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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-03-08

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-Parole 08/03/2000b


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] COMMISSION EXTENDS TEMPORARY BAN ON PHTHALATES IN TOYS
  • [02] Ms Loyola de Palacio meets the Council of European Energy Regulators
  • [03] Climate change: Commission launches European Climate Change Programme and advocates twin-track approach for reducing emissions.
  • [04] Fonds structurels : la Commission approuve le document de programmation (DOCUP) de l'Objectif 1 pour le Burgenland (Autriche) pour la période 2000-2006
  • [05] Commission assesses updated Stability Programme of France
  • [06] Commission assesses updated Stability Programme of Luxembourg
  • [07] Commission assesses updated Stability Programme of Portugal
  • [08] Anna Diamantopoulou : "Women's progress to positions of influence is disappointing"
  • [09] Commission calls for adequate radio spectrum to ensure growth of 3rd generation mobile phones and satellite navigation

  • [01] COMMISSION EXTENDS TEMPORARY BAN ON PHTHALATES IN TOYS

    The European Commission has notified yesterday the Member States of its Decision to extend for another three-months its temporary ban on the use of certain phthalates in toys and childcare articles. The products covered by the Decision are those intended to be placed in the mouth by babies, for example dummies and teething rings, made of soft PVC containing phthalates. The Member States were consulted and gave their unanimous approval to this extension. This extension is necessary because the Commission proposal for permanent legislative measures, made in November 1999, is still the subject of discussions in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. In the absence of new relevant scientific risk evaluation data the content of the Decision remains unchanged. The Commission will consider any new developments on the possible use of standardised methods for simulating and measuring phthalates release from toys and is prepared to discuss these with industry. Contacts have been established to that end. The Commission will actively encourage and co-ordinate work to develop and validate such methods. As long as test methods are not suitable for enforcement purposes, the Commission considers that the ban should be maintained to guarantee a high level of health protection of young children. (for more information: Beate Gminder - tel: 296.5694, 0476/585.856 fax: 296.4284)

    [02] Ms Loyola de Palacio meets the Council of European Energy Regulators

    Ms Loyola de Palacio, Vice-president for Energy and Transport, today met with the newly founded Council of European Energy Regulators chaired by Mr Antonio Jorge Viegas de Vasconcelos, who handed over to her their Memorandum of Understanding. Ms de Palacio congratulated the Council on its constitution and gave the European Commission's strong support expressing the wish that it could be extended very soon to other countries.

    [03] Climate change: Commission launches European Climate Change Programme and advocates twin-track approach for reducing emissions.

    The European Commission wants to give new impetus to the Community's efforts for reducing greenhouse gases that lead to global warming. Launching the European Climate Change Programme with two initiatives adopted today, the Commission advocates a twin-track strategy for implementing the emission reduction target to which the EU is committed under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. A Green Paper on emissions trading foresees the setting-up of an emissions trading system within the EU for the energy sector and big industrial installations. The second pillar of the strategy are targeted measures to reduce emissions from specific sources.

    [04] Fonds structurels : la Commission approuve le document de programmation (DOCUP) de l'Objectif 1 pour le Burgenland (Autriche) pour la période 2000-2006

    La Commission a approuvé aujourd'hui le projet de document unique de programmation (DOCUP) pour le développement régional du Burgenland, en Autriche, au cours des sept ans à venir. Ce programme relève de l'Objectif 1 des fonds structurels (régions en retard de développement) et prévoit l'attribution de près de 271 millions d'euros en provenance de l'Union. Au total, l'intervention de ces crédits européens permettra de mobiliser 864 millions d'euros d'investissements dans le Burgenland, dont 494 millions de co-financements en provenance du secteur privé.

    [05] Commission assesses updated Stability Programme of France

    The European Commission today adopted a Recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the updated stability programme of France ('Programme pluriannuel de finances publiques, 2001-2003'). The Commission concluded that the medium-term budgetary targets are in line with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. Budgetary projections are based on two macroeconomic scenarios for the period 2001-2003, one assuming annual average real GDP growth rate of 2.5% and one 3%. Growth in 2000 is assumed to reach at least 3%. On the basis of a better than initially planned outcome for the general government deficit in 1999, the update projects a decline in the general government deficit ratio to 1.7% of GDP in 2000, and to between 0.3% and 0.5% of GDP by 2003. During the same period, the debt ratio is expected to fall from slightly below 60% of GDP in 1999 to between 57.2% or 57.7% of GDP at the end of 2003. On the basis of the Commission's Recommendation, the Council is expected to adopt a formal opinion on the updated French programme on [13 March 2000].

    [06] Commission assesses updated Stability Programme of Luxembourg

    The European Commission today adopted a Recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the updated stability programme of Luxembourg (1999-2003). The Commission concluded that the updated stability programme is in full respect of the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. The updated stability programme conveys the commitment of the new Luxembourg government to continue the sound public finance policies followed until now and to pursue the implementation of structural reforms. The updated programme, building on better budgetary results than initially expected in the past two years and on prospects for high rates of economic growth, is projecting more ambitious budgetary outcomes than the initial stability programme. The budgetary projections of the updated programme are based on the assumption that real GDP growth will reach around 4.5 % per year from 2000 to 2003; this macroeconomic assumptions seems realistic considering the strong economic performance achieved in the last years. The general government surplus is expected to rise to 2.5% of GDP in 2000 and to 3.1% in 2003. On the basis of the Commission's Recommendation, the Council is expected to adopt a formal opinion on the updated Luxembourg programme on [13 March 2000].

    [07] Commission assesses updated Stability Programme of Portugal

    The European Commission today adopted a Recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the updated stability programme of Portugal (2000-2004). The Commission concluded that the medium-term budgetary targets are in line with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact, although the adjustment strategy is not fully in line with the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. Following a general government deficit of 2.0% in 1999, the updated programme projects a decline in the general government deficit ratio to 1.5 % of GDP in 2000 and to a balance position by 2004. During the same period, the debt ratio is expected to fall to 48.4% of GDP. Budgetary projections are based on a macroeconomic scenario assuming average GDP growth of 3.5% per year over the period 2000-2004. On the basis of the Commission's Recommendation, the Council is expected to adopt a formal opinion on the updated Portuguese programme on [13 March 2000].

    [08] Anna Diamantopoulou : "Women's progress to positions of influence is disappointing"

    The Commission yesterday adopted a report on how Member States and EU institutions have performed in implementing the 1996 Council recommendation on the balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process. The report reveals that the position of women in decision-making has not improved significantly since the Recommendation was adopted. Long- term political commitment, sound data, regular monitoring, appropriate structures and financial resources are, it says, necessary to boost female participation and further Council action is a 'must'. The report gives examples of action and policies undertaken by the Member States to increase the participation of women in decision-making at all levels. While legislative measures have some impact on the public sector, the private sector needs particular attention and possibly a different approach. Some countries are promoting projects aimed at making employers aware of the economic benefits of employing women. More progress also needs to be made regarding women in senior positions in the civil service and public sector bodies. The Report also gives statistics on the position of women in decision-making, at local, regional, national and EU level.

    [09] Commission calls for adequate radio spectrum to ensure growth of 3rd generation mobile phones and satellite navigation

    The European Commission is calling on EU member states to negotiate sufficient additional radio spectrum to allow for further growth of 3rd generation mobile telephony, and to obtain access to radio spectrum to enable Europe's own satellite navigation system, Galileo, to develop in a fast and cost-effective way. Participants from across the globe, including the EU's member states, will congregate in Istanbul in May for a month of negotiations. The Commission fears that insufficient spectrum space would stunt the growth of 3rd generation mobile telephony and hamper the jump to mobile internet. Europe's lead in mobile telephones will be crucial to maintaining its competitive edge when the internet goes mobile. This issue comes in the run-up to the Lisbon Summit in two weeks' time, when it is hoped EU leaders will endorse the Commission's eEurope initiative to accelerate Europe's transit

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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