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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 02-02-13

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>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] La Commission propose des actions concrètes pour un développement durable et un monde plus juste
  • [02] Barcelona : Commission sets 2005 target to deliver EU worker mobility
  • [03] La Commission propose un modèle européen de curriculum vitae
  • [04] Commission adopts new leniency policy for companies which give information on cartels
  • [05] La Commission examine de près certains aspects des aides à l'investissement dans les régions défavorisées de l'Italie
  • [06] Commission gives go ahead to Universal Banking Services in the UK, including the establishment of the UK Post Office Card Account bank
  • [07] Commission opens enquiry into UK aid planned for Ford's Bridgend plant
  • [08] Commission approves prolongation of tax reductions from the German Ecotax after 31 March 2002
  • [09] Maintien des règles strictes qui s'appliquent à l'industrie sidérurgique en matière d'aides d'Etat à l'expiration du traité CECA
  • [10] Commission approves overhaul of rules on large investment aid, including in automobile and synthetic fibres sectors
  • [11] Certified beef quality : Commission authorises aid for advertising a new quality label in Bavaria (Germany)
  • [12] Beef : Commission authorises €8.94 million income aid for farmers in Austria and other aid measures in Belgium and Germany to protect consumers against BSE
  • [13] Commission approves aid to Railtrack Plc in Administration
  • [14] Euro-Mediterranean Partnership : Commission proposes new initiatives and urges Member States and Partner Countries to reaffirm political commitment
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [15] World No Smoking Day
  • [16] Biotech : Franz Fischler calls for end of "muddling-through policy"
  • [17] Poul Nielson to visit Mozambique, Mauritius and the Seychelles from 15- 23 February
  • [18] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 13/02/2002 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 13/02/2002[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission propose des actions concrètes pour un développement durable et un monde plus juste

    Comment lutter contre la pauvreté ? Comment gérer au mieux les ressources naturelles et l'environnement ? Comment financer le développement ? En vue des prochains grands rendez-vous internationaux qui traiteront de ces questions Conférence de Monterrey sur le financement du développement (mars 2002), Sommet mondial pour le développement durable (septembre 2002), mise en œuvre de l'agenda pour le développement adopté à Doha en novembre 2001 la Commission européenne propose des premiers éléments de réponse et réaffirme avec force que le multilatéralisme est la seule méthode efficace pour traiter de ces défis planétaires. Les trois communications qu'elle a adoptées aujourd'hui à l'initiative de son Président Romano Prodi, des Commissaire aux Affaires économiques et monétaires Pedro Solbes et au Développement et à l'Aide humanitaire Poul Nielson, feront l'objet de larges consultations auprès des acteurs publics et de la société civile.

    [02] Barcelona : Commission sets 2005 target to deliver EU worker mobility

    The European Commission has adopted an action plan to remove obstacles to EU workers' mobility between jobs and between countries by 2005. The Commission called upon government, business and workers themselves to do more, urgently, to equip workers for occupational mobility and better jobs and to accelerate efforts to ensure geographical mobility and a high- performance labour market. A key, visible initiative for the EU citizen is a plan to introduce an EU health insurance card. Job mobility data show that, in 2000, only 16.4% of EU workers had been with their employer for less than one year, compared with 30% in the US. As for geographical mobility, 1.2% of the EU population changed region to live in 1999, compared with 5.9% who moved from one county to another in the US. The action plan draws upon the recommendations of the high-level task force on skills and mobility set up by the Commission last year to identify concrete obstacles to labour mobility in the EU. The action plan is scheduled to be presented to the Barcelona summit in March as a follow-up to the Commission's spring report 'Making change work'.

    [03] La Commission propose un modèle européen de curriculum vitae

    A un mois du Conseil européen de Barcelone, qui fera le point sur les progrès réalisés par l'Union européenne pour atteindre son objectif de devenir l'économie de la connaissance la plus compétitive du monde, la Commission européenne répond à l'une des invitations du Conseil européen de Lisbonne de mars 2000 en présentant une recommandation relative à un modèle européen de curriculum vitae (CV). Cet outil, qui sera utilisé sur une base volontaire, doit permettre à chaque citoyen européen de présenter de manière plus efficace ses qualifications, facilitant ainsi l'accès à des offres de formation ou d'emploi en Europe.

    [04] Commission adopts new leniency policy for companies which give information on cartels

    The European Commission has taken another important step to uncover and suppress price-fixing pacts and other hard-core cartels. The Commission unanimously adopted a new leniency policy that creates greater incentives for companies to blow the whistle on the most serious violations of antitrust rules. Under the new rules the Commission will grant total immunity from fines to the first company to submit evidence on a cartel unknown to, or unproved by the Commission. The leniency policy updates a previous 1996 document. "Detection and prosecution of cartels is one of my top priorities", Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said, adding : "The 1996 leniency policy played an important role in uncovering and punishing secret cartels in the last five years. The new policy will create even greater incentives to denounce this scourge of the economy which has companies making illicit profits at consumers' expense".

    [05] La Commission examine de près certains aspects des aides à l'investissement dans les régions défavorisées de l'Italie

    La Commission européenne a ouvert la procédure formelle d'examen en matière d'aides d'Etat à l'encontre d'un régime italien de soutien aux investissements sous forme de crédits d'impôt. Fin mars 2001, les autorités italiennes avaient notifiés des modifications à ce régime, approuvé peu de temps avant par la Commission (cf. IP/01/353). Or, la Commission a des doutes quant à la compatibilité de ces changements avec les Lignes directrices en matière d'aides à finalité régionale pour ce qui est des zones d'application de l'aide d'une part, et de la notion d'investissement éligible, d'autre part. L'Italie est invitée à répondre aux questions de la Commission dans un délai d'un mois.

    [06] Commission gives go ahead to Universal Banking Services in the UK, including the establishment of the UK Post Office Card Account bank

    The European Commission has decided not to raise objections to the Universal Banking Services (UBS) proposals notified by the UK as all the measures involved are compatible with the common market. UBS are aimed both at enabling the compulsory migration, decided by the UK Government, of social benefits from cash payments to automated credit transfer and at developing current account ownership. They involve the delivery of basic and standard bank accounts through the post office network and the establishment of a Post Office Bank dedicated to the provision and delivery of simplified current accounts for those "un-banked" benefit recipients who do not want current accounts provided by banks.

    [07] Commission opens enquiry into UK aid planned for Ford's Bridgend plant

    The European Commission has decided to initiate detailed investigation proceedings concerning aid amounting to £17.4 million earmarked for the Ford plant in Bridgend (South Wales). At this stage the Commission has not been able to establish that the planned aid meets the criteria of the Community framework for state aid to the motor vehicle industry and has asked the UK to forward any comments within one month.

    [08] Commission approves prolongation of tax reductions from the German Ecotax after 31 March 2002

    The European Commission has approved, under the State aid rules, the prolongation beyond 31 March 2002 of several partial exemptions from the German energy taxation on electricity and mineraloils. The tax reductions will benefit the productive sector, the production of electricity from Combined Heat and Power installations, rail transport, local public passenger transport, agriculture, forestry and fishery.

    [09] Maintien des règles strictes qui s'appliquent à l'industrie sidérurgique en matière d'aides d'Etat à l'expiration du traité CECA

    La Commission européenne a adopté des lignes directrices pour le maintien de l'interdiction des aides régionales à l'investissement et des aides au sauvetage et à la restructuration en faveur de l'industrie sidérurgique à l'expiration du traité CECA, le 23 juillet 2002. Le traité interdit les aides à la sidérurgie octroyées par les Etats membres sous quelque forme que ce soit. L'actuel code des aides à la sidérurgie autorise cependant les aides d'Etat dans certains cas limités : aides à la recherche et au développement, aides en faveur de la protection de l'environnement et aides destinées à encourager la fermeture complète ou partielle d'installations ou à financer la cessation définitive de toute activité CECA.

    [10] Commission approves overhaul of rules on large investment aid, including in automobile and synthetic fibres sectors

    The European Commission has approved a major reform to establish a faster, simpler and more accountable control system of Government support to large investments in the EU. The so-called "Multisectoral Framework on regional aid for large investment projects" will, in future, include a limited notification requirement for large projects balanced by a significant reduction in allowable aid levels. The new Framework will enter into force on 1 January 2004 ; for the motor vehicle and the synthetic fibres sector it will enter into force already on 1 January 2003. Both aspects, i.e. increased transparency and a significant aid reduction, are in line with the conclusions of the European Council in Stockholm, which requested Member States to reduce State aid. The reform will increase the responsibility of Member States in the implementation of State aid rules. At the same time, the rules will guarantee the effective control of State aid levels in a larger and more heterogeneous Community.

    [11] Certified beef quality : Commission authorises aid for advertising a new quality label in Bavaria (Germany)

    The European Commission has authorised Germany (Bavaria) to pay aid worth a total of €3.5 million in the year 2002 for the introduction of a new quality label. For the years 2003 and 2004, an annual budget of more than €2 million has been approved. "I support this initiative. This quality label is part of an extensive quality assurance and control programme, which has been introduced in order to recover consumer confidence after a significant drop of beef sales following the BSE-crisis", Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries said. Access to the quality label is open for all enterprises in the European Union, if they comply with the program requirements.

    [12] Beef : Commission authorises €8.94 million income aid for farmers in Austria and other aid measures in Belgium and Germany to protect consumers against BSE

    The European Commission has authorised Austria to pay income aid worth a total of some €8.94 million to beef farmers who have suffered losses between January and June 2001 because of the consequences of the BSE crisis. Normally, Member States may not pay such income aid. However, the Commission recognises that the current crisis in the beef market is exceptional, and therefore justifies such aid. The Commission has also authorised other BSE-related State aids in Belgium and Germany, like BSE tests and the destruction of risk material. For Germany these State aids amount to around €51 million. The Belgian measure is a fee, which partially covers the costs of BSE-tests.

    [13] Commission approves aid to Railtrack Plc in Administration

    The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the financial aid made available by the UK Government to Railtrack Plc (Public limited company) in Administration, the purpose of which is to ensure the continued provision of rail infrastructure services in Great Britain.

    [14] Euro-Mediterranean Partnership : Commission proposes new initiatives and urges Member States and Partner Countries to reaffirm political commitment

    Six years after the launching in Barcelona of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the European Commission today urged EU Member States and the countries of the Mediterranean region to reaffirm their political commitment to their partnership. Cooperation is all the more relevant in the light of the need for a common response to the events of 11 September and the fight against terrorism. The Commission proposes measures to promote investment in the region alongside the further development of free trade both North-South and among the partners themselves. The Commission also recommends a series of actions to promote mutual understanding and dialogue among civilisations. This will involve the establishment of a new Euro-Mediterranean Foundation.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [15] World No Smoking Day

    European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne today spoke out in support of the World No Smoking Day initiative. Smoking represents the largest single determinant of avoidable deaths. About 90% of lung cancers, 80% of chronic obstructive lung disease and 25% of heart disease deaths are associated with smoking. Mr David Byrne welcomed the World No Smoking Day : "World No Smoking Day reminds us that we have a choice. To realise that we can break free from the hold of the addiction industry. Every year more and more smokers remember the taste of freedom on this day and break free. I wholeheartedly support this initiative. And I hope that the young people and women who are now being targeted by the addiction industry as profit fodder, can use today to think twice about their choices. You can be a number on today's balance sheet and tomorrows casualty list. Or you can choose to taste freedom. The World Health Organisation estimates that over half a million deaths in the EU each year can be attributed to smoking. This is a crisis and needs to be addressed as such. There is an increased awareness of the extent of the dangers of smoking. And we have a duty at all levels to bring home the extent of these dangers to the public and to young people in particular. The EU is in favour of imposing appropriate international restrictions on advertising, marketing, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products, without prejudice to stricter national rules, with the aim in particular of reducing the appeal of these products to children and adolescents. Prevention is central to tackling this major cause of premature deaths in Europe. As part of our tobacco control strategy we will shortly launch a major advertising campaign to increase awareness among teenagers of the negative effects of tobacco consumption."

    [16] Biotech : Franz Fischler calls for end of "muddling-through policy"

    (! embargo 3 pm !) Speaking on biotechnology at the Agribex Food Fair in Brussels today, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, warned that Europe could be left behind on new technologies. "Europe lacks a shared vision and a common objective regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Currently, our response to the challenges of GMOs is "muddling-through". We have to stop making decisions on such a difficult issue as biotechnology on a purely emotional basis. It is high time that Europe finds a way to address questions, such as : "Can we eat food that has been genetically modified?", "Do GMOs represent a threat to the environment?", "Could the use of GM seeds have a negative impact on other plants?". This is reflected in the recently presented Life Science and Biotechnology Strategy of the Commission (see IP/02/122). Mr Fischler labelled the consumers role in this context as "absolutely paramount". "Agriculture today is demand driven, and we will not be able to sell our products if we do not win the confidence of the consumers." Mr Fischler called for a policy which protects farmers who grow conventional or organic crops from accidental GMO-contamination. "In the future, the conventional farms will have to follow the example of organic farming. Farms will have to segregate production and marketing chains, introduce minimum distances but also different sowing dates between GM and non-GM crop varieties", he said.

    [17] Poul Nielson to visit Mozambique, Mauritius and the Seychelles from 15- 23 February

    The European Commissioner in charge of development and humanitarian aid, Mr Poul Nielson, will carry out an official visit to Mozambique, Mauritius and Seychelles from 15-23 February. On an economic and political fact-finding mission, he will be travelling extensively to see, first hand, Commission funded development activities and to discuss EU-funded activities under preparation. One highlight of the trip will be the signature of the country strategy document for Mozambique worth €329 million from 2001-2006. Mr Nielson travels to Mozambique almost two years after the devastating floods that hit the country. He then continues to Mauritius and Seychelles in his first visit to the Indian Ocean in his capacity as Commissioner. In these countries, he will concentrate on regional issues, in particular the question of Economic Partnership Agreements where negotiations between the EU and ACP side are expected to start later this year. In all three countries, Mr Nielson will hold high-level discussions with members of Government and the opposition, and will meet public authorities, non- governmental organisations, representatives of EU Member States and other partners.

    [18] Autre matériel diffusé

    Note sur les résultats du Conseil Ecofin aspects fiscalité

    Note sur la préparation du Conseil Education et Jeunesse (14/02)


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


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