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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-05-21

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 lance un vaste débat sur l'avenir des services d'intérêt général en Europe
  • [02] Public Finances in 2003 : balancing the need for budgetary consolidation with the need to re-ignite recovery
  • [03] Audit of company accounts : Commission sets out ten priorities to improve quality and protect investors
  • [04] Company law and corporate governance : Commission presents Action Plan
  • [05] Commission fines Deutsche Telekom for charging anti-competitive tariffs for access to its local networks
  • [06] Commission adopts Action Plan to combat illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber
  • [07] Commission proposes new European Integration Partnerships for the Western Balkans
  • [08] Commission acts to safeguard the interests of the Institution and its staff in view of the allegations surrounding Eurostat
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [09] Reflection Group to discuss the role of religion in European integration and preview Nat Neujean exhibition in the company of President Prodi
  • [10] Mars 2003 : la production industrielle en baisse de 1,2% dans la zone euro et l'UE15
  • [11] March first estimates, February revised figures : Euro-zone external trade surplus €1.6 billion in March 2003 ; €7.2 billion deficit for EU15
  • [12] La politique communautaire de l'espace prend son essor : les dirigeants de l'UE discutent de l'avenir de la technologie spatiale
  • [13] Commission clears acquisition of Australian mining firm MIM by Xstrata
  • [14] Commission extends probe into DSM's acquisition of the vitamins and fine chemicals division of Roche
  • [15] David Byrne se félicite de l'accord politique au Conseil sur les édulcorants
  • [16] Permanent withdrawal of use of "konjac" (E425) in jelly confectionery confirmed
  • [17] Accord au Conseil sur les modalités du nouveau statut pour le personnel de l'UE
  • [18] Margot Wallström promotes new environmental partnership with the Union's Eastern neighbours at Kiev Conference
  • [19] Anna Diamantopoulou will meet Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political leaders, employer's organisations and trade unions
  • [20] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 21/05/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 21/05/2003[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission lance un vaste débat sur l'avenir des services d'intérêt général en Europe

    Sur la base d'un livre vert adopté aujourd'hui, la Commission européenne a l'intention d'organiser un débat sur le rôle de l'Union européenne dans la promotion de la fourniture de services publics de qualité. C'est la première fois que la Commission s'engage dans un réexamen complet de ses politiques en matière de services d'intérêt général. Dans son livre vert, la Commission reconnaît qu'il est nécessaire d'organiser un débat ouvert sur le rôle global de l'Union dans la définition des objectifs d'intérêt général poursuivis par ces services et sur la manière dont ils sont organisés, financés et évalués. Dans le même temps, elle réaffirme la contribution significative apportée par le marché intérieur et les règles de la concurrence à la modernisation et à l'amélioration de la qualité et de l'efficacité de nombreux services publics, au bénéfice des citoyens et des entreprises d'Europe. Dans ce contexte, le livre vert tient également compte de la mondialisation et de la libéralisation, et soulève aussi la question de savoir s'il convient de créer un cadre juridique général au niveau communautaire pour les services d'intérêt général.

    [02] Public Finances in 2003 : balancing the need for budgetary consolidation with the need to re-ignite recovery

    In a Communication on the state of public finances in EMU adopted today, the European Commission calls for a coherent medium-term strategy for the Union, which simultaneously tackles the problem of growing budgetary imbalances and the need to raise growth in line with the Lisbon strategy. The Commission's concern, which also applies to several accession countries, is that only part of the deterioration in budget positions is explained by the effects of the economic cycle. According to Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes : "It is essential that Member States implement the policy guidelines endorsed by the European Council in March which balance the need for budgetary consolidation with the need to re- ignite the recovery and strengthen growth potential. It is the combination of budgetary consolidation and structural reform which offers the best prospect for meeting the employment and growth goals of the Lisbon strategy. Difficult choices have to be made and there are no easy quick-fix solutions. However, I am encouraged by a renewed willingness to face up to deep-rooted structural problems, and a growing awareness of the need to prepare for the budgetary impact of ageing populations. It is no up to Member States to follow-through on ambitious reform plans."

    [03] Audit of company accounts : Commission sets out ten priorities to improve quality and protect investors

    The European Commission has proposed ten priorities for improving and harmonising the quality of statutory audit throughout the EU. The objectives are to ensure that investors and other interested parties can rely fully on the accuracy of audited accounts, to prevent conflicts of interest for auditors and to enhance the EU's protection against Enron-type scandals. The plan announces forthcoming proposals for new EU laws to radically overhaul existing legislation and to extend it. Once adopted, these proposals will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive set of EU rules on how audits should be conducted and on the audit infrastructure needed to safeguard audit quality. The plan is divided into short and medium-term priorities. Among the short-term ones are strengthening public oversight of auditors at Member State and EU level, requiring ISAs (International Standards on Auditing) for all EU statutory audits from 2005 and the creation of an EU Regulatory Committee on Audit, to complement the revised legislation and allow the speedy adoption of more detailed binding measures. The priorities on audit complement the Commission's wider action plan on company law and corporate governance, published simultaneously (see IP/03/716).

    [04] Company law and corporate governance : Commission presents Action Plan

    Strengthening shareholders rights, reinforcing protection for employees and creditors and increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of business are the main aims of an Action Plan on "Modernising Company Law and Enhancing Corporate Governance in the EU" just presented by the European Commission. It is based on a comprehensive and prioritised set of proposals for action, covering several years. The Action Plan devotes special attention to a series of corporate governance initiatives aiming at boosting confidence on capital markets. The Plan is open to public consultation for three months. The Commission will publish a synthesis of the comments received which will be given adequate consideration The Commission intends to launch some initiatives this year or early next year. Simultaneously with the Action Plan, the Commission has published ten priorities for improving and harmonising the quality of statutory audit throughout the EU (see IP/03/715).

    [05] Commission fines Deutsche Telekom for charging anti-competitive tariffs for access to its local networks

    The European Commission has adopted a decision against Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) for abusing its dominant position through unfair prices for the provision of local access to its fixed telecommunications network (local loops). The Commission has found that DT charges new entrants higher fees for wholesale access to the local loop than what DT's subscribers pay for fixed line subscriptions. This discourages new companies from entering the market and reduces the choice of suppliers of telecoms services as well as price competition for consumers. The Commission's action stems from complaints by numerous new entrants in the German telecommunications market. In line with the gravity and duration of the abuse, the Commission levies a fine of €12.6 million.

    [06] Commission adopts Action Plan to combat illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber

    The European Commission has unveiled an Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to combat the growing problem of illegal logging and the related trade in illegally harvested timber. Measures set out in this Plan include support for improved governance in wood-producing countries, voluntary partnerships with wood-producing countries to ensure only legally harvested timber enters the EU market, and efforts to develop international collaboration to combat the trade in illegally harvested timber.

    [07] Commission proposes new European Integration Partnerships for the Western Balkans

    The European Commission has approved a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the Western Balkans and European Integration. The Communication proposes to enrich current policies towards the region with elements taken from the Enlargement process, reinforcing the ultimate goal of extending membership of the EU to the Western Balkans. The Stabilisation and Association process (SAp), the current framework for relations with the region, will remain the cornerstone of policy towards the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro), but it will be given a new dimension through the addition of elements that have proved successful with candidates for EU membership. These include the introduction of European Integration Partnerships, enhanced support for institution building, through "twinning" programmes and reinforced technical assistance, improved political cooperation and the possibility for the countries of the Western Balkans to participate in some EU programmes. The Communication is intended as a contribution to the EU- Western Balkans Summit to be held in Thessaloniki on 21st June.

    [08] Commission acts to safeguard the interests of the Institution and its staff in view of the allegations surrounding Eurostat

    The European Commission has reviewed the situation created by the allegations surrounding the EU's statistical office, Eurostat. In this context, it has adopted four measures to safeguard the interests of the Institution and its staff.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [09] Reflection Group to discuss the role of religion in European integration and preview Nat Neujean exhibition in the company of President Prodi

    Identify the spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions that Europe will rely on for its future unity: that is the arduous task President Prodi has set the Reflection Group on the Spiritual and Cultural Dimension of Europe. As the European Convention gears up to present its draft Constitution, the need to identify the values around which Europe can build its political unity has become a burning issue. At today's meeting the Group will tackle this issue from the particular angle of the role played by religion in the European integration process.

    [10] Mars 2003 : la production industrielle en baisse de 1,2% dans la zone euro et l'UE15

    La production industrielle de la zone euro, ajustée des variations saisonnières, a baissé de 1,2% au mois de mars 2003 par rapport au mois de février 2003, selon les estimations publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat. La production industrielle avait augmenté de 0,4% en février 2003 et de 1,1% en janvier 2003. La production de l'UE15 a baissé de 1,2% en mars 2003, après des hausses de 0,4% en février et de 1,0% en janvier. En mars 2003 par rapport à mars 2002, la production industrielle a baissé de 0,3% dans la zone euro et de 0,6% dans l'UE15.

    [11] March first estimates, February revised figures : Euro-zone external trade surplus €1.6 billion in March 2003 ; €7.2 billion deficit for EU15

    According to Eurostat, the first estimate for euro-zone trade with the rest of the world in March 2003 was a €1.6 billion surplus, against +11.0 billion in March 2002. The February 2003 balance was +5.2 billion, compared with +7.0 billionn in February 2002. The first estimate for March 2003 extra-EU15 trade was a €7.2 billion deficit, against a surplus of 2.5 billion in March 2002. In February 2003, the revised balance was -3.2 billion, compared with -1.4 billion in February 2002.

    [12] La politique communautaire de l'espace prend son essor : les dirigeants de l'UE discutent de l'avenir de la technologie spatiale

    Les principaux responsables chargés d'orienter l'avenir de l'Europe dans le domaine spatial se sont réunis hier à Londres pour débattre de la manière d'asseoir l'hégémonie de l'Europe en ce qui concerne le développement de la technologie spatiale. Philippe Busquin, membre de la Commission responsable de la recherche, Lord Sainsbury, ministre des sciences et de l'innovation du Royaume-Uni, et Antonio Rodotà, directeur général de l'Agence spatiale européenne, ont pris la parole devant plus de 350 représentants des gouvernements, de l'industrie et de la recherche. Cette réunion entre dans le cadre d'une série de consultations sur la politique spatiale européenne qui fait suite à la publication du Livre vert de l'UE sur l'espace. La consultation s'achèvera par une grande conférence qui aura lieu à Paris les 23 et 24 juin, en vue de préparer un livre blanc et un programme d'action détaillé d'ici la fin de 2003. La conférence organisée hier portait spécifiquement sur la manière dont l'activité de R&D dans le domaine spatial pouvait déboucher sur des applications concrètes et des produits commerciaux dans un grand nombre de secteurs, comme les télécommunications, la navigation et la localisation et l'observation de la Terre.

    [13] Commission clears acquisition of Australian mining firm MIM by Xstrata

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of full control of MIM Holdings Limited by Switzerland's Xstrata plc, controlled by Glencore International AG. MIM Holdings is an Australian-based mining and mineral processing company which produces copper, coal, lead, zinc, silver and gold in Australia, the UK and Argentina. (The operation, notified on 08 April 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [14] Commission extends probe into DSM's acquisition of the vitamins and fine chemicals division of Roche

    The European Commission has launched a detailed investigation into the planned acquisition of the Vitamins and Fine Chemicals division of Swiss company Roche by Dutch-based company DSM. At this stage of the investigation, the Commission has competition concerns in the market for feed enzymes, which are animal feed additives and only a small part of the overall transaction. During the first-phase review, the parties have submitted a package of undertakings, which will be considered further during the detailed evaluation. The decision to start an in-depth review does not prejudge the final outcome in a merger.

    [15] David Byrne se félicite de l'accord politique au Conseil sur les édulcorants

    Le 19 mai, le Conseil a atteint un accord politique appuyant la proposition de la Commission européenne visant à autoriser l'utilisation de deux nouveaux édulcorants intenses (le sucralose et un sel d'aspartame- acesulfame) dans l'Union européenne et à réduire l'emploi du cyclamate.

    [16] Permanent withdrawal of use of "konjac" (E425) in jelly confectionery confirmed

    Due to the risk of potentially fatal choking, the Council adopted on 19th May 2003 the European Commission proposal to revise Directive 95/2/EC, permanently withdrawing the authorisation for use of the additive E425 konjac in jelly confectionery, including so-called "jelly mini-cups". This follows emergency measures by the Commission in March 2002 that suspended the placing on the market and import of jelly confectionery containing E425 konjac. The temporary ban remains in force until the permanent ban replaces it, 20 days after publication of the Directive in the Official Journal of the EU. Konjac is used as a gelling agent and thickener in food products. The Commission proposal to withdraw authorisation for konjac in jelly confectionery was made to protect consumer health, particularly for children, following the death of children in the USA and Canada due to choking on jelly mini-cups containing konjac. The jelly mini-cups containing konjac are considered to constitute a risk because of their shape and form, as well as the chemical and physical properties of konjac.

    [17] Accord au Conseil sur les modalités du nouveau statut pour le personnel de l'UE

    Le 19 mai, le Conseil est parvenu à un accord politique sur les propositions détaillées relatives au nouveau statut des institutions de l'UE, en particulier sur les questions des traitements et des pensions. Le compromis adopté respecte tous les principes et objectifs fixés par la Commission européenne. Il permettra de réaliser d'importantes économies et la Commission restera en mesure de recruter du personnel hautement qualifié en garantissant le maintien des niveaux de rémunération globale et un système modernisé dans tous les domaines de la politique du personnel. Cet accord ouvre la voie à l'adoption formelle du statut révisé pour la fin de l'année et à sa mise en œuvre complète avant le prochain élargissement de l'Union, qui aura lieu le 1er mai 2004.

    [18] Margot Wallström promotes new environmental partnership with the Union's Eastern neighbours at Kiev Conference

    European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström will lead the European Union delegation together with Greek Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou at the Conference on pan-European environmental cooperation, which takes place in Kiev on 21-23 May 2003. Ms Wallström will promote the strategy adopted by the Commission earlier this year for pan-European environmental cooperation fitting with the new political landscape that will be a reality with EU enlargement. The strategy renews the Commission's commitment to bilateral environmental cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans and the New Independent States (NIS). The Kiev Conference will set out the roadmap for future European cooperation in the era after enlargement of the European Union. On this occasion, Ministers will assess the "Environment for Europe" process launched in 1991 after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and discuss future environmental cooperation.

    [19] Anna Diamantopoulou will meet Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political leaders, employer's organisations and trade unions

    Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs will be visiting Cyprus on 22-23 May 2003. During her visit the Commissioner will meet, among other senior political figures, with the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. She will also meet with the leaders of all the main political parties including the Turkish Cypriot ones. She will also receive Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives of employers ; organisations and trade unions. The Commissioner will address the opening ceremony of the 28th Cyprus International Fair and speak to a conference organised by the Cyprus Federation of Business and Professional Women.

    [20] Autre matériel diffusé

    Note sur les résultats du Conseil Compétitivité

    Discours de M. Barnier : "Les régions ultra périphériques" aux rencontres Upec/Commission RUP (19/05)

    Speech by Viviane Reding : "Making the EU a prominent figure in the World Education Market" at the opening of the World Education Market (20/05, Lisbon)

    Discours de Mme Reding : "Une idée et une stratégie pour l'audiovisuel la perspective européenne" à la Conférence internationale 'L'audiovisuel portugais et la transition vers le numérique' (OBERCOM) (20/05, Lisbonne)

    Discours de Mme de Palacio : "Avancées concrètes dans le dialogue énergétique euro méditerranéen" à la 3ème Conférence Ministérielle Euro Méditerranéenne de l'Energie (Athènes, )

    Discours de Mme de Palacio : "Priorités pour le partenariat énergétique euro-méditerranéen" à la 3ème Conférence Ministérielle Euro Méditerranéenne de l'Energie (Athènes, )

    Speech by Margot Wallström : "Implementing the Kyoto Protocol: Where do we stand today?" at the 1st Brussels Climate Change Conference (20/05, CEPS)


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


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