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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-06-20

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 20/06/2001

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Commission proposes modification of rules on airport slot allocation The European Commission has adopted a proposal to modernise the current allocation system for landing and take-off slots at EU airports with a view to enhance its efficiency. The Commission also announced a fundamental review of the slot allocation system, with an in-depth study to be launched in the coming months, followed by a broad consultation with Member States and the aviation industry. "The proposal to revise the existing rules on slots allocation has been long awaited, as it was absolutely necessary to bring more clarity so that the co-ordinators, the airlines and the airports can apply the Community rules smoothly and efficiently", said Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of Transport and Energy. "New regulation will improve the management of slots and is a part of Commission plans to reduce air transport delays at Europe's increasingly congested airports".
  • [02] Une entreprise commune pour Galileo La Commission européenne a proposé la création d'une entreprise commune afin de mener à bien la phase de développement (2001-2005) de Galileo, le programme européen de radionavigation par satellite. L'entreprise commune devra assurer l'unicité de gestion de la phase de développement et mobiliser des fonds publics et privés. "Une nouvelle étape indispensable est franchie", a salué Loyola de Palacio, Vice-Présidente en charge des Transports et de l'Energie. "Grâce à l'entreprise commune, l'Europe dispose de tous les atouts pour réussir Galileo, sans doute un de ses plus grands paris technologiques au service des citoyens".
  • [03] La Commission inflige une amende à Michelin pour comportement abusif La Commission européenne a décidé d'infliger une amende de 19,76 millions d'euros au fabricant français de pneumatiques pour abus de position dominante sur le marché français des pneus de remplacement pour poids lourds pendant la quasi-totalité des années 90. A l'issue d'une enquête longue et approfondie, la Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que le système complexe de rabais de quantité, de primes et autres pratiques commerciales appliqué par Michelin liait illégalement les distributeurs et fermait le marché français à d'autres fabricants de pneus. L'infraction est d'autant plus grave que c'est la deuxième fois que Michelin adopte ce genre de comportement anticoncurrentiel en Europe.
  • [04] Commission clears MAN's takeover of Auwärter (Neoplan) Following a thorough investigation, the European Commission has granted regulatory approval to the proposed takeover of Auwärter, the German company which makes the Neoplan buses and coaches, by the MAN group. The Commission has concluded that, despite the acquisition, effective competition between MAN/Auwärter and DaimlerChrysler's EvoBus, the two main players in the German city bus market, will prevail.
  • [05] Commission proposes EU strategy for long-term investment in high- quality jobs and living standards The European Commission has adopted a plan aiming to raise the quality of EU jobs and living standards. The new strategy aims to benchmark governments, social partners and NGOs on the basis of 'quality indicators' for individual jobs, labour markets and social policies. The proposal calls upon Member States to create an environment for better-paid, better-skilled, safer and healthier jobs, as well as better access to jobs and better social provision. As agreed at the Lisbon summit and in the Social Policy Agenda endorsed at Nice, these goals should be reached by following best practice and by investing long term in human resource capital. For governments, this will mean shifting the balance of public resources from passive social transfers to investment. The Commission also proposes periodic 'quality reviews' to ensure that Member States' employment and social policies are designed and mixed to achieve the standards of the best performers. These proposals for quality indicators and quality reviews - include existing and new indicators (including some subjective indicators) and will feed into existing processes such as the annual coordination of employment policies. The indicators are intended for endorsement at the Laeken summit in December 2001.
  • [06] Commission investigates State aid awarded to Chemische Werke Piesteritz GmbH The European Commission has raised doubts on the compatibility with the Common Market of State aid granted to Chemische Werke Piesteritz GmbH (CWP) and has therefore opened the formal investigation procedure provided for by the State aid rules of the EC Treaty. This was necessary after the Court of First Instance on 15 March 2001 annulled the former decision of the Commission not to raise objections of 16 December 1997.
  • [07] La Commission ouvre la procédure formelle d'examen des aides présumées en faveur du parc thématique "Terra Mítica" (Espagne) La Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir partiellement la procédure formelle d'examen afin de déterminer si des aides d'Etat ont été octroyées en faveur du parc d'attraction "Terra Mítica", situé à Benidorm (Espagne). La décision fait suite à une plainte introduite en août 1997 par la Fédération Européenne des Parcs d'attractions, qui a présenté entre cette date et mai 2000 une longue série de griefs à l'encontre du parc. La Commission a estimé que certaines des allégations du plaignant n'étaient pas fondées. Toutefois, la Commission estime que certaines autres mesures évoquées par le plaignant pourraient constituer des aides d'Etat dont la compatibilité resterait à démontrer.
  • [08] Commission investigates restructuring aid to Minas de Rio Tinto SAL The European Commission has decided to open the formal State aid investigation procedure according to Art. 88 (2) of the EC Treaty as concerns aids to the restructuring of Minas de Rio Tinto SAL, located in Huelva (Spain). The Commission has doubts as to the compliance with the requirements laid down in the Community Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulties.
  • [09] Commission examines aid granted to Klausner Nordic Timber GmbH & Co. KG The European Commission has decided to open formal investigation proceedings under the State aid rules concerning part of the support granted to Klausner Nordic Timber GmbH & Co. KG, for the creation and the extension of a sawmill plant in Wismar (Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Germany. The aid appears to exceed the ceiling for regional aid in this area.
  • [10] La Commission autorise les aides italiennes à la compagnie maritime Tirrenia di Navigazione La Commission européenne autorise les aides versées par l'Italie à la compagnie maritime Tirrenia di Navigazione en compensation de ses obligations de service public sur les liaisons régulières avec la Sicile et la Sardaigne.
  • [11] Commission clears Austrian environmental premium for inland waterway The European Commission has decided not to raise objections to a pilot programme by the Austrian Federal Government aiming at encouraging a modal shift in favour of inland waterways. The pilot programme grants an environmental premium to new inland waterway services on the Danube river. "The Austrian scheme complements efforts we are making at European level to stimulate more sustainable transport", said Commission Vice-President Loyola de Palacio, in charge of Energy and Transport policy. "The Pilot Programme is leading the way towards more efficient state aid to take trucks off the road and ensures that competition is not unduly distorted. It is also positive that it includes the Eastern neighbours of the European Union", she added.
  • [12] La Commission autorise l'allongement de la durée de la concession de l'autoroute A43 à la société française du tunnel routier de Fréjus La Commission européenne a décidé d'autoriser la réforme du régime d'exploitation de la concession de l'autoroute A43 octroyée à la société française du tunnel autoroutier de Fréjus (SFTRF), dans le cadre de la révision du système autoroutier français, entamée l'année passée. Cette autorisation entraîne notamment un allongement de la durée de la concession jusqu'en 2050, en contrepartie de la suppression de la garantie de reprise de son passif par l'Etat. L'allongement ainsi autorisé devrait aboutir à permettre la viabilité financière de la SFTRF. La présente décision s'ajoute à la décision de la Commission d'octobre passé concernant six autres sociétés d'économie mixte concessionnaires d'autoroutes (SEMCA) et permettra la mise en œuvre de la réforme française visant à assurer l'égalité de traitement entre tous les acteurs lors de l'attribution de futures concessions.
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [13] Commission clears acquisition of Informix Software by IBM, both American The European Commission has cleared the acquisition by US computer giant IBM Corp of Informix Software Inc, a subsidiary of Informix Corporation Group, also of the United States, which produces 'distributed database management systems' (DBMS). These are software packages designed to operate databases for the storage and handling of large banks of data.
  • [14] Franz Fischler on beef package decision : "Important step towards a more extensive beef production" The Agriculture Council reached a political compromise to modify the EU beef market organisation (the so-called 7-point plan). Welcoming the agreement, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries Franz Fischler said : "This decision will strenghten extensive farming methods and should rebalance the EU beef supply and demand in the future. The need to restore the balance on the beef market is still on the agenda, and this is not possible without the package of measures decided today. According to Mr Fischler the beef package is necessary because consumption is still considerably below the normal levels and a significant part of the EU export markets is still blocked.
  • [15] Décision de simplifier les formalités administratives pour les petits exploitants Franz Fischler : "La vie de nos agriculteurs en sera facilitée" Franz Fischler, Commissaire chargé de l'Agriculture, du Développement rural et de la Pêche, a salué la décision prise par le Conseil Agriculture d'introduire un régime d'aide simplifié pour les petits exploitants. "Faciliter la vie de nos agriculteurs est au centre de notre politique agricole. Pour les petits exploitants qui reçoivent jusqu'à 1.250 euros de paiements directs par an, les formalités administratives et le nombre de formulaires à remplir s'en trouveront considérablement diminués. Mais il doit également être clair que ce régime ne laisse en aucune façon carte blanche pour la fraude. Il est conçu de façon à garantir l'utilisation à bon escient de l'argent des contribuables. Si le nouveau système fonctionne, on pourra envisager de fixer un plafond encore plus élevé. L'une des conséquences positives du régime applicable aux petits exploitants est le fait que l'aide versée dans ce cadre étant totalement indépendante de la production, elle relèvera de la "boîte verte" de l'OMC". La décision d'hier prévoit que le nouveau régime sera appliqué à titre expérimental pendant la période 2002-2005. Le régime devrait également réduire la charge administrative des autorités nationales responsables du paiement et du contrôle des aides.
  • [16] Common position on animal by-products regulation agreed MBM-ban will be prolonged European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne yesterday welcomed the political agreement on the Council and European Parliament Regulation on animal-by-products. "This legislation is a major step towards preventing feed-borne food crises such as BSE and dioxin contamination. It makes the requirements on animal feed as stringent as those on food, and sets out clear rules for what must and may be done with the animal materials that are excluded from the feed chain. I am therefore pleased with this outcome and the constructive attitude of both European Parliament and the Council to improve feed safety. This is a milestone in improving the safety of what we eat", said Mr Byrne, commenting on the outcome of the discussions.
  • [17] Adoption of rapid alert system for feed - agreement on undesirable substances in feed In addition to the progress made on the regulation on animal by-products, the Agriculture Council yesterday agreed two other key actions in securing the safety of animal feed. It adopted a Directive regulating official feed controls and reached a common position on a Directive on undesirable substances in feed. The results of the Agriculture Council is a major step forward in delivering legislative results on the safety of animal feed in response to the BSE and dioxin contamination problems of the past.
  • [18] Major improvement of welfare of pigs agreed - classical swinefever Directive updated : feeding catering waste prohibited The Agriculture Council reached agreement on two proposed Directives on the welfare for pigs and on the eradication of classical swinefever. European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne thanked the Swedish Presidency for ensuring adoption of measures to protect the welfare of pigs in record time and of updated control measures on classical swinefever.
  • [19] Commission launches the High Level Task Force on Skills and Mobility Anna Diamantopoulou, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, has brought together the High Level Task Force on Skills and Mobility as part of the Commission's initiative to open up the New European Labour Markets by 2005. This initiative, launched at the end of February 2001 by the Commission's Communication on the New European Labour Markets, Open to All, with Access for All , aims to remove barriers to mobility and to raise the skill levels of the European workforce at all levels. The Commission's approach was endorsed by the Stockholm European Council in March, with the setting up of the High Level Task Force on Skills and Mobility being recognised as an important step in looking in-depth at skills and mobility problems, in particular the skills gap in the information and communications technologies sector. The Task Force will present its report by the end of the year, on the basis of which the Commission intends to propose an action plan with further initiatives so as to allow everyone access to genuine European labour markets by 2005.
  • [20] La Commission signe l'accord d'association au programme cadre de la recherche avec la Malte Aujourd'hui, Philippe Busquin signera pour la Commission européenne, un accord avec Malte qui donne à ce pays candidat l'accès à des programmes de recherche représentant un budget de près de 15 milliards d'euros pour la période 1999-2002. Cette nouvelle étape signifie que les instituts de recherche, universités et entreprises de ce pays peuvent participer aux programmes exactement aux mêmes conditions que les organisations des Etats membres. Malte rejoint ainsi les 11 autres pays candidats qui avaient déjà signé un tel accord en octobre 1999. En accélérant l'intégration de ces pays dans la communauté scientifique et technologique européenne, cette association fait partie de la stratégie de pré-adhésion élaborée par la Commission et de la stratégie de l'Espace européen de la recherche dont l'un des objectifs majeurs est de créer un espace recherche ouvert dans lequel les chercheurs des pays de l'Union et des pays associés peuvent circuler librement.
  • [21] April 2001 - Euro-zone external trade deficit euro 3.0 billion ; euro 10.4 billion deficit for EU15 (! embargo 12 am !) The first estimate for euro-zone trade with the rest of the world in April 2001 was a euro 3.0 billion deficit, compared with a surplus of 0.2 billion in April 2000. The revised March 2001 surplus was 3.2 billion, against +3.6 billion in March 2000. Euro-zone trade recorded a deficit of 5.6 billion for the first four months of 2001, compared with - 1.8 billion in 2000. The first estimate for April 2001 extra-EU15 trade was a euro 10.4 billion deficit, compared with -8.4 billion in April 2000. In March 2001 there was a revised deficit of 5.7 billion, against -4.0 billion in March 2000. There was a deficit estimated at 35.7 billion in the first four months of 2001 compared with -32.7 billion in 2000.
  • [22] Fusions approuvées selon la procédure simplifiée - Dexia Crédit Local (F) / Banco de Sabadell S.A. (E) / Dexia Banco Local - Goldman Sachs Group, Inc (US) / St. James's Place Capital (UK) / SCP de Milo S.a.r.l. (Lux) / Nascent Group S.A. (UK) - CDC Equity Capital / Charterhouse general Partners Limited / Alstom Holdings
  • [23] Autre matériel diffusé Mise à jour au 15 juin de la situation du secteur de la viande bovine Note sur les résultations du Conseil Agriculture Note sur la préparation du Conseil Culture / Audiovisuel Speech by Erkki Liikanen : "Standards for electronic signature" at the European Electronic Signature Standardization Conference (EESSI)

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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