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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-05-04

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 Service Presse et Communicationb

04/05/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 3 juin 2000 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 3rd June 2000

  • [01] La Commission propose d'assurer le financement de l'aide aux Balkans dans le cadre financier 2001-2006
  • [02] Commission clears merger between Alcoa and Reynolds Metals, under conditions
  • [03] Commission clears Dow Chemical's acquisition of Union Carbide subject to commitments
  • [04] Commission nominates new Deputy Director General for External Relations
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [05] Marchés publics : la Commission adopte une communication interprétative sur les concessions
  • [06] Electronic commerce : Commission welcomes final adoption of legal framework Directive
  • [07] Structural Funds : Commission outlines framework for education, training and employment aid in UK for next seven years
  • [08] Commission clears merger between Ocean and Exel in the sector for logistics services
  • [09] La Commission autorise Hitachi et NEC à créer une entreprise commune pour produire des DRAM
  • [10] La Commission et l'Agence spatiale européenne ouvrent un bureau commun afin d'accélérer les travaux relatifs au système de navigation par satellite Galileo
  • [11] Euro-zone economic sentiment indicator steady at high levels in April 2000 ; slight decrease for EU 15
  • [12] Euro-zone unemployment fell to 9.4% ; EU15 down to 8.7%
  • [13] The first "Brussels Economic Forum" opens today at the initiative of Pedro Solbes
  • [14] Anna Diamantopoulou speaks out against domestic violence

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 3 juin 2000 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 3rd June 2000

    [01] La Commission propose d'assurer le financement de l'aide aux Balkans dans le cadre financier 2001-2006

    Le financement du Pacte de Stabilité dans les Balkans occidentaux est une priorité pour l'Union européenne. Pour assurer ce financement, la Commission européenne a adopté une proposition de révision des perspectives financières, qui laisse inchangé les plafonds globaux des crédits prévus pour la période. Au total, le montant maximum de l'aide aux Balkans occidentaux pourrait atteindre 5,5 milliards d'euros entre 2000 et 2006. Un montant de 1,85 milliard était d'ores et déjà prévu dans le cadre actuel, et 200 milions supplémentaires ont été mobilisées pour le budget 2000 au titre de l'instrument de flexibilité pour la reconstruction du Kosovo. 1,4 milliard d'euros peuvent être trouvés par redéploiements au sein des dépenses extérieures. 1,8 milliard supplémentaires (300 millions d'euros par an de 2001 à 2006) doivent être prévus pour les actions extérieures. Pour les années 2001 et 2002, la Commission propose un redéploiement en provenance des dépenses agricoles de 300 millions par année. La proposition de la Commission comporte un montant important pour la Serbie (2,3 milliards). Cet engagement est lié à la restauration d'un régime démocratique en Serbie. Pour l'année 2001, 200 millions pourront être mobilisés au titre de l'instrument de flexibilité, en fonction de l'évolution de la situation politique.

    [02] Commission clears merger between Alcoa and Reynolds Metals, under conditions

    The European Commission has decided to authorise a merger between US aluminium producers Alcoa and Reynolds subject to undertakings submitted by the companies. The merger, which will create the largest integrated aluminium producer worldwide, would have resulted in dominant positions in three product markets : smelter-grade alumina (SGA), commodity alumina hydrate and high purity P0404 aluminium. But Alcoa proposed significant divestments aimed at restoring the competitive conditions prevailing before the merger therefore ensuring healthy competition and protecting consumers' interests.

    [03] Commission clears Dow Chemical's acquisition of Union Carbide subject to commitments

    The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition by Dow Chemical of Union Carbide (UCC), creating one of the world's largest producers of plastics and chemicals, subject to conditions. To address competition concerns in the markets for polyethylene (PE) resins, chemical intermediates ethyleneamines and PE technology the companies agreed to sell a number of businesses and to grant licences to some of their key technologies.

    [04] Commission nominates new Deputy Director General for External Relations

    Following the completion of a recruitment process open to all EU nationals, the European Commission has decided to nominate Mr Fernando Martín Valenzuela Marzo, a distinguished 52 years old Spanish career diplomat, to become Deputy Director General at the Directorate General External Relations, in charge of Common Foreign and Security Policy. In this position, Mr Valenzuela will be the Commission's Political Director, representing it at the Council's Political Committee, and oversee the work of the three directorates in charge of political and security affairs, multilateral affairs and relations with North America, Japan and Korea, as well as with Australia and New Zealand. Mr Valenzuela currently is Spain's coordinator for the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. His varied professional experience includes prior positions as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Preventive Deployment Force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ambassador of Spain to Canada, Ambassador - Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN in Geneva and President and CEO of the Spanish Development Agency.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [05] Marchés publics : la Commission adopte une communication interprétative sur les concessions

    La Commission européenne a adopté des lignes directrices sur l'application des règles du marché unique à certaines formes de partenariats entre le secteur public et le secteur privé. La Communication de la Commission définit les "concessions" comme des cas dans lesquels les autorités publiques chargent un tiers de la gestion d'un projet d'infrastructure ou d'autres services à fournir au public et que ce tiers assume les risques d'exploitation. La Communication confirme que les principes du Traité de l'UE, notamment l'égalité de traitement, la transparence, la reconnaissance mutuelle et la proportionnalité sont applicables aux concessions.

    [06] Electronic commerce : Commission welcomes final adoption of legal framework Directive

    The European Commission has welcomed the European Parliament's approval today of the Electronic Commerce Directive, which clears the way for this important measure to become law within the next 18 months. The Lisbon Summit identified this Directive as a top priority in preparing Europe's transition to a knowledge-based economy and boosting competitiveness. The Directive will ensure that Information Society services benefit from the Internal Market principles of free movement of services and freedom of establishment and can be provided throughout the European Union if they comply with the law in their home Member State. It establishes specific harmonised rules only where strictly necessary to ensure that businesses and citizens can supply and receive Information Society services throughout the EU, irrespective of frontiers. These areas include definition of where operators are established, transparency obligations for operators, transparency requirements for commercial communications, conclusion and validity of electronic contracts, liability of Internet intermediaries, on- line dispute settlement and the role of national authorities. In other areas the Directive builds on existing EU instruments which provide for harmonisation or mutual recognition of national laws.

    [07] Structural Funds : Commission outlines framework for education, training and employment aid in UK for next seven years

    Upon a proposal from Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, the Commission today adopted a decision of principle approving the EU Support Framework for the United Kingdom for the next seven years. This concerns Objective 3 (Adaptation and modernisation of policies and systems of education, training and employment). EU financing totals euro 4 743 million. The final decision will be signed by the Commissioner in June.

    [08] Commission clears merger between Ocean and Exel in the sector for logistics services

    The European Commission has authorised an operation in the contract logistics sector, whereby Ocean Group Plc (Ocean) enters into a full merger with Exel Plc (Exel, formerly called NFC Plc). The merger will create the leading provider in this sector in the United Kingdom, but its overall share of the market will be low and there will still be other strong service supliers in the UK.

    [09] La Commission autorise Hitachi et NEC à créer une entreprise commune pour produire des DRAM

    La Commission européenne a autorisé la création d'une entreprise commune de plein exercice entre Hitachi, Ltd. et NEC Corporation, qui regroupera les activités des deux entreprises japonaises dans le secteur des mémoires dynamiques à accès aléatoire (DRAM). La nouvelle entité sera confrontée à la concurrence d'autres puissants fournisseurs de composants électroniques utilisés dans la mémoire des ordinateurs personnels et autres dispositifs informatiques.

    [10] La Commission et l'Agence spatiale européenne ouvrent un bureau commun afin d'accélérer les travaux relatifs au système de navigation par satellite Galileo

    (! embargo 16h !) La Commission européenne et l'Agence spatiale européenne (ASE) ont ouvert aujourd'hui un bureau commun afin d'accélérer la mise au point du système de navigation par satellite Galileo. Ce dernier développera une technologie qui permettra d'améliorer la sécurité et l'efficience des transports, de réduire la pollution urbaine, d'accroître le rendement dans le secteur agricole et d'offrir aux systèmes informatiques un signal d'horloge plus fiable. Mme Loyola de Palacio, vice- présidente de la Commission chargée de l'énergie et des transports, a indiqué que "Galileo constitue sans aucun doute l'une des innovations technologiques les plus importantes que connaîtra l'Union européenne au cours des prochaines années." Elle a ajouté que : "Pour la première fois, un lien physique permanent est ainsi créé entre les deux principales institutions européennes qui poursuivent activement leurs travaux relatifs à Galileo, notre nouveau système de navigation, de localisation et de chronométrage de précision par satellite." M. Antonio Rodotà, directeur général de l'ASE, a aussi précisé que "l'ouverture de ce bureau commun marque une étape dans le cadre de l'un des nouveaux programmes spatiaux européens les plus prometteurs."

    [11] Euro-zone economic sentiment indicator steady at high levels in April 2000 ; slight decrease for EU 15

    Industrial capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector has risen significantly in April. Several Member countries have displayed increases of over one percentage point, Italy and Belgium having achieved 1.7 and 1.6 percentage point increases respectively. On the other hand, there were very slight decreases in Spain, Greece and the Netherlands. Only in the United Kingdom was a major cut experienced, 1.8 percentage points. The industry confidence indicator remained steady in April in the EU while increasing one point in the euro area. Order books and in particular export order books are the most dynamic component of this indicator. Confidence in the construction sector continued to rise in April. Consumer confidence remained steady for the third consecutive month in both areas. However consumer expectations about the future general economic situation are positive, especially in the euro area where there was a three point increase.

    [12] Euro-zone unemployment fell to 9.4% ; EU15 down to 8.7%

    (! embargo 12 am !) Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment fell to 9.4% in March 2000 from 9.5% in February, Eurostat - Statistical Office of the European Communities in Luxembourg - reports today. This compares to 10.2% in March 1999. The EU15 unemployment rate fell to 8.7% in March from 8,8% in February. In March 1999 it was 9.4%. Lowest rates were registered in Luxembourg (2.2%) and in the Netherlands (2.8% in February) followed by Austria (3.4%) and Portugal (4.1%). Spain's 14.9% remained the EU's highest rate.

    [13] The first "Brussels Economic Forum" opens today at the initiative of Pedro Solbes

    Pedro Solbes, European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, has taken the initiative to call today a high level public debate on economic policy making in the European Union. "The Brussels Economic Forum aims to become an annual event bringing together academia, private sector economists, social partners, specialised media and the wider public in order to discuss the coordination and surveillance of economic policy in the Union. The Commission with its regular macroeconomic forecasts, its annual European Economy Review and its recommendation on the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines, plays a central role and provides significant contributions to the economic coordination process. It is my ambition to use this Forum as the occasion to have a genuine and open debate on these issues and to give further impetus to public scrutiny." President Prodi opens the Forum today, underlying the importance the Commission attaches to this type of public debates as a way to contribute to the implementation of the economic and social agenda agreed in Lisbon. Commissioner Solbes will close the debate tomorrow, highlighting the important contribution of regular high level public debates in the economic policy co-ordination process.

    [14] Anna Diamantopoulou speaks out against domestic violence

    At the opening session of an international conference on "violence against women: zero tolerance", organised by the Portuguese presidency in Lisbon, the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou stated : "Globally, men's violence against women causes more deaths and disability among females aged 15-44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war (Harvard Study, the Global Burden of Disease, 1996). The United Nations estimate that 200 million females are missing in the world ; women who should have been born or grown up, but were killed by infanticide or selective abortion. A Dutch study reports that domestic violence alone costs the state more than euro 150 million a year, measuring health costs and loss of working time on account of domestic violence. 22% of women in Finland have suffered violence by their partners. In Portugal, 52,9% of women have been the victims of violence inflicted by their partners. In Ireland in 1998, over half of all women murdered were killed by their partners or husbands. In Austria 50% of divorces are filed on the grounds of violence against women. South Africa reports the highest incidence of rape in the world. A woman is raped every 20 seconds ; and only one in 35 reports it to the authorities.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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