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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-10-01

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 inflige des amendes d'un montant total d'€138.4 millions à quatre sociétés ayant participé au cartel des sorbates
  • [02] Iraq : Commission proposal for the Madrid Conference on Reconstruction
  • [03] Ouverture de la procédure formelle d'examen à l'égard de six projets italiens de R&D dans le secteur aéronautique
  • [04] Commission authorises investment aid to the Frenzel Kyffhäuser Tiefkühlkost GmbH in Germany
  • [05] Commission investigates state aid to winegrowers' cooperatives in Rheinland-Pfalz
  • [06] Combined transport by rail : Commission authorises Italian aid
  • [07] Commission approves German 'on-board' training aid in favour of maritime seafarers
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [08] Commission reduces sugar production
  • [09] Août 2003 : le chômage dans la zone euro stable à 8,8% ; l'UE15 inchangée à 8,0%
  • [10] Les pays méditerranéens et l'UE renforcent la coopération industrielle
  • [11] Vetting national rules for trade compatibility : EU notification system extended to eight accession countries
  • [12] Commission hosts Vth International Cartel Workshop
  • [13] Statement by Anna Diamantopoulou on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, 1 October 2003 Midday Express 01/10/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 01/10/2003[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission inflige des amendes d'un montant total d'€138.4 millions à quatre sociétés ayant participé au cartel des sorbates

    Dans une décision adoptée aujourd'hui, la Commission européenne est arrivée à la conclusion que Hoechst AG, Chisso Corporation, Daicel Chemical Industries Ltd, The Nippon Synthetic Chemical Industry Co Ltd et Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd ont mis en œuvre une entente illégale sur le marché des sorbates entre 1979 et 1996. Les sorbates sont l'un des conservateurs chimiques les plus couramment utilisés en Europe pour prévenir le développement de moisissures, de bactéries et d'autres micro-organismes dans des produits alimentaires tels que les mayonnaises et les saucissons, ainsi que dans les boissons. Ils sont aussi utilisés pour revêtir le papier d'emballage de certains fromages et dans des produits cosmétiques. "Du fait de cette entente illégale, les consommateurs européens ont payé de nombreux produits de la vie courante plus cher qu'ils ne l'auraient fait si les sociétés s'étaient livré concurrence. Je suis bien décidé à faire en sorte que la participation à une entente illégale ne soit pas payante. La seule façon pour les sociétés d'échapper à de lourdes amendes est de faire des aveux et de cesser de participer à des ententes dont l'unique but est d'extorquer des profits illicites à des consommateurs, intermédiaires ou finals, qui sont victimes de ces agissements sans le savoir", a déclaré Mario Monti, Commissaire chargé de la concurrence.

    [02] Iraq : Commission proposal for the Madrid Conference on Reconstruction

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication setting out proposals for the European Union's position at the Madrid Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq. The Communication suggests that Europe should offer a consolidated pledge at Madrid, bringing together the contribution of the Community and individual contributions from the Member States. It is proposed that €200 million should be made available from the Community budget for reconstruction in Iraq in the initial period up to the end of 2004. €100 million in humanitarian assistance from the EU budget is already being deployed in Iraq. The Communication outlines a common approach, stressing that success will depend on three factors: security, transfer of power to the Iraqi people, and a multilateral framework for reconstruction including the creation of a multi-donor trust fund. It notes the importance of involving Iraq's neighbours in the reconstruction process from the start.

    [03] Ouverture de la procédure formelle d'examen à l'égard de six projets italiens de R&D dans le secteur aéronautique

    A la suite d'une plainte, la Commission européenne a évalué 13 projets italiens de recherche et de développement dans l'industrie aéronautique. Le plaignant alléguait le non-respect par le gouvernement italien de l'obligation de notification des aides accordées en faveur de projets individuels. Il faisait valoir que les coûts de toute une série de projets individuels dépassaient les seuils de notification fixés par la Commission dans sa décision de 1986 par laquelle elle autorisait la loi-cadre italienne sur les aides d'Etat en faveur de l'industrie aéronautique (connue sous l'appellation "Legge n° 808/85"). L'ouverture de la procédure formelle d'examen donne aux autorités italiennes et aux autres parties intéressées la possibilité de présenter leurs observations sur les premières conclusions de la Commission et ne préjuge en rien de l'issue de la procédure.

    [04] Commission authorises investment aid to the Frenzel Kyffhäuser Tiefkühlkost GmbH in Germany

    The European Commission has decided to terminate the formal investigation into the support for investments carried out by the vegetable processing company Frenzel in Thuringia, Germany. The Free State of Thuringia will grant a state guarantee for loans used by the company for acquiring assets of a processing plant. The state guarantee will amount to €1,861,103 and covers 65% of the outstanding amount of the loans. After a preliminary examination, the Commission had doubts whether the measure complied with state aid rules and therefore opened the formal investigation procedure in the year 2001.

    [05] Commission investigates state aid to winegrowers' cooperatives in Rheinland-Pfalz

    The European Commission has decided to initiate a formal investigation into the support for winegrowers' cooperatives and wine producer organisations in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. The regional authorities of three districts in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer area and the local authority of Schweich paid state aid for the acquisition of business shares in cooperatives in the year 2000. The Commission has received a complaint concerning this aid. After a preliminary examination, the Commission has doubts whether the measure complies with state aid rules.

    [06] Combined transport by rail : Commission authorises Italian aid

    The European Commission has given the go-ahead to the combined transport aid scheme proposed by the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy) to encourage the development of combined transport and reduce its access cost.

    [07] Commission approves German 'on-board' training aid in favour of maritime seafarers

    The European Commission gave the go-ahead to a German maritime training aid for 2003, as it has already approved in the past similar German schemes for respectively 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The aid regime will help preserve maritime know-how and expertise on board German merchant ships.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [08] Commission reduces sugar production

    The European Commission adopted a Regulation reducing the production quota in the sugar sector by a quantity of 215,513 tonnes (respectively 206,646 tonnes for white sugar, 4,291 tonnes for isoglucose and 4,576 tonnes for inulyn syrup) for the 2003/2004 marketing year (beginning on July 1). This will bring the quotas to a total of 14,888,072 tonnes compared to the normal total quota of 15,103,585 tonnes. Last year the reduction was 862, 475 tonnes. This year's reduction effectively represents a linear cut of 1.4% in the existing quotas for the different sugar products. "The reduction is necessary to bring the EU in conformity with its WTO obligations", European Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said. These WTO commitments limit the budget for export refunds to €499.1 million. Without this reduction, export would increase and the refunds paid would exceed this limit.

    [09] Août 2003 : le chômage dans la zone euro stable à 8,8% ; l'UE15 inchangée à 8,0%

    Le taux de chômage de la zone euro, corrigé des variations saisonnières, s'est élevé à 8,8% en août 2003, inchangé par rapport au mois de juillet, selon les données publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat. Il était de 8,5% en août 2002. Le taux de chômage de l'UE15 était de 8,0% en août 2003, inchangé par rapport à juillet. Il était de 7,7% en août 2002. En août 2003, les taux les plus bas ont été enregistrés au Luxembourg (3,8%), aux Pays- Bas (4,1% en juillet), en Autriche (4,5%) et en Irlande (4,7%). Le taux de chômage de l'Espagne (11,4%) est resté le plus élevé de l'UE.

    [10] Les pays méditerranéens et l'UE renforcent la coopération industrielle

    Un agenda politique destiné à promouvoir l'investissement, l'innovation, l'accès au financement et le développement des petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) à travers l'UE et douze pays du sud-est de la Méditerranée sera établi lors d'une réunion du groupe de travail sur la coopération industrielle euro-méditerranéenne qui se tiendra à Rome les 2 et 3 octobre. L'établissement de cet agenda, basé sur l'expérience partagée et les meilleures pratiques établies, contribuera à cimenter les nouvelles relations initiées en début d'année par la communication de la Commission sur l'Europe élargie (voir IP/03/963). Ce travail doit être intensifié par la charte euro-méditerranéenne pour l'entrepreneuriat en 2004 et, en même temps que les progrès visant à assurer la libre circulation des biens, doit ouvrir la voie à la création d'une zone de libre-échange entre l'UE et ses partenaires méditerranéens d'ici à 2010.

    [11] Vetting national rules for trade compatibility : EU notification system extended to eight accession countries

    The EU "notification" system enabling Member States and the Commission to check that draft national technical regulations on products (and rules on information society services) will not create barriers to trade is being extended to eight accession countries before they formally join the EU. The Council has just approved the necessary bilateral agreements with the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia. Another Decision, allowing two further bilateral agreements to be concluded with Cyprus and Hungary, is soon to be approved by the Council. Vetting these draft rules for trade compatibility is vital to the smooth operation of the pan-European single market after 1 May 2004.

    [12] Commission hosts Vth International Cartel Workshop

    The European Commission will host a Cartel Workshop on Thursday and Friday which will bring together around 160 cartelbusters from 35 countries, including the United States, Japan and the new countries that will join the EU in May 2004. The workshop, the fifth of its kind, will enable officials to share expertise and step up cooperation in the fight against international cartels. "Cartels are increasingly international in scope. To meet the challenge posed by this 'internationalisation' of cartels, competition authorities must liaise more with each other, for example, by syncronising surprise inspections and by exchanging tips on how best to eradicate this scourge of the economy", said Competition Commissioner Mario Monti.

    [13] Statement by Anna Diamantopoulou on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, 1 October 2003

    "As we are living longer and healthier lives, demographic ageing is one of the major issues for global society and presents significant challenges. We are living longer, but not working longer, which is creating pressures on pensions, healthcare systems and public expenditure systems. At European level we are committed to a policy of active ageing, through lifelong learning, encouraging people to work longer, keeping active after retirement and engaging in activities which sustain health and capacity. We have also acted to tackle discrimination in employment and occupation, including on the grounds of age. Member States must honour the commitment they made in 2000 to address such discrimination, by ensuring that legislation is ready to be implemented by the 2 December 2003 deadline. I am fully behind the UN in the work it is doing to promote the position of older people as productive and important members of our society. The European Commission will honour the commitments made at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002."

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


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