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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-03-04

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

04/03/99


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 3 mars 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 3 March

  • [01] La Commission enjoint le gouvernement allemand de lui fournir des informations sur le transfert de WfA à WestLB
  • [02] Commission enjoins Germany to provide information on aid to UCB Chemie GmbH and Linde AG
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [03] Sir Leon Brittan : "The US is fanning the flames"
  • [04] La Commission autorise Mondi Minorco Paper à acquérir la branche "emballages en carton ondulé" d'AFP (Europe) Limited
  • [05] Commission approves the acquisition of joint control of Svalöf Weibull AB by BASF and Svenska Lantmännen Riksförbund Ek För
  • [06] La Commission autorise Lafarge SA et Titan Cement Company SA d'acquérir le contrôle conjoint de Beni Suef Cement Co
  • [07] Business and Consumer surveys for February 1999 : optimism among consumers is not shared by industrialists in Europe
  • [08] Le chômage en baisse en janvier 1999
  • [09] Joint declaration on EU-China energy cooperation

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 3 mars 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 3 March

    (voir aussi - see also Midday Express of 3/3)

    [01] La Commission enjoint le gouvernement allemand de lui fournir des informations sur le transfert de WfA à WestLB

    Dans le cadre de la procédure d'aide en cours contre Westdeutsche Landesbank (WestLB), la Commission européenne a enjoint le gouvernement allemand de lui communiquer une série de documents et d'informations concernant le transfert de la Wohnungsbauförderungsanstalt (WfA) du Land de Rhénanie-du-Nord-Westphalie à WestLB en 1991. Au début de l'année, les autorités allemandes avaient déjà refusé de fournir ces informations, faisant valoir que celles-ci revêtaient peu d'importance pour la procédure. La Commission est d'un avis contraire et a, par conséquent, pris la décision d'ordonner aux autorités allemandes de transmettre ces documents.

    [02] Commission enjoins Germany to provide information on aid to UCB Chemie GmbH and Linde AG

    The European Commission has enjoined Germany to provide all necessary information to assess State aid to the amines producer UCB Chemie GmbH, German subsidiary of the Belgium pharmaceutical and chemical group Union Chimique Belge, and to Linde AG, a carbon monoxide producer. The aid awarded by Treuhandanstalt (THA) and Bundesanstalt für vereinigungs- bedingte Sonderaufgaben (BvS) totals 4.6 million euro (DEM 9 million). The Commission seriously doubts that the financial assistance to Linde AG's carbon monoxide production can be exempted under any existing State aid provision. The Commission also believes that the price which UCB paid for carbon monoxide was below market price. The German government has one month to provide the requested information.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [03] Sir Leon Brittan : "The US is fanning the flames"

    The United States (US) has decided to defy the World Trade Organisation (WTO) system by introducing a form of sanctions which has no WTO authorisation whatsoever. The US action is a measure designed to have an immediate effect on European exports. The arbitrators yesterday made it clear that they were in no way authorising such action, by stating expressely that they were not ready for the moment to take a decision on the American request. What the US has done is therefore both unacceptable and unlawful. Just at the time when we should both be working towards a settlement, the US is fanning the flames of this dispute. We are immediately demanding urgent consultations with the US in the WTO, and will discuss our further response with the Member States.

    [04] La Commission autorise Mondi Minorco Paper à acquérir la branche "emballages en carton ondulé" d'AFP (Europe) Limited

    La Commission européenne a autorisé une opération permettant à Mondi Minorco Paper SA (MMP) (Luxembourg), contrôlée par Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited, de racheter à AFP (Europe) Limited (Royaume-Uni), (AFP Corrugated) contrôlée par Amcor Limited (Australie), la branche de production de carton ondulé et de caisses en carton ondulé. MMP va acquérir la totalité du capital social d'Amcor Packaging (Royaume-Uni) Limited, d'Amcor Emballages SA (France) et de Wallbray Limited (Royaume- Uni), ainsi qu'une participation de 49% dans Willander Holdings Limited (Royaume-Uni), les 51% restants étant détenus par Wallbray Limited.

    [05] Commission approves the acquisition of joint control of Svalöf Weibull AB by BASF and Svenska Lantmännen Riksförbund Ek För

    The European Commission has approved the acquisition of joint control of Svalöf Weibull AB (SW), Sweden, by BASF AG (BASF), Germany, and Svenska Lantmännen riksförbund ek för (SLR), Sweden. The proposed operation concerns all activities in breeding and distribution of seeds and cultivation of plants for private gardens and public areas. The Commission found that the proposed operation would not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position.

    [06] La Commission autorise Lafarge SA et Titan Cement Company SA d'acquérir le contrôle conjoint de Beni Suef Cement Co

    La Commission européenne autorise Lafarge SA et Titan Cement Company SA d'acquérir le contrôle commun de Beni Suef Cement Co. Lafarge en France, Titan en Grèce et Beni Suef en Egypte sont tous des producteurs de matériaux de construction et, en particulier, de ciment et de béton prêt à l'emploi. La concentration ne sera active que sur le marché du ciment en Egypte et par conséquent n'aura d'impact direct sur aucun marché de l'Union européenne ni de l'Espace économique européen.

    [07] Business and Consumer surveys for February 1999 : optimism among consumers is not shared by industrialists in Europe

    The latest results from the business and consumer surveys conducted by the European Commission's Directorate General for economic and financial affairs are published today. Consumer confidence remains buoyant in the European Union (EU), according to the February survey results. The consumer confidence indicator rose for the EU as a whole, whereas it remained unchanged in the euro-zone. The strong confidence among consumers was largely due to the positive attitude towards making major purchases at present. On the other hand, managers in industry were less optimistic in February. The industrial confidence indicator fell in both the EU and the euro-zone. This can to a large extent be attributed to the worsened assessments regarding the level of order-books. With the outlook in industry still subdued, the economic sentiment indicator fell in February. The decline was more pronounced in the euro-zone than for the EU as a whole.

    [08] Le chômage en baisse en janvier 1999

    (! embargo 12h !) Le taux de chômage de la zone euro, corrigé des variations saisonnières, était de 10,6% en janvier, en baisse par rapport à décembre 1998 (10,7%), selon les données publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg. En janvier 1998, le taux était de 11,3%. Le taux de chômage de l'Union européenne (UE) était de 9,6% en janvier, contre 9,7% en décembre1998. Il s'élevait à 10,3% en janvier 1998. Les taux les plus bas ont été observés au Luxembourg (2,8%) et aux Pays-Bas (3,6% en décembre 1998), suivis du Portugal (4,3%), de l'Autriche (4,4%) et du Danemark (4,6% en décembre1998). Le taux de chômage de l'Espagne (17,8%) était toujours et de loin le plus élevé de l'UE. Au cours des douze derniers mois, d'importantes baisses ont été observées en Espagne (de 19,7 à 17,8%) et au Portugal (de 5,9 à 4,3%). Le taux de chômage des moins de 25 ans a varié de 6,0% aux Pays-Bas (en décembre 1998) à 33,3%, en Italie (en octobre 1998) et en Espagne. Pour la zone euro, le taux est de 20,7% et de 19,1% pour l'ensemble de l'UE. Pour la même période un an plus tôt, il était de respectivement 22,1% et de 20,2%.

    [09] Joint declaration on EU-China energy cooperation

    European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, responsible for Energy, and Prof. Guanhua Xu, Vice Minister of Science and Technology of China, have signed today in Brussels a Joint Declaration giving their full political endorsement to the strengthening of energy cooperation between the European Union (EU) and China at institutional, policy, scientific, technological, commercial and industrial level. The cooperation will be strengthened through : maintaining a permanent and effective dialogue on energy issues of mutual importance ; creating the conditions for facilitating an increased presence of EU energy companies in China, and viceversa, including policy, legal, regulatory and fiscal aspects ; continuing jointly supporting exchanges between the two sides, training courses, workshops, seminars and studies ; taking full advantage of the new opportunities offered by the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the EU and China signed in December 1994.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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