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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-12-05

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

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>

Midday Express 05/12/2001

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

  • [01] Commission wants broad mandate for the Future of Europe Convention The European Commission has adopted a Communication on the future of the European Union. It argues that the European Council in Laeken should adopt a broad mandate for the forthcoming Convention on institutional reform. The key questions which the Convention should tackle are : what should Member States do together in the future Union? ; how should democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the Union be improved? The Commission's paper stresses the importance of the "Community method" for European policy-making. This method, based on the tried and tested balance between the key European Institutions - Commission, Council and Parliament, will be indispensable for achieving better democracy and effectiveness in an enlarged Union.
  • [02] "Cartels : We will catch you and make you pay", says Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission "For the second time in a fortnight, the Commission has taken tough action against organised cartels which have been ripping off customers in Europe by practices such as price-fixing. Today we have imposed fines on a cartel in citric acid, a product used in many foodstuffs, as well as on cartels in the Belgian and Luxembourg beer markets. The message to any companies which are playing this game is clear : the Commission will not tolerate attempts to cheat the European public and undermine the competitiveness of our economy. If you try to sew up the market in secret deals, we will catch you and make you pay. The fact that the Commission polices the single market to stop this kind of behaviour is one of the most direct benefits which the European Union brings to ordinary people."
  • [03] Décision antitrust à l'encontre de De Post - La Poste, pour protéger des atteintes du monopole un service postal ouvert à la concurrence La Commission européenne a décidé que l'opérateur belge des services postaux, De Post La Poste ("La Poste") a abusé de sa position dominante en établissant un tarif préférentiel pour le service de courrier général, subordonné à l'acceptation d'un contrat supplémentaire couvrant un nouveau service de courrier d'entreprise à entreprise. Ce nouveau service entre en concurrence avec le service d'échange de documents ("document exchange") fourni par Hays, une entreprise privée établie au Royaume-Uni. Etant donné que la poste a exploité les ressources financières de son monopole dans le secteur de la poste aux lettres pour étendre sa position dominante au marché séparé et distinct des services d'entreprise à entreprise, la Commission a imposé une amende de 2.5 millions d'euros.
  • [04] Interim financing solution needed for budget 2002 Due to delays in the ratification of the own resource decision by five Member States, the European Commission has proposed an interim solution to finance next year's budget. Amending letter No. 3 that will be sent to the Budgetary Authority will have the effect that Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and the UK will pay more during the first months of 2002 than originally envisaged. After ratification, this amount will be compensated retroactively as the own resource decision comes into force on 1 January 2002. "Member States should take their own decisions more seriously", said Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer. "Otherwise bureaucracy is maximised. All should be interested in the swift application of their decisions."
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [05] Statement of European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten on outcome of Bonn talks on Afghanistan "I welcome the breakthrough reached this morning at the UN-sponsored talks in Bonn on the future of Afghanistan. I congratulate UN Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi and his team, as well as the Afghan leaders on achieving this important step towards the stabilisation of Afghanistan. This is an important - and long-awaited - day for the Afghan people. It should lay the foundation for a stable, peaceful and democratic future for the country and will provide the international community with a partner for providing reconstruction assistance. The European Commission is mobilising its Rapid Reaction Mechanism to provide immediate support for the task force led by UNSR Brahimi and for an initial package of support to the interim administration to help it to address the formidable challenges it faces."
  • [06] Soins de santé - la Commission propose trois objectifs communautaires en matière de soins de santé et de soins aux personnes âgées : accès pour tous, qualité et viabilité financière La Commission européenne a approuvé aujourd'hui une analyse de l'offre de soins de santé et de soins aux personnes âgés dans l'UE et a dégagé trois objectifs communs pour tous les systèmes de l'Union. Elle a conclu que les systèmes de soins de santé nationaux, bien que différents dans leur conception, leur administration et leur financement, sont confrontés à des défis fondamentalement similaires, tant dans l'immédiat qu'à plus long terme. Premièrement, les personnes vivent plus longtemps (dans une large mesure, grâce aux systèmes de soins eux-mêmes) et les structures familiales traditionnelles changent. Deuxièmement, les technologies de soins se développent rapidement et ont un coût. Troisièmement, les citoyens de l'UE, en tant que consommateurs de soins, ont de nouvelles exigences par rapport aux systèmes de soins de santé. Face à ces trois enjeux, la Commission propose trois objectifs communs : rendre les soins de santé et les soins aux personnes âgées accessibles à tous, améliorer la qualité des soins et assurer la viabilité financière des systèmes de soins à long terme. Ce document d'orientation sera présenté au Conseil européen de Barcelone au printemps 2002 et sera finalement intégré aux grandes orientations de politique économique annuelles de l'UE.
  • [07] Interreg programme : EU contributes euro 47.6 million for Ireland and Wales Michel Barnier, Member of the European Commission responsible for Regional Policy, announced today the approval by the Commission of a cross-border support programme for Ireland and Wales which is financed by the Community initiative Interreg. It covers the Dublin, Mid East and South East regions in Ireland and Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey, South West Wales and parts of Conwy in Wales. The programme covers the period 2000-2006. It focuses on increased cross-border cooperation in the field of spatial development, environmental issues and coordination of activities as regards the regional economy. The total budget available is euro 65.5 million to which the EU will contribute euro 47.6 million. Another euro 17.8 million comes from national and regional budgets.
  • [08] Urban II programme : EU contributes euro 10.6 million for urban regeneration in West Wrexham, Wales Michel Barnier, Member of the European Commission responsible for Regional Policy, will sign today the new Urban II programme for West Wrexham in Wales in the presence of Rhodri Morgan, First Minister in the National Assembly for Wales. This Uurban Community Initiative Programme will provide euro 10.6 million from the EU over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted euro 10.1 million in further investment from the public sector and euro 0.5 million from the private sector, creating total resources of euro 21.2 million. Priorities will include entrepreneurship and business development and community participation.
  • [09] La Commission ouvre une enquête approfondie sur l'acquisition d'Aventis Crop Science par Bayer La Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir une enquête approfondie concernant le projet d'acquisition d'Aventis Crop Science par Bayer AG. La Commission craint une restriction importante de la concurrence dans les domaines des insecticides, des herbicides, des fongicides et des produits de traitement des semences destinés au secteur agricole, ainsi que dans le domaine de la lutte contre les parasites des animaux domestiques, notamment les tiques et les puces.
  • [10] September 2001 compared to September 2000 - Volume of retail trade up by 1.8% in euro-zone ; EU15 up by 2.6% (! embargo 12 am !) In September 2001, as compared to September 2000, the volume of retail trade gained 1.8% in the euro-zone and 2.6% in the EU15, Eurostat, estimates today. Compared to August 2001, sales increased by 0.3% both in the euro-zone and in the EU15. Compared to September 2000, retail trade of "food, drinks, tobacco" rose by 1.1% in the euro-zone and 1.6% in the EU15, while the non food sector advanced by 2.1% and 3.4% respectively. Sales of food in specialised stores continued to fall, this time by 4.8% in the euro-zone and by 3.3% in the EU15 while sales in non specialised stores increased by 1.7% and 2.0% respectively. Both "textiles, clothing and footwear" and "books, newspapers and other sales in specialised stores" had strong growth rates of 6.4% and 4.4% respectively in the euro-zone and 7.5% and 4.6% in the EU15.
  • [11] November 2001 - Euro-area business climate indicator down -0.04 (! embargo 12 am !) Following the steep fall in October (by 0.58), the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) declined somewhat in November. The further deterioration suggests that the historical fall recorded last month can only partially be attributed to an overreaction to the terrorist attacks in the USA last September. The Business Climate Indicator was at similar levels in March 1996. Full document available at 13.00 on the following address :
  • [12] Foot-and-mouth disease in the UK : export of live pigs can restart The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) yesterday voted in favour of a European Commission proposal allowing the United Kingdom to export live pigs from certain areas for the first time since the outbreak of foot-and- mouth disease (FMD). The areas are those that have had no outbreak since the beginning of the epidemic : the Scottish Islands, most of Scotland, some counties in the east of Great Britain and a few counties in Wales. The areas from which the UK is allowed to export fresh meat from bovine, ovine and caprine and porcine animals have also been extended. It will now be possible to export meat from those species from Devon, Herefordshire, Lancashire and Powys. The proposal will be formally adopted by the Commission in the next several days.
  • [13] ESB : le Comité scientifique directeur publie des avis sur l'origine de l'ESB et d'autres problèmes liés à l'ESB Le Comité scientifique directeur (CSD), qui conseille la Commission européenne sur les encéphalopathies spongiformes bovines (ESB) et d'autres questions pluridisciplinaires, publie de nouveaux avis sur l'origine et la transmission de l'ESB, sur les cas d'ESB découverts au Royaume-Uni dans le bétail né après l'interdiction d'utiliser, pour l'alimentation animale, des farines de viandes et d'os, et sur les critères d'enquête en vue de l'obtention de données fiables sur la fréquence des cas d'ESB et d'EST chez les bovins, les ovins et les caprins. Il a également revu son avis sur l'approvisionnement en matériels dérivés de ruminants à des fins médicales.
  • [14] La Commission octroie une aide humanitaire supplémentaire de 7,5 millions d'euros aux victimes de la crise dans les territoires palestiniens La Commission européenne octroie une aide alimentaire d'urgence supplémentaire de 7,5 millions d'euros aux victimes de la crise qui se déroule actuellement en Cisjordanie et à Gaza. Depuis octobre 2000, les conditions dans les territoires palestiniens n'ont cessé de se détériorer et la situation s'est encore aggravée avec l'augmentation des tensions qui a suivi les attentats terroristes du 11 septembre 2001 aux Etats-Unis. Cette aide permettra de financer la poursuite de la distribution de vivres à 217.000 familles de réfugiés. Acheminée par l'intermédiaire de l'Office d'aide humanitaire (ECHO), qui est placé sous la responsabilité du commissaire Poul Nielson, cette aide porte le montant alloué par ECHO aux territoires palestiniens en 2001 à 27,6 millions d'euros.
  • [15] Poul Nielson visits bomb disposal site near Kabul On the second day of his visit to Afghanistan, Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, has witnessed bomb disposal operations carried out by ECHO partners north of Kabul.
  • [16] EU to observe the Zambian Presidential elections The European Commission today adopted a decision to finance the final elements of an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the presidential, parliamentary and local elections scheduled in Zambia for 27 December 2001. The mission will be headed by Michael Meadowcroft. The EU Election Unit has been active in Lusaka since June in following the administrative preparations for the elections, including voter registration, as well as the election campaign and media activity. The Unit has been recently complemented by 16 long term observers who have already been deployed throughout the country. The EU Election Observation Mission will be joined by some 75 short term observers before the polling day, who will follow voting, counting and tabulation procedures. Statements and reports from the EOM will be available on The EU has also provided euro 6 million in assistance to the Zambian authorities to organise the election.
  • [17] Autre matériel diffusé Speech by Franz Fischler : "Agricultural aspects of the WTO negotiations and EU Enlargement" at the Centre for European Reform (04/12) Discours de M. Fischler : "Hearing zu Eiweisspflanzen im WSA" devant la commission économique et sociale du PE (04/12) Discours de M. Franz Fischler : ""Die Gemeinsame Agrarpolitik und ihre Rolle im vereinten Europa" devant le Mouvement Européen Belgique (04/12) Note sur les résultats du Conseil Ecofin Note sur la préparation du Conseil Télécoms Note sur la préparation du Conseil Transports Note sur les résultats du Conseil Energie

    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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