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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-11-30

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 30/11/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Romano Prodi warmly welcomes the steps taken to establish a new Administration in Northern Ireland
  • [02] Statement of the Commission on the tax package
  • [03] Commission authorises acquisition by Industri Kapital (Marmorandum) of Neste Chemicals
  • [04] La Commission présente un rapport sur l'exposition des êtres humains à la dioxine
  • [05] La Commission salue le nouveau cadre légal pour garantir la sécurité des signatures électroniques
  • [06] Commission welcomes decision of Bulgaria on early closure of units 1-4 of Kozloduy nuclear plant
  • [07] David Byrne : "New round must cover non-trade issues"
  • [08] Franz Fischler : "Criticism on EU fisheries policy unfounded"
  • [09] Seattle : Franz Fischler "tired of hearing the same old rhetoric"
  • [10] Chris Patten at the Human Rights discussion forum

  • [01] Romano Prodi warmly welcomes the steps taken to establish a new Administration in Northern Ireland

    Mr Prodi said : "I congratulate the new Ministers on their appointments. The European Commission welcomes the trust and confidence which has been building between the political parties and their determination to implement the Good Friday Agreement in full. The European Commission admires the courage and determination of the British and Irish Governments and all those involved in this major achievement. Northern Ireland has such enormous potential, not least in its people. We look forward to the development of the economic prosperity which the establishment of peace and the new political institutions will bring. The EU will continue to support cross-community cooperation through the Peace and Reconciliation initiative."

    [02] Statement of the Commission on the tax package

    The European Commission is disappointed that it did not prove possible to reach agreement at the Finance Council yesterday on the tax package, but pleased that the commitment to agree the full package by the Helsinki European Council has been reaffirmed. In particular, it is very encouraging that the Finance Council will meet in Helsinki to pursue its work on the tax package. The Commission wishes to affirm its total commitment to reaching agreement on the tax package and its willingness to play its full role in finding solutions to the outstanding issues. It is crucially important that the tax package is approved in order to (i) move towards an employment-friendly tax system, (ii) tackle tax evasion, and (iii) remove distortions within the Internal Market.

    [03] Commission authorises acquisition by Industri Kapital (Marmorandum) of Neste Chemicals

    The European Commission has authorised the acquisition of the Finnish company Neste Chemicals by Industri Kapital 1997 Ltd, incorporated under the laws of Jersey, through Marmorandum Ab. The acquisition will not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position and consequently does not raise any competition concerns.

    [04] La Commission présente un rapport sur l'exposition des êtres humains à la dioxine

    Les services de Margot Wallström, commissaire européen chargé de l'environnement, ont présenté au groupe de travail "dioxines" de la Commission une étude, cofinancée par la direction générale de l'environnement, sur les données les plus récentes en matière d'exposition à la dioxine et de santé dans l'Union européenne. Il ressort principalement de ce rapport que, pour certaines parties de la population, l'absorption quotidienne de dioxines et de substances analogues reste supérieure aux niveaux recommandés, bien que les taux de dioxine aient diminué ces dernières années dans tous les pays qui disposent de données couvrant les dix ou quinze dernières années. En moyenne, l'exposition de la population a baissé de 10% entre 1985 et 1995.

    [05] La Commission salue le nouveau cadre légal pour garantir la sécurité des signatures électroniques

    La Commission européenne a salué l'adoption d'un nouveau cadre légal qui garantit la reconnaissance des signatures électroniques à travers toute l'Union européenne (par le Conseil des Ministres des Télécommunications de ce 30 novembre). La Directive sur les Signatures électroniques est une première illustration concrète de l'approche flexible et intégrée de la Commission visant à créer un cadre européen pour le développement du commerce électronique. Dans le passé, seules les signatures manuscrites avaient valeur légale, mais cette nouvelle législation étendra cette reconnaissance aux signatures électroniques. La directive applique également les principes du marché intérieur, de la libre circulation des services et du contrôle du pays d'origine au domaine du commerce électronique. Ceci constitue un élément important des efforts constants de la Commission pour promouvoir le développement rapide du commerce électronique, pour valoriser son potentiel en termes de création d'activité commerciale et d'emploi. Le nouveau cadre législatif assure la sécurité demandée par les acteurs du marché des transactions électroniques et renforce également la position de l'Union européenne face à la concurrence internationale dans le contexte d'un marché mondial.

    [06] Commission welcomes decision of Bulgaria on early closure of units 1-4 of Kozloduy nuclear plant

    Mr Günter Verheugen, European Commissioner in charge of Enlargement, back from his meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Mr Ivan Kostov yesterday in Sofia, welcomed the decision of the Bulgarian government to close down units 1-4 of the Kozloduy nuclear plant at early dates. Units 1 and 2 will be definitely closed down in 2002 at the latest. As for units 3 and 4, Bulgaria will take a decision in agreement with the Commission in 2002 on definitive closure dates, which in any event will be before the presently envisaged dates of 2008 and 2010 respectively. The Commission's understanding is that the definitive closure of these units will happen in 2006 at the latest. After similar decisions taken by Slovakia and Lithuania, there are now firm commitments to close down at early dates all 8 units located in the candidate countries that are considered as non-upgradable. This very positive achievement for nuclear safety was a fundamental condition for the launching of accession negotiations with the countries concerned.

    [07] David Byrne : "New round must cover non-trade issues"

    "The European Union attaches the utmost importance to the rights of consumers here in Seattle", said David Byrne, European Commissioner responsible for health and consumer protection, on the eve of the start of the third ministerial conference of the WTO. He underlined his commitment to contribute to the international discussions on consumer rights in international trade, an objective fully recognised by the EU. The new Amsterdam Treaty recognises that a high level of consumer protection should be integrated in all EU policies. This should be reflected at the international level in rules for goods and services.

    [08] Franz Fischler : "Criticism on EU fisheries policy unfounded"

    Rejecting the criticism voiced about the impact of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Mr Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said : "Grossly exaggerated figures have appeared accusing the EU of subsidising overfishing. This is utterly wrong. The major part of the subsidies are aimed at reducing overcapacity. We are spending a considerable amount of money on research aimed at conserving the fish stocks. It is difficult to understand how EU programmes like PESCA, which are designed to diversify the fishermen's activities away from fishing, could have contributed to increasing fishing capacity, as falsely claimed. Still, we are ready to contribute on future work in the framework of the WTO concerning fisheries subsidies."

    [09] Seattle : Franz Fischler "tired of hearing the same old rhetoric"

    Delivering a speech at the Family Farmers Summit on Agricultural Trade in Seattle, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, reminded that a "survival of the fittest" policy would wipe out two-thirds of the farmers overnight, leading to a major decline in production and an increase in prices and imports. "I'm tired of hearing the same old 'rhetoric' that the EU is a fortress when it comes to food or agricultural imports", he said. Mr Fischler went on pointing out that often the countries most critical of our import regime have little to be proud of as far as access to their own market is concerned. "Australia, for example, he said, is permanently criticising the EU on market access, and yet exporting an agricultural product into Australia is like going through the 'biblical' eye of the needle. Frankly, nobody has the high moral ground on this point. The EU has every intention of participating at the Millennium WTO round in a constructive way to achieve a far-reaching broad based agreement."

    [10] Chris Patten at the Human Rights discussion forum

    (! embargo 3 pm !) Speaking today at the opening of the first ever Human Rights Discussion Forum in Brussels, Chris Patten, European Commissioner responsible for External Relations, welcomed the initiative of the Finnish Presidency in organising the event. He said : "Promoting respect for human rights is not a voluntary add-on which we do to make ourselves feel better. It makes moral, political and economic sense". Mr Patten continued that : "National sovereignty does not deny us the right to comment on - and seek to influence - the poor human rights records in other countries. For the EU to so do is both inevitable and sensible". The forum brings together over a hundred NGOs, academic and government human rights experts. Debate will include increasing the effectiveness of the euro 100 million which the EU spends on human rights cooperation projects under the 'European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights'.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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