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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-07-20

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

20/07/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] La Commission autorise, sous certaines conditions, l'opération de concentration entre les producteurs de boîtes pour boissons Rexam et American National Can
  • [02] New report calls for stronger impetus behind EU research
  • [03] La Commission met sur pied un registre des émissions polluantes
  • [04] Evolution of gas prices for industrial consumers and households over the last two years
  • [05] GDP of Candidate countries down by 0.2% in 1999
  • [06] Public procurement : Commission refers United Kingdom to Court
  • [07] Franz Fischler calls for tighter fisheries controls
  • [08] Middle East : Commission allocates euro 8.5 million for humanitarian programmes in West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria

  • [01] La Commission autorise, sous certaines conditions, l'opération de concentration entre les producteurs de boîtes pour boissons Rexam et American National Can

    La Commission européenne a autorisé le projet d'acquisition du producteur américain de boîtes pour boissons American National Can Inc par l'entreprise britannique Rexam Plc, groupe actif dans le domaine des emballages pour produits de consommation. Dans l'Union européenne, où les activités des entreprises se chevauchent pour ce qui est de la fabrication de boîtes pour boissons, elles ont accepté de céder trois de leurs usines européennes.

    [02] New report calls for stronger impetus behind EU research

    A new evaluation report into research in the European Union warns that there is a danger of Europe falling behind other economic areas and losing its place as a centre of excellence for the creation of knowledge if European leaders do not place research at the right political level. The report, addressed to European Commissioner for Reseach Philippe Busquin, states that EU research programmes alone will not be enough to meet the challenges faced by European research and that demographic changes and decreasing reseach budgets will make a major policy review necessary. "This is exactly why I proposed a strategy for a genuine European Research Area", says Mr Busquin, adding that "networking and better coordination of Member States' research policies could be tools to tackle the problem". The report also assesses programme performance and administration and calls for greater flexibility to meet new challenges such as new diseases and food scares.

    [03] La Commission met sur pied un registre des émissions polluantes

    La Commission européenne a adopté une décision concernant la création d'un registre européen des émissions de polluants (EPER). Ce registre, dans lequel seront consignées les données relatives aux émissions de 50 substances polluantes provenant de quelque 20000 installations industrielles dans l'ensemble de l'Union européenne, jouera un rôle capital en tant qu'instrument public. Il contiendra en effet des informations accessibles et comparables sur les émissions de polluants provenant de l'industrie. Tant le public que l'industrie pourront utiliser les données de l'EPER pour comparer la performance environnementale d'installations ou de secteurs industriels donnés dans différents pays. Quant aux pouvoirs publics, ils pourront utiliser les données enregistrées pour surveiller les progrès réalisés dans le respect des objectifs environnementaux fixés dans les accords et protocoles nationaux et internationaux.

    [04] Evolution of gas prices for industrial consumers and households over the last two years

    (! embargo 12 am !) According to a study of gas prices in national currency published by Eurostat, after a strong decrease of natural gas prices (excluding taxes) for industries between January 1998 and January 1999 in most of the EU Member states, prices went up notably between January 1999 and January 2000. Gas prices for households have overall been more stable than prices for industrial users.

    [05] GDP of Candidate countries down by 0.2% in 1999

    (! embargo 12 am !) According to a Eurostat report, the Candidate countries (CC-13) registered in 1999 at constant prices a negative growth rate of - 0.2%, after +2.8% in 1998. The 1999 GDP data paint a contrasted growth picture, as rates for Candidate countries range from Turkey's 5.0% to Slovenia's +4.9%. The data confirm the downward trend in the overall growth performance of the CC-13, with CCs' growth rate dropping below the EU's rate in 1999 for the first time since 1994. The publication also gives growth rates for all Candidate countries since 1993, as well as GDP figures since 1995 expressed at current prices and per head in euro and in purchasing power standards (PPS).

    [06] Public procurement : Commission refers United Kingdom to Court

    The European Commission has decided to refer the United Kingdom to the European Court of Justice in three separate cases involving infringement of Internal Market rules requiring Member States to ensure that public procurement contracts are awarded under open and competitive conditions. In all three cases, the Commission does not agree with the UK authorities' interpretation of the public procurement Directives concerning supplies, works and services. The first case involves a contract awarded by the Home Office for the provision of a radio communications system and related equipment for the police based on a specific standard. The Commission believes a public authority is not entitled to reject tenders on the grounds that they are not based on a specific standard. The second case concerns the minimum number of firms that must be selected for a tender. The third case involves conditions for the awarding of tenders under framework agreements.

    [07] Franz Fischler calls for tighter fisheries controls

    On the occasion of his visit to the German harbour of Bremerhaven, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, underlined the importance of controls in the Common Fisheries Policy : "Monitoring of fishing activities is crucial to effective fisheries management", he said. "Hence we have to encourage compliance and deter fraud. In addition, control plays a central role in ensuring sustainable fisheries". Mr Fischler announced that the Commission will be organising an international conference on control on October 24 to 27 in Brussels. The aim of the conference will be to compare the various monitoring systems applied in Europe and in third countries, and to identify best practices.

    [08] Middle East : Commission allocates euro 8.5 million for humanitarian programmes in West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria

    The European Commission has approved funding for humanitarian operations worth euro 8.5 million in the Middle East (West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria). Channelled via the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), this aid will enable international organisations and NGOs to assist the Palestinian refugees as well as the most vulnerable sections of the population in West Bank/Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Assistance will be provided in the following sectors : support for refugees and victims of conflict, shelters and shelter rehabilitation, health care and water supply. The objective of this programme is to focus on assisting the most vulnerable people targeting emergency relief and humanitarian needs at regional level. The following priorities will be addressed: upgrading the shelter of those living in the most inadequate housing in the refugee camps, assisting the West Bank Bedouin community victims of drought and forced displacement, setting up an emergency response system in the conflict zone of southern Lebanon. This priority action will strengthen first aid centres and national institutions with medicines and consumable commodity supplies. The Lebanese Red Cross will benefit of new ambulances to be used in the conflict zone. ECHO's support to Palestinian refugees started in 1993. Previous ECHO funding made available between 1993 and 1999 for the Middle East amounts to euro 68 million.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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