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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-06-24

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission condamne le système d'honoraires des architectes belges
  • [02] Public finances in 2004 : increase the EU's growth potential through better economic governance and sound public finances
  • [03] Commission recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure for Greece
  • [04] Commission assesses convergence programme of Hungary (2004-2008) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure
  • [05] Commission assesses convergence programme of Cyprus (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure
  • [06] Commission assesses convergence programme of Estonia (2004-2008)
  • [07] Commission assesses convergence programme of Latvia (2004-2007)
  • [08] Commission assesses convergence programme of Lithuania (2004-2007)
  • [09] Commission assesses convergence programme of Poland (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure
  • [10] Commission assesses convergence programme of Slovakia (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure
  • [11] Commission assesses convergence programme of Slovenia (2004-2007)
  • [12] Commission assesses convergence programme of the Czech Republic (2004- 2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure
  • [13] Commission assesses convergence programme of Malta (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure
  • [14] La Commission nomme le directeur général adjoint de sa direction générale de l'informatique
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [15] 'Plants for the future' : a 2025 vision for European plant biotechnology
  • [16] Enregistrement de trois dénominations de produits agricoles
  • [17] "L'action concrète de l'Union européenne est capitale dans la lutte contre la pauvreté", déclare Jacques Barrot
  • [18] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2004-06-24 Reference: MEX/04/0624 Date: 24/06/2004 EXME04 / 24.6

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Général Presse etb

    Communication

    24/06/04


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] La Commission condamne le système d'honoraires des architectes belges

    Selon la Commission européenne, le barème d'honoraires minima recommandés de l'Ordre des architectes belges est contraire aux règles définies par l'Union européenne en matière de concurrence. Tout comme les prix imposés, les prix recommandés restreignent la concurrence, car ils peuvent faciliter la coordination des prix.

    [02] Public finances in 2004 : increase the EU's growth potential through better economic governance and sound public finances

    In a Communication on the state of public finances in EMU adopted today, the European Commission calls for growth-enhancing, sustainable budgets as a means to raise the growth potential in line with the Lisbon strategy. The Commission remarks that challenging developments have taken place in the last years, involving unwelcome tensions in the application of the EU framework for budgetary surveillance. While there is a need to reassess the functioning of the framework, the conduct of fiscal policies in Europe should benefit from past experience. Budgetary consolidations and re- orientation towards non-distorting, growth enhancing revenue and expenditure policies should be continued as economic conditions improve. According to economic and monetary affairs Commissioner Joaquín Almunia : "It is essential that Member States implement measures which strengthen both the quality and sustainability of public finances and hence their contribution to growth potential. At the same time, efforts should be made at EU level to strengthen the framework for economic governance and to improve enforcement".

    [03] Commission recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure for Greece

    Following its report of 19 May (IP/04/660) and the opinion of the Economic and Financial Committee, the European Commission has concluded that there is an excessive deficit in Greece. According to the revised 4 May notification the general government deficit reached 3.2% of GDP in 2003 and could remain above 3% of GDP in 2004. Public debt reached 103.0% of GDP in 2003, well above the 60% Treaty reference value, and is expected to decline only marginally to 102.8% of GDP in 2004. The high level of debt and its slow pace of reduction are a cause of concern, especially in a period of high nominal growth and widening positive output gaps. The Commission is therefore recommending to the Council to decide on the existence of an excessive deficit and to make recommendations to the Greek authorities with a view to bringing this situation to an end. The Commission's recommendations are expected to be adopted by the ECOFIN Council of 5 July. The Greek government should take action regarding corrective measures by 5 November 2004.

    [04] Commission assesses convergence programme of Hungary (2004-2008) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Hungary, which was submitted on 14 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2008. Based on a rather favourable growth scenario, the programme envisages the deficit to narrow from 5.9% of GDP in 2003 to below 3% in 2008. The Commission also recommends to the Council that this medium-term adjustment path should form the basis for the correction of the excessive deficit, which, according to the Commission, exists in Hungary. On the basis of the Commission's recommendations, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt, [on 5 July 2004], an opinion on the convergence programme, a decision on the existence of an excessive deficit and recommendations to Hungary on how to bring this situation to an end.

    [05] Commission assesses convergence programme of Cyprus (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Cyprus which was submitted on 24 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a plausible macro-economic scenario, the programme envisages the deficit to narrow from 6.3% of GDP in 2003 to below 3% in 2005 and to fall further thereafter. The Commission also recommends to the Council that this medium-term adjustment path should form the basis for the correction of the excessive deficit, which, according to the Commission, exists in Cyprus. On the basis of the Commission's recommendations, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt, on [5 July 2004], an opinion on the convergence programme, a decision on the existence of an excessive deficit and recommendations to Cyprus on how to bring this situation to an end.

    [06] Commission assesses convergence programme of Estonia (2004-2008)

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Estonia, which was submitted on 13 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2008. Based on a conservative macro- economic scenario, the programme envisages a reduction of previous budgetary surpluses, which implies distinct fiscal easing in 2004 and 2005. As a result, the general government surplus is projected to narrow from 2.6% of GDP in 2003 to a balanced position from 2005 onward. Estonia appears well placed to meet the budgetary costs of an ageing population. On the basis of the Commission's recommendation, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt an opinion on Estonia's convergence programme [on 5 July 2004].

    [07] Commission assesses convergence programme of Latvia (2004-2007)

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Latvia, which was submitted on 14 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a somewhat optimistic macroeconomic scenario, the programme envisages that the general government deficit will remain around 2% of GDP throughout the programme period. Latvia is relatively well-placed to meet the budgetary costs of an ageing population. On the basis of the Commission's recommendation, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt an opinion on Latvia's convergence programme [on 5 July 2004].

    [08] Commission assesses convergence programme of Lithuania (2004-2007)

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Lithuania, which was submitted on 14 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on an optimistic macro- economic scenario, the programme envisages a small move towards a budgetary position of close to balance, based on an increase in revenues that is marginally larger than the rise in expenditure. As a result, the general government deficit is projected to narrow from 1.7% of GDP in 2003 to 1.5% in 2007. Lithuania appears relatively well placed to meet the budgetary costs of an ageing population. On the basis of the Commission's recommendation, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt an opinion on Lithuania's convergence programme [on 5 July 2004].

    [09] Commission assesses convergence programme of Poland (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Poland, which was submitted on 17 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a rather optimistic macro- economic scenario, the programme envisages the deficit to narrow from 4.1% of GDP in 2003 to below 3% in 2007. The Commission also recommends to the Council that this medium-term adjustment path should form the basis for the correction of the excessive deficit, which, according to the Commission, exists in Poland. On the basis of the Commission’s recommendations, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt, on [5 July 2004], an opinion on the convergence programme, a decision on the existence of an excessive deficit and recommendations to Poland on how to bring this situation to an end.

    [10] Commission assesses convergence programme of Slovakia (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Slovakia, which was submitted on 14 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a plausible macro- economic scenario, the programme envisages the deficit to narrow from 3.6% of GDP in 2003 to 3% in 2007. The Commission also recommends to the Council that this medium-term adjustment path should form the basis for the correction of the excessive deficit, which, according to the Commission, exists in Slovakia. On the basis of the Commission's recommendations, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt, on [5 July 2004], an opinion on the convergence programme, a decision on the existence of an excessive deficit and recommendations to Slovakia on how to bring this situation to an end.

    [11] Commission assesses convergence programme of Slovenia (2004-2007)

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Slovenia, which was submitted on 14 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a plausible macro- economic scenario, the programme envisages a gradual move towards a budgetary position of close to balance, based on a cut in expenditures as a share of GDP. As a result, the general government deficit is projected to narrow from 1.8% in 2003 to 0.9% in 2007. Slovenia faces risks of budgetary imbalances to meet the budgetary costs of an ageing population. On the basis of the Commission's recommendation, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt an opinion on Slovenia's convergence programme on [5 July 2004].

    [12] Commission assesses convergence programme of the Czech Republic (2004- 2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of the Czech Republic, which was submitted on 13 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a conservative macroeconomic scenario, the programme envisages the deficit to narrow from 12.9% of GDP in 2003 (5.9% of GDP excluding a major one-off operation related to imputed state guarantees) to 3.3% in 2007 and below 3% in 2008. The Commission today also recommends to the Council that this medium-term adjustment path should form the basis for the correction of the excessive deficit, which, according to the Commission, exists in the Czech Republic. On the basis of the Commission's recommendations, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt, on [5 July 2004], an opinion on the convergence programme, a decision on the existence of an excessive deficit and recommendations to the Czech Republic on how to bring this situation to an end.

    [13] Commission assesses convergence programme of Malta (2004-2007) and recommends further steps under the excessive deficit procedure

    The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for a Council opinion on the first convergence programme of Malta, which was submitted on 21 May 2004 and covers the period 2004-2007. Based on a plausible macro-economic scenario, the programme envisages the deficit to narrow from 9.7% of GDP in 2003 to below 3% in 2006 and fall further thereafter. The Commission also recommends to the Council that this medium-term adjustment path should form the basis for the correction of the excessive deficit, which, according to the Commission, exists in Malta. On the basis of the Commission's recommendations, the ECOFIN Council is expected to adopt, on [5 July 2004], an opinion on the convergence programme, a decision on the existence of an excessive deficit and recommendations to Malta on how to bring this situation to an end.

    [14] La Commission nomme le directeur général adjoint de sa direction générale de l'informatique

    La Commission européenne a nommé M. Fransisco García Morán au poste de directeur général adjoint de sa direction générale de l'informatique. M. García Morán aura pour mission principale de contribuer la gestion efficace du service, tâche particulièrement importante dans la phase de mise en place de cette direction générale nouvellement créée, qui gère un budget annuel de 110 millions d'€ et doit assurer des communications et des ressources informatiques efficaces, stables et sûres aux autres services de la Commission, dans de nombreux sites et délégations travers l'Europe et dans le reste du monde. Le poste de directeur général a été réservé un ressortissant de l'un des dix nouveaux Etats membres.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [15] 'Plants for the future' : a 2025 vision for European plant biotechnology

    As the world's population will grow from 6 to 9 billion over the next 50 years, and fossil resources will diminish, the need for food, "bio-fuels" and "bio-materials" from renewable, plant-based resources will increase. A report presented in Brussels today highlights how advances in plant genomics and biotechnology can help Europe to address these challenges, for instance with stress-resistant plants. Leading representatives from research, the food and biotech industry, the farming community and consumers' organisations presented to European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin a long-term vision for European plant biotechnology towards 2025. The paper identifies three priorities : to produce more affordable, healthy and better quality food products ; encourage environmental and agricultural sustainability ; and enhance competitiveness in European agriculture, industry and forestry. Stakeholders and policymakers will participate in the new technology platform on plant biotechnology to deliver a strategic research agenda by the end of the year.

    [16] Enregistrement de trois dénominations de produits agricoles

    La Commission européenne a ajouté trois dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit des produits "Salame d’oca di Mortara" (Produit base de viande - Italie - IGP), "Anchois de Collioure" (Poisson - France - IGP) et "Melon du Quercy" (Fruit - France - IGP). Les trois dénominations s'ajoutent la liste d'environ 650 produits déj protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet l'adresse: <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/foodqual/quali1_fr.htm">http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/foodqual/quali1_fr.htm

    [17] "L'action concrète de l'Union européenne est capitale dans la lutte contre la pauvreté", déclare Jacques Barrot

    (! embargo 18h00 !) Jacques Barrot, Commissaire européen en charge de la politique régionale, a réaffirmé aujourd'hui l'importance de la politique de cohésion européenne dans la lutte contre la pauvreté et l'exclusion sociale. Au cours d'un séminaire co-organisé du 23 au 25 juin 2004 par la Commission européenne, la DATAR et la Ville du Havre, plus de trois cent acteurs de terrain ont échangé sur leurs expériences et les pistes d'avenir pour favoriser l'insertion économique et sociale en Europe. Dans son intervention, Jacques Barrot a rappelé que "la politique de cohésion européenne est l'affirmation d'une volonté politique forte qui doit favoriser la compétitivité économique et la solidarité concrète en réduisant les écarts de développement entre les régions et les disparités sociales". Annonçant la proposition de nouveaux règlements pour une politique de cohésion réformée, il a souligné que "l'emploi et l'intégration sociale ne sont pas un objectif secondaire, subordonné la compétitivité et la croissance économique. Il faut reconnaître, au contraire, que les politiques économiques, sociales et de l'emploi se renforcent mutuellement. Au-del de la croissance, c'est le modèle européen de société qu'il s'agit de construire et de consolider".

    [18] Autre matériel diffusé

    Discours de M. Busquin : "Plantes pour le futur, une vision européenne pour la biotechnologie des plantes en 2025" l'occasion de sa conférence de presse

    L'insertion sociale : un objectif concret pour l'Union européenne, selon Jacques Barrot (! embargo 18h00 !)

    Speech by Erkki Liikanen : "Industrial Regulation in Modern Economies" at European Chamber of Commerce (23/06, Beijing)

    Speech by Pascal Lamy : "The TRIPs agreement 10 years on" at International Conference on the 10th Anniversary of the WTO TRIPs Agreement (23/06)

    Speech by Frits Bolkestein : "Financial Services Action Plan – Lessons Learned and Ideas for the Future" at conference on European Financial Integration : Progress and Prospects (23/06)

    Results of the conference on European Financial Integration From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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