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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-12-17

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 17/12/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Michaele Schreyer welcomes successful approval of budget 2000
  • [02] Obligatory beef labelling postponed until September 2000
  • [03] Le groupe d'examen des différends de l'OMC donne raison à l'UE face à la Corée et à l'Argentine dans deux cas d'infraction aux règles de sauvegarde
  • [04] Le succès du Sommet renforce les relations UE-Canada
  • [05] Extending cooperation between Europe, the USA and Canada in higher education and vocational training
  • [06] European dimension of Fulbright' scholarships - call for specialised journalists
  • [07] La Commission et le Kazakhstan signent un accord bilatéral sur l'acier
  • [08] 112 mobility grants to promote higher education reform in Phare partner countries
  • [09] Emergency aid for Chechnya victims : euro 1 million
  • [10] Euro 2 million assistance for Nepal
  • [11] Mexico/Chiapas : Commission approves humanitarian aid worth euro 500, 000
  • [12] Chris Patten : "We need headline goals for non-military action to match those in the military field"

  • [01] Michaele Schreyer welcomes successful approval of budget 2000

    The European Parliament has approved the European Union's Budget for the year 2000. European Commissioner for Budget, Michaele Schreyer, welcomed the last minute agreement that lead to approval of the EU's 2000 budget by the Parliament at a satisfactory level. "The Parliament and the Council have succeeded in responding to the EU's political priorities, namely the reconstruction in Kosovo, while respecting budgetary rigour", Mrs Schreyer commented. With euro 93.281 billion of commitment appropriations the budget is 3.7% under the 1999 figures. The euro 89.388 billion of payment appropriations correspond to 1.11% of the GNP of the 15 Member States.

    [02] Obligatory beef labelling postponed until September 2000

    The Fisheries Council adopted a European Commission decision to prolong the existing Regulation 820/97 on obligatory beef labelling until 1.9.2000. This is to allow further discussions on the Commission proposal for general rules for a beef labelling system which is currently before the Council and Parliament. Commissioners Franz Fischler and David Byrne, respectively responsible for Agriculture and Fisheries and Health and Consumer Protection, welcomed the decision of the Council to accept a shorter prolongation than indicated at the Agriculture Council on 14 December. "The Parliament proposed an eight month prolongation only. The Commission accepted this proposal of Parliament and the Council is now similarly agreed. The objective of all three EU institutions must now be to work as quickly as possible on the Directive proposed by the Commission in October this year in order to have a sound and practicable beef labelling system in place before next September."

    [03] Le groupe d'examen des différends de l'OMC donne raison à l'UE face à la Corée et à l'Argentine dans deux cas d'infraction aux règles de sauvegarde

    La Commission européenne a obtenu gain de cause dans deux procédures de règlement de différend dans le cadre de l'OMC concernant des restrictions à l'importation imposées par l'Argentine et la Corée. Deux rapports de l'organe d'appel de l'OMC publiés cette semaine confirment les conclusions préliminaires selon lesquelles les mesures argentines appliquées aux importations de chaussures et les quotas coréens appliqués aux importations de certains produits laitiers enfreignent les règles de l'OMC.

    [04] Le succès du Sommet renforce les relations UE-Canada

    Le sommet bi-annuel qui s'est déroulé à Ottawa entre l'Union européenne et le Canada a mis en évidence la qualité des liens bilatéraux les unissant. La délégation de l'UE, représentée par le Président de la Commission européenne, M. Romano Prodi (dont c'était la première rencontre du genre) et le Président finlandais du Conseil européen, M. Martti Ahtisaari, comptait également le Commissaire chargé du commerce, M. Pascal Lamy, le Premier ministre finlandais, M. Paavo Lipponen, et le ministre finlandais du Commerce extérieur, M. Kimmo Sasi.

    [05] Extending cooperation between Europe, the USA and Canada in higher education and vocational training

    The European Commission yesterday proposed renewing the agreements between the European Union, the United States and Canada on cooperation in higher education and vocational training for a further five-year period, starting on 1 January 2001. Since 1996 total EU funding has been euro 6.5 million for the EU-US programme and euro 3.2 million for the EU-Canada programme. Projects are selected strictly on merit, by both sets of partners. So far, 57 project consortia have been established in many areas, involving hundreds of institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. This innovative model allows for associated partners from business, local development agencies, professional bodies and other sectors as well as education and training institutes. There are participants from all regions of the EU and Canada and most States in the US. In the EU there is no duplication with bilateral programmes organised by Member States. Education and Culture Commissioner Viviane Reding said : "These programmes show that an increasingly outward-looking EU can cooperate in more areas than trade with two of our technologically strongest international partners. An increasingly self-confident EU, which has developed its own palette of highly successful education and training cooperation programmes, can also learn much from the different structures and traditions of our American and Canadian partners". Further details of the current programmes are available at : http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/dg22/ dg22.html

    [06] European dimension of Fulbright' scholarships - call for specialised journalists

    The Fulbright Commission for Belgium and Luxembourg, which also manages the EU dimension of the Fulbright Program, following the 1995 EU-US agreement to cooperate in education and training, has just announced a new call for candidates for the 2000-2001 academic year. Among those who qualify to apply are academics, and alternatively journalists, from any of the 15 Member States who have achieved a high level of professional competence in EU affairs. Successful candidates will be placed in a hosting American university and serve as a "Scholar in Residence" either for an academic year (at two of the participating American universities) or for a semester (at four of the participating American universities). Successful applicants will receive a monthly stipend which includes transport costs and insurance coverage. Further information and application forms may be consulted : http://www.kbr.be/fulbright

    [07] La Commission et le Kazakhstan signent un accord bilatéral sur l'acier

    La Commission européenne et le gouvernement du Kazakhstan ont signé un accord bilatéral sur les échanges des produits sidérurgiques le mercredi 15 décembre 1999, à Bruxelles. Il entrera en vigueur le 1er janvier 2000 et remplacera ainsi le système actuel de contingents autonomes d'importation dans l'Union européenne.

    [08] 112 mobility grants to promote higher education reform in Phare partner countries

    The European Commission decided yesterday to allocate a total of euro 264, 650 to 112 representatives of higher education institutions from Phare partner countries for the purpose of study visits in the European Union, within the framework of the Tempus programme. These mobility activities complement the activities of the Tempus projects in which EU higher education institutions cooperate with similar institutions in Phare and Tacis partner countries to promote the reform of higher education. In 1999, Tempus financed 225 new projects with a total budget of euro 45 million.

    [09] Emergency aid for Chechnya victims : euro 1 million

    The European Commission has approved funding worth euro 1 million for civilians from Chechnya as a response to the escalating conflict there. The aid, channelled via the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), is earmarked for the International Committee of the Red Cross. This funding comes on top of euro 1.2 million already made available mainly for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Funding allocated so far thus totals euro 2.2 million. The Commission is following the situation closely and plans to make available more funding as needed.

    [10] Euro 2 million assistance for Nepal

    European Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, has signed a euro 2 million EU-funded project to assist the government of Nepal with mapping for their 2001 Population and Housing census. This will enable the government of Nepal to increase the accuracy of its demographic and socio- economic profile, and in turn to support the development of its population. Between 1977 and 1999 the Commission has provided more than euro 158 million in development assistance to Nepal.

    [11] Mexico/Chiapas : Commission approves humanitarian aid worth euro 500, 000

    The European Commission has approved funding for food and medical aid worth euro 500,000 for displaced persons in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The funding will assist about 5,200 people who have been displaced because of conflict in the province. They are struggling to survive in very precarious conditions and are unable to return home. This funding will enable the German and Spanish Red Cross societies to provide vital food aid and basic medical aid, as well as helping to set up communal kitchens for the communities affected.

    [12] Chris Patten : "We need headline goals for non-military action to match those in the military field"

    European Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, participated yesterday in a conference at the Commission's Representation in Berlin and held a speech on "The future of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and the role of the Commission". His key messages were : "There will always be a substantial non-military component before, during and after crises. This is where the Commission has expertise and I am determined that we should play our full part." Mr Patten listed areas in which such goals need to be established, including : emergency and rescue services ; police training and deployment ; mine clearance and de-mining ; rehabilitation and reconstruction capacity ; human rights and democracy resources (monitors, media advisers, etc) ; mediation and arbitration capacity. Mr Patten wants to launch a discussion with EU Member States on specific goals in each of these areas. "We need to sharpen up our intentions. What exactly do we want to be able to do ? Once we have decided that we must define, in detail, the resources we need to do it, and set ourselves a deadline for assembling them. That is what I mean by establishing non-military headline goals."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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