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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-01-26

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>


News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Service Presse et Communicationb

Midday Express 26/01/2001

  • [01] Commission informs Germany of its position regarding guarantees to public banks The European Commission has sent a letter to the German authorities stating that it considers the guarantees in favour of the country's public law credit institutions - in as far as they affect the competitive position of the institutions and trade between Member States - to be State aid which is incompatible with EU law. The German Government is invited to submit its observations on the Commission's position within one month. The letter is the first step in the normal procedure for bringing existing aid schemes into line with EU rules. It is recalled that the Commission not only spelled out its general position as to State aid in the form of guarantees in November 1999 but that it has also received, more than a year ago, a formal complaint directed specifically against "Anstaltslast" and "Gewährträgerhaftung", the two guarantee instruments traditionally used in the German public banking sector. The letter was sent by the Directorate General for Competition on the instruction of Commissioner Mario Monti.
  • [02] La Commission se félicite des progrès réalisés dans la voie d'une résolution du litige de longue date opposant la FIA à Formula One Administration A la suite d'une rencontre qui a eu lieu aujourd'hui entre M. Max Mosley, président de la Fédération internationale automobile, et M. Bernie Ecclestone, PDG de Formula One Administration, M. Mario Monti, le Commissaire européen chargé de la concurrence, a annoncé que des progrès significatifs avaient été réalisés dans le cadre de l'affaire FIA/Formule 1. Cette affaire concerne d'importantes questions ayant trait à la gestion du sport automobile en général, ainsi que des questions spécifiques relatives aux droits de radiodiffusion applicables à la Formule 1.
  • [03] Structural Funds : Commission approves euro 377 million support for East Midlands The European Commission has approved a new regional development programme for the East Midlands of England for the period up to 2006. Under the programme, the European Union will contribute euro 377 million to new investment in the region. A further euro 619 million will be contributed by the public sector and private sectors to make a total investment package of euro 996 million. The aid is to support the areas in the region worst affected by economic and social restructuring, under "Objective 2" of the Structural Funds. The programme aims to create around 18,500 new jobs, to safeguard 6,500 existing jobs, and to support 9,500 firms. This money will pay for measures destined at promoting enterprise and innovation, in order to create a favourable environment for investment and sustainable rural communities.
  • [04] La Commission franchit une nouvelle étape vers la ratification de la Convention d'Aarhus La Commission européenne a adopté une proposition de directive qui prévoit la participation du public à l'élaboration de certains plans et programmes relatifs à l'environnement. Ce nouveau texte modifie également les directives actuelles concernant l'évaluation des incidences sur l'environnement ainsi que la prévention et la réduction de la pollution.
  • [05] EU and Chile reach an amicable settlement to end WTO/ITLOS swordfish dispute Following four days of intensive negotiations, the European Union and Chile have reached a settlement to resolve the so-called "swordfish dispute" covering both access for EU fishing vessels to Chilean ports and bilateral and multilateral scientific and technical cooperation on conservation of swordfish stocks. As a result and pending the ratification of this arrangement, the EU will request a suspension of panel proceedings within the WTO launched in November and Chile will suspend proceedings before the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), pending the enforcement of this arrangement which also covers access to ports. Welcoming this result, Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "This arrangement shows that it is possible to resolve disputes amicably by reconciling trade and environmental concerns. I pay tribute to negotiators on both sides for their constructive and understanding approach." Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler said : "I am delighted that the two parties have found an amicable and mutually beneficial solution to this longstanding dispute and I look forward to fruitful and stable relations in the fisheries field between the Union and Chile. This arrangement will benefit the two fisheries sectors and responsible fishing."
  • [06] EU and Chile end long-running trade dispute on spirits At yesterday's meeting between European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Chilean Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear, the EU and Chile confirmed they had reached an agreement to bring the the 20-year old so-called "Whisky- Pisco" trade dispute to an end. As a result EU spirits such as whisky will no longer be discrimated against in the Chilean market. Welcoming the agreement, Commissioner Lamy said : "This is good news for EU spirits producers who will again be able to compete on level terms in Chile. Following on from our deal on swordfish, we have managed to wipe the slate of bilateral trade disputes clean, so we can now focus exclusively on our important bilateral trade negotiations and on working together to launch a new multilateral round in the WTO."
  • [07] Frits Bolkestein discusses services strategy, Stockholm preparations, copyright and procurement with Parliament's Legal Committee European Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein briefed the European Parliament's Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committee in Brussels on 25 January concerning the Commission's new Internal Market strategy for services (see IP/01/31) and preparations for the Stockholm European Council. In the context of Stockholm, the Commissioner also commented on the proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Information Society (see IP/00/601), to which the Parliament is currently giving a second reading, and the proposals to modernise and simplify Community rules on public procurement (see IP/00/461).
  • [08] Frits Bolkestein outlines his views on Europe after Nice (! embargo 6 pm !) "The Nice European Council marked a turning point in many respects by revealing the dangers threatening Europe if we do not opt for a clear and effective decision-making process", according to Frits Bolkestein, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Taxation. In a January 26th speech in The Hague, Mr Bolkestein warned that "the efficiency of intergovernmental decision-making is in inverse proportion to the number of Member States around the table. The bigger the group, the more limited its decision-making powers become. Legitimacy is undermined in the absence of effectiveness. The European Union will lose its moral basis if it cannot reach decisions." He rejected calls for greater emphasis on intergovernmental cooperation and instead supported the use of the "Community method" applied to well-defined core tasks. Within this Community method, "the Commission will have to play a pivotal role in all the areas to which the EU assigns the status of common interest. It will therefore have to be effective, thorough and bold not a group of ambassadors but the heart of the Community". He also refers to the shifting balance of influence between Member States and the creation of different coalitions on different issues. The particular challenges of the coming years, he suggests, will be delivering the Lisbon agenda to make Europe the most competitive economy within ten years, enlargement of the EU, a clear definition of EU foreign and security policy and a European policy on asylum-seekers and immigration.
  • [09] Poul Nielson to address United Nations Joint Executive Board Meeting The European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Poul Nielson, is paying a working visit to the United Nations in New York 25-26 January. On this occasion, he will become the first Commissioner to address the Joint Executive Board meeting of the UN Funds and Programmes which brings together the governing development bodies of the UN system ; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Mr Nielson will use this opportunity to call for improvement and development of the UN-EC partnership so as to make the fight against global poverty more effective. Whilst welcoming progress that has been made between the two partners over the years, Mr Nielson will set out the case for more systematic and programmed collaboration, as well as the need to intensify policy dialogue. In the margins of the meeting, Mr Nielson will also meet with senior UN officials including Louise Fréchette, UN Deputy Secretary General, and Mark Malloch Brown, Head of the UNDP.
  • [10] La Commission organise une conférence sur le partage des responsabilités dans la gestion décentralisée des Fonds structurels Michel Barnier, Commissaire européen responsable de la politique régionale, a pris l'initiative de réunir le 29 janvier 2001, à Bruxelles, les responsables de la gestion financière, du contrôle et de l'évaluation des interventions des Fonds structurels dans les Etats membres. Environ 450 personnes assisteront à cette réunion de travail sur l'application efficace et décentralisée de la nouvelle répartition des responsabilités entre la Commission et les Etats membres, suite à la réforme des Fonds structurels pour la période 2000-2006.
  • [11] Commission / OSCE Economic Seminar (Brussels, 30-31/01) The European Commission and the OSCE have organised a joint Seminar, "Good Governance in the Public and Private Sectors against the Background of Globalisation", to be held in the Centre Albert Borschette, Rue Froissart, 1040 Brussels, on 30-31 January 2001. This event is one of three preparatory seminars for the OSCE Economic Forum 2001, to take place in Prague, from 15 to 18 May, 2001, on the theme of "Transparency and Good Governance in Economic Matters". An earlier seminar on this subject was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 2/3 November, 2000. A further seminar, on the same theme will take place in Bucharest, Romania, on 27/28 March 2001. Mr Pascal Lamy, Trade Commissioner, will open the Seminar, with Mr Daniel Daianu, representing the Romanian Chairmanship of the OSCE, and Mr Thomas L. Price, the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. Among the other keynote speakers are Mr D. Kaufmann (World Bank), Mr D. Frisch (Transparency International), Mr A. Severin (President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly), Mr K. Schwaiger (Member of the European Parliament) and Mr S. Cheema (UNDP). Good governance requires rules which are simple, transparent, understandable, enforceable, predictable, non- discriminatory and effective. The seminar, which will bring together participants from the OSCE participating and partner States, will address these issues in Plenary and in two parallel working groups. Both the opening and closing plenary sessions will be open to the Press accredited to the EU institutions.
  • [12] Autre matériel diffusé Note sur la préparation du Conseil Agriculture Calendrier du 29 janvier au 4 février Discours de Mme de Palacio : "Main priorities in European Air Transport" à l'Assemblée générale ACI-Europe (25/01)


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996

    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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