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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-11-23

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 23/11/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission clears Akzo Nobel's acquisition of Hoechst Roussel Vet GmbH, subject to conditions
  • [02] Meeting to discuss the proposal for an emergency ban on phthalates in childcare articles and toys intended to be put in the mouth suspended
  • [03] Commission study highlights substantial economic benefits from a new WTO round
  • [04] La Commission signe un prêt d'assistance macroéconomique de 100 millions d'euros en faveur de la Bulgarie
  • [05] Margot Wallström meets Environment ministers of the candidate countries
  • [06] Eight Central and Eastern European cities to receive award for environmental progress
  • [07] Report on participation and role of women in science published
  • [08] Floods in Bangladesh : Commission clears humanitarian aid worth euro 1.075 million

  • [01] Commission clears Akzo Nobel's acquisition of Hoechst Roussel Vet GmbH, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has approved the transaction whereby Akzo Nobel through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intervet International BV and Intervet GmbH, agreed to acquire the shares and assets in the Hoechst Roussel Vet Group, the animal healths business presently held by Hoechst and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hoechst Roussel Vet Participations S.A. This approval follows substantial commitments to divest of products for veterinary pharmaceuticals and biologicals.

    [02] Meeting to discuss the proposal for an emergency ban on phthalates in childcare articles and toys intended to be put in the mouth suspended

    The Emergencies Committee set up under the General Product Safety Directive, composed of representatives of the Member States, decided yesterday to suspend their meeting. The Committee discussed the European Commission proposal of 10 November 99 to ban the use of phthalates in childcare articles and toys which are intended to be put in the mouth. The decision to resume the meeting only in a week or 10 days was taken since new elements have emerged last Friday : a letter was received by Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne from the Toy Industries of Europe proposing to implement the full scope of the emergency ban on a voluntary basis ; certain members of the Scientific Committee for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and Environment have expressed in a letter to the Commission disagreement on the proposal. This needs to be clarified. The Emergencies Committee decided therefore to postpone a decision until further clarifications on these developments can be obtained. However, the discussions made clear that there is wide consensus among the Member States on the objective to eliminate immediately phthalates from toys which are intended to be put in the mouth. There was furthermore agreement that it would be necessary to verify if a voluntary measure could be a practicable and effective alternative to an emergency ban. And Member States also asked on for further clarification if the emergency clauses in the General Product Safety Directive - which form the legal base for this proposal - would be applicable. The Commission has undertaken to provide for these clarifications whilst making clear that a quick solution has to be found.

    [03] Commission study highlights substantial economic benefits from a new WTO round

    A study by European Commission economists suggests that the new WTO trade round due to be launched next week in Seattle could yield substantial benefits for the world economy. The study finds that further trade liberalization could bring about an annual welfare gain for the world of up to $400 billion. This is equal to adding an economy the size of Korea or the Netherlands to world GDP each year. It is therefore around twice as much as the OECD's most recent estimate of the impact of full implementation of the Uruguay Round.

    [04] La Commission signe un prêt d'assistance macroéconomique de 100 millions d'euros en faveur de la Bulgarie

    Un prêt d'assistance macroéconomique de 100 millions d'euros en faveur de la Bulgarie a été signé ce jour par Pedro Solbes, commissaire européen chargé des affaires économiques et monétaires. Ce prêt communautaire s'inscrit dans un ensemble de mesures financières prises par les pays du G- 24. Ce montage financier doit assurer un équilibre durable de la balance des paiements et une position de réserve officielle afin de soutenir le programme de réforme de la Bulgarie.

    [05] Margot Wallström meets Environment ministers of the candidate countries

    Environmental ministers from the twelve candidate countries will meet European Commissioner for Environment, Margot Wallström, and the President of the Environment Council, Satu Hassi, for an informal discussion on environmental aspects of the enlargement process on 26th November 1999 in Brussels. This year's meeting with environmental ministers from twelve countries is the biggest ever ; for the first time Malta will be represented in the informal talks.

    [06] Eight Central and Eastern European cities to receive award for environmental progress

    Eight Central and Eastern European cities will be awarded the "Cities Towards European Union Compliance Award" - 1999 for their outstanding progress in the fields of water, air quality, access to information and waste management. The awarding ceremony will take place during the Fifth Informal Ministerial Meeting with the European Commissioner for Environment, Margot Wallström, on the 26th November.

    [07] Report on participation and role of women in science published

    The initiative on women and science was launched in July 1997 as part of the preparation of the Fifth Framework Programme for Research. Its main objectives are to encourage a debate on the subject and to achieve a greater participation of women in research. It is widely recognised that women are still playing a comparatively minor role in the scientific hierarchy as well as in managing and decision-making bodies. Therefore, in April 1998, the Commission organised a conference to discuss how this gender mainstreaming could be achieved.

    [08] Floods in Bangladesh : Commission clears humanitarian aid worth euro 1.075 million

    The European Commission has cleared a package of humanitarian aid worth euro 1.075 million for victims of flooding in Bangladesh. The aid, channelled via the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable humanitarian organisations to provide relief over the next six months. This year's flooding was marked by extensive river bank erosion, which affected millions of acres of land and swept away many houses. Much of the land was highly fertile, and its loss has been a major setback for farming and fishing communities which were just beginning to recover from last year's flooding. In the capital, Dhaka, the flooding has affected the most vulnerable slum dwellers, in particular street children. ECHO's programme will focus on food, relief items and medical support for the vulnerable, in particular for women and children, as well as on agricultural inputs and housing rehabilitation. ECHO's partners for this programme are the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Oxfam (UK) and Cooperazione Internazionale (Italy).

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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