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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-07-18

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

Midday Express 18/07/2001

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

  • [01] La Commission adopte une stratégie visant à promouvoir les normes fondamentales du travail et la gouvernance sociale au niveau mondial La Commission européenne a adopté une Communication proposant une stratégie de l'UE en vue de promouvoir les normes fondamentales du travail et la gouvernance sociale au niveau mondial. Cette Communication propose un certain nombre de mesures à prendre aux niveaux européen et international afin d'encourager l'application effective des normes fondamentales du travail dans le monde. La dimension du développement est au cœur de la stratégie proposée, qui vise à aider les pays en développement à appliquer ces normes pour leur propre développement social. Les Commissaires Pascal Lamy (commerce) et Anna Diamantopoulou (emploi) ont commenté en ces termes la présentation de ces propositions, qui a eu lieu aujourd'hui : "Les citoyens ressentent la nécessité de mettre en place un système économique mondial équitable qui encourage le développement social et les droits fondamentaux, et estiment que notre modèle actuel de gouvernance n'y répond pas comme il convient. Au niveau mondial, la gouvernance des marchés s'est développée plus rapidement que la gouvernance sociale. Nous devons rééquilibrer le système pour encourager le développement social et faire en sorte que la mondialisation soit bénéfique à tous les peuples et à tous les pays."
  • [02] Commission fines SAS and Maersk Air for market-sharing agreement The European Commission has decided to fine Scandinavian airlines SAS and Maersk Air euro 39.375 million and euro 13.125 million respectively for operating a secret agreement that led to the monopolisation by SAS of the Copenhagen-Stockholm route to the detriment of over one million passengers that use that major route every year, as well as to the sharing out of other routes to and from Denmark.
  • [03] La Commission lance le débat sur le projet de nouvelles règles relatives aux mesures de clémence en matière d'amendes dans les affaires d'ententes La Commission européenne a adopté un nouveau projet de règles destinées à mieux détecter et éradiquer les ententes, qu'elles portent sur la fixation de prix ou sur d'autres types d'accords. Il s'agit des infractions aux règles antitrust les plus préjudiciables, dans la mesure où elles nuisent très clairement tout autant aux clients qu'aux consommateurs. Ces nouvelles règles, qui remplaceront la communication de 1996 sur la non-imposition d'amendes ou la réduction de leur montant, prévoient une immunité complète en matière d'amendes pour la première société qui apportera à la Commission des informations sur des ententes non détectées qui soient suffisantes pour lui permettre de lancer une inspection surprise.
  • [04] La Commission adopte une nouvelle proposition sur l'imposition des revenus de l'épargne perçus à l'étranger La Commission européenne a présenté une proposition modifiée de Directive visant à garantir une imposition effective, à l'intérieur de l'Union européenne, des revenus de l'épargne sous forme de paiements transfrontaliers d'intérêts à des personnes physiques. La proposition reflète les conclusions du Conseil des ministres des Finances des 26 et 27 novembre 2000 sur l'imposition des revenus de l'épargne perçus à l'étranger. En vertu de la proposition modifiée, chaque Etat membre devra fournir des informations à d'autres Etats membres sur les intérêts payés dans cet Etat membre à des particuliers qui résident dans d'autres Etats membres. Pendant une période transitoire de sept ans, la Belgique, le Luxembourg et l'Autriche seront autorisés à prélever une retenue fiscale de 15% pendant les trois premières années et de 20% pour le reste de la période au lieu de fournir des informations. La proposition couvre tous types de revenus de l'épargne, y compris les intérêts afférents aux obligations (mais sous réserve d'un arrangement transitoire pour les obligations existantes). La proposition remplace celle de 1998 en vertu de laquelle les Etats membres auraient pu choisir entre échanger des informations ou prélever une retenue fiscale. La nouvelle proposition, comme la précédente, repose sur la coopération des opérateurs économiques qui paient directement les intérêts, mais tout a été mis en oeuvre pour réduire au minimum les coûts d'application de la Directive qu'ils auront à supporter. La nouvelle proposition fait toujours partie d'un ensemble de mesures visant à lutter contre la concurrence fiscale dommageable dans l'UE, dont les principes ont été arrêtés par le Conseil des ministres des Finances de l'UE en décembre 1997.
  • [05] Commission urges greater Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe Shortly after the European Commission's Communication on quality of work, Commissioners Anna Diamantopoulou (Employment and Social Affairs) and Erkki Liikanen (Enterprise and Information Society) today presented a Green Paper on promoting a European framework for Corporate Social Responsibility, whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society. The paper, intended as a launch pad for debate, takes up the "triple bottom line" concept, whereby companies voluntarily take on board social and environmental concerns besides their economic ones. In line with the Commission's proposal for a Sustainable Development Strategy for Europe, recently endorsed by the Gothenburg European Council, the paper argues that all three elements can dovetail to create more productive and profitable business. Announcing its publication, Commissioners Diamantopoulou and Liikanen said : "More and more firms are realising the link between profitability and best ethical and environmental practice. Conscientious firms not only attract and retain the best workers, they can also get ahead in the technology game, vital for that all-important competitive edge." The paper is a direct contribution to the goal, backed by EU leaders at the March 2000 Lisbon European Council, of making the EU "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion." Part of this challenge lies in combining business profitability with the twin concepts of sustainability and accountability. It is also about striking the appropriate balance between flexibility and responsibility in creating a business-friendly environment.
  • [06] Commission approves euro 27.6 million aid to Kartogroup Deutschland GmbH (Kartogroup) The European Commission approved euro 27.6 million (DM 53.9 million) aid to the investment of Kartogroup in Leuna, Sachsen-Anhalt. The investment concerns setting up a tissue plant to produce toilet paper and kitchen towels. The total investment costs amount to euro 85 million (DM 166 million) and the aid approved represents 35% of the eligible investment costs. The investment project creates 154 permanent jobs in an area suffering from high unemployment. The Commission approved the aid since it found the aid to be compatible with the rules applicable to regional aid for large investment projects.
  • [07] Commission approves German research project on Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography The European Commission decided to raise no objections on a grant of DM 120 million (euro 60 million) for a German five year cooperative research project on extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV). The purpose of the aid is to promote the German participation to a joint Eureka project aiming at the development of EUV lithography technologies in Europe, that could strengthen the position of the European semiconductor industry suppliers through the development of know-how and intellectual property.
  • [08] La Commission autorise l'octroi d'une aide à l'investissement à une usine de polypropylène en Grèce La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas opposer d'objections au projet du gouvernement grec d'accorder une aide à l'investissement à Hellenic Petroleum S.A. Cette aide est plafonnée à 38 millions d'euros (12.941 millions de GRD) pour des dépenses éligibles de 117 millions. Elle ira à la construction d'une usine intégrée, composée de deux unités qui produiront différents types de polypropylène de la famille des thermoplastiques. La Grèce ne possède pour l'instant aucun site de production de polypropylène.
  • [09] Commission approves State aid awarded to Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden AG The European Commission has decided not to raise objections against State aid measures in favour of Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden AG (ZMD), a semiconductor producer in Saxony, Germany. The company was awarded a total of euro 164 million for restructuring purposes in the time period of 1993 to 2001.
  • [10] Commission reduces planned aid to Volkswagen for new factory in Dresden (Germany) The European Commission has decided that Germany may pay around 85% of the planned regional investment aid in favour of Volkswagen for the production of the future D1-model in a new car plant in Dresden, the 'gläserne Manufaktur' (transparent factory). After conducting the formal investigation procedure the Commission found that aid amounting to DM 145 million for a total investment of nearly DM 1000 million is compatible with the EU rules for State aid and the framework for aid to the motor vehicle industry in particular. A further DM 25,7 million is considered incompatible with the common market and may not be granted. The German authorities had asserted that the new model could also be built in the Czech Republic and that the aid was necessary to keep the investment in Germany.
  • [11] La Commission confirme son autorisation de l'aide d'Etat reçue par Alitalia en 1997 La Commission européenne a pris une nouvelle décision sur l'aide d'Etat reçue par Alitalia en 1997, qui confirme sa précédente décision du 15 juillet 1997 d'autoriser cette aide moyennant le respect de certaines conditions. Néanmoins, la nouvelle décision tient dûment compte des termes de l'arrêt du 12 décembre 2000 par lequel le Tribunal de Première instance des Communautés européennes avait annulé la précédente décision pour défaut de motivation et erreur manifeste d'appréciation.
  • [12] Ports italiens : la Commission approuve les mesures sociales en faveur des dockers pour un montant de 566 millions d'euros La Commission européenne a autorisé toutes les mesures sociales prises en faveur des travailleurs portuaires entre 1992-1998 dans le cadre de la réforme des ports italiens. En revanche, les aides destinées à couvrir les pertes d'exploitation des entreprises de travaux portuaires d'un montant de plus de 131 millions d'euros sont déclarées incompatibles avec le marché commun.
  • [13] Maritime Cabotage Services : Commission sends reasoned opinions to Greece and Portugal The European Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to Greece and Portugal whose legislation do not respect their EU obligations, that shipowners who have their ships registered in and flying the flag of a Member State are entitled to provide maritime transport services within any other Member State. Both countries will have to answer within two months.
  • [14] Transport maritime : la Commission décide de poursuivre la procédure d'infraction contre le Portugal et l'Italie en matière de partage de cargaisons La Commission européenne a décidé d'envoyer un avis motivé à l'Italie et une mise en demeure au Portugal pour non-conformité de leurs accords de partage de cargaisons respectifs avec les règles communautaires de libre prestation de services de transport maritime. L'Italie a conclu un accord avec la Chine, le Portugal avec les républiques de Croatie, de Bosnie- Herzégovine, l'Ancienne République Yougoslave de Macédoine et la République Fédérale de Yougoslavie.
  • [15] Maritime safety : Commission pursues infringement proceedings against 11 Member States for non communication of national measures The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement proceedings against several Member States which do not fully respect European legislation on maritime safety as they have not informed the Commission of the national measures required. "EU has decided to make maritime safety a priority", said Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of transport policy. "This means that we have not only to promote better legislation but also to control that all appropriate measures have been taken by Member States."
  • [16] Commission takes Greece, Ireland and Italy to the Court of Justice and sends a reasoned opinion to Austria for infringing EU legislation on transport of dangerous goods The European Commission has decided to take Ireland, Italy and Greece to the Court of Justice for non-communication of national measures on the transport of dangerous goods by road and/or by rail. The Directives concerned by the non-communication are Directive 1999/47/EC on transport of dangerous goods by road and Directive 1999/48/EC on transport of dangerous goods by rail. The Commission will also send a reasoned opinion to Austria for not respecting Directive 94/55/EC harmonising requirements in the transport of dangerous goods by road.
  • [17] La Commission adresse un avis motivé à l'Italie pour non-exécution de l'arrêt l'obligeant à récupérer les aides octroyées en 1992 aux transporteurs routiers professionnels La Cour de Justice a constaté en janvier 1998 le manquement de l'Italie à ses obligations de récupération avec intérêts, des aides fiscales d'une valeur avoisinant les 142 millions € (275 milliards de lires) octroyées aux transporteurs routiers italiens pendant l'année 1992. Ces aides ont été déclarées illégales par décision de la Commission du 9 juin 1993. Malgré les demandes répétées de la Commission, l'Italie ne les a toujours pas récupérées. La Commission a donc décidé aujourd'hui d'envoyer un avis motivé au titre de l'article 228 du Traité pour non-exécution de l'arrêt de la Cour. A défaut, la Commission saisira de nouveau la Cour de Justice afin de faire condamner l'Italie au paiement d'une astreinte.
  • [18] Commission sends reasoned opinions to Austria and Ireland for non- communication of national measures on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and trailers Directive 1999/52/EC (modifiying Directive 96/96/EC) on roadworthiness tests concerning diesel engined vehicle emissions deals with in particular with vehicle preconditioning with a view to avoid damages to the engine. Member States had to adopt the necessary legislation before 1 October 2000. Austria and Ireland have indicated that they are still in the process of preparing implementing measures.
  • [19] Commission addresses reasoned opinions to Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal for failing to notify national legislation on the charging of heavy goods vehicles These Member States did not communicate national measures transposing Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures. Member States had to adopt the necessary legislation before 1 July 2000. One year after the required date of implementation Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal have not yet notified the European Commission accordingly.
  • [20] Commission sends reasoned opinion to Italy on the opening up of groundhandling services at airports The European Commission has sent reasoned opinion to Italy for non complying with Community legislation on the progressive opening up of the groundhandling services market at Community airports. A number of provisions in the Italian legislation implementing Council Directive 96/67/EC (adopted on 15 October 1996 lays down basic Community rules on the progressive opening up of the groundhandling services market at Community airports) are not in compliance with the relevant provisions of the Directive. This is most notably the case for legislation dealing with the selection of (new) service providers : it does not contain the required limitation to seven years for the selection of suppliers of groundhandling services ; it includes provisions regarding the protection of employees going beyond the rules provided by the Directive. The Commission requests the Italian authorities to take the necessary measures to comply with the Reasoned Opinion within a period of two months.
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [21] Statement by Commissioner Michaele Schreyer on civil action against Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds "Fighting fraud, and cigarette smuggling in particular, is and remains our top priority. By deciding a year ago to start a civil action against Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, we took an important new step. The European Commission takes note of the order issued by the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. While our claim was dismissed on a single point of law, our arguments clearly prevailed on all other main legal issues. Especially important is the finding that the "revenue rule", a rule of US law which could prevent the recovery of foreign customs duties and taxes in the US courts, did not bar our case. The legal personality of the European Community was also specifically recognised. So there are many positive aspects of the order which I welcome. The Judge considered that the European Community has no standing for its federal law claims since it suffered no direct injury through cigarette smuggling because the Member States make up any possible loss through the so-called "fourth resource", i.e. their contribution to the Community budget based on GNP. The Court suggested that the injury was therefore suffered by the Member States. The Court did not agree to let the Member States join the action at this stage. Consequently, the order deals exclusively with the European Community claims. The Commission believes that both EC and the Member States have indeed suffered and continue to suffer losses of revenue because of cigarette smuggling. The Commission and the Member States will now together examine how best to go about pursuing their claims."
  • [22] Meeting of Mario Monti and Caio Koch-Weser European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti and German State Secretary Caio Koch-Weser met yesterday to discuss the measures to be taken by Germany to resolve the long standing State aid issues in connection with the guarantees existing for the German public financial institutions ("Anstaltslast" and "Gewährträgerhaftung"). Mr Koch-Weser was heading a delegation including the Finance Ministers of Northrhine-Westfalia, Mr Steinbrück, Bavaria, Mr Faltlhauser, and Baden-Württemberg, Mr Stratthaus, and the President of the German Savings Banks' and Giro Association, Mr Hoppenstedt.
  • [23] June 2001 Euro-zone annual inflation down to 3.0% ; EU15 down to 2.8% (! embargo 12 am !) Euro-zone annual inflation fell from 3.4% in May to 3.0% in June, Eurostat reports today. A year earlier the rate was 2.4%. EU15 annual inflation fell from 3.1% in May to 2.8% in June. A year earlier the rate was 2.1%. In June, highest annual rates were in the Netherlands (5.0%), Portugal (4.6%) and Greece (4.5%) ; lowest rates were in the United Kingdom (1.7%), France and Denmark (both 2.2%). Compared with June 2000, the biggest relative rises were in the United Kingdom (0.8% to 1.7%), Sweden (1.4% to 3.0%) and Greece (2.2% to 4.5%) ; the biggest relative falls were in Luxembourg (4.4% to 2.7%), Denmark (2.9% to 2.2%) and Ireland (5.4% to 4.3%).
  • [24] Fourth EU-FYROM Cooperation Council meeting The fourth meeting of the Cooperation Council between the European Union and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) took place in Brussels, on 17 July 2001. Pending the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (signed on 9 April 2001 in Luxembourg) the Cooperation Council, set up by the Cooperation Agreement of 1997, monitors the implementation of the Interim Agreement on trade and trade related matters, which entered into force on 1 June 2001.
  • [25] Merger approved under the simplified procedure Borg Warner Inc. (USA) / Hitachi (Japan)

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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