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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-09-08

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] Le Groupe des Sages s'attelle à la rédaction du Rapport final
  • [02] A picture says more than a thousand words: Commission decides on graphic health warnings on cigarette packs
  • [03] Politique de cohésion de l'Union européenne en Lettonie: début des négociations sur le document unique de programmation le 9 septembre à Riga
  • [04] Company taxation: Commission proposes amending Directive on taxation of parent-subsidiary dividends
  • [05] Commission staff study points to external assumptions, international environment and track record of the Commission Forecasts
  • [06] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 08/09/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 08/09/2003

  • [01] Le Groupe des Sages s'attelle à la rédaction du Rapport final

    Le Groupe des Sages sur le Dialogue entre les Peuples et les Cultures tient sa quatrième réunion plénière les lundi 8 et mardi 9 septembre 2003, sous la co-présidence de Madame Assia Alaoui Bensalah et de Monsieur Jean Daniel. Les autres membres constitutifs de ce Groupe sont: Mmes Fatima Mernissi, Simone Susskind-Weinberger et Tullia Zevi, ainsi que MM. Malek Chebel, Juan Diez Nicolas, Umberto ECO, Shmuel N. Eisenstadt, Georges Joffé, Ahmed Kamal Aboulmagd, Bichara Khader, Adnan Wafic Kassar, Pedrag Matvejevic, Rostane Mehdi, Tariq Ramadan, Faruk Sen, Faouzi Skali.

    [02] A picture says more than a thousand words: Commission decides on graphic health warnings on cigarette packs

    "Smoking can cause a slow and painful death" is one of the 14 health warnings used on tobacco packages in the EU for which the European Commission is now seeking colour photographs and illustrations for cigarette packs. The Commission has adopted a Decision which opens the way for Member States to use such pictures as part of the obligatory health warnings on tobacco products from 1 October 2004 on. It also lays down the conditions under which they may be used. The Commission Decision is a follow-up to the 2001 Tobacco Products Directive (see: IP/01/702) which already makes it obligatory to enlarge the size of health warnings on tobacco packages: from 30 September 2003 on, they have to take the form of large black on white text covering at least 30% of the front of the cigarette pack and at least 40% of the back. However, the next step to use picture warnings will not be compulsory. Third countries such as Canada and Brazil already use hard hitting photographs, such as dying cancer patients or diseased lungs, to illustrate their mandatory health warnings. During the negotiations on the 2001 Directive, several EU Member States and many Members of the European Parliament advocated the introduction of graphic health warnings in Europe. As the Commission is responsible for setting up a central EU library of colour photographs and other illustrations from which Member States will be able to choose, the Commission has also launched a tender inviting interesting parties to create and pre-test the respective images.

    [03] Politique de cohésion de l'Union européenne en Lettonie: début des négociations sur le document unique de programmation le 9 septembre à Riga

    La Commission européenne a annoncé aujourd'hui le lancement du premier cycle de négociations avec la Lettonie sur les futures aides accordées dans le cadre des Fonds structurels. Ces négociations commenceront le 8 septembre 2003 à Riga. Elles viseront à trouver un accord sur le document unique de programmation (DOCUP), qui présente la stratégie et les priorités d'action au titre de l'objectif 1 des Fonds structurels pour les années 2004 à 2006. Dans une lettre adressée le 24 juillet à Valdis Dombrovskis, ministre des Finances, Michel Barnier, membre de la Commission chargé de la politique régionale, a exposé les principaux axes de la position de la Commission sur le projet de document unique de programmation présenté par la Lettonie.

    [04] Company taxation: Commission proposes amending Directive on taxation of parent-subsidiary dividends

    The European Commission has proposed to amend the European Community's Parent-Subsidiary Directive (90/435/EEC). In particular, the Commission proposes to broaden its scope to cover a larger range of companies, lower from 25% to 10% the inter-company holding threshold required for the application of its tax benefits and improve the mechanisms it provides for the prevention of double taxation. The European Company which can be created from 2004 (see IP/01/1376) is among the new entities proposed for addition to the list of companies covered by the Directive. The existing Directive, which aims to eliminate tax obstacles for groups of companies in the EU by abolishing withholding taxes on payments of dividends between associated companies of different Member States and preventing double taxation of parent companies on the profits of their subsidiaries, is limited in its effectiveness because of its narrow application. The proposal is an element of the Commission's company tax strategy presented in 2001 (see IP/01/1468) in which the Commission identified a number of tax obstacles to cross-border economic activity in the Internal Market and announced its plans for short- and long-term Community action to remove them.

    [05] Commission staff study points to external assumptions, international environment and track record of the Commission Forecasts

    While in the Commission Forecasts interest rates, exchange rates or oil prices are treated more like assumptions, it is interesting to test their realism. It appears that these variables are formulated in a reasonably accurate way and that in general alternative assumptions would not improve the picture. More specifically, the Commission approach to fixing the exchange rate outperforms a procedure based on the use of forward exchange rates or central parities. This implies that it would be reasonable to continue with the current approach and include the Candidate Countries eventually. Somewhat more attention could, however, be paid to oil futures when setting the oil price. With respect to the direction of bias, there is a tendency to set favourable assumptions, but this is in general not significant in a statistical sense. In the case of one-year predictions, the external assumptions together with the international economic environment outside the EU can explain on average up to about 60 % of the forecast error in EU GDP and inflation. It is larger in the case of the 2001 overestimation of EU GDP growth and the 1998 overestimation of EU inflation. In particular an accurate assessment of world GDP and trade is important. Wrong oil prices affect the quality of the inflation forecast. The monetary assumptions play a lesser role, but the signal coming from long-term interest rates influences the GDP forecast and the exchange rate assumptions have an impact on the import price errors. This study, carried out by economists in the Commission's Directorate General of Economic and Financial Affairs, is available at 12.00 hrs on : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/economic_papers/economicpapers189_en.htm

    [06] Autre matériel diffusé

    Discours de M. Romano Prodi devant les Chefs de délégation

    Speech by Viviane Reding : "Towards a European Higher Education area : challenges, achievements and expectations (08/09, University of Ljubljana)

    Discours de Michel Barnier : "Pour l'Europe de la défense » (Arcachon 20h00) A disposition dans le bureau de Amelia Torres (Brey 6/80) une notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Philip Morris/Papastratos


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


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