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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-05-20

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>


News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Parole 20/05/1999b


  • [01] Media and racism
  • [02] Franz Fischler : "The EU wants to avoid confrontation in beef dispute"
  • [03] Ritt Bjerregaard : "The threat from chemicals is a global one and is ultimately shared by all of us"
  • [04] Padraig Flynn salutes the contribution of civil society to creating a genuinely social Europe

  • [01] Media and racism

    The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia is organising the European Media Forum "Cultural Diversity against Racism" in cooperation with the WDR and in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union and the European Institute for the Media. It will take place on 20-21 May 1999 in Köln during the German Presidency of the European Union (EU). Main points are : (1) to what extent have the media contributed to the rise in racism ? ; (2) what positive examples and approaches exist in the media industry which could help to overcome these problems ? The concrete proposals of the conference will be transmitted to interested organisations and will also be integrated in the discussions of the UN-World Conference on Racism to be organised next year. The Europe Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia is an independent body in the EU. Its main objectives are to review critically the extent and development of racist, xenophobic and anti- semitic phenomena in the EU and submit to the European Commission and the Member States objective, reliable and comparable information including analyses of their causes, consequences, effects and examples of successful counteraction and proposals for specific measures to be taken. This ground work is designed to help the Commission and the Member States to plan appropriate action in their respective fields of responsibility.

    [02] Franz Fischler : "The EU wants to avoid confrontation in beef dispute"

    Addressing the World Meat Congress in Dublin yesterday, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that given the scientific opinion on the risks associated with the use of hormones in beef production "it is quite clear that the ban on either the use of hormones within the European Union or the import of beef produced using hormones cannot be lifted". Mr Fischler stressed that the European Union's (EU) position on this issue is determined solely by the motivation to protect human health and rejected the suggestion that there is an ulterior motive, i.e. the protection of the EU beef market against imports. It is absurd, he said, to suggest that the EU would risk jeopardising our close relations with important trading partners merely to exclude about 10,000 tonnes of beef imports into a market where 7.5 million tonnes are consumed annually especially given that we import about 450,000 tonnes from all over the world each year.

    [03] Ritt Bjerregaard : "The threat from chemicals is a global one and is ultimately shared by all of us"

    Speaking today in Cernobbio (Italy) at a European Union (EU) / United States Conference on chemicals European Commissioner for the Environment Ritt Bjerregaard underlined the need "to develop and strengthen the links in the environment field between the world's two largest economies". "We have an obligation to ensure that we continually improve protection of both the environment and human health. We need to help developing countries to do the same. It is our duty to assist these countries to promote sustainable practices for the management of chemicals and pesticides." On the assessment and management of chemicals, the Commissioner recalled that "persistent bio-accumulative chemicals pose long-term threats to the environment and human health, including cancer. In my opinion, we can no longer defend the continued use of these chemicals. The precautionary principle should be applied fully and measures taken at international level against this category of toxic chemicals before they cause irreversible harm or injury." She singled out the development in the EU policy on chemicals : "In response to the wide public and political concern about the effects of industrial chemicals on human health and the environment, the Commission is undertaking a thorough review of the instruments which govern industrial chemicals in the EU. These issues will be discussed in the Council of Ministers on 25 June in Luxembourg, and be taken on board later this year in a Commission Communication to the Council and European Parliament, which will set out a strategy for future chemicals policy, including possible legislative options."

    [04] Padraig Flynn salutes the contribution of civil society to creating a genuinely social Europe

    At today's Conference "Organisations, Initiatives and Services in the Social Field - an Engine for Social Policy in Europe" in Aachen, jointly organised by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the European Commission, Padraig Flynn, Commissioner responsible for Social affairs, paid tribute to the role that civil society plays in developing Europe's social policies. In his opening address, he stated that "the contribution of welfare organisations, non governmental organisations and all civil society partners to social policy in Europe is as immense as it is undervalued. Our common purpose here is to celebrate and underline your achievements". The Conference aims to highlight the important role played by civil society organisations in the development of social policy at national and European level, including as regards the provision of services and representing the views of citizens. Mr Flynn took also the opportunity to review the progress made in developing the civil dialogue and stated that a real blossoming and maturing in the relationships between social non-profit organisations and European institutions has been realised, not least with the Commission. The conference was also opened by Dr Christine Bergmann, Federal Minister for Family affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and Mr Helmut Puschmann, President of the German Federal Organisation of Non Governmental Social Welfare Organisations.


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996

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