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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-12-09

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 09/12/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 8 décembre 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 8 December

  • [01] Commission appoints three Directors General and two Deputy Directors General
  • [02] Commission adopts ECSC operational budget 2000
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [03] Statement by the European Commission on France's refusal to lift the embargo on British beef
  • [04] La Commission émet un signal clair quant aux limites de l'application des règles de concurrence du Traité au secteur du sport
  • [05] Deadline for US to improve export situation of meat and meat products into the EU extended
  • [06] David Byrne salue l'adoption des lignes directrices de l'OCDE sur la protection des consommateurs dans le contexte du commerce électronique
  • [07] La Commission se met d'accord sur la prochaine étape décisive dans la phase de définition de Galileo
  • [08] Second EU-China Summit (Beijing, 21 December 1999)
  • [09] Accord en comité de conciliation sur le financement de SAVE II et ALTENER II
  • [10] Sanctions against the Taliban of Afghanistan
  • [11] 11.4 millions d'euros pour la démocratie et droits de l'homme dans la Communauté andine 2000-2003
  • [12] Euro 2.5 million for Tacis rehabilitation actions in South Ossetia (Georgia)
  • [13] Michaele Schreyer visits Poland to discuss pre-accession strategy on financial control and implementation of EU aid

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 8 décembre 1999 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 8 December

    (voir aussi see also Midday Express of 8/12)

    [01] Commission appoints three Directors General and two Deputy Directors General

    The appointments of Directors General concern Mr José Manuel Silva Rodriguez (Agriculture DG), Mr Fabio Colasanti (Enterprise DG) and Mr Klaus van der Pas (Education & Culture DG). Furthermore, Ms Catherine Day is named Deputy Director General of the External Relations DG, with responsibilities for Europe, Central Asia, Near and Middle East and the Southern Mediterranean and Mr Domenico Lenarduzzi becomes Deputy Director General for Education and Culture. These appointments will become effective as of 1 January 2000.

    [02] Commission adopts ECSC operational budget 2000

    The European Commission has adopted the operational budget of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) for the year 2000, two years before the ECSC Treaty lapses. The 2000 budget amounts to euro 178 million, compared to euro 196 million in 1999. Euro 81 million are foreseen for research aid, euro 61 million for redeployment aid for steel workers and miners, euro 31 million for social measures and euro 5 million for administrative expenditure. "The possibility of adjusting the Commission's initial proposal to the requests of the European Parliament is extremely limited", commented Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer, "given the implementation levels in past years". The Parliament had proposed the same level of expenditure for 2000 as was agreed for 1999, adding euro 10 million for research, more money for social and redeployment aid, with a euro 2 million reduction for administration. However, the outturn figures for redeployment and social aid from the previous years show that Member States systematically overestimate the forecasts for job losses and thus the money needed for restructuring. Research appropriations are to be gradually reduced to around euro 40 million for the research fund, which is to replace the ECSC research programmes once the ECSC Treaty expires in 2002.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [03] Statement by the European Commission on France's refusal to lift the embargo on British beef

    We are still awaiting official confirmation from Paris. However, we understand that the French Government has made a decision not to lift its ban on British beef. After all the efforts made by the Commission, David Byrne, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer protection, is extremely surprised and disappointed by this decision. The advice of the Scientific Steering Committee which was consulted on the objections of the French food agency was very clear and said that British beef exported under the DBES export scheme was as safe as any other beef. Even after this, a considerable effort has been made by the Commission and the British authorities to clarify outstanding questions by the French Government and its food agency. A memorandum of understanding between the British and French Government and the Commission was signed. At this point in time it was clearly understood by all concerned that the French authorities and their experts were satisfied. It was considered that the French agency had sufficient information to advise the French Government to lift the ban. Indeed, the French Agency did not recommend that the ban be kept in place. It is therefore surprising that the French Government has decided otherwise. In these circumstances there seems to be no alternative but to proceed with legal action against France in the European Court of Justice as soon as possible.

    [04] La Commission émet un signal clair quant aux limites de l'application des règles de concurrence du Traité au secteur du sport

    La Commission européenne a adopté deux décisions qui montrent les limites de l'application des règles de concurrence du Traité CE au secteur du sport. Elles mettent en évidence trois aspects importants de la politique que la Commission mène dans ce secteur : (1) la Commission reconnaît le pouvoir réglementaire des organisations sportives pour les aspects non- économiques qui se rattachent à la nature spécifique du sport ; (2) les réglementations des organisations sportives nécessaires pour assurer l'égalité de chances entre clubs, l'incertitude des résultats, l'intégrité et le bon déroulement des compétitions échappent, en principe, aux règles de concurrence du Traité ; (3) la Commission s'occupe seulement des cas qui présentent une dimension communautaire et dont les effets sur le commerce interétatique sont sensibles.

    [05] Deadline for US to improve export situation of meat and meat products into the EU extended

    The Standing Veterinary Committee accepted the strong commitment of the United States of America to improve the monitoring programme to test for residue levels and unauthorised substances exceeding the European Union's maximum residue limits in fresh meat and meat products.

    [06] David Byrne salue l'adoption des lignes directrices de l'OCDE sur la protection des consommateurs dans le contexte du commerce électronique

    M. David Byrne, commissaire européen responsable de la santé et de la protection des consommateurs, a salué aujourd'hui l'adoption par l'OCDE d'une recommandation concernant des lignes directrices sur la protection des consommateurs dans le contexte du commerce électronique, dont le principe fondamental est que les consommateurs qui font appel au commerce électronique doivent bénéficier du même niveau de protection que lors de transactions ordinaires. Ces lignes directrices correspondent de très près aux règles et aux principes qui régissent la protection des consommateurs au niveau de l'Union européenne.

    [07] La Commission se met d'accord sur la prochaine étape décisive dans la phase de définition de Galileo

    La Commission européenne a annoncé son accord pour le lancement de quatre importants contrats de recherche dans le cadre 5ème programme-cadre de recherche et le développement, qui permettront les études techniques et industrielles nécessaires pour la phase de définition de Galileo. La contribution communautaire globale pour ces contrats s'élève à 37 millions d'euros. GALILEO est la contribution européenne à un système satellite global de navigation sous contrôle civil. Il devrait en soi compléter et améliorer les systèmes existants de double utilisation tels que le GPS (le système de navigation satellite global américaine) et Glonass (le système de navigation satellite russe).

    [08] Second EU-China Summit (Beijing, 21 December 1999)

    The second EU-China Summit will take place in Beijing on 21 December 1999. Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen of Finland, the current EU Presidency, and Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, will hold the meeting with Prime Minister Zhu Rongji of the People's Republic of China. The Summit meeting will allow for a review of EU-China relations and the continuation of the partnership for the 21st century, following up on the first EU-China Summit of April 1998. Regional issues of interest for both parties will also be discussed.

    [09] Accord en comité de conciliation sur le financement de SAVE II et ALTENER II

    Le Conseil des ministres et le Parlement européen se sont formellement mis d'accord aujourd'hui sur le financement des programmes SAVE (encouragement de l'efficacité énergétique) et ALTENER (promotion des sources d'énergie renouvelable) pour la période 1998-2002. Les montants finalement retenus s'élèvent à 66 millions d'euros pour SAVE et 77 millions d'euros pour ALTENER. Mme Loyola de Palacio, vice-présidente de la Commission européenne en charge de l'énergie et des transports, s'est félicitée de ce compromis sur des programmes très importants pour la promotion des technologies favorables à l'environnement et le développement soutenable.

    [10] Sanctions against the Taliban of Afghanistan

    On 15 October 1999 the Security Council of the United Nations adopted Resolution 1267 demanding that the Taliban hand over Usama bin Laden, without delay to authorities in a country where he has been indicted, failing which restrictive measures, a flight ban and a freeze of funds would be imposed against the Taliban. EU legislation is necessary to implement the relevant decisions of the Security Council as far as the EU territory is concerned on the basis of the Council Common Position (1999/727//CFSP of 15 November 1999). The Commission has adopted on 7 December a proposal for a Council Regulation concerning a flight ban and a freeze of funds which follows closely the provisions of the UNSC Resolution. This includes provisions to the effect that penalties/sanctions for violations of the Regulation can be applied by the competent authorities of the Member States. The EU provides humanitarian assistance, food aid and aid to the uprooted people in Afghanistan. In the eight-year period (1991-1999) an approximate total of euro 388.64 million has been committed for refugee and reintegration assistance, food aid and food security and emergency and relief aid. These activities are implemented by Non-Governmental Organisations and International Organisations and do not benefit the Taliban in a way that would be prohibited under the proposed Regulation.

    [11] 11.4 millions d'euros pour la démocratie et droits de l'homme dans la Communauté andine 2000-2003

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'octroyer 11.4 millions d'euros pour un programme pluriannuel des droits de l'homme et des libertés fondamentales dans les pays de la Communauté andine. Ce programme favorise les actions de sensibilisation, de formation et d'éducation avec l'appui des organisations de la société civile. Il est destiné à éveiller la conscience des sociétés de ces pays quant au contenu des droits de l'homme et aux instruments permettant l'exercice et la sauvegarde de ces droits. Le programme consiste en cinq programmes nationaux pour la Bolivie, la Colombie, l'Equateur, le Pérou et le Venezuela et deux programmes régionaux.

    [12] Euro 2.5 million for Tacis rehabilitation actions in South Ossetia (Georgia)

    The European Commission has decided on 7 December to grant euro 2.5 million for the continuation of an integrated rehabilitation programme begun as part of the Tacis programme in 1998 in South Ossetia (Georgia) in the effort to revive the economy after the war of the 1980s and the earthquake of 1991. This multi-faceted programme includes the rehabilitation and re- construction of schools, the irrigation system and water supply and the rehabilitation of the railway linking South Ossetia with the rest of Georgia. The 1999 budget programme was prepared with the assistance of both communities in South Ossetia and its main investment activity will be divided between energy projects, water supply and employment creation. It is also proposed to create an agency, specialised the rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by civil conflict, for the implementation of the projects.

    [13] Michaele Schreyer visits Poland to discuss pre-accession strategy on financial control and implementation of EU aid

    Michaele Schreyer, European Commissioner for Budget, is visiting Poland on 9 and 10 December. She will discuss the pre-accession strategy on financial control and implementation of EU aid programmes with the Polish Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Leszek Balcerowicz, and the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bronislaw Geremek. They will also exchange views on the budgetary and economic development of Poland, on Phare programmes and the preparation for the pre-accession facilities ISPA and SAPARD. Fraud prevention is another important topic of Ms Schreyer's visit. The Commission is currently developing a pre-accession strategy to help the applicant countries prepare for EU membership with a system of protection geared to safeguarding EU financial interests. Poland, for example, is working with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) on a specific administrative structure (actually resembling OLAF) which will specialise in combating fraud. Therefore, also meetings with financial controllers, the General Customs Inspector and Members of the Supreme Chamber of Control are on the Agenda.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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