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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-07-01

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] European Commission supports additional assistance for reconciliation of societies affected by human rights abuses
  • [02] Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of Huntsman by Hexion, subject to conditions
  • [03] UN legislation for cars: 50 years of international automotive cooperation
  • [04]
  • [05] Antitrust: Commission adopts Guidelines on application of competition rules to maritime transport services
  • [06] Footballers and employers launch new EU forum for social dialogue
  • [07] Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes stronger coope-ration between European Transmission System Operators
  • [08]
  • [09] GALILEO: the procurement for the first constellation of the European navigation satellites will now start
  • [10] Agriculture: Member States agree in principle to abolish obligatory set-aside
  • [11] Euro area unemployment stable at 7.2%
  • [12] The European Customs Union celebrates its 40th anniversary
  • [13] Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner condemns new Law on Mass Media in Belarus
  • [14] Statement by Commissioner Louis Michel on the Presidential election results in Zimbabwe
  • [15] Import of fresh meat from South America
  • [16] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-07-01 Reference: MEX/08/0701 Date: 01/07/2008 EXME08 / 01.07

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    01/07/08


  • [01] European Commission supports additional assistance for reconciliation of societies affected by human rights abuses

    The European Commission has established a funding facility of € 12 million under the Stability Instrument to provide timely and focused assistance to ad-hoc tribunals and transitional justice initiatives around the world. The aim is to encourage reconciliation and help build sustainable peace in post crisis situations. This funding facility will allow the Commission to rapidly mobilise resources in the form of policy advice, technical, logistical and financial assistance, to support individual actions and projects.

    [02] Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of Huntsman by Hexion, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Huntsman Corporation by Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc., both US-based chemical manufacturers. The Commission's decision is conditional upon Hexion´s commitment to divest epoxy production and R&D facilities in Germany and in the US. The Commission has concluded that the transaction, as modified by this commitment, would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part.

    [03] UN legislation for cars: 50 years of international automotive cooperation

    Global technical harmonisation is a key factor in strengthening the competitiveness of the European automotive industry world-wide. The more we regulate at UN/ECE level, the better for European industry and the less EU legislation is needed. The 1958 Agreement of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) on technical harmonisation in automotive sector is celebrating its 50th birthday. The Agreement has resulted in some 126 regulations on issues relating to safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency and anti-theft performances of motor vehicles. For example, the UN/ECE agreement on electronic stability control enables manufacturers to develop only one vehicle design for the world market. In addition to avoiding divergent legislations and duplication of administrative procedures, one single standard at UN level also contributes to simplifying EU legislation. For example, the CARS 21 Group identified 38 EC directives which could be replaced with international UNECE regulations.

    [04]

    Competition: 2007 Annual Report on Competition Policy – protecting consumers and strengthening Europe's competitiveness

    The European Commission has adopted its 2007 Annual Report on Competition Policy, which gives an overview of the main developments in competition policy. It outlines key changes to competition rules and policy as well as major enforcement actions. Using concrete examples it demonstrates how the tools of competition policy were used to reinforce Europe's competitiveness and to protect consumers and businesses from anticompetitive conduct.

    [05] Antitrust: Commission adopts Guidelines on application of competition rules to maritime transport services

    The European Commission has adopted Guidelines on the application to maritime transport services of EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices (Article 81). This follows a public consultation in 2007 (see IP/07/1325 and MEMO/07/355). In 2006, the Council repealed the exemption from the EU competition rules for liner shipping conferences (see IP/06/1283 and MEMO/06/344). As from October 2008, liner companies will have to assess themselves whether their business practices comply with the competition rules. The Guidelines will help maritime operators understand the implications of this change, and provide details on market definition, information exchange in liner shipping and on operational co-operation agreements between tramp operators (i.e. unscheduled maritime transport of non-containerised bulk cargo), so-called pool agreements. The Guidelines will be published in the EU Official Journal.

    [06] Footballers and employers launch new EU forum for social dialogue

    Organisations representing players, leagues and clubs from around the EU today sat down together for the first time, in Paris, to discuss and tackle labour issues of common concern in the professional football sector. The new social dialogue committee – launched by Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimír `pidla and Education, Training, Culture and Youth Commissioner Ján Figeľ – brings together the International Federation of Professional Footballers' Associations-Division Europe (FIFPro) and the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL). The employers' side is complemented by the European Club Association (ECA). Given the specificity of sport governance, the social partners have invited UEFA to chair their dialogue.

    [07] Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes stronger coope-ration between European Transmission System Operators

    CEO's of 36 European Transmission System Operator companies signed on 27th June a declaration of intent, to create a European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) before the end of the year. Energy Commissioner Piebalgs has welcomed this initiative, particularly as it represents a proactive step ahead of the Third Legislative Package on the Internal Electricity Market and reflects the principles set out therein.

    [08]

    EU trade with Bosnia and Herzegovina enters new phase

    The European Commission has today welcomed the entry into force of the Interim Agreement (IA) with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The IA effectively creates a free trade area, with progressive opening of the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina facilitating economic and social development. The two sides signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and the IA on 16 June in Luxembourg. Until the ratification process is finalised the trade provisions of the SAA are applied through the IA.

    [09] GALILEO: the procurement for the first constellation of the European navigation satellites will now start

    Today the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) have launched the procurement of the first complete constellation of the European satellite navigation system. A total of 30 dedicated navigation satellites will be put into space, monitored and controlled by a ground- based infrastructure which will be deployed around the world, with the main control centres in Europe.

    [10] Agriculture: Member States agree in principle to abolish obligatory set-aside

    At a meeting of the Special Committee for Agriculture on Monday, the outgoing Presidency of the EU Council concluded that the vast majority of Member States will agree to abolish set-aside as proposed by the Commission in its CAP Health Check proposals. The change comes in response to the increasingly tight situation on the cereals market. Under these circumstances, farmers can already benefit from the measure as from their autumn 2008 and spring 2009 sowings. The end of the set-aside scheme will allow farmers to adjust their planting decisions and respond in advance to new market circumstances.

    [11] Euro area unemployment stable at 7.2%

    The euro area (EA15) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stood at 7.2% in May 2008, unchanged compared with April. It was 7.5% in May 2007. The EU27 unemployment rate was 6.8% in May 2008, compared with 6.7% in April. It was 7.2% in May 2007. Eurostat estimates that 16.171 million men and women in the EU27, of which 11.199 million in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2008. Compared with April 2008, the number of persons unemployed increased by 42 000 and 67 000 respectively. Compared with May 2007, unemployment was down by 0.9 million in the EU27 and by 0.2 million in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat.

    [12] The European Customs Union celebrates its 40th anniversary

    Today the European Customs Union celebrates its 40th anniversary. Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, László Kovács said: "I am very proud of what European Customs achieved over the past 4 decades, both in terms of protecting people and facilitating trade. Customs not only facilitate legitimate trade but they prevent unsafe or counterfeit goods entering the EU. Only with effective customs controls at the EU's external borders, the Union's 500 million citizens can enjoy the quality and safety of the products that are on the European market". On 4 July, Commissioner László Kovács together with Eric Woerth, the French Minister for Budget, Public Finance and Public Administration, will participate in a commemorative event organised by the French Presidency of the European Union. A joint press conference with Commissioner Kovács and Minister Woerth will take place on Friday 4 July at 10:00 in the 'centre de conférences Pierre Mendès France du Ministère', 139, rue de Bercy at 75012 PARIS. Journalists interested in participating in the press conference must register from this web site: <a href="https://medias.ue2008.fr/">https://medias.ue2008.fr/ Read more about EU customs and the Customs Union: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/40customs">http://ec.europa.eu/40customs

    [13] Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner condemns new Law on Mass Media in Belarus

    Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, condemns the passing on 27 June of the new Law on Mass Media in Belarus: "I deplore the adoption by Belarus parliament of a new Media Law that will further restrict the freedom of the press in Belarus. I regret that this law fails to take up the recommendations of Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, who had cooperated with the Belarusian administration. This is a missed opportunity for the Belarusian authorities to improve the media conditions in Belarus and thus take a step towards democratisation. Freedom of the press is an essential element of democracy and I urge the Belarusian authorities to remedy this situation ahead of the parliamentary elections of 28 September. I reiterate the EU's offer to Belarus for further engagement provided that Belarus takes convincing steps towards democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, including the release of all political prisoners, the freedom of the media and the democratic conduct of parliamentary elections. Such positive steps would allow for the EU to positively respond. Background: on 28 June, the Belarusian Parliament passed a new Law on the Mass Media. The Law puts further restrictions on Belarusian media, including Internet based media, according to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Belarusian Association of Journalists and Reporters without Borders.

    Rediffusion

    [14] Statement by Commissioner Louis Michel on the Presidential election results in Zimbabwe

    Following the announcement of the results of the second round of Presidential elections and the victory for Mr. Mugabe, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, made the following statement:

    "It is not possible to recognise the legitimacy of the result of this election given the conditions in which this second round took place. This victory has simply been an exercise in power-grabbing and is far from the spirit of change and renaissance currently seen across Africa. Once again, and together with my European partners, I call upon the competent African organisations - notably the summit of the African Union to find a political solution to this crisis. Any such solution must reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people expressed in acceptable democratic conditions. The European Commission is ready to offer its full support to the African Union and all those in Africa approaching the situation in this way."

    [15] Import of fresh meat from South America

    The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today supported a Commission proposal to allow imports of fresh meat from the additional areas in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, which are in a position to comply with EC import requirements. Recently, the competent authorities of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay have made considerable efforts to improve the animal health situation in their respective countries, and in particular as regards foot and mouth disease (FMD). Their efforts were recognised internationally by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and confirmed by recent Commission inspections. In Argentina, a new region termed "Patagonia North B" and corresponding to parts of the provinces of Neuquén and Rio Negro has been allowed to export to the EU bone-in fresh meat from ovine, caprine, bovine and game animals following its recognition of free of FMD)without vaccination by the OIE, and favourable Commission inspections. Other regions of Argentina continue to be authorised for export to the EU of de-boned fresh meat from bovine animals and other farmed ruminants. In Brazil, the States of Paraná and São Paulo have been authorised for export to the EU of de-boned and matured beef, following their recognition as free of FMD with vaccination by the OIE. In 2005, those States were excluded from the list of the Brazilian territories allowed to export beef to the EU following outbreaks of FMD. The special import requirements for Brazilian beef established with Decision 2008/61/EC limiting exports to meat obtained from animals from holdings approved by the Brazilian authorities will also apply to Paraná and São Paulo. Paraguay has been authorised for export to the EU of de- boned and matured bovine meat, following its recognition as free of FMD with vaccination by the OIE and favourable Commission inspections.

    [16] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Fact Sheet: EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Stabilisation and Association Agreement and Interim Agreement

    • Memo on Antitrust: Guidelines on the application of competition rules in the maritime sector – frequently asked questions (See also IP/08/1063)

    • Speech by Commissioner Hübner 'EU regional policy post-2013: more of the same, or a new beginning?', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner 'At what point will global warming force lifestyle changes and what will those changes be?', Brussels

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Ineos / BASF Assets From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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