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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-05-19

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

19/05/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Commission and OLAF to participate in the Ancona Conference (19-20 May)
  • [02] La Commission autorise l'acquisition de Burmah Castrol par BP Amoco
  • [03] Commission seeks a mandate for negotiations with Japan on a cooperation agreement in the competition field
  • [04] Commission clears purchase of Cordant Technologies by Alcoa
  • [05] Commission publishes Spring 2000 economic forecast for the candidate countries
  • [06] "East is East" de Damien O'Donnell vainqueur du prix Media de cinéma pour l'année 2000
  • [07] Commission invokes clause suspending signing of new financing agreements with Ethiopia and Eritrea due to conflict
  • [08] Iraq : Commission approves humanitarian aid worth euro 8.6 million for vulnerable populations

  • [01] Commission and OLAF to participate in the Ancona Conference (19-20 May)

    The President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer, in charge of the fight against fraud, and Franz Hermann Bruener, director of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) will participate in the Conference on Development and Security in the Adriatic and Ionian regions on 19-20 May. This conference will focus on dialogue and co- operation in the region, related to economical issues, transport, sustainable development, the environment, culture, education and crime prevention. President Prodi said : "This region at the heart of Europe deserves our special attention. The potential and the opportunity for successful cooperation are considerable and we must work together to solve our common problems." Special attention will be paid to cooperation between Commission, OLAF, and Adriatic and Ionian States, both EU and non-EU members, in respect of illegal activities by organised international criminal networks, which harm the EU's financial interests. For instance, cigarette smuggling alone accounts for yearly losses to the EU budget of more than euro 1 billion. Mrs Schreyer said : "Fight against fraud and protection of the Communities' financial interests represent major priorities for the European Commission. The Ancona Conference is a welcome opportunity to lay foundations for closer cooperation in a region rightly concerned about illegal activities jeopardising security and welfare of its citizens."

    [02] La Commission autorise l'acquisition de Burmah Castrol par BP Amoco

    La Commission européenne a approuvé l'acquisition de la société britannique de lubrifiants Burmah Castrol par BP Amoco (BPA), société pétrolière anglo- américaine. Cette opération fera de BPA le troisième producteur de lubrifiants au monde et consolidera sensiblement sa position dans ce secteur. Bien que la position de BPA dans le domaine des lubrifiants soit renforcée par la marque solide, l'expertise technique et la recherche "produits" de Castrol, la Commission a conclu que l'opération ne créera pas de position dominante.

    [03] Commission seeks a mandate for negotiations with Japan on a cooperation agreement in the competition field

    The European Commission is seeking a mandate from the Council in order to negotiate with Japan a bilateral cooperation agreement regarding the application of competition law similar to the ones that the EU have already concluded with the Governments of the United States and of Canada. The envisaged agreement would make it easier for the Commission and the Japanese competition authority to exchange information on international competition cases and coordinate their investigations to the extent possible under domestic rules.

    [04] Commission clears purchase of Cordant Technologies by Alcoa

    The European Commission has given its green light to a plan by US aluminium producer Alcoa to acquire control of Cordant Technologies, another US company which makes products for the aerospace industry. The Commission concluded after a routine review that the companies' activities are complementary and that although this could result in some vertical relationships it would not have any anticompetitive effects.

    [05] Commission publishes Spring 2000 economic forecast for the candidate countries

    Economic developments in the candidate countries in the second half of 1999 have been positive and have brightened growth prospects. A gradual recovery in the second half of 1999, driven by the acceleration of growth in the EU, mitigated the negative effects of the Russian crisis and of the Kosovo conflict that affected many countries in the second half of 1998 and the first half of 1999. The economic developments in Turkey were overshadowed by the earthquake of August 1999. As a result of the continuation of the recovery, our outlook for 2000 and 2001 is optimistic. The influence of the improved external environment will be further strengthened by the positive effects of domestic adjustment programmes. The full text of the forecast will be available on DG ECFIN webpage (http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/new/new_en.htm) as from Monday 22 May.

    [06] "East is East" de Damien O'Donnell vainqueur du prix Media de cinéma pour l'année 2000

    Viviane Reding, commissaire européenne responsable de la Culture et de l'Audiovisuel, a remis aujourd'hui à Cannes lors de la clôture de la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs le nouveau prix Media de cinéma à Damien O'Donnell, réalisateur de "East is East". Le prix Media est attribué chaque année au premier film d'un réalisateur qui a été distribué, grâce au programme Media, dans le plus grand nombre d'Etats européens.

    [07] Commission invokes clause suspending signing of new financing agreements with Ethiopia and Eritrea due to conflict

    Ever since the outbreak of the military conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea some two years ago, the European Commission has been carefully re- examining its development cooperation with these countries. Because of the conflict, the conditions for disbursement of credits of the Structural Adjustment Support Programmes, financed by the Commission, were tightened up. As a direct result of this tightening Ethiopia has not received any budgetary support from the Commission since January 1999. Whilst previously approved development projects are, for the moment, being implemented as foreseen, the Commission has decided, following consultation with Member States, not to sign any new financing agreements for new development projects for Ethiopia and Eritrea as long as these countries are engaged in conflict. The Commission is sincerely worried that the renewed outbreak of fighting will have a negative effect on the humanitarian efforts undertaken to bring food aid to the people affected by the drought. The fighting is taking up much needed human resources, while access to some areas is becoming impossible. The Commission is furthermore concerned about the lack of adequate transport facilities to bring food aid to the regions where it is needed.

    [08] Iraq : Commission approves humanitarian aid worth euro 8.6 million for vulnerable populations

    The European Commission has approved a humanitarian programme worth euro 8.6 million to assist vulnerable populations (mainly children and mothers with dependent families) in Iraq. This programme comes in addition to euro 250 million in humanitarian aid that the Commission has provided to Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, making the Commission the biggest donor in this country. The main activities to be implemented within the programme are : the improvement of water quality, hygiene and health care ; the provision of support for handicapped children, orphans and street children ; the supply of medicines and medical equipment ; support for the refurbishment of hospitals, dispensaries and surgery units. The programme is designed to ensure maximum complementarity with the UN Oil for Food programme (Resolution 986). A majority of the projects are destined for central and southern Iraq where the humanitarian situation is currently considered to be more acute than in Northern Iraq. The different projects will be implemented through NGO's and UN agencies, including Care (UK), Première Urgence (France), Médecins du Monde (France), Enfants du Monde/Droits de l'Homme (France), Red Cross (Netherlands), Unicef and UNCHS (UN Centre for Human Settlements, Habitat).

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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