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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-02-14

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 13 février -

  • [01] Commission assesses convergence programmes of Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden and the United Kingdom
  • [02] La Commission examine les programmes de stabilité de la Grèce et du Portugal
  • [03] Commission launches public consultation on draft merger guidelines for companies in a vertical or conglomerate relationship
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [04] Commission gives new boost to trade of goods within the EU
  • [05] Andris Piebalgs welcomes successful coupling of the Belgian, Dutch and French electricity markets
  • [06] Commission welcomes new US proposals allowing easier deregistration from capital markets
  • [07] Rapport du CCR sur la situation critique des eaux côtières et des mers en Europe
  • [08] Stavros Dimas visits Washington for climate talks
  • [09] Commission invites TV weather presentors to raise awareness of climate change
  • [10] EU-India : Benita Ferrero-Waldner makes first bilateral visit
  • [11] Benita Ferrero-Waldner on the second anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri
  • [12] Commission allocates €2 million in emergency aid to flood victims in Mozambique
  • [13] La Commission condamne la suspension des libertés fondamentales en Guinée (13/02)
  • [14] Commission has carried out inspections in the power transformers sector
  • [15] Un nouveau site web de la Commission pour répondre aux questions des parties prenantes sur la Directive concernant les marchés d'instruments financiers (directive "MiFID")
  • [16] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-02-14 Reference: MEX/07/0214 Date: 14/02/2007 EXME07 / 14.2

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    14/02/07


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 13 février -

    Outcome of Commission meeting of 13 February

    [01] Commission assesses convergence programmes of Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden and the United Kingdom

    The European Commission has examined the updated convergence programmes of Estonia Lithuania, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Sweden's and Estonia's medium-term budgetary positions are sound and they provide good examples of fiscal policies conducted in compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact. To contribute to macroeconomic stability, Estonia should, however, aim for a higher budgetary surplus than planned for 2007. As to Sweden it will be important to ensure that the reduction of the budgetary surplus in 2007 does not spill over to subsequent years. The programme of the United Kingdom seems broadly consistent with a correction of the excessive deficit by the financial year 2006/07, the deadline set by the Council. However, it should strengthen further its fiscal position in the later programme years in order to address the risks to long term sustainability of the public finances. Lithuania also envisages continued fiscal consolidation, but its budgetary stance may not ensure that the medium term objective is achieved by 2008. Lithuania should therefore exploit the good times and back its programme up with measures to achieve an annual improvement in the structural balance of 0.5% of GDP.

    [02] La Commission examine les programmes de stabilité de la Grèce et du Portugal

    La Commission européenne a examiné les programmes de stabilité actualisés de la Grèce et du Portugal et a constaté qu'un ajustement budgétaire structurel significatif était en cours dans ces pays. Toutefois, des risques pèsent sur la réalisation des objectifs budgétaires moyen terme, et des efforts considérables doivent encore être déployés pour poursuivre l'assainissement des finances publiques. La Grèce semble avoir corrigé son déficit excessif en 2006, mais elle devrait mettre profit les perspectives de croissance soutenue pour accélérer le rythme de l'assainissement budgétaire partir de 2007 et se préparer un risque de déficits plus élevés que prévu partir de 2008. Dans l'ensemble, la stratégie budgétaire du Portugal devrait permettre de corriger le déficit excessif en 2008 au plus tard, pour autant que les mesures envisagées soient intégralement et effectivement mises en œuvre et qu'elles soient renforcées au cas où la croissance économique serait moins élevée que prévu. Un risque élevé continue de peser sur la viabilité des finances publiques de ces deux pays long terme.

    [03] Commission launches public consultation on draft merger guidelines for companies in a vertical or conglomerate relationship

    The European Commission has launched a public consultation on draft guidelines for the assessment of mergers between companies that are in a so- called vertical or conglomerate relationship (also known as "non-horizontal mergers"). Such mergers are aimed at broadening a company's activities either by merging with a company at another level of the supply chain (vertical merger) or with a company active in a separate but related market (conglomerate merger). Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on the draft guidelines by 12th May. Following the consultations, the definitive version of the guidelines will be adopted by the Commission. The guidelines will then serve to provide guidance to companies envisaging such types of merger.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [04] Commission gives new boost to trade of goods within the EU

    The European Commission has proposed a broad package of measures to assure a smoother functioning of the internal market for goods. This will make it easier for companies, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, to market products in the European Union while assuring a high level of safety and quality. For industrial goods which are already subject of EU- legislation it is suggested to establish a system of market surveillance which is built upon the existing system for consumer products. Furthermore cooperation between national accreditation bodies should be re-enforced and new rules to enhance confidence and trust in the CE mark are proposed. A common legal framework, build on simple common definitions and procedures for the marketing of industrial products, will serve as a toolbox for future sectoral legislation. These measures will have an impact on 22 industrial sectors, representing a market volume of around €1500 billion a year. Improvements are proposed for the trade with goods which do not fall under EU-legislation which accounts for around a quarter of EU intra manufacturing trade. At present many companies are discouraged from venturing outside their domestic market because they have to prove that their products fulfil the requirements of technical rules in other Member States. It is now suggested that public authorities will have to justify to companies, why a product which was lawfully marketed in another Member State, cannot be sold on their national market. In addition, it is proposed to create local product points which will provide information to businesses about additional requirements outside their home market.

    [05] Andris Piebalgs welcomes successful coupling of the Belgian, Dutch and French electricity markets

    "Market coupling is an important step towards the true integration of European electricity markets". With these words Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the trilateral coupling of the French, Belgian and Dutch electricity markets that was presented to the press today. Since 21 November last year, the new joint market has enabled the creation of a power exchange in Belgium , the use of interconnectors has become significantly more efficient, while the price levels between the three countries have converged.

    [06] Commission welcomes new US proposals allowing easier deregistration from capital markets

    The European Commission has welcomed new rules proposed by the United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would make it much easier for non-US companies listed on US capital markets to deregister from those markets at a time of their choosing, once certain criteria have been fulfilled. In the Commission's view, the new rules, which are based on a comparison of the company's trading volume on the US market and on its primary market, have the potential to largely resolve issues concerning the existing rules, which are based on the number of US investors and are considered by EU companies to be overly restrictive. In addition, the Commission strongly encourages SEC to ensure swift adoption of its revised proposal. The Commission has set out these views, as well as some additional technical comments, in a letter to the SEC responding to its call for comments on the proposed rules. The Commission's response is supported by EU Member States and European issuers associations.

    [07] Rapport du CCR sur la situation critique des eaux côtières et des mers en Europe

    Le Centre commun de recherche (CCR) de la Commission européenne a établi un rapport exposant en détail les effets du changement climatique sur les eaux côtières et les mers régionales de l'Europe. Le rapport examine les effets du changement climatique et l'impact des activités humaines sur les habitats côtiers et marins en Europe. Il met également en évidence les lacunes dans les connaissances scientifiques et technologiques actuelles concernant les incidences liées au climat, et formule des recommandations pour y remédier. Le rapport souligne que toute politique visant atténuer les incidences du changement climatique devra tenir compte du problème de l'exploitation des mers et des côtes par l'homme, afin d’assurer une gestion durable des ressources marines. Le rapport a été présenté lors du symposium "Climate Change and the European Water Dimension" organisé Berlin par la présidence allemande de l'UE (12-14 février).

    [08] Stavros Dimas visits Washington for climate talks

    European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will visit Washington on 14- 16 February for meetings with government officials and leading members of Congress on future action to combat climate change and other environmental issues. He will be setting out the ideas contained in the integrated energy and climate change package put forward by the Commission last month (see IP/07/29). On 14 February Commissioner Dimas will speak at the opening session of, and participate in, a global 'legislators forum' on climate change and energy security at the US Congress. He will have meetings with James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council of Environmental Quality, and Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. Commissioner Dimas will also hold talks with the chairs of the Senate environment and energy committees, Barbara Boxer and Jeff Bingaman, both of whom have legislative proposals for greenhouse gas emissions trading pending before Congress. On 16 February, the 2nd anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force, Commissioner Dimas will address a Transatlantic Roundtable on energy and environment organised by the European Institute.

    [09] Commission invites TV weather presentors to raise awareness of climate change

    As part of the European Commission's "You control climate change" awareness- raising campaign, more than 45 meteorologists and television weather presenters from across the European Union will meet on 16 February at the Commission's Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels. The meeting coincides with the second anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force. As both climate experts and media personalities in their home countries, weather presenters are well placed to help the campaign's aims of raising public awareness about climate change and what individuals can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are being invited to form a network to support these goals. The meeting will be opened by the Commission's Director-General for Environment, Mogens Peter Carl. Other speakers include Mr Jerry Lengoasa, Assistant Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation, and two lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's forthcoming Fourth Assessment Report, Prof Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany) and Professor Pavel Kabat of Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Netherlands). Interviews with individual participants are possible upon request in advance.

    [10] EU-India : Benita Ferrero-Waldner makes first bilateral visit

    The European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner will make her first bilateral visit to India from 16 to 20 February travelling to Delhi, Rajasthan and Mumbai. During her stay she will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and Trade Minister Kamal Nath and National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan to discuss the implementation of the Joint Action Plan, common challenges and areas of ever closer cooperation. The Commissioner will also visit EU financed projects on drinking water schemes and a sewage treatment plant in Rajasthan, and meet with the Chief Minister of the State.

    [11] Benita Ferrero-Waldner on the second anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri

    Following the attacks perpetrated against buses yesterday in Lebanon, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, has said : "On the second anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, I call on all parties in Lebanon to work for their own stability, to condemn violence and peacefully commemorate the 14th February and to work to resolve the current political impasse through dialogue. I strongly condemn the terrorist bomb attacks on two buses in Lebanon today, which caused numerous casualties. While the perpetrators must be pursued and brought to justice, this appalling crime must not be allowed to undermine stability in Lebanon. I express my condolences to the Lebanese people at this time of loss."

    [12] Commission allocates €2 million in emergency aid to flood victims in Mozambique

    The European Commission has allocated €2 million in an emergency decision to help flood victims in Mozambique. Flooding provoked by torrential rains has seriously affected people in four Southern African countries with Mozambique worst hit. Dozens have been killed, thousands are homeless and crops have been severely damaged. In the most affected region, the flooded Zambezi river valley in central Mozambique, 60,000 people have been evacuated and more than 100,000 others are at risk. An emergency expert from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, is already in the affected region, assessing the basic needs of flood victims and liaising with relief agencies on rescue operations to be funded. The Commission's main objective is to ensure that flood victims are resettled in safer areas with access to clean water and adequate health care, in particular to prevent outbreaks of water-borne diseases. Support will also be provided to re-establish crop and livestock production. The emergency funds are channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, under the responsibility of Louis Michel, the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

    [13] La Commission condamne la suspension des libertés fondamentales en Guinée (13/02)

    La Commission européenne exprime son extrême préoccupation par rapport la dégradation de la situation politique en Guinée et condamne vivement la suspension effective des droits individuels et des libertés fondamentales suite la déclaration de l'état de siège dans le pays. Elle déplore les pertes de vies humaines la suite des violentes actions des forces de l'ordre, la violation continuée des droits de l'homme et la suppression de toute liberté. Elle déplore également les mesures répressives mises en œuvre contre les radios privées et regrette que celles-ci aient été pillées, leur personnel arrêté et elles-mêmes forcées de suspendre leurs émissions.

    [14] Commission has carried out inspections in the power transformers sector

    The European Commission can confirm that on 7th and 8th February 2007 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several power transformer producers in France, Germany and Austria. The function of power transformers is to reduce or to increase the voltage in an electrical circuit, and they are therefore key constituent components in electricity transmission and distribution networks. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated Article 81 of the EC Treaty, which prohibits practices such as price fixing. The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the national competition authority. Surprise inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected cartels. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The European Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings. There is no strict deadline to complete cartel inquiries. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate and the exercise of the rights of defence.

    [15] Un nouveau site web de la Commission pour répondre aux questions des parties prenantes sur la Directive concernant les marchés d'instruments financiers (directive "MiFID")

    La Commission européenne a lancé un site web interactif où les parties prenantes, notamment les entreprises, les associations professionnelles et les investisseurs, peuvent poser des questions au sujet de la Directive concernant les marchés d'instruments financiers (2004/39/EC) (MiFID), qui vient d'être finalisée, et de ses mesures d'exécution. Le site web permet également aux parties prenantes de voir les réponses aux questions déj posées et leur permet aussi de poser des nouvelles questions. Ce site web se trouve l'adresse suivante :

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/securities/isd//questions/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/securities/isd//questions/index_en.htm

    [16] Autre matériel diffusé

    Package on Internal Market for goods

    Speaking notes of vice-President Günter Verheugen on Internal Market for Goods

    Note on Special Energy Council on 15 February 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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