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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-11-24

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

24/11/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Scoreboard : Member States speed up adoption of Internal Market rules
  • [02] Commission suspects alleged Austrian 'Lombard Club' cartel also fixed euro-zone exchange charges
  • [03] Euro 839 million for the Balkans in 2001
  • [04] Scientific opinions on dioxin in feed and food
  • [05] Structural Funds : more EU co-financed projects for Central and Eastern European candidate countries
  • [06] September 2000 industrial production up 0.8% in euro-zone ; up 0.7% in EU15

  • [01] Scoreboard : Member States speed up adoption of Internal Market rules

    Efforts by Member States to give priority to the implementation of Internal Market Directives are reflected in the latest issue of the Single Market Scoreboard. The implementation rate has therefore improved considerably in most Member States. However, Greece, France and Portugal are still lagging behind. Their 'implementation deficits' are still more than three times larger than those of the best performing countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Spain. Of the priority measures identified in the Internal Market Strategy Review 2000 as likely to have the greatest and most immediate impact on the efficient functioning of the Internal Market, all but two have already been completed. The Scoreboard also features a survey of some four thousand businesses that shows an increasing level of satisfaction with the operation of the Internal Market. Three quarters of all firms interviewed consider that the consolidation of the Internal Market will be favourable or very favourable for their business.

    [02] Commission suspects alleged Austrian 'Lombard Club' cartel also fixed euro-zone exchange charges

    The European Commission has sent a supplementary statement of objections to Austrian banks suspected to have participated in a cartel known as the Lombard Club. The new statement is based on evidence that the banks would have also entered into unlawful discussions concerning euro-zone exchange charges. This is the latest step in a Commission investigation to ascertain whether banks in the euro-zone colluded on the fees charged to the consumer for exchanging currencies.

    [03] Euro 839 million for the Balkans in 2001

    Early this morning, the Council of ministers and the European Parliament agreed on a number of crucial issues concerning the adoption of the EU budget for 2001. The European Commission welcomes the outcome of this conciliation, and in particular the solution agreed for the Balkans, i.e. euro 839 million for the whole region including euro 240 million to Serbia. Budget Commissioner, Michaele Schreyer, declared : "On the eve of the Zagreb Summit, it is very good news that the European Union is living up to its promises towards democratic Serbia while providing continued support to the entire region. I am delighted that the budgetary authority agreed on the figures I proposed in May. Over two years (2000-2001), the EU will have more than euro 1.8 bilion to spend in the Balkans. This is a major contribution to the stability of the region."

    [04] Scientific opinions on dioxin in feed and food

    The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) and the Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition (SCAN) have today published opinions on the contamination of food products and animal feed by dioxins and closely related PCBs. Given the persistent nature of these compounds the SCF has established a temporary tolerable weekly intake (t-TWI) of 7 picogram equivalents per kilogram body weight for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. The main conclusion of the SCAN is that fish oil and fishmeal are the most heavily contaminated feed materials. Both the SCAN and the SCF recommend an integrated approach to reduce dioxin contamination all along the food chain, a continuing reduction of the emissions to the environment and more systematic and co- ordinated generation and collection of comparable and reliable data. The European Commission has been actively working towards a comprehensive strategy to deal with dioxin contamination in food and has asked for both scientific opinions as part of that process. The Feira European Council of June this year asked the Commission to propose harmonised rules on contaminants. Today's scientific opinions form the key scientific input to the development of this strategy. Based on these scientific opinions the Commission will be consulting with Member States in the near future with a view to bringing forward legislative proposals early in 2001. The full texts of the opinions are available at : http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scan/outcome_en.html and http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scf/outcome_en.html

    [05] Structural Funds : more EU co-financed projects for Central and Eastern European candidate countries

    The European Commission's Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre- Accession (ISPA) is likely to use the whole budget foreseen for 2000 to help the Central and Eastern European candidate countries improve their environment and transport infrastructure. The ISPA Management Committee, with delegations from the Member States, has given its go ahead for another 30 projects. The projects involve more than euro 384 million. This positive opinion is the first step in the approval procedure. Once Commissioner Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for regional policy, has signed the decisions on behalf of the Commission, the implementation of the projects can begin.

    [06] September 2000 industrial production up 0.8% in euro-zone ; up 0.7% in EU15

    (! embargo 12 am !) Seasonally adjusted industrial production increased by 0.8% in the euro-zone in September compared to August, Eurostat estimates today. This follows an advance of 0.5% in both August and July. Production in the EU15 rose by 0.7% in September, after an increase of 0.5% in August and of 0.7% in July. Production posted a strong gain in Sweden (4.9%) and in Finland (2.2%). Output increased by 0.8% in both Germany and Denmark. The index declined in Portugal (-0.7%), the UK (-1.0%), Belgium (-1.2%), Luxembourg (-1.3%) and in Spain (-2.0%). Compared with September 1999, output in September 2000 increased by 5.6% in the euro-zone and by 4.9% in the EU15.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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