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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-07-25

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] Latest car price report shows that positive impact of the new block exemption is yet to come
  • [02] Financial services: Commission to set up expert forum to look at policies from users' point of view (FIN-USE)
  • [03] Banking: Commission requests Italy to amend law on excessive interest rates
  • [04] Improving food quality and safety: EU to fund 24 new research projects and networks
  • [05] La Convention demeure mal connue par l'opinion publique européenne
  • [06] Electronic Communications: Commission reduces regulation of the provision of leased lines in the EU
  • [07] Telecommunications: Five Member States have transposed new regulatory package into national law on time - Commission to start proceedings against latecomers
  • [08] Commission pushes for rapid deployment of location enhanced 112 emergency services
  • [09] ERIKA I maritime safety legislation enters into force: Commission takes action against 10 Member States
  • [10] EU-ACPs: Commission approves €50 million trade assistance Programme Trade.com
  • [11] Drought: Further support measures agreed
  • [12] Commission clears joint acquisition of GDF International by Italcogim
  • [13] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 25/07/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 25/07/2003

  • [01] Latest car price report shows that positive impact of the new block exemption is yet to come

    The latest report on car prices released by the European Commission shows that price differentials for new cars are still substantial, although some convergence is taking place. The figures available as of 1 May 2003 show that many European consumers can still make significant savings by buying their cars in other Member States, and that competition and cross-border trade have not yet brought about significant price convergence. Pre-tax car prices are lowest in Denmark, Greece and the Netherlands. Prices in Germany, the biggest market, and Austria, remain among the highest within the euro zone.

    [02] Financial services: Commission to set up expert forum to look at policies from users' point of view (FIN-USE)

    The European Commission has announced that it is setting up a forum of twelve experts to improve input into the definition of EU financial services policy from the perspective of users. The best available experts will be recruited under a competitive procedure following a call for applications published in the Official Journal and open until 10 September 2003.

    [03] Banking: Commission requests Italy to amend law on excessive interest rates

    The European Commission has decided to issue a formal request to Italy to amend its law on usury. This law, as amended in December 2000, establishes that interest rates for long-term loans cannot be higher than the average yield on national bonds (BTP) for the period 1996-2000. The Commission supports the objective of the Italian law to tackle exorbitant interest rates but considers these measures to be disproportionate to this objective and to dissuade banks from other Member States from offering their services in Italy. The Commission's request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement proceedings described in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If Italy does not provide a satisfactory response within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion, the Commission may decide to bring it before the Court of Justice.

    [04] Improving food quality and safety: EU to fund 24 new research projects and networks

    24 food quality and safety research projects and 12 support actions have been awarded an initial EU contribution of €166 million in the first year of the EU 6th Research Framework Programme (FP6). They are the first projects of this kind to receive FP6 funding, totalling close to €20 billion over 4 years (2003-2006). The projects and networks, some of which will receive up to €17 million each, will tackle consumer-oriented issues such as food-related diseases and allergies, the impact of food on health, environmentally-friendly production methods, and environmental health risks, making extensive use of the new approaches offered by FP6. Most of these major new research initiatives will contribute to the implementation of relevant EU policies with sound scientific data and recommendations.

    [05] La Convention demeure mal connue par l'opinion publique européenne

    Un sondage de « Eurobaromètre Flash » réalisé le lendemain du Conseil européen de Thessalonique et consacré aux résultats de la Convention montre que le degré de connaissance de la Convention européenne monte mais reste très insuffisant : 45% des citoyens de l'Union élargie en ont déjà entendu parler; alors que ce chiffre était encore autour de 30% au mois de mars. En revanche, 55% des citoyens de l'Union n'ont jamais entendu parler de la Convention et 52% ignorent le type de texte qu'elle a élaboré. Interrogés sur le fond des propositions, 68% des sondés souhaitent une Constitution pour réformer l'Union européenne. Enfin, 43% descitoyens expriment une préférence pour que le texte de la Convention soit partiellement modifié par les chefs d'Etat ou de gouvernement.

    [06] Electronic Communications: Commission reduces regulation of the provision of leased lines in the EU

    The European Commission yesterday took a Decision that will lead to the removal of obligations on certain telecommunications network operators to provide specific types of circuits known as leased lines. Leased lines are used by large companies to create in-house company networks. Small and medium sized enterprises and institutions use them to link up to the Internet and network operators and service providers also use them to link up their facilities. As such they are essential building blocks of the information society. Following the successful liberalisation of electronic communications, there is now competitive supply of leased lines in the EU. Consequently the need to require provision of these leased line services nationwide in the Member States is decreasing.

    [07] Telecommunications: Five Member States have transposed new regulatory package into national law on time - Commission to start proceedings against latecomers

    Today, 25 July 2003, is the first day of the new regulatory framework for electronic communications in Europe, designed to create more competitive markets. Five Member States have taken the necessary action to transpose the package into national law (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Ireland), and a number of others, in particular Italy, are close behind. Latecomers risk infringement proceedings if action is not taken rapidly.

    [08] Commission pushes for rapid deployment of location enhanced 112 emergency services

    The European Commission has today adopted a Recommendation that will help the emergency services locate people who call them using the pan-European emergency number 112 that can be dialled in all EU Member States. The efficiency of emergency interventions can be greatly increased by systems providing automatic transfer of location information to emergency centres for both fixed and mobile callers. The Recommendation, which is based on extensive consultation with network operators and emergency authorities, proposes concrete guidelines for setting up such systems.

    [09] ERIKA I maritime safety legislation enters into force: Commission takes action against 10 Member States

    The Erika I legislation finally entered into force on July 22 more than 3 years after these stricter maritime safety rules were proposed by the Commission. «We could have avoided the PRESTIGE oil spill, had these key measures been into force ealier as the Commission initially proposed » declared Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of transport and energy. "These rules now need to be fully adopted and implemented. The Commission, as guardian of the EU treaties, will do its utmost to make sure that another Prestige disaster does not endanger EU waters and shores ». The Commission has decided to initiate legal proceedings against 10 Member States for failing to notify transposition of this key EU maritime safety legislation. Both the ship inspection and survey organisation and Port State Control rules adopted in the aftermath of the ERIKA disaster should have been transposed into national law by 22 July 2003. To date only Denmark, France, Germany, Spain and the UK have done so. Failure to implement these rules can directly affect the quality and safety of the ships sailing in European waters, of European ships globally as well as the removal of unsound vessels from the seas. The Commission also publishes today the list of vessels which may be banned from EU ports should they be detained again after July 2003.

    [10] EU-ACPs: Commission approves €50 million trade assistance Programme Trade.com

    The European Commission has approved Trade.Com, a € 50 million trade related assistance programme for Africa Caribean and Pacific countries. The programme will focus on creating the necessary capacities in ACP countries to benefit from increased trading opportunies. Commenting on the new programme EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, said: "We need to ensure that the benefits from better trading opportunities translate into growth and development. Aid is therefore the necessary complement to trade. In the run up to the WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancun, it sends a strong signal that the EU is ready to deliver on the commitments entered into under the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Trade assistance is a key element of the EU-ACP Economic and Partnership Agreements currently being negotiated. I will have an opportunity to discuss this issue with ACP Trade Ministers when we meet on 31 July. EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr. Poul Nielson, added: "Our ACP partners need both trade and aid. This new Programme will strengthen the ACP voice in multilateral or bilateral trade negotiations. It will complement our efforts under the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations to strengthen the trading capacity of the ACP States and help them to effectively use trade for their development."

    [11] Drought: Further support measures agreed

    The Beef Management Committee unanimously agreed today on a Commission proposal to give the Member States the possibility to increase the advance payments of the premia in the beef sector from 60% to 80%. The measure will be applicable from 16 October onwards and will offer income relief to the farmers affected by the drought. It will now be formally adopted by the Commission. The measure comes on top of those already adopted by the Commission: In the affected regions, farmers are allowed to use their set aside land for grazing or for feed purposes and several sales of rice from intervention stocks to be used in animal feed have been accepted. Further support measures for the farmers affected by the severe dry weather could be decided in the near future.

    [12] Commission clears joint acquisition of GDF International by Italcogim

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of the Italian undertaking Italcogim S.p.A., a recently created holding company currently controlled by the Fabiani family, which operates gas distribution networks in various parts of Italy, by the French undertaking GDF International S.A.S., a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaz de France Group. (The operation, notified on 23 June 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [13] Autre matériel diffusé

    Calendrier du 28 juillet au 01 août

    Speech of Dr. Franz FISCHLER : CAP Reform : An Irish perspective


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


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