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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-07-23

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

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>


  • [01] Autre matériel diffusé MEMO154 - Kyoto Protocol MEMO155 - Communicable diseases Midday Express 23/07/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 23/07/2003POINTS COMMISSION Strengthening Europe's defences against health threats: Commission proposes European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control The European Commission today adopted a proposal to create a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Communicable diseases can pose a significant threat to citizens' health. And they do not respect national frontiers. A disease outbreak in one country can spread across the globe in a matter of hours. The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a recent example of the downside of an increasingly interconnected 'global village'. In controlling a disease outbreak, time is of the essence. Lost time can mean the difference between a small outbreak and a serious epidemic. That is why the Commission wants to substantially reinforce the means to control communicable diseases effectively in Europe. The structure of the existing EU network on communicable diseases, managed by the Commission and based on ad hoc cooperation between Member States since 1991, is simply not efficient enough to protect the EU's citizens sufficiently against threats to their health posed by communicable diseases, including the possibility of the deliberate release of infectious agents ("bio-terrorism"). On 6 May this year, Health Ministers recognised the need to strengthen the EU's preparedness to deal with disease outbreaks. The new Centre will mobilise and significantly reinforce the synergies between the existing national centres for disease control. The ECDC will also enable better planning. It will have a small core staff and an extended network of contacts in Member States' public health institutes and academia. By pooling expertise around Europe it will be able to provide authoritative scientific advice on serious health threats, recommend control measures, allow quick mobilisation of intervention teams and thus enable a rapid and effective EU- wide response. After approval by the European Parliament and the Council, the ECDC could be operational as an independent European agency in 2005. German toll system: Commission examines compensation measures for road hauliers The Commission decided today to open the formal investigation of aid measures envisaged by German authorities to compensate the effect of the planned increase of toll rates for road hauliers. This increase would take effect some time after a first introduction of the toll as from 31st August. Aides en faveur d' «ABX Logistics» : la Commission ouvre la procédure d'enquête La Commission a décidé d'ouvrir la procédure d'enquête formelle à l'égard des aides d'Etat accordées au groupe ABX Logistics, groupe qui appartient à la Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges « SNCB ». Au sein de la SNCB, 'ABX Logistics group' effectue du transport routier, aérien et maritime et propose aussi des services logistiques. Les autorités belges ont notifié des mesures de restructuration du groupe constitué par une série d'acquisitions depuis 1998, et qui compte aujourd'hui 107 filiales au niveau mondial, dont les principales sont situées en Europe. Commission proposes to add transparency to the control of investments in nuclear installations The Commission proposed today to reinforce the transparency of planned investments in nuclear installations with a view to enhance safety and security while ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal energy market. "The Commission recently proposed measures which will comfort nuclear safety and security levels in the Union, already the strictest in the world. Our goal is now to reinforce procedures so that as from the planning stage, any new investment in nuclear installations comply with safety and security rules. The new proposed transparent procedures will also ensure that arrangements for the final decommissioning and for the treatment of nuclear waste from the installation are the safest possible. In addition, to protect the level playing field in the energy internal market in the run-up to enlargement, nuclear undertakings would now be required to notify whether public support is contemplated for the project.", declared Loyola de Palacio, Vice- President in charge of Energy and Transport Commission approves proposed aid in favour of VW Mechatronic in Stollberg (Germany) The European Commission has no objections that Germany grants aid amounting to € 84 million to the company VW Mechatronic GmbH & Co KG. This aid is destined to finance the construction of a new plant for the production of injection systems for diesel engines. The project will be located in the East German region of Saxony. The project is expected to create some 705 jobs. The amount authorised amounts to an aid intensity of 31.5%. Commission launches formal investigation procedure into restructuring aid in favour of British Energy plc The European Commission today launched an in-depth probe in order to examine the restructuring aid that the UK Government envisages for British Energy plc. The proposed restructuring plan will be analysed under the Community Guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid while fully recognising that issues covered by the Euratom Treaty will be assessed taking into account the latter Treaty's provisions. Initiation of the formal investigation procedure opens the way for an in-depth examination, but does not prejudge its final outcome. The decision to initiate the procedure will be published in the Official Journal. Competitors and other interested parties are invited to submit their observations. Commission approves aid for Graphischer Maschinenbau GmbH, Germany The European Commission today approved aid totalling € 4.77 million. The aid was awarded to Graphischer Maschinenbau GmbH in 1998. Today's decision follows the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 14 May 2002 in Case T-126/99. Inquiry into aid planned for the car maker De Tomaso in Calabria (Italy) The European Commission has decided to initiate the formal investigation proceedings concerning aid amounting to € 178 million for a € 219 million investment planned by car maker De Tomaso in Cutro (Calabria, Southern Italy). At this stage, the Commission has not been able to establish that the planned aid meets the criteria of the Community framework for state aid to the motor vehicle industry. The formal investigation proceedings allow Italy and interested parties to submit their observations. Commission approves aid for extension of Otto Versand mail order logistics centre in Eastern Germany The European Commission has authorised Germany to grant a proposed € 27.4 million in aid to help Otto Versand to extend an existing logistics centre for the distribution of mail order goods in Haldensleben, Sachsen-Anhalt. The aid will help create jobs, has limited impact on competition and its intensity of 23.625 % remains below the ceiling of aid allowable under the applicable rules for this project. La Commission décide de se réserver l'examen du projet d'acquisition de VUP par Lagardère La Commission européenne a décidé de mener elle-même l'examen du projet d'acquisition de Vivendi Universal Publishing (VUP) par le groupe français Lagardère ; en conséquence ce dossier ne sera pas renvoyé aux autorités françaises de la concurrence. La Commission devra arrêter sa position finale sur cette opération, qui concerne les deux principaux pôles de l'édition de livres en France, le 3 décembre 2003 au plus tard. Commission clears DSM's acquisition of the vitamins and fine chemicals division of Roche The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the Vitamins and Fine Chemicals division of Swiss company Roche by Dutch-based company DSM after a detailed investigation. The Commission had identified competition concerns in one market for feed enzymes, which are animal feed additives. DSM submitted a package of undertakings aimed at terminating its alliance with German fine chemicals company, BASF, for the production and distribution of feed enzymes and transferring its activities in the production of feed enzymes to a purchaser to be approved by the Commission. After careful evaluation of the commitments package, the Commission concluded that the remedies removed its competition concerns and to restore effective competition. La Commission autorise sous conditions une aide à la société GAMESA Après une enquête approfondie, la Commission a autorisé sous conditions un prêt du Gouvernement Basque à la société GAMESA pour sa participation au développement de deux avions régionaux de l'avionneur EMBRAER. Commission approves € 24 million in aid to newsprint producer Shotton in North Wales The European Commission has approved today € 24 million (£ 17 million) in favour of Shotton, a newsprint producer owned by UPM-Kymmene and located in North Wales. The aid will be granted under the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which was established to promote sustainable waste management. The aid is intended to adapt Shotton's facilities to produce newsprint from waste paper rather than virgin pulp. The Commission approved € 11 million under the rules for regional aid. Further aid amounting to € 13 million was approved on account of the environmental benefits of a new sludge combustor that will recover the calorific value from the increased quantity of de-inking sludge Shotton expects to produce as part of its increased reliance on recycled paper. La Commission approuve une injection de capital de €297.5 millions en faveur de la Poste belge La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui de ne pas soulever d'objections à une injection de capital de €297.5 millions par l'Etat belge dans le capital de La Poste. Au cours de l'examen de la mesure notifiée, il est apparu que la valeur actuelle des sous-compensations par rapport au coût net additionnel du service public se chiffrait à une sous- compensation globale supérieure au montant de l'augmentation de capital. Aucun avantage ne saurait donc être conféré à La Poste par la mesure notifiée, qui est dès lors compatible avec le marché commun. Electronic Communications: Commission gets ready for implementing new legislation to ensure level playing field As Commissioners Liikanen and Monti announced at the open workshop, held on 15 July 2003 in Brussels, the Commission is preparing to exercise its new tasks under Article 7 of the Framework Directive for electronic communications networks and services. One important step of its preparations concerns the adoption of the Recommendation on notifications, time limits and consultations regarding the procedures to be followed for notifications of draft measures by national regulatorspursuantt to Article 7. The adopted Recommendation was discussed extensively with national regulators, the European Regulators Group (ERG) and Member States. Commission adopts new measures to combat climate change globally The European Commission today adopted a new initiative to combat climate change globally. The proposal for a new Directive will allow European companies to carry out emissions-curbing projects around the world and convert the credits earned into emissions allowances under the European Union emissions trading scheme. The proposal builds on the so-called market-based flexible mechanisms "Joint Implementation" and the "Clean Development Mechanism" envisaged by the Kyoto Protocol. Their aim is to reach the global emissions reduction targets in a cost-effective way while transfering advanced technology to other industrialised and developing countries. Administrative Reform: Commission proposes improved system of financial responsibility for officials The European Commission today adopted draft guidelines defining the personal financial responsibility of officials who are proved to have caused financial damage to the EU budget through serious misconduct. The proposals were outlined in the White Paper of March 2000 and, in the wake of the new Financial Regulation in force since January 1st 2003, today's decision provides for implementation of the reforming change. The draft guidelines, when implemented, will improve arrangements for good financial management and promote the sense of personal financial responsibility among officials. The draft guidelines set out in detail the circumstances in which officials can be held liable for financial losses to the EU budget and define the extent and limits of their financial liability. They provide for the recovery of money when an official has caused financial loss through deliberate fault or as a result of gross negligence, but make it clear that staff will not be held responsible for genuine errors that have modest consequences. The draft guidelines will now be discussed with staff representatives whose views will be taken fully into account before finalised guidelines are adopted. Fight against fraud: Annual Report 2002 shows progress in building the framework for the protection of the Communities' financial interests The Commission's regular Report on the Protection of the Communities' Financial Interests and the Fight against Fraud in 2002 shows the wide-ranging measures taken in legislative and operational terms by the Commission and the Member States and the wide area of competence and activity of the European anti-fraud office OLAF. The report highlights activities undertaken by the Commission to involve the candidate countries more closely in fraud prevention. On the legislative and institutional front 2002 was a very dynamic year. Overall, the number and volume of irregularities discovered rose last year. Commissioner Michaele Schreyer commented: "Over the past year Member States made efforts to complete legislative measures to protect the EU financial interests and increased declarations of irregularities to Brussels. OLAF achieved some spectacular successes to protect EU monies. The report shows again that the decision to pool all powers to fight against fraud affecting the Communities' financial interests was right." AUTRE POINTS Un agenda stratégique de la recherche sidérurgique pour relancer le secteur en Europe Commission européenne, industrie sidérurgique, syndicats et opérateurs du secteur acier vont travailler ensemble pour créer une plate-forme technologique, définir un agenda stratégique et un plan d'action pour relancer la recherche sidérurgique en Europe et rendre plus compétitif le secteur au niveau mondial. Philippe Busquin, Commissaire européen chargé de la Recherche, a rencontré aujourd'hui à Bruxelles les principaux représentants de l'industrie sidérurgique européenne (Arcelor, ThyssenKrupp Steel, Corus, Riva, AvestaPolarit) réunis au sein d'Eurofer. Les syndicats européens de la métallurgie européenne étaient également associés. Ce dialogue sera élargi à d'autres acteurs (industries partenaires, universités, instituts de recherche publics et privés, utilisateurs), aux autres institutions européennes et aux représentants des Etats membres d'ici la fin de l'année 2003. Le lancement officiel de la plate-forme technologique de l'acier est prévu pour le printemps 2004 Droit de vote aux élections municipales: la Commission poursuit la procédure d'infraction contre la Belgique La Commission européenne a décidé de poursuivre la procédure d'infraction engagée contre la Belgique, qui n'a pas fait en sorte que plus d'une centaine de ressortissants européens non belges résidant dans la commune d'Honnelles soient régulièrement inscrits sur les listes électorales pour les élections locales de 2000. Ces citoyens européens n'ont donc pas pu voter lors des élections, ce qui constitue une atteinte à leur droit fondamental de vote aux élections municipales. EU Cohesion Policy in Hungary: Negotiations on the Community Support Framework start today in Budapest The European Commission launched the first round of negotiations with Hungary on future Structural Funds assistance today in Budapest. Negotiations will be dedicated to the Community Support Framework (CSF) and related Operational Programmes (OP) for the period 2004-2006. In a letter of 16 July addressed to Endre Juhász, Minister without Portfolio for the Co-ordination of EU Affairs, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, set out the Commission's position on how Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund should be used in Hungary.

  • [01] Autre matériel diffusé MEMO154 - Kyoto Protocol MEMO155 - Communicable diseases

    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at
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