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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-02-03

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 03/02/2000b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 2 février 2000 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 2nd February

  • [01] Commission approves settlement between Elf Aquitaine and German authorities in the Leuna case - decision regarding initial State aid still suspended
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [02] La Commission approuve la création d'une entreprise commune entre General Electric Company et Thomson-CSF dans le domaine de la formation sur simulateur de vol
  • [03] Commission agrees to dissolution of BP/Mobil joint venture
  • [04] Commission clears insurance acquisition
  • [05] Economic confidence at record level in the EU in January
  • [06] EU launches European Car Free Day 2000
  • [07] Projet de coopération économique en aviation civile avec la Chine

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 2 février 2000 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 2nd February

    (voir aussi see also ME of 2/2)

    [01] Commission approves settlement between Elf Aquitaine and German authorities in the Leuna case - decision regarding initial State aid still suspended

    While it continues its main investigation whether the French oil company Elf received more aid than it was entitled to for the construction of the Leuna 2000 refinery, the European Commission has decided to conditionally approve a settlement agreement ("Vergleichsvereinbarung") concluded between the Bundesanstalt für vereinigungsbedingte Sonderaufgaben (BvS), the Regional Government of Saxony-Anhalt and the Elf. Therein, the German authorities recognise a DM 360 million claim by Elf. The Commission found that two thirds of this amount do not constitute aid and can be paid out immediately. For the remaining DM 120 million, the Commission concluded that they are State aids which is compatible with the common market. The Commission, however, could accept the settlement as a whole only after the German authorities' commitment that the sum of DM 120 million will be paid to a blocked account and remain blocked until the Commission has taken a final decision regarding the justification of the State aid Elf had received for the construction of the Leuna refinery.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [02] La Commission approuve la création d'une entreprise commune entre General Electric Company et Thomson-CSF dans le domaine de la formation sur simulateur de vol

    La Commission européenne a approuvé une opération par laquelle General Electric Company (Etats-Unis) et Thomson-CSF (France) vont créer une entreprise commune en vue de dispenser la formation sur simulateur de vol pour l'aviation civile actuellement proposée par CEGAT, filiale de General Electric Company, et ORBIT, filiale de Thomson-CSF. L'opération de concentration ne soulève pas de problèmes de concurrence, car les parts de marché détenues par les parties sont faibles et la concurrence sur le marché est très vive.

    [03] Commission agrees to dissolution of BP/Mobil joint venture

    The European Commission has authorised two acquisitions whereby Exxon Mobil Corporation (USA) and BP Amoco plc (UK) each acquire certain parts of the BP/Mobil joint venture, active on the European fuel and lubricants markets. The acquisitions are the result of a commitment given by Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation to secure Commission approval for their merger earlier last year.

    [04] Commission clears insurance acquisition

    The European Commission has approved the acquisition by Winterthur of National Insurance and Guarantee Corporation (NIG). Winterthur is a global insurance group headquartered in Switzerland and operating in 30 countries around the world. The Winterthur Group is part of the Swiss based global financial services group Credit Suisse (CS Group). NIG is an insurance company which conducts general insurance business and is also the holding company for all the Skandia group's subsidiaries in the United Kingdom. The main categories of insurance concerned are motor insurance, household insurance and small commercial risks, where the new entity will be a middle size player in the UK insurance market. NIG is strong in the extended warranty insurance segment (related to vehicles and white and brown domestic goods). However, no member of the CS Group writes this type of insurance in the UK. Thus, the Commission has decided to authorise the operation and to declare it compatible with the common market and with the EEA agreement.

    [05] Economic confidence at record level in the EU in January

    (! embargo 12 am !) The economic sentiment indicator in the European Union rose to 105.7, a new historical maximum, while a 0.4 point boost in the Euro-area sent the indicator up to 105.7 the highest level witnessed in the last ten years. Germany and the United Kingdom with two point increases are the most significant contributors to the evolution of the industrial confidence indicator that rose one point in the Euro-area and two points in the EU as a whole. In most Member States an improvement is evident in the construction sector; all in all, there is a six point increase in both the Euroarea and the EU. Spain, Finland, Italy and France registered the most significant rises while slight decreases are observed in Germany and the UK. Consumer confidence remained steady in the euro-area in January while there was an improvement in the EU as a whole. The present level is the maximum value ever for the consumer confidence indicator in the EU.

    [06] EU launches European Car Free Day 2000

    On 4th February, at a conference in Brussels, the European Commission and nine EU countries will launch the European Car Free Day initiative. The following Ministers will intervene at the conference : Dominique Voynet, French Minister for Spatial Planning and Environment, Edo Ronchi, Italian Minister for Environment, José Socrates, Portuguese Minister for Environment, and Isabelle Durant, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport. Other speakers at the launch event are Mayors of small and big European cities, including Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo and President of the Car Free Cities network. Commissioner for Environment, Margot Wallström, Ministers and high-level representatives will sign the "European Car Free Day" pledge committing themselves to facilitate the organisation by local authorities of a car free day event on 22 September 2000.

    [07] Projet de coopération économique en aviation civile avec la Chine

    Chris Patten, Commissaire européen chargé des Relations extérieures, a signé une Convention de Financement d'un montant de 4,1 millions d'euros pour un projet de coopération économique en aviation civile avec la Chine. Le projet comprend aussi une participation du gouvernement chinois, et des industries chinoises et européennes. Ce projet constitue un programme complet et intégré qui vise à améliorer la sécurité aérienne en Chine. Les activités qui porteront sur la navigabilité, la gestion de la production, le service aux clients et la maintenance, la gestion et le contrôle du trafic aérien, la gestion d'une compagnie aérienne et la gestion d'une entreprise aéronautique, permettront d'assurer l'interopérabilité des règles, des standards et des pratiques industrielles entre Européens et Chinois dans le secteur aérien. Ce projet devrait également favoriser la coopération industrielle entre l'Union européenne et la Chine et le développement de relations commerciales.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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