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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-06-30

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] Blanchiment de capitaux : la Commission propose d'actualiser et de moderniser la directive en vigueur
  • [02] Mobile broadband services : Commission tables blueprint for anytime, anywhere access, to boost growth in business and public services
  • [03] La Commission simplifie la réglementation sur les aides d'Etat dans le secteur de la pêche
  • [04] Commission authorises aid for AMA quality label and biolabel (Austria)
  • [05] Commission decides on the Swedish energy tax system 2002 to 2005
  • [06] Commission authorises State aid for the promotion of bio-fuels in the Czech Republic
  • [07] Italy : Commission approves regional aid to restructure road haulage and to develop combined transport
  • [08] La Commission donne son feu vert final une série d'aides aux entreprises belges de transport maritime en refusant néanmoins quelques- unes de leurs dispositions
  • [09] La Commission nomme Stefano Manservisi directeur général du développement
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [10] Chris Patten congratulates Javier Solana
  • [11] Commission clears acquisition of Leaseplan by VW and two financial investment companies
  • [12] Commission launches in-depth investigation into Continental's acquisition of Phoenix
  • [13] Commission proposes to ease restrictions on EU aid to Haiti as it progresses towards democracy
  • [14] Estimation rapide - juin 2004 : l'inflation de la zone euro estimée 2,4%
  • [15] June 2004 : the euro area Business Climate Indicator resumed its upward trend
  • [16] June 2004 : economic sentiment deteriorates slightly in both the EU and the euro area
  • [17] Mobilité des chercheurs : l'UE propose de nouvelles perspectives et opportunités
  • [18] Making research careers more attractive : concrete steps leading to brain-gain results
  • [19] Conférence sur la Charte européenne des petites entreprises : apprendre travers les bonnes pratiques
  • [20] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2004-06-30 Reference: MEX/04/0630 Date: 30/06/2004 EXME04 / 30.6

    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

    30/06/04


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

    [01] Blanchiment de capitaux : la Commission propose d'actualiser et de moderniser la directive en vigueur

    La Commission européenne a présenté une proposition de directive visant renforcer les défenses de l'Union européenne contre le blanchiment de capitaux et le financement du terrorisme. Cette proposition actualiserait et améliorerait la directive antiblanchiment en vigueur. En particulier, elle définit le blanchiment de capitaux comme le fait de masquer ou de déguiser les produits d’un large éventail d'infractions graves. Elle vise aussi garantir l'application cohérente, dans tous les Etats membres, des dernières recommandations du groupe d'action financière (GAFI), soit l'organisme mondial de lutte antiblanchiment, qui, désormais, couvrent non seulement le blanchiment des produits du crime, mais aussi le financement du terrorisme. La proposition va être transmise au Parlement européen et au Conseil de l'UE pour adoption au titre de la procédure dite "de codécision".

    [02] Mobile broadband services : Commission tables blueprint for anytime, anywhere access, to boost growth in business and public services

    Accessing everything you need at head office from a computer in the field is fast becoming vital to the efficiency of both private enterprise and public services. A policy blueprint to ensure that data can be accessed anytime, anywhere across the EU, and that the EU retains its lead in this area, is set out in "Mobile broadband services", a Commission Communication issued today. The challenges ahead include ensuring that services can be supplied seamlessly to a variety of devices, making the technologies and networks that carry them interoperable, and providing adequate intellectual property protection for services with high value-added content. These challenges call for targeted R&D, both on basic research and to accelerate technical innovation.

    [03] La Commission simplifie la réglementation sur les aides d'Etat dans le secteur de la pêche

    La Commission européenne a adopté une série de nouvelles règles concernant les aides d'Etat dans le secteur de la pêche. Ces règles alignent la politique en matière d'aides d'Etat sur la politique commune de la pêche réformée adoptée en décembre 2002. Elles simplifient également l'octroi des aides par les Etats membres lorsque celles-ci ne risquent pas de mettre en péril la conservation des stocks ou d'entraîner des distorsions de concurrence. La nouvelle réglementation prévoit une "exemption par catégories" pour certains types d'aides qui n'auront plus être notifiées la Commission et approuvées par elle avant d'être mises en œuvre par les Etats membres. Les aides ne relevant pas de cette exemption continueront faire l'objet d'une notification obligatoire et d'une évaluation de la part de la Commission conformément aux lignes directrices également adoptées aujourd'hui. La nouvelle réglementation correspond aux conditions régissant l'octroi des aides communautaires au titre de l'instrument financier d'orientation de la pêche (IFOP). Elle sera applicable compter du 1er novembre 2004.

    [04] Commission authorises aid for AMA quality label and biolabel (Austria)

    The European Commission has authorised Austria to pay aid worth a total of €4.9 million per year for costs linked to the quality label and biolabel issued by Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA). The quality label may be awarded to agricultural products of significantly higher quality than regular products. The biolabel may be awarded only to organic products. Access to the two labels is open for all enterprises in the European Union, as long as they comply with the programme requirements regarding the quality of the labelled products.

    [05] Commission decides on the Swedish energy tax system 2002 to 2005

    The European Commission has decided in two separate decisions that the energy tax reliefs granted by Sweden to the manufacturing industry from 2002 to 2005 constitutes State aid. For the period 1 January 2002 to 30 June 2004, the Commission considered the scheme to be incompatible with the common market. The Commission considers, however, that the amount of aid to be recovered should be limited. First, recovery should be equal to the minimum tax burden established by the new energy tax directive. Second, the period of recovery should run from 9 August 2003 to 30 June 2004. For the period 1 July 2004 to 31 December 2005, the Commission found that the scheme is compatible with the common market.

    [06] Commission authorises State aid for the promotion of bio-fuels in the Czech Republic

    The Czech Republic intends to reduce the excise duty levied on blended diesel/bio-diesel. This reduction is granted in order to enhance the use of environmentally friendly fuels that contribute toward the reduction of greenhouse gases. The envisaged reduction should cover the difference between the costs of producing energy from a renewable energy source (in the present case diesel/bio-diesel) and the market price of the alternative fossil fuel. As the envisaged aid is limited to covering the additional cost of producing blended diesel/bio-diesel, it is the strict minimum necessary to promote the use of environmentally friendly fuels and is therefore is in line with the EU guidelines on environmental aid.

    [07] Italy : Commission approves regional aid to restructure road haulage and to develop combined transport

    The European Commission has authorised the package of aid measures for the restructuring of road haulage and the development of combined transport notified by the Italian Region of Marche.

    [08] La Commission donne son feu vert final une série d'aides aux entreprises belges de transport maritime en refusant néanmoins quelques- unes de leurs dispositions

    La Commission européenne a décidé de donner son accord des mesures du régime d'imposition forfaitaire sur la base du tonnage ou Tonnage Tax, ainsi qu' d'autres mesures fiscales en faveur de la marine marchande. Elle a cependant refusé certains aspects des mesures l'égard desquelles elle avait ouvert une procédure d'examen, en considérant qu'ils étaient susceptibles de créer des distorsions de concurrence. Le régime d'imposition forfaitaire permet de remplacer l'impôt traditionnel sur les sociétés par un impôt forfaitaire - d'une faible intensité - déterminé partir du tonnage de la flotte concernée.

    [09] La Commission nomme Stefano Manservisi directeur général du développement

    La Commission européenne a nommé M. Stefano Manservisi au poste de directeur général du développement, où il assistera le commissaire chargé du développement et de l'aide humanitaire pour lui permettre d'élaborer la politique communautaire d'aide au développement dans le monde entier, et où il supervisera la programmation de l'aide communautaire au développement dans les 78 pays partenaires de l'Union européenne en Afrique, aux Antilles et dans le Pacifique, ainsi que dans les 20 pays et territoires d'outre mer.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [10] Chris Patten congratulates Javier Solana

    On 29 June, the European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten congratulated HR/SG Javier Solana, following the decision by EU Heads of State and Government, that he should be appointed as Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, when the new Constitutions enters into force. "I am delighted that Javier Solana is to be appointed as Europe's first Foreign Minister. I'm sure he will do it outstandingly well. I have greatly enjoyed working with him over the last five years, and I probably have more reason than anyone to know what a superb job he will make of developing further Europe's nascent Common Foreign and Security Policy".

    [11] Commission clears acquisition of Leaseplan by VW and two financial investment companies

    The European Commission has authorised the acquisition of the Dutch vehicle leasing and fleet management company Leaseplan by Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS), part of the Volkswagen Group, and two middle-Eastern financial investment companies, Offset and Crescent. Both VWFS and Leaseplan are active in the market for fleet leasing and associated management services for corporate customers, and in the short-term car rental sector. But the Commission's investigation has shown that there will continue to be sufficient competition in the European markets concerned.

    [12] Commission launches in-depth investigation into Continental's acquisition of Phoenix

    The European Commission has decided to open an in-depth inquiry into the proposed acquisition of Phoenix AG, a German producer of rubber products, by rival company Continental AG. During the investigation the Commission will examine whether the elimination of Phoenix as an independent competitor could create or strengthen a dominant position of Continental in the field of air spring suspension and conveyor belt products. The opening of a detailed merger review does not prejudge the final outcome.

    [13] Commission proposes to ease restrictions on EU aid to Haiti as it progresses towards democracy

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal to ease restrictions imposed on EU development aid to Haiti since January 2001. Following the departure of President Aristide in January 2004, an interim government lead by Gerard LaTortue was sworn in on March 2004. The interim government has taken a number of concrete commitments on the return to democracy, including the conduct of free and fair elections within 18 months. Against these commitments and in view of accompanying the return to full democratic rule the Commission is proposing to : (i) widen the scope of activities that can be financed with funds already available to Haiti from the European Development Fund (EDF) to cater for short and medium term priorities identified in the recently concluded needs assessment which has been conducted by the interim government of Haiti in close cooperation with international donors. The result of the assessment will be presented at a pledging conference in July to be co-chaired by European Commissioner Joe Borg ; (ii) notify funds to Haiti from the 9th EDF ; (iii) prepare a Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme for the orientation of future development aid to Haiti to be signed with the newly elected government after a successful end to the current transition phase. The current proposal has been transmitted to the EU Council of ministers for adoption.

    [14] Estimation rapide - juin 2004 : l'inflation de la zone euro estimée 2,4%

    Selon une estimation rapide publiée aujourd'hui par Eurostat, le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro s'établirait 2,4% en juin 2004. En mai 2004, le taux était de 2,5%.

    [15] June 2004 : the euro area Business Climate Indicator resumed its upward trend

    Following the large increase of April and the small setback in May, the Business Climate Indicator for the euro area increased by 0.14 of a point in June. The value is now at 0.43 which is the highest value in more than three years. This favourable development in the BCI was mainly driven by a more positive assessment made by managers in industry on questions concerning export and total order books. The question related to production trend in the recent past also influenced the BCI positively but, to a lesser extent. Only stocks of finished products had a marginal negative impact. Opinions on production expectations remained stable.

    [16] June 2004 : economic sentiment deteriorates slightly in both the EU and the euro area

    The economic sentiment indicator (ESI) for the EU edged down by 0.5 points in June, reaching a level of 102.8. The small setback confirms the hesitancy in the improvement of economic sentiment during the first half of 2004 in comparison with its rapid recovery in 2003. The development of the indicator was dominated by a deterioration of confidence in services and in retail trade, which was all but offset by small improvements in consumer and construction confidence, while industry confidence remained unchanged. The euro area showed a similar picture although, due to a small improvement of confidence in the industry sector, the deterioration in overall economic sentiment was limited to 0.3 points.

    [17] Mobilité des chercheurs : l'UE propose de nouvelles perspectives et opportunités

    A l'occasion du colloque "Fuite ou circulation des cerveaux : nouveaux défis", qui s'est tenu aujourd'hui Paris, le Commissaire européen la recherche Philippe Busquin a lancé le nouveau réseau européen des centres de mobilité pour les chercheurs ERA-MORE. Rassemblant 200 centres dans 33 pays, ce nouvel instrument, qui vient compléter le Portail internet européen pour la mobilité des chercheurs, devrait contribuer améliorer l'information et l'assistance pratique aux chercheurs en Europe. Cet évènement était l'un des moments forts de deux journées (29-30 juin) consacrées la mobilité des chercheurs, auxquelles participaient M. François d'Aubert, ministre français délégué la Recherche, Mme Letizia Moratti, Ministre italien de l'Education, des Universités et de la Recherche, ainsi que plus de 700 scientifiques et représentants des autorités locales, des organismes de recherche, de l'industrie et des médias. Hier soir la chaîne Arte a consacré une soirée la mobilité des chercheurs, diffusant les documentaires "Profession : Chercheurs" et "Femmes de tête" co-produits par Arte et la Commission européenne.

    [18] Making research careers more attractive : concrete steps leading to brain-gain results

    In a knowledge-based economy, where new ideas and scientific knowledge are central to innovation and growth, investment in human resources in science & technology (S&T) is an essential factor to remain competitive. Europe is top of the class as the world's biggest 'S&T brain factory' with graduate numbers (2.14 million in 2000) above that of the US (2.07 million) and Japan (1.1 million). In fact, 26% of all graduates in Europe come from an S&T field in comparison with 21% in Japan and 17% in the US. In addition, the number of S&T graduates grew significantly faster in the EU during the 1990's than in the US & Japan. Keeping this pool of talent in Europe remains a challenge and innovative measures are being implemented at national and EU levels to enhance the attractiveness of research careers. But how trustworthy are claims that Europe is suffering from a "brain drain" ?

    [19] Conférence sur la Charte européenne des petites entreprises : apprendre travers les bonnes pratiques

    En association avec la Présidence irlandaise, la Commission européenne a organisé Dublin une conférence de deux jours sur la Charte européenne des petites entreprises, qui s'est terminée aujourd'hui. Quelque 34 pays qui souscrivent la Charte se sont réunis afin d'échanger de bonnes pratiques visant améliorer l'environnement des petites entreprises. La conférence a attiré quelque 250 participants, représentant des administrations nationales, régionales et locales, des organisations professionnelles et des prestataires de services aux entreprises des Etats membres de l'UE, des pays candidats et des pays des Balkans occidentaux. La conférence s'est concentrée sur trois domaines de la Charte sélectionnés l'année dernière comme prioritaires : (1) l'accès au financement, en particulier le capital risque et les micro-crédits, (2) l'innovation et le transfert de technologie et (3) la consultation des petites entreprises.

    [20] Autre matériel diffusé

    Discours de M. Philippe Busquin : "La mobilité des chercheurs : un défi crucial pour réussir l'espace européen de la Recherche" la Conférence 'Fuite ou circulation des cerveaux' (Paris)

    Speech by Erkki Liikanen : "Corporate Social Responsibility: the way forward" at EU Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR (29/06)

    Speech by Antonio Vitorino : "What EU strategy for integrating migrants" at European Policy Centre and King Baudouin Foundation Dialogue From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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