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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-11-28

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 28/11/2001

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

  • [01] La Commission propose un rapprochement des législations pénales, à l'échelle de l'UE, sur les infractions racistes La Commission européenne propose que les actes racistes et xénophobes soient soumis aux mêmes sanctions dans tous les Etats membres. Dans une proposition de décision-cadre (un instrument législatif dans le domaine du droit pénal) adoptée aujourd'hui, la Commission a souligné la nécessité que les auteurs d'infractions racistes et xénophobes soient traduits en justice et que les tribunaux disposent à leur encontre de sanctions appropriées et proportionnées communes à toute l'Europe. La proposition envoie un signal dissuasif puissant à quiconque envisage de commettre ce type d'infraction. Les infractions que concerne cette proposition comprennent l'incitation publique à la violence ou à la haine dans un but raciste ou xénophobe et la direction d'un groupe raciste ou xénophobe, le soutien de ce groupe ou la participation à ses activités. Pour ces comportements, une sanction "minimum maximum" de deux ans est proposée. La diffusion publique de documents racistes par quelque moyen que ce soit, y compris l'Internet, doit également être considérée comme une infraction.
  • [02] Civil protection in the EU : Commission coordination reinforced In response to a request by EU Heads of State and Government, the European Commission has approved a Communication setting out the action it has taken to mobilise its resources, expertise and networks in the area of civil protection to respond to terrorist threats. At the European Council in Ghent, the Heads of State and Government called on the Commission and the Council to organise an urgent and coordinated programme to respond to the threat of bio-terrorism. The Commission's reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the anthrax incidents following has been swift and determined. In the Communication adopted today the Commission states that it will appoint a European coordinator, who will be responsible for the management and coordination of actions for civil protection.
  • [03] Financing of EU civilian crisis management operations The European Commission has adopted a Communication on the financing of civilian crisis management operations. Recent events have underlined the need to be prepared in order to intervene rapidly and effectively in crisis situations in third countries. Civil crisis management covers a variety of instruments, ranging from economic aid, civilian emergency assistance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, infrastructure development to human rights and diplomatic action under the CFSP. The Communication proposes to establish a new flexibility instrument for funding civil crisis interventions, including CFSP action by an interinstitutional agreement between the Council, the European Parliament, and the Commission, as well as to facilitate recourse to the current emergency reserve. In parallel, the management procedures for these and other instruments will be streamlined further.
  • [04] Commission extends state aid investigation into further restructuring of public shipyards in Spain The European Commission has decided to extend its ongoing formal investigation concerning the restructuring of Spanish shipbuilding by including all transactions that led to the creation of the shipbuilding group IZAR. The Commission doubts whether the price paid by Bazan/IZAR for a number of shipyards bought from Astilleros Espanoles (AESA) and from Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI) was a genuine market transaction and therefore could be aid to the new IZAR group. The Commission also doubts whether such aid would be compatible with the shipbuilding aid rules. An investigation procedure is already open since 12 July 2001 concerning a transaction whereby AESA sold two shipyards and a motor factory to SEPI.
  • [05] Commission initiates investigation with respect to proposed State aid in favour of Infineon Technologies The European Commission has decided to initiate the formal investigation procedure laid down in Art. 88(2) of the EC Treaty with respect to proposed State aid amounting to euro 219 million in favour of Infineon Technologies SC 300 GmbH & Co. KG, Dresden (Germany). The Commission doubts that the aid is compatible with the EC Treaty.
  • [06] Commission approves UK emission trading scheme The European Commission has approved, under the State aid rules, the United Kingdom's greenhouse gases emission trading scheme, which is supposed to start early in 2002. The Commission's green light allows the UK to gain early trading experience before an EU wide system will enter into force, for which the Commission only recently made a proposal to the Council and the European Parliament. The Commission acknowledged the positive aspects of the UK initiative, but indicated that the substantial differences between the UK approach and the proposed Commission's directive might lead to market distortions in the future. In this case, modifications to the UK scheme would be proposed to bring it in line with EC legislation. However, the Commission would welcome it if the UK government worked towards the same objective on its own initiative.
  • [07] Commission takes final positive decision on a management contract between German Georgsmarienhütte and Gröditzer Following a formal investigation procedure the European Commission has decided that a management service contract concluded between the German Treuhand-successor BvS (Bundesanstalt für vereinigungsbedingte Sonderaufgaben), its 100% subsidiary Stahl Gröditz and steelmaker Georgsmarienhütte does not contain State aid.
  • [08] Commission extends investigation of aid to porcelain manufacturer Kahla in Thüringen The European Commission has decided to extend the formal investigation procedure against non-notified aid granted by the German Land of Thüringen to Kahla Porzellan GmbH (Kahla I) and Kahla/Thüringen Porzellan GmbH (Kahla II). The extension concerns financial measures of euro 14.9 million which seem to constitute unlawful State aid incompatible with the Common Market.
  • [09] Commission declares State aid to Telux Spezialglas GmbH compatible with the EC Treaty The European Commission has decided not to raise objections to non-notified State aid of an amount of euro 2,045,000 in favour of Telux Spezialglas GmbH, a company based in Weißwasser, Sachsen, Germany.
  • [10] Assurance des compagnies aériennes : la Commission autorise les aides d'urgence mises en place par le Portugal et le Luxembourg après les attentats du 11 septembre La Commission européenne continue d'agir pour faire face aux conséquences des attentats aux Etats-Unis pour le secteur du transport aérien. Après l'aide d'urgence du Royaume-Uni autorisée le 23/10/01, elle vient d'autoriser les régimes d'aides mis en place par le Portugal et le Luxembourg. La Commission examine actuellement la compatibilité des régimes d'aide d'urgence semblables notifiés par les autres Etats membres et s'apprête à adopter de nouvelles décisions dans les prochains jours.
  • [11] Commission opens investigation into UK aid schemes involving purchase and leasing of fish quotas The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into two State aid schemes in the United Kingdom relating to the financing by the Shetland and Orkney Islands Councils of purchase and leasing of quotas to local fishermen. The Commission had been informed of these schemes by a Member of the European Parliament. After a preliminary assessment, the Commission has doubts about the compatibility of these schemes with EU rules governing state aid.
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [12] La Commission adopte le 7ème rapport sur la libéralisation des télécommunications dans les Etats membres La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui une communication sur l'état d'avancement de la mise en œuvre par les Etats membres du cadre réglementaire européen actuel dans le domaine des télécommunications. La principale conclusion de ce rapport est que, malgré le pessimisme ambiant au niveau macro-économique, le secteur des télécom se porte très bien, les autorités réglementaires nationales continuent d'avancer sur la voie de la libéralisation, mais aussi que, à la veille de l'adoption d'un nouveau cadre, plusieurs goulets d'étranglement réglementaires demeurent. Les divergences d'application dans le cadre actuel portent à penser qu'un solide mécanisme de transparence et une meilleure coordination entre les autorités réglementaires nationales constituent un préalable pour assurer des règles du jeu équitables et un marché unique européen pour les services télécom.
  • [13] Scientific opinion reviews UK reserve on GMO-maize The Scientific Committee on Plants (SCP) has published on 23/11/2001 an opinion concerning the use by the United Kingdom of the safeguard clause of Council Directive 90/220 with respect to the authorisation of a specific genetically modified maize line (maize line T25). The UK invoked the safeguard clause for measures taken by the Assembly of Wales requiring that maize line T25 crops must be grown at specified distances from non-GM maize crops in Wales, so that organic and non-GM crops can continue to be grown within the same environment without a risk of contamination with GM crops. The Committee examined the information submitted by the UK authorities to substantiate its action, and found that it does not provide new scientific data to change the original risk assessment carried out in 1998. On the basis of this risk assessment marketing approval for cultivation was given the same year. The Committee states in particular that the issue raised about the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops in the same environment is related to management and not to risk assessment. The full text of the opinion is available at : http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scp/outcome_gmo_en.html
  • [14] EU and Japan to cut red tape with entry into force of Mutual Recognition Agreement from 1 January 2002 Further to today's completion of the relevant procedures, a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the EU and Japan covering radio and telecommunication equipment, electrical products, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for medicinal products and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) for chemicals, will enter into force on 1 January 2002. The Agreement will smooth EU-Japan trade by providing for the reciprocal acceptance of testing, certification and approval of products by the EU and Japan. As a result, products can be certified by recognised bodies in the EU to Japanese requirements, then sold in Japan without having to undergo any further approval procedures. The MRA will cut both the costs and the time associated with obtaining product approvals. The MRA will cover euro 2.5 billion-worth of EU-Japan trade and could result in savings of at least euro 20 million per year. Welcoming the Agreement, European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "This is good news for EU-Japan trade. Lenghty negotiations have finally delivered a result which will cut red tape and provide significant savings for EU exporters in a very important market."
  • [15] Commission welcomes adoption of Association regime between EU and OCTs 2001-2011 On 19 November 2001, the General Affairs Council reached by unanimity a political agreement on the future association arrangement which will provide an updated cooperation framework for the relations between the EU and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), a group of twenty islands territories spread from the Arctic to the Pacific Ocean linked to Member States, for the next 10 years. This political agreement was formally endorsed on 27 November. European Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson expressed satisfaction on this achievement, which will deepen and expand the support that the EU gives to those territories. "I welcome this text which is the result of long, and sometimes difficult, negotiations. The final text is sufficiently balanced and overall constitutes a much-improved instrument for cooperation. Recognising the increasingly dynamic role of the OCTs, the dialogue with them will be strengthened within a reinforced partnership procedure with a view to providing the most open forum for discussing any matter of common interest."
  • [16] Winners of Descartes Prize 2001 The Descartes Prize was awarded yesterday to two projects for outstanding scientific and technological achievements resulting from European collaborative research. Euro 700,000 was awarded to a project on AIDS lead by Professor Jan Balzarini (K.U. Leuven, Belgium) in collaboration with teams from six countries (Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom). Euro 300,000 was awarded to a project on catalysis lead by Dr Michael North (King's College, United Kingdom) in collaboration with teams from five countries (Armenia, Germany, France, Russia and the United Kingdom). The award ceremony of the second EU's Descartes Prize took place in the historic Bibliotheque Solvay, Brussels. This high-level event took place in the presence of EU Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, the President of the EU Research Council, François-Xavier de Donnea and DG Research Director-General, Achilleas Mitsos. For further information: www.cordis.lu/descartes
  • [17] Speed skating champion Johann Koss to meet Sport Commissioner Reding today on the Athlete's passport project Former Olympic and World Champion, Johann Koss from Norway, now member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and representative of the athletes in the board of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) is in Brussels today and will meet Viviane Reding, the European Sports Commissioner. The main topic of the discussion will be the "Athlete's passport project", a WADA project supported by the Commission in the framework of three pilot projects worth euro 2 million decided last August. The "Athlete's passport" would be able to record all anti doping tests on athletes and their results as well as a clearinghouse through which athletes could access anti doping information. This passport will contribute to raising awareness among athletes on doping issues and will be used by WADA, sports federations and Olympic committees to organise their testing programmes. A first draft will be presented to the Olympic committees, the athletes and the press by Commissioner Reding, IOC President Jacques Rogge, and WADA President Richard Pound on the occasion of the Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City next February. The meeting between Viviane Reding and Johann Koss will take place today at 17.00 hrs in the Commissioner's office (Rue Van Maerlant, 2, office 07/45). TV and photographs are welcomed (please confirm: Christophe Forax 0498 95 69 64).
  • [18] Merger approved under the simplified procedure Deutsche Bank AG (D) / TDC A/S (DA) / JV
  • [19] Autre matériel diffusé Note sur les résultats du Conseil Pêche Note sur la préparation du Conseil Education / Jeunesse Discours de M. Prodi : "Verso Laeken" au Parlement européen (! embargo 15h00 !) Speech by Poul Nielson at the 2002 UN Consolidated Appeals Process Launch (27/11) Speech by Erkki Liikanen : "Network Security - Policy Development in the European Union" at the EU Forum on Cybercrime (27/11)

    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/
    © 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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