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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-10-27

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 27/10/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 26 octobre 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 26 October

  • [01] La Commission approuve en principe les zones éligibles pour l'aide régionale en Belgique, Finlande, au Danemark et Pays-Bas
  • [02] Agents de conservation du bois : la Commission a confirmé des mesures nationales de protection de l'environnement
  • [03] Commission proposes ban on BST
  • [04] Commission fines FEG, the Dutch association of electrotechnical equipment wholesalers
  • [05] Commission to support International Fund for Ireland for another three years
  • [06] Commission proposes up to euro 1 billion to help relieve debt of world's poorest countries
  • [07] Commission clears report on future strategy for humanitarian aid
  • [08] La Commission autorise l'octroi par la Région Wallonne d'aides en faveur de la promotion du commerce extra-communautaire (Belgique)
  • [09] Danemark, Finlande, Irlande : la Commission approuve une première vague de cartes des aides régionales pour 2000-2006
  • [10] Commission orders repayment of illegal State aids paid to publicly- owned shipyards in Spain
  • [11] Commission approves State aid to Hydraulik Markranstädt GmbH (Germany)
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [12] David Byrne calls for reason on current beef dispute

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 26 octobre 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 26 October

    [01] La Commission approuve en principe les zones éligibles pour l'aide régionale en Belgique, Finlande, au Danemark et Pays-Bas

    La Commission européenne vient d'approuver les listes de zones en reconversion socio-économique éligibles à l'Objectif 2 des Fonds structurels pour quatre Etats membres : la Belgique, le Danemark, la Finlande et les Pays-Bas. Les zones en question sont celles qui sont en mutation dans les secteurs de l'industrie et des services, des zones rurales en déclin, des zones dépendantes de la pêche ou encore des quartiers urbains en difficulté. Afin de maximiser l'impact des ressources limitées, cet objectif couvrira un maximum de 18% de la population au niveau de l'Union européenne (68 millions d'Européens).

    [02] Agents de conservation du bois : la Commission a confirmé des mesures nationales de protection de l'environnement

    La Commission européenne a adopté cinq décisions qui autorisent les Pays- Bas, l'Allemagne, la Suède et le Danemark à maintenir leurs dispositions nationales sur les limitations à la vente et à l'utilisation de deux agents de conservation du bois, le crésote et le pentacholorophénol (PCP), même si ces dispositions sont plus restrictives que les exigences de la Directive 76/769/CEE (mise sur le marché et emploi de certaines substances et préparations dangereuses), telle que modifiée par les Directives 94/60/CE et 91/173/CEE.

    [03] Commission proposes ban on BST

    The European Commission adopted a proposal to ban the use and marketing of Bovine Somatotrophin (BST) in the European Union as from 1 January 2000 on animal health and welfare grounds. This proposal follows the opinion of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare. BST is a hormone which increases milk production when injected into dairy cows. A moratorium on BST was already introduced in 1990. The ban has no impact on imports of dairy or meat products from third countries.

    [04] Commission fines FEG, the Dutch association of electrotechnical equipment wholesalers

    The European Commission has fined the Dutch association of electrotechnical equipment wholesalers, the Nederlandse Federatieve Vereniging voor de Groothandel op Elektrotechnisch Gebied (FEG), as well as its biggest member Technische Unie (TU,) for infringing European Union competition rules. The Commission found that FEG and TU restricted competition by operating a system of collective exclusive dealing in combination with a system of price coordination on the Dutch wholesale market for electrotechnical equipment. The Commission therefore imposed fines of euro 4.4 million on FEG and euro 2.15 million on TU.

    [05] Commission to support International Fund for Ireland for another three years

    The European Commission has proposed giving the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) a further euro 45 million for the 2000-2002 period. This is in addition to the euro 170 million provided by the European Union to the IFI since 1989. The IFI was set up by the UK and Irish governments in 1986 to promote cross-community reconciliation as well as economic progress. The Fund, which is managed by a Board appointed by but acting independently of the two governments, also receives contributions from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    [06] Commission proposes up to euro 1 billion to help relieve debt of world's poorest countries

    The European Commission has given strong backing to a global initiative to relieve the debt of the world's most highly indebted nations. In a Communication to the Council of Ministers, the Commission is proposing a contribution of 900 million to 1 billion euro to the so-called HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative.

    [07] Commission clears report on future strategy for humanitarian aid

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament that assesses the activities of its Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), and proposes some improvements for the future. The report is based on two major external evaluations of ECHO's performance.

    [08] La Commission autorise l'octroi par la Région Wallonne d'aides en faveur de la promotion du commerce extra-communautaire (Belgique)

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d'objection à l'application par la Région Wallonne de plusieurs mesures en faveur de la promotion du commerce extérieur pour un montant total de 6,67 millions d'euros (269 millions de BEF). Elle a conclu que, dans les cas où ces mesures tombaient sous l'application des dispositions de l'article 87 §1 du traité CE, elles pouvaient bénéficier de la dérogation prévue à l'article 87 §3 du traité CE. Il s'agit d'aides dites "soft" non liées aux volumes ou chiffres d'affaires réalisés à l'exportation et qui sont réservées à la promotion du commerce extra-communautaire.

    [09] Danemark, Finlande, Irlande : la Commission approuve une première vague de cartes des aides régionales pour 2000-2006

    La Commission européenne a pris la décision d'établir pour le Danemark, la Finlande et l'Irlande des cartes pour les aides régionales pour les années 2000 à 2006. Ces cartes établissent la liste des régions dans lesquelles des aides publiques à l'investissement, qu'elles soient nationales ou communautaires, pourront être octroyées aux grandes entreprises ainsi que leurs intensités maximales autorisées par région.

    [10] Commission orders repayment of illegal State aids paid to publicly- owned shipyards in Spain

    The European Commission has decided that State aid of euro 110.9 million (ESP 18.451 billion) paid in 1998 to the publicly-owned merchant shipyards in Spain was not compatible with the conditions of a 1997 Commission decision approving a package of restructuring aids to the yards, and must be repaid with interest. The package approved in 1997 had included a maximum amount of aid in the form of special tax credits of euro 349 million (ESP 58 billion) during the period 1995 to 1999 to compensate the yards for the absence of any possibility of being able to benefit from tax credits under Spain's general tax consolidation system. However subsequently the yards were integrated into the state-owned holding company Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones (SEPI), which was able to obtain tax credits under the general tax consolidation system by offsetting losses in one part of the group against profits elsewhere. These changed circumstances resulted in the yards receiving in 1998 a general tax credit corresponding to their entitlement to such credits on the basis of their 1997 results. Nevertheless, despite this, the yards also received in July 1998 a special tax credit of euro 110.9 million (ESP 18.451 billion). The Commission concluded that this payment, although it did not result in the maximum amount of special tax credits approved in 1997 being exceeded, was not justified and was therefore incompatible with the original decision.

    [11] Commission approves State aid to Hydraulik Markranstädt GmbH (Germany)

    The European Commission has approved aid measures of an amount of euro 6.09 million (DEM 11.9 million) in favour of German Hydraulik Markranstädt GmbH, aid which comply with the "Community guidelines on rescuing and restructuring of firms in difficulty". The Commission takes into account that the investors contribute substantially to the overall restructuring costs engaging themselves with their private property. The distortion of competition is limited considering that the relevant market does not appear to suffer from excess capacity and the beneficiary shall not increase its capacity.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [12] David Byrne calls for reason on current beef dispute

    David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, has asked France and the United Kingdom to adopt a more reasoned approach on the beef dispute in order to overcome the current impasse. "I would urge that calm and reason prevail pending the outcome of the Scientific Committee's opinion", Mr Byrne stated after a meeting with British Labour and Conservative MEPs in Strasbourg. Commissioner Byrne emphasised that he was concerned to ensure that "a sound, science-based approach" be adopted in the whole area of food safety and that the appropriate procedures must be followed. He said that he was looking forward to the opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee later in the week "as an important and defining step towards a resolution of this difficult issue". He also stated that he had been, and would remain, in regular communication with the French and British Governments with a view to reaching an early resolution of the matter.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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