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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-07-02

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 2 juillet 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 2 July 2008

  • [01] La Commission propose un agenda social renouvelé pour donner aux citoyens les outils et l'aide dont ils ont besoin dans l'Europe du XXIe siècle
  • [02] EU proposes protection from discrimination beyond the workplace
  • [03] Roma exclusion requires joint response, says EC report
  • [04] 14.5 million employees to benefit from improved information and consultation rights
  • [05] Commission wants a web that is better enabled for the disabled
  • [06] eHealth initiatives to support medical assistance while travelling and living abroad
  • [07] State aid: Commission endorses €1.6 million training aid for DHL in Leipzig-Halle and rejects €6.1 million operating aid
  • [08] State aid: Commission endorses €73 million aid to Intico Solar for production of thin film solar modules in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
  • [09] State aid: Commission requests Greece to recover more than €230 million of illegal aid from Hellenic Shipyards
  • [10] State aid: Commission endorses €65 million of investment aid to Samsung for LCD plant in Slovakia
  • [11] La Commission adopte une proposition de directive relative aux droits des patients en matière de soins de santé transfrontaliers
  • [12] Environment: Policy Review shows achievements, and challenges ahead
  • [13] La Commission autorise un régime d’aides français pour la promotion du transport fluvial
  • [14] La Commission autorise le financement du tran-sport combiné en Hongrie
  • [15] Mergers: Commission clears Nokia's proposed acquisition of digital map provider NAVTEQ
  • [16] Commission adopts the third annual report on achievements in Justice, Freedom and Security policies
  • [17] Fisheries: Commission approves block exemption for state aid
  • [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

  • [18] Corporate governance: Commission appoints new members of European Corporate Governance Forum
  • [19] Euromed ministers give new impetus to trade and investment relations
  • [20] Industrial producer prices up by 1.2% in euro area
  • [21] Commissioners Dimas and Piebalgs participate in informal Environment/Energy Council
  • [22] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-07-02 Reference: MEX/08/0702 Date: 02/07/2008 EXME08/02.07

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    02/07/08


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 2 juillet 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 2 July 2008

    [01] La Commission propose un agenda social renouvelé pour donner aux citoyens les outils et l'aide dont ils ont besoin dans l'Europe du XXIe siècle

    Ces 2 et 3 juillet, la Commission présente un ensemble d’initiatives complet et ambitieux. Reflet d’un nouvel engagement en faveur de l'Europe sociale, il témoigne d’une démarche intégrée conjuguant diverses politiques. Opportunités, accès, solidarité – ce «paquet» montre comment l'Union européenne peut contribuer ces objectifs par des initiatives destinées favoriser la création d'emploi, l'éducation et le développement des compétences, lutter contre la discrimination, soutenir la mobilité et permettre aux Européens de vivre plus longtemps, en meilleure santé. L'agenda social renouvelé vise donner aux Européens, et en particulier aux jeunes, les moyens de faire face des réalités en mutation rapide – façonnées par la mondialisation, le progrès technologique, le vieillissement des sociétés – et des évolutions, telles que l'augmentation récente des prix des denrées alimentaires et du pétrole et les remous sur les marchés financiers. Il a également pour but d'apporter une aide aux personnes qui éprouvent des difficultés pour s'adapter ces évolutions.

    [02] EU proposes protection from discrimination beyond the workplace

    The Commission has today adopted a proposal for a directive which provides for protection from discrimination on grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief beyond the workplace. This new directive would ensure equal treatment in the areas of social protection, including social security and health care, education and access to and supply of goods and services which are commercially available to the public, including housing. Eurobarometer surveys show that a large majority of Europeans support such legislation: 77% back measures to protect people from discrimination in education and 68% in access to goods and services.

    [03] Roma exclusion requires joint response, says EC report

    Millions of Europeans of Roma origin are subject to persistent discrimination – both at individual and institutional level – and far- reaching social exclusion, says a new European Commission report released today. But the tools exist to improve the situation if the EU, Member States and civil society join forces to effectively coordinate their efforts. Today's report comes as a response to the request by EU leaders in December 2007 to examine the policies and instruments available at EU level to improve Roma inclusion.

    [04] 14.5 million employees to benefit from improved information and consultation rights

    The European Commission today adopted a legislative proposal to improve the role of European Works Councils in informing and consulting employees. European Works Councils (EWCs) currently operate in 820 major companies across the EU, covering some 14.5 million employees.

    [05] Commission wants a web that is better enabled for the disabled

    15% of Europeans suffer from some form of disability, and many face barriers such as reading a website's small text or even knowing how to access websites and online services. Despite repeated calls by the EU and government leaders to improve this situation, progress remains limited: by far the majority of websites fail to use universally accepted user-friendly solutions. Today the European Commission launched a public consultation on further measures to make websites in Europe accessible, starting with those of public administrations, and invites stakeholders to give their views. It also addresses other technologies like digital television. The consultation is open until 27 August 2008.

    [06] eHealth initiatives to support medical assistance while travelling and living abroad

    The European Commission today launched two initiatives to improve the safety and quality of care to people who require medical assistance while travelling or living abroad: a Recommendation on cross-border interoperability of electronic health record (EHR) systems and the Smart Open Services (SOS) project. The Recommendation aims to provide Member States with basic principles and guidelines for ensuring that doctors can gain access to vital information on patients that they are trying to treat, wherever such information may be located in Europe. The SOS project, co- funded by the European Commission, is supported by 12 Member States and their industry players, to demonstrate the benefits of such interoperability. It will enable health professionals to access specific medical data such as current medications of patients from other EU countries. In an emergency, sharing of medical information could save many patients' lives.

    [07] State aid: Commission endorses €1.6 million training aid for DHL in Leipzig-Halle and rejects €6.1 million operating aid

    The European Commission has endorsed €1.6 million of training aid at DHL's new site in Leipzig-Halle, Germany but rejected a further €6.1 of aid which would have acted as an illegal operating aid. The Commission's decision follows an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules launched in June 2007 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/895&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/895). The Commission concluded that the €1.6 million would genuinely lead to additional training which goes beyond legal requirements and operational needs, and therefore complied with the EU state aid rules on training aid. However, the Commission rejected as incompatible a further €6.1 million of funding that would have served to finance training activities that DHL would have carried out anyway, even without aid, and concluded that the aid would be used finance ordinary operating costs of DHL. Such operating aid would have given DHL an unfair advantage over its competitors, who don't receive such aid, and so seriously distorted competition.

    [08] State aid: Commission endorses €73 million aid to Intico Solar for production of thin film solar modules in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany

    The European Commission has endorsed, under EC Treaty state aid rules, €73 million of aid which the German authorities intend to grant to Intico Solar for the production of thin film solar modules in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. The project involves a total investment of €585 million and is expected to create more than 1000 direct and indirect jobs. The Commission found the measure to be compatible with the requirements of the Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-2013 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1653&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/05/1653) and in particular with the rules on large investment projects, because Intico Solar would gain neither a significant new market share nor a significant increase in production capacity in a declining market. Therefore the positive impact of the investment on regional development can be considered to outweigh any potential distortions of competition.

    [09] State aid: Commission requests Greece to recover more than €230 million of illegal aid from Hellenic Shipyards

    The European Commission has requested Greece, following an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/925&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/925), to recover more than €230 million of illegal state aid from Hellenic Shipyards S.A. (HSY). Between 1996 and 2002, Greece implemented 16 separate aid measures for HSY, at a time when the yard was in difficulty. The Commission found that several of these aids were granted to HSY by the Greek State and the then State owned bank ETVA in the form of loans, guarantees and capital injections without prior authorisation from the Commission and, in addition, they were incompatible with state aid rules. The Commission also found that Greece and HSY failed to respect conditions attached to the aid it had authorised in 1997 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/97/648&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/97/648) and in 2002 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/02/816&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/02/816). All of these measures, worth more than €230 million, benefited the civil commercial activities of HSY giving it an unfair advantage over its competitors. They therefore have to be recovered with interest from HSY. The Commission also found that some measures investigated, worth tens of millions of euros, do not constitute state aid, some are compatible aid, and some supported the production of military ships for the Greek Navy and are therefore exempted from EU state aid rules.

    [10] State aid: Commission endorses €65 million of investment aid to Samsung for LCD plant in Slovakia

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, around €65 million of aid that the Slovak authorities intend to grant to Samsung Electronics LCD Slovakia s.r.o., belonging to the Korean Samsung Group. The aid is intended for the setting up of a production plant for the assembly of liquid crystal display (LCD) TV modules in Voderady, Slovakia. The Commission's assessment found that the measure complied with the requirements of the Regional Aid Guidelines of 1998 and the conditions of the Multisectoral Framework on regional aid for large investment projects (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/02/242&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/02/242). The high-tech project, with a total investment of nearly €300 million, will contribute to the regional development of Western Slovakia by creating around 1200 direct jobs and attracting further investment by component suppliers and subcontractors into the area, liable to give rise to more than 3700 indirect jobs.

    [11] La Commission adopte une proposition de directive relative aux droits des patients en matière de soins de santé transfrontaliers

    Dans le cadre de «l’Agenda social renouvelé», la Commission a adopté aujourd’hui une proposition de directive visant faciliter aux patients européens l’exercice de leurs droits en matière de soins de santé, ainsi qu’une communication relative l’amélioration de la coopération entre les États membres dans ce domaine. Si, dans une jurisprudence claire et constante, la Cour de justice a confirmé que le traité confère aux patients le droit d’aller se faire soigner dans d’autres États membres et d’obtenir, dans le leur, le remboursement des coûts engagés, les modalités plus générales de l’application des principes établis par cette jurisprudence ne sont pas encore bien définies. Par cette proposition, la Commission vise assurer la sécurité juridique sur cette question. Elle répond en cela au Parlement européen et au Conseil des ministres, qui avaient invité la Commission proposer une initiative spécialement consacrée aux soins de santé transfrontaliers, explicitement adaptée au caractère unique du secteur des soins et respectueuse de cette particularité. En outre, la proposition de directive prévoit une base solide permettant de libérer l’énorme potentiel que recèle la coopération européenne afin de contribuer améliorer l’efficacité de tous les systèmes de santé de l’Union européenne (UE). - EMBARGO 13h15 -

    [12] Environment: Policy Review shows achievements, and challenges ahead

    The European Commission has adopted its 2007 Environment Policy Review, which reports on EU policy developments from last year, focuses on the key challenges ahead and looks in detail at EU and Member States' environmental trends and policy performance.

    [13] La Commission autorise un régime d’aides français pour la promotion du transport fluvial

    La Commission européenne a donné aujourd’hui son accord une aide de l’État français au transport par voies navigables. Ce régime sera en vigueur pendant la période 2008-2012 avec un budget total de € 16,5 millions. Les aides visent encourager le développement du transport fluvial en France en modernisant la flotte et en promouvant la profession de transporteur fluvial.

    [14] La Commission autorise le financement du tran-sport combiné en Hongrie

    La Commission européenne a donné aujourd'hui son accord au financement de l'autoroute ferroviaire entre la ville hongroise de Szeged et Wels en Autriche. Pour la période 2008- 2011, l'État hongrois dépensera 2980 millions de HUF (€ 11,92 millions) pour cofinancer ce régime d'aides.

    [15] Mergers: Commission clears Nokia's proposed acquisition of digital map provider NAVTEQ

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of NAVTEQ of the US by Nokia of Finland. NAVTEQ is a provider of navigable digital map databases and Nokia mainly produces mobile telephones. After an in-depth examination, launched in March 2008 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/478&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/478), the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

    [16] Commission adopts the third annual report on achievements in Justice, Freedom and Security policies

    Today, the Commission adopted the third annual report on the implementation of the Hague Programme on achievements in Justice, Freedom and Security policies, also referred to as the Scoreboard. The Hague Programme, which covers 2005-2009, is the successor of the Tampere Programme which covered the period 1999-2004. The 2007 Scoreboard assesses progress made vis- -vis actions envisaged in the Hague Action plan for 2007. Considerable achievements have been registered in the areas of Migration and Border Management, as well as Fight against terrorism. The findings also support the need to improve decision-making in the areas covered by Title VI of the EU Treaty (police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters).

    [17] Fisheries: Commission approves block exemption for state aid

    The European Commission approved today a block exemption Regulation for fisheries, according to which certain types of national aid to the fisheries sector will no longer have to be notified to and approved by the Commission before Member States can implement them. The purpose of this regulation is to simplify the application of State aid rules by declaring certain types of aid compatible with the common market and exempted from the requirement of prior notification, on condition that they comply with the relevant conditions established for similar actions under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). The Regulation includes all categories of aid covered by the EFF, with the exception of aid for investments in the fleet and aid for sustainable development of fisheries areas. As a result, Member States that wish to grant State aid in the eligible areas may do so by submitting the relevant summary information to the Commission for publication.

    [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [18] Corporate governance: Commission appoints new members of European Corporate Governance Forum

    The European Commission has appointed the members for the next term of office of the European Corporate Governance Forum. The Forum was set up in 2004 to identify and promote exchange of best practices in corporate governance and to provide high-level policy advice to the Commission.

    [19] Euromed ministers give new impetus to trade and investment relations

    Trade Ministers from the European Union and the Mediterranean countries meet in Marseille today to discuss the next steps towards the goal of a deep and comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area by 2010. At the 7th Euromed Trade Ministerial Conference, Ministers will agree on how to strengthen Euromed trade and investment relations beyond 2010. The talks will be co-chaired by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who will also participate in the "Med Business Days" on 3 July in Marseille. The meeting comes a few days before Heads of State and Government meet in Paris to discuss the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean.

    [20] Industrial producer prices up by 1.2% in euro area

    In May 2008 compared with April 2008, the industrial producer price index rose by 1.2% in the euro area (EA15) and by 1.3% in the EU27. In April, prices increased by 0.9% and 1.1% respectively. In May 2008 compared with May 2007, industrial producer prices gained 7.1% in the euro area and 8.9% in the EU27. These figures come from Eurostat.

    [21] Commissioners Dimas and Piebalgs participate in informal Environment/Energy Council

    Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will represent the European Commission at the informal Council of environment and energy ministers hosted by the French EU presidency in Paris from 3 to 5 July. The meeting will focus on climate change and energy issues, in particular the Commission's major package of climate and energy proposals of 23 January 2008 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/80&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/80). Environment ministers will also discuss policy on genetically modified organisms, especially their long term impacts and GMO-free zones. There will be a joint lunch discussion on the climate and energy package on 4 July plus separate working sessions on it by each set of ministers. Environment ministers will also prepare for the next UN climate change conference, to be held in Poznan, Poland in December, which will be an important milestone on the way to a new global climate agreement that is due to be concluded at the end of 2009. Energy ministers will also focus on energy efficiency by preparing a catalogue of good practices within the EU.

    [22] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Commission proposal to ensure equal treatment beyond the workplace

    • Memo on EU instruments and policies for Roma inclusion

    • Memo on Report on the EU contribution to promoting decent work throughout the world

    • Memo on Annual report on the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF)

    • Memo on Report on social services of general interest

    • Memo on What has social Europe achieved so far?

    • Memo on Europeans' social expectations in 20 years' time

    • Memo on Proposal to review legislation on European Works Councils

    • Memo on State aid: Commission requests Greece to recover €230 million of incompatible aid from Hellenic Shipyards - frequently asked questions (see also <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1078&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1078)

    • Memo on The majority of EU citizens consider that more decision-making should take place at EU level in justice and home affairs policy areas

    • Memo on Renewed Social Agenda: The elements of the package

    • Memo on Questions and Answers on the draft Directive on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare - EMBARGO 13h15 -

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Empik / HDS / JV

    Santander / GE Money Bank GMBH/ GE Money OY /GE Capital Deutschland GMBH / GE Money Bank Limited

    Carlyle / De La Rue Cash Systems Business

    Wistron/Lite-On LCD Business

    GE / Interbanca From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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