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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-04-28

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-Parole 28/04/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission adopts White Paper proposing fundamental reform of the system for enforcing EU competition rules
  • [02] La Commission adopte un rapport sur la simplification de la législation agricole
  • [03] Fixed-term work : Commission adopts a proposal for a Directive
  • [04] Accroître le potentiel de création d'emplois dans le secteur du tourisme : trois millions d'emplois pourraient être créés dans le secteur du tourisme au cours des dix années à venir
  • [05] Le Traité d'Amsterdam en vigueur le 1er mai (conséquences sur les procédures législatives en cours)
  • [06] Commission adopts report on VAT and the art market
  • [07] Preliminary draft budget 2000 : transition to a new framework
  • [08] Commission approves new push to tackle barriers to European exports
  • [09] Commission authorises Fyffes and Capespan Group to acquire joint control of Capespan International
  • [10] Services : la Commission adresse un avis motivé à l'Italie au sujet des agences d'emploi temporaire
  • [11] Padraig Flynn : "European Works Councils 500-plus agreements in place but more needs to be done" I. Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Commission adopts White Paper proposing fundamental reform of the system for enforcing EU competition rules

    The European Commission has adopted a White Paper aimed at modernising the system for implementation of Articles 85 and 86 of the EC Treaty. It proposes a new, more efficient system of enforcement which will be suitable for the European Union (EU) of the future. The proposed reform has three main objectives: rigorous enforcement of competition law, effective decentralisation of its application, and simplification of enforcement procedures. Member States, other EU institutions and interested parties are invited to submit comments by 30 September 1999.

    [02] La Commission adopte un rapport sur la simplification de la législation agricole

    La Commission européenne a adopté un rapport précisant l'état d'avancement des initiatives concrètes prises pour simplifier la législation agricole de l'Union européenne (UE) qui fait souvent l'objet de critiques parce qu'elle est jugée trop complexe. En simplifiant la législation existante, la Commission vise deux objectifs distincts : il s'agit, premièrement, de réduire la charge administrative que la politique agricole commune (PAC) impose aux agriculteurs et aux autorités administratives et, deuxièmement, de rendre la législation agricole aussi claire, transparente et facilement accessible que possible. Afin de rendre la législation agricole plus transparente et plus facilement accessible, la Commission a lancé un projet visant à la consolidation informelle de la législation agricole dans toutes les langues officielles de l'UE, pouvant être consultée par l'intermédiaire d'Internet. Ces actes, qui seront mis à jour de manière permanente, sont également accessibles au grand public et aux administrations nationales par Internet. Quoique les consolidations informelles n'aient pas force de loi, elles faciliteront substantiellement la recherche des règles applicables par tous ceux qui sont concernés par la PAC, par exemple, les associations d'agriculteurs, les administrations nationales, le commerce et l'industrie, les contrôleurs, les organisations de consommateurs ainsi que les universités.

    [03] Fixed-term work : Commission adopts a proposal for a Directive

    The European Commission adopted (with effect from 1 May 1999) a proposal for a Council Directive transposing the framework agreement on fixed-term work into European Union law. This agreement was concluded by the social partners at European level (UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC) on 18 March 1999. The aims of the agreement are to improve the quality of fixed-term work by ensuring that the principle of non-discrimination against fixed-term workers in relation to their permanent counterparts is applied and to establish a framework to prevent abuse arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships.

    [04] Accroître le potentiel de création d'emplois dans le secteur du tourisme : trois millions d'emplois pourraient être créés dans le secteur du tourisme au cours des dix années à venir

    La Commission européenne a adopté une Communication relative au suivi des recommandations du groupe de haut niveau sur le tourisme et l'emploi d'octobre 1998. Cette Communication confirme la nécessité d'une coordination accrue des initiatives et d'un renforcement des synergies à tous les niveaux pour que l'énorme potentiel du secteur du tourisme en tant que créateur d'emplois puisse être exploité en Europe. Elle conclut que, pour peu qu'un dosage approprié des politiques et des initiatives soit mis en œuvre, le secteur du tourisme, qui occupe actuellement 9 millions de personnes, pourrait créer entre 2,2 millions et 3,3 millions d'emplois supplémentaires au cours de la décennie à venir. Pour que le dernier chiffre cité soit atteint, il sera nécessaire de créer un climat favorable à l'investissement et de réaliser les conditions dans lesquelles toutes les parties intéressées, y compris les partenaires sociaux, puissent coopérer dans la poursuite d'un objectif commun.

    [05] Le Traité d'Amsterdam en vigueur le 1er mai (conséquences sur les procédures législatives en cours)

    Les 15 Etats membres de l'Union européenne (UE) ayant terminé les procédures de ratification au 30 mars 1999, le Traité d'Amsterdam peut enfin entrer en vigueur le 1er mai 1999. Juridiquement, cette entrée en vigueur a quatre types de conséquences sur les procédures législatives en cours : (1) une renumérotation automatique des articles du Traité (par exemple, l'article 113 sur la politique commerciale devient l'article 133) ; (2) une modification de certaines procédures législatives (par exemple, le Parlement européen devient colégislateur dans le domaine du transport et de la coopération au développement, alors que précédemment il n'agissait qu'en coopération avec le Conseil) ; (3) une modification formelle de certaines bases juridiques (par exemple, les dossiers vétérinaires basés jusqu'à présent sur l'article 'Agriculture', seront basés à l'avenir sur l'article 'Santé') ; (4) une modification du cadre juridique de certains textes (les propositions basées sur le Protocole social ou faites dans le cadre de la justice et des affaires intérieures relèvent dorénavant du Traité).

    [06] Commission adopts report on VAT and the art market

    The European Commission has adopted a report on the application of the special VAT regime for works of art introduced from 1 January 1995 (Directive 94/5/EC). It concludes that these arrangements do not have a significant adverse effect on the competitiveness of the European Union's (EU) art market compared to the art markets of non-EU countries. The EU art market shows continued growth, even if not at the same pace as total art sales worldwide (mainly because of the very substantial increase of art sales in South East Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America). Within the EU, art market growth is uneven, with the United Kingdom (UK) (61% of EU sales) powering ahead of other Member States. The Commission considers therefore that there is no basis for prolonging the UK derogation (which expires on 30 June 1999) permitting imports of works of art to be subject to VAT at a rate lower than the minimum rate of 5%. The purpose of this transitional measure was to provide an intermediate period to allow the sector to adapt to the application of common rules.

    [07] Preliminary draft budget 2000 : transition to a new framework

    The European Commission adopted the preliminary draft budget for 2000, the first year of the new financial perspective. The proposal is based on the political priorities laid down by the Commission in February. Until the new financial perspective are adopted as part of an inter-institutional agreement, the Commission decided to adapt the budget proposal to the framework laid down by the Berlin European Council. Discussions about increased ceilings for expenditure in internal policies and administration are under way, and the European Parliament will vote on the matter in May. Under these circumstances it remains for the next Commission to submit, in the autumn, a letter of amendment aimed at overhauling the draft budget. The expenditure proposals now total euro 92,706 million in commitment appropriations, representing a reduction of 4.4% on the 1999 budget. Payment appropriations amount to euro 89,585 million, corresponding to 1.1% of the GNP of the 15 Member States. Owing to substantial backlogs notably in structural funds, research and external actions, the increase in payments is 4.7%.

    [08] Commission approves new push to tackle barriers to European exports

    The European Commission has approved a framework for the next phase of its Market Access Strategy. This aims to secure better access to world markets for European exporters. Building on the success of its Internet Market Access Database, which is accessible free of charge to European businesses, and on the close cooperation established with Member States and European industry, the Commission will now focus its efforts on a targeted programme of barriers removal. This will mean concentrating on a limited number of economically important priority cases where the European Union can expect to achieve concrete results in the near future. On the basis of a set of key economic and legal criteria, the Commission will now draw up a target list of key barriers to be tackled through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), bilateral action and the development of market access packages with non-WTO countries. II. Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [09] Commission authorises Fyffes and Capespan Group to acquire joint control of Capespan International

    The European Commission has decided not to oppose the acquisition by Fyffes Plc. (Ireland) of a 50% shareholding in Capespan International Holdings Limited (UK), a subsidiary of Capespan Group Holdings Limited (South Africa). The overall market share of the parties in areas where they overlap (imported fresh fruit) is small (less than 5% of fresh fruit consumption in the European Union (EU)) and there are numerous and large competitors as Dole, Del Monte, Agrexco, Enzafruit and The Greenery Group. The vertical links between Capespan International and Fyffes will not lead to foreclosure given this small combined market share and the fact that Fyffes' competitors in Ireland and Denmark will be able to source fresh fruit from throughout the EU.

    [10] Services : la Commission adresse un avis motivé à l'Italie au sujet des agences d'emploi temporaire

    En raison de restrictions empêchant les agences d'emploi temporaire implantées dans d'autres Etats membres d'offrir leurs services en Italie, la Commission européenne a décidé d'adresser à l'Italie un avis motivé au titre de la procédure d'infraction prévue à l'article 169 du Traité CE. Selon la Commission, ces barrières constituent une violation des règles du Traité CE relatives à la libre prestation des services (article 59), l'une des libertés fondamentales du Traité CE. La Commission pourrait décider d'intenter une action contre l'Italie devant la Cour de justice européenne si elle ne reçoit pas des autorités italiennes une réponse satisfaisante dans un délai de deux mois à compter de la réception de l'avis motivé.

    [11] Padraig Flynn : "European Works Councils 500-plus agreements in place but more needs to be done"

    (! embargo 2.30 pm !) Speaking today at a Conference in Brussels on "European Works Councils (EWC's) : practices and development", European Commission for Employment and Social Affairs, Padraig Flynn, highlighted the big success of the EWC's Directive four and a half years after its adoption. "The principle that the social partners should take the lead through negotiations has been proved right. The 500-plus agreements, reached over the last four years, say one thing : it's a success. It works. It is the social partners themselves that have made the Directive an essential part of the process of restructuring in European companies and of the response of European industry to the challenge of globalisation. For the first time in Europe's long social and commercial history, we have genuine cross-border information and consultation. The application of the Directive has not been without problems, however. The Renault Vilvoorde case raised the question as to whether Europe has an answer for workers caught up in the process of industrial restructuring. It must be absolutely clear that information and consultation means informing and consulting in advance, before a decision is taken", Mr Flynn said. With regard to the review of the Directive, which is formally required in 1999, the Commissioner pointed out that today's Conference marks the opening of an extensive assessment of the operation of the Directive in practice. He emphasised that in the meantime, the priority in this area was to get agreement concerning worker involvement in the European Company and on the new proposal on information and consultation of employees in the European Union. He underlined the importance of these proposals and how they are linked to the upcoming review of the EWC's Directive. "Progress on these proposals would facilitate enormously the discussions on any possible amendment of the EWC's Directive, because quite a number of questions are common."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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