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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-05-16

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

16/05/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Commission shakes up management of external assistance
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [02] 155 million Europeans with a job in 1999 - net increase of 3.2 million jobs compared to 1998
  • [03] Euro-zone volume of retail trade up by 2.7% in February 2000 ; up 3.2% in EU 15
  • [04] L'institut de Florence présente une étude sur la réorganisation des traités
  • [05] Commission allocates a further euro 3.29 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to drought stricken Ethiopia
  • [06] Namibia, Zambia : humanitarian aid worth euro 1 million for the Angolan refugees
  • [07] Galileo : Mme de Palacio plaide en faveur de la demande européenne de fréquences

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Commission shakes up management of external assistance

    (! embargo 2.30 pm !) The European Commission has launched an ambitious reform to overhaul the management of external assistance programmes. The main objectives of the Commission's far reaching programme are to reduce substantially the time taken to implement approved projects ; to make significant improvements in the quality and responsiveness of project management ; to ensure robust management procedures in line with best international standards; and to improve the impact and visibility of EU aid. The reform covers the following main areas : (1) a radical overhaul of programming to better reflect the EU's policy objectives and priorities ; (2) integration of the project cycle from identification of projects through their full implementation ; (3) creation of a single body in charge of project implementation ; (4) extensive devolution of project management to the Commission's external delegations and, where possible, to authorities in third countries ; and (5) urgent measures to eliminate old and dormant commitments.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [02] 155 million Europeans with a job in 1999 - net increase of 3.2 million jobs compared to 1998

    (! embargo 12 am !) According to the EU labour force survey carried out in 1999 and published today by Eurostat, 3.2 million new jobs were created in 1999 bringing the total of EU15 citizens with a job to 155 million. This represents an employment rate of 62% up from 61.0% reported in 1998. The employment rate went up in every Member State. The highest rate was registered in Denmark (76.5%) and the lowest in Spain (52.3%). Throughout EU15 the employment rate registered for men increased from 70.8% to 71.6%, and for women from 51.2% to 52.6%. The biggest rises were in Finland (up by 4 percentage points), Ireland (+2.8), Spain (+2.6) and Sweden (+2.0).

    [03] Euro-zone volume of retail trade up by 2.7% in February 2000 ; up 3.2% in EU 15

    (! embargo 12 am !) In February 2000 and compared to the same month one year ago the volume of retail trade rose by 2.7% in the euro-zone and by 3.2% in the EU15, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in Luxembourg, estimates today. This is an increase from the annual increase of 2.0% and 2.8% respectively reported for January 2000. Increases were significant in the "textiles" sector (+6.5% in the euro zone, +6.8% in the EU15) and in the "household goods" sector (+4.8% in the euro zone and +5.4% in the EU15). Sales in the "food" sector rose by 1.8% in the euro zone and by 2.1% in the EU15. Compared to January 2000, sales rose by 0.4% in both the euro-zone and the EU15.

    [04] L'institut de Florence présente une étude sur la réorganisation des traités

    Le Président de la Commission européenne, Romano Prodi, et Michel Barnier, Commissaire responsable ad personam pour la réforme des institutions, ont reçu le rapport du Centre Robert Schuman de l'Institut Universitaire Européen de Florence sur la réorganisation des traités européens. Cette étude, effectuée à la demande de la Commission, propose de réunir dans un traité de base, de manière cohérente et lisible pour le citoyen, les éléments essentiels constitutifs de l'UE. L'Institut de Florence a élaboré un projet de "traité fondamental de l'Union européenne", qui rassemble, en moins de cent articles, les dispositions relatives au cadre institutionnel et au fonctionnement de l'UE, ainsi que les objectifs des politiques de l'UE, sans modifier l'état actuel du droit. Le Président a confié l'examen de ce rapport aux services de la Commission. La Commission présentera ensuite ses conclusions à la Conférence intergouvernementale.

    [05] Commission allocates a further euro 3.29 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to drought stricken Ethiopia

    In response to the severe drought affecting Ethiopia, the European Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), has allocated an additional euro 3.29 million in humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable drought-affected populations in South East Ethiopia. This amount comes on top of the euro 2 million already allocated to Ethiopia in April, bringing the total in emergency humanitarian aid in the current crisis to euro 5.29 million. The object of this decision is to provide relief for the suffering of the affected populations by providing funding for the provision of drinking water, basic health infrastructure and the distribution of complementary food rations (targeted therapeutic and supplementary feeding) and non-food items. This intervention focuses on complementary programmes in the seven areas most affected by the drought (Gode, Korahi, Afdheer, Jigjiga, Imi, Liben, and Fik). ECHO's implementing partners will be the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and Save the Children NL and UK. This funding is separate from the EU food aid operation which will send 432,500 metric tonnes of cereals to Ethiopia this year.

    [06] Namibia, Zambia : humanitarian aid worth euro 1 million for the Angolan refugees

    The European Commission has approved euro 1 million in funding for humanitarian aid to provide care and assistance for populations fleeing to Namibia and Zambia from the fighting in Angola. The aid, channelled via the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will fund projects over the next nine months. In Namibia, the funding covers the provision of shelter, water and other essential services in Osire camp and in two transit centres. The estimated number of refugees in Namibia is between 10,000 and 15,000. About 97% of the refugees in the Osire camp are from Angola with the remainder coming from Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. In Zambia, the money will serve to provide registration, transport, sanitation and health care. The existing refugee population in Zambia is 200,000 and the figure for new arrivals from Angola is between 22,000 and 25,000. The Commission's aid will be channelled via the UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Médécins Sans Frontières (NL) and the Belgian Red Cross. The UNHCR will cover registration and assistance together with transport and shelter at Osire camp while the Red Cross funding will be for the water supply. At Nangweshi camp in Zambia, the UNHCR will provide shelter, sanitation and camp management ; IOM will be responsible for the transport of refugees and MSF/NL will provide health care.

    [07] Galileo : Mme de Palacio plaide en faveur de la demande européenne de fréquences

    Mme Loyola de Palacio, vice-présidente de la Commission européenne en charge des transports et de l'énergie, s'est adressée, le 15 mai, à Istanbul, aux délégués de la conférence de radiocommunications mondiales (WRC 2000). Cette conférence est organisée par l'UIT (l'Union Internationale des Télécommunications), une agence des Nations unies. Dans son intervention, Mme de Palacio a demandé le soutien des participants aux demandes européennes de fréquences, notamment pour le projet Galileo de navigation par satellite. Elle a précisé que l'Union européenne est ouverte à la coopération avec toutes les autres parties afin de permettre un développement indépendant et complémentaire de Galileo à côté d'autres systèmes mondiaux, comme le GPS américain et le Glonass russe. "L'accord récent entre la conférence européenne des administrations des postes et des télécommunications (CEPT) et l'Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) montre l'importance de la coopération internationale dans ce domaine", a-t-elle souligné.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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