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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-11-22

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

22/11/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

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

  • [01] Prévisions économiques d'automne 2000 de l'UE (2000-2002)
  • [02] Economic forecasts for the candidate countries (2000-2002)
  • [03] Débat asile et immigration
  • [04] Commission proposes a package of social measures for stronger and worker-friendly competition in road transport
  • [05] Poursuite du projet Galileo : la Commission souligne la nécessité de décisions rapides
  • [06] La Commission rejette les mesures prises par le Portugal à l'égard d'une offre publique de rachat de la société cimentière Cimpor
  • [07] Commission approves five-year exemption from mineral oil tax for high- efficiency combined cycle power plants in Germany
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [08] Déclaration de António Vitorino suite à l'assassinat de Ernesto Lluch
  • [09] Pascal Lamy to launch new phase in extensive trade dialogue with civil society representatives
  • [10] New research supports European policy on climate change
  • [11] EU-funded electricity comes on stream in Serbia
  • [12] Euro 150 million rural development programme for Romania endorsed
  • [13] Conclusion des négociations agricoles avec la Tunisie
  • [14] Annual Assembly of Consumer Associations (23-24/11)
  • [15] The European Union : Contrasting experiences and common hopes in Britain and Germany
  • [16] La Commission diffuse l'ordre du jour de ses réunions sur Europa
  • [17] Nouveau portail Internet sur le site Europa : "L'Union européenne dans le monde"
  • [18] New Southeastern Europe site on-line
  • [19] Fusion approuvée selon la procédure de simplification

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

    [01] Prévisions économiques d'automne 2000 de l'UE (2000-2002)

    L'Union européenne connaît la situation économique la plus favorable depuis dix ans, grâce à la fois à la solidité des fondamentaux intérieurs et à l'augmentation de la demande mondiale. Selon les prévisions, la croissance moyenne du PIB dans l'UE devrait se situer autour de 3%, le recul enregistré par rapport au taux de 3,4% estimé pour 2000 résultant principalement de la brusque hausse des prix du pétrole. C'est aussi la raison pour laquelle l'inflation moyenne dans la zone euro dépassera les 2% cette année et l'année prochaine. La faiblesse de l'euro vient en effet s'ajouter à l'inflation importée, mais l'inflation de base reste malgré tout sous contrôle. La création continue d'emplois et les réductions d'impôts servent d'appui à une forte croissance du revenu disponible. Les finances publiques continuent de s'améliorer, bien que l'effort d'assainissement structurel tende à se relâcher, les dividendes de la croissance servant en partie à des allégements fiscaux. Le large excédent budgétaire que les administrations publiques dégageront probablement en 2000 est dû principalement aux produits de la vente des licences UMTS.

    [02] Economic forecasts for the candidate countries (2000-2002)

    According to the autumn 2000 economic forecasts published by the European Commission, the candidate countries can expect a period of sustained high growth of more than 4% on average, over the forecasting horizon of 2000 to 2002. Economic developments should initially be supported by an improved international environment, in particular the high growth in the EU and also in Russia. In addition, domestic demand should accelerate or remain strong over the forecasting period, as private consumption and investment growth continue to increase. It is expected that steady growth would gradually improve the employment outlook. In 2000, inflation is adversely affected by the high energy prices. In 2001 and 2002 a modest reduction of inflation is expected, except in the high-inflation countries Romania and Turkey, where more rapid disinflation can be anticipated. Average external and fiscal deficits are likely to stay relatively high but sustainable.

    [03] Débat asile et immigration

    La Commission européenne est prête à jouer son rôle de catalyseur et à contribuer concrètement aux efforts que les Etats membres souhaitent déployer pour construire un régime commun d'asile et d'immigration. La Commission a approuvé deux communications, l'une sur l'asile et l'autre sur l'immigration. Ces deux communications ont pour but principal d'ouvrir un débat - le plus large possible - au sein des institutions communautaires et dans la société civile pour accélérer les initiatives en cours. La Commission pense que le moment est venu d'ouvrir un nouveau chapitre dans la façon de traiter le phénomène global de l'immigration.

    [04] Commission proposes a package of social measures for stronger and worker-friendly competition in road transport

    The European Commission proposed an initial package of social measures designed to make the internal market in road transport more competitive. "A healthy road transport sector is essential for smooth operation of intra-EU trade and of the European economy. But the sector is going through a difficult period, as can be seen from the protest movements repeatedly shaking it. The pressure being brought to bear by constantly increasing competition calls for the adoption, at European level, of measures to attend to operation of the market and tougher social regulations", declared Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President responsible for Energy and Transport.

    [05] Poursuite du projet Galileo : la Commission souligne la nécessité de décisions rapides

    La Commission européenne a adopté une Communication marquant l'issue de la phase de définition du projet de radionavigation par satellite civil européen Galileo. "Galileo permettra à l'Europe de disposer d'un outil sûr et performant pour le développement de nouveaux services de localisation dans le transport, de médecine à distance, de suivi de prévenus dans le domaine judiciaire, ou de dosage d'engrais dans l'agriculture. Les décisions politiques à prendre par le Conseil Transports, le 20 décembre prochain, sont vitales pour faire de ces perspectives une réalité", a déclaré Loyola de Palacio, Vice Présidente en charge de l'Energie et des Transports.

    [06] La Commission rejette les mesures prises par le Portugal à l'égard d'une offre publique de rachat de la société cimentière Cimpor

    La Commission européenne a jugé que les mesures prises par les autorités portugaises pour s'opposer à l'offre publique d'achat présentée par Secil Companhia Geral de Cal e Cimentos SA et Holderbank pour la société portugaise Cimpor Cimentos de Portugal SGPS étaient incompatibles avec le droit communautaire de la concurrence. Elle a considéré que les décisions prises par le ministre des finances en juillet et en août 2000 pour interdire cette offre publique d'achat ne visaient pas à protéger des intérêts légitimes au sens de l'article 21 du règlement communautaire sur les concentrations. La Commission a l'intention de préserver son droit exclusif d'examiner les opérations de concentration de dimension communautaire et attaquera toute autre violation similaire.

    [07] Commission approves five-year exemption from mineral oil tax for high- efficiency combined cycle power plants in Germany

    The European Commission considers that the special tax arrangements for high-efficiency combined cycle gas turbine plants, notified by the German Government under the State aid rules in connection with the continuation of the ecological tax reform, are compatible with the EC Treaty. It has decided to authorise the special arrangements for five years for each plant in accordance with the EU guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and in the light of its previous practice and the EU environmental policy.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [08] Déclaration de António Vitorino suite à l'assassinat de Ernesto Lluch

    Suite à l'attentat de l'ETA qui a tué l'ancien ministre espagnol de la Santé Ernesto Lluch, M. António Vitorino, Commissaire européen à la justice et aux affaires intérieures, a exprimé ses condoléances à la famille de la victime et sa solidarité au peuple et gouvernement espagnol : "On ne peut qu'exprimer horreur et indignation face à cette dernière action terroriste qui est expression d'une lâche stratégie qui doit être fermement condamné".

    [09] Pascal Lamy to launch new phase in extensive trade dialogue with civil society representatives

    European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will tomorrow launch a new phase in his extensive trade dialogue with civil society representatives. In his presentation to a Civil Society Consultation meeting in Brussels on 23 November, Mr Lamy will outline how sustainable development objectives can be incorporated into a viable trade policy, calling on civil society to play its full part in this process. In his follow-up to topics raised in consultations earlier this year, Mr Lamy will report on the Commission's efforts to improve access to essential medicines in the developing countries. He will also set out the Commission's proposals to amend the legal basis of the EU's Common Commercial Policy (Article 133) in the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference. The Commission's proposals aim to render future trade negotiations more efficient and better safeguard EU interests following enlargement. In advance of the meeting, Mr Lamy said : "As trade impacts on our citizens directly, I attach primary importance to ensuring civil society is not only informed but also fully involved in how the EU takes forward its trade policy. These Consultations are central to this process".

    [10] New research supports European policy on climate change

    A new report published by the CarboEurope research initiative has concluded that it is more important to preserve existing forests than to plant new ones. Furthermore, the authors indicate that "new forests" would only take up additional CO² temporarily, "buying" at most 15-100 years of time for implementing alternative greenhouse gas reduction strategies. Commenting the report's findings, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said : "In recent discussions about climate change it emerged that there remain scientific uncertainties about the extent to which forests serve as carbon sinks. That is why the findings of this new report are so important, effectively supporting the European position not to use the planting of new forests to compensate for CO² emissions. The Kyoto Protocol includes options of off-setting emissions through enhancing sinks by way of planting new forests. The report will be presented today at the Kyoto follow-up conference at The Hague.

    [11] EU-funded electricity comes on stream in Serbia

    The European Commission's emergency package of assistance to Serbia stepped up a gear yesterday with the arrival of electricity imports from Bulgaria. The electricity came on stream at midnight from Monday to Tuesday. External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten promised last month that the EU would react swiftly to meet the urgent needs of the Serbian people as winter approaches. He said : "It is clear that Serbia faces a formidably difficult winter, especially on the energy front. We are going to do everything we can to help alleviate the problems. I am delighted that our assistance has started to arrive earlier than scheduled and is about to make a difference throughout the country".

    [12] Euro 150 million rural development programme for Romania endorsed

    A euro 150 million rural development programme for Romania, co-financed by the EU has been endorsed. The allocated funds will be used for measures such as, processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products, water supply management, agri-environmental measures, setting up producer groups and vocational training. All ten programmes submitted by the Central and Eastern European countries have now been approved by the STAR Commitee. Welcoming the endorsement of the program for Romania, Franz Fischler, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said : "The candidate countries have made immense efforts to have their programmes approved. This is concrete evidence of their dedication to preparing for enlargement. The agricultural sector and rural areas in these countries can only profit from these programmes, which aim to make agriculture more competitive and to help implement the body of EU legislation." A number of further steps remain to be completed before the Sapard funds can be committed and transferred.

    [13] Conclusion des négociations agricoles avec la Tunisie

    La Commission européenne a conclu la négociation avec la Tunisie sur l'amélioration des concessions agricoles dans le cadre de l'Accord Euro- Méditerranéen conclu en 1995. Cet accord marque un effort considérable de la Tunisie par la libéralisation des échanges agricoles avec l'Union européenne, comportant notamment les secteurs des huiles de graines oléagineuses et des céréales. Du côté de l'UE, on a confirmé notamment une concession sur l'huile d'olive, principal produit d'exportation agricole de la Tunisie qui représente la source de revenus d'un tiers de la population de ce pays. Cet accord s'intègre dans le cadre des dispositions figurant dans l'Accord Euro-Méditerranéen avec la Tunisie, qui prévoit une révision du chapitre agricole dans le but d'achever une plus grande libéralisation des échanges agricoles et de fixer le régime applicable à partir du 1er janvier 2001. Cette négociation fait partie d'une série de trois négociations, les deux autres concernant Israël et le Maroc. La Tunisie est le premier des trois pays avec lequel l'UE a terminé ces négociations. "L'UE espère que les négociations avec Israël et le Maroc pourront se conclure dans le même esprit constructif et positif que celui qui a régné lors des négociations avec la Tunisie. La proposition officielle de la Commission au Conseil pour l'adoption de cet accord par les Etats membres sera faite dans les prochains jours", a souligné le Commissaire à l'Agriculture, Franz Fischler.

    [14] Annual Assembly of Consumer Associations (23-24/11)

    European Commission President Romano Prodi will give the opening address at the Annual Assembly of Consumer Association which will be held in Brussels 23 and 24 November. Around 250 representatives from more than 110 consumer organisations will participate in the Assembly, representing the consumer voice in the EU. Representatives of consumer organisations from candidate countries will also participate. The principal aim of the Assembly is to facilitate an exchange of views and to share best practice between the broad spectrum of opinions to be found within the consumer movement. In addition, this year's assembly will also welcome business representatives, notably in the workshops which will debate issues papers, one presenting the consumer perspective and one presenting a business point of view. The president of the National Association of Consumer Protection of Hungary will report to the Assembly on the results of a seminar on consumer policy for candidate countries, scheduled for November 22. The Assembly will discuss topical issues such as consumer confidence in e-commerce and food safety as well as the Euro, fair-trading with consumers, safety of services, and consumer participation in standardisation. David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, will address the Assembly's closing session on November 24. Press is invited to attend the opening and closing sessions of the Assembly, taking place in the Charlemagne building, rue de la Loi 170. The programme and issue papers for the workshops are available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/health_consumer/events/event32_en.html

    [15] The European Union : Contrasting experiences and common hopes in Britain and Germany

    Speech by European External Relations Chris Patten to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, the Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft and the Institut für Europäische Politik, Berlin, 22 November 2000. Mr Patten concedes that at present people in both Britain and Germany feel alienated from the European project. He looks at various suggestions for re-engaging them primarily by finding better ways of connecting national and regional political institutions with European ones. Despite their very different experiences of the EU the German and British people are asking similar questions about how much Europe they want and need. Mr Patten looks at how these questions are being answered by the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The EU does not aspire to a single foreign policy, but if we are to achieve a more effective, more coherent and more visible CFSP, Member States need to accept that mere inter-Governmentalism in CFSP is a recipe for weakness. Mr Patten concludes by looking at recent experience, notably in South East Europe and in Russia. The EU has much to offer around the world - and through the process of its own enlargement - as model of regional integration. It needs to carry forward the project, which has been one of the great achievements of the C20th, "with sensitivity for the delicate balance that needs to be maintained between the Union and its separate members".

    [16] La Commission diffuse l'ordre du jour de ses réunions sur Europa

    Sur l'initiative du Président de la Commission européenne Romano Prodi et dans le cadre de la politique de transparence, la Commission a décidé de mettre à la disposition du public l'ordre du jour de ses réunions hebdomadaires. Ces réunions ont normalement lieu chaque mercredi. Dorénavant, l'ordre du jour des travaux du Collège sera publié en principe la veille de la réunion de la Commission, c'est-à-dire après finalisation de cet ordre du jour à la lumière des délibérations des Chefs de cabinet des Membres, qui se déroulent, chaque lundi, sous la présidence du Secrétaire général. Cette publication sera faite sur le serveur Europa à l'adresse suivante : http://europa.eu.int/comm/secretariat_general/meeting/index_fr.htm

    [17] Nouveau portail Internet sur le site Europa : "L'Union européenne dans le monde"

    Pour la toute première fois un site portail est disponible sur Europa : "L'Union européenne dans le monde" http://europa.eu.int/comm/world/ Le portail "L'Union européenne dans le monde" donne un accès direct, complet et convivial à une information transversale couvrant tous les aspects des relations extérieures de l'Union européenne (humanitaire, commerce, développement, élargissement, politique extérieures).

    [18] New Southeastern Europe site on-line

    The new Southeastern Europe site is now on-line at : http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/see/index.htm A link from RELEX welcome page has also been established to the Zagreb Summit info : http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/index.htm and the site also includes information on sanctions towards FRY : http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/see/fry/index.htm#sanctions

    [19] Fusion approuvée selon la procédure de simplification

    Crédit Commercial de France - Loxxia / Crédit Lyonnais - Slibail / JV

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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