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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 02-03-22

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] Tragic fire at the Permanent Representation of Spain - Statement by Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission
  • [02] Commission accepts undertaking in competition proceedings regarding German book price fixing
  • [03] La Commission autorise SCA à acquérir l'entreprise italienne de papier tissu CartoInvest
  • [04] Commission clears acquisition of Alcatel by Sanmina
  • [05] Commission clears sole control of Arcor by Vodafone
  • [06] Green light for €22.306 million Leader+ rural development programme in Baden-Württemberg (Germany)
  • [07] Premières estimations pour janvier, données révisées pour décembre - Déficit de 0,6 milliard d'€ du commerce extérieur pour la zone euro en janvier 2002 ; déficit de 7,5 milliards d'€ pour l'UE15
  • [08] Fourth quarter 2001 compared to fourth quarter 2000 - Euro-zone and EU15 labour costs up by 3.1%
  • [09] Commission adopts new strategy for health and safety at work
  • [10] Services à accès conditionnel : la Commission décide de saisir la Cour de justice à l'encontre de la Belgique, de la Grèce, du Luxembourg et de l'Espagne
  • [11] Motor insurance : Commission calls on Finland to stop excluding car passengers from cover when a driver is under influence of alcohol
  • [12] Impôts directs : procédures d'infraction contre la France et l'Espagne
  • [13] EU/Senegal fisheries agreement : negotiations suspended
  • [14] Günter Verheugen welcomes provisional closure of negotiations on free movement of capital with Poland
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 22/03/2002 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 22/03/2002

  • [01] Tragic fire at the Permanent Representation of Spain - Statement by Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission

    "I was shocked to hear of the tragic fire at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union which took the lives of two men, a Spanish policeman and a Belgian fireman. They died doing their duty and I pay tribute to their selfless courage. The European Commission sends its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and assures the Spanish authorities of its readiness to assist them in any way it can."

    [02] Commission accepts undertaking in competition proceedings regarding German book price fixing

    The European Commission will no longer pursue competition proceedings regarding the German book price fixing system (so-called 'Sammelrevers'). Following the sending of a Statement of Objections (see IP/01/1035 of 19 July 2001), the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V. (German publishers' and booksellers' association), as well as the publisher Verlagsgruppe Random House GmbH and the bookseller Koch, Neff & Oetinger GmbH, submitted an Undertaking which meets fully and definitively the objections raised by the Commission. It guarantees the freedom of direct cross-border selling of German books to final consumers in Germany, in particular, via the Internet. In parallel, it establishes an exclusive list of conditions under which the Commission exceptionally accepts that a circumvention of the national price fixing occurs. These conditions ensure that German publishers and booksellers cannot consider direct cross-border Internet selling of cheaper books by foreign retailers to be a circumvention of the 'Sammelrevers' system. Nor can they hinder these sales by means of a collective embargo. As a result, if correctly implemented, the current German price fixing system has no appreciable effect on trade between Member States and thus does not infringe the European Union competition rules.

    [03] La Commission autorise SCA à acquérir l'entreprise italienne de papier tissu CartoInvest

    La Commission européenne a autorisé l'entreprise néerlandaise SCA Hygiene Products (SCA), filiale à cent pour cent de la société suédoise de produits forestiers Svenska Cellulosa AB, à acquérir l'entreprise italienne CartoInvest. Les deux entreprises fabriquent des produits d'hygiène en papier tissu, tels que papier hygiénique, essuie-tout, mouchoirs et serviettes de table. L'opération ne soulève cependant pas de problèmes de concurrence étant donné que SCA sera confrontée à une puissance d'achat suffisante des supermarchés, en particulier pour les produits vendus sous marque de distributeur.

    [04] Commission clears acquisition of Alcatel by Sanmina

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole of the assets and certain liabilities of three manufacturing plants of Alcatel at Cherbourg (France), Gunzenhausen (Germany) and Toledo (Spain) by Sanmina-SCI Corp of the United States. Both firms provide electronics manufacturing services. (The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [05] Commission clears sole control of Arcor by Vodafone

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition by mobile phone firm Vodafone AG of sole of Arcor AG & Co, a German firm which provides fixed telecommunications services and is currently jointy controlled by Vodafone and Deutsche Bahn. (The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [06] Green light for €22.306 million Leader+ rural development programme in Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

    The European Commission approved the programme for the EU Initiative Leader+ in Baden-Württemberg (Germany). Welcoming the decision, Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said : "This program aims to pilot new ideas to help build a more sustainable society, economy and environment for rural Germany. We want to improve the quality of life for all those who live in rural areas. Leader+ will help to add value to local products and to make the best use of natural and cultural resources." During the period 2001-2006, total expenditure under the programme is €22.306 million. This includes an EU contribution of €10.180 million and a contribution of €1.946 million from the private sector.

    [07] Premières estimations pour janvier, données révisées pour décembre - Déficit de 0,6 milliard d'€ du commerce extérieur pour la zone euro en janvier 2002 ; déficit de 7,5 milliards d'€ pour l'UE15

    (! embargo 12h00 !) D'après les premières estimations publiées par Eurostat aujourd'hui, pour le mois de janvier 2002, la zone euro a enregistré un déficit du commerce extérieur de 0,6 milliard d'€ avec le reste du monde, comparé à un déficit de 5,8 milliards en janvier 2001. L'excédent (révisé) enregistré au mois de décembre 2001 était de 8,4 milliards, par rapport à un déficit de 0,8 milliard en décembre 2000. Les premières estimations du solde des échanges extra-UE15 pour le mois de janvier 2002 conduisent à un déficit de 7,5 milliards d'€, comparé à -13,9 milliards en janvier 2001. Au mois de décembre 2001, l'excédent (révisé) était de 2,0 milliards, contre un déficit de 6,1 milliards en décembre 2000. En 2001, le commerce de la zone euro a enregistré un excédent de 47,03 milliards, comparé à +5,3 milliards en 2000. L'UE15 a enregistré un déficit estimé à 45,9 milliards en 2001 par rapport à -90,9 milliards en 2000.

    [08] Fourth quarter 2001 compared to fourth quarter 2000 - Euro-zone and EU15 labour costs up by 3.1%

    (! embargo 12 am !) Total hourly labour costs in the whole economy of the euro-zone grew by 3.1% in nominal terms in the fourth quarter of 2001 compared to the fourth quarter of 2000, Eurostat reports today. In the third quarter of 2001 the increase was a revised 3.5%. For the EU15 the rise was 3.1% in the fourth quarter, compared to a revised 3.6% in the previous quarter. In industry, hourly labour costs rose by 2.7% in the euro- zone and by 2.8% in the EU15.

    [09] Commission adopts new strategy for health and safety at work

    The European Commission has adopted a new strategy for health and safety at work for the period 2002-2006. The purpose of the plans is to modernise EU health and safety policy and rules to cover new types of workplace risk, such as bullying and violence at work and stress-related conditions. The strategy also seeks to consolidate a culture of risk prevention at work.

    [10] Services à accès conditionnel : la Commission décide de saisir la Cour de justice à l'encontre de la Belgique, de la Grèce, du Luxembourg et de l'Espagne

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour de justice européenne à l'encontre de la Belgique, de la Grèce, du Luxembourg et de l'Espagne pour non-communication des mesures nationales de transposition de la directive 98/84 concernant la protection juridique des services à accès conditionnel. Ces derniers englobent les services de radiodiffusion télévisuelle ou sonore et les services en ligne fournis à distance au public et moyennant paiement.

    [11] Motor insurance : Commission calls on Finland to stop excluding car passengers from cover when a driver is under influence of alcohol

    The European Commission has decided to ask Finland to change its legislation according to which, when the driver of a vehicle is intoxicated, insurance cover for injuries caused to passengers in the vehicle concerned might be excluded. The Commission considers that Finnish legislation allowing such a reduction of cover contravenes the Second Motor Insurance Directive (84/5/EEC). The Commission's request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion', the second stage in the infringement procedure under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If Finland fails to respond satisfactorily within two months of receiving the reasoned opinion, the Commission may decide to bring the matter before the Court of Justice.

    [12] Impôts directs : procédures d'infraction contre la France et l'Espagne

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour de Justice à l'encontre de la France pour son refus d'appliquer le taux réduit de prélèvement libératoire aux revenus découlant de placements et de contrats lorsque le débiteur n'est pas domicilié ou établi en France. Par contre, quand le débiteur réside en France ce régime est applicable. La Commission a également décidé de demander formellement au Royaume d'Espagne de modifier sa législation en ce qui concerne la différence entre le régime fiscal des plus-values des actions négociées dans les bourses espagnoles et celui des actions négociées dans les bourses des autres Etats membres. La demande est sous forme d'un avis motivé (deuxième étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue par l'article 226 du Traité CE). La Commission estime que ces régimes en France et en Espagne sont contraires aux principes de la libre prestation des services (article 49 du Traité CE) ainsi qu'à la libre circulation des capitaux (article 56 du Traité CE).

    [13] EU/Senegal fisheries agreement : negotiations suspended

    Negotiations between the EU and Senegal on the renewal of their fisheries protocol, which expired last December, have been suspended. The eighth round of negotiations was held in Brussels from 19 to 21 March 2002. The two parties have resolved almost all the outstanding issues except for the amount of the financial contribution. The European Commission delegation felt that additional fishing possibilities would have been necessary to justify the substantial increase in the compensation requested by the Senegalese representatives. However, additional fishing possibilities could not be justified on the basis of the information available on the state of the fish stocks. In order to guarantee responsible and sustainable fisheries, the EU delegation proposed to enter into a partnership with the Senegalese authorities. The EU offered to help evaluate the state of the stocks in order to verify whether an increase in fishing possibilities could in the future be justified. The two parties have agreed to resume negotiations in the coming weeks.

    [14] Günter Verheugen welcomes provisional closure of negotiations on free movement of capital with Poland

    European Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen yesterday welcomed the provisional closure of two negotiating chapters with Poland : taxation and free movement of capital. This was achieved during yesterday's accession conference. "In particular, the provisional closure of the negotiations with Poland on free movement of capital represents a breakthrough. This chapter, which includes sensitive questions such as purchase of land and secondary residences, has been the most difficult - politically and psychologically - in the negotiations with Poland so far. The European Union made great efforts to accomodate Poland's particular needs. This proves that the Union takes the sensitivities and particular concerns of the different candidate countries seriously. I am confident that on both negotiating chapters, i.e. free movement of capital as well as taxation, Poland will fully implement what was agreed."

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    Discours de M. Prodi à la Conférence internationale sur le financement du développement (Monterrey, ! embargo 17h00 !)

    Déclaration de M. Vitorino à la session plénière de la Convention (21/03, PE)

    Speech by Frits Bolkestein : "The Internal Market: facing the challenge of an enlarged EU" (Budapest)

    Note sur la préparation du Conseil Télécommunications (25/03)

    Note sur la préparation du Conseil Transports (26/03)

    Calendrier du 25 au 29 mars 2002


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


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