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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-11-17

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

17/11/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] EU requests WTO compliance panel and authorisation to impose sanctions against the US in Foreign Sales Corporation trade dispute
  • [02] Euro-zone annual inflation down to 2.7% in October 2000 ; EU15 down to 2.4%
  • [03] Aide humanitaire pour lutter contre Ebola en Ouganda
  • [04] SSC publishes BSE related opinions
  • [05] Scientific opinion on information by Germany on Bt-maize
  • [06] Scientists call for early warning system on emerging risks and uncertainties
  • [07] Participation de la Commission à l'Observatoire européen de l'audiovisuel

  • [01] EU requests WTO compliance panel and authorisation to impose sanctions against the US in Foreign Sales Corporation trade dispute

    Today the EU has requested the WTO to authorise trade sanctions on the United States up to a maximum amount of $4.043 billion in the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) trade dispute. This amount is based on the value of the subsidy granted by the US under the FSC scheme which the WTO found to be illegal earlier this year. As required by the WTO, the EU has also submitted an indicative list of those products that would be eligible for sanctions. The EU will also ask for a WTO compliance panel to rule on the FSC replacement legislation signed into law on 16 November. European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "This request is designed to protect our rights in the WTO, fully in line with the procedural agreement reached with the US in September. Whilst wishing to de-escalate this dispute, our aim is to see the WTO-incompatible FSC export subsidies removed. Although we believe the FSC replacement legislation does not solve the problem, the EU will leave it to the WTO to rule on this question. That's what the WTO is there for."

    [02] Euro-zone annual inflation down to 2.7% in October 2000 ; EU15 down to 2.4%

    (! embargo 12 am !) Euro-zone annual inflation fell from 2.8% in September to 2.7% in October, Eurostat reports today. A year earlier the rate was 1.4%. Highest annual rates were in Ireland (6.0%), Luxembourg (4.3%) and Spain (4.0%) ; lowest rates were in the United Kingdom (1.0%), Sweden (1.3%), France and Austria (both 2.1%). EU15 annual inflation fell from 2.5% in September to 2.4% in October. In October 1999 it was 1.3%.

    [03] Aide humanitaire pour lutter contre Ebola en Ouganda

    La Commission européenne prend les mesures nécessaires pour fournir une aide humanitaire d'un montant de 250.000 euros au district de Gulu dans le nord de l'Ouganda à la suite de l'apparition de cas de fièvre hémorragique causée par le virus Ebola. A cette enveloppe s'ajoute un montant de 650.000 euros réservé aux populations vulnérables déplacées dans le nord et l'ouest du pays, ce qui porte l'aide humanitaire à 810.000 euros. Commentant cette décision, Poul Nielson, commissaire chargé de la coopération au développement et de l'aide humanitaire a déclaré : "Ebola est une maladie horrible qui inflige de terribles souffrances à ses victimes et dont le taux de mortalité est extrêmement élevé. Les autorités ougandaises et la communauté internationale, notamment la Commission européenne, réagissent rapidement à la crise, ce qui, nous l'espérons, devrait permettre d'endiguer très vite l'épidémie." A la mi-octobre, 111 cas avaient été recensés et 41 personnes avaient perdu la vie.

    [04] SSC publishes BSE related opinions

    The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), advising the European Commission on BSE related issues, has today published advice against the feeding of rendered BSE risk materials to fur animals in response to a Finnish proposal to that effect. Feeding fur animals with tissues likely to present a BSE risk would unavoidably create a risk of introducing BSE into the mink population. The SSC has confirmed its standing opinions on the safety of blood in the light of additional data published in September this year by Houston et al in the Lancet. The Committee finds that these data are preliminary and need to be confirmed by the results of controls as well as further details on the identity of strains concerned. Irrespective of such confirmation, the Committee concludes that its previous opinions and recommendations on blood safety stand unchallenged by these new data. The texts adopted by the SSC can be consulted at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/ssc/index_en.html

    [05] Scientific opinion on information by Germany on Bt-maize

    The Scientific Committee on Plants has today published an opinion concerning the invocation by Germany of the safeguard clause of Council Directive 90/220 with respect to the authorisation of a specific genetically modified Bt-maize line. The Committee examined the scientific information submitted by the German authorities to substantiate its action, but found that this information does not alter or invalidate the original risk assessment of the product made in 1996 which formed the basis for its marketing approval in 1997. The Committee adds that this conclusion applies not only to the specific Bt maize under consideration, but to all other Bt- products already evaluated by it. The full text of the opinion is available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scf/index_en.html

    [06] Scientists call for early warning system on emerging risks and uncertainties

    The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) today published an opinion on strategies for dealing with emerging and re-emerging scientific issues that may directly or indirectly have an impact on human health in the near future. The scientists suggest that arrangements are made to make sure that emerging risks and uncertainties in risk assessment are regularly reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee of scientists. They also say that more contact is desirable between scientists and stakeholders to discuss communication on emerging risks and uncertainties in risk assessment. The SSC also published an opinion addressing risk assessment in a rapidly evolving field, that of genetically modified plants. New methods for assessing the risks presented by multiple gene-modifications, as well as for better assessment of long-term and delayed effects are needed, and coming on line as a result of the same technological developments. The opinions are available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/ssc/index_en.html

    [07] Participation de la Commission à l'Observatoire européen de l'audiovisuel

    Le 16 novembre, la commissaire européenne Viviane Reding, chargée de la politique communautaire dans le secteur de l'audiovisuel, a fait connaître au Secrétariat général du Conseil de l'Europe l'intention de la Commission d'officialiser, sous forme d'échange de lettres, la participation de l'Union européenne à l'Observatoire européen de l'audiovisuel.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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