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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-01-28

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>


News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Paroleb



[I] Résultats de la Commission du 27 janvier 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 27 January

  • [01] Marché unique : deux propositions pour faciliter les prestations de services transfrontaliers
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [02] White Paper on commerce : a Commission's new strategy
  • [03] La Commission approuve l'entreprise commune P&O Stena Line
  • [04] The economic situation in Finland
  • [05] Scientists evaluate certain types of energy drinks
  • [06] Appui au processus électoral au Nigeria
  • [07] Mario Monti addresses Financial Services Policy Group
  • [08] Sir Leon Brittan on EU industry and international market access
  • [09] Ritt Bjerregaard : "Is there really such a thing as sustainable mobility ?"
  • [10] Franz Fischler : "EU-ACP partnership as a catalyst in the multilateral system"

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 27 janvier 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 27 January

    (voir aussi - see also Midday Express of 27/01)

    [01] Marché unique : deux propositions pour faciliter les prestations de services transfrontaliers

    La Commission européenne a présenté deux propositions de Directive dans le cadre de la libre circulation des services au sein du marché intérieur. La première vise le droit des entreprises établies à l'intérieur de l'Union européenne (UE) de prester des services dans un autre Etat membre à l'aide de leur personnel non communautaire, légalement établi à l'intérieur de l'UE. La deuxième vise les travailleurs indépendants non communautaires, légalement établis à l'intérieur de l'UE. Ces deux propositions prévoient pour l'essentiel l'introduction d'une "carte de prestation de services-CE", émise par l'Etat membre où l'entreprise communautaire ou le travailleur indépendant est établi. Ce mécanisme vise un double objectif : faciliter l'exercice du droit des entreprises à la libre prestation de services et clarifier la situation des ressortissants d'Etats tiers dans le cadre de l'exercice de la libre prestation de services dans l'UE. Le rapport du groupe à haut niveau, présidé par Mme Simone Veil en mars 1997, avait souligné l'importance de ces problèmes.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [02] White Paper on commerce : a Commission's new strategy

    The European Commission adopted the first ever White Paper on commerce putting the needs and opportunities of retailers and wholesalers on the European Union's policy agenda. The aim of the White Paper is to identify the different fields of action in order to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the sector and enhance opportunities for creating new jobs. To achieve this, the White Paper proposes a range of actions designed to create a coherent strategy for promoting commerce in the coming years by which public policies at European, national and regional levels can help to maximise efficiency in commerce taking account of its specific characteristics.

    [03] La Commission approuve l'entreprise commune P&O Stena Line

    La Commission européenne a approuvé l'entreprise commune créée par P&O et Stena pour exploiter des services de transbordeurs transmanche. P&O et Stena ont combiné leurs activités respectives de transport par transbordeur sur le pas de Calais et le détroit belge dans le cadre d'une entreprise commune, P&O Stena Line. La décision de la Commission exempte l'entreprise commune de l'interdiction des accords anticoncurrentiels édictée à l'article 85, paragraphe 1, du traité CE pour une période allant jusqu'au 9 mars 2001.

    [04] The economic situation in Finland

    The European Commission has today published a comprehensive analysis of the economic situation in Finland. The main conclusion is that the Finnish economy has been doing quite well since the end of the severe recession of the early nineties and particularly since joining the European Union in 1995, but more needs to be done to boost employment and to consolidate the government accounts in the medium-term. Striking progress has been made with budgetary consolidation : the public deficit was reduced from 8% of GDP in 1993 to be in surplus in 1998. Other positive features of the Finnish economy include low inflation, appropriate wage trends and low interest rates. The present priorities for economic policy are reducing unemployment through a reform of the social security and tax system and continued efforts to ensure lasting sound public finances in the face of population ageing.

    [05] Scientists evaluate certain types of energy drinks

    <NAMEDCLF CLFTYPE= "Hyperlink"></NAMEDCLF> The Scientific Committee on Food has evaluated whether there is any potential risk to health from certain additives (caffeine, taurine and glucuronolactone) used in certain so- called "energy" drinks, beverages that have appeared on the market in recent years. As far as caffeine is concerned, the Committee concluded that the contribution of energy drinks to total caffeine intakes does not appear to be a matter of concern for adults, assuming that energy drinks are mostly consumed instead of other beverages which are major sources of caffeine such as coffee or tea. For children however, who do not normally consume much tea or coffee, consumption of energy drinks might represent an increase in daily caffeine intake, which could result in transient behavioural changes, such as increased arousal, irritability, nervousness or anxiety. For pregnant women, the Committee advised moderation in caffeine intake, from whatever source. The constituents taurine and glucuronolactone also occur naturally in the daily diet, but at much lower levels than are present in some energy drinks. The Committee was unable to conclude that the safety in use of taurine and glucucoronolactone in the concentration ranges reported for these constituents in certain energy drinks has been adequately established. This is due to lack of scientific data describing the toxicological characteristics of the two substances. The Commission will continue to follow the scientific evaluation of the substances in question. The full opinion is available on the website of DGXXIV : out22_en.html

    [06] Appui au processus électoral au Nigeria

    La Commission européenne a décidé de soutenir le processus électoral au Nigeria en dégageant un financement de 810.000 euros. Ceci permettra l'envoi de 100 observateurs de l'Union européenne (UE) aux élections législatives et présidentielles qui auront lieu les 20 et 27 février 1999. Ces observateurs seront intégrés dans la structure de coordination générale des Nations Unies. Le Conseil des Ministres avait adopté le 22 décembre dernier une action commune prévoyant l'envoi d'un contingent d'observateurs de l'UE.

    [07] Mario Monti addresses Financial Services Policy Group

    European Commissioner for Financial services, Mario Monti, today called on the Financial Services Policy Group to give new impetus to ensuring a fully functional Single Market for financial services. "Your appointment as personal representatives of Economic and Finance Ministers of the European Union (Ecofin) demonstrates your governments' commitment to the financial sector and provides us with a unique opportunity to achieve much-needed progress and to keep up the momentum generated by the Framework for Action and the Vienna Summit's mandate", he told the Group today in Brussels charing its first meeting. "The Single Market for financial services is crucial to the success of the euro and Economic and Monetary Union. We need to work together cooperatively and with an open mind to forge agreement on a series of incremental, pragmatic steps to facilitate cross- border provision of services while ensuring confidence on the part of users. We also need to pay particular attention to improving the infrastructure for small value cross-border payments so as to cut costs and to new areas for cooperation, such as sound corporate governance principles, which are essential for efficient investment decisions". Recommendations on priorities are due to be presented to the Ecofin Council in May and then to the European Council in June.

    [08] Sir Leon Brittan on EU industry and international market access

    Sir Leon Brittan, Vice-President of the European Commission, today called for intensified action by the European Union (EU) to remove barriers to overseas markets for European businesses. In a speech to representatives of European industry in Brussels, he outlined plans for an ambitious "barriers removal programme" for 1999. This would include agreeing with the Member States a package of offensive dispute settlement cases to be pursued in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; making greater use of the EU's Trade Barriers Regulation ; tackling a series of major non-WTO issues with each of the EU's major trading partners ; and drawing up bilateral market access packages with non-WTO countries. It would also help the EU set an aggressive and business-led market-opening agenda for the forthcoming Millennium Round of trade negotiations. Sir Leon underlined the substantial progress made under the EU's 1996 Market Access Strategy, which has revolutionised cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and European business in tackling trade barriers, but said that it was time to make a "new and determined effort" to attack them, using all the weapons at the EU's disposal.

    [09] Ritt Bjerregaard : "Is there really such a thing as sustainable mobility ?"

    (! embargo 8 pm !) At her speech in Berlin on 28 January on the occasion of the opening of the BMW Institute for Mobility Research, European Commissioner for the environment, Ritt Bjerregaard, underlined the European Union's committment to the concept of sustainable development, as laid down by the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam. A cornerstone of this concept is the integration of environmental concerns into all policy areas and into the decisions by all stakeholders in society. Transport is a key sector in this respect. The strongly growing volume of traffic causes both environmental problems and congestion. Both are forcing a new look at the concept of mobility, by technological means but also and particularly by non-technical means. These include intermodal and non-motorised transport, increased efficiency, new services related to the provision of mobility, and improved awareness in land use planning. The providers of transport need not suffer from this. They should take a proactive stance and see the opportunities rather than the threats that are implicit in such new approaches to mobility. The ultimate reason for mobility is accessibility. Researching the former can take us closer to the latter. That is why the Commission welcomes research on mobility. It congratulates BMW on the decision to set up this institute, which is an illustration of the commitment by the car industry to accept its social responsibility.

    [10] Franz Fischler : "EU-ACP partnership as a catalyst in the multilateral system"

    (! embargo 3.30 pm !) In his speech at the ACP-EU/LUFPIG (European Parliament-Inter-group on Land Use and Food Policy) Joint Conference on Agriculture, Trade and Sustainable Development, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development, underlined the importance of the relationship between Europe and the ACP countries. "The EU-ACP partnership could prove particularly valuable in fields such as codes of conduct, respect for labour and environmental standards", said Mr Fischler. The talks about a new partnership agreement began in September 1998, negotiations will continue and an ACP-EU Ministerial Meeting will take place in Dakar (Senegal) on 8 and 9 February 1999. "The eliminiation of poverty is regarded as a priority, therefore it is necessary to establish the correct macro-economic, trade and investment framework in order to achieve gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy", Mr Fischler outlined the forthcoming tasks. Regarding the next round of WTO negotiations starting in the end of this year, Mr Fischler confirmed the maintainance of the present trade preferences for ACP States and the EU's intention to view sympathetically how to deal with the legitimate concern of developing countries. Further liberalisation will provide better opportunities for competitive ACP agricultural products.


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996

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