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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-03-31

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

31/03/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Le registre de correspondance du Président Prodi est publié sur internet
  • [02] Commission clears merger between Monsanto and Pharmacia & Upjohn subject to conditions
  • [03] Commission opposes extension of ivory trade
  • [04] L'initiative eEurope est désormais en ligne
  • [05] Commission reinforces cooperation with international financial institutions in candidate countries and NIS
  • [06] EU and China yet to conclude deal on WTO accession
  • [07] La Commission a adopté des contre-mesures pour non-respect de la Fédération russe de l'accord sur le commerce des produits sidérurgiques
  • [08] EU wins WTO panel against US Anti-dumping Act
  • [09] First European Union-South Africa Cooperation Council to take place in Pretoria, South Africa
  • [10] Anna Diamantopoulou accueille favorablement l'arrêt de la Cour "Banks" promouvant la libre circulation des travailleurs à l'intérieur de l'UE
  • [11] Official opening of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, 7-8 April 2000

  • [01] Le registre de correspondance du Président Prodi est publié sur internet

    Le Président de la Commission européenne Romano Prodi a aujourd'hui accompli sa promesse de publier un registre de sa correspondance, en ouvrant un site sur le serveur Europa. Le registre est situé sur le site du Président sur Europa, à l'adresse suivante : http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/prodi/mail_fr.htm (version française) - http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/prodi/mail_en.htm (version anglaise).

    [02] Commission clears merger between Monsanto and Pharmacia & Upjohn subject to conditions

    The European Commission has cleared a merger between Monsanto (USA) and Pharmacia & Upjohn (USA) subject to conditions. With this operation, the companies intend to merge all their businesses. However their activities only overlap in pharmaceuticals where the new entity will become no. 10 in terms of worldwide turnover and the seventh largest pharmaceutical company in Europe. The Commission investigation has shown that the operation as notified raised competition concerns in the Swedish market for immediate- release narcotic analgesics. The companies have thus submitted one commitment (licence divestment) in this market.

    [03] Commission opposes extension of ivory trade

    At a meeting of the European Union Environment Ministers in Brussels on 30 March, the European Commission recommended that the Member States vote against proposals to extend ivory trading due to be discussed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference to be held in Nairobi 10-20 April. "A divisive and unproductive debate in Nairobi should be avoided", said Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström, adding that "better monitoring and a wider agreement amongst African countries" was needed. The Commission also came out against proposals to reopen the trade in whale meat and in favour of closer regulation of trade in sharks. The Council agreed to the latter but decided to finalise its position on elephants over the next week.

    [04] L'initiative eEurope est désormais en ligne

    La Commission européenne a lancé un site Internet interactif sur son initiative eEurope, afin de présenter la manière dont elle y donne suite après le sommet de Lisbonne des 23 et 24 mars 2000. Le lancement d'un site Internet eEurope répond à l'engagement pris par la Commission de suivre l'état d'avancement des objectifs de eEurope et de favoriser le débat public sur cette initiative. Il s'agit, par cette page d'accueil eEurope, de proposer un nouveau point de contact avec la politique et les actions menées par la Commission dans le domaine de la société de l'information.

    [05] Commission reinforces cooperation with international financial institutions in candidate countries and NIS

    The European Commission signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Bank Group, the EBRD, the Council of Europe Development Bank, the Nordic Investment Bank and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation setting out the principles of their cooperation in pre-accession preparation of central and eastern European countries. The Commission signed a similar MoU with the EBRD and the World Bank Group guiding their operations in the New Independent States (NIS) opening thereby a new phase in their cooperation. Pedro Solbes, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, highlighted "the importance and the efficiency gains that are expected from this extended cooperation which should ensure a more coordinated strategy vis-à-vis these countries, a systematic and timely sharing of information regarding policies, procedures, programmes and the co-financing of concrete projects in a range of areas".

    [06] EU and China yet to conclude deal on WTO accession

    The latest round of bilateral negotiations between the European Union and China on the terms of China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ended today with some progress through final agreement was not reached. Although the four days of talks were held in a constructive spirit with positive movement on both sides resulting in a certain narrowing of differences on the outstanding issues under negotiation, conclusion of a bilateral agreement was not possible at this stage.

    [07] La Commission a adopté des contre-mesures pour non-respect de la Fédération russe de l'accord sur le commerce des produits sidérurgiques

    La Commission européenne a adopté une décision CECA visant à réduire de 12% pour l'année 2000 les limites quantitatives relatives aux importations de certains produits sidérurgiques en provenance de la Fédération de Russie. Cette décision fait suite à l'instauration par la Fédération russe en avril 1999 d'un droit de douane temporaire de 15% frappant ses exportations de ferraille et de déchets sidérurgiques. Cette mesure constitue une infraction patente par rapport aux engagements souscrits par la Fédération russe dans le cadre de l'accord signé en 1997 entre la Communauté Européenne du Charbon et de l'Acier et la Fédération russe sur le commerce de certains produits sidérurgiques. Cette taxation a pour objectif et pour effet de restreindre les exportations de la Fédération russe des produits concernés, contribuant ainsi à accentuer les tensions sur le prix international de la ferraille, ce qui est directement préjudiciable à l'industrie sidérurgique communautaire. En dépit de nombreuses phases de consultations à divers niveaux, la Fédération russe a reconduit cette mesure temporaire en octobre 1999. La Commission considère que des sanctions commerciales proportionnelles sont nécessaires aussi longtemps que la Fédération russe maintiendra cette infraction persistante aux dispositions de l'accord sidérurgique. Ces sanctions se fondent sur les dispositions ad-hoc de l'Accord de Partenariat et de Coopération, dans le cadre duquel l'accord sidérurgique s'inscrit.

    [08] EU wins WTO panel against US Anti-dumping Act

    (! embargo 4.30 pm !) In a ruling issued today, the WTO Panel has found that the US Anti-dumping Act of 1916, which provides civil and criminal sanctions to remedy anti-dumping practices, is in violation of WTO rules. This act has been invoked several times against EU companies over the last few years and constitutes a powerful and dangerous tool to hinder competition from imports.

    [09] First European Union-South Africa Cooperation Council to take place in Pretoria, South Africa

    The European Union (EU) and South Africa (SA) will take further concrete steps in implementing the historic Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) with the inaugural meeting today of the EU-SA Cooperation Council. Negotiations on the Agreement were concluded late last year. Outstanding matters of concern to both parties were resolved in February 2000 following an exchange of letters between the South African President and the Presidents of the European Commission and European Council. At its first meeting, the Cooperation Council, with representatives from the EU and SA present, will discuss a series of matters including trade-related issues and development cooperation. The EU-SA Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement is unique in its scope. Its main provisions, notably the dismantling of tariffs, have been in force since 1 January 2000 and have already proved beneficial to the parties involved. The inaugural meeting of the Cooperation Council marks an important landmark in its implementation. The TDCA reinforces Europe's commitment to supporting sustainable economic development and investment in South Africa. Philip Lowe, Director General for Development will represent the European Commission at the Cooperation Council. Alistair Ruiters, Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry will head the South African team.

    [10] Anna Diamantopoulou accueille favorablement l'arrêt de la Cour "Banks" promouvant la libre circulation des travailleurs à l'intérieur de l'UE

    La Cour de justice européenne tranche (affaire Banks e.a./Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, C-178/97) dans un sens favorable aux travailleurs la question de la législation de sécurité sociale applicable aux travailleurs non salariés qui exercent temporairement un travail dans un autre Etat membre que celui où ils exercent habituellement leur activité. La Cour était pour la première fois interrogée sur ce point, soulevé par le Tribunal du travail de Bruxelles, à l'occasion d'un litige opposant des chanteurs d'opéra et un chef d'orchestre se produisant normalement en Grande-Bretagne au Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie de Bruxelles, où ils devaient se produire pour une période limitée.

    [11] Official opening of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, 7-8 April 2000

    The Opening ceremony of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) will be based upon the "Vienna Forum", an international conference that brings together politicians, academics, representatives of social partners and non-governmental organisations. It will concentrate on the topic of racism and politics with speeches that will outline the vision for a future Europe and whether Europe has indeed reached a significant crossroad in its historical development. An important component of the Vienna Forum will be the presentation of key projects in the fields of politics, legislation and civil society undertaken by the EUMC. Accreditation forms for journalists willing to attend the Opening as well as a draft programme are available on the website of EUMC : http://www.eumc.at/general/opening/journalists.htm

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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