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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-05-06

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] First application of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy : Commission proposes long-term recovery plan for cod
  • [02] La Commission propose d'appliquer la TVA à toutes les prestations de services postaux
  • [03] Commission airlifts urgent medical aid to Iraq
  • [04] Poul Nielson meets ICRC President Kellenberger at Baghdad airport to discuss humanitarian situation in Iraq
  • [05] Margot Wallström calls for more stringent measures and policies to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions
  • [06] March 2003 : Euro-zone unemployment up to 8.7% ; EU15 steady at 7.9%
  • [07] Mars 2003 : les prix à la production industrielle en hausse de 0,2% dans la zone euro et dans l'UE15
  • [08] Commission clears Thomesto stake in German industrial wood firm SCA Holtz
  • [09] Statement on Deutsche Telekom
  • [10] Remise des Prix du patrimoine culturel de l'UE / Europa Nostra, le 9 mai à Bruxelles
  • [11] Loyola de Palacio chairs delivery ceremony of first hydrogen bus of the CUTE project
  • [12] Launch of the negotiations of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community (6-8 May)
  • [13] Third preliminary statement of the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Nigeria : State Houses of Assembly elections Midday Express 06/05/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 06/05/2003

  • [01] First application of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy : Commission proposes long-term recovery plan for cod

    The European Commission has proposed the establishment of a long-term recovery plan for a number of cod stocks threatened with collapse. Despite the measures that have been put in place over the past two years, more cod continue to be removed from stocks than are replaced by reproduction. After close consultation with the industry, the Commission is proposing to replace the current temporary measures with long-term ones on the basis of a strategy for the recovery of the stocks concerned. As at present, these measures will involve low catch quotas, limits on fishing effort and specific control and monitoring rules to ensure their implementation. However, the difference is that these measures will be taken within the framework of a long-term strategy that aims to rebuild the cod stock to sustainable levels. The estimated time frame for achieving the recovery objectives is 5 to 10 years. This multi-annual plan is the first in a series of long-term recovery and management plans which the Commission will propose according to the needs of the stocks concerned. The Commission will shortly present a separate recovery plan for hake.

    [02] La Commission propose d'appliquer la TVA à toutes les prestations de services postaux

    La Commission européenne vient de présenter une proposition visant à appliquer la TVA à toutes les prestations de services postaux. La proposition entend éliminer les distorsions de concurrence qui créent actuellement des difficultés, tant pour les opérateurs nationaux traditionnels de services postaux, actuellement exonérés de la TVA, que pour leurs concurrents obligés d'appliquer cette TVA. La libéralisation des marchés des services postaux devrait encore renforcer ces distorsions. Les modifications qu'il est proposé d'apporter ne devraient pas avoir d'impact considérable sur le coût des services postaux pour les consommateurs privés étant donné que les opérateurs nationaux pourraient, pour la première fois, déduire la TVA qu'ils doivent eux-mêmes acquitter sur leurs coûts et qu'ils répercutent sur leurs clients sous forme de TVA cachée. De plus, pour éviter toute hausse de prix pour les consommateurs privés, les Etats membres auraient la possibilité d'appliquer un taux de TVA réduit aux services postaux ordinaires (envois adressés d'un poids maximum de 2 kg). En ce qui concerne les clients professionnels, l'application de la TVA aux services postaux fournis par des prestataires nationaux serait avantageuse étant donné que ces clients pourraient déduire le volet TVA de leurs frais postaux.

    [03] Commission airlifts urgent medical aid to Iraq

    A Belgian military aircraft loaded with essential medical and hygiene supplies destined for Iraqis in need left Brussels for Baghdad this morning. European Commission President Romano Prodi, the Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and the Belgian Minister of Defense André Flahaut were present at the take-off. The airlift is funded (€10 million) by the latest package of urgent medical supplies approved by the Commission (see IP/03/554). This shipment is part of a wider coordinated effort involving EU Member States and the Commission, launched by President Prodi at the recent European Council in Athens.

    [04] Poul Nielson meets ICRC President Kellenberger at Baghdad airport to discuss humanitarian situation in Iraq

    Mr Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Affairs met today with Jakob Kellenberger, President of International Committee of the Red Cross, at Baghdad International Airport. Mr Nielson is on a two-day trip to the Iraqi capital for discussions with humanitarian agencies and to inspect projects funded by the Commission's humanitarian aid office (ECHO).

    [05] Margot Wallström calls for more stringent measures and policies to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions

    European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström today commented on the latest data on greenhouse gas emissions released by the European Environmental Agency. The data reveal that the emissions of greenhouse gases from the EU have increased for a second consecutive year. The Commissioner said : "The European Union is moving further away from meeting its commitment to achieve a substantial emissions cut under the Kyoto Protocol. The progress we have made already needs to be backed up by additional measures. Especially the Member States that are not on track in reaching their targets urgently need to take additional action." The release of the EEA figures coincides with the publication by the Commission's environment directorate-general of the second progress report on the European Climate Change Programme. This report is a good basis for developing further concrete EU action.

    [06] March 2003 : Euro-zone unemployment up to 8.7% ; EU15 steady at 7.9%

    Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment stood at 8.7% in March 2003, compared to 8.6% in February, Eurostat reports today. It was 8.2% in March 2002. The EU15 unemployment rate was 7.9% in March 2003, unchanged compared to February. It was 7.5% in March 2002. In March 2003, lowest rates were registered in Luxembourg (3.4%), the Netherlands (3.6% in February), Austria (4.3%), Ireland (4.5%), and Denmark (5.0% in February). Spain's 11.5% remained the EU's highest rate.

    [07] Mars 2003 : les prix à la production industrielle en hausse de 0,2% dans la zone euro et dans l'UE15

    Au mois de mars 2003, les prix à la production industrielle dans la zone euro ont augmenté de 0,2% par rapport au mois précédent, selon les estimations publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat. Les prix dans l'UE15 ont aussi progressé de 0,2%. Au mois de février 2003, les prix avaient augmenté de 0,4% dans les deux zones. En mars 2003 et par rapport à mars 2002, les prix à la production industrielle ont augmenté de 2,4% dans la zone euro et de 2,6% dans l'UE15.

    [08] Commission clears Thomesto stake in German industrial wood firm SCA Holtz

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of SCA Holtz GmbH, a company active in the procurement and trading of industrial wood in Germany and Austria, by Finnish company Thomesto Ltd and German companies SCA Hygiene Products AG and SCA Hygiene Products GmbH. SCA Holtz is currently owned by SCA AG and SCA GmbH, themselves wholly-owned subsidiaries of Sweden's Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA group. Thomesto is a subsidiary of Finland's Metsäliitto group. (The operation, notified on 31 March 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [09] Statement on Deutsche Telekom

    On 5 May the European Commission presented a decision on Deutsche Telekom to the Advisory Committee - a committee comprising representatives of the Member States competition authorities. The discussions of this first meeting of the Advisory Committee focused exclusively on the draft decision proposed by the Commission. No proposal for a fine was made. No discussions on a possible fine took place. The issue of a potential fine is never discussed in the first meeting of the Advisory Committee. There is always a second meeting to discuss this issue - should the Commission wish to propose a fine.

    [10] Remise des Prix du patrimoine culturel de l'UE / Europa Nostra, le 9 mai à Bruxelles

    Viviane Reding, commissaire européenne à l'Education et à la Culture, et Otto von der Glabentz, président exécutif de la fondation culturelle Europa Nostra remettront le vendredi 9 mai à 10h15 au Palais d'Egmont les Prix européens du patrimoine culturel, en présence de Son Altesse Royale le Prince Lorenz. Six Premiers Prix, d'une valeur de 10.000 € chacun, seront décernés à des projets remarquables dans les domaines du patrimoine architectural, des paysages et des collections d'oeuvres. Ils récompenseront aussi des études culturelles et un service exceptionnel rendu au patrimoine par un individu ou un groupe. La fondation Europa Nostra a reçu le soutien du programme "Culture 2000" pour l'organisation de ces Prix de l'UE.

    [11] Loyola de Palacio chairs delivery ceremony of first hydrogen bus of the CUTE project

    The delivery of the first hydrogen bus of the CUTE project took place on 5 May in Madrid, on the occasion of the world conference of the Union Internationale du Transport Public (UITP). The CUTE project aims to develop and demonstrate of an Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus system. It started on 23 November 2001 for a 55 month duration and is co-financed by the EU (€18,5 million for a total budget of €52 million). For Loyola de Palacio, European Commission vice-president in charge of transport and energy, who chaired this ceremony : "The CUTE project is one of the most innovating projects in transport and is observed world wide with great interest : it is part of our energy supply strategy which aims at reducing the emissions and decreasing our dependency". "The bus is the most visible part of the project, in particular for European citizens, but our efforts concentrate on all applications of hydrogen economy, in particular the production and supply infrastructure of hydrogen. For instance, we'll be able to deliver the first ever hydrogen-fuelling station of the world before the end of the year", she explained.

    [12] Launch of the negotiations of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community (6-8 May)

    On 6 May 2003, Chris Patten, European Commissioner for External Relations, opened the first round of negotiations of a new Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela). Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Patten stated : "Today marks an important step forward in our relations which will ultimately strengthen our political dialogue and expand our cooperation to new areas such as conflict prevention, drugs and good governance. I hope we can conclude the negotiations that we are opening here today by the end of the year". Commissioner Patten also referred to the shared belief about the merits of regional integration : "Politically, regional integration contributes to the stability of the region and fosters democracy and respect for human rights. In economic terms, as we have seen in Europe first-hand, integration means development and growth; we are ready to help others benefit from the same experience." Prior to the opening of the negotiations, Commissioner Patten and the Secretary General of the Andean Community Mr De Soto met bilaterally to review the bi-regional relationship and prospects for its evolution.

    [13] Third preliminary statement of the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Nigeria : State Houses of Assembly elections

    On 5 May, European External Commissioner Chris Patten declared : "I believe that the honest and professional assessment of the election process made by the European Union Electoral Observation Mission, will contribute to the process of strengthening democratic values in Nigeria and I would like to express my gratitude to the leader of the EU observers, MEP Max Van den Berg, and to his team for their excellent work. I hope that all legitimate complaints related to these elections will be dealt with according to the Nigerian legal system. I also hope that the recommendations made by the EU Mission will be taken into account with a view to improving the election framework in Nigeria for the future and to putting down ever deeper roots for Nigeria's democracy."

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


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