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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-01-31

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] L'enquête sectorielle de la Commission fait apparaître d'importants obstacles la concurrence dans le secteur de la banque de détail
  • [02] Infringement procedure against Spain for not lifting unlawful conditions imposed on E.ON's bid for Endesa
  • [03] La Commission adresse l'Italie une nouvelle appréciation préliminaire sur les mesures envisagées par cette dernière pour s'opposer la concentration entre Abertis et Autostrade
  • [04] Strengthening transport cooperation with neighbouring countries
  • [05] Stricter fuel standards to combat climate change and reduce air pollution
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [06] Commission approves proposed acquisition of Sampo Bank by Danske Bank
  • [07] Commission clears acquisition of Fraikin by CVC
  • [08] January 2007 : economic sentiment weakens in both the EU and the euro area
  • [09] January 2007 : Business Climate Indicator for the euro area declines
  • [10] Flash estimate - January 2007 : Euro area inflation estimated at 1.9%
  • [11] Décembre 2006 : le chômage en baisse 7,5% dans la zone euro ; stable 7,6% dans l'UE25
  • [12] EU/Pakistan : Commission proposes increase in assistance
  • [13] Livre vert sur les transports urbains : un nouveau rôle pour les transports urbains dans le cadre de la politique européenne des transports
  • [14] Margot Wallström la Maison de l'Europe de Paris
  • [15] Commission pleased at International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas' allocation of bluefin tuna
  • [16] Markos Kyprianou urges all Member States to use picture warnings on tobacco products
  • [17] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-01-31 Reference: MEX/07/0131 Date: 31/01/2007 EXME07 / 31.1

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    31/01/07


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

    [01] L'enquête sectorielle de la Commission fait apparaître d'importants obstacles la concurrence dans le secteur de la banque de détail

    La Commission européenne a publié le rapport final concluant son enquête sur la concurrence dans le secteur des services bancaires de détail. Cette enquête a révélé un certain nombre de préoccupations en matière de concurrence sur les marchés des cartes de paiement, des systèmes de paiement et des produits bancaires de détail. Certains indices en témoignent, tels que les écarts importants en ce qui concerne les redevances acquitter par les commerçants et les commissions interbancaires prélevées sur les cartes de paiement, les obstacles l'entrée sur les marchés des systèmes de paiement et des registres de crédit, les obstacles la mobilité de la clientèle et les ventes liées de produits. Certains acteurs du marché ont déj proposé de procéder des réformes la suite de la publication des conclusions préliminaires sur les cartes de paiement en 2006 (voir IP/06/496 et MEMO/06/164). La Commission fera usage des pouvoirs que lui confèrent les règles de concurrence pour lutter contre les abus graves, en collaboration étroite avec les autorités nationales de concurrence. Les résultats de cette enquête devraient stimuler la concurrence sur le marché des services bancaires de détail, dans la perspective de la création de l'espace unique de paiement en euros (SEPA).

    [02] Infringement procedure against Spain for not lifting unlawful conditions imposed on E.ON's bid for Endesa

    The European Commission has formally requested Spain to explain why it has not complied with the Commission's decisions requiring the withdrawal of certain conditions concerning E.ON's bid for Endesa imposed by the Spanish Energy Regulator (CNE) in July 2006 and other conditions imposed by a Ministerial decision of 3 November 2006. The conditions in question were declared illegal under Article 21 of the EU Merger Regulation by Commission decisions adopted on 26 September 2006 and 20 December 2006 (see IP/06/1265 and IP/06/1853). These decisions have immediate binding effect. The request takes the form of a complementary "letter of formal notice", the first stage of infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within 15 working days the Commission may decide to issue a formal request to Spain to comply with its two Article 21 decisions. This request would be in the form of a 'reasoned opinion', the second stage of infringement proceedings.

    [03] La Commission adresse l'Italie une nouvelle appréciation préliminaire sur les mesures envisagées par cette dernière pour s'opposer la concentration entre Abertis et Autostrade

    La Commission européenne est parvenue la conclusion préliminaire que l'Italie avait enfreint l'article 21 du règlement sur les concentrations de l'UE en s'abstenant d'autoriser le transfert de la concession autoroutière au sein de la nouvelle entité résultant de l'opération de concentration envisagée entre Abertis et Autostrade. Il s'agit d'une concentration de dimension communautaire, qui relève de la compétence exclusive de la Commission en vertu du règlement sur les concentrations de l'UE. La Commission émet en particulier de sérieux doutes quant la compatibilité, avec l'article 21, du fait que les autorités italiennes n'ont pas déterminé l'avance et de façon suffisamment claire les critères d'intérêt public invoqués pour l'application de la procédure d'autorisation et n'ont pas adopté de décision d'autorisation pour le transfert de la concession. Cette absence d'autorisation était une des raisons citées par Abertis et Autostrade pour renoncer l'opération de concentration envisagée, qui avait été approuvée sans conditions par la Commission le 22 septembre 2006 (voir IP/06/1244). En octobre dernier, la Commission avait déj exprimé des doutes au sujet des décisions antérieures de refus du transfert de la concession (voir IP/06/1418), mais ces décisions avaient ensuite été retirées (voir MEMO/06/414).

    [04] Strengthening transport cooperation with neighbouring countries

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication on "Guidelines for transport in Europe and neighbouring regions". It outlines an ambitious policy in view of creating an effective transport market involving the EU and its neighbours and of spreading the principles of internal market. The Communication identifies the five most important transport axes for international trade between the Union and the neighbouring countries and beyond. It also puts forward a package of measures to shorten journey times along these axes including improvement of infrastructure, streamlining of customs procedures and reducing administrative obstacles.

    [05] Stricter fuel standards to combat climate change and reduce air pollution

    The European Commission has proposed new standards for transport fuels that will reduce their contribution to climate change and air pollution, including through greater use of biofuels. The changes underscore the Commission's commitment to ensuring that the EU combats climate change and air pollution effectively. The proposed standards will not only make the fuels themselves 'cleaner' but will also allow the introduction of vehicles and machinery that pollute less. A key measure foreseen is that, to encourage the development of lower-carbon fuels and biofuels, suppliers will have to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, transport and use of their fuels by 10% between 2011 and 2020. This will cut emissions by 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 - equivalent to the total combined emissions of Spain and Sweden today. A new petrol blend will be established allowing higher content of the biofuel ethanol, and sulphur levels in diesel and gasoil will be cut to reduce emissions of dangerous dust particles.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [06] Commission approves proposed acquisition of Sampo Bank by Danske Bank

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Sampo Bank plc, a Finnish banking and investment services provider, by the Danish financial services company Danske Bank A/S. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.

    [07] Commission clears acquisition of Fraikin by CVC

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Fraikin Groupe S.A. (Fraikin) of France by CVC Capital Partners Group Sarl (CVC) of Luxembourg. CVC is a private equity fund. Fraikin is active in the rental of all types of trucks, tractors and trailers and the rental of company cars and fleet management. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [08] January 2007 : economic sentiment weakens in both the EU and the euro area

    The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) went down in both the EU and the euro area in January. The indicator decreased by 1.7 points in the EU and by 0.6 points in the euro area, to 110.7 and 109.2 respectively.

    [09] January 2007 : Business Climate Indicator for the euro area declines

    After recording an all-time high in December last year, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area declined in January. The gap between the indicator and industrial production has widened in recent months, following the deceleration in industrial production growth recorded between September and November. However, the still high value of the indicator signals solid industrial production growth in the beginning of 2007. The fall in the BCI results from industry managers' less optimistic assessment of the production trend observed in recent months, total order books and export order books, as well as of their stocks of finished products. At the same time, managers' production expectations for the months ahead improved somewhat.

    [10] Flash estimate - January 2007 : Euro area inflation estimated at 1.9%

    Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.9% in January 2007 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat. It was 1.9% in December 2006. Euro area inflation is measured by the Monetary Union Index of Consumer Prices (MUICP). To compute the MUICP flash estimates, Eurostat uses early price information relating to the reference month from Member States for which data are available as well as early information about energy prices. The flash estimation procedure for the MUICP combines historical information with partial information on price developments in the most recent months to give a total index for the euro area. No detailed breakdown is available. Experience has shown the procedure to be reliable (15 times exactly anticipating the inflation rate, 8 times differing by 0.1 and once differing by 0.2, in January 2005, over the last two years). Further information can be found in Eurostat News Release 113/2001 of 5 November 2001.

    [11] Décembre 2006 : le chômage en baisse 7,5% dans la zone euro ; stable 7,6% dans l'UE25

    Dans la zone euro, le taux de chômage corrigé des variations saisonnières, s'est élevé 7,5% en décembre 2006, contre 7,6% en novembre. Il était de 8,4% en décembre 2005. Dans l'UE25, le taux de chômage s'est élevé 7,6% en décembre 2006, inchangé par rapport novembre. Il était de 8,5% en décembre 2005. En décembre 2006, les taux les plus bas ont été enregistrés au Danemark (3,2%), aux Pays- Bas (3,6%), en Estonie (4,3%), en Irlande (4,4%) et en Autriche (4,6%). Les taux de chômage les plus élevés ont été observés en Pologne (12,8%), en Slovaquie (12,0%), en Grèce (8,7% au troisième trimestre 2006), ainsi qu'en Espagne et en France (8,5% chacun). Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat.

    [12] EU/Pakistan : Commission proposes increase in assistance

    European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, presented to Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz the assistance package that the Commission is proposing for Pakistan for an amount of €200 million over the next four years. A major part of the €200 million will be spent on rural development in the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan to strengthen natural resources management, develop community physical infrastructure and to improve livelihoods and employment opportunities, thus contributing towards enhancing Pakistan's economic and social cohesion. The second focal area will be education and human resources development to help advance access to education and better service delivery. Particular care will be taken for women and girls to benefit from these activities.

    [13] Livre vert sur les transports urbains : un nouveau rôle pour les transports urbains dans le cadre de la politique européenne des transports

    Le débat sur le Livre vert sur les transports urbains s'est ouvert aujourd'hui par une grande conférence des principales parties prenantes Bruxelles sur le thème: "Transports urbains : problèmes, solutions et responsabilités". La conférence a été organisée dans le cadre de la semaine européenne de l'énergie durable. Quelque 400 représentants de tous les secteurs qui s'intéressent aux transports urbains y assistaient. Des représentants de haut niveau des villes européennes et des institutions européennes ont exposé les attentes des collectivités locales vis- -vis du Livre vert et ont abordé la question de la valeur ajoutée des actions l'échelon européen.

    [14] Margot Wallström la Maison de l'Europe de Paris

    Ce jeudi 1er février la Vice-présidente de la Commission européenne Margot Wallström participera une journée spéciale organisée par la Maison de l'Europe de Paris. Les Maisons de l'Europe française, regroupées en fédération, sont des acteurs de l'information sur l'Europe ayant pour but d'expliquer l'idée européenne, de réfléchir un vivre- ensemble et une spécificité européenne et de contribuer la fondation de la citoyenneté européenne. Durant ce déplacement, Mme Wallström rencontrera des représentants de la société civile en compagnie de Mme Catherine Lalumière, Présidente de la Maison de l'Europe de Paris et des responsables du réseau des Maisons de l'Europe en France afin de débattre de la politique de communication européenne et de parler des 50 ans de l'Union. Cette visite sera également l'occasion pour la vice-présidente d'inaugurer l'opération "cafébabel.com at maison de l'Europe" 16h00. En fin d'après-midi, Mme Wallström participera un grand débat ayant pour thème "les jeunes et l'Europe", avec 200 représentants d'association de la jeunesse française.

    http://www.paris-europe.eu/

    [15] Commission pleased at International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas' allocation of bluefin tuna

    The European Commission has welcomed the outcome of the meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), in Tokyo, last night. ICCAT agreed, at a meeting in Dubrovnik, last November, to put in place a 15-year recovery plan for the overfished bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean (see IP/06/1632). Among the main measures agreed at this meeting was a gradual reduction in the overall total allowable catch (TAC) from 32,000 tonnes to 25,500 tonnes in 2010. The allocation of this TAC was to be decided at the meeting which ended yesterday in Tokyo. The EU quota will be as follows: 16,820.10 for 2007; 16, 249.92 for 2008; 15,679.75 for 2009 and 14,539.41 for 2010. (The EU quota for 2006 was 18,301 tonnes). The new EU quota now also includes the allocation for Cyprus and for Malta (155.06 tonnes and 356.45 tonnes respectively for 2007). Until now, both Member States fished bluefin tuna under the ICCAT 'others' heading. Following the accession of Cyprus and Malta to the EU in 2004, it had been decided that their allocation would be integrated into the EU bluefin tuna quota at the end of the 2002-2006 ICCAT multi-annual management plan for this stock. The Commission will shortly table proposals to transpose the decisions taken in Dubrovnik and in Tokyo into EU legislation.

    See also : <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/borg/topics/tuna_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/borg/topics/tuna_en.htm

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/faq/resources_en.htm#3">http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/faq/resources_en.htm#3

    [16] Markos Kyprianou urges all Member States to use picture warnings on tobacco products

    Speaking ahead of the opening of a photo exhibition on pictorial warnings on tobacco products in Brussels today, European Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said : "As the old saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Pictorial warnings on tobacco products help smokers to visualise the nature of tobacco-related disease. In Canada, where they are used, 31% of ex-smokers report that the images had helped them to quit. In the EU, Member States have had the option to use these picture warnings since 2004, and I congratulate Belgium for being the first in Europe to take up this option. However, I am deeply disappointed that no other country has so far legislated to impose them on cigarette packs. I urge all Member States to make use of the picture warnings and help to 'de-normalise' smoking throughout Europe." The exhibition, "The Power of Communications Against Tobacco", takes place at the Solvay Library in Brussels' Park Leopold, and will be inaugurated today at 18h00 by Commissioner Kyprianou and Jules Maaten MEP. The exhibition showcases tobacco picture warnings from the EU Directive on Tobacco Products as well as from countries including Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Thailand and Australia. For more information, see <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/Tobacco/ev_20041022_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/Tobacco/ev_20041022_en.htm. Pictures will be available from EBS.

    [17] Autre matériel diffusé

    Final report on retail banking inquiry – frequently asked questions

    Introductory remarks of Commissioner Neelie Kroes at press conference on final report of retail banking sector inquiry

    Speech by Vladimir pidla : "Neujahrsempfang beim Österreichischen Gewerkschaftsbund" (! embargo 19h30 !)de

    Discours de M. Jacques Barrot : "Le futur du rail européen" la Conférence Eurorailfreight (30/01) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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