quinze Etats membres (UE15) était de 42,1% en 1995 alors qu'il était de 28, 7% pour les six pays fondateurs de la Communauté Economique Européenne (CEE6) en 1970. En 1995, l'imposition du travail salarié atteignait 51,4% du total des recettes fiscales pour l'UE15; 25 ans pus tôt, ce chiffre était de 43,2% pour la CEE6. Exprimée en pourcentage du PIB, la part de l'imposition du travail salarié pour l'UE15 était de 21,4% en 1995. Si l'on compare les données des différents Etats membres, de grands écarts apparaissent entre les taux d'imposition maxima et minima. D'après cet indicateur, les valeurs les plus élevées en 1995 ont été enregistrées en Suède (56,2%) et en Finlande (53,7%). Les valeurs les plus faibles ont été observées au Royaume-Uni (27%). Ce taux était inférieur à 40% au Luxembourg (29,6%), en Irlande (30,1%), au Portugal (36,7% en 1993) et en Espagne (38%). Dans les autres pays, la part de l'imposition du travail se situait entre 40% et 50%.

    [03] Commission clears the acquisition by ENI of a controlling stake in the Italian telecommunications operator ALBACOM

    The European Commission has authorised under the merger regulation the acquisition by the Italian company Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi ("ENI") of a 35% equity stake in the Italian telecommunications operator Albacom S.p.A. ("Albacom"). Other companies controlling Albacom include the British telecommunications operator British Telecom plc ("BT") and the Italian tv broadcaster Mediaset S.p.A. ("Mediaset"). Other shareholders in Albacom include the Italian bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. The Commission has assessed the operation in the context of liberalisation of the Italian telecommunications sector. Italy is for the moment behind the EU liberalisation timetable and is now starting to implement the relevant directives and, as required by EU law, it has fixed the date of 1st January 1998 to liberalise the provision of voice telephony services. Albacom appears to be a new entrant in this sector, aiming to acquire the profile of a future full public telecommunication operator. In this context, the operation appears to be pro-competitive.

    [04] Consultation paper on meat and bone meal

    Franz Fischler, Member of the European Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development, today launched a consultation paper on the European Union's future policy in relation to meat and bone meal. The paper provides an objective description of the present situation on meat and bone meal and some considerations about the possible consequences of adopting different approaches. In terms of future policy adjustments it principally focuses on two points : (1) the possible exclusion of fallen animals and all condemned material from the feed chain. The only raw material allowed to be used for the production of animal feed would then be material declared fit for human consumption but which, either for commercial or technological reasons, is not intended for human consumption; (2) on a possible ban on the use of all animal protein in the feeding of ruminants, on the grounds that these animals are herbivorous and therefore do not need animal protein in their diet.

    [05] La Commission prend des mesures pour protéger les enfants contre les risques d'empoisonnement par ingestion d'huiles pour lampes d'ornement

    La Commission européenne a adopté une directive qui oblige les Etats membres d'interdire la vente des huiles lampantes parfumées et colorées dans des récipients d'une contenance inférieure à 15 litres. Cette initiative fait partie d'une stratégie conçue avec les Etats membres et les organisations de défense des consommateurs pour empêcher que des enfants ne s'empoisonnent accidentellement en absorbant ce genre d'huile utilisée dans des lampes de table ornementales. L'absorption de ces huiles par des enfants a déjà causé quelques accidents tragiques. Dans les mois passés, la Commission a déjà attiré l'attention des Etats membres et des organisations de protection des consommateurs sur ce danger en leur demandant de prendre les mesures appropriées pour protéger les enfants.

    [06] L'école de la deuxième chance ouvre ses portes à Marseille

    Le samedi 15 novembre 1997, Jacques Santer, Président de la Commission européenne, et Edith Cresson, Commissaire en charge de la recherche, de l'éducation de la formation et de la jeunesse, inaugureront l'école de la deuxième chance de Marseille avec le sénateur-maire de la ville, Jean- Claude Gaudin, et en présence de nombreuses personnalités. Cette école est le premier projet pilote de cette nature. Elle accueillera dans un premier temps 60 élèves, que M. Santer et Mme Cresson rencontreront à l'occasion de cette inauguration, pour atteindre progressivement une capacité de 500 élèves. D'ici mars 1998, neuf autres écoles de la deuxième chance ouvriront leurs portes dans huit Etats membres de l'Union. Le site de Bilbao (Espagne) sera inauguré le 27 novembre 1997. L'ouverture officielle des autres sites aura lieu d'ici le mois de mars 1998 à Hämeenlinna (Finlande), Catania (Italie), Seixal (Portugal), Nikea-Peristeri (Athènes- Grèce), Ribe (Danemark), Halle et Cologne (Allemagne), Heerlen (Pays-Bas).

    [07] Tadjikistan: Commission approves humanitarian aid worth ECU 9 million

    The European Commission and Member States have approved humanitarian aid worth ECU 9 million for Tadjikistan. The aid, managed by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable specialist organisations to implement a coordinated programme of medical and food aid and assistance for refugees and displaced persons that will run until June 1998. After a bitter civil war, there is now precarious peace in Tadjikistan, one of the poorest countries in the former Soviet Union. While it is no longer experiencing an acute emergency, the country is still in a critical state and in need of humanitarian aid before it can progress to steady development. Last winter, for instance, it experienced an epidemic of typhoid, the virulence of which surprised medical aid workers.

    [08] EU and India settle WTO dispute

    The European Union (EU) and India have settled their dispute on Indian restrictions on imports of agricultural, textile and industrial products. India has agreed to phase out import restrictions over a six year period. The agreement ensures early liberalisation of products of export interest to the EU, a substantial number of which will be liberalised within the first three years. The settlement is a result of negotiations between the parties after the EU requested consultations under the World Trade Organisation dispute mechanism in July 1997. The EU is India's main trading partner. The EU absorbs more than a quarter of India's exports and supplies approximately the same proportion of its imports. Total EU-India trade in 1996 was estimated at 18,483 MECU. This represents a 85.3% growth since 1991. India's exports to the EU increased considerably from 1995 to 1996 (10.2%), whereas the increase in EU exports to India was more modest (4.8%).

    [09] Hans van den Broek: "The prospects of Cyprus' accession to the EU can act as a catalyst for the UN efforts to find a lasting settlement"

    European Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek delivered a message of conciliation to a group of Cyprus businesspeople today. In a speech at a conference in Brussels for business representatives from Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, he said: "We in the European Union have learned that the most bitter fratricidal conflicts which have rumbled on for decades and even centuries can be overcome. The originality of the method devised by the Union is that reconciliation has been brought about through a process which started with economic cooperation and which aims at political unity. No two situations are identical; we must be aware of both similarities and differences when making comparisons. But I believe that the European experience during these past decades contains a message of hope which is well encapsulated in the theme of today's meeting, "in economic cooperation lies mutual benefit". I know from previous meetings among business people from Greece, Turkey and Cyprus that you fully recognise the importance of this message. The contacts made among business people at the recent meetings in Istanbul and Athens have created a momentum and optimism for the future".

    [10] Franz Fischler: "Maintainance of direct payments to farmers will be an irrevocable position of the EU at next WTO-round"

    In a statement on "Agriculture and Society" given at the agricultural conference of the European Socialist Party in Brussels today, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Franz Fischler said that due to the reduction in price support for cereals, milk and beef as foreseen in the reform of the CAP (common agricultural policy), there must be fair compensation in the form of direct payments for the competitive disadvantages European Union (EU)-farmers have to put up with as compared to their counterparts in the US for example. Given that society demands of the farmers in Europe not only a role of producing food, but maintaining the countryside, protecting the landscapes and the environment, "adhering to these direct payments has to be the EU's irrevocable position at the next WTO-round", Mr Fischler stressed. Apart from the fact that larger farms have the advantage of economies of scale, the negative image for the CAP created by individual farmers receiving very large payments necessitates the introduction of limits on these payments. These limits should however take account of certain factors such as employment, he added.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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