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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-07-26

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 26/07/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission statement on pending court case regarding Formula One
  • [02] Commission clears the merger between Wal-Mart and ASDA
  • [03] Commission authorises Tyco to acquire Raychem
  • [04] Services financiers : proposition modifiée de Directive relative à la commercialisation à distance
  • [05] Contrôle de l'application du droit communautaire : rapport 1998
  • [06] Kaleidoscope programme 1999 : support for cultural cooperation projects in the EU
  • [07] Yves-Thibault de Silguy : "EMU has changed the dynamics of the EU"

  • [01] Commission statement on pending court case regarding Formula One

    The European Commission regrets that statements were made which have been understood as prejudging issues relating to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), and confirms that no final decision of any kind has been adopted in this case, which is still being considered. Any future statement will make it clear that no decision has been taken, as long as this remains the case. The Commission also regrets that copies of a letter from its Directorate-General for Competition (DG IV) to the FIA of 19 December 1997 were distributed to some journalists, and will see to it that this does not happen in the future.

    [02] Commission clears the merger between Wal-Mart and ASDA

    The European Commission has approved the merger between the US based general retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the UK food retailer ASDA Group plc. Since both companies have no overlapping activities, the concentration on the retail side does not result in any increment of market shares. On the procurement side, there will not be any harmful impact either, given that there are very few overlaps and suppliers tend to be multinational companies of significant bargaining power. Consequently, the operation does not raise competition concerns.

    [03] Commission authorises Tyco to acquire Raychem

    The European Commission has cleared the acquisition by Tyco International Ltd. (Bermuda) of Raychem Corporation (US) by way of a purchase of shares. The Commission's investigation focused on touch screens, for which the companies' combined market share is less than 30% and only increases slightly through the merger. Given the presence of other players such as MicroTouch (US), the market leader, Gunze (Japan) and Dynapro (Canada), the Commission concludes that this operation will not create or strengthen a dominant position.

    [04] Services financiers : proposition modifiée de Directive relative à la commercialisation à distance

    La Commission européenne a présenté une proposition modifiée de Directive établissant un cadre réglementaire clair pour la commercialisation à distance de services financiers au sein du marché unique. La Commission a suivi dans une large mesure les modifications suggérées par le Parlement européen, en particulier en maintenant une approche d'"harmonisation maximale", en remplaçant le délai de réflexion avant la conclusion du contrat par l'obligation faite aux fournisseurs de fournir des informations complètes et en introduisant un droit général de rétractation. La Directive proposée vise à assurer aux consommateurs un niveau élevé de protection en matière de services financiers de détail (services bancaires, d'assurances et d'investissements) commercialisés par courrier, par téléphone, par télécopie ou par voie électronique telle que l'Internet. Elle doit inciter les consommateurs à faire confiance à ces services et offrir aux fournisseurs de services financiers un cadre juridique clairement défini s'appliquant à la libre commercialisation à distance dans l'ensemble du marché unique .

    [05] Contrôle de l'application du droit communautaire : rapport 1998

    La Commission européenne continue à placer le contrôle de l'application du droit communautaire au centre de son action. Alors que le nombre de plaintes dénonçant des violations du droit communautaire continue à augmenter (+18%), la Commission détecte elle-même de plus en plus d'infractions (+52%). Les réformes des méthodes de travail en matière de procédures d'infraction commencent à porter leurs fruits puisque le rapport montre que la Commission est parvenue à améliorer sensiblement son efficacité dans la gestion des dossiers d'infraction. La transposition des Directives s'améliore lentement mais sûrement puisque le taux moyen de transposition est passé, pour l'ensemble des secteurs, à 95,7% au 31 décembre 1998, contre 94% en 1997. C'est ce qui ressort du XVIème rapport annuel sur le contrôle de l'application du droit communautaire pour l'année 1998 que la Commission vient de transmettre au Parlement européen et aux Etats membres.

    [06] Kaleidoscope programme 1999 : support for cultural cooperation projects in the EU

    Following the proposal of a group of independent experts, the European Commission has designated 119 cultural projects which it proposes will receive European Union (EU) financial support under the Kaleidoscope programme for 1999. The overall EU contribution allocated to the programme is approximately 10 million euro. The Kaleidoscope programme is intended to encourage, by means of cooperation, artistic and cultural creation in Europe. It aims to support projects with a European dimension - i.e. projects involving partnership between organisations from at least three Member States - as a means of promoting the knowledge and transmission of culture and of the cultural experience of the European people. It also aims to improve the skills of artists and others involved in the cultural sector and to improve access to culture for all citizens.

    [07] Yves-Thibault de Silguy : "EMU has changed the dynamics of the EU"

    (! embargo 6.30 pm !) Speaking to the Corporation of London, Yves-Thibault de Silguy, European Commissioner for economic, monetary and financial affairs said : "With EMU, relations between participating countries have gained new momentum. In the absence of the UK, the traditional Franco- German axis is regaining ground, and not just on economic and monetary affairs. This may be good news for those who want more integration within the euro zone. But it is an important counter argument for those who oppose EMU membership in order to preserve UK influence." "But I fear that in 50 years time, the UK's decision not to join the euro from the start may be the European tragedy of the present generation of British leaders. All the main political parties in the UK agree that the euro is likely to be a lasting success for the EU." "There is no doubt that the launch of the euro was a success. And this success creates opportunities for European financial markets to gain the full benefits." "EMU is promoting integration and boosting liquidity in European markets. We have an opportunity to capitalise on these developments to reduce the remaining structural and regulatory barriers in Europe. In particular, more needs to be done to establish benchmark issues in euro-denominated bond markets. I would like to make two personal suggestions : firstly, once we have clear estimate of the likely needs, a significant euro-denominated EU bond issue could be considered to meet the costs of economic reconstruction in the Balkans. Secondly greater coordination of national government debt issues. For example, Member States could create a single body responsible for issuing a large part of euro zone government bonds."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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