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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 97-05-06

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>

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Paroleb

06/05/97


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Annual report on fraud 1996
  • [02] Work programme for the fight against fraud 1997-98
  • [03] La Commission ouvre le dialogue sur le développement urbain
  • [04] Report on the social dialogue in 1996
  • [05] La Commission adopte de nouvelles orientations relatives aux aides d'État dans le secteur des transports maritimes
  • [06] Commission Secretary General, David Williamson, to retire
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [07] Commission clears the acquisition by Tesco of ABF's businesses in the Irish retail sector

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Annual report on fraud 1996

    Fraud and irregularities affecting budgetary receipts and expenditure detected by Member States and the European Commission cost the European Union (EU) and its Member States ECU 1.3 billion in 1996 compared to ECU 1.1 billion in 1995. On a proposal from Commissioner Anita Gradin, responsible for the fight against fraud and financial control, the Commission adopted the Annual Report on fraud in 1996. Commissioner Gradin welcomes improvements in the fight against fraud and more effective detection. "It is very worrying that so much taxpayers' money has gone into the wrong pockets. But I know that the increasing figures for reported fraud and irregularities are a result of the huge efforts we have put into reorganising and improving the Commission's anti-fraud measures. The Commission has also introduced a new, more effective programme of financial controls. Member States have put much more effort into the fight against fraud", says Commissioner Gradin.

    [02] Work programme for the fight against fraud 1997-98

    The European Commission adopted a work programme for fighting fraud in 1997/98 on a proposal from Anita Gradin, Commissioner responsible for financial control and the fight against fraud. At the same time she presented the Annual Report on the fight against fraud in 1996 (see above) which shows that the instruments for combating fraud against the European Union (EU) budget have improved considerably. Commissioner Gradin points to the need for further improvements especially in six important areas: detection, recovery of embezzled money, legislation, sanctions, judicial co- operation and preparation for enlargement of the EU. "We will continue to work on the lines of the successful anti-fraud strategy, introduced by the Commission in 1994 and endorsed by the Council: to strengthen our presence on the ground, to establish still better partnership with national authorities, to clarify and simplify our own legislation and to secure compatibility between national legislation on fraud. This strategy has led to more detection of large fraud cases, often carried out by organised crime. The EU has started to create a legal framework to protect its money and to ensure that criminals are punished. But still more has to be done to secure our taxpayers' money", says Commissioner Gradin.

    [03] La Commission ouvre le dialogue sur le développement urbain

    Sous la devise "La question urbaine: orientations pour un débat européen", la Commission européenne a engagé le dialogue sur l'avenir du développement urbain. Dans une communication adoptée ce jour, la Commission explique comment on peut formuler une réponse coordonnée et cohérente pour faire face au nombre croissant de problèmes urbains. "Dans la mesure où le développement urbain suscite de plus en plus d'inquiétudes, le moment est venu de lancer un large débat sur l'avenir des villes d'Europe et sur la contribution des politiques au niveau européen. Les politiques communautaires dans les domaines tels que l'environnement, le transport, l'emploi, l'intégration sociale, la Recherche, la Technologie et le Développement (RTD) et, bien entendu, la politique régionale ont déjà un impact important sur les villes; notre document peut faciliter la discussion que nous souhaitons engager dans les institutions européennes et avec les organisations non gouvernementales et les associations centrées sur la ville", a déclaré Mme la Commissaire Monika Wulf-Mathies, responsable pour les politiques régionales.

    [04] Report on the social dialogue in 1996

    The first annual review of social dialogue at European Union level, adopted today by the European Commission, shows that the social dialogue began to produce significant results in 1996. It also shows that it is necessary to improve the links between the European level dialogue and the national and industry levels and that it is time to create a European industrial relations culture and integrate Europe into the social partners' strategies and dialogues at all levels. However, the memorandum - which is in fact the first annual review of social dialogue - also highlights the fact that "the various forums where the European social partners come together and these endeavours towards dialogue and, in some cases, negotiation, represent only the background of a European-scale industrial relations system which still has to be erected".

    [05] La Commission adopte de nouvelles orientations relatives aux aides d'État dans le secteur des transports maritimes

    Conformément aux propositions initialement annoncées dans le rapport intitulé "Vers une nouvelle stratégie maritime" publié en mars 1996, la Commission européenne a adopté de nouvelles orientations relatives aux aides d'État dans le secteur des transports maritimes. Ces orientations remplacent celles qui avaient été définies en 1989 et visent à favoriser le développement du secteur des transports maritimes de l'Union européenne (UE). Une action s'impose d'urgence pour enrayer le déclin de la flotte sous pavillon communautaire qui va de pair avec des pertes d'emplois pour les marins communautaires et avec une perte de savoir-faire maritime dans l'UE. Avec l'application d'une méthode plus transparente, les Etats membres sont autorisés à exempter les armateurs des charges fiscales et sociales ou à leur rembourser ces prélèvements.

    [06] Commission Secretary General, David Williamson, to retire

    David Williamson, who will have served the European Commission as Secretary General for 10 years, will retire from this post at the end of July. At its meeting the Commission expressed its warm appreciation of his work on behalf of the Commission and of the European Union as a whole during this long period of high responsibility. Mr Williamson was Deputy Director General for Agriculture in the Commission from 1977 to 1983. From 1983 to 1987 he was head of the European Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, London. He returned to the Commission as Secretary General in 1987.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [07] Commission clears the acquisition by Tesco of ABF's businesses in the Irish retail sector

    The European Commission has approved the acquisition by Tesco of certain business interests in Ireland and in Northern Ireland currently owned by Associated British Foods Plc (ABF). The Commission considered that current and potential competition in the Irish retail sector will not allow the combination of Tesco's buying power, and ABF's position as established market leader, to result in a dominant position in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996


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