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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-02-04

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 04/02/2000b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Déclaration faite à titre personnel par le Commissaire européen Frans Fischler à propos de la formation du gouvernement autrichien
  • [02] La Commission autorise les acquisitions envisagées par Suzuki Motor Corporation
  • [03] Commission authorises the creation of Movieco, a new film pay-TV channel in Flanders and the Netherlands
  • [04] Commission clears Finalrealm's acquisition of United Biscuits
  • [05] La Commission appelle les banques à améliorer les systèmes de paiement transfrontaliers
  • [06] Commission launches second phase of telecommunications sector inquiry under the competition rules : mobile roaming
  • [07] Commission welcomes Court ruling on equal treatment
  • [08] Poul Nielson hails agreement on successor to the EU-ACP Lomé IV Convention

  • [01] Déclaration faite à titre personnel par le Commissaire européen Frans Fischler à propos de la formation du gouvernement autrichien

    "La participation du Parti libéral autrichien (FPÖ) au gouvernement de mon pays, j'en ai pleinement conscience en tant qu'Européen convaincu et citoyen autrichien, alourdit le poids de mes responsabilités. Je partage les inquiétudes que la Commission a exprimées dans sa déclaration. C'est le devoir et la volonté expresse de la Commission, mais aussi son rôle en tant que gardienne des traités, que d'exercer une vigilance sans faille et de réprimer la moindre infraction au droit communautaire. Il n'empêche que la Commission n'a pas à isoler un État membre. C'est le contraire qu'il faut faire ; notre devoir est d'aider le pays en cause à ne pas s'éloigner de l'Europe. Voilà pourquoi la Commission maintiendra ses relations de travail avec l'Autriche, car c'est là une nécessité."

    [02] La Commission autorise les acquisitions envisagées par Suzuki Motor Corporation

    La Commission européenne a autorisé la société japonaise Suzuki Motor Corporation à acquérir trois sociétés du groupe néerlandais Homel : Suzuki Auto GmbH Deutschland & Co KG, la société responsable de la distribution des véhicules automobiles de la marque Suzuki en Allemagne, HOGIVA Verwaltungs-und Beteiligungs-GmbH, l'associée de Suzuki Auto, et FAFIN Gesellschaft für Factoring and Leasing mbH, une entreprise qui offre des services financiers aux clients de Suzuki en Allemagne. La Commission permet parallèlement à Suzuki Motor Corporation d'acheter le stock de l'entreprise suisse CIAS AG, l'importateur général de Suzuki en Europe.

    [03] Commission authorises the creation of Movieco, a new film pay-TV channel in Flanders and the Netherlands

    The European Commission has authorised the creation of Movieco, a new Joint Venture between Sony and Disney, offering a premium film pay-TV channel in Flanders and the Netherlands. Movieco is created by the following parents : BVI Europe, which is a US corporation and an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, and SPE Europe, which is also a US corporation and an indirect subsidiary of Sony Corporation. Sony Corporation is an entertainment and consumer electronics company, providing entertainment and electronic products and services to consumers around the world. Disney is engaged in the media and entertainment industries. Movieco will be jointly controlled by Disney and Sony. Movieco will create, for pay-TV operators in Flanders and the Netherlands, a new premium film pay-TV channel. There is currently only one such channel available to Dutch and Flemish speaking consumers. Disney and Sony are not present in these markets. At the horizontal level therefore the operation will not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position. The operation will also not lead to the coordination of the competitive behaviour of Sony and Disney. The Commission has, therefore, decided not to oppose this operation.

    [04] Commission clears Finalrealm's acquisition of United Biscuits

    The European Commission has cleared Finalrealm's proposed acquisition of United Biscuits, incorporated in Scotland. United Biscuits is active in the area of the manufacture and sale of biscuits, cakes and savoury snacks. Finalrealm (England & Wales) is jointly controlled by PAI Management SAS (France) and Cinven Limited (England). Since neither PAI nor Cinven has any overlaps with United Buscuits' activities, the Commission has decided not to oppose the operation and to declare it compatible with the Common Market and with the functioning of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.

    [05] La Commission appelle les banques à améliorer les systèmes de paiement transfrontaliers

    Les établissements de crédit doivent consentir plus d'efforts pour faire en sorte que les virements de faible montant entre Etats membres soient à la fois peu coûteux, efficaces et sûrs. Tel est l'avertissement qu'a lancé la Commission européenne dans sa Communication sur "les paiements de détail dans le marché intérieur". Cette Communication exige, en particulier, que des améliorations soient apportées aux infrastructures qui acheminent les virements transfrontaliers de faible montant, que ce soit entre banques ou entre les systèmes nationaux de compensation des virements des différents Etats membres. La Commission se propose d'évaluer les frais facturés pour ces virements et d'afficher sur Internet les résultats de son suivi tous les six mois. La Communication invite également les banques à éliminer l'écart dans les commissions prélevées (selon que les cartes de paiement sont utilisées au niveau national ou dans d'autres Etats membres) et à améliorer l'information sur les conditions générales et les frais et commissions qui est fournie aux titulaires de cartes de paiement. En ce qui concerne le change d'espèces, la Communication invite les banques et les bureaux de change à poursuivre une politique transparente et plus soucieuse du client.

    [06] Commission launches second phase of telecommunications sector inquiry under the competition rules : mobile roaming

    The European Commission has sent out formal information requests as part of its investigation under the competition rules concerning the conditions and pricing of national and international mobile roaming. Almost 200 such requests were sent out simultaneously EU-wide to national competition authorities and telecommunications regulators, as well as to mobile network operators and service providers. Recipients have a deadline of two months to reply. Mobile roaming is the second of three telecommunications areas that are currently under investigation as part of a sector inquiry under the competition rules.

    [07] Commission welcomes Court ruling on equal treatment

    The European Commission today welcomed the decision of the European Court of Justice in case N° C207/98, Silke-Karin Mahlburg v Land Mecklenburg- Vorpommen. The judgment confirms previous Court case law and the position of the Commission that, although pregnant workers must be afforded extra protection at work because of their condition, this must not be used as an excuse to discriminate against them. A Rostock nurse applied for a vacant post on a permanent contract which involved the same duties which she was fulfilling at that time under her fixed-term contract. At this point she found out that she was pregnant and in accordance with Geman law (the Mutterschutzgesetz) was assigned to administrative duties for the remainder of the pregnancy. Her employer informed her that her application for the permanent post had been rejected because the job involved work which pregnant women were not allowed to do under the Mutterschutzgesetz. Recalling that the aim of the equal treatment directive (76/207/EEC) is substantive, not formal equality, the Court held that the additional costs caused by the fact that the women appointed could not be employed in the psot for the duration of the pregnancy cannot justify a refusal to employ her.

    [08] Poul Nielson hails agreement on successor to the EU-ACP Lomé IV Convention

    EU and ACP (Africa, Carribean and Pacific) Ministers meeting in Brussels over two days reached agreement on a dynamic partnership which will govern relations between the EU and the 71 ACP states over the next 20 years. The new agreement, which replaces the existing Lomé IV Convention due to expire on 29 February 2000, heralds a fresh, radical departure for the EU and the ACP at the start of the new Millenium. Mr Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, welcomed the agreement as "a remarkable, innovative achievement which faces up to the challenges of globalisation by setting out an integrated and comprehensive approach to development, poverty eradication, trade and political dialogue. This agreement represents a major contribution in the effort to create international governance and to promote North-South dialogue in the post- Seattle era". Mr Nielson saluted the courageous and ambitious contribution made by both sides in the conclusion of the negotiations. After two days of negotiations, the parties agreed on the outstanding issues left over from the December negotiating session. These questions covered, in particular, migration, notably on questions related to readmission of illegal immigrants, the duration of the new Convention (20 years) and trade and financial matters. As a result, a global cooperation agreement has been drawn up based on three pillars ; a political dimension, a new trade regime and development cooperation. The new agreement will be signed in Fiji on a date yet to be decided.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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