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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 01-10-30

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 30/10/2001

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

  • [01] EU budget 2002 : expenditure euro 1.9 billion less than first planned The European Commission has adopted a letter of amendment to the 2002 budget reducing by euro 1.9 billion the expenditure provided for in the preliminary draft budget which the Commission produced in May. The savings have been achieved as a result of revised estimates of expenditure on agriculture. In particular, the Commission no longer considers that there is a need for the euro 1 billion reserve that was originally intended to cover financial risks arising in the wake of the BSE crisis and foot-and- mouth disease, as the situation on the beef market appears to be less dramatic than expected in May, while euro 400 million has already been charged to the current budget for FMD. This means that the Commission's preliminary draft budget for 2002 is euro 4.4 billion less than the figure approved in the financial perspective for 2002. Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer believes that the amended draft reflects "the principles of careful and disciplined budgeting". She stressed that "the savings will also help the Member States achieve stability goals with regard to their own budgets".
  • [02] La Commission interdit l'acquisition de Sidel par le groupe Tetra Laval La Commission européenne a décidé d'interdire l'acquisition de l'entreprise française Sidel SA par Tetra Laval B.V., qui appartient au groupe suisse Tetra Laval, propriétaire des entreprises d'emballage Tetra Pak. L'acquisition combinerait la position dominante de Tetra dans l'emballage carton avec la position de tête de Sidel dans les équipements d'emballage en plastique PET. Il en résulterait une position dominante sur le marché des équipements d'emballage PET, en particulier en ce qui concerne les machines de soufflage-moulage (machines SBM) utilisées pour l'emballage de produits sensibles, à savoir les jus de fruits, les produits laitiers liquides, les boissons aromatisées aux fruits et les thés glacés. L'opération renforcerait également la position dominante de Tetra sur le marché de l'emballage carton et réduirait ainsi de manière significative la concurrence dans le secteur de l'emballage des liquides alimentaires, au détriment de l'innovation, du choix et de la compétitivité des prix. Les engagements proposés par Tetra Laval n'ont pas suffi à écarter les préoccupations de la Commission.
  • [03] Commission clears merger between Brazilian iron ore producers subject to undertakings The European Commission has given the go ahead to the proposed acquisition of joint control of Brazilian iron ore mining company Caemi by CVRD, another Brazilian iron ore producer, and Japanese trading company Mitsui. The Commission has found that the operation would have led to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in the market for the seaborne supply of iron ore pellets. However, the parties to the merger have undertaken to dispose of Caemi's 50% interest in QCM, a Canadian iron ore producer, which removes the Commission's competition concerns.
  • [04] Commission approves UK government loan to Rolls-Royce for the development of two new engines The European Commission has decided to approve the United Kingdom proposal to grant Rolls-Royce plc a GBP 250 million reimbursable advance for the development of two new large aircraft engines, the Trent 600 and Trent 900.
  • [05] Commission concludes that Dutch disposal system for car wrecks does not constitute State aid The European Commission has decided that the Dutch waste disposal system for car wrecks does not contain elements of State aid. In February last the Commission had initiated the investigation procedure as it was concerned that the contributions paid for the dismantling of car parts to be recycled would overcompensate for the related costs. New evidence showed that this was not the case. Furthermore, the Commission concluded that there are no State resources involved.
  • [06] Commission orders recovery of incompatible aid to German porcelain manufacturer Graf von Henneberg The European Commission has taken a final negative decision on State aid of euro 71.3 million (DEM 139.4 million) awarded to Graf von Henneberg Porzellan GmbH, Thüringen (Germany). After an in-depth investigation procedure, the Commission found that the aid is incompatible with the operation of the single market and must hence be recovered. In line with its practice, the Commission also decided that the currently existing Graf von Henneberg is jointly liable with its predecessor company for the recovery of all the incompatible aid.
  • [07] La Commission enquête sur des exonérations d'accise accordées sur les fuels lourds utilisés pour la production d'alumine en Irlande, en France et en Italie La Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir la procédure formelle d'examen en matière d'aides d'Etat en application de l'article 88, paragraphe 2, du traité CE à l'encontre d'exonérations d'accise accordées sur les fuels lourds utilisés pour la production d'alumine en Irlande, en France et en Italie.
  • [08] Commission approves Dutch grants of euro 109 million for two lithography projects called Fluor and Extatic The European Commission has decided to approve the proposal by the Netherlands Government to give important grants to ASML, a Dutch lithography company, for two projects called Extatic and Fluor. Lithography concerns that part of chip production in which ultrafine electronic elements are created through the exposure of photoresistant materials to light. The projects were found to comply with the conditions of the specific Community Framework for State aid for Research and Development.
  • [09] Commission approves support granted by Irish government to ESB in compensation for the obligation to use peat The European Commission has decided to approve the support granted by the Irish government to the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in compensation for the fact that ESB is under the obligation imposed by the State to have in its possession a certain quantity of electricity generated from peat. ESB is the historical actor of the electricity sector in Ireland and remains wholly owned by the Government.
  • [10] BSE : Commission authorises aid measures for farmers Italy (Lombardia) and Germany (Hessen) The European Commission has authorised Italy (Lombardia) and Germany (Hessen) to pay aid worth a total of more than euro 4 million to beef farmers who have suffered losses between November 2000 and December 2001 because of the consequences of the BSE crisis. The aid is granted to cover the costs of preventative and compensatory measures undertaken to face the spreading of the BSE disease and as a compensation for the income losses of beef farmers between November 2000 and June 2001. Normally, such income aid may not be paid by Member States. However, the Commission recognises that the current crisis in the beef market is exceptional, and therefore justifies the aid.
  • [11] Transport maritime : la Commission autorise les aides versées à la SNCM en contrepartie du service public assuré entre la Corse et le continent français La Commission européenne a autorisé les subventions accordées depuis 1990 à la "Société Nationale Maritime Corse-Méditerranée" (SNCM) en compensation du coût du service public de transport maritime fourni entre la Corse et le continent français. La Convention de service public entre l'Etat et la SNCM expirant le 31 décembre 2001, les autorités françaises devront notifier à la Commission toute nouvelle aide envisagée à partir de cette date.
  • [12] Commission allows Sweden to increase seafarers employment aid The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to a Swedish aid scheme providing employers with an exemption from income taxes and social contributions levied on seafarers working on board Swedish ships. The aid measure is in line with the Community's maritime policy, the main objectives of which are to encourage ships to operate under Community flags and to promote the employment of the largest number possible of Community seafarers. The Commission is also satisfied that the aid scheme fulfils the conditions laid down in the Community's guidelines of 1997 on state aid to maritime transport. The aid available under the scheme will provide 100% reimbursement for seafarers' income tax and the social costs incurred on them. It is estimated that the aid amount to SEK 190,000 per seafarers and the total amount will be about SEK 1 300 million annually.
  • [13] Water pollution by nitrates : Commission takes legal action against the United Kingdom for non-compliance with Court judgement The European Commission has decided to send the United Kingdom a so-called "letter of formal notice", a first written warning under the infringement procedure used to ensure that all EU Member States take necessary measures to comply with judgements of the Court of Justice, for failure to comply with a judgement of the European Court of Justice regarding the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC). The Court judgement of December 2000 concerned the United Kingdom's failure properly and comprehensively to identify ground waters and surface freshwaters affected by nitrate pollution, as required under that Directive. The Commission has taken similar legal action against several Member States, either for inadequate water monitoring provisions, for insufficient designation of "vulnerable zones", or for deficiencies in their action programmes. Commenting on the decision, the Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, said : "The Commission's action reflects its strong determination to reduce water pollution caused by nitrates produced from agricultural sources. The United Kingdom is making welcome progress, but it still needs to do more to comply with the Court's judgement."
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [14] Commission closes its investigation into Formula One and other four- wheel motor sports The competition department of the European Commission has informed the four- wheel motor sports regulator, the Fédération Internationale d'Automobile (FIA), and the Formula One companies that it has closed the various anti- trust investigations into certain regulations and commercial arrangements involving that sport. This action was made possible after the parties agreed to make changes which limit the FIA to a regulatory role, so as to prevent any conflict of interests, and remove certain commercial restrictions put on circuit owners and TV broadcasters. Developments in the sector will be kept under scrutiny to ensure that the changes work in practice.
  • [15] La Commission lance le plan d'actions pour la surveillance globale de l'environnement et de la sécurité A l'initiative de la Commission européenne, un nouveau programme utilisant des technologies spatiales en faveur de l'environnement et de la sécurité sera lancé bientôt. Philippe Busquin, Commissaire responsable de la Recherche (y inclus l'espace) et Margot Wallström, Commissaire en charge de l'Environnement, ont présenté conjointement un plan d'actions détaillé qui doit permettre d'ici à 2008 de disposer en Europe d'une capacité opérationnelle et autonome de surveillance au profit de l'environnement et de la sécurité (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security : GMES). La première phase de ce plan (2001-2003) recevra le feu vert des ministres de la recherche de l'UE d'aujourd'hui. Le programme GMES fera appel à des technologies différentes : l'utilisation de satellites d'observation de la terre sera combinée avec la prise en compte de données et d'informations établies par des capteurs mis en place au niveau du sol. Les données récoltées permettront de disposer d'informations précises permettant de soutenir plusieurs politiques communautaires comme le développement durable et le changement climatique, la protection civile, l'aide humanitaire, la politique communautaire en matière de sécurité, la politique de la Recherche et la stratégie européenne pour l'espace. Cette initiative sera initialement financée conjointement par la Commission et par l'Agence spatiale européenne.
  • [16] La Commission autorise la création par BP et Solvay d'une entreprise commune dans le secteur des HDPE et l'acquisition par BP de l'activité polypropylène de Solvay La Commission européenne a autorisé un projet de création, par la société pétrolière britannique BP Plc et par Solvay S.A (Belgique), d'une entreprise commune spécialisée dans la fourniture de résines de polyéthylène haute densité (HDPE), une forme particulière de plastique, ainsi que de la technologie des HDPE. La Commission a également donné le feu vert au projet d'acquisition par BP de l'activité polypropylène de Solvay. La résine de polypropylène est l'une des matières plastiques les plus utilisées dans le monde.
  • [17] La Commission autorise le rachat du fabricant français de filtres pour véhicules Filtrauto par son concurrent italien Sogefi La Commission européenne a autorisé l'acquisition du fabricant français de filtres pour véhicules Filtrauto S.A. par son concurrent italien Sogefi S.p.a. Les activités des deux sociétés se recoupent dans la production de filtres. Cependant, la nouvelle entité sera confrontée à une concurrence vive notamment de la part des fabricants allemands Mann & Hummel et Mahle.
  • [18] La Commission autorise le rachat des activités de Pernod Ricard dans le secteur des boissons rafraîchissantes par Cadbury Schweppes La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement communautaire sur le contrôle des concentrations, le projet de rachat des marques de boissons rafraîchissantes et des activités connexes de Pernod Ricard SA par Cadbury Scheppes Plc. Cette opération ne pose pas de problème sous l'angle de la concurrence sur le marché des boissons rafraîchissantes, car il existe en Europe des marques internationales concurrentes très puissantes pour ce type de boissons, comme Coca-Cola, PepsiCo International, Unilever, le groupe Danone et Nestlé, ainsi que des marques locales.
  • [19] Commission welcomes decision on new rules to reduce exhaust and noise emissions from pleasure boats The European Commission has welcomed yesterday's political agreement reached at the EU Council of Environment Ministers to reduce emissions of air pollution and noise from recreational craft. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said : "This agreement Directive will help reduce the air and noise pollution from pleasure boats that occurs in some coastal areas and around lakes while continuing to ensure freedom of movement for recreational craft within the Internal Market".
  • [20] Commission welcomes agreement on a new action programme promoting European environmental NGOs and calls for speedy adoption The European Commission yesterday welcomed the Environment Council political agreement on the proposal for an action programme for European environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which aims at providing continuous funding for environmental groups over the next five years (2002-2006). After a short debate, the Council agreed on the overall substance of the new programme, including the main outstanding issue - the proposed budget of euro 32 million - which was successfully resolved. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said : "The unanimous agreement of this session is an important step towards a new action programme, which will promote increased civil society involvement in the EU policy making process. I am also pleased that we have been able to work in agreement with the NGOs on this proposal. I hope that this programme can now be agreed speedily so that we can provide funding for next year as soon as possible."
  • [21] Anna Diamantopoulou on Muslims and gender equality : "Europeans must respect Muslims but Muslims living in Europe must respect European values" European Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday morning met representatives of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) accompanied by a group of muslim women in order to hear at first hand the concerns of European muslims, in particular muslim women. First, the Commissioner wished to take a sounding of the situation in the EU with regard to ethnic or religious discrimination, especially towards the islamic community, since the terrorist attacks of 11 September on the US. At present, such acts - at least incidents involving violence - have not been widespread but we must remain vigilant. Second, the Commissioner wished to hear the views of muslim women themselves on the question of respect for European values by muslims living in Europe, with particular reference the right to equal treatment between women and men within the muslim community. Here, the conclusion was clear : equal treatment in Europe - for all women - is a non-negotiable issue. Anna Diamantopoulou said : "European muslim women are not just a face behind a veil. They are a voice which must be heard."
  • [22] Annuaire statistique des régions 2001 - Une mesure de la diversité et des similitudes au sein de l'UE et des pays candidats d'Europe centrale Eurostat publie aujourd'hui l'édition 2001 de l'annuaire statistique des régions de l'UE. A partir de séries de données fiables, comparables et récentes sur les indicateurs clés de la vie économique et sociale des régions, l'annuaire illustre à la fois la diversité régionale de l'UE mais également les liens et les rapprochements qui se sont développés au cours des dernières années entre les régions, y compris par-delà les frontières. La publication aborde différents thèmes : l'agriculture, la population, le Produit Intérieur Brut, l'emploi, le chômage, les sciences et la technologie, le tourisme et les transports. Pour la première fois, l'édition 2001 fournit également les indicateurs disponibles pour les 53 régions des pays candidats d'Europe Centrale.
  • [23] Autre matériel diffusé Speech by Poul Nielson at the 3rd session of the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly Déclaration de M. Monti sur l'aide fiscale aux banques italiennes

    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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