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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-11-27

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

27/11/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission presents report on peace and reconciliation initiative in Northern Ireland and Ireland
  • [02] ESB: l'Union européenne renforce la sécurité et la protection de la santé des travailleurs
  • [03] Commission proposes amendment to the Directive on hazardous waste incineration
  • [04] Innovation dans le traitement des tumeurs malignes du cerveau
  • [05] Favourable market possibilities for fair trade bananas
  • [06] Sir Leon Brittan welcomes Chinese moves on WTO
  • [07] Padraig Flynn explains why equal opportunities is central to labour market reform
  • [08] Marcelino Oreja souligne l'importance sociale du sport

  • [01] Commission presents report on peace and reconciliation initiative in Northern Ireland and Ireland

    The European Commission adopted a report on the Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland. The report stresses that the Peace Programme gives a crucial moral and financial support to those searching for common ground rather than violence. As proof that the European Union's (EU) approach works, one need only look at the overwhelming response the Programme has generated. The total applications for funding in Northern Ireland is close to 14,000 of which some 7,000 have been approved. In the Border Counties, 1,400 applications alone have been received and more than 950 approved. "Because the ideas for action come from the people themselves, it gives them a sense of ownership and a greater stake in trying to make peace work," stressed Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for the Peace Programme. The Peace and Reconciliation Programme was approved by the Commission in July 1995 with an aid allocation of ECU 300 million from the EU's Structural Funds for the period 1995-97. The present report includes a summary of the programme's origins, objectives and priorities and a review of progress in implementing the programme.

    [02] ESB: l'Union européenne renforce la sécurité et la protection de la santé des travailleurs

    La Commission européenne a adopté une directive renforçant les dispositions existantes de la directive 90/679/CEE relative à la protection des travailleurs, afin qu'elles couvrent les cas d'exposition à l'encéphalopathie spongiforme bovine (ESB) et à d'autres types similaires d'encéphalopathies spongiformes transmissibles. La directive 90/679/CEE concerne la protection des travailleurs contre les risques liés à l'exposition à des agents biologiques au travail. La décision de renforcer la directive a été motivée par les découvertes scientifiques les plus récentes (publiées le 2 octobre dernier par la revue "Nature") établissant un lien entre l'agent de l'ESB et la nouvelle variante de la maladie de Creutzfeldt-Jakob qui affecte l'être humain. Ces nouvelles découvertes ont fourni des preuves convaincantes que les recommandations actuelles concernant la protection des travailleurs contre une transmission possible, dans le cadre de l'exercice d'une activité professionnelle, des encéphalopathies spongiformes transmissibles, et notamment de l'ESB, doivent être renforcées. La directive s'applique à tous les travailleurs, y compris à ceux qui sont particulièrement exposés, tels que les agriculteurs, les travailleurs des abattoirs et les médecins biologistes.

    [03] Commission proposes amendment to the Directive on hazardous waste incineration

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal for an amendment to the 1994 Council Directive on the incineration of hazardous waste. The existing legislation lays down very strict limit values for emissions of heavy metals and dioxins into the air. The proposed amendment seeks to limit the emissions into water of these toxic substances. In particular, the proposal restricts the release of cadmium and mercury compounds and dioxins to the technically feasible minimum, in order to protect human health and the environment.

    [04] Innovation dans le traitement des tumeurs malignes du cerveau

    Une forme innovatrice de radiothérapie est testée pour la première fois en Europe (Petten, Pays-Bas) sur des patients souffrant d'une forme très agressive de cancer appelée glioblastome multiforme. Ce cancer du cerveau qui touche environ 15.000 personnes par an en Europe est peu sensible aux traitements conventionnels. Deux patients ont déjà été soignés à l'installation du Centre Commun de Recherche (CCR) de la Commission européenne à Petten, et deux autres doivent l'être bientôt. "Cette expérience montre l'apport de la politique de recherche communautaire à la lutte contre le cancer et donc à la santé des citoyens européens" a souligné Edith Cresson, Commissaire en charge de la recherche, de l'innovation, de l'éducation, de la jeunesse et de la formation.

    [05] Favourable market possibilities for fair trade bananas

    Almost three quarters (74%) of the European Union (EU) population say they would buy "fair trade bananas" if they were available in the shops alongside "standard" bananas. "Fair trade bananas" are produced according to criteria which aim at improving conditions for producers and protecting the environment. A total of 37% of EU consumers said they would be prepared to pay a premium of 10% above the price of normal bananas for bananas of equivalent quality produced according to fair trade standards. These are the results of a survey carried out by the European Commission as part of its assessment of the assistance which could be offered to bring "fair trade bananas" to the EU market. The survey replies also revealed that people with previous experience of fair trade products are much more likely to buy fair trade bananas, and would be willing to pay more for them. More than 9 out of 10 (93%) of consumers who had already bought fair trade goods would be prepared to buy fair trade bananas, and 7 out of 10 (70%) would pay a premium of at least 10% over the price of normal bananas. A conservative interpretation of the results indicates that the EU market potential could be around 3-400,000 tonnes a year, based on the total EU market for bananas of approximately 4 million tonnes per year, and restricting the estimate of consumer demand to those who in addition to saying they would buy fair trade bananas, have also already demonstrated a practical interest in fair trade through previous purchases.

    [06] Sir Leon Brittan welcomes Chinese moves on WTO

    At the APEC Summit in Vancouver, Chinese ministers put forward significant new ideas on China's World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession. Sir Leon Brittan, Vice-President of the European Commission, today welcomed the latest moves: "I have now discussed these new proposals with Mrs Barshefsky and we both agree that they provide a positive basis for further negotiations", Sir Leon said. "It is clear that this is a major step forward which I warmly welcome. China has shown a real commitment on its part to the negotiating process. We must now be ready to build on it and work constructively on all the outstanding issues"

    [07] Padraig Flynn explains why equal opportunities is central to labour market reform

    Speaking today in Brussels at a Conference on Equal Opportunities and Collective Bargaining, Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn said that "unless we tackle the inequality issue in the labour market, the European Union will not prosper. It's as simple as that." He went on to explain that, "Europe's social and economic profile is changing dramatically. We all realise that Europe's working age population is now growing much more slowly than it did over the last 20 years. Soon it will start to decline. It is not appreciated as fully as it might, that in the longer term, the increased participation of women in the labour force is a critical factor, if not the critical factor, if we are to sustain our living standards and our social systems." He welcomed the fact that the Jobs Summit has demanded that "Member States translate their commitment to "promote equality of opportunity" into reality, which will show itself in an increased presence of women at all levels of the labour market."

    [08] Marcelino Oreja souligne l'importance sociale du sport

    Le Commissaire Marcelino Oreja a relevé l'importance de la Déclaration relative au sport insérée dans l'Acte final du Traité d'Amsterdam, durant son intervention à la 7ème édition du Forum Européen du Sport 1997, qui a lieu aujourd'hui à Luxembourg. Pour M. Oreja, "l'importance sociale du sport dans la vie quotidienne des citoyens ainsi que le sentiment de solidarité que le sport permet de développer entre les peuples reçoivent ainsi une reconnaissance de la part des instances européennes dont on ne saurait trop apprécier la portée". L'invitation faite à Amsterdam aux institutions européennes à consulter les milieux sportifs, en particulier amateurs, permettra de préciser davantage la portée des traités et des réglementations européennes dans le domaine du sport : "Dans cet esprit, on pourrait étudier la création d'un comité appelé à présenter chaque année au Conseil et au Parlement européen un rapport sur les activités de la Commission européenne et des milieux sportifs, gouvernementaux ou non", a suggéré M. Oreja.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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