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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-12-01

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] Action pledged as poll shows consumers still do not trust cross-border shopping
  • [02] Reduced-calorie fats : salatrims approved for use as food ingredients
  • [03] Commission clears joint control of Allfunds by Banif and San Paolo IMI
  • [04] Chemicals : research key to new EU chemical policy
  • [05] Les citoyens et les entreprises accueillent favorablement les services administratifs en ligne
  • [06] October 2003 - monthly note on the euro-denominated bond markets
  • [07] Chris Patten and Poul Nielson meet Vice-President of the Republic of Colombia
  • [08] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 01/12/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 01/12/2003

  • [01] Action pledged as poll shows consumers still do not trust cross-border shopping

    The first Sunday in Advent has passed and the run-up to Christmas implies serious shopping for many consumers. As the average retail price for a product in one EU Member State can be up to 40% above or below the European average, retailers could expect that bargain hunters from all Member States take full advantage of the Internal Market and of the price transparency the Euro brought. Wrong! Cross-border business-to-consumer sales have stagnated in the EU despite large price divergences. A Eurobarometer poll published today shows that consumers are not confident enough to shop cross- border. Only 12% of EU citizens have actually bought any goods or services across borders over the last twelve months. "A competitive European economy needs consumers who are willing to shop across national borders. This poll confirms the need to continue to strengthen the EU's consumer policy", said Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne.

    [02] Reduced-calorie fats : salatrims approved for use as food ingredients

    The European Commission has approved salatrims, a type of reduced-calorie fats, for use as novel food ingredients following the agreement of Member States in the Standing Committee on Food. Salatrims are a group of reduced- calorie triacylglycerides which were developed as alternative fats for bakery products and confectionery, particularly chocolate. They are intended for people following a weight-loss diet and are authorised for sale to the food processing industry, not directly to the public. The Standing Committee has determined that salatrims are safe for humans to eat but it took note of gastro-intestinal problems when large amounts (more than 30g per day) are taken. This is why the authorisation requires all products containing salatrim to carry a statement that excessive consumption may lead to gastro-intestinal disturbance. Labelling will also identify the product as containing "reduced energy fat (salatrim)" and state that the product is not suitable for children to eat. The authorisation is addressed to the Danish-based company Danisco. Novel foods are foods and food ingredients that have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree within the EU before 15 May 1997. In order to ensure the highest level of protection for human health, novel foods must undergo a safety assessment before they can be placed on the EU market. Only products considered safe for human consumption are authorised for marketing. Regulation EC 258/97 of 27 January 1997 lays out the detailed rules for authorisation.

    [03] Commission clears joint control of Allfunds by Banif and San Paolo IMI

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of the Spanish private bank Allfunds Bank by Italy's San Paolo Wealth Management S.p.A. (SPWM) and Banif. Allfunds is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Banif, itself controlled by Banco Santander Central Hispano. (The operation, notified on 29 October 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [04] Chemicals : research key to new EU chemical policy

    Today, at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy, Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin was joined by top European chemical experts to examine the scientific basis for the New Chemicals Policy of the EU and the JRC's work on the existing and proposed EU Chemicals Legislation. The seminar was jointly organised with the Italian Presidency of the EU. Sound science and technical guidance are essential to effectively pave the way for the implementation of the new system for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH). This will allow Europe to gather the necessary knowledge on the toxicity of chemicals and their impact on human health and the environment, while introducing new and cost-effective testing methods. Ongoing EU research activities aim to reduce the need for animal testing of chemicals across Europe. They are phased in via effective partnerships with industry and national authorities. The cost of the implementation of REACH could be reduced by as much as €900 million through alternative methods, including in vitro tests and computer models of hazard assessment.

    [05] Les citoyens et les entreprises accueillent favorablement les services administratifs en ligne

    Selon les résultats d'une enquête sur la qualité et l'utilisation des services publics électroniques qui viennent d'être publiés, près de 80% des utilisateurs émettent un avis positif sur la qualité des services publics en ligne, et plus de la moitié des utilisateurs sont très satisfaits de ces services. Près de 80% des utilisateurs déclarent qu'ils recommanderaient ces services à d'autres personnes. Les avantages liés à l'utilisation des services en ligne les plus fréquemment cités sont le gain de temps (84%) et la flexibilité accrue (65%). Les facteurs jugés les plus importants pour la satisfaction des utilisateurs sont la facilité d'utilisation (pour les citoyens) et la rapidité du site web (pour les entreprises). Les auteurs de l'étude indiquent, en conclusion, que les éléments décisifs pour le succès de l'administration en ligne sont l'optimisation des flux de travail, la simplification des processus et l'amélioration des modalités de réutilisation et de partage des informations entre les administrations.

    [06] October 2003 - monthly note on the euro-denominated bond markets

    Responding mainly to better-than-expected economic growth in the United States, the euro yield curve shifted upward by about 25 basis points in the course of October. The curve flattened marginally, with the 2-year to10- year spread declining from about 170 to 165 basis points. Total issuance of euro-denominated bonds was €161 billion, which is slightly less than in September (€164 billion), but significantly higher than in the corresponding month of previous years. Compared to the average of the previous 12 months, the composition of issuance was characterised by a relatively high share of bonds issued by financial institutions (24%). Full document and statistical annex are available on : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/bondmarkets_en.htm

    [07] Chris Patten and Poul Nielson meet Vice-President of the Republic of Colombia

    On Tuesday 2 December 2003 at 10h30, European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten will meet Mr Francisco Santos Calderón, Vice- President of the Republic of Colombia. They will review the political situation in Colombia, including human rights, and bilateral cooperation issues, as well as relations between the EU and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN). After the meeting, a press corner will be held at 11h15 in the Charlemagne building. On the same day at 9h00, Commissioner Patten will have met Mr James LeMoyne, UN Secretary General Special Advisor on Colombia, together with Mr Michael Frühling, Head of the Bogotá Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. They will discuss the situation in Colombia and in the wider Andean region, notably as regards human rights. Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Assistance, Poul Nielson, will also meet with Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderón on Tuesday at 17h30 to discuss cooperation issues, humanitarian assistance and human rights situation in Colombia.

    [08] Autre matériel diffusé

    Déclaration du Président Romano Prodi à l'occasion de la Journée du SIDA

    EU action against HIV/AIDS

    Speech by Franz Fischler : "Agricultural negotiations post-Cancun: where next?" (Rome)

    Discours de Mme de Palacio : "Vers un nouveau partenariat Euro- Méditerranéen de l'énergie" à la Conférence Ministérielle Euro- Méditerranéenne (Rome)

    Speech by Frits Bolkestein : "EU customs policy boosting security and modernising procedures" at Freight Forwarders Day (! embargo 15h30 !)

    Speech by Erkki Liikanen


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


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