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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-01-21

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] Commission requests phasing out of tax benefits for Exempt Companies in Gibraltar
  • [02] Afrique : la Commission adopte une série de mesures d'aide humanitaire d'un montant supérieur 80 millions d'€
  • [03] EU-Andean Community : regional integration assessment launched
  • [04] Lászl Kovács meets Norwegian Finance Minister Per-Kristian Foss
  • [05] Benita Ferrero-Waldner at inauguration of President Yushchenko
  • [06] Olli Rehn to visit Pristina and Belgrade
  • [07] Tender for the export of wheat with refunds opened
  • [08] Structure of government debt in the EU : in most EU Member States, central government debt is more than 80% of total government debt ; securities are the most used instrument
  • [09] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2005-01-21 Reference: MEX/05/0121 Date: 21/01/2005 EXME05 / 21.1

    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

    21/01/05


  • [01] Commission requests phasing out of tax benefits for Exempt Companies in Gibraltar

    The European Commission has formally requested the United Kingdom to abolish the Exempt Company tax regime in Gibraltar by the end of 2010 at the latest because the scheme violates the EC Treaty's ban on state aid liable to distort competition. By this request, which takes the form of a "recommendation" and follows extensive negotiations, the Commission intends to put a definitive end to the last offshore tax regime in Gibraltar. The United Kingdom has one month to formally accept these appropriate measures, failing which the Commission may open a formal state aids investigation. Under the regime, an Exempt Company pays no income tax on its profits but instead pays only a low, fixed annual tax.

    [02] Afrique : la Commission adopte une série de mesures d'aide humanitaire d'un montant supérieur 80 millions d'€

    La Commission européenne a adopté une série de mesures d'aide humanitaire en faveur des victimes des crises de longue durée qui affectent l'Afrique. Parmi les pays concernés figurent ceux d'Afrique occidentale côtire (€31,3 millions), l'Ouganda (€20,62 millions), le Burundi (€20,99 millions) et la Tanzanie (€13,5 millions). Les projets envisagés seront exécutés par les organismes humanitaires qui interviennent dans les régions cibles. Les ressources sont gérées par l'Office d'aide humanitaire de la Commission européenne (ECHO), sous la responsabilité du Commissaire chargé du développement et de l'aide humanitaire, M. Louis Michel.

    [03] EU-Andean Community : regional integration assessment launched

    The European Union-Andean Community Joint Committee is meeting today in Brussels to launch a joint assessment of regional integration in the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela). The intention of both parties is that this assessment should lead, in due course, to negotiations between the EU and the Andean Community with a view to concluding an Association Agreement. Other important topics to be raised include social cohesion, economic and trade issues, with a particular emphasis on the newly proposed Generalised System of Preferences "GSP+" and the preparation of future programming.

    See <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/andean/intro/index.htm">http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/andean/intro/index.htm

    [04] Lászl Kovács meets Norwegian Finance Minister Per-Kristian Foss

    On Friday 21 January, European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Lászlό Kovács will meet the Norwegian Finance Minister Per-Kristian Foss to exchange information and views on tax issues, including EU company taxation and Value-Added Tax, the implications of the EEA (European Economic Area) Treaty for tax purposes and the activities of the EFTA Surveillance Authority in this context, and the Norwegian tax reform plans.

    [05] Benita Ferrero-Waldner at inauguration of President Yushchenko

    European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, will attend the inauguration of President Yushchenko in Kiev on Sunday. The new President is taking office after a repeat second round of the elections which international observers noted had brought Ukraine "substantially closer" to international standards for free and fair elections. The European Commission is fully committed to working with the new President to significantly deepen the relationship between the EU and Ukraine both politically and economically, under the European Neighbourhood Policy. This will include the Commission's strong and sustained support to President Yushchenko's agenda of broad and deep political and economic reforms. A new Action Plan negotiated with Ukraine was approved by the Commission and the Council last December. Now that democratic elections have taken place it will be possible to launch the implementation of that plan, as soon as the final procedural steps have been taken.

    [06] Olli Rehn to visit Pristina and Belgrade

    The European Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn, will visit Pristina and Belgrade on 24 and 25 January 2005. The Commissioner will discuss key issues concerning the European integration of Serbia and Montenegro with the political leaders and with representatives of the international community. He will bring the message of a clear European perspective for the countries of the Western Balkans, and will emphasis the importance of regional cooperation.

    [07] Tender for the export of wheat with refunds opened

    The cereals management committee yesterday gave a positive opinion on a Commission Regulation opening a tender for the granting of refunds for the export of 2 million tons of wheat from the free market. When the tender is running, it will be the first time refunds will be granted for the export of wheat since June 2003. Export refunds are one of the tools the Commission has at its disposal to manage the cereals market. They will allow EU exporters to be present on the market in the current exceptional circumstances. The EU had a very large wheat harvest in 2004 (125 million tons compared to 98 million tons in 2003) and EU exporters are having increasing difficulties competing on the world market because of the recent considerable fall in the value of the dollar – in which cereals prices are quoted - compared to the euro. The alternative would have been a rapid build-up in intervention stocks which could not be avoided because the EU is obliged to buy the quantities that are offered into intervention. However this would have been considerably more expensive not least because these stocks cannot be disposed of in the foreseeable future. The granting of export refunds in no way lessens the EU's commitment in the Doha Development Agenda to phase out refunds, on condition that its trading partners follow suit and phase out their export support as well.

    [08] Structure of government debt in the EU : in most EU Member States, central government debt is more than 80% of total government debt ; securities are the most used instrument

    Even if the level of government debt expressed as a percentage of GDP differs significantly from one Member State to another, the structure of debt presents some common features in most Member States. In general, central government debt accounts for more than 80% of the total government debt and most Member States finance more than 70% of their debt by issuing securities. This information comes from a report released today by Eurostat. This report, based on a survey of the structure of government debt, provides information on general government debt broken down by sub- sector, financial instrument, debt holder, maturity, currency of issue, state guarantees and other features.

    [09] Autre matériel diffusé

    Note sur la préparation du Conseil Agriculture/Pêche de janvier 2005

    Speech by Mariann Fischer Boel : "Sustainable Agriculture and Innovation – Chance and Challenge for Policy and Society" at Ost-West-Agrarforum / Green Week (Berlin, ! embargo 22/01 at 10h00 !)

    Calendrier du 24 au 28 janvier 2005 From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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