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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-03-27

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

27/03/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Services financiers : la Commission clôt des procédures d'infraction à l'encontre du Portugal concernant BSCH/Champalimaud
  • [02] Commission closes investigation on Spanish company Gas Natural
  • [03] Commission clears France Télécom's acquisition of Global One
  • [04] Commission refers Hanson / Pioneer merger to the UK competition authorities
  • [05] La Commission interdit la mise sur le marché dans les Etats membres des médicaments contenant des substances anorexigènes
  • [06] Viviane Reding va proposer un plan d'action aux ministres de l'Education pour répondre au mandat donné par le Conseil européen
  • [07] Poul Nielson sets out his vision on the future of EU development cooperation

  • [01] Services financiers : la Commission clôt des procédures d'infraction à l'encontre du Portugal concernant BSCH/Champalimaud

    La Commission européenne a décidé de clore les deux procédures d'infraction qu'elle avait ouvertes en 1999 à l'encontre du Portugal dans l'affaire Champalimaud. La Commission considérait que les mesures prises par les autorités portugaises pour s'opposer à l'acquisition d'une participation de contrôle dans le groupe Champalimaud par Banco Santander Central Hispanico (BSCH) (Espagne) étaient contraires aux règles du marché intérieur et de la concurrence. Le Portugal a cependant annulé ces mesures. Il a également annulé le recours qu'il avait formé devant la Cour contre la Commission.

    [02] Commission closes investigation on Spanish company Gas Natural

    The European Commission has decided to close its investigation concerning the long-term gas supply agreement entered into by the Spanish gas company Gas Natural and the Spanish electricity generator Endesa. The parties have modified the terms of their agreement in line with the competition concerns expressed by the Commission. The interest of the Commission in this case is to ensure that the gas supply contract does not allow the dominant gas supplier to impede the entry of new suppliers in the Spanish gas market, at the eve of the liberalisation of the European gas market.

    [03] Commission clears France Télécom's acquisition of Global One

    The European Commission has decided to approve the acquisition by France Télécom of sole control over Global One. Global One was a joint venture between France Télécom, Deutsche Telekom and Sprint. This is the result of a transaction in two stages : firstly, in January Sprint agreed to sell its stake into Global One to France Télécom and Deutsche Telekom, and secondly Deutsche Telekom committed to sell its interests to France Télécom on 26 January. This transaction puts Global One under one coherent set of management instead of three shareholders. There are marginal overlaps between France Télécom and Global One and the proposed transaction does not alter the market structure since France Télécom was already a controlling shareholder in Global One. France Télécom is a France-based telecommunications operator that provides a wide range of telecommunications services to residential, professional and large business users, primarily in France. Global One offers integrated voice and data services primarily to multinational customers, as well as carrier services and traveller services on a world-wide and regional basis.

    [04] Commission refers Hanson / Pioneer merger to the UK competition authorities

    The European Commission has decided to refer the proposed acquisition by Hanson Ltd of Pioneer PLC to the United Kingdom competition authorities for investigation. Both companies are active in the supply of aggregates - sand, gravel, etc. - and related downstream products such as ready-mixed concrete and asphalt in the UK, where possible dominant positions could be found. Under the EU Merger Regulation, the Commission has sole responsibility for examining all mergers above a certain size (on the basis of turnover) in order to assess their compatibility with the common market. However, the regulation provides, at Article 9, that, on request from a Member State, the Commission can refer a merger to that Member State for investigation under national competition law if it threatens to lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position which would substantially reduce competition in a distinct market within the Member State's territory. In the present case, the UK informed the Commission that it had identified a number of markets within the UK for various products in which the UK authorities considered that the conditions for such a referral were met. The Commission agreed, and moreover considered that the UK competition authorities, with their extensive local knowledge and experience of the markets in question, were best-placed to carry out the necessary further examination of the case. Accordingly the Commission decided to refer the whole of the case to the UK authorities, which now have a maximum of four months in which to deal with it.

    [05] La Commission interdit la mise sur le marché dans les Etats membres des médicaments contenant des substances anorexigènes

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'interdire des médicaments qui contiennent des substances anorexigènes suite à l'avis du Comité des Spécialités Pharmaceutiques de l'Agence Européenne pour l'Evaluation des Médicaments.

    [06] Viviane Reding va proposer un plan d'action aux ministres de l'Education pour répondre au mandat donné par le Conseil européen

    Mme Viviane Reding, commissaire européen responsable de l'Education, se réjouit de la claire volonté, exprimée par le Conseil européen spécial de Lisbonne, d'une mobilisation européenne pour entrer de plain-pied dans la nouvelle économie, fondée sur l'innovation et la connaissance. Il est vital pour l'Europe de combler son déficit sur les Etats-Unis dans le domaine du numérique et de profiter du formidable potentiel d'emplois qui lui est lié. La réalisation de cet objectif passe avant tout par l'éducation : acquisition à l'école d'une culture numérique et développement de l'apprentissage tout au long de la vie. Les ministres de l'Education doivent dès maintenant répondre à la demande que leur a faite le Conseil européen d'une réflexion approfondie sur le futur les systèmes d'enseignement en vue contribuer aux processus de Luxembourg et de Cardiff. La Commission soumettra dans les semaines et mois qui viennent des propositions concrètes aux ministres de l'Education de l'Union européenne tant sur l'adaptation de l'enseignement aux techniques numériques (initiative eLearning) que sur les moyens de donner une impulsion forte à l'apprentissage tout au long de la vie.

    [07] Poul Nielson sets out his vision on the future of EU development cooperation

    (! embargo 7 pm !) In a keynote speech due to be made later today before the Dutch Society for International Development (SID) in Amsterdam, the European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Poul Nielson, explains how the Commission intends to improve the impact of EU development policy. Mr Nielson argues in favour of a more clearly defined policy at the European level, which can only take place on the basis of far-reaching reform, the essential elements of which he sets out. In his intervention, Mr Nielson stresses that the opportunity of 'getting it right' has to be siezed here and now. Only thorough reform will allow the Commission and Member States to achieve the objectives of, notably, an increase on poverty focus, complementarity, improved coherence and better efficiency.

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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