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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-01-22

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] Commission tables farm reform to give farmers a long-term perspective for sustainable agriculture
  • [02] CAP reform - a long term perspective for sustainable agriculture
  • [03] La réforme de la PAC
  • [04] Commission launches initiative to boost entrepreneurship in Europe
  • [05] Commission urges focus on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
  • [06] La Commission renforce les éléments clés du contrôle de gestion et de l'audit interne
  • [07] Commission proposes phase-out of State guarantees for Austrian banks
  • [08] Commission authorises UK stamp duty exemption scheme for disadvantaged areas
  • [09] La Commission propose de supprimer progressivement la garantie accordée par l'Etat français à CDC IXIS
  • [10] State aid probe into possible overcompensation for Danish public service broadcaster TV2
  • [11] €50 million rescue aid for MobilCom cleared ; in-depth probe into additional aid of €112 million
  • [12] La Commission autorise l'aide au sauvetage d' "ABX Logistics"
  • [13] Aide au sauvetage et à la restructuration d'Air Lib : la Commission ouvre la procédure d'examen des mesures prises par la France
  • [14] Commission authorises the Principality of Asturias to grant aid to the coal industry
  • [15] Commission authorises the United Kingdom to grant aid to the coal industry
  • [16] Insurance : Commission continues infringement procedure concerning regulation and supervision of Lloyd's
  • [17] La Commission invite Mme Edith Cresson à formuler ses observations en réponse aux allégations selon lesquelles elle aurait violé ses obligations pendant son mandat de Commissaire
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [18] Romano Prodi ouvre la réunion inaugurale du Groupe des Sages sur le Dialogue entre Peuples et Cultures
  • [19] Commission opens in-depth investigation in Siemens/Drägerwerk hospital equipment venture
  • [20] Commission clears AMEC's control of French construction services firm SPIE
  • [21] Customs : Commission welcomes Council adoption of Regulation suspending duties on weapons and military equipment
  • [22] Décembre 2002 : le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro en hausse à 2,3% ; le taux de l'UE15 en hausse à 2,2%
  • [23] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 22/01/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 22/01/2003[I] Résultats de la Commission du 21 janvier 2003 - Outcome of Commission meeting of 21 January

  • [01] Commission tables farm reform to give farmers a long-term perspective for sustainable agriculture

    The European Commission has adopted a package of proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Commission proposal will provide EU farmers with a clear policy perspective to go with the financial framework until 2013 for agricultural expenditure, as decided by the Heads of State and Government in Brussels in October 2002. It will also make European agriculture more competitive and market oriented, promote a substantial simplification in the CAP, facilitate the enlargement process and help to better defend the CAP in the WTO. The proposed adjustments allow maximum flexibility in production decisions of farmers while guaranteeing them income stability. The implementation of the Commission reform would remove environmentally negative incentives in the current policy and provide further encouragement for more sustainable farming practices. These adjustments are necessary to ensure that the EU is able to provide a sustainable and predictable policy framework for the European Model of Agriculture over the coming years. Such changes are made even more urgent by the new budgetary framework. These changes will enable the EU to ensure a transparent and more equitable distribution of income support for farmers, and to better respond to what our consumers and taxpayers want. These proposals are the follow-up to the Commission's midterm review proposals from July 2002.

    [02] CAP reform - a long term perspective for sustainable agriculture

    Questions and answers

    [03] La réforme de la PAC

    Comparaison situation actuelle, communication de juillet 2002, propositions de janvier 2003

    [04] Commission launches initiative to boost entrepreneurship in Europe

    Europe needs to produce more entrepreneurs and to get more entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In the EU, too few people are involved in new entrepreneurial ventures and their businesses do not grow so as much as those in the US. To enhance efforts to foster entrepreneurship in Europe, the European Commission has now published a Green Paper to stimulate debate on the future agenda for entrepreneurship. This is the first time that the Commission launches a comprehensive policy initiative to focus on the entire range of issues that could stimulate entrepreneurship in Europe. This Green Paper follows the adoption, last December, of the Communication on Industrial policy in an enlarged Europe (see IP/02/1884). Entrepreneurial initiative and risk-taking should be encouraged in the first place to boost job creation and growth. Besides wealth and jobs, entrepreneurship brings benefits to society, such as availability of a wide variety of products and services. It can also be a keystone in building social cohesion when access to entrepreneurship is made easier for economically disadvantaged groups or regions.

    [05] Commission urges focus on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

    The European Commission has adopted a package of documents outlining EU policy towards small and medium-sized enterprises, which provides a snapshot of recent progress in small business policy across Europe and points to possible further policy actions. A key finding is that EU Member States and candidate countries need to focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) more often in their rule and policy making : consultation of small businesses remains low in both policy and law-making. Europe therefore urgently needs to give small businesses the opportunity to voice their views. However, the documents also stress that substantial progress has been made in key areas such as education for entrepreneurship and simplification of administrative procedures, both in candidate countries, who are facing up the challenge of building an entrepreneurial culture and in Member States. To help develop a more stable and creative enterprise sector in candidate countries, the financial sector is encouraged to take a closer look at SME lending as a source of opportunities, rather than just risks. The Commission has recently taken several initiatives to support SMEs. In this context, the recently nominated SME Envoy has a crucial role in ensuring a more coordinated approach on SME issues.

    [06] La Commission renforce les éléments clés du contrôle de gestion et de l'audit interne

    La Commission européenne a clarifié des aspects clés concernant les rapports d'activité annuels (RAA) et les déclarations sur la gestion financière signés par les directeurs généraux, ainsi que le rôle des différents services et acteurs en matière de gestion, d'audit et de contrôle financiers. Cette clarification formelle était la principale recommandation de l'exercice RAA, mené pour la première fois en 2002. Foncièrement, les décisions prises définissent de manière plus précise le processus commun visant à garantir que les rapports donnent une image fiable, exhaustive et correcte des affaires et à évaluer toute réserve susceptible d'accompagner les déclarations. Ces décisions confirment en outre la portée du contrôle et de l'audit internes dans les services de la Commission et au niveau central tout en définissant plus précisément le rôle des différents acteurs en présence. Il a été confirmé que, tout en recueillant les informations et avis provenant de différents niveaux au sein des services de la Commission, le directeur général restera seul responsable de la teneur du rapport et de la déclaration. Ces décisions sont axées sur le rôle du service financier central de la Commission - qui fait partie de la DG Budget - dans la mise en place de la formation et de l'appui nécessaires aux DG en matière de contrôle interne, ainsi que sur le rôle du service d'audit interne. Elles visent aussi à garantir que l'audit interne émette un avis correct sur l'adéquation et la qualité des systèmes de contrôle et d'audit internes, comme le prévoit le nouveau règlement financier en vigueur depuis le début de l'année.

    [07] Commission proposes phase-out of State guarantees for Austrian banks

    The European Commission has adopted a formal decision proposing Austria to phase out State guarantees in favour of some Austrian banks. The Commission had, earlier in April 2002, informed Austria that its system of State guarantees for some banks constituted State aid. Now, the Commission's decision requests Austria to respond within two months whether it accepts to phase out the existing guarantees. In this case Austria has until the end of June 2004 to communicate the measures it intends to take to phase out the State guarantees.

    [08] Commission authorises UK stamp duty exemption scheme for disadvantaged areas

    The European Commission has decided that, subject to a number of conditions, that the UK stamp duty exemption is in line with EU objectives on economic and social cohesion as well as sustainable development. In addition, trading conditions will not be adversely affected to an extent contrary to the common interest.

    [09] La Commission propose de supprimer progressivement la garantie accordée par l'Etat français à CDC IXIS

    La Commission européenne a proposé que la garantie accordée par la banque publique Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) à sa filiale CDC IXIS soit progressivement supprimée. Les autorités françaises ont déjà accepté d'abandonner cette garantie au terme d'une période transitoire. La Commission demande désormais à la France d'arrêter définitivement le calendrier et les modalités du retrait progressif des garanties d'Etat. La France disposera d'un maximum de deux mois pour présenter un calendrier précis à cette fin.

    [10] State aid probe into possible overcompensation for Danish public service broadcaster TV2

    The European Commission has decided to launch a probe into the State financing by Denmark of its public broadcaster TV2. The probe will cover the period 1995-2002. The Commission has come to the preliminary conclusion that the Danish State overcompensated the net additional cost incurred by TV2 for providing services of general interest. The amount of overcompensation is estimated at €87.8 million. Furthermore, there are indications that TV2 used these excess public funds to cross-subsidise its advertising business. The Commission will further analyse whether the prices TV2 charges for advertising would undercut those that an efficient commercial operator would have to charge to cover costs.

    [11] €50 million rescue aid for MobilCom cleared ; in-depth probe into additional aid of €112 million

    The European Commission has cleared rescue aid of €50 million in favour of MobilCom AG, a German provider of telecommunications services. The aid was granted in September 2002 in the form of a State guaranteed loan. Simultaneously, the Commission initiated formal investigation proceeding on an additional State guaranteed loan of €112 million, which was granted to MobilCom in November 2002. While the Commission considers that the initial loan of €50 million is indeed necessary to keep MobilCom afloat for a transitory period, the German authorities have, at this stage, not been able to demonstrate that the second loan of €112 million is indispensable in this respect. Accordingly the Commission has opened formal investigation proceedings on this second loan.

    [12] La Commission autorise l'aide au sauvetage d' "ABX Logistics"

    La Commission européenne a autorisé une aide au sauvetage sous forme de trois crédits relais en faveur de trois entités "ABX Logistics" en France, en Allemagne et aux Pays-Bas, dont la société mère est la "SNCB". L'aide au sauvetage, remboursable à moyen terme, doit permettre de maintenir temporairement la viabilité et de prévenir la perte d'emplois au sein des trois entités bénéficiaires, ce qui devrait également bénéficier à l'ensemble des activités ABX. Une décision quant à l'avenir des sociétés bénéficiaires devra être prise dans les six mois à compter du 21 janvier.

    [13] Aide au sauvetage et à la restructuration d'Air Lib : la Commission ouvre la procédure d'examen des mesures prises par la France

    Devant la décision française de prolonger à 12 mois au total l'aide au sauvetage d'Air Lib, l'absence de plan de restructuration notifié et enfin la présence éventuelle d'autres financements d'origine publique, la Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir la procédure d'examen des mesures prises en faveur d'Air Lib. La Commission émet en effet des doutes quant à la compatibilité de ces mesures, qui pourraient notamment être utilisées pour développer le réseau de la compagnie, avec les règles de concurrence.

    [14] Commission authorises the Principality of Asturias to grant aid to the coal industry

    The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the subsidies amounting to €3,000,000 which the Principality of Asturias is proposing to grant to private coal mining companies to improve working safety in mines and to protect the environment. The aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the internal market.

    [15] Commission authorises the United Kingdom to grant aid to the coal industry

    The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the operating aid amounting to almost GBP 9,000,000 which the United Kingdom is proposing to grant to ten coal mines. The aid should help to make the mines viable, enabling them to continue their activities beyond 2002 without the need for public subsidy. The aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the internal market.

    [16] Insurance : Commission continues infringement procedure concerning regulation and supervision of Lloyd's

    The European Commission has decided to continue its formal infringement procedure into the regulation and supervision of the Lloyd's insurance market following the changes introduced by the UK Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000. The Commission's aim is to verify that the current supervision and regulation of Lloyd's is fully in line with the requirements of the first non-life insurance Directive (73/239/EEC). That Directive aims principally to entrust public authorities with a duty to effectively supervise insurance undertakings. Following the sending of a first letter of formal notice in December 2001, i.e. prior to the communication by the UK government of the newly adopted FSMA 2000 (see IP/01/1880), the Commission has now sent the UK authorities an additional letter of formal notice requesting further information within two months. The Commission recognises the improvements achieved through the FSMA 2000 regime, but still has some remaining concerns over compliance with the Directive. The Commission's request to the UK authorities constitutes the first stage of the infringement procedure under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. On the basis of the information received, the Commission will decide whether or not it considers there is a violation of EU law, and so whether to send a reasoned opinion to the UK (the next stage of infringement procedures).

    [17] La Commission invite Mme Edith Cresson à formuler ses observations en réponse aux allégations selon lesquelles elle aurait violé ses obligations pendant son mandat de Commissaire

    La Commission européenne a décidé de préparer une communication exposant les faits relatifs à d'éventuels manquements de Mme Cresson aux obligations qui, en vertu de l'article 213 du traité CE, lui incombaient lorsqu'elle était Commissaire. La communication sera envoyée à Mme Cresson, qui sera invitée à transmettre ses observations à la Commission.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [18] Romano Prodi ouvre la réunion inaugurale du Groupe des Sages sur le Dialogue entre Peuples et Cultures

    Créé à l'initiative du Président de la Commission européenne, le Groupe des Sages sur le Dialogue entre les Peuples et les Cultures tiendra sa réunion inaugurale le jeudi 23 janvier 2003 en présence du Président Prodi. Les membres constitutifs de ce Groupe sont : Mmes Assia Alaoui Bensalah, Fatima Mernissi et Tullia Zevi, ainsi que MM. Jean Daneil, Malek Chebel, Don Juan Diez Nicolas, Umberto Eco, Schmuel N. Eisenstadt, George Joffé, Ahmed Kamal Aboulmagd, Bichara Khader, Adnan Wafic Kassar, Pedrag Matwejevic, Rostane Mehdi, Tariq Ramadan, Faruk Sen et Faouzi Skali.

    [19] Commission opens in-depth investigation in Siemens/Drägerwerk hospital equipment venture

    The European Commission has decided to open a detailed investigation into a planned joint venture whereby the German company Siemens transfers its medical ventilators, anaesthesia delivery systems and patient monitoring businesses to Dräger Medical, currently wholly-owned by German Drägerwerk. Siemens and Drägerwerk would jointly-control Dräger Medical.

    [20] Commission clears AMEC's control of French construction services firm SPIE

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of full control of French firm SPIE SA by AMEC plc of Britain. Both companies are active in engineering and construction services. SPIE is currently a joint venture between Financière SPIE Sca and Amec. (The operation, notified on 6 december 2002, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [21] Customs : Commission welcomes Council adoption of Regulation suspending duties on weapons and military equipment

    The European Commission has welcomed the adoption without discussion by the EU's Council of Ministers on 21st January of a Regulation suspending import duties on certain weapons and military equipment. The Regulation, based on a Commission proposal dating from 1988, acknowledges that the security interests of the EU as well as the demands of international military cooperation justify such a suspension of customs duties to assist Member States' defence authorities in procuring the best military materials available world-wide. The suspensions apply to a whole range of weapons and military equipment as well as to parts and components for incorporation or fitting into the listed goods and to goods for use in training or testing of the listed goods. The suspension applies only where the products are imported by or on behalf of the military defence authorities of a Member State. Private companies in the EU will be able to produce the relevant military products out of materials imported duty-free, once the companies supply the final products to Member States' defence authorities. Special import procedures included in the text are designed to protect military secrecy. The Regulation applies from 1 January 2003.

    [22] Décembre 2002 : le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro en hausse à 2,3% ; le taux de l'UE15 en hausse à 2,2%

    Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro a augmenté de 2,2% en novembre 2002 à 2,3% en décembre 2002, indique aujourd'hui Eurostat. Un an auparavant, le taux était de 2,0%. Le taux d'inflation annuel de l'UE15 est passé de 2,1% en novembre à 2,2% en décembre 2002. Un an auparavant, le taux était de 1,9%. En décembre, les taux annuels les plus élevés ont été relevés en Irlande (4,6%), en Espagne et au Portugal (4,0% chacun). Les taux les plus bas ont été enregistrés en Allemagne (1,1%), en Belgique (1, 3%), en Autriche, en Finlande, en Suède ainsi qu'au Royaume-Uni (1,7% chacun).

    [23] Autre matériel diffusé

    Note sur la préparation du Conseil informel Emploi et Affaires sociales (23- 24, Nafplio)

    Note sur les résultats du Conseil Ecofin aspects fiscalité

    Address by Pedro Solbes at Ecofin press conference (21/01)

    Speech by David Byrne : "From national legislation to a framework directive on fair commercial practices" at workshop on Unfair Commercial Practices


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


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