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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-09-30

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 30/09/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 29 septembre 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 29 September

  • [01] Commission clears merger between Exxon and Mobil (both USA) subject to conditions
  • [02] Commission clears take-over of Arco (USA) by BP Amoco (UK) subject to conditions
  • [03] Lutte contre les nuisances sonores des avions : la Commission ouverte à la négociation mais ferme sur le principe
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [04] Opinions of the Scientific Committee on phthalates
  • [05] La zone euro affiche un excédent commercial de 12,1 milliards d'euros en juillet et de 8,0 milliards d'euros en juin
  • [06] Sierra Leone, Russia, Yemen : humanitarian aid news

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 29 septembre 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 29 September

    (voir aussi see also Midday Express of 29/09)

    [01] Commission clears merger between Exxon and Mobil (both USA) subject to conditions

    The European Commission has authorised the merger between Exxon and Mobil, who are active in the whole oil and gas chain from exploration to motor fuel retailing. As initially notified, the operation would have created or strengthened dominant positions on eight markets concerning natural gas, motor fuel and aviation oil in several countries. Exxon and Mobil have made a series of undertakings to eliminate these concerns. The merger would have created or strengthened dominant position on the following markets : (a) wholesale transmission of natural gas in the Netherlands ; (b) long distance wholesale transmission of natural gas in Germany ; (c) underground storage facilities for natural gas servicing the South of Germany ; (d) group I base oils in the EEA ; (e) motor fuel retailing in Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the UK ; (f) motor fuel retailing on toll motorways in France ; (g) aviation lubricants worldwide ; and (h) aviation fuels at Gatwick Airport (UK). To eliminate these concerns, Exxon and Mobil have undertaken (reference is made to the above numbering) : (a) to divest Mobil's gas trading entity in the Netherlands ; (b) to divest Exxon's 25% interest in Thyssengas GmbH (Germany), a long-distance gas wholesale transmission company and to reduce certain voting rights in Erdgas Münster, a short-distance gas wholesale transmission company (Germany) ; (c) to offer for sale certain Mobil rights in depleted reservoirs around Münich (Germany) ; (d) to divest certain base oil businesses ; (e+f) to divest Mobil's share in Aral (a motor fuel retailing company active in Germany, Austria and Luxembourg) and in the fuels part of the BP/Mobil JV (active in motor fuel and lubricants production and retailing within Europe) ; (g) to divest Exxon's aviation lubricants' business ; and (h) to divest certain pipeline capacity servicing Gatwick Airport.

    [02] Commission clears take-over of Arco (USA) by BP Amoco (UK) subject to conditions

    The European Commission has authorised the take-over of the US company Atlantic Richfield Corporation, active in the exploration, production and sale of crude oil and natural gas, by the UK company BP Amoco, active in oil exploration, petroleum and petrochemicals. As initially notified, the operation would have created dominant positions on two markets : the transport of unprocessed natural gas by means of off-shore pipelines from fields in the Southern North Sea (SNS) sector of the UK Continental Shelf to the UK mainland and on the processing of natural gas in processing facilities on the UK mainland servicing the SNS area. To eliminate concerns about competition, BP Amoco has undertaken to divest certain pipeline and processing interests.

    [03] Lutte contre les nuisances sonores des avions : la Commission ouverte à la négociation mais ferme sur le principe

    La Commission européenne demeure favorable à l'établissement d'une nouvelle norme de bruit pour les avions au sein de l'Organisation Internationale pour l'Aviation Civile (OACI). La vice-présidente, Mme Loyola de Palacio, en charge de la politique des transports et de l'énergie, a insisté sur l'ouverture de la Commission pour trouver un accord dans le cadre de l'OACI. Ainsi, a-t-elle rappelé que cette bonne volonté a déjà conduit la Commission à retarder d'un an l'application du règlement "Hushkits", qui développe une norme européenne visant l'élimination progressive des catégories les plus bruyantes d'avion. Néanmoins, face à l'absence d'engagements clairs des Etats-Unis, qui bloquent depuis plus de dix ans tous les efforts en ce sens, la Commission recommande le maintien du 4 mai 2000 comme date d'entrée en vigueur du règlement "Hushkits", afin de favoriser la recherche d'un accord bénéfique à toutes les parties et, avant tout, aux citoyens victimes des nuisances sonores.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [04] Opinions of the Scientific Committee on phthalates

    The Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) has adopted two opinions related to the safety of soft PVC toys and teething rings which are put into the mouth by small children. In previous opinions, the CSTEE had found reasons for concern for children's health because of the release of phthalates, a chemical substance used as a plasticiser in such PVC toys. The Committee now examined reports on two test methods developed in the Netherlands and the UK to measure the release of phthalates from soft PVC toys. It states that currently they cannot be considered suitable to distinguish safe toys from unsafe toys. The scientists also evaluated some substitutes for phthalates in soft PVC. They concluded that the available information is currently too limited to determine whether they are safe for use in toys and teething rings which children put into their mouth. Further testing is needed to evaluate properly their suitability for use in these toys. The Committee also recommended that potential risks posed by alternatives to soft PVC should be assessed in the same way. As of today, eight Member States have adopted or are about to adopt measures prohibiting the use of phthalates in toys which small children put in their mouth. The Commission is to review the situation and consider the nature of any necessary measures at European level shortly. The opinions are available on the Internet : http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg24/health/sc/sct/outcome_en.html

    [05] La zone euro affiche un excédent commercial de 12,1 milliards d'euros en juillet et de 8,0 milliards d'euros en juin

    Les premières estimations de juillet 1999 pour la zone euro montrent un excédent avec le reste du monde de 12,1 milliards d'euros ; en juillet 1998, l'excédent était de 13,6 milliards. L'excédent révisé s'élève en juin 1999 à 8,0 milliards, par rapport aux 7,8 milliards de juin 1998. L'excédent total du premier semestre 1999 est de 25,3 milliards, comparé aux 37,7 milliards pour la même période en 1998. Les premières estimations du solde des échanges extra-UE15 pour juillet 1999 donnent un excédent de 5,2 milliards alors qu'il était de 7,8 milliards en juillet 1998. Le solde est en excédent de 2,4 milliards d'euros en juin 1999. En juin 1998, il était de 3,0 milliards. Pour le premier semestre 99, le solde est déficitaire de 8,3 milliards comparé à un excédent de 6,1 milliards en 1998. Ces chiffres sont publiés aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg.

    [06] Sierra Leone, Russia, Yemen : humanitarian aid news

    The European Commission has approved humanitarian aid totalling euro 7.3 million for Sierra Leone (euro 5 million), the Russian Federation (euro 1.8 million) and Yemen (euro 500,000). The aid, administered by ECHO, the European Community's Humanitarian Office, will enable non-governmental organisations and international humanitarian organisations to carry out a variety of projects over the next ten months.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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