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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-11-26

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

26/11/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] "Mieux légiférer": les Etats membres doivent s'employer à mettre effectivement en oeuvre le droit communautaire
  • [02] A strategy and action plan for the promotion of renewable energy sources
  • [03] La Commission interdit un système d'échange d'informations dans le secteur sidérurgique
  • [04] Action plan on promoting safe use of the Internet
  • [05] Commission proposes modification of directive on deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms
  • [06] Mesures spécifiques pour l'importation de riz originaire des pays et territoires d'Outre-mer (PTOM)
  • [07] Procedural law: Commission advocates more efficiency in obtaining and enforcing judgements in the European Union
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [08] Structural Funds boost EU employment
  • [09] Single Market: Mario Monti to call on Member States to honour Action Plan commitments
  • [10] Jacques Santer hands out the prizes to the winners of the European Informations Technology Prize '97
  • [11] Marcelino Oreja: "L'initiative 'EU-Law Service' - un grand effort en matière de transparence"

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

    [01] "Mieux légiférer": les Etats membres doivent s'employer à mettre effectivement en oeuvre le droit communautaire

    La Commission européenne a adopté son rapport annuel sur les actions menées en 1997 pour permettre à l'Union européenne de "mieux légiférer". Celui-ci montre que les efforts entrepris depuis le Conseil européen d'Edimbourg en 1992 portent leurs fruits. Le principe de subsidiarité est mieux appliqué. Les consultations préalables se multiplient. Les textes législatifs sont mieux écrits. La simplification et la consolidation de la législation continuent. L'accès au droit communautaire s'est amélioré. Cependant, l'expérience montre que les textes adoptés au Conseil et au Parlement européen sont souvent plus complexes que les propositions initiales de la Commission. Il apparaît également que les propositions de simplification et de codification mettent beaucoup de temps à être adoptées par le Parlement européen et le Conseil. Enfin, la production législative des Etats membres demeure abondante, que ce soit au niveau des normes techniques ou de l'environnement par exemple. Ceci risque de créer une fragmentation du marché, d'autant que cinq ans après l'échéance de 1992, près de 25% des mesures relatives au marché intérieur ne sont pas mises en oeuvre par les Etats membres. Aussi, la Commission lance-t-elle un appel: les Etats membres doivent "s'employer à mettre effectivement en oeuvre le droit communautaire" et à "mieux légiférer" pour "participer activement au processus d'amélioration de la qualité de la législation".

    [02] A strategy and action plan for the promotion of renewable energy sources

    The European Commission adopted a White Paper which for the first time sets out a comprehensive strategy and action plan designed to achieve by 2010 an ambitious but realistic goal of doubling from 6% to 12% the share of renewable energies in the total energy demand of the European Union. The benefits from the achievement of this goal are very considerable in terms of CO² emission reductions, scientific and industrial development in a high technology sector, employment creation, avoided fuel costs, increased security of supply, local and regional development and exports to third countries which can benefit considerably from European technology. The main features of the strategy are: the reinforcement of policies affecting the penetration of renewable energies including agriculture and rural policy, regional policy, internal market measures in the regulatory and fiscal areas. The strengthening of cooperation between Member States is proposed, as well as coordinated support measures to facilitate investment and enhance dissemination and information on renewable energy sources. An important element of the strategy and the action plan is the Campaign for Take Off, involving the key photovoltaic, wind energy and biomass sectors, which will be a means for the drive towards a significant increase in renewables penetration in the market.

    [03] La Commission interdit un système d'échange d'informations dans le secteur sidérurgique

    La Commission européenne a interdit en vertu de l'article 65 du traité CECA un système d'échange d'informations notifié par l'association des entreprises sidérurgiques allemandes, la Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl. Ce système, qui n'a pas été mis en vigueur, prévoyait notamment l'échange entre les membres de l'association de données sensibles, récentes et individualisées sur les livraisons de plus de 40 produits sidérurgiques distincts dans les différents Etats membres, détaillées par qualité d'acier. L'échange aurait également concerné la répartition par secteur consommateur et les parts de marché des entreprises notifiantes sur le marché allemand. Les principaux producteurs sidérurgiques allemands avaient l'intention de participer au système. Après une analyse détaillée des marchés de produits, la Commission a opéré une distinction entre deux types de marchés. Elle ne soulève pas d'objection à l'échange d'informations sensibles sur les marchés où opèrent un grand nombre de producteurs. En revanche, elle interdit l'échange de données sur tous les marchés de produits plats ainsi que sur les marchés des poutrelles, des palplanches, du matériel de voie et du fil machine en acier inoxydable.

    [04] Action plan on promoting safe use of the Internet

    The European Commission adopted a proposal for an action plan on promoting the safe use of the Internet. It identifies the following main areas where concrete measures are needed and could be supported by the European Union: The creation of a European network of centres (known as hot lines) will be stimulated and will allow users to report content which they come across in the course of their use of the Internet and which they consider to be illegal. Self regulation and content-monitoring schemes should be developed by access providers, content providers and network operators. Internationally compatible and interoperable rating and filtering schemes should be used to protect users, especially children against undesirable content. Finally measures to increase awareness of the possibilities available among parents, teachers, children and other consumers could help these groups to use the networks whilst choosing the appropriate content and exercising a reasonable amount of parental control. The action plan shall cover the years 1998 to 2001.

    [05] Commission proposes modification of directive on deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms

    The European Commission adopted the principles of a proposal for a modification of Directive 90/220/EEC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms. This proposal amends the existing Directive which entered into force in 1991 and regulates the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms for experimental purposes and their placing on the market, pending the entry into force of specific product legislation. It improves provisions for labelling, introduces the systematic consultation of Scientific Committees and mandatory monitoring of products after their placing on the market which will be linked to a consent granted for a fixed time period of seven years. It also increases the transparency of the decision-making process, modifies the comitology provisions, introduces new authorisation procedures, confirms the possibility to raise ethical concerns, and clarifies the scope of the Directive.

    [06] Mesures spécifiques pour l'importation de riz originaire des pays et territoires d'Outre-mer (PTOM)

    La Commission européenne a décidé de mettre en oeuvre une surveillance mensuelle des importations de riz en provenance des pays et territoires d'Outre-mer (PTOM). Au-delà d'une quantité mensuelle de 13.300 tonnes de riz, la Commission pourra décider, compte tenu de la situation du marché, de refuser l'importation de quantités supplémentaires. Les mesures entrent en vigueur le 1er décembre 1997 et sont applicables jusqu'au 31 janvier 1998. Ce régime de surveillance remplace les mesures de sauvegarde appliquées par la Commission depuis le 1er janvier 1997 pour faire face à des perturbations graves dans le secteur du riz résultant d'une augmentation considérable des importations en provenance des PTOM.

    [07] Procedural law: Commission advocates more efficiency in obtaining and enforcing judgements in the European Union

    It takes far too long and costs too much to get a civil or commercial judgement given in one Member State recognised and enforced in another Member State. The costs and delays are added to those already inherent in the national procedures. These obstacles obstruct access to justice on equal terms across the Internal Market. Citizens and small and medium sized companies are the most vulnerable in this respect. To contribute to solving these problems, the European Commission adopted a Communication containing a proposal for a new Brussels and Lugano Convention on enforcements of judgements. It also aims at opening a wide debate on a series of issues with a view to improving the citizens' and businesses' possibilities to enforce their rights through rapid procedures for money claims, increased transparency of assets, etc.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [08] Structural Funds boost EU employment

    About 880,000 jobs should be created or maintained in Europe's declining industrial regions until 1999, thanks to the European Union's (EU) Structural Funds. According to a Commission survey published on Tuesday, the new Structural Fund programmes approved in the beginning of 1997 for the support period 1997 - 1999 all cater to the need of these regions for employment-intensive growth and sustainable development. Some ECU 9,000 million is to be spent in the EU's declining areas, almost half of which will go to measures to improve the growth and competitiveness of industry and business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. The crucial accompanying role of human resources development in providing training and other employment measures, is also reflected in the fact that one third of the funding is being allocated to this area. Around 16.4% of the total population of the EU lives in declining industrial areas, the so-called Objective-2-areas.

    [09] Single Market: Mario Monti to call on Member States to honour Action Plan commitments

    Single Market Commissioner Mario Monti will be reviewing progress on the Action Plan on the Single Market at the 27 November Council of Internal Market Ministers and calling on Member States to honour their commitments. "The extraordinary European Council on employment in Luxembourg on 20-21 November recognised the Single Market's contribution to economic growth and called for every effort to be made to ensure the Single Market operates in an optimum manner, in particular by ensuring that the Action Plan deadlines are met", noted Mr Monti. "My message to Ministers tomorrow will be that we have made substantial progress towards meeting the Action Plan's deadlines, notably concerning legislation, management of the Single Market and improving cooperation between Member States. However, with just over one more year to go before the January 1999 Action Plan deadline, Member States must honour and put into practice the commitments made so far and ensure that all Action Plan targets are met."

    [10] Jacques Santer hands out the prizes to the winners of the European Informations Technology Prize '97

    At the European Information Technology Conference (EITC '97) in Brussels, the President of the European Commission, Jacques Santer, yesterday handed out the awards to the three grand prize winners of the European Information Technology (IT) Prize. They are: (1) Applied Spectral Imaging (Israel), for its SpectraCube. The system is able to locate and characterise genetic aberrations in chromosomes more accurately than the conventional methods, with the potential for better diagnosis and therapy, of cancer and genetic abnormalities. It also has many other applications in medicine and industry some of which are being developed. (2) LCI Computer Group (Netherlands), for its SMARTpen. The LCI-SMARTpen is a ball-pen that includes sensors allowing authentication of people through the biometric characteristics of their signature on regular paper. It makes transactions secure, because it unequivocally authenticates a person. (3) Hyperwave (Germany), for its Information Server. Hyperwave is designed for handling fairly large numbers of document sand links in a consistent manner, even when they are maintained by a number of people independently. It makes the administration of large WWW databases and Intranet applications less costly and saves significant time in creating a database particularly if the information is dynamic (i.e. subject to frequent updates and changes). The grand prize winners were selected from a shortlist by an independent executive jury chaired by Dr Björn Svedberg, chairman of the board of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.

    [11] Marcelino Oreja: "L'initiative 'EU-Law Service' - un grand effort en matière de transparence"

    Le Commissaire européen Marcelino Oreja, chargé de la politique d'information et de l'Office des Publications, a présenté aujourd'hui à la commission juridique du Parlement européen ce qu'il a décrit comme étant "un des plus grands efforts réalisés à ce jour par la Commission en matière de transparence". Il s'agit de l'initiative 'EU-Law Service', un site Internet contenant plus de 800.000 documents et 500.000 pages uniquement pour la législation européenne en vigueur et le Journal officiel. Il sera probablement le site Internet quantitativement le plus chargé. Son contenu sera quatre fois supérieur à celui de l'actuel site Europa. 'EU-Law Service' sera mis en place de façon progressive et devrait être opérationnel gratuitement au cours du mois de janvier prochain.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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