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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-11-27

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

27/11/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] La Commission donne le feu vert à la restructuration d'Eutelsat
  • [02] Margot Wallström on the World Conference on Climate Change
  • [03] David Byrne on BSE-developments in Germany and Spain
  • [04] Excédent de 3,3 milliards d'euros du commerce extérieur pour la zone euro en septembre ; déficit de 6,7 milliards d'euros pour l'UE15
  • [05] Pedro Solbes presents new "business climate indicator" for the euro area
  • [06] Structural Funds : signature of two operational programmes for regions in Ireland (2000-2006)
  • [07] Structural Funds : Michel Barnier signs the Community Support Framework for the regions of Greece for 2000-2006
  • [08] Commission approves euro 4.65 of humanitarian aid for victims of flood and drought in India
  • [09] Aide humanitaire en Birmanie : la Commission octroie 1 million d'euros
  • [10] Mario Monti : "The full application of EU competition rules by national courts is essential"
  • [11] Market access : Pascal Lamy to chair third Brussels symposium
  • [12] Frits Bolkestein at Internal Market Forum on 28-29 November

  • [01] La Commission donne le feu vert à la restructuration d'Eutelsat

    La Commission européenne a approuvé les projets de restructuration notifiés par Eutelsat, qui ont pour objet de transférer la majorité de ses activités à une nouvelle société. Eutelsat est une organisation issue d'une convention intergouvernementale. La restructuration consistera à regrouper les unités d'exploitation d'Eutelsat au sein d'une entreprise constituée en société en France. Dans le cadre de ses projets de restructuration, Eutelsat a informé la Commission qu'elle procédera à l'introduction en bourse de 30% de ses actions dans un délai de deux ans à compter de la privatisation (c'est-à-dire d'ici juillet 2003).

    [02] Margot Wallström on the World Conference on Climate Change

    European Commissioner for the Environment Margot Wallström expressed disappointment that negotiations on detailed rules to make operational the Kyoto Protocol on global warming were suspended without agreement on Saturday after two weeks of negotiations in The Hague. But Mrs Wallström said she remained determined to continue working with all other Parties to get a deal at the second part of the World Conference on Climate Change (COP6) in 2001, and was confident that the extra time would allow a global consensus to be reached so that the Protocol can be ratified. "The example of the Cartagena Protocol to the UN convention on biodiversity, on which agreement was reached only at the second attempt, shows that a temporary setback can lead to a better result in the end", Mrs Wallström commented. "We of course would have preferred a deal on the rules for the Kyoto Protocol now, but the negotiations were never going to be easy and in the end we simply ran out of time to resolve all the issues. The resumption of COP6 will give us the second chance we need." The Environment Commissioner continued : "Any agreement must safeguard the environmental integrity and credibility of the Protocol and unfortunately some of the ideas under discussion in the final hours in The Hague did not guarantee this. It is imperative that any deal results in real and continued reductions by industrialised countries, particularly the main polluters, in their emissions of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. COP6 has made important technical progress on a number of issues and has allowed all sides to understand each others' positions much better and to narrow our differences considerably. This is due in no small measure to the skilful presidency of the conference by Jan Pronk. I remain confident that under his guidance we will be able to get a deal that is both good for the environment and cost-effective when COP6 resumes. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that happens."

    [03] David Byrne on BSE-developments in Germany and Spain

    David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said : "Germany and Spain may have been too complacent about the risk of BSE. Despite scientific risk warning not enough seems to have been done to guard against BSE in those Member States." Mr Byrne called on the German and Spanish authorities to carry out a full assessment of the situation and to consult urgently with the Commission and its scientific advisers on the appropriate responses. Particular attention needs to be given to the removal of specific risk materials from animal and human food as well as the correct pressure treatment of meat and bone meal. "The protection of public health and consumer confidence is of primary importance and all other considerations should take second place", he said.

    [04] Excédent de 3,3 milliards d'euros du commerce extérieur pour la zone euro en septembre ; déficit de 6,7 milliards d'euros pour l'UE15

    (! embargo 12h00 !) D'après les premières estimations d'Eurostat pour le mois de septembre, la zone euro a enregistré un excédent du commerce extérieur de 3,3 milliards d'euros avec le reste du monde, comparé à +1,3 milliard en septembre 1999. Le déficit (révisé) enregistré au mois d'août était de 0,5 milliard, par rapport à un excédent de 2,5 milliards en août 1999. Les premières estimations du solde des échanges extra-UE15 pour le mois de septembre conduisent à un déficit de 6,7 milliards d'euros, par rapport à -4,4 milliards en septembre 1999. Au mois d'août, le déficit (révisé) était de 8,2 milliards, contre -2,9 milliards en août 1999.

    [05] Pedro Solbes presents new "business climate indicator" for the euro area

    To improve the understanding of the business cycle in the euro area as a whole, the European Commission services have been working on the development of various tools in recent months. The first indicator, released yesterday, is the "business climate indicator", also known as the "common factor in industry". This indicator is based on monthly business surveys and is designed to deliver a clear and timely assessment of the cyclical situation within the euro area. The latest results point to a somewhat less buoyant industrial climate during the autumn, following the peak reached last June. The indicator will be updated and released on a monthly basis. The indicator will henceforth also be included in the "Key indicators for the euro area" available on the Internet site of the Commission. Other business cycle indicators will be published in the coming months.

    [06] Structural Funds : signature of two operational programmes for regions in Ireland (2000-2006)

    Today in Brussels Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner responsible for Regional Policy, signed the two regional operational programmes for Ireland regions whose development is lagging behind (Objective 1) in the presence of representatives of the Managing Authorities for the regions : Councillor Jimmy Maloney, Chairman, and Gerry Finn, Director, for the Border Midland and Western (BMW) region and Councillor Peter Considine, Deputy Chairman, and Stephen Blair, Director, for the Southern & Eastern (S&E) region. Three further operational programmes to be implemented at the national level - economic and social infrastructure, productive sector and technical assistance - will be launched shortly.

    [07] Structural Funds : Michel Barnier signs the Community Support Framework for the regions of Greece for 2000-2006

    Michel Barnier, European Commissioner responsible for regional policy, and Yannos Papantoniou, Greek Minister for National Economy for Greece, today signed the Community Support Framework (CSF) for Greek regions whose development is lagging behind (Objective 1) for the next seven years. This agreement is the framework for a series of programmes to develop the Greek economy, amounting to a total of euro 44.29 billion. Approximately half of this amount (euro 22.71 billion) will come from the EU budget ; the balance will be funded almost equally by the Greek public sector (euro 11.20 billion) and the private sector (euro 10.38 billion). The EU contribution comes from the four Structural Funds (Regional Fund, Social Fund, Agricultural Guidance Fund and Fisheries Guidance Fund).

    [08] Commission approves euro 4.65 of humanitarian aid for victims of flood and drought in India

    The European Commission has approved emergency humanitarian aid worth euro 4.65 million to help victims of extreme weather conditions in India. In the Western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, the impact of the third consecutive year of severe drought is still being felt despite some recent rain. Meanwhile, in the East, heavy rains and flash floods have devastated - in successive waves - eleven north-eastern and eastern states, with Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh among the worst hit. In the flood- affected areas, the most urgent priorities for ECHO have been to boost the food security of the affected communities and improve water supplies and sanitation. In some areas, where people have lost their homes, the emphasis has been on providing temporary shelters. In drought-stricken zones, the main objective is to reduce malnutrition and the risk of food insecurity among marginalised groups. Support is focused on remote areas of Rajasthan and on the Kucch district of Gujarat. This assistance is channelled through the EU Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).

    [09] Aide humanitaire en Birmanie : la Commission octroie 1 million d'euros

    La Commission européenne a approuvé une décision de 1 million d'euros en faveur des groupes de population les plus vulnérables en Birmanie. Au total, près de 150.000 femmes, enfants, malades et personnes déplacées, bénéficieront de ce nouveau programme d'assistance mis en oeuvre autour de Rangoon et dans l'ouest du pays. Géré par l'Office d'Aide Humanitaire de l'UE (ECHO), ce financement permettra au cours des neuf prochains mois la prise en charge des secteurs prioritaires suivants : santé (soins de base et prévention visant à réduire le taux de mortalité des enfants en particulier) ; eau (dépuration et réhabilitation des réseaux de distribution). Action Contre la Faim (ACF, France) et Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Hollande) assureront la mise en oeuvre des projets respectifs. Cette décision porte le montant global des actions humanitaires financées par ECHO en Birmanie depuis 1996 à 3.870.000 euros

    [10] Mario Monti : "The full application of EU competition rules by national courts is essential"

    "The national courts should play the same important role in the application of the competition rules as they have done for a long time in virtually all other areas of Community law", European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti stressed today at the European Law Academy in Trier (Germany). In a speech dealing with the impact on the courts of the Commission's proposal for reforming the current enforcement system for EU antitrust rules (see IP/00/1064 of 27/09/2000), Mr Monti said : "The time has come to eliminate the limitation of competence for judges introduced by Regulation No 17". The present system is essentially based on public enforcement of EU competition law by the Commission. However, courts have powers that the competition authorities lack : only they can decide on the enforceability of contracts and can award damages to parties that have been injured by antitrust violations. Courts can also adopt interim measures more speedily than the authorities. It is therefore time to give private enforcement, through the Courts, an important role, Mr Monti explained, underlining that European judges are no less capable than their American counterparts to do so.

    [11] Market access : Pascal Lamy to chair third Brussels symposium

    Tomorrow European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will chair a one-day symposium on market access at the Palais de Congrès in Brussels. The symposium, organised by the Commission, is entitled 'The Challenge of Globalisation : The European Union's Market Access Strategy'. Over 800 participants are expected at the third event of its kind, including business, representatives of governments in Member States and of EU applicant countries as well as officials from European institutions. The event is intended to allow them to share experiences, indicate priorities and express expectations on EU strategy to reduce trade barriers facing European exporters today. Press conference at 10.30 am at the Palais des Congrès.

    [12] Frits Bolkestein at Internal Market Forum on 28-29 November

    As part of their commitment to ensuring that business and citizens benefit from the Internal Market, the Internal Market Directorate, jointly with the French Presidency of the European Union and the European Parliament, is organising a major event focusing on the experiences of citizens, consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises. Entitled "Forum : the Internal Market at the Service of Citizens and SMEs", this event will take place in the Parliament in the Paul-Henri Spaak Building, rue Wiertz in Brussels on 28 and 29 November 2000, beginning at 10.00 am. All press are invited, entry is with a valid press card. The Forum will bring together Ministers, MEPs and European Commissioners and those with a practical interest in the working of the Internal Market on a day to day basis. It will take the form of a series of "round-tables" held in plenary session and separate workshops to discuss more specific issues. The agenda and further information is available on the Forum website at http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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