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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-03-24

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 Service Presse et Communicationb

24/03/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Romano Prodi reaffirms support for East Timor's move towards independence
  • [02] Commission approves Singapore Airlines' acquisition of a stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • [03] La Commission autorise la reprise de Meyer International plc par la Compagnie de Saint-Gobain
  • [04] Commission adopts plans to allow 15m buses throughout the EU
  • [05] WTO farm negotiations : "EU constructive but firm", Franz Fischler says

  • [01] Romano Prodi reaffirms support for East Timor's move towards independence

    European Commission President Romano Prodi has reaffirmed the Commission's support for East Timor's transition towards independence and for its reconstruction and rehabilitation. Mr Prodi used a meeting with Xanana Gusmao and António Guterres, Portuguese Prime Minister, in Lisbon yesterday to reiterate the Commission's goal of seeing East Timor become a viable country, integrated into the regional economy and a factor of stability in that part of the world. EU financial assistance for East Timor has topped euro 33.5 million, 15 million of it as immediate humanitarian aid, 8.5 million as food aid and a further 10 million in support for the establishment of the UN administration on the island. The EU will now start focusing on post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, with a total of euro 60 million be made available over the 2000-2002 period.

    [02] Commission approves Singapore Airlines' acquisition of a stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways

    The European Commission has cleared under the Merger Regulation Singapore Airlines' acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. The transaction will give Singapore Airlines together with Virgin's holding company Barford Services joint control over Virgin Atlantic Airways. The Commission found that both airlines' activities are largely complementary. Therefore, the Commission did not raise any competition objections. Virgin Atlantic Airlines was founded in 1984 and focuses primarily on long haul international flights. It has a fleet of 29 aircraft and operates scheduled services to 18 destinations worldwide. Singapore Airlines is based in Singapore and operates a global network of scheduled air transport. Singapore Airlines has a fleet of 97 aircraft and flies to 118 destinations worldwide. The decision of the Commission only concerns the application of the Merger Regulation and is without prejudice to the application of other rules of EU law.

    [03] La Commission autorise la reprise de Meyer International plc par la Compagnie de Saint-Gobain

    La Commission européenne a autorisé une opération par laquelle la société française Saint-Gobain, qui exerce des activités de production, de vente et de distribution de verre, de matériaux à hautes performances et de matériaux de construction, acquiert le contrôle exclusif du groupe britannique de commerce de gros en matériaux de construction Meyer. Les activités de distribution des deux sociétés portent en grande partie sur des produits et des clients différents et elles ne se chevauchent qu'en ce qui concerne les tubes et les pièces moulées pour réseaux municipaux au Royaume-Uni. Même sur ces marchés, leurs parts cumulées ne sont pas très élevées et Saint-Gobain/Meyer sera confrontée à la concurrence de plusieurs concurrents nationaux et européens importants tant pour la distribution que pour la production de matériaux de construction. La concentration ne posera par conséquent aucun problème du point de vue de son incidence sur la concurrence.

    [04] Commission adopts plans to allow 15m buses throughout the EU

    To amend current legislation, the European Commission adopted on 23 March a proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 96/53/EC on maximum weights and dimensions of road vehicles. At present Council Directive (EC) No 96/53 lays down, inter alia, the maximum permitted length and width in the European Union for vehicles and vehicle combinations for the transport of goods. However, no equivalent legislation exists laying down the maximum permitted length and width in the EU for vehicles and vehicle combinations for the transport of passengers. The primary purpose of the proposal is to thus extend the scope of the Directive to include buses. The new proposal foresees that the maximum length of rigid buses is set at 15m and the maximum width at 2.55m throughout the EU. It is acknowledged that in a minority of Member States this will result in an increase in the maximum permitted length and width of rigid buses. In order to ensure that they pose no additional risk to road safety and create no additional problems for road infrastructure buses will thus be required to also meet specified outswing requirements. Furthermore, to avoid road damage through overloading buses over 12m in length will have to have three or more axles. The proposal will also limit the maximum length of buses fitted with additional luggage boxes ('skiboxes') to 15m, and the opportunity is taken to formally confirm the maximum permitted length of a bus with trailer is 18.75m. The maximum length of articulated buses remains unchanged at 18m and the proposal does not set a harmonised maximum height for buses.

    [05] WTO farm negotiations : "EU constructive but firm", Franz Fischler says

    On the occasion of the start of the WTO negotiations on agriculture in Geneva, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, underlined the constructive role the European Union is prepared to play : "As agreed in the Marakech-Agreement, we will take a further step towards the liberalisation of farm trade. But we have to strike the right balance between progressive reductions in support and protection and 'non-trade concerns'. I am convinced that good and quick progress can be made. This is also in our interest because the EU is the world's second biggest exporter of agricultural products. Once all the WTO members have presented their negotiation positions, we can start to talk substance. Still, the Commission stands firm on its view that we have to launch a comprehensive trade round as soon as possible."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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