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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-02-14

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

  • [01] Telecoms: Commission approves OFCOM proposal to de-regulate part of UK broadband market
  • [02] Mandelson to Russia for WTO accession talks
  • [03] Convergence of innovation performance in the EU
  • [04] Partial ban for paint strippers containing dichloromethane proposed
  • [05] State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into guarantee scheme of the German Land Saxony
  • [06] State aid: Commission concludes that €170 million support for Lithuanian gas-fired power plant does not constitute state aid
  • [07] Air transport: Commission takes note of today's Court judgment in the Olympic file
  • [08] Ferrero-Waldner to visit Moldova on 14/15 February
  • [09] Euro area GDP up by 0.4% and EU27 up by 0.5%
  • [10] City of Koprivnica (Croatia) wins European Mobility Week award; Frankfurt am Main and Arad (Romania) runners-up Midday Express of 2008-02-14 Reference: MEX/08/0214 Date: 14/02/2008 EXME08 / 14.02

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    14/02/08


  • [01] Telecoms: Commission approves OFCOM proposal to de-regulate part of UK broadband market

    The Commission has approved today the proposal of the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom to de-regulate the wholesale broadband market in some parts of the UK, covering around 65% of all UK homes and businesses This is the first time that a national telecoms regulator in the EU has identified different broadband markets in different geographic areas within a country and proposed lifting regulation in those geographic areas now characterised by effective competition. The Commission supports Ofcom's proposal, which is based on detailed economic evidence, to deregulate local exchanges with four or more actual or potential providers serving areas with more than 10, 000 homes and businesses. For the Commission, Ofcom's proposal represents a reasonable move towards better targeted regulation, concentrating on those geographic areas where structural competition problems persist.

    [02] Mandelson to Russia for WTO accession talks

    EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will today begin a two day visit to Moscow, for talks that will focus on Russian WTO membership. Commissioner Mandelson will meet Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin; Minister for the Economy, Development and Trade Elvira Nabiullina; Chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy Mr. Efgeny Fedorov and representatives of Russian and European industry.

    [03] Convergence of innovation performance in the EU

    The 2007 European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) published today shows a continued process of convergence within the EU. Five EU Member States - Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom – continue to have a very strong performance as world innovation leaders alongside the US and Japan. Meanwhile, the large majority of other Member States are catching up with the leaders, and three of the newer Member States - Estonia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania - are on track to reach the EU average innovation performance within a decade. The comparison with the US shows that an important overall lead continues to exist over the EU and that the overall positive catching up process visible in particular in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investments, broadband penetration, early stage venture capital and international patenting has recently slowed down.

    [04] Partial ban for paint strippers containing dichloromethane proposed

    The European Commission has proposed today to restrict the sale and use of paint strippers containing dichloromethane. Such paint removers, are used in industry and are also sold in “Do-It-Yourself” stores accessible to everybody. Dichloromethane vapour is toxic to the central nervous system and the Commission’s proposal follows concerns of some experts that a number of accidents and fatalities which have occurred in recent years in the EU have been linked to use of the substance. The Commission therefore proposes to ban the sale of such paint strippers to the general public and professional users. However, taking account of other expert opinion that this substance may be safely used by professionals if adequate precautions are taken, Member States may permit their purchase and use by licensed professionals who have received appropriate training. For industrial activities, their use will be permitted under strictly controlled conditions. The formal adoption by the European Parliament and the Council is expected by the end of the year.

    [05] State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into guarantee scheme of the German Land Saxony

    The European Commission has opened a formal investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into a guarantee scheme run by the German Land of Saxony. The Commission has doubts as to the compatibility of the proposed scheme with the EC state aid rules. In particular, the Commission has concerns about the absence of exceptional circumstances that could warrant the granting of operating aid and about the proportionality of the measure. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested parties the possibility to comment on the proposed measure. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

    [06] State aid: Commission concludes that €170 million support for Lithuanian gas-fired power plant does not constitute state aid

    The European Commission has concluded that the planned grant of €170 million from the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund (IIDSF) to support the construction of a 400 MW gas-fired power plant in Lithuania does not constitute state aid. First, Lithuania will at no stage acquire control over the resources allocated to the project. Second, the decision to support the project and on the amount of the grant is not taken by Lithuania, but by the governing body of the IIDSF, following a proposal from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), who manages the IIDSF. The EU is the largest contributor to the IIDSF.

    [07] Air transport: Commission takes note of today's Court judgment in the Olympic file

    The Court of Justice today confirmed that Greece has failed to comply with a Commission decision adopted in 2005 finding that it had granted illegal and incompatible aid to Olympic Airways Services and Olympic Airlines, and asking for such aid to be recovered.

    [08] Ferrero-Waldner to visit Moldova on 14/15 February

    European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, will visit Moldova on 14/15 February 2008. She will meet with President Vladimir Voronin, Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev, First Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii in charge of economic and financial assistance, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratan, Speaker of the Parliament Marian Lupu and Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca. She will also deliver a speech at the Moldovan State University. On the agenda are EU-Moldova relations, progress in Moldova´s political and economic reforms, issues related to the Transnistria settlement, and regional issues.

    [09] Euro area GDP up by 0.4% and EU27 up by 0.5%

    GDP grew by 0.4% in the euro area (EA13) and by 0.5% in the EU27 during the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat. In the third quarter of 2007, growth rates were +0.8% in both the euro area and the EU27.

    Rediffusion

    [10] City of Koprivnica (Croatia) wins European Mobility Week award; Frankfurt am Main and Arad (Romania) runners-up

    European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas today presented the European Mobility Week award 2008 to the Croatian city of Koprivnica. Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and Arad (Romania) were the runners-up. European Mobility Week (EMW), supported by the European Commission and held annually, promotes sustainable mobility in towns and cities by encouraging use of low- or non-polluting alternatives to private cars, such as walking, cycling, public transport and car-sharing. The introduction of permanent measures to facilitate these alternatives is a condition of participation. The award was given for the best contribution to last year's EMW, held from 16 to 22 September under the slogan of 'Streets for People,' which encouraged local authorities to give more road space to non-motorised forms of mobility. Commissioner Dimas announced the award at a ceremony held at the Résidence Palace in Brussels.

    Autre matériel diffuse

    • Memo on European Innovation scoreboard 2007: Summary of the situation in the 27 Member States

    • Memo on Education and Youth Council, Brussels 14-15 February 2008

    • Speech by Commissioner Dimas on Animal Testing: the need for alternative methods

    • Speech by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on Black Sea Synergy: the EU’s approach to the Black Sea region

    • Speech du Commissaire pidla "Adapter et renforcer le modèle social européen"

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    ArcelorMittal/Galvex From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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