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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-12-20

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 20/12/1999b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] La Commission accorde un délai supplémentaire à l'Espagne, à l'Italie, à la Grèce, au Portugal et à la France pour transposer la directive relative aux carburants
  • [02] Commission approves joint venture between Sedgwick Noble Lowndes and Woolwich
  • [03] Commission clears acquisition by KKR Associates of Siemens Nixdorf Retail and Banking Systems
  • [04] Commission approves acquisition of Viking Resins Group by Solutia
  • [05] La Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint d'un opérateur marocain de téléphonie mobile par Telefonica et Portugal Telecom
  • [06] Commission clears joint venture of Deutsche Bahn and NS Groep
  • [07] La Commission propose une série de réductions de taxes en faveur de l'emploi
  • [08] Economic forecasts for candidate countries autumn 1999
  • [09] Commission adopts strategy on endocrine disrupters, substances which disrupt human and wildlife hormone systems
  • [10] Venezuela floods : humanitarian aid worth euro 400,000

  • [01] La Commission accorde un délai supplémentaire à l'Espagne, à l'Italie, à la Grèce, au Portugal et à la France pour transposer la directive relative aux carburants

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'autoriser l'Espagne, l'Italie et la Grèce à continuer de commercialiser de l'essence plombée pendant deux années supplémentaires. Le Portugal est autorisé à vendre du carburant diesel et de l'essence sans plomb dont la teneur en soufre ne dépasse pas les niveaux actuels, respectivement jusqu'en janvier 2001 et janvier 2002. La France est, quant à elle, autorisée à vendre de l'essence plombée jusqu'en janvier 2005 dans trois de ses départements d'outre-mer. En ce qui concerne la Réunion, la France peut autoriser la vente d'essence sans plomb et de carburant diesel dont la teneur en soufre ne dépasse pas les niveaux actuels jusqu'en janvier 2003. Grâce à ces dérogations, les Etats membres en question pourront informer correctement leurs concitoyens et bien les préparer au passage à des carburants plus écologiques, et les opérateurs économiques concernés auront la possibilité de procéder aux adaptations nécessaires.

    [02] Commission approves joint venture between Sedgwick Noble Lowndes and Woolwich

    The European Commission has approved a joint venture between British companies Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Limited, part of the Marsh & McLennan group, and Woolwich plc. The joint venture company will be active in the provision of independent financial services in the UK and will continue to face significant levels of competition. There is a large number of companies providing independent financial services in the UK, each with small market shares. The joint venture will have no material impact on this high level of fragmentation. Even using the narrowest possible market definition, the concentration will not lead to the creation of a dominant position on any market within the Common Market or the European Economic Area and the Commission has therefore decided not to oppose the operation.

    [03] Commission clears acquisition by KKR Associates of Siemens Nixdorf Retail and Banking Systems

    The European Commission has authorised an operation whereby US-based KKR Associates Ltd acquires sole control of Siemens Nixdorf Retail and Banking Systems through the acquisition of all of its stock capital. There are no horizontally or vertically affected markets in the sense of the Merger Regulation, and the operation, therefore, will not raise any competition concern.

    [04] Commission approves acquisition of Viking Resins Group by Solutia

    The European Commission has approved the acquisition of the whole of Viking Resins Group Holdings B.V. by the American company Solutia Inc. The parties' activities overlap in the production and sale of amino resins for industrial liquid coatings and reinforced rubber. The merger will lead to an increase in market share for Solutia on these two markets in the European Economic Area. However, it does not raise any competition concerns since the market shares are comparatively modest, less than 25% and there are several other significant competitors, including Cytec, which has larger market shares. Furthermore, the combined entity faces strong bargaining power from its customers which, on both markets, are large multinationals.

    [05] La Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint d'un opérateur marocain de téléphonie mobile par Telefonica et Portugal Telecom

    La Commission européenne a autorisé les sociétés Telefonica InterContinental (Espagne) et Portugal Telecom International à acquérir le contrôle conjoint de Médi Télécom, le deuxième opérateur de téléphonie mobile du Maroc. La Commission a estimé que l'opération ne créerait ni ne renforcerait de position dominante et qu'elle n'aboutirait pas non plus à une coopération anticoncurrentielle entre les sociétés mères.

    [06] Commission clears joint venture of Deutsche Bahn and NS Groep

    The European Commission has approved the proposed joint venture of two subsidiaries of the national railway groups Deutsche Bahn AG and NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen respectively, to test service stores in German railway stations. The service stores will operate under the label and according to the concept "DB Service Store" at the passenger stations of the Deutsche Bahn. The stores combine food retailing with gastronomy as main items, and a ticket office. After a pilot phase the activities should be extended to the operation of a number of locations all over Germany. Since the NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen is not active in Germany there are no overlaps and the operation will not lead to any competitive problems. For these reasons the Commission has decided not to oppose this operation and to declare it compatible with the common market and with the European Economic Area agreement.

    [07] La Commission propose une série de réductions de taxes en faveur de l'emploi

    A partir du 1er janvier 2000 et ce jusqu'au 31 décembre 2002, les Etats membres seront autorisés à appliquer un taux réduit de taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (TVA) de certains services à forte intensité de main-d'œuvre tels que la coiffure, le nettoyage des vitres et les petites réparations selon la proposition que la Commission européenne vient de soumettre au Conseil des ministres pour décision. La proposition fait suite aux demandes effectuées par plusieurs Etats membres conformément à une directive adoptée par le Conseil le 22 octobre 1999. Cette Directive avait été demandée par le Conseil européen de Vienne en décembre 1998, parmi d'autres initiatives pour combattre le chômage.

    [08] Economic forecasts for candidate countries autumn 1999

    According to the autumn economic forecasts of the European Commission for candidate countries real GDP growth is expected to average 1.8% for central European candidate countries (-1.4% for Turkey) in 1999 compared to 2.1% for the European Union. The unfavourable external economic environment has put a break on economic developments in the candidate countries thereby delaying the necessary catching-up process. However, this average evolution still hides large differences between countries, with expected growth rates in 1999 ranging between -4.3% in Romania and close to 4% in Hungary and Poland. In 2000 and 2001, continued economic reforms and the economic recovery in the EU should generate the conditions for more dynamic economic growth in most candidate countries. Real GDP growth expected to accelerate to 3.5% in 2000 and 4.4% in 2001 (4.5% and 4.6% respectively for Turkey). The inflation outlook remains broadly in line with the Commission's spring forecast. Central European candidate countries' inflation is expected to average 10.2% in 1999 and decline to 7.3% in 2000 and 6.1% in 2001.

    [09] Commission adopts strategy on endocrine disrupters, substances which disrupt human and wildlife hormone systems

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication on a Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters - a range of substances suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wild life. The strategy focuses on man-made substances, including chemicals and synthetic hormones, which may harm health and cause cancer, behavioural changes and reproductive abnormalities. The objectives of the new strategy are to identify the problem of endocrine disruption, its causes and consequences and to identify appropriate policy action on the basis of the precautionary principle in order to respond quickly and effectively to the problem. The strategy points to the need for further research, international cooperation, communication to the public and appropriate policy action and identifies actions in the short, medium and long-term to meet these requirements.

    [10] Venezuela floods : humanitarian aid worth euro 400,000

    The European Commission is making available emergency humanitarian aid worth euro 400,000 for Venezuela, struck by catastrophic flooding and landslides over the past few days. Government sources say thousands of people have died, and thousands are still unaccounted for. Venezuela has appealed for international aid. The aid will be channelled via the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), whose partners for this programme will be the Spanish and German Red Cross societies. The Commission is monitoring the situation closely and plans to make further aid available in the near future.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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