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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-12-01

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

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

  • [01] Commission reports on Greek statistics, starts infringement procedure
  • [02] La Commission autorise une aide √ la restructuration de la soci√©t√© Bull
  • [03] Commission approves real estate transfer tax exemption for housing companies in Eastern Germany
  • [04] La Commission d√©clare compatibles des aides accord√©es au titre de co√Ľts √©chou√©s dans le secteur de l'√©nergie en Italie
  • [05] Commission opens formal investigation into UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • [06] Ouverture d'une enqu√™te √ l'√©gard d'une taxe parafiscale √ la promotion du vin au Portugal
  • [07] La Commission autorise une aide destin√©e √ faciliter l'√©limination des mat√©riels √ risque et √ contrer les effets de l'ESB en Italie en 2001
  • [08] Commission allows Denmark to alter its tax scheme for shipping companies
  • [09] Commission approves a new Finnish regime in favour of passenger vessels
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [10] Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath of the Palestinian Authority visits Commission
  • [11] Commission clears K√∂rber's acquisition of Winkler + D√ľnnebier
  • [12] Commission decides to allow Fortum to increase its shareholding in Gasum in the Finnish energy sector
  • [13] Commission consults public on action plan to reduce air pollution
  • [14] Commission clears acquisition of Lombard and IDH by Friends Provident
  • [15] Commission indicator forecasts euro area quarterly GDP growth of 0.2% to 0.6% for the 4th quarter of 2004 and 1st quarter of 2005
  • [16] October 2004 : Euro-zone unemployment stable at 8.9% ; EU25 down to 8.9%
  • [17] First estimates for the third quarter of 2004 Euro-zone and EU25 GDP up by 0.3% +1.8% and +2.1% respectively compared to the third quarter of 2003
  • [18] Autre mat√©riel diffus√© Midday Express of 2004-12-01 Reference: MEX/04/1201 Date: 01/12/2004 EXME04 / 1.12

    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

    01/12/04


  • [I] R√©sultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Commission reports on Greek statistics, starts infringement procedure

    In a report today to the European Parliament and the Council, the European Commission identifies weaknesses with regard to the reporting of budgetary data by the Greek authorities, insufficiencies in the budgetary data provision by Eurostat, and limits of the budgetary data reporting and provision system as a whole. The report arises from the revision of the Greek deficit-to-GDP ratio not only for 2003 but for all years since 1997 which resulted from earlier actions by Eurostat as well as the initiative taken by the incoming Greek government. The Commission believes that although the information provided by the Greek authorities has now allowed to reduce considerably the elements of non compliance with Greece's duty to provide statistical data in accordance with the EU rules, it still needs to address a number of problems in its reporting and control of deficit- related data. The Commission has, therefore, launched an infringement procedure to prevent incorrect or incomplete data transmission in the future. The Commission intends to propose concrete measures to ensure the credibility of the entire statistical system, namely through the adoption of the highest standards as regards the independence, integrity and accountability of the national statistics offices and the reinforcement of the control and inspection capacities of Eurostat, the EU's statistical body.

    [02] La Commission autorise une aide à la restructuration de la société Bull

    La Commission européenne a autorisé une aide notifiée par le gouvernement français en soutien du plan de restructuration de la société informatique Bull. La France s'engage à ne pas verser cette ultime aide à la restructuration avant le 31 décembre 2004. En plus, l'aide ne sera payée qu'après le remboursement de l'aide au sauvetage accordée en 2001 et 2002. Sous ces conditions, la Commission estime que le retour à la viabilité est suffisamment garanti et que l'aide, malgré le montant important, est compatible avec les règles du Traité CE (Article 87) qui imposent que les aides d'Etat ne créent pas de distorsions de concurrence indues.

    [03] Commission approves real estate transfer tax exemption for housing companies in Eastern Germany

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules a scheme that temporarily exempts housing companies from the real estate transfer tax in case of mergers involving property in the 'Neue Länder'. At the same time, the Commission has decided to open a formal investigation under the state aid rules with regard to those parts of the scheme that are related to the labour market region of Berlin.

    [04] La Commission d√©clare compatibles des aides accord√©es au titre de co√Ľts √©chou√©s dans le secteur de l'√©nergie en Italie

    La Commission europ√©enne a d√©cid√© que les subventions accord√©es par les autorit√©s italiennes au secteur de l'√©nergie pour couvrir des co√Ľts √©chou√©s li√©s au processus de lib√©ralisation √©taient compatibles avec les r√®gles sur les aides d'Etat du trait√© CE. Ces r√®gles interdisent les aides d'Etat qui faussent ou qui menacent de fausser la concurrence dans une mesure contraire √ l'int√©r√™t commun. Les co√Ľts √©chou√©s sont des co√Ľts encourus par les soci√©t√©s avant la lib√©ralisation du secteur de l'√©lectricit√© et dont la r√©cup√©ration est devenue impossible ou tr√®s difficile du fait de la lib√©ralisation.

    [05] Commission opens formal investigation into UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

    The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to check whether the establishment of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) by the United Kingdom complies with the EC Treaty rules requiring that state aids should not distort or threaten to distort competition. The NDA is due to be established as of 1st April 2005 as a non-departmental public body in charge of managing most of the nuclear liabilities of the public sector in the country.

    [06] Ouverture d'une enquête à l'égard d'une taxe parafiscale à la promotion du vin au Portugal

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir une procédure formelle d'examen à l'égard de certains aspects des activités de l'Institut de la Vigne et du Vin (IVV) au Portugal, plus particulièrement les mesures financées avec le produit de la taxe parafiscale dite "à la promotion du vin" ainsi que l'éventuelle nature discriminatoire de cette taxe. Cet examen concerne surtout le fait que cette taxe parafiscale, introduite en 1995 pour financer les activités de l'IVV, frappe aussi les vins venant des autres Etats membres, sans que, à première vue, ceux-ci puissent profiter de la même manière que les produits vitivinicoles d'origine portugais de certains des activités financées avec le produit de cette taxe.

    [07] La Commission autorise une aide destinée à faciliter l'élimination des matériels à risque et à contrer les effets de l'ESB en Italie en 2001

    La Commission europ√©enne a r√©troactivement autoris√© l'Italie √ accorder une aide d'Etat de 169 millions d'‚ā¨ pour couvrir les co√Ľts de la destruction obligatoire des mat√©riels √ risque sp√©cifi√©s (MRS) et du stockage des mati√®res √ faible risque, ainsi qu'une aide au revenu en faveur des producteurs de viande bovine afin de contrer les effets de la crise de l'ESB ("maladie de la vache folle") de 2001. L'aide a √©t√© accord√©e en 2001 sans l'approbation de la Commission.

    [08] Commission allows Denmark to alter its tax scheme for shipping companies

    The European Commission has decided to allow Denmark to alter its tonnage- based flat-rate tax scheme for shipping companies (also known as Tonnage Tax). The scheme is being extended to cover revenue from renting out sales areas on board passenger ships. The sales areas are usually let to entities which are part of the shipping company concerned or the group to which it belongs, or to third companies.

    [09] Commission approves a new Finnish regime in favour of passenger vessels

    The European Commission approved a modification to an existing Finnish scheme in favour of passenger vessels. Ship-owners operating passenger vessels regularly calling at Finnish ports will be entitled to an income tax exemption and to a compensation for the various social contributions usually borne by maritime companies.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [10] Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath of the Palestinian Authority visits Commission

    The Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister, Nabeel Shaath, will meet the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, in Brussels on 1 December and with Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, on the following day. The Commission and Minister Shaath will discuss the situation in the Middle East, the humanitarian situation and plans for the forthcoming Palestinian Authority Presidential elections. The Commission will confirm its ongoing support for the Palestinian electoral process and will outline the objectives of the EU Observation Mission which will be lead by former French Prime Minister and Member of the European Parliament, Michel Rocard. The meeting will underline the overall importance the Commission attaches to EU-Palestinian Authority relations in the context of the Interim Association Agreement and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

    [11] Commission clears K√∂rber's acquisition of Winkler + D√ľnnebier

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the German company Winkler + D√ľnnebier AG (W+D), a manufacturer of specialised paper-products machinery, by K√∂rber AG of Hamburg, Germany, another engineering group. Although W+D has strong positions in certain market segments, such as tissue-fold machines for the production of handkerchiefs and envelope and pocket machines, K√∂rber is not a direct competitor in these fields. K√∂rber has launched a public take- over bid for W+D, which is a Frankfurt stock exchange listed company.

    [12] Commission decides to allow Fortum to increase its shareholding in Gasum in the Finnish energy sector

    The European Commission has decided under the EU Merger Regulation to allow the Finnish energy company Fortum Oyj ("Fortum") to increase its shareholding in Gasum Oy ("Gasum"), the Finnish natural gas company. The Commission has concluded that the acquisition of the 6% shareholding does not confer joint or sole control to Fortum over Gasum. The decision modifies an earlier Commission decision taken in 1998 under the Merger Regulation to clear the concentration between Neste and Ivo (now Fortum) subject 'inter alia' to an explicit limit on Fortum's shareholding in Gasum to 25% (see IP/98/504). The new decision allows Fortum's shareholding position to increase from 25% to 31% without Fortum acquiring either sole or joint control over Gasum.

    [13] Commission consults public on action plan to reduce air pollution

    The European Commission is seeking input from the public on the measures to be included in a new comprehensive European action plan to reduce air pollution. This plan, which is due by mid-2005, will have a direct impact on people's lives. The Commission is therefore launching an internet consultation in order to reach the largest possible number of people. Starting today, the consultation will run until 31 January 2005 with results to be published by March 2005.

    [14] Commission clears acquisition of Lombard and IDH by Friends Provident

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Luxembourg company Lombard International Assurances SA and Swiss company, Insurance Development Holdings AG (IDH) by Friends Provident plc. Friends Provident is a listed UK financial services group whose core business is the provision of group and individual pension and life insurance products. Lombard is an insurance group active primarily in life insurance products for high net worth individuals. IDH is a financial holding company and is Lombard's sister company, in that the same set of controlling shareholders is common to both undertakings. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [15] Commission indicator forecasts euro area quarterly GDP growth of 0.2% to 0.6% for the 4th quarter of 2004 and 1st quarter of 2005

    The indicator-based model for quarterly GDP growth for the euro area, developed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, forecasts a range of 0.2% to 0.6% for GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2004. The range for the first quarter of 2005 is also 0.2- 0.6%.

    [16] October 2004 : Euro-zone unemployment stable at 8.9% ; EU25 down to 8.9%

    Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment stood at 8.9% in October 2004, unchanged compared to September, Eurostat reports today. It was also 8.9% in October 2003. The EU25 unemployment rate was 8.9% in October 2004, down from 9.0% in September. It was 9.1% in October 2003.

    [17] First estimates for the third quarter of 2004 Euro-zone and EU25 GDP up by 0.3% +1.8% and +2.1% respectively compared to the third quarter of 2003

    Euro-zone and EU25 GDP grew by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2004, compared to the previous quarter, according to first estimates out today from Eurostat. In the second quarter of 2004, growth rates were +0.5% for the euro-zone and +0.6% for the EU25. Compared to the third quarter of 2003, GDP rose by 1.8% in the euro-zone and by 2.1% in the EU25, after +2.1% and +2.4% respectively in the previous quarter.

    [18] Autre matériel diffusé

    Speech by J√°n Figel : "Sharpening our vision" at the 7th ECSA World Conference 'The European Union and Emerging World Orders: Perceptions and Strategies'

    Speech by Markos Kyprianou on HIV/AIDS to mark World AIDS Day (European Parliament, ! embargo 6 pm !) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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