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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-11-23

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

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>

Midday Express 23/11/2001

  • [01] Commission settles Marathon case with Thyssengas The European Commission has decided to close the Marathon case as regards Thyssengas GmbH after the German gas company committed itself to grant improved access to its pipeline network. The Commission's investigation, which relates to the alleged joint refusal to grant Norwegian gas producer Marathon access to continental European gas pipelines in the nineties, will continue regarding other European companies. "Refusal to grant third-party access to gas pipelines makes a farce of the European internal market and constitutes a violation of competition rules", Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said, adding : "I hope that the commitments offered by Thyssengas will quickly become industry practice in Germany and also help improve the situation in certain other Member States, to the benefit of German and European industrial users as well as traders and ultimately all final consumers".
  • [02] Commission welcomes report on cross-border clearing and settlement in the European Union Investor demand for foreign securities has increased sharply within the European Union since the introduction of the euro. However, the EU infrastructure for clearing and settling cross-border transactions remains highly fragmented according to a report submitted to the European Commission today by Alberto Giovannini, as Chairman of the group of financial experts offering advice to the European Union on capital market issues (Giovannini Group). Fragmentation complicates significantly the post- trade processing of cross-border securities transactions relative to domestic transactions and creates barriers to the efficient delivery of clearing and settlement services. There are three main types of barrier : (i) national differences in technical requirements and market practice ; (ii) national differences in tax procedures ; and (iii) issues relating to legal certainty. To tackle these barriers, the Group suggests that clearing and settlement in the EU could be significantly improved by market-led initiatives to convergence and/or ensuring inter-operability as regards technical requirements and market practices across national systems. On the other hand, the removal of barriers related to taxation and legal certainty is clearly the responsibility of the public sector.
  • [03] Programme Urban II : l'UE contribuera pour 10,7 millions d'euros au développement de la zone urbaine française du Havre Lors de sa visite au Havre, M. Michel Barnier, Commissaire en charge de la politique régionale, a annoncé l'approbation par la Commission européenne d'un programme pour la zone urbaine française du Havre pour la période 2000- 2006. Ce programme a été adopté au titre de l'initiative communautaire Urban II. Il apportera une contribution de près de 11 millions d'euros de la part de l'UE. Les autres contributions en provenance de l'Etat, des collectivités locales et du secteur privé, s'élèvent à plus de 19 millions d'euros, pour un montant total d'interventions de plus de 30 millions d'euros.
  • [04] Green light for Italian Leader+ The European Commission has given green light for six Leader+ rural development programmes in Italy : Piemonte (euro 36,89 million see IP/01/1644) ; Friuli-Venezia Giulia (euro 16,1 million see IP/01/1655) ; Veneto (euro 40,5 million see IP/01/1643) ; Emilia-Romagna (euro 28,67 million see IP/01/1649) ; Liguria (euro 18,629 million see IP/01/1648) ; Lombardia (euro 24,067 million see IP/01/1646). Welcoming the decisions, Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said : "These programmes aim to pilot new ideas to help build a more sustainable society, economy and environment for rural Italy. They aim to improve the quality of life for all those who live in rural areas. Leader+ will help to increase the added value of local products and to make the best use of natural and cultural resources."
  • [05] Afghan women and the post-Taliban régime : "It's never feasible to plan the reconstruction of a country whilst excluding 50% of the population from representation at the table" With an eye to the UN conference on Afghanistan next week, Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner for employment and social affairs, today said that plans for the reconstruction of Afghanistan must include means to guarantee respect of women's human rights. She welcomed the recent foreign ministers' conclusions identifying the need to promote the role of women in Afghan society but said that women must be involved in defining that role. Mrs Diamantopoulou will participate in Sunday's Amnesty International demonstration in Brussels calling for the human rights of Afghan women to be given priority status in talks on the new Afghanistan.
  • [06] Environment ministers from Candidate Countries discuss enlargement and environment policy with Commission and Presidency Environment ministers of the thirteen candidate countries will meet with European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and Ms Magda Aelvoet, President of the Environment Council, to discuss environmental aspects of enlargement on 27 November 2001 in Brussels. The meeting will address six issues: Benefits for candidate countries of complying with with EU environmental legislation, measuring sustainable development, preparations for the World Summit in Johannesburg on Sustainable Development, trading of greenhouse gas emissions and EU waterlegislation. During the meeting, prizes will also be awarded to cities in the candidate countries that have sucessfully adapted their rules and practices to match EU environmental laws.
  • [07] 15 Central and Eastern European cities to receive awards for environmental progress 15 Central and Eastern European cities will receive the "City Towards European Union Compliance Award" for their outstanding environmental progress in implementation, integration, information and environmental education. The awarding ceremony will take place during the Seventh Informal Ministerial Meeting with the European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and the candidate countries on 27th November. The Commissioner said : "Local level involvement is very important in the accession process. Most of the environmental legislation has to be implemented at local level, which is also where the heaviest investments are required".
  • [08] Action sans précédent pour la protection du Danube et de la mer Noire La coopération régionale pour la protection du Danube et de la Mer Noire devrait recevoir une nouvelle impulsion avec la rencontre organisée 26 novembre à Bruxelles entre les ministres de l'environnement de la région et Margot Wallström, le Commissaire européen chargé de l'Environnement. Au cours de cette réunion, les ministres adopteront une déclaration sans précédent sur la protection de l'eau dans toute la région de la mer Noire et s'engageront à rétablir les écosystèmes et à restaurer la qualité de l'eau d'un des bassins hydrographiques les plus importants d'Europe. Par la même occasion, deux grandes organisations régionales s'occupant de la protection de l'eau signeront un accord en vue d'empêcher toute nouvelle dégradation du Danube et de la mer Noire.
  • [09] Margot Wallström welcomes Lithuania's progress on environment On her first official visit to Lithuania, in Vilnius today, European Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, congratulated Lithuania to the excellent results of the negotiations with the EU on the environment. The Commissioner also welcomed the progress made in adapting Lithuanian environment legislation to EU requirements, and called for Lithuania's efforts to be sustained : "Now it is time to make the legislation work better in practice, to the benefit of the Lithuanians and the environment. This will help Lithuania move even closer to membership of the EU", Commissioner Wallström stated. During her official visit to Lithuania, Mrs Wallström will be meeting with the Minister for Environment, Arunas Kundrotas and the Chief Negotiator Mr Petras Austrevicius. Furthermore, she will meet with members of the European Committee and the Environment Committee of the Seimas. She will also discuss at Vilnius University with students and a wide audience of NGOs on better Governance for the Environment.
  • [10] Commission allocates euro 2 million in humanitarian aid for refugees in Nepal The European Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Poul Nielson, has allocated euro 2 million to help support the food needs of more than 100,000 refugees from Bhutan living in camps in the Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal. ECHO's partner for this operation is the World Food Programme (WFP) which will distribute the food via the Nepalese Red Cross.
  • [11] EU signs research cooperation agreement with India European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin welcomed the signature of the agreement saying : "In Europe and in India, the expectations towards research and development are high. Research is a powerful engine for sustainable and equitable growth and competitiveness. It is also a major source of improvement of the quality of life and the environment. Therefore, both parties have every interest in successful collaboration." The European Union and India will sign this agreement on scientific and technological cooperation today in Delhi, during the 2nd EUIndia Summit. The agreement will facilitate cooperative research and development activities in science and technology fields of common interests between the EU and India, such as health, biotechnology, information society, industrial research, environment, transport and energy. The cooperation consists chiefly in the exchange of technical knowledge, experts, materials and equipment as well as training and joint studies/activities. The implementation of the Agreement will be supervised by joint working groups, which meet regularly. All costs are borne by the party that incurs them. The agreement is based on the principle of mutual benefit, reciprocal opportunities for access to each other's programmes and activities relevant to the purpose of the agreement, non-discrimination, the effective protection of intellectual property and equitable sharing of intellectual property rights. Cooperation between the EU and India has already taken place : in the last six years, the EU has supported 42 projects, worth euro 23 million, including EU and Indian scientists.
  • [12] 150 élèves et enseignants des pays de l'UE et des pays candidats la semaine prochaine à Bruxelles A l'initiative de Viviane Reding, Commissaire européenne en charge de l'Education et de la Culture, plus de 150 élèves et enseignants venus des 30 pays participant au programme Socrates d'échanges et de coopération dans le domaine de l'enseignement général seront à Bruxelles pour la "semaine Comenius" qui commencera le 26 novembre prochain. Cette "semaine Comenius" permettra aux participants et les visiteurs de découvrir des projets de coopération transnationale organisés par des écoles partout en Europe.
  • [13] Anna Diamantopoulou : "4% of GNP each year is spent on work-related injury and disability benefits" European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou will stress at her address to the European Conference on Health and Safety in Brussels today that injuries and accidents at work are costly - for firms, for governments and for the individual in physical, financial and emotional terms. Every year around 500 million working days are lost through work-related injury and illness, 60 times more than the number of days lost through industrial conflict and strike. Law-suits and compensation payouts for injuries can be crippling for companies too. And economies must also foot the bill with up to 4% of GNP spent on work- related injury and disability benefits every year.
  • [14] Autre matériel diffusé Speech by Romano Prodi : "Drawing the world together" at the 'Global Challenges' Conference (New Delhi, ! embargo 1 pm) Speech by Romano Prodi closing out the EU/India Business Summit (New Delhi) Speech by Pascal Lamy : "India and the EU: Bilateral and Multilateral Partners on the road from Doha" at the Indian Institute for Foreign Trade (22/11, New Delhi) Discours de M. Lamy : "The EU-India Economic Relations" au Sommet UE/Inde (22/11, New Delhi) Speech by Franz Fischler : "Integration des Umweltschutzes nach Cardiff ist die Modulation ein wirksames Instrument zur Neuorientierung der Landwirtschaft?" (22/11) Note sur la préparation du Conseil Marché intérieur Calendrier du 26 au 30 novembre

    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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