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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-04-14

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 Service Presse et Communicationb

14/04/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Romano Prodi meets Edmund Stoiber
  • [02] Commission challenges other countries to open their textiles and clothing markets as a precondition to wider access to the EU's own market
  • [03] Fonds structurels : la Commission arrête une décision de principe sur le Cadre Communautaire d'Appui pour les régions italiennes de l'Objectif 1 pour la période 2000-2006
  • [04] What is sewage sludge ? Prohibition of sludge recycling in animal feed clarified
  • [05] Independent Study compares remuneration in EU Institutions with that of similar organisations
  • [06] Commission approves three decisions on humanitarian aid worth euro 17.58 million
  • [07] Quarterly review on the use of the euro - progress registered in all sectors
  • [08] Quarterly note on the euro-denominated bond markets - steady expansion of the market and the early steps of "e-bonds"
  • [09] La Commission engage une action contre la Belgique et le Luxembourg à propos de la politique des déchets
  • [10] La Commission prend des mesures contre quatorze Etats membres en matière d'élimination des PCB dangereux
  • [11] Bathing water : Commission moves against Finland and Denmark
  • [12] Commission clears merger between CGU and Norwich Union
  • [13] La Commission autorise Arrow Electronics Inc. à acquérir le contrôle exclusif de Tekelec Europe S.A.
  • [14] Commission clears acquisition of control of Credit Suisse First Boston in the leisure sector
  • [15] Commission approves joint venture by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP and Zumtobel AG
  • [16] Commission welcomes commitments by Japanese and Korean carmakers to cut CO² emissions
  • [17] Candidate countries "Economic Reform Monitor" - improved recovery prospects
  • [18] Anna Diamantopoulou welcomes workers' rights deal signed between Telefónica and UNI International
  • [19] Poul Nielson lance un appel pour un partenariat plus fort avec les ONG
  • [20] Anna Diamantopoulou and Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues to launch Equal initiative
  • [21] Pedro Solbes in the Spring World Bank and IMF meeting
  • [22] Poul Nielson to address the World Bank Development Committee

  • [01] Romano Prodi meets Edmund Stoiber

    European Commission President Romano Prodi yesterday met Edmund Stoiber, Minister President of Bavaria. They discussed the outcome of the recent Lisbon summit, progress towards EU enlargement and issues of governance, subsidiarity and the competences of the German Länder in the context of the Commission's forthcoming White Paper on Governance. The two agreed that a meeting between the German Länder and the Commission to discuss these issues further would be useful, and that this should be proposed to the Chair of the Minister President's Conference. Both men recalled a previous meeting held between then Commission President Jacques Delors and the German Länder in 1986. Mr Prodi and Mr Stoiber expressed their desire to hold this meeting by June. This will be the first of a series of meetings which the Commission intends to hold with European regions.

    [02] Commission challenges other countries to open their textiles and clothing markets as a precondition to wider access to the EU's own market

    At the first Round Table that European Commissioner for Trade, Pascal Lamy, holds with Europe's Textiles and Clothing industry representatives on 14 April, the Commission and industry mapped out the trade policy of the EU in the textiles and clothing sector until the expiry of the quotas under the WTO Marrakech agreements. Their shared assessment of the market access situation world-wide was that, whilst the EU was taking steps to liberalise its imports in accordance with WTO commitments, many other countries - including notably the low-cost exporting countries - still maintain measures that in a number of cases in fact virtually prohibit access to their markets.

    [03] Fonds structurels : la Commission arrête une décision de principe sur le Cadre Communautaire d'Appui pour les régions italiennes de l'Objectif 1 pour la période 2000-2006

    La Commission européenne a arrêté aujourd'hui une décision de principe approuvant le Cadre Communautaire d'Appui pour l'Italie pour les sept ans à venir. Ce Cadre Communautaire d'Appui concerne l'objectif 1 (régions en retard de développement). Il atteint le montant de 23.959 millions d'euros de financement communautaire, dont 201 millions pour le soutien transitoire pour la région Molise. La décision finale sera signée par le Commissaire à la Poligique régionale, Michel Barnier, dans le courant du mois de mai.

    [04] What is sewage sludge ? Prohibition of sludge recycling in animal feed clarified

    The European Commission has adopted a decision further clarifying the definition of the term sewage sludge. The existing prohibition on the recycling of sewage sludge in animal feed has been interpreted differently in the past by Member States. The definition makes now explicitly clear that the use of all wastes from urban, domestic and industrial wastewater treatment plants in feed stuffs is prohibited. The prohibition is irrespective of the origin or of any further processing of the wastewater. The recovery of animal feed materials from process waters in slaughterhouses and other food or feed industry plants is made subject to detailed hygiene measures.

    [05] Independent Study compares remuneration in EU Institutions with that of similar organisations

    The study concludes that net remuneration of staff in EU Institutions is lower than that of comparable staff in multinational companies and of staff working for Permanent Representations of Member States in Brussels, higher than that of national civil servants working in their home country, and comparable to the salaries in other international organisations. The study also highlights the fact that the structure of remuneration in EU Institutions (basic salary, allowances, benefits, contributions) is comparable to that of Permanent Representations and of other international organisations. Staff of multinational companies receive more benefits and allowances in kind.

    [06] Commission approves three decisions on humanitarian aid worth euro 17.58 million

    The European Commission has cleared humanitarian aid for Mozambique, Indonesia and Cambodia totalling euro 17.58 million. Euro 5.58 million has been allocated to assist victims of the recent floods in Mozambique, while an extra 3.5 million has been made available for East Timorean refugees. The third decision concerns euro 8.5 million in humanitarian aid for a one year programme for people living in isolated parts of Cambodia.

    [07] Quarterly review on the use of the euro - progress registered in all sectors

    The European Commission publishes today its second Quarterly Review (1st Quarter 2000) on the use of the euro. The volume of payments in euro by companies has increased dramatically compared to last year mainly due to the recent waive in mergers and acquisitions. 25% of payments by companies in value terms are now in euro. Almost one in every new account opened by firms is now in euro. Dual pricing is now widespread in all member states. Payments in euro by individuals have also increased substantially reaching now almost 10% of all payments in value terms. The majority of internet purchases are carried out in euro establishing a strong link between e- commerce and the use of the new currency. The use of the euro in public administrations continuous to expand at a slow pace although administrative measures taking effect later this year, like for example the conclusion of public contracts in euro in France, are expected to have a positive impact.

    [08] Quarterly note on the euro-denominated bond markets - steady expansion of the market and the early steps of "e-bonds"

    The euro denominated bond market continued its impressive performance of 1999 in the first quarter of this year. There was a steady flow of issuance and volumes of bonds issued in US$ and euro were very similar. There continued to be a good distribution between government and other type of issuers and a balanced distribution by size of issue. An increased issuance by the corporate and financial sector confirmed the trend towards more sub- AAA rated issues. Moreover, there was a slight increase compared to last year in issues coming from outside the euro area. The new millennium has seen bond market participants increasingly turning to the Internet. Lagging far behind their equity equivalents in terms of "e-business", the world bond markets now seem to be on the verge of an on-line revolution. This note reviews the early steps in this process, identifying major players and screening initial reactions.

    [09] La Commission engage une action contre la Belgique et le Luxembourg à propos de la politique des déchets

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'adresser pour la seconde fois des lettres d'avertissement à la Belgique et au Luxembourg pour application incorrecte de la législation communautaire sur les déchets. Le manquement reproché à la Belgique concerne la directive sur les boues d'épuration, la législation de la Région flamande ne fixant pas les valeurs limites correctes pour la teneur en mercure et en zinc des boues d'épuration. Le manquement reproché au Luxembourg porte quant à lui sur la façon dont le Luxembourg distingue entre les déchets destinés à l'élimination et les déchets destinés à la récupération en application de la directive cadre sur les déchets et du règlement sur les transferts de déchets.

    [10] La Commission prend des mesures contre quatorze Etats membres en matière d'élimination des PCB dangereux

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'envoyer des lettres d'avertissement à quatorze Etats membres pour ne pas avoir respecté certaines dispositions de la directive relative aux PCB. Les PCB sont des substances chimiques dangereuses très toxiques et persistantes. Aucun Etat membre à l'exception de la Finlande n'a respecté l'obligation de communiquer à la Commission des informations suffisantes sur le traitement et l'élimination des PCB. Le délai prévu pour la communication de ces informations a expiré en septembre 1999.

    [11] Bathing water : Commission moves against Finland and Denmark

    The European Commission has decided to send Reasoned Opinions to Finland and Denmark for non-respect of the Bathing Waters Directive. Both countries fail to fully meet the Directive's standards for water quality for all bathing areas. They have also failed to ensure that bathing waters are sufficiently sampled in all their territories.

    [12] Commission clears merger between CGU and Norwich Union

    The European Commission has approved the merger between British-based insurance companies CGU Plc and Norwich Union Plc. The merged entity will be one of Europe's leading general insurers, with a particular strength in the United Kindom and in Ireland, but will face competition from other equally strong players.

    [13] La Commission autorise Arrow Electronics Inc. à acquérir le contrôle exclusif de Tekelec Europe S.A.

    La Commission européenne a autorisé l'opération par laquelle la société américaine Arrow Electronics Inc. (Arrow) entend devenir seul propriétaire de la société française Tekelec Europe S.A. (Tekelec), entreprise du groupe Tekelec qui distribue en gros des composants électroniques.

    [14] Commission clears acquisition of control of Credit Suisse First Boston in the leisure sector

    The European Commission has approved an operation by which Credit Suisse Group (CSG) through its wholly owned subsidiary CSFB IGP acquires sole control of Gala Group Limited (Gala). CSG is a global financial services group, providing a range of banking and insurance products. CSFB IGP is part of the private equity division of CSG. The sole continuing activity of Gala is the operation of Bingo halls in the United Kingdom. The transaction will result in the ownership of Gala being transferred from one group of institutional investors to another. CSG does not control any other undertakings that are active in the gaming sector and the transaction does not seem to have a substantial impact on Gala's activities. Thus, the Commission has decided to authorise the operation and to declare it compatible with the common market and with the EEA agreement.

    [15] Commission approves joint venture by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP and Zumtobel AG

    The European Commission has given the go-ahead for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR), a US-based private equity firm, and the shareholders of Zumtobel AG (Zumtobel), a company incorporated in Austria, to join forces and set up a new joint venture. The joint venture will combine the KKR British company, Wassall, and Zumtobel, both active in the sector of lighting installation in Europe. The business of the KKR group is to make equity investments in management buyouts either through controlling ownership or strategic minority positions. Wassall is a diversified British group which is active in the manufacture and supply of light fittings and components for light fittings ; the manufacture and distribution of bottle tops and other closures ; and the manufacture of trailer axles and related products. Zumtobel manufactures and supplies professional light fittings and lighting components. The joint venture is a full-function undertaking controlled jointly by its parent companies. Given the relatively limited combined market share of the new entity and the existence of a number of well-established competitors on the affected markets (professional light fittings and lighting components), the proposed transaction is not considered to raise competition concerns. The concentration has therefore been declared compatible with the common market and with the EEA Agreement.

    [16] Commission welcomes commitments by Japanese and Korean carmakers to cut CO² emissions

    The European Commission has just adopted recommendations to the Japanese and Korean Automobile Manufacturers' Associations (JAMA and KAMA) in line with the commitments the two associations have made to reduce CO² emissions from new passenger cars. By 2009, all new cars sold in the European Union must meet the target of 140 gCO²/km. These recommendations are part of the Community's strategy for reducing CO² emissions from passenger cars and reducing fuel consumption. They will make a significant contribution to the achievement of the EU's greenhouse gas emission objectives under the Kyoto Protocol. The recommendations follows a similar arrangement which the Commission signed in 1998 with ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. Arrangements of this type establish a new partnership between the Commission and the automobile industries based on mutual trust, and show a new way to address environmental issues.

    [17] Candidate countries "Economic Reform Monitor" - improved recovery prospects

    The first issue of the Economic Reform Monitor for 2000 (1st Quarter 2000) provides an overview of economic developments and the progress on economic reform in the thirteen candidates countries. For most countries the analysis is based on data for 1999 as a whole. There are indications that these economies have fared better in the second half of last year than in the first half and that recovery is gaining momentum. The ongoing structural reforms have improved growth prospects and export performance. Candidate countries are therefore well placed to take advantage of higher demand in the European Union in 2000.

    [18] Anna Diamantopoulou welcomes workers' rights deal signed between Telefónica and UNI International

    The European Commission welcomes the signature last week of a framework agreement on workers' rights between the Spanish multinational telecoms company Telefónica and the world-wide trade unions UNI International formalising Telefónica's commitment to international labour standards in all countries where it operates. The company employs an estimated 120,000 workers worldwide. Employment Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou stated : "The Commission wishes to express its full support for initiatives of this type. In my view, this is an excellent example of doing global business the European way. It is also a pat on the back for the ILO who have been pushing for global recognition of workers' fundamental right to organise and bargain."

    [19] Poul Nielson lance un appel pour un partenariat plus fort avec les ONG

    Le Commissaire européen chargé de la coopération au développement et de l'aide humanitaire, M. Poul Nielson, a aujoud'hui prononcé un discours devant la XXVIème Assemblée générale des organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) de développement sur le thème du renforcement du partenariat entre la Commission et les ONG de développement. M. Nielson a mis en exergue les réussites du partenariat tout en reconnaissant les défis à relever à court et à moyen terme pour les deux partenaires. M. Nielson a également esquissé le cadre de travail pour les années à venir avec pour fond la conclusion d'un nouveau accord de partenariat ACP-CE et l'adoption imminente par la Commission de sa Communication dur l'avenir de la politique de développemnt.

    [20] Anna Diamantopoulou and Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues to launch Equal initiative

    European Commissioner for Employment, Anna Diamantopoulou, and Portuguese Minister for Labour, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, will this Friday launch Equal, the new EU initiative designed to combat discrimination in the jobs market. Hailing the landmark event, Mrs Diamantopoulou said : "The challenge of Equal lies in promoting new solutions to tackling discrimination and inequality in the labour market. It will act as testing ground to develop new ways of delivering labour market policies to support the European Employment Strategy".

    [21] Pedro Solbes in the Spring World Bank and IMF meeting

    Pedro Solbes, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, travels today to Washington for the Spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He will participate in the G7 Finance Ministers' meeting on Saturday 15 April, the G-10 meeting and the International Monetary and Financial Committee meetings on Sunday 16 April. He will hold bilateral meetings with : James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank ; Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board ; Andrew Crockett, General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements ; Stanley Fischer acting Managing Director of the IMF and Pedro Malan Finance Minister of Brazil.

    [22] Poul Nielson to address the World Bank Development Committee

    The European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Poul Nielson, travels to Washington DC where the Spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are taking place. Mr Nielson will attend the plenary and restricted sessions of the World Bank Development Committee on Monday 17 April where he will intervene on the theme of trade, development and poverty reduction.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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