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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-11-24

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

24/11/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Microsoft responds to Commission objections by releasing The Santa Cruz Operation from restrictions in a contract
  • [02] L'UE met en oeuvre un accord international concernant le commerce des espèces de faune sauvage
  • [03] European Information Technology Conference and Exhibition 1997
  • [04] Aide humanitaire: l'opération ECHO-Flight se poursuivra jusqu'à la mi- janvier en Afrique centrale et orientale
  • [05] Yves-Thibault de Silguy: "Les banques qui proposent, en 1999, des produits en euros performants, gagneront des parts de marchés"
  • [06] Christos Papoutsis satisfied with decisions on SMEs and says efforts in their favour will continue
  • [07] The challenge of AIDS in developing countries - public hearing in Brussels

  • [01] Microsoft responds to Commission objections by releasing The Santa Cruz Operation from restrictions in a contract

    Microsoft has unilaterally and irrevocably waived its rights under contract provisions to which the European Commission had objected on the grounds that they prevented another software firm from competing freely with Microsoft. The Commission had objected to provisions in a contract between Microsoft and one of its competitors, The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO). SCO produces versions of the Unix operating system for use on microcomputers. The contract in question between SCO and Microsoft required SCO to base its Unix products on work done by Microsoft in 1987 and therefore to licence the results of this work from Microsoft at a set copy royalty, and required it to make its versions of Unix backwardly compatible with certain application programs available in 1987. The Commission's Statement of Objections argued that these were restrictions of competition in breach of European Union competition law. These restrictions harmed SCO's ability to compete with Microsoft in the provision of operating systems, and in particular harmed its ability to compete in the field of operating systems for workstations and servers where there is vigorous competition between Microsoft's NT product and a variety of versions of Unix. Microsoft's waiver means that SCO can now design its future Unix products as it wishes, is not obliged to use any Microsoft intellectual property in future Unix products and has the option, under the reamining parts of the contract, to use the Microsoft intellectual property involved at a set royalty.

    [02] L'UE met en oeuvre un accord international concernant le commerce des espèces de faune sauvage

    La Commission européenne a adopté un règlement qui révise les listes existantes d'espèces de faune sauvage protégées contre le commerce international. Les listes révisées reflètent dans leur totalité les accords que les parties à la convention sur le commerce international des espèces de faune et de flore sauvages menacées d'extinction (CITES) ont conclus lors de leur conférence qui s'est tenue à Harare, Zimbabwe du 9 au 20 juin 1997. Parmi les principaux changements, on peut citer l'ouverture de possibilités d'importation conditionnelles et strictement limitées pour les éléphants et les produits d'éléphant d'Afrique comme l'ivoire, et l'assujettissement du commerce des esturgeons et du caviar d'esturgeon à des permis d'importation et d'exportation. "Cette initiative est la preuve de notre engagement total à l'égard de la convention CITES et de notre respect des décisions arrêtées à la conférence des parties", a commenté Ritt Bjerregaard, membre de la Commission chargée de l'environnement.

    [03] European Information Technology Conference and Exhibition 1997

    The 1997 European Information Technology Conference and Exhibition, EITC '97, takes place on 24-26 November in the Brussels Congress Centre. Over 1500 participants from industry, research organisations, national administrations and the European Union's institutions are expected to attend. The President of the European Commission, Jacques Santer, will hand out the prizes to the three winners of the European Information Technology Prize at a special ceremony on 25 November. Organised jointly by Esprit (the European Union's information technology research programme) and Euro-CASE (European Council of Applied Sciences and Engineering), the European Information Technology Prize is intended to provide recognition to innovative Information Technology products with excellent market potential. Winners must demonstrate creativity and good business sense in using information technology to generate growth and employment. In parallel with the conference, a Showcase Exhibition will illustrate the leading-edge technologies and products stemming from work in Esprit and the many take-up and technology transfer measures fostered by the programme.

    [04] Aide humanitaire: l'opération ECHO-Flight se poursuivra jusqu'à la mi- janvier en Afrique centrale et orientale

    L'opération ECHO-Flight, dont les avions amènent l'aide humanitaire aux régions de Somalie, du sud Soudan et de l'Ouganda ravagées par la crise, est prolongée de deux mois jusqu'à la mi-janvier 1998. L'Office humanitaire de la Communauté européenne (ECHO) a dégagé une aide de 2 millions d'Ecus pour en couvrir les coûts. Médecins Sans Frontières (Pays- Bas et Espagne), Action Contre la Faim (France) et Save the Children Fund (Royaume-Uni) sont au nombre des ONG qui ont eu recours aux services d'ECHO- Flight. ECHO a lancé le service en mai 1994. Les six avions qui l'assurent sont basés à Nairobi, Djibouti, Mandera et Lokichoggio. ECHO-Flight est un service vital dans une région où le transport terrestre est, par suite des risques en matière de sécurité, trop dangereux. ECHO-Flight a effectué plus de 36.000 heures de vol entre la mi-mai 1994 et la mi-août 1997. Ses avions ont transporté plus de 100.000 passagers ainsi que trois tonnes de denrées alimentaires, de fournitures médicales et de matériel pour des programmes d'aide humanitaire.

    [05] Yves-Thibault de Silguy: "Les banques qui proposent, en 1999, des produits en euros performants, gagneront des parts de marchés"

    S'exprimant devant la confédération des banques bavaroises à Munich, Yves- Thibault de Silguy, Commissaire européen charge des affaires économiques, monétaires et financières, a notamment déclaré: "il ne faut pas craindre l'arrivée de l'euro, mais s'y préparer. Le passage à la monnaie européenne n'est pas une simple opération arithmétique: il a des implications stratégiques sur l'ensemble des activités bancaires. Les banques allemandes ont été les premières à démarrer leurs préparatifs. Elles sont donc particulièrement bien placées pour en tirer les fruits". "Les banques ont parfois tendance, dans leurs discours publics, à mettre l'accent sur les difficultés du passage à l'euro et à en taire les avantages. D'innombrables estimations sur le coût de la transition circulent. Certaines sont sérieuses. Beaucoup laissent à désirer. La plupart omettent de prendre en compte les conséquences positives de la création de l'euro et ne retiennent que les coûts immédiats. L'euro apportera aux banques des avantages qui excèdent largement le coût initial de la transition. Il dynamisera l'activité bancaire en Europe pour deux raisons: (1) il sera, aux côtés du dollar, une grande monnaie internationale, et (2) il entraînera la constitution d'un grand marché des produits financiers".

    [06] Christos Papoutsis satisfied with decisions on SMEs and says efforts in their favour will continue

    "I would like to express my deep satisfaction on the results of the extraordinary European Council on Employment. As Commissioner responsible for Enterprise Policy, I am particularly satisfied that the European Council, with its decisions, recognised and laid specific emphasis on the highly important role SMEs are playing in creating employment. The Heads of State and Government decided to give fresh impetus to actions introduced by the Enterprise Policy through the Third Multiannual Programme in favour of SMEs. I will continue to make any effort to support and assist small and medium-sized enterpises, the backbone of our economies. We shall also take initiatives to strengthen entrepreneurship and create a new business culture in Europe. But, at the same time Member States' governments will now have to prove that they mean all they declare by implementing as soon as possible the decisions of the European Union's leaders."

    [07] The challenge of AIDS in developing countries - public hearing in Brussels

    By the end of 1997, 30 million people worldwide will be infected with HIV; 90% of those infected live in developing countries. This is the background against which the European Commission and the European Parliament decided to promote a public hearing on the impact of AIDS in developing countries. It will take place tomorrow in Brussels (rue Belliard, 97 - 16h30). The public hearing will also mark the 10th anniversary of the European Union's AIDS programme aimed at developing countries. Michel Rocard, president of the European Parliament's Developing Committee, João de Deus Pinheiro, EU Development Commissioner, and Joseph Stiglitz, Chief Economist and Vice- President of the World Bank, will address the seminar. A special report on AIDS in developing countries, co-sponsored by the Commission, UNAIDS and the World Bank will be presented.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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