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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-02-07

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 assesses stability programmes of Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg
  • [02] Commission assesses convergence programmes of Malta and Hungary
  • [03] Commission assesses Poland’s convergence programme and recommends correction of excessive deficit in 2007
  • [04] State aid: Commission opens in depth investigation into one part of proposed Dutch "Groepsrentebox" tax break scheme and approves other part
  • [05] State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2007-2013 for Portugal
  • [06] New Commission strategy for long term viability of European car industry
  • [07] Commission plans legislative framework to ensure the EU meets its target for cutting CO2 emissions from cars
  • [08] La Commission autorise une aide d'État italienne pour la démolition des navires-citernes pétroliers simple coque
  • [09] Maritime infrastructure: financing of the Eastern extension of Muuga Harbour in Estonia does not fall under competition rules
  • [10] Maritime transport – tonnage tax: Commission opens investigation concerning Denmark
  • [11] State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2007-2013 for Portugal
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [12] Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel visits Washington
  • [13] Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn will be in Belgrade on 7.2. as a member of the EU Troika visiting Serbia. On 8.2. he will be Skopje having meetings with the representatives of the government.
  • [14] Traité de Maastricht
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-02-07 Reference: MEX/07/0207 Date: 07/02/2007 EXME07 / 7.2.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    07/02/07


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

    [01] Commission assesses stability programmes of Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg

    Having examined their updated stability programmes , the European Commission finds the present budgetary positions of Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg generally sound and their projections for the coming years in line with their respective medium-term objectives. The Commission needs not make any specific recommendations for Finland, which plans for budgetary surpluses that, albeit declining slightly, are above its target of 2%; has a low public debt and; has well provisioned ageing costs. The public finances of Ireland and Luxembourg also provide good fiscal policy examples in the medium term, but as they both face a strong projected increase in age-related expenditure the latter is encouraged to pursue pension reform and Ireland to remain prudent and avoid pro-cyclical policies

    [02] Commission assesses convergence programmes of Malta and Hungary

    Malta presented a Convergence Programme which expects a correction of the deficit to well below 3% in 2006 and a progression towards balance as well as a debt below 60% of GDP in 2009. The budgetary outcomes after 2007 depend, however, on growth expectations that are on the optimistic side. In this context, Malta is invited to spell out its budgetary expenditure control strategy and progress further on the road of healthcare reform. The programme submitted by Hungary at the beginning of December reflects the strategy already examined by the Commission at the end of September 2006, and endorsed by the Council, which aims to reduce the deficit from an expected 10% in 2006 to 2.7% in 2010. To achieve this correction, Hungary must, obviously, implement rigorously the 2007 budget, curb expenditure including of the public administration and healthcare systems, generally improve budgetary control and stand ready to take further action if necessary.

    [03] Commission assesses Poland’s convergence programme and recommends correction of excessive deficit in 2007

    Having examined the updated convergence programme submitted by Poland, the European Commission finds that the budgetary outcomes and targets have significantly improved but this is largely thanks to stronger growth and does not appear sufficient to correct the excessive deficit in 2007, even after deducting the costs of the pension reform. Therefore, the Commission invites the Council to call on Poland to make use of the good economic times to put an end to the excessive deficit this year and to progress steadily towards more balanced finances afterwards).

    [04] State aid: Commission opens in depth investigation into one part of proposed Dutch "Groepsrentebox" tax break scheme and approves other part

    The European Commission decided to open a formal investigation procedure under EC Treaty state aid rules into planned reductions of the Dutch tax rates for net interests received on intra-group loans under a scheme called 'Groepsrentebox'. The opening of an in-depth investigation enables also interested third parties to submit their comments on the proposed measures but does not prejudge the outcome of the inquiry. At the same time, the Commission decided not to raise objections to the proposed reduced tax rate for interest on short term deposits, provided these deposits are aimed at acquiring at least 5% of the shares of a company. This latter measure would benefit equally all companies subject to Dutch corporate tax and would therefore be compatible with the Single Market.

    [05] State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2007-2013 for Portugal

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules the regional aid map covering the period 2007-2013 for Portugal. This decision forms part of a wider exercise to review the regional aid regimes in place in all Member States in accordance with the new Regional Aid Guidelines (see IP/05/1653 and MEMO/05/491) adopted in December 2005. The new Guidelines aim at re-focussing regional aid on the most disadvantaged regions of the enlarged EU, while allowing to improve competitiveness and providing for a smooth transition. The maps of twenty-one other Member States have already been approved by the Commission (see IP/06/1176, IP/06/1393, IP/06/1451, IP/06/1528 and IP/06/1871.

    [06] New Commission strategy for long term viability of European car industry

    The European Commission today agreed upon a comprehensive strategy for the European car industry, to keep the manufacturing of motorcars viable on a long term basis, at prices affordable to consumers. The strategy encompasses a variety of areas, such as reduction of administrative burdens, environmental sustainability, road safety, trade and overseas markets and research. The automotive industry is a major pillar of the European economy, representing 3% of the European GDP and 7% of employment in the manufacturing sector.

    [07] Commission plans legislative framework to ensure the EU meets its target for cutting CO2 emissions from cars

    The European Commission today proposed a comprehensive new strategy to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars and vans sold in the European Union. The new strategy, together with a revision of EU fuel quality standards proposed last week, further underline the Commission's determination to ensure the EU meets its greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol and beyond. The strategy will enable the EU to reach its long-established objective of limiting average CO2 emissions from new cars to 120 grams per km by 2012 - a reduction of around 25% from current levels. By improving fuel efficiency, the revised strategy. l will deliver substantial fuel savings for drivers. To encourage the car industry to compete on the basis of fuel efficiency instead of size and power, the Commission is also inviting manufacturers to sign an EU code of good practice on car marketing and advertising.

    [08] La Commission autorise une aide d'État italienne pour la démolition des navires-citernes pétroliers simple coque

    La Commission européenne a aujourd'hui décidé d'approuver un régime encourageant la démolition des navires-citernes simple coque de petite taille et âgés de plus de quinze ans qui opèrent sur le marché du cabotage italien. La Commission considère que cette mesure contribue améliorer la sécurité des eaux communautaires.

    [09] Maritime infrastructure: financing of the Eastern extension of Muuga Harbour in Estonia does not fall under competition rules

    The European Commission has today decided not to raise any objections to the investment by Port of Tallinn Ltd. in the Eastern extension of Muuga Harbour. The project provides for new investments in the harbour, a structural part of the Port of Tallinn in view of the forecasted increase of cargo throughput.

    [10] Maritime transport – tonnage tax: Commission opens investigation concerning Denmark

    The European Commission today opened an investigation concerning a proposal by Denmark to amend its flat-rate tonnage-based tax scheme (tonnage tax) for shipping companies. The Danish authorities intend no longer to require companies benefiting from this tax scheme to send the authorities financial information relating to their transactions with their foreign subsidiaries.

    [11] State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2007-2013 for Portugal

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules the regional aid map covering the period 2007-2013 for Portugal. This decision forms part of a wider exercise to review the regional aid regimes in place in all Member States in accordance with the new Regional Aid Guidelines (see IP/05/1653 and MEMO/05/491) adopted in December 2005. The new Guidelines aim at re-focussing regional aid on the most disadvantaged regions of the enlarged EU, while allowing to improve competitiveness and providing for a smooth transition. The maps of twenty-one other Member States have already been approved by the Commission (see IP/06/1176, IP/06/1393, IP/06/1451, IP/06/1528 and IP/06/1871.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [12] Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel visits Washington

    Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will visit Washington on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 February for meetings with leading figures in the Administration and Congress. The Commissioner will meet Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Trade Representative Susan Schwab, as well as the new chairmen of the agriculture committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, Tom Harkin and Collin Peterson. She will give a speech, attend a joint meeting with members of the House Agriculture Committee and meet a number of other leading members of Congress and farm lobbies. The visit comes in the wake of the relaunch of the Doha Round of world trade talks and a week after the publication of the Bush Administration's proposals for the new Farm Bill.

    <a href="http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/fischer-boel">http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/fischer- boel

    [13] Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn will be in Belgrade on 7.2. as a member of the EU Troika visiting Serbia. On 8.2. he will be Skopje having meetings with the representatives of the government.

    7.2.2007 Belgrade

    15.30 Troika meeting with Foreign Minister Draskovic, with a photo opportunity

    16.15 Troika meeting with Prime Minister Kostunica with a press statement

    17.15 Troika meeting with President Tadic followed by a press conference at 18.00 - 8.2.2007 Skopje

    09.20-10.10 Joint meeting with Prime Minister Gruevski, Deputy Prime Minister Konevska, Deputy Prime Minister Stavreski and Foreign Minister Milososki

    10.15-10.30 Press statement with Prime Minister Gruevski

    10.45-11.00 Meeting with President Crvenkovski

    11.15-12.00 Conference on Ohrid Framework Agreement where Commissioner Rehn gives a speech followed by a press statement

    Audiovisual coverage of events taking place in Belgrade and Skopje will be transmitted on Europe by Satellite, the European Union’s TV Information service. For up to date details, please consult the schedule at <a href="BLOCKED::http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm">http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm

    [14] Traité de Maastricht

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    The EU’s automotive sector: new challenges, responsibilities and opportunities

    State aid: Commission Guidelines on National Regional Aid for 2007-2013 in Portugal – frequently asked questions From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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