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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-04-21

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

21/04/99


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] La Commission adopte un document sur l'emploi pour le Sommet de Cologne
  • [02] Commission promotes closer relations with Japan
  • [03] Commission finds no State aid in the treatment of 'technolease' by the Netherlands' tax authorities
  • [04] Commission approves social aid and rejects restructuring aid to Dieselmotorenwerk Rostock (Germany)
  • [05] La Commission donne son accord à une aide en faveur de Rockwool Peninsular S.A. (Espagne)
  • [06] Commission condemns Germany for Treaty infringement
  • [07] Commission approves German ecotax under State aid rules
  • [08] La Commission approuve le régime allemand de soutien à la production cinématographique
  • [09] La Commission ne soulève pas d'objections à l'incitation à la création d'emplois en Catalogne (Espagne)
  • [10] Commission approves Danish environmental subsidy for the transport of goods by rail
  • [11] La Commission demande à la Cour de justice européenne d'imposer une astreinte journalière de 142.425 euros à la France pour non-exécution d'un arrêt antérieur sur le travail de nuit des femmes
  • [12] Commission decides Court application against Denmark in the Can Ban case
  • [13] La Commission décide d'adresser une lettre de mise en demeure complémentaire à la Belgique dans le cas de l'incinérateur de Drogenbos pour mauvaise transposition et mauvaise application de la Directive Impact
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [14] Franz Fischler rejects Cairns Group criticism of CAP reform

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

    [01] La Commission adopte un document sur l'emploi pour le Sommet de Cologne

    La Commission européenne a adopté une Communication sur les politiques communautaires visant à promouvoir la création d'emplois qui doit être présentée au Sommet de Cologne. Elle préconise un dosage équilibré de politiques macro-économiques, l'amélioration des politiques nationales de l'emploi et la mise en oeuvre de réformes dans les marchés des produits, des services et des capitaux afin de répondre aux problèmes de l'emploi qui se posent dans l'Union européenne (UE). Alors que plus de 70% de la population en âge de travailler exercent un emploi aux Etats-Unis et au Japon, ce taux est de 61% dans l'UE.

    [02] Commission promotes closer relations with Japan

    The European Commission adopted a Working Paper which argues for deeper and broader relations between the European Union (EU) and Japan. The paper, requested by the Member States, reviews recent developments and sets out a focused agenda of actions in the political, economic and cooperation spheres. It suggests that these are adopted at the forthcoming EU-Japan Summit. Particular emphasis is placed on reinforcing EU-Japanese political relations, intensifying dialogue in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to prepare and launch the New Millennium Round, and further improving bilateral trade and economic relations. On this last point, the paper advocates an annual Ministerial meeting on deregulation, the rapid conclusion and implementation of an EU-Japan Mutual Recognition Agreement, as well as a strengthened EU-Japan business dialogue. The paper also argues for the establishment of a programme of cooperation initiatives, attaching particular importance to reaching an agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The working paper will be discussed during High-level consultations between the Commission and the Government of Japan to be held in Brussels this Thursday and Friday.

    [03] Commission finds no State aid in the treatment of 'technolease' by the Netherlands' tax authorities

    The European Commission has decided to close the investigation into the tax treatment of the technolease agreement between Philips and Rabobank finding no element of State aid present. The Commission opened procedures under Article 93(2) of the EC-Treaty on 24 April 1997 further to the articles in the Dutch press suggesting that the Netherlands' tax authorities had granted an unspecified amount of aid to Philips and/or Rabobank in the form of a tax advantage within the framework of technolease. However, after a thorough investigation of Dutch fiscal legislation and jurisprudence, the Commission found that the Netherlands' tax authorities did not exercise any discretionary power in the application of their general tax law to the technolease agreement.

    [04] Commission approves social aid and rejects restructuring aid to Dieselmotorenwerk Rostock (Germany)

    The European Commission closed the State aid procedure opened on the rescue and restructuring aid for the east German ship engine producer Dieselmotorenwerk Rostock (DMR), deciding that the restructuring aid of 60.5 million euro (118.35 million DEM) was incompatible with the Common Market. In its decision the Commission raised no objections against the granting of 5.1 million euro (10 million DEM) social aid envisaged in 1999 to finance severance payments to a part of the workforce. Germany shall take the necessary measures to recover from the recipient the aid unlawfully granted, and shall inform the Commission within two months of the measures taken to comply with this obligation.

    [05] La Commission donne son accord à une aide en faveur de Rockwool Peninsular S.A. (Espagne)

    Dans sa première décision en vertu de l'encadrement multisectoriel des aides à finalité régionale en faveur de grands projets d'investissement, applicable à compter du 1.9.1998 pour une période d'essai de trois ans, la Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d'objections contre un projet d'aide, d'un montant de 15,3 millions d'euros (2.544 millions d'ESP), en faveur de Rockwool Peninsular S.A., filiale à part entière de Rockwool International A/S, fabricant danois de laine de roche, pour un nouvel investissement à Caparroso (Navarre, Espagne).

    [06] Commission condemns Germany for Treaty infringement

    The European Commission has adopted a negative decision against Germany for infringement of the ECSC Treaty in respect of the failure to recover 37.8 million euro (74 million DM) of State aid granted to Neue Maxhütte, a steel company located in Bavaria. The Commission considers that Germany has violated its duty to take all measures to fulfil its obligations resulting from the Commission's decisions.

    [07] Commission approves German ecotax under State aid rules

    The European Commission considers that the special tax provisions in the law introducing an ecological tax reform for the benefit of certain sectors of the economy, which the German government has notified to the Commission under European Union (EU) State aid rules are in accordance with the EC- Treaty. It has decided to approve for three years these special provisions pursuant to the EU guidelines on State aid for environmental protection, taking into account its previous practice and the environmental policy of the EU.

    [08] La Commission approuve le régime allemand de soutien à la production cinématographique

    La Commission européenne a approuvé au titre de l'article 92, §3, point d, du Traité CE (aides destinées à promouvoir la culture) la reconduction pour une nouvelle période de cinq ans du régime allemand de soutien à la production cinématographique. Ce régime avait déjà été approuvé par la Commission en 1992. Il prévoit des aides pour un montant annuel d'environ 20,452 millions d'euros (40 millions de DM).

    [09] La Commission ne soulève pas d'objections à l'incitation à la création d'emplois en Catalogne (Espagne)

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d'objections à l'égard du régime d'incitations à la création d'emplois suite à la réorganisation et à la réduction du temps de travail, proposé par le gouvernement de la Région de Catalogne. Les autorités espagnoles estiment à 214 le nombre de contrats pouvant donner droit à des incitations en 1999 pour un montant compris entre 132.000 euros (22 millions d'ESP) et 661.000 euros (110 millions d'ESP). Il s'agit pour la Commission d'une aide à l'emploi s'inscrivant dans une logique de création nette et non pas de maintien de l'emploi.

    [10] Commission approves Danish environmental subsidy for the transport of goods by rail

    The European Commission has approved a Danish scheme to subsidise the transport of goods by rail as compatible with the State aid rules of the Treaty. The scheme, laid down in a Danish law of 1998, aims at - partly - compensating the railways for the unpaid costs of road haulage and thereby creating more equitable conditions of competition between these modes. It should be seen against the background of the introduction of infrastructure charges that railway undertakings have to pay for the use of the Danish railway infrastructure. The underlying objective of the policy is to try and shift the transport of goods from road to rail. Since this is potentially distortive to competition the Commission has examined the proposed subsidy scheme to ensure that it is nonetheless compatible with the Treaty. Accordingly, the Commission finds that since the subsidy is significantly smaller than the estimated unpaid external and infrastructure costs of road haulage, that it applies equally to the transport of all goods by rail, that it will not negatively affect maritime transport and that it does not hinder the development of European Union trade, it is a State aid compatible with the Treaty.

    [11] La Commission demande à la Cour de justice européenne d'imposer une astreinte journalière de 142.425 euros à la France pour non-exécution d'un arrêt antérieur sur le travail de nuit des femmes

    La Commission européenne a décidé de demander des sanctions financières contre la France qui n'a pas exécuté un arrêt de la Cour de Justice européenne (CJE) du 13 mars 1997. Dans cet arrêt, la CJE a constaté que la France a violé le principe de l'égalité de traitement entre les hommes et les femmes en maintenant dans sa législation une interdiction du travail de nuit pour les femmes et pas pour les hommes. La Commission propose que la CJE fixe une astreinte (amende journalière) de 142.425 euros. Cette sanction s'appliquerait à chaque journée de non-respect du deuxième arrêt de la CJE au titre de l'article 171 du traité CE.

    [12] Commission decides Court application against Denmark in the Can Ban case

    The European Commission decided to make an application to the European Court of Justice against Denmark because its general ban on the use of metal cans for beverages ("can ban") does not comply with the Packaging Waste Directive (Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste). In addition, the decision addresses the Danish ban on the marketing of beverages of domestic origin in non-refillable glass and plastic packaging, which also infringes the Directive.

    [13] La Commission décide d'adresser une lettre de mise en demeure complémentaire à la Belgique dans le cas de l'incinérateur de Drogenbos pour mauvaise transposition et mauvaise application de la Directive Impact

    La Commission européenne a décidé l'envoi d'une lettre de mise en demeure complémentaire à la Belgique afin de recueillir les observations des autorités belges compétentes sur la violation présumée de la Directive sur l'évaluation d'impact environnemental (85/337/CEE - concernant l'évaluation des incidences de certains projets publics ou privés sur l'environnement) lors de la délivrance du permis de bâtir ("bouwvergunning") de l'incinérateur de Drogenbos.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [14] Franz Fischler rejects Cairns Group criticism of CAP reform

    The European Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural development, Mr Franz Fischler, rejected the criticism levelled at the Agenda 2000 agricultural reform by the Cairns Group as totally unfounded in fact. In the case of the three sectors concerned (cereals, beef and milk), the combination of the 1992 and Agenda 2000 reforms result in a reduction in price support of 45%, 40% and 20% respectively which in turn lead automatically to reductions in export refunds, he said. Mr Fischler totally rejected the suggestion by the Cairns Group that the European Union (EU) should make further reforms in the context of the forthcoming World Trade Organisation (WTO) round and said : "it must be clear to all of our WTO partners that the outcome of Agenda 2000 is not an opening bid on the part of the EU for the WTO negotiations but rather the policy with which the outcome of these negotiations must be compatible. If the sentiments expressed by the Cairns Group are an accurate reflection of their position in the forthcoming negotiations then it is quite clear that we have large differences to narrow between both parties. Mr Fischler went on to point out that the Cairns group criticism of the CAP regarding its impact on developing countries ignores the contribution the reforms have made towards stabilising world market prices, a situation which indeed is not helped by the agricultural trading arrangements operated by some of the Cairns Group members. Furthermore the Group ignores the fact that the EU is the largest importer of food and agricultural products in the world much of which is imported from developing countries on conditions much more favourable than those provided by Cairns Group countries. Concluding, Mr Fischler said : "I am disappointed with the Cairns Group statement both by its tone and content as it reflects the same ill-informed appreciation of the EU and its objectives regarding the CAP as prevailed in the late 1980's which I had hoped would have evolved over the years in the light of the various reforms carried out and the numerous contacts between the EU and the Group's members".

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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