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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-02-04

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] Enlargement and the EU budget : Commission proposes expenditure for the ten new Member States
  • [02] Commission to recover €143.18 million of CAP expenditure from the Member States
  • [03] Marchés publics : la Commission agit pour faire appliquer le droit européen en France et en Italie
  • [04] Foreign lecturers : Commission asks Court of Justice to impose fine on Italy in lettori case
  • [05] Flash estimate - January 2004 : Euro-zone inflation estimated at 2.0%
  • [06] Avian influenza : EU experts in Vietnam help investigating threat to human health
  • [07] EU signs Fisheries Agreement with the Solomon Islands
  • [08] Development Policy : Commission takes steps to further improve delivery of aid to Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP)
  • [09] Equal opportunities in the Olympics : Anna Diamantopoulou meets Anne- Marie Lizin
  • [10] Appointment of Mr Karlsson has chair of the Commission's Financial Irregularities Panel
  • [11] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 04/02/2004 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 04/02/2004

  • [01] Enlargement and the EU budget : Commission proposes expenditure for the ten new Member States

    Expenditure for the ten new Member States, around €11.8 billion in commitments, is to be entered into the EU budget to make it ready for 1 May. The European Commission has adopted the proposal for amending the 2004 Budget as adopted in December with these figures, for which political agreement has already been reached. For 25 Member States, the budget stands at less than 1% of EU Gross National Income (GNI). These figures will obviously have to rise in the coming years to take account of the new funding challenges the EU faces. Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer stated : "With this move the budget is ready for enlargement. The year 2004 will see the phasing in of all expenditures agreed and the opening on equal grounds of all EU programmes for our 75 million new citizens."

    [02] Commission to recover €143.18 million of CAP expenditure from the Member States

    A total of €143,18 million of EU farm money misspent by Member States is to be claimed back, following a decision adopted by the European Commission. The money is to be recovered because of inadequate control procedures or non-compliance with EU rules on agricultural expenditure. While Member States are responsible for paying out and checking virtually all expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.

    [03] Marchés publics : la Commission agit pour faire appliquer le droit européen en France et en Italie

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour européenne de justice contre la France pour non-conformité de son code des marchés publics avec les directives "marchés publics" et avec le Traité CE. La Commission a également décidé de demander formellement aux autorités françaises de rendre compatible avec le droit européen une disposition du code français de l'urbanisme. Cette disposition permet l'attribution de conventions d'aménagement sans publicité ni mise en concurrence. Par ailleurs, la Commission demandera formellement à l'Italie de mettre fin à sa pratique d'attribution directe sans concurrence à une entreprise italienne des marchés d'hélicoptères destinés à être utilisés par certains services policiers et de sécurité publique. Les demandes de la Commission prendront la forme d'avis motivés, deuxième étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue à l'article 226 du traité CE. En l'absence de réponse satisfaisante à ces "avis motivés", la Commission pourra saisir la Cour.

    [04] Foreign lecturers : Commission asks Court of Justice to impose fine on Italy in lettori case

    The European Commission has taken a decision to ask the Court of Justice to impose a €309.750 per day fine on Italy for non execution of a judgement relating to the discriminatory treatment of former foreign language lecturers in several Italian universities. In its judgement of 26 June 2001, the Court declared that as Italy had not recognised the acquired rights of foreign language assistants who had become associates and mother-tongue linguistic experts, although granting such recognition to all national workers, Italy had failed to fulfil treaty requirements relating to non- discrimination on the grounds of nationality. On 14 January 2004 Italy adopted a "Decreto Legge", which aligns the former status of lettori with the national category of "ricercatori a tempo definito". The Commission believes that this decree does not fully implement the Court's judgement. The Commission has therefore decided to request that a daily fine of 309.750 be fixed, to be payable until a decree is adopted which fully implements the Court judgement.

    [05] Flash estimate - January 2004 : Euro-zone inflation estimated at 2.0%

    Euro-zone annual inflation is expected to be 2.0% in January 2004 according to a flash estimate issued today by Eurostat. It was 2.0% in December 2003.

    [06] Avian influenza : EU experts in Vietnam help investigating threat to human health

    Two EU public health experts have arrived in Vietnam to join a World Health Organisation (WHO) team working to contain the avian influenza outbreak in Asia. They join an EU animal health expert sent to Vietnam last week to assist in efforts to eradicate the disease from the country's poultry farms (see MEX/04/0129). Avian influenza is highly contagious among chickens and other birds but is usually difficult for humans to catch. However, the number of human death from the current epidemic in Asia has risen to thirteen and the WHO has declared containing the disease to be a public health priority. The three EU experts in Vietnam have been sent in response to calls for international assistance from the WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The EU public health experts are helping the Vietnamese authorities protect people against the virus, while the animal health expert is helping eradicate the disease from the country's poultry farms.

    [07] EU signs Fisheries Agreement with the Solomon Islands

    The EU and the Solomon Islands have initialled a new bilateral Fisheries Agreement for an initial period of three years. This Agreement, which will be applicable as from 1st January 2005, provides fishing possibilities exclusively for tuna for EU vessels fishing in the waters of the Solomon Islands. It also establishes a partnership between the two parties with a view to defining a fisheries policy in the Solomon Islands and identifying the appropriate means to implement it. 30 % of the EU financial contribution which will amount at €400,000 per year, will be allocated to the implementation of a mutually agreed action programme aiming to enhance responsible fishing in the country's waters. The state of fisheries resources in the Solomon Islands' fishing zone will be jointly monitored on the basis of scientific advice. Fishing opportunities granted to EU vessels could be adapted in the light of such advice and of the limitations established by the Palau Arrangement which aims to coordinate management measures for the purse seine fishery in the Western Pacific area.

    [08] Development Policy : Commission takes steps to further improve delivery of aid to Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP)

    The European Commission has adopted a number of proposals to improve the EU- ACP Partnership Agreement that was signed in Cotonou in June 2000. The proposals are made ahead of negotiations between EU and ACP on a planned revision of the Cotonou agreement to start in May 2004. The main objective of the proposals is to further improve the conditions for an efficient delivery of EC development assistance to ACP countries. Proposals include : (i) increasing flexibility in the allocation of resources to better adapt to new needs and to allow better responsiveness to international initiatives and conflicts ; (ii) redefining and decentralising management of development aid funds in ACP countries in order to simplify implementation and strengthen local ownership ; (iii) promoting wider regional integration between ACP and non-ACP countries by facilitating cooperation with their regional organisations and by extending the scope of un-tied aid to non-ACP developing countries. The latter should also further boost the effectiveness of aid.

    [09] Equal opportunities in the Olympics : Anna Diamantopoulou meets Anne- Marie Lizin

    European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday met with Belgian senator Anne-Marie Lizin, who is on the Atlanta- Sydney-Athens+ Committee. This body seeks to ensure that all nations competing in the Olympics fully respect the terms of the Olympic Charter which decrees that all forms of discrimination, including on grounds of sex, are incompatible with membership of the Olympic Movement. Ms Diamantopoulou was very supportive of the work being done by the Committee and undertook to write on this subject to the President of the Greek Olympic Committee, hosts of the Olympic Games in 2004. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, there were 35 nations who had no female participants in their Olympic team. That number is now 8, after confirmation by Libya on 27 January that they would include female athletes. The eight countries are : Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Virgin Islands and Botswana.

    [10] Appointment of Mr Karlsson has chair of the Commission's Financial Irregularities Panel

    Vice-President of the European Commission Neil Kinnock has appointed Mr Jan O. Karlsson, former President of the European Court of Auditors, as chairman of the new Financial Irregularities Panel (FIP), with effect as of 1 February 2004. The FIP is an advisory body, created in the context of the Reform, providing the Commission with expertise on potential financial irregularities. It does not carry out investigations. The Panel is a permanent body which convenes on a case-by-case basis, its three members other than the chair, are senior officials with training and/or experience in financial matters.

    [11] Autre matériel diffusé

    Trade implications of EU enlargement : facts and figures

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


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