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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-02-10

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 10/02/2000b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 9 février 2000 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 9 February

  • [01] Commission approves acquisition of AGA by Linde, subject to conditions
  • [02] La Commission autorise la prise de contrôle d'Elf Aquitaine par TotalFina, moyennant des modifications substantielles du projet initialement notifié
  • [03] Commission adopts White Paper on environmental liability
  • [04] La Commission approuve une proposition concernant les mesures transitoires à l'expiration de la quatrième Convention ACP-CE révisée
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [05] Commission examines the impact of Windows 2000 on competition
  • [06] After consultation with stakeholders the Commission sets up a recovery plan for Irish Sea cod
  • [07] Deadline for US to improve export situation of meat and meat products into the EU extended by one month
  • [08] Commission signs joint assessment of economic priorities for Poland
  • [09] Poul Nielson pays visit to Russia and North Caucasus to assess the humanitarian situation in the region
  • [10] Venezuela : Commission approves emergency aid worth euro 2 million for flood victims
  • [11] EUR-OP rend accessible en ligne le Code de rédaction interinstitutionnel
  • [12] Margot Wallström : "Sustainable development must not be just another buzzword"

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 9 février 2000 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 9 February

    (voir aussi see also Midday Express of 09/02)

    [01] Commission approves acquisition of AGA by Linde, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has authorised, after an in-depth investigation and subject to conditions, the acquisition of the Swedish company AGA AB (AGA) by the German company Linde Aktiengesellschaft (Linde) in the industrial gases industry. The approved transaction constitutes another major consolidation in the industry following L'Air Liquide's earlier acquisition of parts of BOC Group. The operation, as initially notified to the Commission, would have led to thecreation of dominant positions of Linde on the markets for cylinder gases in the Netherlands and on the bulk and cylinder gas markets in Austria. In order to eliminate these competition concerns, Linde has undertaken to divest AGA's cylinder business in the Netherlands and the entire AGA gas business in Austria. The Commission considered that these commitments were appropriate to remedy the competition concerns. Therefore, subject to the full compliance with the offered commitments, the concentration has been declared compatible with the common market and with the EEA Agreement.

    [02] La Commission autorise la prise de contrôle d'Elf Aquitaine par TotalFina, moyennant des modifications substantielles du projet initialement notifié

    La Commission européenne a autorisé la mise en œuvre de la fusion entre TotalFina et Elf Aquitaine, à l'examen depuis le 24 août dernier. Les engagements soumis par TotalFina permettront de restaurer des conditions de concurrence effectives dans le secteur de la vente au détail de carburants et de fioul domestique par une ouverture substantielle de la logistique pétrolière. Par ailleurs, TotalFina s'engage à éliminer les effets de la fusion sur le marché de la vente de carburants sur autoroutes en cédant 70 stations-service. De plus, TotalFina vendra Elf Antargaz, deuxième acteur sur les marchés des gaz de pétrole liquéfiés (GPL) en France. Enfin, TotalFina cèdera les activités de Elf dans l'approvisionnement en carburéacteurs des aéroports de Lyon et de Toulouse.

    [03] Commission adopts White Paper on environmental liability

    The European Commission has adopted a White Paper on environmental liability. The objective of the Paper is to explore how the polluter pays principle - one of the key environmental principles in the EU Treaty - can best be applied to serve the aims of EU environmental policy. Avoiding environmental damage is the main aim of this policy. The White Paper explores how an EU regime on environmental liability can best be shaped. Having explored different options for EU action, the Commission concludes that the most appropriate option is an EU framework directive on environmental liability. The White Paper responds to a request from the European Parliament for proposals for legislation in this field.

    [04] La Commission approuve une proposition concernant les mesures transitoires à l'expiration de la quatrième Convention ACP-CE révisée

    La Commission européenne a approuvé une proposition de décision du Conseil qui propose l'adoption des mesures transitoires pour couvrir la période entre l'expiration, le 29 février 2000, de la 4ème Convention ACP-CE révisée et l'entrée en vigueur de la prochaine Convention. Il est rappelé que l'UE et les pays ACP ont conclu le 3 février dernier la négociation d'un nouvel Accord de partenariat qui succèdera à la Convention de Lomé. Ce nouvel accord sera signé à Fidji vers la fin du mois de mai. La proposition de décision sera soumise pour approbation au Comité des Ambassadeurs ACP- CE. Elle prévoit deux types de mesures transitoires. Dans un premier temps, et ce jusqu'à la signature du nouvel Accord, toutes les dispositions de la Convention actuelle seront prorogées, à l'exception du régime commercial. Les parties ont en effet prévu d'appliquer les dispositions commerciales définies pour la période préparatoire, dès le 1er mars 2000 et jusqu'à la mise en oeuvre des futurs accords de partenariat économique, c'est-à-dire en 2008 au plus tard. Ce régime pourra donc être couvert par une dérogation unique auprès de l'OMC. Dans un second temps, entre la date de la signature de l'Accord et son entrée en vigueur, les nouvelles dispositions seront appliquées, à l'exception de toute décision qui impliquerait des engagements financiers au titre du nouveau protocole financier.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [05] Commission examines the impact of Windows 2000 on competition

    On the basis of information received from end-users, SMEs active in the IT (information technology) sector and competitors of Microsoft, the Competition Directorate General of the European Commission has formally requested Microsoft to provide information about the new technical features of Windows 2000 in the context of EC competition law. This information should allow the Commission to verify allegations that Microsoft has designed Windows 2000 in a way which will permit leveraging of its dominance in PC operating systems onto the market for server operating systems and ultimately that for thriving e-commerce.

    [06] After consultation with stakeholders the Commission sets up a recovery plan for Irish Sea cod

    The European Commission has adopted a Regulation for the recovery of the cod stock in the Irish Sea. The recovery plan establishes a closed area for a 10-week period. These measures were decided after a meeting between Commission officials and stakeholders last month in Brussels. This is the second time that the Commission has used its power to set up measures without having to refer to the other EU institutions.

    [07] Deadline for US to improve export situation of meat and meat products into the EU extended by one month

    The Standing Veterinary Committee accepted yesterday measures announced by the United States of America to improve the monitoring programme to test for unauthorised substances and residue levels exceeding the EU maximum residue limits for authorised medicinal veterinary products in fresh meat and meat products.

    [08] Commission signs joint assessment of economic priorities for Poland

    Mr Krzysztof Ners, Undersecretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Finance, and Mr Giovanni Ravasio, Director General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission, signed today a 'Joint Assessment of economic policy priorities of the Republic of Poland' as part of the Accession Partnership process. This document presents an agreed set of medium-term economic policies necessary to further Poland's economic transformation and to prepare it for accession to the European Union.

    [09] Poul Nielson pays visit to Russia and North Caucasus to assess the humanitarian situation in the region

    The European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Poul Nielson, visited the Russian Federation from 5-8 February. He had several meetings with the federal and regional authorities and visited camps and settlements of 'Internally Displaced People' (IDP). The main purpose of the visit was to assess the humanitarian situation of those IDP fleeing the conflict in Chechnya to neighbouring Ingushetia, for whom ECHO (the European Commission Humanitarian Office) has made available funding of euro 7.4 million which will be channelled via the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and several non-governmental organisations. Mr Nielson praised the role being played by the humanitarian agencies in this crisis in helping to alleviate the plight of the IDP. Mr Nielson called on the Russian and Ingush authorities to provide the necessary guarantees, particularly concerning security, allowing the humanitarian agencies to carry out their role according to their normal standards and working conditions. In this context, Mr Nielson stressed the importance of ensuring free access for humanitarian workers to civilians in need in the whole region. Mr Nielson expressed concern over the question of reports of forced repatriation of IDP to Chechnya by the authorities.

    [10] Venezuela : Commission approves emergency aid worth euro 2 million for flood victims

    The European Commission has made available a further euro 2 million to fund humanitarian aid for victims of the floods and mudslides that hit Venezuela at the end of 1999. The aid, channelled via the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable non-governmental organisations to restore drinking water to those affected, and to provide psychosocial support for children. Projects will last between three and six months. This decision brings ECHO funding for this crisis, so far, to a total of euro 5.6 million. Up to 50,000 people lost their lives in flooding and mudslides last December in one of the worst-ever disasters of its kind. Around 200, 000 people were made homeless, with 600,000 people affected one way or another. "Providing clean drinking water is a top priority to prevent epidemics breaking out among those forced out of their homes", said Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian aid. "Children are among those most profoundly traumatised by this disaster. That is why they need psychosocial support to help them resume normal lives", he added. ECHO's partners for this action are : Medecins du Monde (Greece and France), who will reactivate primary healthcare ; Medicos del Mundo (Spain), who will be involved in public health and mental health projects ; Oxfam (UK), which is organising water supply and management systems ; Accion Contra El Hambre (Spain), involved in support for local authorities drilling water wells ; Comitato Internationale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (Italy), helping to organise waste management; and Enfants du Monde-Droit de l'Homme (France), specialised in providing psychosocial support to traumatised children.

    [11] EUR-OP rend accessible en ligne le Code de rédaction interinstitutionnel

    Destiné, en plus du personnel des institutions européennes, à tous ceux qui ont à connaître ou à traiter des questions européennes (journalistes, chercheurs, étudiants, etc.), le Code de rédaction interinstitutionnel est désormais disponible en ligne (http://eur-op.eu.int/code) dans les onze langues de travail de l'Union européenne. Il réunit l'ensemble des abréviations et des acronymes en usage et harmonise entre les institutions les règles de rédaction et de présentation des actes officiels et de la législation communautaire. On y trouve entre autres l'ordre d'énumération des institutions, des pays, des langues ou des monnaies nationales. En annexe, l'ouvrage contient notamment un guide graphique de l'emblème européen et de l'iconographie institutionnelle, ainsi qu'une liste des symboles.

    [12] Margot Wallström : "Sustainable development must not be just another buzzword"

    These are the words of European Commissioner for Environment, Margot Wallström, speaking in Berlin : "We must move from words to action to give concrete meaning to the word. A strategy for sustainable development must include the following main steps : firstly, we should identify the issues. The second step is to set ourselves objectives. Thirdly, we need to identify the areas for action. Furthermore sustainable development requires new mechanisms for arriving at decisions that are more coherent. Finally, and this is not the least of all tasks, we have to involve citizens, business and the different social groups in a dialogue on sustainable development. Sustainable development can only be achieved with them, not against them. Of course, these five steps have to be further operationalised. However, they constitute a way forward for moving from the general principle of sustainable development to concrete action."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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