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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-04-04

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

Midday Express 04/04/2001

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 3 avril 2001 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 3 April 2001

  • [01] BSE : Commission adopts special market measures for beef The European Commission has formally adopted the special market measures for cattle older than 30 months. Carcases of animals which belong to categories not eligible for intervention purchases, which are more than 30 months of age and which have all been tested negatively for BSE are covered. It will be up to the Member States concerned to decide whether they want to store, destroy or release the meat upon prior approval of the Commission. The scheme will have to be applied in those Member States which have demonstrated full BSE-testing capacity for cattle older than 30 months, provided they have a weak market for cow meat. Therefore purchases shall only be made, through tender procedure, in Member States where the price for cows is below the trigger price during a period of two weeks. This trigger-price is fixed for each Member State (see IP/01/407). The EU- financing of purchases is fixed at 70% of the price for the meat. For the Member States without full testing capacity, the provisions of the "purchase for destruction scheme" remain in force until 30 June 2001. This means that no beef without BSE-test may enter the food chain. Those Member States may equally apply the special market measure, if they have a weak market for cow meat. Be it for storage, be it for processing through rendering, no fixed quantities per Member States apply. The special measures will remain in force until the end of 2001. The decision will enter into force three days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities, foreseen for the next few days.
  • [02] Introduction de l'euro : la Commission dresse un bilan détaillé de l'état des préparatifs et identifie vingt bonnes pratiques 272 jours avant le "€-day", la Commission européenne a présenté une Communication "sur les préparatifs pour l'introduction finale de l'euro" qui dresse un état des lieux de la préparation des différents acteurs économiques et de l'application de la recommandation de la Commission du 11 octobre 2000 et identifie des exemples de bonne pratique de nature à faciliter une transition harmonieuse vers la nouvelle monnaie. Pedro Solbes, Commissaire responsable des Affaires économiques et monétaires, conclut : "L'état des lieux est contrasté. Les bonnes nouvelles voisinent avec des sources persistantes d'inquiétude. Il faut de toute urgence faire un effort à destination des PME et intensifier progressivement les actions d'information à l'égard des consommateurs. Aucune des bonnes pratiques identifiées n'est révolutionnaire. Mais leur application cumulée est susceptible de mettre de "l'huile dans les rouages" de la machinerie du changement de monnaie". Le texte est disponible à l'adresse suivante : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/document/euro/com2001_190/com2001_190_en.htm
  • [03] La Commission propose des normes minimales pour l'accueil des demandeurs d'asile dans l'UE La Commission européenne a adopté une proposition de Directive fixant des normes minimales pour l'accueil des demandeurs d'asile par les Etats membres de l'Union européenne. En vertu de cette proposition, tous les Etats membres seraient tenus d'accorder aux demandeurs d'asile un niveau d'aide minimum afin de leur assurer un digne niveau de vie, ainsi qu'une aide spécifique pour ceux d'entre eux qui ont des besoins particuliers. La proposition prévoit aussi des règles communes visant à empêcher tout usage abusif du système d'accueil.
  • [04] Commission clears takeover of ADtranz by Bombardier, subject to commitments The European Commission has authorised the takeover of DaimlerChrysler's rail business division ADtranz by Bombardier of Canada, subject to commitments. As initially notified, the operation would have led to the creation of a dominant position on the markets for regional trains and trams in Germany. But the companies offered a number of divestments and other undertakings which will ensure the emergence of a strong competitor in Germany to replace the elimination of competition from ADtranz.
  • [05] Commission approves euro 213 million aid package for UK livestock farmers The European Commission has adopted a number of decisions giving the go- ahead for agrimonetary aid to be paid in the United Kingdom. The aid is aimed at offsetting the adverse effects of fluctuating Sterling/euro exchange rates on prices and on the premiums paid under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to dairy, cattle and sheep farmers. The overall aid package amounts to euro 212,616,444 (£153,843,057), euro 118,016,715 (£95,615,456) of which will be paid out of the Community budget. Agriculture Commissioner, Franz Fischler, stated : "This aid is aimed at compensating livestock farmers for losses stemming from currency fluctuations. It will also provide some relief for UK farmers who are currently facing serious problems as a result of foot and mouth disease."
  • [06] Marc Franco est nommé Directeur Général adjoint d'Europe Aide Office de coopération La Commission européenne a décidé de nommer Marc Franco (qui est de nationalité belge et est âgé de 54 ans) comme Directeur Général adjoint d'Europe Aide - Office de coopération, à la suite d'une proposition de M. Neil Kinnock, vice-président responsable de la Réforme administrative, et en accord avec Romano Prodi, Président, M. Poul Nielson, Commissaire chargé du Développement et de l'Aide humanitaire, et Chris Patten, Commissaire responsable des Relations extérieures.
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [07] Fièvre aphteuse : conclusions du comité vétérinaire permanent Le comité vétérinaire permanent (CVP) a examiné la situation en ce qui concerne la fièvre aphteuse au Royaume-Uni, en Irlande, en France et aux Pays-Bas. La réunion de deux jours a repris aujourd'hui et les membres examineront la question d'une reconduction éventuelle des restrictions mises en place ainsi qu'une proposition de la Commission européenne visant à fixer des dispositions précises applicables à la vaccination des animaux de zoos. Hier, le CVP a toutefois accueilli favorablement une proposition de la Commission visant à étendre le programme de vaccination d'urgence actuellement mis en place aux Pays-Bas.
  • [08] EU will fight to save Kyoto agreement The European Union troika represented by European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström, Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson and Marc Pallemaerts from the Belgian State Secretary's Office for Energy and Sustainable Development expressed concern and disappointment over the US Administration's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol following talks 3 April in Washington. The troika underlined that the Kyoto Protocol remains the framework for international efforts to combat climate change and that the EU remains committed to ratifying the Kyoto protocol by 2002. The EU representatives warned that climate change is already happening and that it is a serious threat to the future of mankind. The troika also underlined that one country cannot declare dead an international process that deals with a major global issue. The EU still hopes to have the US involved in the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible but is prepared to go forward without the US if necessary.
  • [09] La Commission prend des mesures à l'encontre de l'Italie dont la législation sur les déchets est inadéquate La Commission européenne a décidé d'adresser deux avis motivés (deuxième lettre d'avertissement) à l'Italie pour non-conformité de la réglementation italienne en matière de déchets à la Directive-cadre communautaire sur les déchets. La première décision concerne la législation nationale dispensant les entreprises et établissements qui effectuent des opérations de valorisation des déchets de demander une autorisation. La Commission estime que la dispense ne respecte pas les conditions strictes pertinentes prévues par la Directive. La deuxième décision porte sur l'application de la législation communautaire sur les déchets au niveau régional : certaines régions italiennes ne suivent pas correctement les dispositions de la Directive relatives aux déchets alimentaires destinés à l'alimentation des animaux. La Commissaire responsable de l'Environnement, Mme Margot Wallström, a déclaré : "Pour une gestion sûre et cohérente des déchets, il est important que le cadre juridique communautaire soit respecté dans tous les Etats membres, aussi les autorités italiennes sont-elles invitées à assurer la pleine conformité de leur législation".
  • [10] Commission moves against Finland for failure to protect the mires of Kemihaara The European Commission has decided to send a Reasoned Opinion (second written warning) to Finland for failing to protect the mires of Kemihaara, an important habitat for birds in north-east Finland. The Finnish authorities recently granted a construction permit to the Vuotos power plant. It involves construction of an artificial lake that would flood approximately 250 square kilometres of mires and forests around the upper Kemijoki river, including the mires of Kemihaara where a great number of vulnerable bird species protected under the Wild Birds Directive occur. The Commission considers that the Vuotos power plant and the artificial lake would significantly damage these habitats and disturb the protected birds. This is contrary to the Directive. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström, commented : "This decision stresses the responsibility that national authorities have to take the EU's nature conservation Directives into account when considering individual projects."
  • [11] Syrian cotton yarn exports to the EU to be monitored Following a recent surge in Syrian cotton yarn exports to the European Union, the EU has decided to examine closely the impact of such imports from Syria and the conditions under which such exports are taking place. The EU has not, however, decided to impose any restrictions on cotton yarn imports from Syria.
  • [12] EU and Japan sign trade facilitation agreement (! embargo 1 pm !) Today in Brussels, the EU and Japan signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) intended to reduce the cost of certifying products for conformity with the two parties' technical regulations. The products covered are in four specific areas: pharmaceuticals, chemicals, telecommunication equipment and electrical equipment. The agreement could cover trade worth an estimated euro 21358 million a year, and mean annual savings for exporters of up to euro 400 million. The MRA will require formal ratification by the EU Council of Ministers and the Japanese Parliament, which is expected to be completed before the summer, allowing the MRA to come into force in the autumn. Welcoming the signature, European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "I'm glad we have finally managed to conclude negotiations on an agreement which will contribute significantly to facilitating trade between the EU and Japan".
  • [13] Visit of Chris Patten to Zagreb and Tirana European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten will visit Zagreb on 4th April and Tirana on 5th April. In Zagreb Mr Patten will participate in a session of the Croatian Government discussing "EU-Croatia relations". This special point will particularly focus on the ongoing negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Croatia and the EU. The Commissioner will make a short intervention in the proceedings. In Tirana Mr Patten will focus on the progress made by Albania the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) and also participate in the opening of the second meeting of the EU- Albania High Level Steering Group (HLSG). The Commissioner will have meetings with President Rexhep Meidani, Prime Minister Ilir Meta and Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Paskal Milo.
  • [14] Michaele Schreyer welcomes granting of 1999 discharge The European Parliament today gave the European Commission discharge for its budget of the financial year 1999. Welcoming this decision, Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer remarked that "it is the first time for several years that the discharge decision has been made at the April session. This results from the good working relationship that the rapporteur established with the Commission. I commend the work of the Budgetary Control Committee (Cocobu) and its general rapporteur, Mr Blak. Apart from the extensive and professional work of the Court of Auditors, Mr Blak examined thousands of pages of documents forwarded by the Commission. Twelve Commissioners were heard in the Committee. I see this resolution as an encouragement to pursue internal reform and improve financial management. The Prodi Commission is dedicated to that." She added : "Freddy Blak has a reputation as a trenchant critic of mismanagement. He remains true to this reputation but he also shows balance and fairness. The Commission can and will draw on the major findings of his work to help us to improve our financial management. The Commission will carry on in this good cooperative spirit and continue with its efforts to merit the taxpayers trust."
  • [15] Convergence entre l'OCDE et l'UE sur l'importance de l'éducation et de l'apprentissage au long de la vie Viviane Reding, Commissaire européenne responsable de l'Education et de la Culture, a souligné ce matin, lors d'une intervention à l'occasion de la conférence des ministres de l'Education de l'OCDE, les efforts entrepris par l'Union européenne dans les domaines du e-Learning et de l'éducation tout au long de la vie. L'intervention de la Commissaire s'est concentrée en particulier sur les relations entre nouvelles technologies et manières d'enseigner et d'apprendre. Viviane Reding a appelé à "développer une utilisation critique et responsable des nouvelles technologies dans le milieu éducatif". Elle a encouragé les ministres à répondre à deux défis : une réorganisation des systèmes éducatifs fondés sur une plus grande flexibilité et un échange accru des bonnes pratiques, et l'application de nouveaux modes de financement pour ouvrir l'école aux nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication. Mme Reding a présenté le plan d'action e-learning adopté la semaine dernière par la Commission et a annoncé qu'aura lieu à Bruxelles, les 10 et 11 mai prochains, le Sommet e- Learning, destiné à développer les partenariats public/privé dans ce domaine. Lors de cette conférence de l'OCDE, plusieurs ministres ont soutenu l'approche choisie par l'UE depuis le Conseil européen de Lisbonne. Un large consensus se dégage sur la nécessité de commencer l'éducation le plus tôt possible dans la vie et de ne pas subordonner l'éducation au seul besoin de l'économie. Les ministres conviennent que l'éducation a d'abord pour rôles l'épanouissement de l'individu et la transmission des valeurs de citoyenneté démocratique.
  • [16] February 2001 - Industrial producer prices rose by 0.2% in euro-zone ; up 0.1% in EU15 (! embargo 12 am !) The euro-zone industrial producer price index rose by 0.2% in February 2001 compared with the previous month, Eurostat estimates today. EU15 prices gained 0.1% in February. The indices remained unchanged in both areas in January. In February, like in January, the index for non- durable consumer goods gained 0.5% and 0.4% respectively in the euro-zone and the EU15. Prices for durable consumer goods increased in February by 0.3% in the euro-zone (0.6% in January) and by 0.2% in the EU15 (0.5% in January). For intermediate goods, prices were unchanged in the euro-zone and rose by 0.1% in the EU15 after a fall of -0.8% and -0.7% respectively in January. In February 2001, producer prices increased by 4.4% in the euro- zone and 3.9% in the EU15 compared to the same month of the previous year. In January the rates reached 4.8% in the euro-zone and 4.2% in the EU15. Since October 2000, annual increase of industrial producer prices regularly slowed down, following the trend of intermediate goods prices. Prices for intermediate goods increased by 6.7% in February in the euro-zone (7.8% in January) and by 6.8% in the EU15 (7.7% in January). For capital goods, durable and non-durable consumer goods the annual rates were identical to those in January 2001 or increased only slightly in the euro-zone and in the EU15.
  • [17] Euro area business climate indicator down 0.38 - March 2001 (! embargo 12 am !) After a virtual stabilisation last month at 0.97, the business climate indicator decreased markedly in March to 0.59, according to the business climate indicator for March 2001 published today by the European Commission (Directorate General Economic & Financial Affairs). This level is comparable to the level reached in September 1998. While the decline indicates a deterioration in the confidence of industrial firms, the indicator is still in line with industrial production that is hovering above its 1986-2000 average. The document will be available on the internet at the following address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/indicators/climate_en.htm
  • [18] Racism and xenophobia : series of workshops on research aspects The Directorate General for Research has organised four workshops on the phenomenon of racism and xenophobia funded by its programme 'Improving the socio-economic knowledge base'. These workshops are devoted to debating and defining research and policy agendas in the following areas : concepts and models explaining racism and xenophobia ; identity processes in immigrant and host populations : ambivalence and conflicts in their relationships and in border areas ; racism and xenophobia as challenges to the European integration process, including enlargement ; constructing pluralist, tolerant and democratic societies. After those workshops scientists, policy- makers and NGOs will discuss the conclusions of the workshops and strategic policy issues. Date and venue : 5th and 6th of April 2001, Centre Borschette, rue Froissart 36, Brussels, start 9h00. Journalists are invited to participate.
  • [19] Lancement de l'initiative "GoDigital" à Bruxelles, le 6 avril 2001 La Commission européenne a décidé d'organiser une manifestation d'une demi- journée, le 6 avril, pour lancer son initiative GoDigital et informer tous les intervenants du soutien apporté par l'UE à l'adoption du commerce électronique par les petites et moyennes entreprises (PME). La Commission demandera le soutien total et la participation active des Etats membres, des autorités régionales, du monde des entreprises et d'autres organismes multiplicateurs d'information afin d'exploiter les synergies entre le plan de mise en œuvre GoDigital et les initiatives existantes aux niveaux national, régional et local.
  • [20] Autre matériel diffusé Discours de M. Prodi : "After Stockholm" (PE, Strasbourg) Statement of David Byrne on the latest developments on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) (03/04, EP, Strasbourg)

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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