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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 98-01-26

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

26/01/98


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Successful discussions on transport arrangements with Switzerland should open the door to EU-Swiss accord
  • [02] La Commission autorise la prise de contrôle de Banque Bruxelles Lambert/Bank Brussel Lambert par ING Groep
  • [03] Commission supports initiative for sustainable disposal of offshore oil platforms
  • [04] Helios II programme: Commission adopts evaluation report
  • [05] Meeting of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) - 22/23 January 1998
  • [06] Mario Monti sera en Pologne les 26 et 27 janvier
  • [07] Forum culturel de l'Union européenne (programme de la réunion 29 et 30 janvier 1998 à Bruxelles)
  • [08] Joint European Commission and European Parliament session on the employment guidelines

  • [01] Successful discussions on transport arrangements with Switzerland should open the door to EU-Swiss accord

    The result of discussions on Friday, January 23, between Neil Kinnock, the European Commissioner responsible for Transport, and Swiss Federal Minister Moritz Leuenberger should open the door to the successful completion of a European Union (EU)-Swiss accord establishing formal relations between the two countries, providing it wins the approval of the Council of Ministers. Neil Kinnock welcomed what he described as "very substantial progress" and said : "Today's discussions have produced figures for charges and details of transport conditions that I can firmly recommend to EU Transport Ministers for their conclusive consideration." He continued : "We have obtained what Member States asked us to negotiate : an agreement that is beneficial to the economies of both Switzerland and the EU while guaranteeing environmental protection for the Alps. It will represent a further deepening in the political relationship between the EU and Switzerland. Transport is, of course, only one of the several broad chapters that comprise the EU/Swiss agreement, but I hope that our success today will win the Council approval that will help bring talks in other areas to a speedy conclusion." Any eventual EU/Swiss agreement should cover transport, free movement of people, public procurement, research, mutual recognition of standards and agriculture.

    [02] La Commission autorise la prise de contrôle de Banque Bruxelles Lambert/Bank Brussel Lambert par ING Groep

    La Commission européenne vient d'autoriser la prise de contrôle de la société belge BBL (Banque Bruxelles Lambert S.A./Bank Brussel Lambert N.V.) par la société néerlandaise ING Groep N.V. Cette opération est effectuée par une offre d'achat publique, par laquelle ING a obtenu la majorité des actions BBL. Les activités de BBL et ING se trouvent majoritairement dans les secteurs bancaire et de l'assurance. Les activités des deux entreprises sont plutôt complémentaires, étant donné qu'elles sont principalement présentes dans leurs pays respectifs. Les chevauchements sont très réduits. Sur aucun des marchés considérés ces entreprises détiennent actuellement une position dominante.

    [03] Commission supports initiative for sustainable disposal of offshore oil platforms

    How can we ensure that sustainable disposal methods for offshore oil platforms are applied when dumping them in the sea is not longer permitted ? This is the main question that will be put to all European stakeholders in the ongoing debate on how to dispose of oil platforms and other installation when they are no longer in use. The European Commissioners for the environment and for energy, Mrs Ritt Bjerregaard and Mr Christos Papoutsis, intend to ensure funding from the European Union for a stakeholder consultation project (developed by the London based consultant SustainAbility, who has specialised in greening of industries and public bodies). The consultation is planned to take place in the spring of 1998. Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, sustainable land disposal of platforms contributes to creating much needed extra jobs and industry in the North Sea region.

    [04] Helios II programme: Commission adopts evaluation report

    The European Commission has adopted the final evaluation report of the activities undertaken as part of Helios II, the European Union's (EU) third action programme to assist disabled people (1993-96). Based on an independent evaluation carried out by the Tavistock Institute (UK) in cooperation with three other research institutes, the report presents and analyses the evaluation's findings and their implications for future action in the field of disability. It highlights in particular the innovative approach to EU intervention in the field of integration of the disabled that Helios II introduced notably by abandoning traditional welfare- oriented measures in favour of a strategy based on equal opportunities and integration, and by promoting change through the dissemination of learning and good practice and the provision of a structure for cooperation between organisations at national and European levels. "Helios II has opened many doors, identified many options, and begun important processes of promoting a European dialogue on disability" said Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn. "The need now is to continue the process of dialogue, build upon what has been achieved, and take forward the more promising elements identified within the programme."

    [05] Meeting of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) - 22/23 January 1998

    On its third plenary meeting held on 22-23 January the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) discussed if and how the risk can be estimated that BSE infected cattle from a given geographical area enters the food and feed chains. The opinion of the SSC is that it can be estimated by taking into account two risk elements: (1) the probability that an infectious animal enters the food and/or feed chains and (2) the probability that an initial infection is transfered via the feed chain to other animals. In order to be able to estimate the risk in a given country or geographical area, the SSC has defined a list of eight factors which are regarded to contribute to the incident and propagation risks in a geographical area and on which data are required : 1. Structure and dynamics of the cattle, sheep and goat populations; 2. Animal trade; 3. Animal feed; 4. Meat and bone meal (MBM) bans; 5. Specified bovine offals (SBO) and specified risk materials (SRM) bans; 6. The surveillance of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE), with particular reference to BSE and scrapie; 7. Rendering and feed processing; 8. BSE and scrapie related culling. The SSC proposes to request this information from all Member States and also any third country which claims a certain BSE status. On the other points of the Agenda no formal opinion was adopted. The next meeting of the SSC will be held on 19- 20 February 1998.

    [06] Mario Monti sera en Pologne les 26 et 27 janvier

    Mario Monti, membre de la Commission européenne chargé du marché intérieur, sera les 26 et 27 janvier en Pologne, où il rencontrera le Président de la République, M. Alexander Kwasniewski, le Ministre des Affaires étrangères, M. Bronislaw Geremek, le vice-premier Ministre et Ministre des Finances, M. Leszek Balcerowicz, le Ministre des Affaires européennes, M. Ryszard Czarnecki, le Secrétaire Général de l'Episcopat polonais, Mgr. Tadeusz Pieronek, la Présidente de la Banque Nationale, Mme Gronkiewicz-Waltz, et le Comité Sejm pour l'intégration européenne. Il examinera les progrès réalisés par la Pologne en matière de transposition et de mise en oeuvre de la législation relative au marché unique, dans l'optique de la préparation de ce pays à son adhésion à l'Union européenne. Son principal message lors de cette visite sera que "la Pologne a pris un bon départ en ce qui concerne sa préparation à l'adhésion en arrêtant des programmes législatifs ambitieux pour la reprise de la législation relative au marché unique. Il reste aux autorités polonaises à se conformer à ces programmes et à veiller à l'application correcte des lois prévues dès qu'elles auront été adoptées."

    [07] Forum culturel de l'Union européenne (programme de la réunion 29 et 30 janvier 1998 à Bruxelles)

    Afin de clôturer le débat ouvert depuis 1997 sur l'avenir de la politique culturelle communautaire, la Commission européenne organise un "Forum culturel de l'Union européenne" qui se tiendra à Bruxelles, au centre Borschette, les 29 et 30 janvier prochains. En prévision de l'échéance des programmes culturels, les Institutions européennes (Parlement européen, Conseil des Ministres de la Culture) ont marqué préalablement leur accord pour un "programme cadre unique" qui couvrira la période 2000 - 2005 et qui succède à ces différentes actions (les programmes Kaléidoscope, Ariane et Raphaël). Ainsi le Forum servira comme plate-forme pour l'élaboration de ce futur "programme cadre" culturel que la Commission s'est engagée à adopter avant le 1er mai 1998.

    [08] Joint European Commission and European Parliament session on the employment guidelines

    Following the adoption of the 1998 employment guidelines by the Social Affairs Council last December, the European Commission and the European Parliament (EP) are organising a one-day seminar on the theme "Employment after the Luxembourg summit : The follow-up actions". This will take place on Tuesday 27 January, starting at 10.00 hrs., at the European Parliament in Brussels (Room Leo 0/A02). The colloquium will be formally opened by Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn and by Stephen Hughes, MEP, chairman of the EP Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. The debate will focus on the requirements for a successful implementation of the guidelines. There will be four discussion panels, one for each pillar of the new European employment strategy : employability, entrepreneurship, adaptability and equal opportunities. Panelists include representatives of the Commission, the EP, the EU Employment and Labour Market Committee and the social partners. Journalists are welcome to attend.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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