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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-11-12

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 12/11/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Statement by European Commissioner for Competition, Mario Monti, on the latest developments in the Champalimaud / BSCH case
  • [02] Augmentation de 0,5% des prix à la production industrielle
  • [03] Mexico floods : humanitarian aid worth euro 1 million
  • [04] Franz Fischler : "EU and applicant countries should speak with one voice"
  • [05] A Northern Dimension for the policies of the EU
  • [06] Conference on tourism in the Information Society
  • [07] Second assembly of consumer associations in Europe, 18-19 November - Consumer policy seminar for candidate countries, 17 November

  • [01] Statement by European Commissioner for Competition, Mario Monti, on the latest developments in the Champalimaud / BSCH case

    "I was informed yesterday evening by Portuguese Finance Minister Mr Pina Moura of the new agreement that has been reached by the parties concerned in the Champalimaud/BSCH case and of the Portuguese Government's positive view of the transaction now envisaged. I particularly welcome his intention to revoke the Portuguese veto that the Commission had declared contrary to EU law and had decided to challenge before the Court. At his request I have agreed to meet Mr Pina Moura on Monday afternoon in Brussels to discuss the details of this solution, which will enable us to evaluate the consequences of this development for the Commission's action. I am convinced that a positive outcome in this case will confirm the exclusive competence of the Commission to assess mergers of Community dimension and will mark a breakthrough for ensuring a true single market in the financial services sector, which will bring about important benefits for the European economy. It will establish a clear reference point for any possible similar case in the future."

    [02] Augmentation de 0,5% des prix à la production industrielle

    Au mois de septembre, les prix à la production industrielle de la zone euro et de l'Union européenne (UE15) ont enregistré une augmentation de 0,5% par rapport au mois précédent - selon les estimations publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg. La zone euro ainsi que l'UE15 avaient enregistré une hausse de 0,4% au mois d'août (chiffre révisé à la hausse). Après une baisse de l'indice des prix à la production industrielle pendant quinze mois consécutifs (de décembre 1997 à février 1999), on a observé une augmentation depuis le mois de mars 1999. La hausse enregistrée au mois de septembre de l'indice des prix à la production industrielle est due principalement au secteur des biens intermédiaires. Les prix dans ce secteur ont augmenté de 0,8% en septembre par rapport au mois d'août dans la zone euro et de 0,7% dans l'UE15.

    [03] Mexico floods : humanitarian aid worth euro 1 million

    The European Commission has approved humanitarian aid worth euro 1 million for victims of flooding in Mexico. The aid will be channelled through the German and Spanish Red Cross societies, which are working in close coordination with the Mexican Red Cross. Catastrophic rains in October caused flooding and landslides that affected the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Puebla, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Jalisco. About 600 people died and some 500,000 people were made homeless. Priorities in this crisis are provision of clean water and sanitation, blankets, hygiene items and basic medicines. The States identified as being in greatest need are Puebla and Veracruz.

    [04] Franz Fischler : "EU and applicant countries should speak with one voice"

    (! embargo 3.30 pm !) Speaking at the Conference "Agenda 2000 and Preparations for the New WTO Round" in Bratislava/Slovakia Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, called for a common strategy of the applicant countries and the European Union (EU). In view of enlargement, we should speak with one voice in Seattle. In the course of the WTO-negotiations we have a common interest in a close cooperation. We have also a common interest in increasing the trade in both directions. In this respect, the current negotiations to deepen the process of mutual liberalisation are of particular importance", Mr Fischler said in the presence of the ministers for agriculture of the candidate countries. Outlining the approach of the EU for Seattle in the agricultural sector, he stressed that the EU undertook two major agricultural reforms in the last decade, bringing down price guarantees in the cereals and beef sector by over 40%.

    [05] A Northern Dimension for the policies of the EU

    Speaking today, in Helsinki, at the Foreign Ministers Conference on the Northern Dimension, Chris Patten, European Commissioner for External Relations, emphasised the Commission's determination to play an active role in the preparation and implementation of the Action Plan that will be needed to take forward this important initiative. The Northern Dimension will constitute an increasing part of the external relations of the European Union (EU) as enlargement brings in new members in the region and if new dividing lines in Europe are to be avoided. The basic aim must be to promote security, political stability and sustainable development through enhanced cross-border cooperation between the countries in Northern Europe. The Commission is convinced that the Northern Dimension can contribute to improved relations and mutual dependence between Russia, countries of the Baltic Sea region and the EU. The primary purpose of the Conference is to take the Northern Dimension beyond general discussion to concrete action in (i) the institutional context, (ii) policy areas (e.g. energy, environment and nuclear safety, transport networks) and (iii) the preparation of an Action Plan.

    [06] Conference on tourism in the Information Society

    Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner responsible for Enterprise, and the Information Society, opened today a major European conference on Tourism in the Information Society. Organised by the Commission, the conference brought together in Brussels more than 500 participants from both the Tourism and the Information Society Technologies (IST) industry, European Union institutions and European trade organisations, as well as public authorities responsible for tourism at national, regional or local level. Mr Liikanen highlighted the need for bringing closer the two industry sectors, saying "the Information Society - including the Internet - is changing radically how the tourism industry as a whole, and how each business will work in the future". He stressed that "tourism businesses will have to rethink their products, their entire internal procedures and structures, the marketing of their products, their cooperation with business partners and their relations with their customers". The IST industry is offering solutions for marketing through Internet, direct consumer bookings and all forms of electronic commerce, as well as mobile communication systems. Finally, Mr Liikanen pointed out that "the tourism sector will have to cooperate better in order to compete in the global environment ; and Europe will have to develop its infrastructure (hardware and software) to world-class level". The aim was that "Europe should continue to be at the forefront of new developments in technology in this area".

    [07] Second assembly of consumer associations in Europe, 18-19 November - Consumer policy seminar for candidate countries, 17 November

    The Health and Consumer Directorate-General of the European Commission will be organising its second assembly of consumer associations in Europe on 18 and 19 November 1999. Around 250 representatives from more than 110 consumer organisations from the European Union will meet in Brussels to discuss consumer policy. Some of the largest consumer associations in Europe will attend, such as the Consumers' Association from the United Kingdom, Consumentenbond from the Netherlands, Forbrugerrådet from Denmark, UFC from France and Test Achats from Belgium plus many others. The opening session will see speeches of the Finnish Minister in charge of Consumer affairs, Kimmo Sasi, and the President of the Consumers Union of the US, Rhoda Karpatkin. David Byrne, Commissioner for Consumer Protection and Health, will address the assembly in the afternoon of the same day and Pascal Lamy, Commissioner for Trade, will speak on Friday afternoon. A seminar with about 60 participants from governments and consumer organisations of all candidate countries will be organised on 17 November. The main purpose of the seminar is to discuss the roles of the public and private sector in searching new approaches to consumer policy to ensure that consumers are effectively protected. The plenary sessions of the assembly and the seminar with the candidate countries are open to journalist. It will take place in the Charlemagne Building, rue de la Loi 170. Journalists are invited to participate on simple presentation of their press-card. A detailed programme of the assembly is available on the Internet (http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg24/events/event17_en.html).

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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