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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-03-29

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] CAP simplification : Commission moves to improve Cross Compliance system
  • [02] L'opinion publique européenne approuve résolument les changements intervenus dans la politique agricole de l'Union européenne
  • [03] Dairy market : management committee votes to clear most remaining butter intervention stocks
  • [04] Commission to extend hair dye assessment in view of new data on sensitisation
  • [05] La Commission crée un registre des lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires humaines
  • [06] Telecoms : Consumers have more choice but full potential of EU's internal market remains unexploited
  • [07] L'UE prend des mesures pour améliorer la sécurité des dispositifs médicaux
  • [08] Euro area records best growth performance since 2000
  • [09] Mise en œuvre de la nouvelle législation européenne pour sanctionner les pollueurs maritimes
  • [10] Commission clears acquisition of Desseaux by NPM
  • [11] Statement by Joe Borg following signing of declaration on combating unreported cod fishery in the Baltic Sea
  • [12] Debates on the past and the future of the EU at schools all across Europe
  • [13] Commission announcement of decision on National Allocation Plan of Austria
  • [14] Danuta Hübner on a two-day visit in Greece
  • [15] Second estimates for 2006 : EU real agricultural income per worker up by 3.8%
  • [16] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-03-29 Reference: MEX/07/0329 Date: 29/03/2007 EXME07 / 29.3

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    29/03/07


  • [01] CAP simplification : Commission moves to improve Cross Compliance system

    The European Commission today proposed a raft of measures to improve and simplify the system of Cross Compliance, which formed a key element of the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The changes aim, among other things, to improve information, introduce a certain level of tolerance in minor cases of non-compliance, harmonise control rates and introduce advance notice of certain on-farm checks. This proposal does not water down the concept of Cross Compliance, but takes into account experience gained so far to make the system work better for the benefit of farmers and administrations. It forms the latest stage in the Commission's ongoing efforts to simplify the CAP. Cross Compliance means that farmers have to respect a set of standards to avoid cuts in payments from the European Union. These cover protection of the environment, public, animal and plant health, animal welfare and the maintenance of the land in good agricultural and environmental condition. Cross Compliance has the dual aims of helping to make farming more sustainable and making the CAP more compatible with the expectations of consumers and taxpayers.

    [02] L'opinion publique européenne approuve résolument les changements intervenus dans la politique agricole de l'Union européenne

    D'après un nouveau sondage d'opinion portant sur l'agriculture et la politique agricole commune (PAC) publié ce jour, les Européens approuvent résolument les récentes réformes de la politique agricole de l'Union européenne. Alors que ce domaine d'action divise souvent l'opinion, les résultats montrent que les personnes interrogées se prononcent majoritairement en faveur de deux des éléments clés de l'accord sur la réforme de la PAC conclu en 2003. L'étude a été menée entre le 17 novembre et le 19 décembre 2006 par TNS Opinion pour le compte de la direction générale de l'agriculture et du développement rural de la Commission européenne. Selon la méthode classique de l'enquête Eurobaromètre, près de 1.000 entretiens individuels se sont tenus dans chacun des vingt-cinq Etats membres que comptait alors l'UE.

    [03] Dairy market : management committee votes to clear most remaining butter intervention stocks

    Member States agreed unanimously at today's Milk Management Committee to sell almost all remaining stocks of intervention butter onto the European Union market. Some 6,091 tonnes of butter will be sold at a minimum price of €243.05 per 100kg from Spain (5,593 tonnes), the Czech Republic (420 tonnes) and Finland (78 tonnes). This leaves just some minor residual quantities in intervention stores in Spain, Portugal, the Slovak Republic and the UK. Due to the positive price development, intervention will now be closed in Spain and remains open only in Portugal. These sales are thanks to the favourable dairy market situation, high demand in the EU and on the world market and are also linked to the price reduction introduced in the 2003 Common Agricultural Policy reform. The European Union has had intervention stocks of butter since 1964. At their height (in 1986) stocks totalled 1.283 million tonnes. The virtual emptying of butter intervention follows the sale of the last milk powder intervention stocks at the beginning of 2006.

    [04] Commission to extend hair dye assessment in view of new data on sensitisation

    The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) draws the European Commission's attention, in a memorandum published today, to the fact that many of the hair dye substances currently used in hair dye products have the potential to cause skin sensitisation. A person sensitised to a hair dye substance may eventually develop skin allergy to this substance. In order to fully assess the safety implications of the memorandum findings for consumers the inherent sensitising properties of these substances and the real life exposure of consumers (frequency of use, amounts used, proportion of the population potentially affected, types and severity of effects, etc) must be considered. Today, there is little systematic data on the occurrence of allergies among hair dye users. However, given the large increase in the use of hair dye products over the last ten years, the report warns of a potential problem for the health of consumers. The Commission is aware of the problem and already in 2003 has agreed with member states and stakeholders on a strategy striving for a positive list of hair dyes substances to be allowed for use in the EU. In this context the categorisation of these substances according to their sensitising properties by the SCCP provides valuable input to this exercise. Based on the memorandum, the Commission services will now extend their assessment in order to minimise possible risks of allergic reactions caused by hair dyes.

    [05] La Commission crée un registre des lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires humaines

    La Commission européenne a accepté aujourd'hui de financer la création d'un registre européen des lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires humaines. Le principal objectif de cette nouvelle initiative, financée par le programme cadre de recherche de l'Union européenne, consiste fournir des informations exhaustives sur l'ensemble des lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires humaines disponibles en Europe. Un site internet accessible au public contiendra des données de grande qualité sur les lignées de cellules (par exemple, les caractéristiques des cellules) et informera sur les développements intéressants, tels que les essais cliniques. Ce site fournira des précisions sur l'origine des lignées de cellules souches et les coordonnées de personnes de contact. Le registre contiendra également des informations sur les lignées de cellules souches embryonnaires humaines que les projets financés par l'UE actuels et futurs permettront d'obtenir. 81 lignées différentes sont actuellement utilisées dans des projets de l'UE. Ce projet, qui bénéficiera d'un financement de l'UE d'un peu plus d'un million d'euros, a été convenu pour une durée de trois ans.

    [06] Telecoms : Consumers have more choice but full potential of EU's internal market remains unexploited

    European consumers continue to benefit from lower prices and innovative services as a result of good progress in the implementation of Europe's telecoms rules. However for consumers and providers to reap the full benefits of Europe's internal market, more competition, a more consistent and speedy application of remedies and regulators that are more independent are necessary, says the European Commission's 12th report on the EU's telecom markets, issued today.

    [07] L'UE prend des mesures pour améliorer la sécurité des dispositifs médicaux

    La sécurité des dispositifs médicaux, tels que les équipements chirurgicaux ou les implants, doit être considérablement améliorée après l'adoption en ce jour, par le Parlement européen, d'une proposition de la Commission européenne. Des règles plus strictes s'appliqueront l'utilisation de matières potentiellement toxiques, pour lesquelles un étiquetage adéquat sera exigé. En outre, l'usage unique – dépourvu de tout risque – des dispositifs médicaux sera renforcé. Une étude sera également réalisée pour examiner de quelle manière un meilleur retraitement des dispositifs pourrait être obtenu. Par ailleurs, les logiciels médicaux spécialisés entreront dans le champ d'application des nouvelles directives relatives aux dispositifs médicaux, qui ont été mises jour la lumière des récentes évolutions technologiques. Le vote du Parlement européen s'appuie sur un compromis trouvé avec le Conseil, lequel devrait adopter ce train de mesures prochainement.

    [08] Euro area records best growth performance since 2000

    Domestic demand and external trade, the two engines of growth, have well performed in the fourth quarter, finds the Quarterly Report on the Euro Area published today. Overall, 2006 has been a very good vintage for the euro area, in terms of growth but also in terms of employment, with the creation of almost two million jobs. Prospects for 2007 remain favourable. The first focus section of this report looks at recent labour cost developments and notes that brightening economic conditions have not translated into accelerating wage growth. Looking ahead, risks appear very balanced. Price stability will require wage agreements at the national level to take into account trend productivity developments, the cyclical situation of labour markets and the underlying position in relative price competitiveness within the euro area. The second focus looks at the volatility of GDP growth. Volatility has decreased significantly in the euro area, a trend which may be ascribed to structural changes in the economy and better macroeconomic policies, notably thanks to the stability- oriented economic policy framework set up since the start of EMU.

    [09] Mise en œuvre de la nouvelle législation européenne pour sanctionner les pollueurs maritimes

    A partir du mois d'avril prochain, les 27 Etats membres de l'Union européenne afficheront la même détermination face aux auteurs de rejets illicites en mer, donnant son plein effet une législation qui avait été adoptée en 2005. L'Europe disposera enfin d'un système de sanctions suffisamment dissuasives pour prévenir et combattre plus efficacement la pollution en mer. Les rejets illicites en mer sont malheureusement toujours une réalité et leur prévention est plus que jamais une priorité pour l'Europe.

    [10] Commission clears acquisition of Desseaux by NPM

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Tapijtfabriek H Desseaux N.V (Desseaux) of the Netherlands by NPM Capital N.V. (NPM), also of the Netherlands. NPM is active in the provision of private equity in Netherlands. Desseaux produces and distributes woven and non-woven and tufted textile floor coverings. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [11] Statement by Joe Borg following signing of declaration on combating unreported cod fishery in the Baltic Sea

    European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg welcomed the Declaration on combating unreported cod fishery in the Baltic Sea, signed at yesterday's inter-ministerial meeting on enforcement in the Baltic Sea in Copenhagen. Commissioner Borg signed the Declaration alongside ministers from the countries around the Baltic Sea. Mr Borg said: "I welcome the adoption of the Declaration that we have just signed. This Declaration is a clear signal of the commitment of the Member States around the Baltic to strengthen their control and enforcement systems. Proper enforcement of fisheries measures is neither a luxury nor is it an unnecessary imposition on fishermen, quite the contrary. The absence of control is the quickest way to the ruin of a fishery as overfishing inevitably leads to depletion."

    [12] Debates on the past and the future of the EU at schools all across Europe

    For the fifth year, the network of Ministers in charge of Education (European Schoolnet) organises "Spring Day for Europe", in collaboration with the European Commission. "The Spring Day" campaign is held in the framework of the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. "Spring Day for Europe" is a campaign aiming to enable young people to gain a vivid awareness of European questions and to integrate them into their study programme. In order that young people in Europe play a full part in this flagship anniversary, the Commission has taken the initiative to organise, in tandem with the other European institutions, another "Spring Day in Europe", this time focusing on the theme of "Together since 1957" and having the aim of encouraging schools in all the Member States and candidate countries to develop educational initiatives relating to European affairs. Schools are invited to organise until 30 June 2007, European days of exchanges, debates and meetings with local, regional, national or international personalities, giving pupils and teachers the opportunity to learn about European integration and improve their understanding of it. Schools are also encouraged to take part in discussion fora and teaching activities on the operation of the institutions and on the values of Europe.

    (2003), the enlargement (2004), the Constitution (2005) and the debate about the future of the EU (2006). The Website devoted to the operation is available in 22 languages at the following address: <a href="http://www.springday2007.net">http://www.springday2007.net

    [13] Commission announcement of decision on National Allocation Plan of Austria

    On Friday 30 March, the European Commission is scheduled to take its decision on the national allocation plan submitted by Austria under Directive 2003/87/EC, which establishes the EU emissions trading scheme for greenhouse gases. The decision will be communicated at 12 pm Central European Time (CEST) via press release. The announcement will also be displayed

    href="http://europa.eu.int/rapid/">http://europa.eu.int/rapid/ and the DG Environment website at: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission.htm and <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/2nd_phase_ep.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/2nd_phase_ep.htm.

    The legal decision will be posted on the DG Environment emissions trading website at the time of the announcement being made:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/2nd_phase_ep.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/2nd_phase_ep.htm.

    [14] Danuta Hübner on a two-day visit in Greece

    European Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner is paying a two-day visit to Greece. During her stay, she will meet the minister of Development, Mr Dimitris Sioufas, the deputy minister for Economy and Finance, Mr Christos Folias, and the minister of Environment, Town Planning and Public Works, Mr Georgios Souflias. The mayor of Athens, Mr Nikitas Kaklamanis will honour Ms Hübner with the City's medal. Commissioner Hübner will also address the conference on "Financial Opportunities for the Local Authorities", organised by the Greek bank Eurobank and the European Investment Bank, as well as a speech on development and competitiveness in Europe at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). The Commissioner will conclude her visit with a meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Costas Karamanlis.

    [15] Second estimates for 2006 : EU real agricultural income per worker up by 3.8%

    EU27 real agricultural income per worker rose by 3.8% in 2006, after decreasing by 7.2% in 2005. This increase results from a reduction in agricultural labour input (-2.6%), and a growth in real agricultural income (+1.1%). This growth in EU27 real agricultural income in 2006 is itself the result of : output of agriculture at producer prices in real value terms remaining nearly stable (+0.1%) ; a small decrease in input costs (-0.3%) and a slight increase in depreciation (+0.1%), in real terms ; a rise in the real value of subsidies net of taxes (+0.8%). These estimates for the EU27 published by Eurostat, are based on data supplied by the national authorities in the Member States. Agricultural income per worker in 2006 was above the levels of 2005 in twenty one Member States. The largest increases were observed in the Netherlands (+15.1%), Poland (+10.6%) and Belgium (+9.2%), while the largest decreases were recorded in Ireland (- 13.3%), Finland (-7.8%) and Estonia (-5.2%).

    [16] Autre matériel diffusé

    Introduction of Mariann Fischer Boel's press conference on 'Making life easier for farmers: Simplifying the Cross Compliance Rules'

    The Framework Programme for Research and Development and human embryonic stem cell research

    Questions and answers on the Memorandum on Hair Dye Sensitisation of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP)

    Summary note on the joint report by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, and Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for Enlargement, on the State of Preparations of the future EU and international presence in Kosovo

    Speech by Margot Wallström : "Fifty years of the EU: Greece in Europe – Europe in the world" at Zappion Palace Open Forum (Athens)

    Speech by Charlie McCreevy : "European Patent Policy" at Conference 'A Europe of Innovation - Fit for the Future?' (Berlin, ! embargo 12h20 !)

    Speech by Danuta Hübner : "Financial opportunities for local authorities in Greece" at Conference organised by Eurobank EFG in cooperation with EIB (Athens)

    Speech by President Barroso : "Better institutions for better results" at the European Parliament (28/03)

    Speech by Olli Rehn : "The future of Kosovo and the role of the European Union" at EP debate on the future Status of Kosovo (Lagendijk report) (28/03)

    Speech by Danuta Hübner : "European Regional Policy : the contribution to social cohesion" at 2nd Convention of the European Association of Co- operative Banks (28/03) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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