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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-12-10

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

10/12/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] Commision launches debate towards better and more efficient port infrastructures
  • [02] Proposal for Directive on copyright and related rights in the Information Society
  • [03] Matériaux à risques (ESB): la Commission propose de reporter sa décision et d'approfondir les nouvelles données scientifiques
  • [04] Commission reopens state aid file on Buna Sow Leuna Olefinverbund GmbH (Germany)
  • [05] Application of the milk quota regime in Italy and Spain
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [06] The Scientific Steering Committee delivers its opinion on two BSE- related issues: specified risk materials and a date based export scheme for UK
  • [07] Le TGV Bruxelles-frontière française marque un nouveau pas vers la constitution de réseaux transeuropéens de transports
  • [08] Martin Bangemann welcomes the call of British, French and German leaders for a restructuring of the European defence and aerospace industries
  • [09] ECHO TV and radio awards 1997. And the winners are:

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

    [01] Commision launches debate towards better and more efficient port infrastructures

    The European Commission published its first ever discussion paper on sea ports and maritime infrastructure and invited the European Union (EU) institutions, port authorities, operators and the maritime industries to take up the debate. Ports are vital to trade and transport in the EU and its global competitiveness increasingly depends on an efficient and cost- effective transport and port systems. Yet ports have tended to remain on the sidelines of the general transport debate on transport policy. This Green Paper, which will be followed up at a conference next year, is intended to launch a wide-ranging debate on individual port issues and possible future policies which should help to increase efficiency, improve port and maritime infrastructure by integrating ports into the multimodal transport system and meet the EU Treaty obligations of free and fair competition in the port sector. The paper sets out possible improvements in existing policies and identifies other areas, particularly in the field of charging and market access, where new initiatives might be taken.

    [02] Proposal for Directive on copyright and related rights in the Information Society

    A proposal for a Directive harmonising aspects of rules on copyright and related rights in the Information Society has been presented by the European Commission. The proposal would adjust and complement the existing legal framework, with particular emphasis on new products and services containing intellectual property (both on-line and on physical carriers such as CDs, CD-ROMs and Digital Video Discs), so as to ensure a Single Market in copyright and related rights while protecting and stimulating creativity and innovation within the European Union. It would in particular harmonise rules on the right of reproduction, the communication to the public right (including making protected material available on- demand over the Internet), the distribution right and the legal protection of anti-copying systems and information for managing rights. The proposal would benefit users, rightholders, and investors, such as providers of on- line services, and facilitate cross-border trade in copyright-protected goods and services. The proposal reflects not only extensive consultations based on a 1995 Green Paper but also international developments in this area. In particular, the proposal would implement the main obligations of new Treaties agreed in December 1996 in the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organisation on the protection of authors and the protection of performers and phonogram producers.

    [03] Matériaux à risques (ESB): la Commission propose de reporter sa décision et d'approfondir les nouvelles données scientifiques

    La Commission européenne a débattu des suites à donner aux réunions du Comité Vétérinaire Permanent et du Comité Scientifique Directeur qui se sont tenues lundi et mardi. Elle a pris note de l'important avis émis par le Comité Scientifique Directeur sur les matériaux à risques et constate, par ailleurs, que les Etats membres, au sein du Comité Vétérinaire Permanent, n'ont pas approuvé les modifications qu'elle a présentées le 18 novembre à sa décision du 30 juillet interdisant l'utilisation de ces matériaux. Au vu du nouvel avis, la Commission a décidé de proposer lundi prochain, 15 décembre, au Comité Vétérinaire Permanent, et si nécessaire au Conseil Agricole, le report au 31 mars 1998 de l'entrée en vigueur de sa décision du 30 juillet. Elle a demandé à ses services d'examiner à fond les différents aspects et les implications potentielles de l'avis émis par le Comité Scientifique Directeur. Elle demande à celui-ci de préciser davantage son avis, notamment sur le plan de l'incidence géographique et du degré d'infectivité des différents matériaux à risques, et de se prononcer, à ce sujet, au plus tard le 31 janvier 1998. La Commission prendra ensuite une décision le plus rapidement possible.

    [04] Commission reopens state aid file on Buna Sow Leuna Olefinverbund GmbH (Germany)

    The European Commission has decided to reopen the state aid file related to the privatisation of Buna Sow Leuna Olefinverbund (BSL), one of the largest complexes of the chemical industry of the former German Democratic Republic which, at the time, gave employment to 68,500 people. Based on information notified by the German Authorities to the Commission early September 1997 amendments to the original privatisation contract lead to serious alterations in capacity which go beyond the plan approved by the Commission in November 1995 and May 1996. Moreover the Commission fears that the new energy contracts signed by BSL may in fact contain state aid elements.

    [05] Application of the milk quota regime in Italy and Spain

    The European Commission has decided to open infringement proceedings against Italy and Spain with regard to the failure of these Member states to ensure the satisfactory operation of the milk quota regime. The primary preoccupation in this regard is the ongoing failure to definitively recoup the superlevy which is due on the producers responsible for the overrun in production. The Commission has other means at its disposal to actually collect the amount of levy due by the Member states to the FEOGA. This has already been accomplished with regard to the 1995-1996 period by means of a reduction in FEOGA advance payments and a similar operation is underway for the levy due for the 1996-1997 period.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [06] The Scientific Steering Committee delivers its opinion on two BSE- related issues: specified risk materials and a date based export scheme for UK

    The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) has expressed the opinion that inter alia intestines of bovines, sheep and goats of all ages and the lungs, vertebral column and dorsal root ganglia of these animals older than 12 months should be added to the list of specified risk materials (SRMs). The scientists suggested that these materials should be excluded from the food and feed chain if they do not originate from a BSE-free country. The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) has also formulated conditions for a possible lifting of the export ban for British beef. It examined the British proposals of a date based export scheme and of a compulsory slaughter of the offspring of BSE infected cows. The SSC concluded that a combination of both proposals can be acceptable under certain conditions.

    [07] Le TGV Bruxelles-frontière française marque un nouveau pas vers la constitution de réseaux transeuropéens de transports

    Neil Kinnock, le commissaire européen en charge des transports et des réseaux transeuropéens de transports, s'est réjoui aujourd'hui de l'ouverture du nouveau tronçon de la ligne à grande vitesse entre Bruxelles et la frontière française qui permet de gagner plus d'une demi-heure de voyage sur les trajets reliant Bruxelles, Cologne et Amsterdam à Paris et à Londres. L'achèvement de ce projet, auquel l'Union européenne a contribué à concurrence de 140 millions d'Ecus, marque ainsi une étape fondamentale dans la construction des réseaux transeuropéens de transport.

    [08] Martin Bangemann welcomes the call of British, French and German leaders for a restructuring of the European defence and aerospace industries

    Martin Bangemann, the European Commission's member in charge of industry, welcomed today the statement of Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, President Jacques Chirac and prime minister Lionel Jospin of France, and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany, calling for a restructuring of the European defence and aerospace sectors. Mr Bangemann said: "This initiative is a concrete step in the direction outlined in the European Commission's Communications of September and November of this year on European aerospace and defence related industries. I am particularly satisfied by the fact that the political leaders of three important member states support the idea of a restructuring, embracing civil and military activity. It is primarily for industry to work out the structure required. The Commission will continue to take the necessary measures at the European level in order to facilitate such restructuring". Mr Bangemann added that he would welcome the involvement of other companies and other European nations as appropriate, particularly those already engaged in collaborative projects.

    [09] ECHO TV and radio awards 1997. And the winners are:

    The winners of the ECHO TV and radio awards 1997 for outstanding programmes highlighting humanitarian crises were announced yesterday night at a ceremony in Luxembourg. The awards were made in the presence of Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte, President of the Luxembourg Red Cross, European Commission President Jacques Santer, and Emma Bonino, Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs. For the six categories, the winners are: Forgotten conflicts: West Sahara (Phoenix Film, Germany); Vulnerable groups: Peace isn't over, the war I mean (RAI Television, Italy); In the minds of people: The terror and the truth (Fulcrum Productions Ltd, UK); People on the move: Rwanda: the return of the refugees (TV3, Televisio de Catalunya, Spain); Radio award: Russian jails (BBC Eurofile, UK); Broadcast commitment: Divided world (RTE, Ireland). The awards recognise the crucial role that broadcasters play in informing the public in Europe about humanitarian crises in all their complexity.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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