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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-12-13

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 du 12 décembre 2006 -

  • [01] Working for growth and jobs - A year of delivery
  • [02] Promoting EU citizens' exercise of their electoral rights in their State of residence in the context of European elections
  • [03] Commission approves acquisition of Aker Kvaerner's pulp machine business by Metso, subject to conditions
  • [04] La Commission adopte un nouveau règlement de minimis, exemptant les aides inférieures €200.000 de l'obligation de notification
  • [05] La Commission examine la loi belge propos de l'assurance maladie complémentaire proposée par les caisses de maladie privées
  • [06] Posting of workers from the new Member States : Commission calls on the Netherlands to put an end to unjustified restrictions
  • [07] Public procurement : infringement proceedings against Spain
  • [08] Public procurement : infringement proceedings against Austria, Germany, Greece and Poland
  • [09] Public procurement : Commission closes infringement case against the Czech Republic
  • [10] Public procurement : Commission closes infringement cases against Austria, Germany and Italy
  • [11] Professional qualifications : infringement proceedings against Germany
  • [12] Qualifications professionnelles : procédures d'infraction l'encontre de la France
  • [13] Qualifications professionnelles : procédures d'infraction l'encontre du Portugal et de l'Espagne
  • [14] Free movement of services : infringement proceedings against Austria
  • [15] Free movement of services : infringement proceedings against Germany
  • [16] Freedom to provide services : infringement proceedings against Italy
  • [17] Libre circulation des services : des procédures d'infraction sont engagées l'encontre de la France
  • [18] Liberté d'établissement : procédures d'infraction l'encontre de la France
  • [19] Freedom of establishment : infringement procedures against Germany and Portugal
  • [20] Internal Market : Commission acts to ensure full implementation of EU laws in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Sweden and Portugal
  • [21] Internal Market : Commission acts to ensure nine Member States implement EU laws
  • [22] Commission takes steps to enforce EU telecom rules against France, Poland, Slovakia and Latvia
  • [23] Poland: Commission pursues legal action for violation of nature directives
  • [24] Commission asks Court to impose fines on Italy and France over breaches of EU environmental law
  • [25] Greece : Commission pursues legal action over infringements of EU environmental legislation
  • [26] Spain : Commission pursues legal action over infringements of EU environmental legislation
  • [27] Climate change : Commission takes legal action over missing national allocation plans, incomplete emission reports
  • [28] Commission starts legal action against seven Member States over Landfill Directive
  • [29] Chasse aux oiseaux illégale : la Commission engage des procédures judiciaires
  • [30] Commission takes Finland, Sweden and Portugal to Court over waste water treatment
  • [31] Commission to take Greece to Court for inadequate staffing of its veterinary services
  • [32] Airport tax : Commission delivers a reasoned opinion to Malta
  • [33] Maritime cabotage : Commission sends a reasoned opinion to Malta
  • [34] Sécurité maritime : la Commission traduit le Portugal devant la Cour de justice
  • [35] Ciel unique européen : la Commission cite la Grèce devant la Cour de Justice
  • [36] Rail competitiveness : Commission takes Portugal and Slovenia to the Court and sends reasoned opinion to Latvia
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [37] Bienvenue dans l'Union européenne la Bulgarie et la Roumanie!
  • [38] Commission proposes new measures to remove red tape hindering the development of railways throughout Europe
  • [39] Commission clears acquisition of Disko Group and ASL by General Electric
  • [40] Commission clears acquisition of Mitsui Babcock by Doosan
  • [41] Commission clears acquisition of trans-o-flex by Österreichische Post
  • [42] Commission decides on cooperation and verification mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania in the field of justice reform and the fight against corruption
  • [43] L'UE et le Maroc concluent leur accord sur Galileo
  • [44] Accord global d'intégration aérienne entre l'UE et le Maroc : le Maroc rejoint l'Europe de l'aviation
  • [45] Commission to open aviation negotiations with Ukraine
  • [46] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-12-13 Reference: MEX/06/1213 Date: 13/12/2006 EXME06 / 13.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    13/12/06


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 12 décembre 2006 -

    Outcome of Commission meeting of 12 December

    [01] Working for growth and jobs - A year of delivery

    The re-launched growth and jobs strategy is the flagship policy of the Barroso Commission – and it is working. The reform process is bearing fruit. The current economic upturn now provides a unique window of opportunity to quicken the pace of reform. It is an opportunity that must not be missed. Those are the main messages of the European Commission's key annual report on the progress of economic reform across Europe. The report invites the Council to formally adopt country specific recommendations designed to guide the reform efforts of Member States. It will be submitted to the Spring European Council in March 2007.

    [02] Promoting EU citizens' exercise of their electoral rights in their State of residence in the context of European elections

    The European Commission has presented two initiatives : a report on the application during the European Parliament elections of 2004 of Council Directive 93/109/EC, which lays down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals, and proposals for improving certain provisions of this Directive.

    [03] Commission approves acquisition of Aker Kvaerner's pulp machine business by Metso, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the planned acquisition by Metso Corporation Oy ("Metso") of Finland of the pulp and power business of the Norwegian group Aker Kvaerner ASA. During its in-depth investigation, opened in August 2006 (see IP/06/1100), the Commission found that the proposed acquisition might create competition problems in a number of markets for pulp mill equipment. However, these concerns were entirely removed by Metso's commitment to divest overlapping businesses to the Canadian-based supplier GL&V. In light of these substantial remedies, the Commission concluded that the merger would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.

    [04] La Commission adopte un nouveau règlement de minimis, exemptant les aides inférieures €200.000 de l'obligation de notification

    La Commission européenne a adopté un règlement exemptant les subventions de faible montant de l'obligation de notification préalable en vue de leur autorisation par la Commission en application des règles sur les aides d'Etat du traité CE. Ce nouveau règlement prévoit que les aides ne dépassant pas €200.000, accordées sur une période de trois ans, ne seront pas considérées comme des aides d'Etat. Les garanties de prêts seront également couvertes pour autant que la partie garantie du prêt n'excède pas €1,5 million. Afin d'éviter les abus, les formes d'aide pour lesquelles l'élément d'aide ne peut être calculé l'avance de façon précise (appelées "aides non transparentes") et les aides aux entreprises en difficulté sont exclues du règlement. Ce règlement tient compte des observations reçues lors de plusieurs consultations publiques organisées dans le courant de l'année 2006. Il représente une des pierres angulaires du plan d’action dans le domaine des aides d'Etat (voir IP/05/680 et MEMO/05/195), qui vise simplifier les règles en la matière, affiner l'analyse économique des subventions et permettre la Commission de concentrer son action en matière d'application des règles sur les cas qui faussent le plus la concurrence. Ce règlement sera publié au journal officiel avant la fin de 2006 et entrera en vigueur le 1er janvier 2007.

    [05] La Commission examine la loi belge propos de l'assurance maladie complémentaire proposée par les caisses de maladie privées

    La Commission européenne a décidé de demander officiellement la Belgique de lui faire parvenir ses observations concernant les caisses de maladie privées proposant une assurance maladie complémentaire (qui s'ajoute la couverture de base de la sécurité sociale) et qui sont en concurrence avec les compagnies d'assurances. En Belgique, les caisses de maladie privées sont soumises des règles nationales spécifiques, et non aux règles communautaires qui s’appliquent aux compagnies d'assurances en ce qui concerne la solvabilité, le contrôle et les capitaux des prestataires d'assurances. D'après la Commission, il pourrait en résulter différents niveaux de protection selon les assurés, ainsi que des distorsions sur le marché. La Commission ne remet nullement en cause la structure du régime de sécurité sociale belge ni le droit des caisses de maladie privées de proposer une assurance maladie complémentaire. La demande de la Commission prend la forme d'une lettre de mise en demeure, qui constitue la première étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue l'article 226 du traité CE. La Belgique est invitée présenter sa réponse dans les deux mois. Après analyse de cette réponse, la Commission décidera d'émettre ou non un "avis motivé" qui demande officiellement au gouvernement belge de modifier la loi concernée.

    [06] Posting of workers from the new Member States : Commission calls on the Netherlands to put an end to unjustified restrictions

    The European Commission has decided to issue a formal request - in the form of a reasoned opinion - to the Dutch authorities to revise the rules in force concerning the posting on Dutch territory of workers from certain new Member States in the framework of the provision of services. The Dutch authorities have not responded to the Commission's supplementary letter of formal notice of July 2006, calling for Dutch legislation to take the reasoned opinion of July 2005 (see IP/05/1014) into account in the course of the procedure. If the Netherlands does not provide a satisfactory response within two months of receiving the letter, the Commission may decide to bring it before the Court of Justice.

    [07] Public procurement : infringement proceedings against Spain

    The European Commission has taken action against Spain to correct breaches of EU public procurement law. The Commission has decided to send Spain two formal requests, one to end its practices regarding the use of discriminatory technical specifications for the purchase or lease of computer equipment, and the other regarding a public works contract for the construction of a vegetable waste processing plant in Motril, Granada. These requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [08] Public procurement : infringement proceedings against Austria, Germany, Greece and Poland

    The European Commission has taken action against Austria, Germany, Greece and Poland to correct breaches of EU public procurement law. The Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice over the tendering procedure for a railway project in Thriasio and over the award procedure for construction of a thermoelectric plant in Atherinolakkos, Crete. The Commission has also decided to send formal requests to Austria concerning a contract for supply and maintenance of software, to Germany concerning rescue transport services, and to Poland concerning the procurement of automated radar coastal surveillance equipment. These formal requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [09] Public procurement : Commission closes infringement case against the Czech Republic

    The European Commission has decided to close an infringement case against the Czech Republic concerning the tender procedure for armoured personnel carriers for the Czech army.

    [10] Public procurement : Commission closes infringement cases against Austria, Germany and Italy

    The European Commission has decided to close a range of infringement cases on public procurement. The cases that have now been resolved were against Italy concerning the review procedures relating to the award of public contracts, and a regional law applicable to Friuli Venezia Giulia on public works; against Germany concerning non-implementation into national law of EU public procurement Directives, and the direct award of planning services in the city of Waren; and against Austria concerning public-private partnerships in the waste disposal sector.

    [11] Professional qualifications : infringement proceedings against Germany

    The European Commission has formally asked Germany to amend its legislation on the recognition of dentists' qualifications. This request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [12] Qualifications professionnelles : procédures d'infraction l'encontre de la France

    La Commission européenne a pris des mesures l'encontre de la France pour qu'il soit remédié des infractions au droit communautaire en matière de qualifications professionnelles. La Commission a décidé de traduire la France devant la Cour de justice européenne en raison des règles appliquées pour la reconnaissance du diplôme de guide canyon. En outre, la Commission a décidé d'adresser un avis motivé la France, en application de l'article 228 du traité CE, pour l'inviter se conformer sans délai un arrêt de la Cour de 2004 l'obligeant appliquer les règles communautaires relatives la reconnaissance des diplômes d'éducateurs spécialisés.

    [13] Qualifications professionnelles : procédures d'infraction l'encontre du Portugal et de l'Espagne

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour européenne de justice d'un recours contre les Etats membres suivants en application de l'article 226 du traité CE : le Portugal pour ne pas avoir mis en œuvre les règles communautaires relatives la reconnaissance des diplômes de pharmacien biologiste, et l'Espagne en raison des règles appliquées pour la reconnaissance des diplômes de pharmacien hospitalier.

    [14] Free movement of services : infringement proceedings against Austria

    The European Commission has taken action to put an end to obstacles to the free movement of services in Austria. The Commission has decided to refer Austria to the European Court of Justice over its rules which discriminate against nationals from eight member States that joined the EU in 2004 wishing to establish a company in Austria. Nationals from those Member States are subject to a specific procedure which requires that they prove they have a substantial influence on the decision-making in the company before their company can be registered. The Commission has also decided to send Austria formal requests to modify its legislation on the free movement of services for patent agents and obliging doctors to open an account at a specific bank. These formal requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [15] Free movement of services : infringement proceedings against Germany

    The European Commission has taken action to put an end to obstacles to the free movement of services in Germany. The Commission has decided to send an additional formal request to Germany on its application of a bilateral agreement with Poland in relation to the construction sector. This formal request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. The Commission has also decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send Germany a further reasoned opinion requesting it to comply immediately with a 2006 Court judgement concerning the posting of third-country nationals by EU companies.

    [16] Freedom to provide services : infringement proceedings against Italy

    The European Commission has decided to send a formal request to Italy to modify its legislation restricting the activities of companies involved in gas and electricity distribution. This formal request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [17] Libre circulation des services : des procédures d'infraction sont engagées l'encontre de la France

    La Commission européenne a pris des mesures pour éliminer les entraves la libre circulation des services en France. La Commission a décidé de traduire la France devant la Cour de justice européenne en raison de sa législation qui exige des architectes en chef des monuments historiques qu'ils soient de nationalité française. La Commission a également décidé, en vertu de l'article 228 du traité CE, d'adresser la France une lettre de mise en demeure pour l'inviter fournir des informations complètes sur l'exécution d'un arrêt de la Cour, prononcé en 2006, relatif aux restrictions pesant sur les agences de placement des artistes et sur les artistes indépendants désireux d'exercer leurs activités en France. En outre, la Commission a décidé de demander officiellement la France de modifier sa législation qui restreint la possibilité pour les traducteurs assermentés de travailler en France, et sa législation en matière de propriété des laboratoires d'analyse biologique. Ces demandes prennent la forme d'«avis motivés», qui constituent la deuxième étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue l'article 226 du traité CE. En l'absence de réponses satisfaisantes dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission pourra saisir la Cour de justice.

    [18] Liberté d'établissement : procédures d'infraction l'encontre de la France

    La Commission européenne a pris des mesures pour mettre fin certaines entraves la liberté d'établissement en France. Elle demandera officiellement la France de modifier la réglementation obligeant les négociants en céréales obtenir une autorisation de la part d’une institution où sont représentés des concurrents potentiels, condition qu’ils disposent de capacités de stockage en France, ainsi que la réglementation obligeant les négociants en céréales avoir une adresse et une activité minimale en France, établir des déclarations statistiques mensuelles et présenter tous leurs documents commerciaux. La Commission juge ces restrictions incompatibles avec la liberté d'établissement et la libre prestation de services. La Commission demandera aussi officiellement la France de modifier sa réglementation concernant l'implantation de commerces. Elle estime que la procédure d'autorisation repose sur des critères insuffisamment objectifs et précis, dont la plupart visent évaluer l'impact économique potentiel de l'ouverture d'un nouveau commerce, et qu'elle est lourde et injuste dans la mesure où elle donne un rôle décisionnel des représentants des opérateurs économiques existants. La Commission considère que ces dispositions ne sont pas compatibles avec la liberté d'établissement. Ces demandes prennent la forme d'«avis motivés», qui constituent la deuxième étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue l'article 226 du traité CE. En l'absence de réponse satisfaisante dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission pourra saisir la Cour de justice européenne.

    [19] Freedom of establishment : infringement procedures against Germany and Portugal

    The European Commission has taken action to put an end to obstacles to the freedom of establishment in Germany and Portugal. The Commission has decided to refer Germany to the European Court of Justice over its authorisation rules for vehicle inspection organisations, in particular the requirement for compulsory affiliation of a minimum number of (self- employed) independent experts. On the same subject, the Commission will formally request Portugal to amend its rules on the granting of authorisations to bodies of other Member States wishing to carry on vehicle inspection activities in Portugal. This formal request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. The Commission considers these national rules to be incompatible with EC Treaty rules on the freedom of establishment (Article 43).

    [20] Internal Market : Commission acts to ensure full implementation of EU laws in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Sweden and Portugal

    The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement procedures against Cyprus, Luxembourg, Sweden and Portugal to ensure full and correct implementation of certain Internal Market Directives. The Commission has decided to refer Sweden to the European Court of Justice over its failure to implement correctly in national law certain elements of the Legal Expenses Insurance Directive. The Commission has also decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send a letter of formal notice asking Luxembourg and Portugal for full information on their execution of European Court judgements concerning implementation of a Directive on rental and lending rights. Finally the Commission has formally requested Cyprus to complete its implementation of five company law Directives. These requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [21] Internal Market : Commission acts to ensure nine Member States implement EU laws

    The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement procedures against nine Member States – Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, the Slovak Republic, Spain and Sweden – for failure to implement certain Internal Market Directives in national law. The Commission has decided to refer Belgium, France, Greece, Spain and Sweden to the European Court of Justice over their failure to implement the resale right Directive. The Commission has also formally requested Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Italy, the Slovak Republic and Spain to implement the Directive on takeover bids in national law. These formal requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [22] Commission takes steps to enforce EU telecom rules against France, Poland, Slovakia and Latvia

    In a new round of proceedings against possible infringements of EU telecom rules, the European Commission has opened two new infringement cases against Poland. The Commission is also sending a reasoned opinion to Slovakia and Latvia, opening the second stage of infringement proceedings. The Commission is referring two Member States (France and Poland) to the European Court of Justice and closing one case against Latvia.

    [23] Poland: Commission pursues legal action for violation of nature directives

    The European Commission is taking legal action against Poland in two cases of infringement of EU nature protection law. Both cases concern the EU-wide network of important protected wildlife sites and natural areas, Natura 2000. Poland will receive a first written warning for going ahead with eight road projects which encroach upon designated or potential Natura 2000 areas. These projects are linked to the Via Baltica Helsinki-Warsaw road corridor in the North-East part of the country, and include the Augustow bypass. In addition, Poland will be given a final written warning for failing to propose a sufficient number of sites and areas for Natura 2000.

    [24] Commission asks Court to impose fines on Italy and France over breaches of EU environmental law

    The European Commission has decided to refer Italy and France to the European Court of Justice a second time for failure to comply with judgements by the European Court of Justice from 2004. The Commission also asks the Court to impose fines on Italy and France. Italy has infringed the EU's Waste Framework Directive by failing to clean up illegal landfills in Manfredonia and Rodano. This directive is a key instrument for protecting human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, handling and disposal of waste. The Commission proposes that Italy be fined a lump sum in excess of €19 million for the Rodana landfill and a daily penalty of €192,844.80 if there is still no clean-up after a second Court ruling. For the Manfredonia landfill, the lump sum proposed is in excess of €9.920 million and the daily penalty is €85, 708.80. France has not fully transposed the EU Directive on the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment. This Directive aims to safeguard human health and the environment against the potential risk of contamination by GMOs. The Commission proposes that France be fined a lump sum in excess of €38 million and a daily penalty of €366,744. If the legislation is still not in place after a second Court ruling.

    [25] Greece : Commission pursues legal action over infringements of EU environmental legislation

    The European Commission has decided to pursue legal action against Greece over breaches of three EU laws to protect the environment and public health. The Commission is sending Greece a first written warning for failing to comply fully with a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling requiring it to develop a plan to manage hazardous waste in the heavily polluted area of Thriassio Pedio. This is the first stage in a procedure under which the Commission can ask the ECJ to impose financial penalties if a Member State's response to warnings is unsatisfactory. Greece will also receive final written warnings for continuing to allow the use of fuels with a higher than allowed sulphur content, and for several breaches of the EU law on urban waste water treatment.

    [26] Spain : Commission pursues legal action over infringements of EU environmental legislation

    The European Commission has decided to pursue legal action against Spain in six separate cases over breaches of EU laws to protect the environment and public health. In four of these cases, the Commission is following up earlier rulings by the European Court of Justice. It is sending Spain a final written warning for failing to comply fully with a ruling requiring measures to reduce pollution in its coastal waters. Spain will receive first written warnings for failing to comply with rulings in three other cases, concerning urban waste water treatment, pollution of shellfish waters, and environmental impact assessments. In another case, the Commission is taking Spain to the Court for failing to properly transpose into national law an EU directive aimed at curbing industrial pollution, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. Finally, the Commission will send Spain a first written warning for failing to properly transpose the EU directive on drinking water.

    [27] Climate change : Commission takes legal action over missing national allocation plans, incomplete emission reports

    The European Commission has decided to send four Member States final written warnings that they will face Court action unless they rapidly submit national allocation plans for the second trading period of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2008 to 2012. The Commission is also taking infringement action against seven Member States for failing to provide complete reports on their progress in limiting or cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

    [28] Commission starts legal action against seven Member States over Landfill Directive

    The European Commission has decided to start legal action against seven Member States for inadequately transposing the EU's legislation on the landfill of waste into their national law. The Commission is sending first warning letters to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Compliance with the Landfill Directive is a serious problem throughout the EU. The Commission therefore launched a screening exercise to compare Member States' national legislation with the Directive to detect where the shortcomings are. The aim is to ensure that landfills operate in full accordance with the Directive, i.e. in a way which do not harm human health or the environment.

    [29] Chasse aux oiseaux illégale : la Commission engage des procédures judiciaires

    La Commission européenne a introduit une procédure contre l'Espagne, l'Italie et l'Autriche pour non-conformité de leur réglementation en matière de chasse avec la directive communautaire relative aux oiseaux sauvages. Actuellement, les contrôles prévus par ces Etats membres en matière de chasse aux oiseaux sont insuffisants et ne protègent donc pas correctement les espèces d'oiseaux concernées. L'Espagne recevra une première lettre d'avertissement l'invitant se conformer un arrêt de la Cour européenne de justice de 2004. L'Italie sera traduite devant la Cour et l'Autriche recevra un premier avertissement écrit.

    [30] Commission takes Finland, Sweden and Portugal to Court over waste water treatment

    The European Commission is taking Finland, Sweden and Portugal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to ensure proper treatment of urban waste water in a significant number of towns and cities. The failure of Finland and Sweden to systematically remove nitrogen when treating the waste water of their inland cities and towns is contributing to the environmental problems of the Baltic Sea. Portugal has failed to respect a special decision on urban waste water discharges from Estoril, near Lisbon, and the surrounding area.

    [31] Commission to take Greece to Court for inadequate staffing of its veterinary services

    The European Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice, for failing to properly staff its veterinary services. This persistent understaffing of the veterinary services has resulted in poor controls and inadequate enforcement of EU food safety and animal health legislation in Greece.

    [32] Airport tax : Commission delivers a reasoned opinion to Malta

    The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion – the last step before a formal complaint to the Court of Justice is lodged – to Malta for the airport tax levied at Malta International Airport. The airport tax differentiates between passengers in a discriminatory way.

    [33] Maritime cabotage : Commission sends a reasoned opinion to Malta

    The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Malta for failure to comply with Community rules on maritime cabotage. This is the last stage before a possible referral to the Court of Justice.

    [34] Sécurité maritime : la Commission traduit le Portugal devant la Cour de justice

    La Commission européenne a décidé de porter devant la Cour de justice deux dossiers concernant le Portugal, qui ne respecte pas la législation communautaire en matière de sécurité maritime, savoir une directive relative au niveau minimal de formation des gens de mer et une autre sur le contrôle des navires par l'Etat du port.

    [35] Ciel unique européen : la Commission cite la Grèce devant la Cour de Justice

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour européenne de justice d’un recours contre la Grèce pour manquement la législation de l'UE en ce qui concerne l'établissement d'une autorité de surveillance nationale dans le cadre du ciel unique européen.

    [36] Rail competitiveness : Commission takes Portugal and Slovenia to the Court and sends reasoned opinion to Latvia

    The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement proceedings against three Member States that have failed to notify the Commission of the transposition of two key directives of the second railway package into domestic legislation. These two directives aim to open up the market for international and national rail freight transport, as well as to ensure high levels of safety and interoperability for rail business throughout Europe. The Commission is determined to ensure a level playing field for rail across the single market.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [37] Bienvenue dans l'Union européenne la Bulgarie et la Roumanie!

    Le Conseil européen des 14 et 15 décembre accueillera la Bulgarie et la Roumanie en leur qualité de nouveaux Etats membres de l'Union européenne. Pour célébrer cet événement important, la Commission européenne organise une grande cérémonie ouverte tous dans le centre de Bruxelles en la présence du président José Manuel Barroso et du commissaire responsable de l'élargissement Olli Rehn. Des représentants de la Bulgarie et de la Roumanie ainsi que des Etats membres seront présents. Cette cérémonie haute en couleurs est ouverte au public.

    [38] Commission proposes new measures to remove red tape hindering the development of railways throughout Europe

    The European Commission adopted today a series of measures to support the revitalisation of the railway sector by removing obstacles to the circulation of trains throughout the European rail network. The measures include a Communication on the simplification of certification of railway vehicles, a proposal to recast the existing Railway Interoperability Directives and to modify the Regulation establishing a European Railway Agency and the Railway Safety Directive.

    [39] Commission clears acquisition of Disko Group and ASL by General Electric

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Diskont und Kredit AG and Disko Leasing GmbH (together Disko Group) of Germany and ASL Auto Service- Leasing GmbH (ASL) of Germany by General Electric Company (GE) of the US. GE is active in diversified technology and services. The Disko Group provides equipment leasing services (operating leasing, finance leasing and hire-purchase solutions) and credit financing services in Germany under the brand Disko. ASL is a car fleet leasing company providing operating leasing, full-service leasing, fleet leasing and management services to corporate and public clients. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [40] Commission clears acquisition of Mitsui Babcock by Doosan

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Doosan Corporation (Doosan) of South Korea by Mitsui Babcock of the UK. Doosan is active worldwide in a wide range of industries, including animal feed, magazine publishing, food and alcohol, manufacture of diesel/marine engines and tools. Mitsui Babcock provides after-market services to the power industry and other industrial sectors. It also provides original equipment and technology to the power sector. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [41] Commission clears acquisition of trans-o-flex by Österreichische Post

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of trans-o-flex GmbH of Germany by Österreichische Post AG of Austria. Österreichische Post provides universal postal services, document and parcel delivery and freight forwarding in Austria. trans-o-flex provides document and parcel delivery, freight forwarding and contract logistics in Germany. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [42] Commission decides on cooperation and verification mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania in the field of justice reform and the fight against corruption

    Today's decision is about the practical implementation of the European Commission's proposal of 26 September to create a mechanism to continue to cooperate and verify progress in the areas of justice reform and the fight against corruption in Bulgaria and Romania. Based on the established benchmarks in the Commission's September monitoring report Bulgaria and Romania are requested to report on progress made in the fulfilment of these benchmarks in March of each year, starting with the 31 March 2007. The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and Council for the first time in June 2007 on the findings in the areas covered by the benchmarks, followed by additional reports at least every six months. The Commission will continue to assist Bulgaria and Romania in making further progress in these areas, by means of technical and financial assistance including peer missions. Today's Decision will be repealed when all the benchmarks have been satisfactorily fulfilled. This mechanism provides for adequate measures to deal with the current situation in both countries. The Commission can take other appropriate measures if necessary.

    For further information and the lists of benchmarks see p. 10 of:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/key_documents/reports_sept_2006_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/key_documents/reports_sept_2006_en.htm

    [43] L'UE et le Maroc concluent leur accord sur Galileo

    L'Union européenne et le Royaume du Maroc ont officiellement signé le 12 décembre un accord de coopération sur Galileo, le programme européen de radionavigation par satellite. Cet accord couvre un grand nombre de domaines de coopération, notamment des actions conjointes en matière de recherche et formation scientifiques, de coopération industrielle, de développement du commerce et du marché, de normalisation, d'homologation et de mesures réglementaires.

    [44] Accord global d'intégration aérienne entre l'UE et le Maroc : le Maroc rejoint l'Europe de l'aviation

    La Présidence de l'Union, le vice-président de la Commissioner européenne Jacques Barrot, et le ministre marocain de l'Equipement et du Transport, Karim Ghellab, ont signé le 12 décembre un accord aérien de nouvelle génération entre l'UE et le Maroc. Cet accord novateur remplace tous les accords aériens bilatéraux des Etats membres avec le Royaume. Son originalité réside dans le fait qu'il ne se contente pas d'ouvrir les marchés, mais comporte aussi un volet important de rapprochement des législations entre les deux rives de la Méditerranée. L'accord stimulera la croissance du trafic vers le Maroc et de nouveaux services réguliers, plus nombreux et plus variés, sont déj annoncés.

    [45] Commission to open aviation negotiations with Ukraine

    On 12 December, the EU Council has mandated the European Commission to open negotiations with Ukraine to develop a common aviation area. The aim is to further deepen aviation relations with Ukraine following the signature of similar agreements with the Western Balkan countries and Morocco. Vice- President Jacques Barrot, in charge of transport, said: "By sharing the benefits of the single aviation market, both Ukraine and the EU will improve their relationship and create huge benefits for aviation industries and consumers. With such an agreement, we ensure high levels of safety and security and facilitate trade and social links with a close neighbour."

    [46] Autre matériel diffusé

    Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs : frequently asked questions

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Slovakia

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Slovenia

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Sweden

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Portugal

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Finland

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Netherlands

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Malta

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Latvia

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Lithuania

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Hungary

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Cyprus

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Poland

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Greece

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Estonia

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Denmark

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Germany

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Italy

    La Commission évalue les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre des réformes destinées favoriser la croissance et l'emploi en Belgique

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Czech Republic

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Spain

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Austria

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in Ireland

    Commission assesses progress with reform to boost growth and jobs in the United Kingdom

    La Commission évalue les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre des réformes destinées favoriser la croissance et l'emploi au Luxembourg

    La Commission évalue les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre des réformes destinées favoriser la croissance et l'emploi en France

    Report on the application of Community law in the 2004 European elections

    State aid : revised 'de minimis' Regulation – frequently asked questions

    New round of infringement proceedings in electronic communications: What are the issues?

    Commission has carried out inspections in the German electricity sector

    Competition : statement on investigation on the TFT/LCD industry

    The European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF)

    Speaking points by Olli Rehn at debate on Enlargement in the European Parliament (Strasbourg) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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