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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-02-05

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>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] La Commission montre les dents et propose de nouveaux contrôles des denrées alimentaires et des aliments pour animaux
  • [02] Commission acts to improve monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions
  • [03] OMC et services : la Commission présente ses propositions d'offres au Conseil et au Parlement ; les services publics pleinement préservés
  • [04] Commission investigates second rescue aid package to German aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Dornier
  • [05] La Commission autorise un régime français d'aides à la lutte contre la pollution de l'eau
  • [06] Commission starts a formal investigation into the proposed UK "SBS Incubation Fund"
  • [07] Commission starts state aid investigation of Bavarian 'machinery rings'
  • [08] UK ad hoc aid to CLYDEboyd : Commission closes the investigation procedure
  • [09] Transport maritime : la Commission donne son feu vert à l'introduction d'un régime régional de taxation au tonnage en Espagne
  • [10] Fiscalité des retraites : la Commission s'attaque à la discrimination opérée dans six Etats membres à l'encontre des fonds de pension étrangers
  • [11] Libre circulation des capitaux : la Commission décide d'ouvrir une procédure d'infraction contre l'Italie concernant les sociétés privatisées
  • [12] Free movement of capital : Commission decides to pursue infringement case on Copenhagen Airports
  • [13] Free movement of capital : Commission to ask Netherlands to review special powers in KPN and TPG
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [14] Le programme Daphné II (2004-2008) pour continuer la lutte contre la violence envers les femmes et les enfants
  • [15] La Commission autorise la création par IntesaBCI et Lazard d'une banque d'investissement qui revêtira la forme d'une entreprise commune
  • [16] Commission probes Austrian electricity merger
  • [17] Anna Diamantopoulou welcomes Latvia's agreement to shadow EU employment strategy in run-up to full accession
  • [18] Première rencontre de la troïka des ministres de l'Education et de la Commission avec les partenaires sociaux aujourd'hui à Bruxelles
  • [19] Franz Fischler calls for fair burden sharing in WTO farm talks
  • [20] Rebuilding depleted cod stocks : Commission meets fishing industry to strengthen recovery strategy
  • [21] Europe on course to dispose of nuclear waste underground, say Loyola de Palacio and Philippe Busquin
  • [22] Anna Diamantopoulou launches Round Table on Islamophobia
  • [23] Le Groupe Européen d'Ethique publie son avis sur les aspects éthiques de la recherche clinique dans les pays en voie de développement
  • [24] Tobacco control can be a force for development
  • [25] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 05/02/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 05/02/2003[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission montre les dents et propose de nouveaux contrôles des denrées alimentaires et des aliments pour animaux

    La Commission européenne a adopté sa proposition de règlement sur les contrôles officiels des denrées alimentaires et des aliments pour animaux. Le règlement proposé rationalise et renforce le système de contrôle existant, mais de manière plus incisive puisqu'il introduit des mécanismes plus rigoureux. Il vise à palier les lacunes de la législation en vigueur en améliorant l'efficacité des contrôles effectués tant par les Etats membres que par la Commission. Il prévoit des mesures d'exécution plus draconiennes, et notamment des sanctions pénales. Le règlement proposé crée également un cadre pour aider les pays en développement à satisfaire aux exigences posées par l'UE au regard de ses importations et il instaure une structure financière aux fins de l'organisation d'activités qui consolident la sécurité des denrées alimentaires et des aliments pour animaux.

    [02] Commission acts to improve monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions

    The European Commission has proposed the strengthening of the existing EU system for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions to bring it in line with obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. This proposal will help the EU and the Member States to comply with their international commitments in the area of Climate change. It will improve the completeness and transparency of EU greenhouse gas data and EU climate change policies. Notably, the new system will introduce further harmonisation of emission forecasts in addition to reinforcing the EU rules applying to monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. The new monitoring system will also cover the Kyoto Protocol's so-called 'flexible mechanisms' (emission trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation) and registries. Thereby, not only emissions, but also emission rights will be monitored through the new system.

    [03] OMC et services : la Commission présente ses propositions d'offres au Conseil et au Parlement ; les services publics pleinement préservés

    La Commission européenne a approuvé l'offre initiale visant à améliorer l'accès des pays tiers au marché européen des services, dans le cadre des négociations en cours sous le Programme de développement de Doha. Ce document va être soumis à la consultation du Conseil et du Parlement européen avant d'être envoyé à Genève à la fin du mois de mars 2003. Commentant la proposition d'offres, le Commissaire au Commerce Pascal Lamy a déclaré : "Cette proposition articulée a été élaborée avec une grande attention. Elle va renforcer la position de l'Union européenne dans les négociations de Doha car elle rejoint les intérêts des autres parties de l'OMC, en particulier ceux des pays en voie de développement. Elle garantit, dans le même temps, la préservation des services d'intérêts collectifs de l'UE, tels l'éducation et la santé. Nous nous assurons ainsi que l'OMC soit utilisée pour défendre et promouvoir le modèle européen."

    [04] Commission investigates second rescue aid package to German aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Dornier

    The European Commission has initiated the investigation procedure into additional rescue aid to insolvent aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Dornier GmbH (Dornier). Following the Commission's approval of a rescue guarantee until 20 September 2002, Germany notified a new rescue package for Dornier. The Commission has decided to investigate the new package to verify whether State aid is involved, and if this is the case, to see whether this aid can be justified.

    [05] La Commission autorise un régime français d'aides à la lutte contre la pollution de l'eau

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d'objections à l'égard d'un régime français d'aides d'Etat à la protection de l'environnement destiné à lutter contre la pollution des eaux potables par les rejets engendrés par les activités industrielles.

    [06] Commission starts a formal investigation into the proposed UK "SBS Incubation Fund"

    The European Commission has decided to open a formal investigation procedure into the UK SBS Incubation Fund aid scheme (the "Fund"). The Fund would provide soft loans to undertakings that intend to develop and operate office premises that meet the special needs of small firms (so-called "incubators"). Since this scheme does not fulfil the existing regional guidelines, in particular in terms of aid intensity and in terms of its beneficiaries, the Commission has doubts on whether this aid measure can be approved. The opening of the procedure does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation, but intends to give interested parties the opportunity to express their views on the project.

    [07] Commission starts state aid investigation of Bavarian 'machinery rings'

    The European Commission has decided to initiate a formal investigation into the support for machinery rings in Bavaria, Germany. The Bavarian authorities pay state aid on average of €4 million per year to the machinery ring association KBM. The aid measure finances the cooperation between agricultural and forestry holdings via machinery rings and relief services. The Commission has received several complaints concerning this aid. After a preliminary examination, the Commission has doubts whether certain parts of the measure comply with state aid rules.

    [08] UK ad hoc aid to CLYDEboyd : Commission closes the investigation procedure

    The European Commission has decided to close the formal investigation procedure into a planned UK investment subsidy in favour of Clydeboyd Ltd, concluding that the project was compatible with the common market. As part of the Freight Facilities Grant Scheme, the aid intends to encourage modal shift from road to water transport by providing a larger berth and enhanced freight handling facilities at Corparch Pier, near Fort William (Scotland).

    [09] Transport maritime : la Commission donne son feu vert à l'introduction d'un régime régional de taxation au tonnage en Espagne

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'approuver l'introduction d'un régime régional espagnol d'imposition des sociétés qui complète un système très semblable adopté au niveau national pour les entreprises de transport maritime. Le système national espagnol approuvé par la Commission en février 2002 ne s'appliquait cependant pas aux territoires historiques du Pays basque.

    [10] Fiscalité des retraites : la Commission s'attaque à la discrimination opérée dans six Etats membres à l'encontre des fonds de pension étrangers

    La Commission européenne a mis le Danemark en demeure de modifier sa législation, qui accorde le bénéfice de la déductibilité fiscale aux cotisations versées aux fonds domestiques et non aux cotisations versées aux fonds étrangers. La Commission a également adressé des demandes officielles d'information à la Belgique, à l'Espagne, à la France, à l'Italie et au Portugal concernant l'existence de dispositions fiscales également discriminatoires dans ces Etats membres. La Commission estime que le traitement préférentiel dont bénéficient les fonds de pension domestiques est incompatible avec le traité CE, qui garantit la libre prestation des services et la libre circulation des travailleurs et des capitaux. L'action engagée par la Commission est conforme à sa politique, qui vise à appliquer directement les dispositions du Traité aux cas de discrimination fiscale dont font l'objet les fonds de pension établis dans d'autres Etats membres, comme elle l'a annoncé dans sa communication concernant l'imposition des retraites du 19 avril 2001 (voir IP/01/575).

    [11] Libre circulation des capitaux : la Commission décide d'ouvrir une procédure d'infraction contre l'Italie concernant les sociétés privatisées

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'adresser une demande officielle à Italie afin d'obtenir des informations concernant la législation qui fixe les critères d'exercice des prérogatives spéciales dans les sociétés privatisées. Bien que cette législation ait été modifiée peu avant un arrêt de la Cour de Justice du 23 mai 2000, qui a condamné une loi de privatisation italienne de 1994, la Commission craint que les conditions dans lesquelles ces prérogatives spéciales peuvent être exercées soient encore définies de façon si large qu'elles pourraient décourager les investisseurs d'autres Etats membres de l'UE, en violation des règles de traité CE sur la libre circulation des capitaux (article 56) et le droit d'établissement (article 43). La Commission a également décidé d'envoyer une demande de renseignements officielle distincte concernant les mesures que, suivant que le même arrêt de la Cour, l'Italie devrait prendre pour supprimer une restriction spécifique en vertu de laquelle les professionnels doivent être inscrits dans les registres officiels italiens depuis au moins cinq ans pour pouvoir se voir confier certaines tâches de conseil concernant la privatisation. Ces restrictions ont été considérées par la Cour comme incompatibles avec les règles du traité CE sur le droit d'établissement et la libre prestation de services (articles 43 et 49). Ces demandes revêtent la forme de lettres de mise en demeure. En l'absence de réponses satisfaisantes dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission peut décider d'adresser des demandes officielles au gouvernement italien sous la forme de ce qu'on appelle des "avis motivés".

    [12] Free movement of capital : Commission decides to pursue infringement case on Copenhagen Airports

    The European Commission has decided to send an additional formal request for information to the Danish Government concerning possible obstacles to investment from other Member States in Copenhagen Airports. The Commission is concerned that certain special rights given to the Danish Government in the Act on Copenhagen Airports and the Articles of Association of Copenhagen Airports could impede investment and so constitute barriers to the freedom of capital movements and the right of establishment (Articles 56 and 43). The additional request for information will take the form of a supplementary letter of formal notice under formal infringement procedures (Article 226 of the EC Treaty), to which the Danish Government is due to reply within two months. In the light of the information provided, or in the absence of a reply, the Commission will decide whether or not to request the Danish Government to amend the provisions in question.

    [13] Free movement of capital : Commission to ask Netherlands to review special powers in KPN and TPG

    The European Commission has decided to make a formal request to the Netherlands to review certain provisions of the articles of association of KPN and TPG that grant the Dutch State preferential status as well as the special rights accorded to the holder of the special share ("golden share") in the respective company capital, namely the Dutch State. Given the major influence they can have over KPN's and TPG's financial decision-making and the right of control they confer over the two firms' management and day-to- day operation, the special rights accorded to the Dutch State are such as to deter investors from other Member States from investing in the capital of the two firms. For these reasons, the Commission takes the view that the special rights conflict with the free movement of capital laid down in Article 56 of the EC Treaty and with the right of establishment laid down in Article 4 of that Treaty. For each of the firms concerned, the formal request to the Netherlands will be sent in the form of a reasoned opinion under the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the Treaty. If the Netherlands failed to comply with the requests within two months of receiving them the Commission might decide to bring the matter before the Court of Justice.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [14] Le programme Daphné II (2004-2008) pour continuer la lutte contre la violence envers les femmes et les enfants

    La Commission européenne a décidé de transmettre au Parlement et au Conseil un projet de Décision concernant le programme "Daphné II" (2004-2008) visant à prévenir la violence envers les femmes et les enfants et à protéger les victimes et les groupes à risque. "Daphné II", couvrant la période 2004-2008, constitue la continuation du programme "Daphné" (2000- 2003) et d'une initiative du même nom lancée par la Commission en 1997.

    [15] La Commission autorise la création par IntesaBCI et Lazard d'une banque d'investissement qui revêtira la forme d'une entreprise commune

    La Commission européenne a autorisé en vertu du règlement sur les concentrations la création d'une entreprise commune italienne par une banque italienne, Intesa BCI S.p.A., et une banque d'investissement basée aux USA, Lazard LLC. L'entreprise commune sera active dans le domaine des services d'investissement. Après avoir examiné le projet, la Commission a conclu qu'il ne soulevait aucune problème de concurrence.

    [16] Commission probes Austrian electricity merger

    The European Commission has decided to undertake an in-depth investigation into plans by Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-Aktiengesellschaft (known as Verbund) and EnergieAllianz Austria (EnergieAllianz) to form two joint ventures in which they would combine their respective activities in electricity trade and supply to large industrial customers. The Commission is concerned that the transaction might lead to the creation of dominant positions in several electricity markets in Austria.

    [17] Anna Diamantopoulou welcomes Latvia's agreement to shadow EU employment strategy in run-up to full accession

    At a ceremony in Brussels on 6 February, European Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will meet Dagnija Stake, Minister of the Latvian Ministry of Welfare, to sign the Joint Assessment Paper (JAP) setting out employment policy priorities for Latvia. The paper welcomes major progress made by Latvia in areas such as gender equality, where it has passed new legislation, and the structural reforms which have helped to create favourable macroeconomic development. Unemployment is falling from the peak it reached in 1996 and labour force contraction seems to have come to an end. Education levels among the workforce appear relatively high. But difficulties remain to be addressed. The country's employment rate is five points below the EU average, standing at 58.9% in 2001 with further job losses possible due to economic restructuring. Long term unemployment remains high (already accounting for 7.7% of the labour force). Ethnicity and Latvian language skills seem to be major factors affecting employment opportunities, as well as the regional distribution of ethnic groups. The JAP calls for further research into this area. Low skilled workers appear to have been effectively excluded from standard employment, with an employment rate of just 35%. This could help to explain why the informal sector accounts for an estimated 16% of Latvia's GDP. While women's unemployment is lower than men's, differentials still exist in the wages between the two and women tend to be concentrated in certain sectors, mainly the 'carer' industries and the public sector.

    [18] Première rencontre de la troïka des ministres de l'Education et de la Commission avec les partenaires sociaux aujourd'hui à Bruxelles

    A l'invitation conjointe de Viviane Reding, Commissaire européenne à la Culture et l'Education, et du ministre grec de l'Education, Petros Efthymiou, la troïka des ministres de l'Education (avec Mme Tornaes pour le Danemark et Mme Moratti pour l'Italie) rencontre cet après-midi à Bruxelles les partenaires sociaux européens, dont M. Gabaglio, secrétaire général de la Confédération européenne des syndicats, M. de Buck, secrétaire général de l'UNICE et des représentants de l'UEAPME et de la CEEP. L'objet de la rencontre est de réfléchir ensemble à l'opportunité et aux moyens de mettre en place un dialogue structuré entre le Conseil Education et les partenaires sociaux, comme cela existe avec les conseils Emploi et Ecofin. Mme Reding et les ministres vont donc informer les partenaires sociaux de l'agenda du Conseil Education de demain et des récents développements politiques dans le domaine de l'éducation et de la formation professionnelle. Les partenaires sociaux présenteront aux ministres et à la Commissaire leur programme de travail pluriannuel. "Pour être capables d'apporter des réponses adéquates aux changements profonds de nos sociétés, les systèmes d'éducation et de formation doivent s'ouvrir plus à leur environnement, et notamment être à l'écoute des partenaires sociaux", déclare Viviane Reding à propos de la rencontre d'aujourd'hui. Cette rencontre se déroulera à partir de 16h00 au Breydel.

    [19] Franz Fischler calls for fair burden sharing in WTO farm talks

    "The EU is fully committed to ensuring the success of the Doha Development Round. We are ambitious, pragmatic and we take full account of the interests of a vital group of countries in the negotiations the developing countries. Many people talk of the need for trade liberalization to help developing countries, but do little more than talk about it. The time has now come for them to do something about it. Europe has taken the lead. We already import more from them than the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand together. We have already decided to open our market to all imports from the poorest countries in the world. We are still waiting for the US to follow our example. We want that the developed countries grant zero duty access for at least 50% of imports from developing countries and other provisions intended to facilitate policies for their food security", European Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler told journalists in Washington on 4 February. Mr Fischler underlined that the EU's WTO proposal on agriculture was balanced. "It requires efforts from all WTO members, including the EU. We need a fair burden sharing among developed countries, and not proposals, which put the burden only on others." Mr Fischler explained that the EU took a decision late last year to fix agriculture's budget at 2006 levels until 2013. "We will have a budget which is declining in real terms while our number of farmers is increasing by 50% due to EU enlargement. Which means : there is not more money for EU farmers, but less." Mr Fischler also indicated his conviction that the US and EU have a common interest in the successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations, and that they share a responsibility to cooperate in order to move the process forward.

    [20] Rebuilding depleted cod stocks : Commission meets fishing industry to strengthen recovery strategy

    A technical meeting took place yesterday between Commission officials and representatives of the fishing industry to clarify aspects of the interim recovery plan for cod which came into force on 1st February 2003 and to discuss ideas for the development of long-term cod and hake recovery plans. The current cod recovery scheme, adopted by the Council in December 2002, involved the setting of low catch limits for 2003 backed by interim fishing effort limitations (i.e. limits on the time that fishing vessels can spend at sea) as an alternative to a moratorium on a number of cod fisheries. At the meeting, the Commission acknowledged that clarification was needed on some aspects of this interim scheme. However, it reaffirmed its conviction that, short of a moratorium, these measures were the best guarantee possible to help cod recover quickly. Both the Commission and the sector declared their desire to move from the interim to the long-term recovery plan as quickly as possible while agreeing on the need to ensure that it had to be the result of well thought out and considered measures. The Commission announced further consultation meetings both with the Member States and the industry.

    [21] Europe on course to dispose of nuclear waste underground, say Loyola de Palacio and Philippe Busquin

    Yesterday European Commissioners Loyola de Palacio (Energy) and Philippe Busquin (Research) visited the European Underground Research Infrastructure for Disposal of nuclear waste in Clay Environment (EURIDICE), in Mol (Belgium), to have an overview of the progress made in Europe towards sustainable long-term nuclear waste management. According to Ms de Palacio and Mr Busquin, the visit to this model research centre is a positive signal that the European nuclear industry and national agencies are preparing for long-term safe disposal of spent fuel and high-level waste, as proposed by the Commission. At the Mol facility, researchers are developing nuclear incineration or "transmutation", a process that could reduce considerably the volume of waste.

    [22] Anna Diamantopoulou launches Round Table on Islamophobia

    The fight against Islamophobia in Europe is the theme of a high level round table which will take place in Brussels tomorrow, 6 February, on the initiative of European Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou. The meeting, which will bring together leading experts to look at discrimination against Muslims in Europe, is the second of a series of round table discussions on ethnic and religious discrimination. The Round Table on Islamophobia, and the first on anti-Semitism, which took place in December, are a direct response to the rise in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks in the wake of 11 September 2001 and the current political tensions in the Middle East.

    [23] Le Groupe Européen d'Ethique publie son avis sur les aspects éthiques de la recherche clinique dans les pays en voie de développement

    Le Groupe Européen d'Ethique des sciences et des nouvelles technologies (GEE), présidé par le philosophe suédois, Göran Hermerén, a présenté à la Commission européenne le 4 février 2003 son avis n° 17 sur les aspects éthiques de la recherche clinique dans les pays en voie de développement. Le GEE, dans cet avis, salue la politique de l'UE de financer des projets de recherche afin de combattre les maladies liées à la pauvreté dans les pays en voie de développement.

    [24] Tobacco control can be a force for development

    Tobacco control is both necessary and possible and should be included as an integrated part of development policies, an international high-level seminar has concluded. The seminar and round table organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank discussed how EU development cooperation can be used to support efforts made in developing countries to reduce tobacco consumption. Participants agreed that tobacco is a truly global problem or, as Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne put it : "Big tobacco is out there building a new empire of addiction, ruthlessly targeting the new generations with the deadly glamour of its publicity machine." Commissioner Poul Nielson, responsible for Development and Humanitarian aid, stressed that "the Commission is ready to assist those countries that see tobacco control as a priority using our existing instruments of development cooperation, while not trying to impose tobacco control on any country". During the discussions, several developing countries stressed how an international support for tobacco control could assist governments in introducing and strengthening tobacco control measures despite strong opposition from tobacco companies and other interests. Presentations by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the WHO, and Annette Dixon from the World Bank showed how tobacco control measures not only can reduce tobacco consumption but also increase revenues in developing countries, by increasing taxes and curbing smuggling. According to studies undertaken by the World Bank, most countries would make net economic gains if their demand for tobacco products fell. The meeting in Brussels took place a few weeks before the next negotiation round for a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) starts in Geneva. WHO and the Commission hope that this round will be able to finalise a FCTC text which can then be signed by governments later this spring. Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, Brazilian Ambassador and Chairman of the International FCTC Negotiation Body, stressed how the Framework Convention will be particularly important for developing countries, as they begin their efforts to build a legal and regulatory protection against the marketing efforts of the large tobacco companies.

    [25] Autre matériel diffusé

    Speech by Chris Patten : "The Iranian choice - an opportunity to embrace the Family of Nations" at the Institute for Political and International Studies (Teheran)

    Discours de M. Lamy : "La dimension sociale de la mondialisation" à la Conférence Commission européenne/Commission mondiale de l'Organisation mondiale du travail (04/02)

    Discours de M. Lamy sur la promotion de la diversité culturelle aux deuxièmes rencontres internationales des professionnels de la culture (04/02, Paris)

    Speech by Franz Fischler : "Europe's agricultural policy in the Global Economy" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (04/02, Washington) Speech by Erkki Liikanen : "Moving towards open platforms and interoperable services in tomorrow's information society" at the Public Hearing on Open Platforms and Interoperability for Digital Television and 3G (04/02)


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


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