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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-01-02

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] Air transport : airlines asked to explain price discrimination practices
  • [02] New rights for air passengers approved by the European Parliament : "a major step ahead", says European Commission
  • [03] Budget 2004 de l'UE : un budget historique pour l'année de l'élargissement
  • [04] Commission approves Celestica's acquisition of Manufacturers' Services
  • [05] Commission clears acquisition of Kraton by TPG and JPMP
  • [06] Commission suspects TeliaSonera (Sweden) of having abused its dominant position in the provision of high-speed Internet access
  • [07] State aid for R&D favouring small and medium-sized enterprises exempted from requirement of prior notification
  • [08] First Commission decision on restructuring of Czech bank
  • [09] Qualifications professionnelles : la Commission décide de saisir la France devant la Cour concernant les guides touristiques européens
  • [10] Revision of TSE testing in sheep and goats
  • [11] Soutien aux PME : la Commission ouvre 28 Euro Info Centres
  • [12] EU-US : EU annual report on US Trade Barriers stresses need for enhanced cooperation
  • [13] €2 million in support of transparent and efficient elections in Georgia
  • [14] Commission grants €1.4 billion to combat poverty in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific
  • [15] Iran : Commission welcomes Iran's signature of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • [16] Commission and China wish to reinforce cooperation in the fields of culture, audiovisual, education, training, youth and sport
  • [17] October 2003 : Euro-zone external trade surplus €9.7 billion ; €2.2 billion surplus for EU15
  • [18] Commerce extérieur : arbres de Noël, jouets, parfums, vins mousseux - le commerce des produits de Noël
  • [19] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 19/12/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 19/12/2003

  • [01] Air transport : airlines asked to explain price discrimination practices

    The European Commission services have written today to 18 European airlines, asking them if and why they charge different prices for identical flights to residents of different EU countries. Airlines have until the end of February 2004 to react.

    [02] New rights for air passengers approved by the European Parliament : "a major step ahead", says European Commission

    On 18 December, Loyola de Palacio, European Commission vice-president in charge of transport and energy, welcomed the vote in the European parliament adopting the proposal of regulation to protect the rights of air passengers when facing denied boarding, cancellation of their flight or a long delay. "This is a big step ahead in our effort to put the citizens at the heart of EU policies", she said. "Too many times, air passengers are victims of practices which deserve that they receive a fair treatment and proper compensation : this agreement paves the way for completing and strengthening the existing rights", she added. European Parliament plenary session has confirmed the conciliation agreement with 467 votes in favour, 4 against and 13 abstentions. The Council will have to adopt it definitively. The new rule should enter into force in 2005. Loyola de Palacio concluded : "As we did in the past, the European Commission will ensure that the passengers are informed of their new rights and a proper information will be given in all airports."

    [03] Budget 2004 de l'UE : un budget historique pour l'année de l'élargissement

    Le 18 décembre, le Parlement européen a adopté le budget 2004 de l'UE à une large majorité. Si le budget officiellement adopté s'applique aux 15 Etats membres de l'UE, un accord politique a déjà été conclu sur le financement de l'Union élargie après mai 2004. Pour 25 Etats membres, ce budget représente moins de 1% du revenu national brut de l'UE. Mme Michaele Schreyer, Commissaire chargée chargé du Budget, a salué ce résultat : "Le budget 2004 est historique, il s'agit du premier budget de l'Union élargie, et du premier qui soit établi selon la nouvelle structure reposant sur les activités. De plus, il se situe à un niveau historiquement bas, ce qui montre que les craintes au sujet d'une explosion du budget due à l'élargissement étaient infondées. Pourtant, il est également clair qu'en dépit de la rigueur budgétaire, nous devons répondre aux attentes et remplir les obligations découlant de l'introduction progressive des dépenses en faveur des nouveaux Etats membres." Mme Schreyer a remercié le Parlement européen et le Conseil pour leur excellente coopération, en particulier les rapporteurs, M. Mulder et Mme Gill, et le président, M. Wynn. "Le budget 2004 illustre à quel point la coopération entre les institutions, au sein du Conseil et de l'UE, peut être excellente. Du côté budgétaire, l'élargissement est bien préparé."

    [04] Commission approves Celestica's acquisition of Manufacturers' Services

    The European Commission has authorised the merger between Celestica and Manufacturers' Services, two companies active worldwide in the market for electronic manufacturing services (EMS)

    [05] Commission clears acquisition of Kraton by TPG and JPMP

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of the US undertaking Kraton Polymers LLC, a producer of thermoplastic elastomers, by the US undertakings Texas Pacific Group Advisors III, Inc (TPG), and JPMP Capital Corp, which belongs to the J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Group. (The operation, notified on 20 November 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure)

    [06] Commission suspects TeliaSonera (Sweden) of having abused its dominant position in the provision of high-speed Internet access

    Today, the European Commission has sent a so-called statement of objections to TeliaSonera AB. The statement concerns a contract for the construction and operation of a fibre-optic broadband network for the provision of high- speed Internet access and other services on behalf of HSB Malmö, a regional housing association. The Commission takes the view that TeliaSonera's bid for that contract was intentionally set below cost and did not allow the operator to recover the investments and expenses derived from the provision of infrastructures and services contained in the contract. By setting such a low price, TeliaSonera prevented the development of alternative infrastructure and the entry of competing service providers. TeliaSonera thereby strengthened its dominant positions in the markets for the provision of local broadband infrastructure and the provision of high-speed Internet access.

    [07] State aid for R&D favouring small and medium-sized enterprises exempted from requirement of prior notification

    The main thrust of the amendments is twofold. As of 1 January 2005 the new definition of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) - adopted earlier this year - will be integrated into the European Commission regulations on training aid and on aid to SMEs. In addition, the scope of the Commission regulation that governs State aid for research and development (R&D) will be extended to cover such aid in favour of SMEs.

    [08] First Commission decision on restructuring of Czech bank

    In its first decision according to the so-called interim mechanism procedure provided for in Annex IV.3 of the Act of Accession, the European Commission concludes that none of the measures notified by the Czech authorities in favour of Komercni banka a.s. (KB) are "applicable after accession". This implies that the Commission may no longer assess the competitive impact of the measures after accession. KB is a Czech bank formerly owned by the Czech State.

    [09] Qualifications professionnelles : la Commission décide de saisir la France devant la Cour concernant les guides touristiques européens

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour du justice pour mettre fin aux difficultés administratives importantes que risquent de rencontrer en France les guides touristiques en possession de qualifications professionnelles obtenues dans un autre Etat membre. Ces problèmes découlent du fait que la France n'a pas correctement appliqué deux Directives européennes relatives à la reconnaissance des qualifications professionnelles.

    [10] Revision of TSE testing in sheep and goats

    The European Commission has adopted an amendment to the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) Regulation , easing the heightened level of testing for TSEs in sheep and goats in the EU. TSEs are a family of diseases characterised by a degeneration of brain tissue which include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and scrapie in sheep. Testing was introduced in 2002 to provide more information on the level of TSEs in the EU sheep and goat population. This target has now been achieved and future surveillance will be focused on specific target groups.

    [11] Soutien aux PME : la Commission ouvre 28 Euro Info Centres

    Les petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) seront plus nombreuses à bénéficier des services du réseau d'Euro Info Centres grâce à l'ouverture de 28 bureaux dans 14 pays avant la fin 2003. Ceci constitue une avancée considérable vers l'objectif d'une couverture exhaustive du territoire européen. Le réseau EIC, qui compte désormais 321 bureaux répartis dans 42 pays, fournit des services d'information, d'assistance et de conseil pour aider les PME à se développer et à étendre leurs activités au-delà des frontières.

    [12] EU-US : EU annual report on US Trade Barriers stresses need for enhanced cooperation

    The European Commission today released its nineteenth annual report on barriers to trade and investment in the US, detailing the obstacles that EU exporters and investors face in the US. It highlights those obstacles which the EU believes are affecting the legitimate rights of EU companies to conduct trade with the US. Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "Although the vast majority of transatlantic trade passes unhindered, we need to review regularly those obstacles which exist and pursue action to remove them. This will ensure that business on both sides of the Atlantic benefit from clearer, more transparent trading conditions. This is also why we need to advance in the Positive Economic Agenda adopted in May 2002."

    [13] €2 million in support of transparent and efficient elections in Georgia

    The European Commission has decided today to make available €2 million under its Rapid Reaction Mechanism in support of the Presidential Elections of 4 January and the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia. The Commission will support electoral assistance in Georgia conducted by specialised international agencies (UNDP in coordination with the OSCE), in order to help enhance the transparency, credibility and legitimacy of the elections. Elections conducted in line with international standards are likely to have a stabilising influence on the situation in Georgia.

    [14] Commission grants €1.4 billion to combat poverty in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific

    In line with its priority to support the eradication of poverty in developing countries, the European Commission has adopted a package of development programmes for countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) worth €1.4 billion. These measures reflect the EU commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and to the Cotonou Agreement priorities.

    [15] Iran : Commission welcomes Iran's signature of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

    The European Commission warmly welcomes the signature by Iran of the Additional Protocol to the 1986 Non Proliferation Treaty. The signature of the Additional Protocol (AP) constitutes an important step towards Iran's full and prompt compliance with its international obligations under the non- proliferation regime.

    [16] Commission and China wish to reinforce cooperation in the fields of culture, audiovisual, education, training, youth and sport

    European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Viviane Reding, and the People's Republic of China Minister for Culture Sun Jiazheng, have declared today their willingness to strengthen cooperation between the European Commission and People's Republic of China in the fields of culture, audiovisual, education, training, youth and sport. They made this declaration in a ceremony concluding a three-day official visit of Commissioner Reding in China.

    [17] October 2003 : Euro-zone external trade surplus €9.7 billion ; €2.2 billion surplus for EU15

    According to Eurostat, the first estimate for euro-zone trade with the rest of the world in October 2003 was a €9.7 billion surplus, the same as in October 2002. The September 2003 balance was +9.2 billion, the same as in September 2002. In October 2003, exports, seasonally adjusted, fell by 0.6% compared to September 2003 while imports rose by 0.9%. The first estimate for October 2003 extra-EU15 trade was a €2.2 billion surplus, compared with +1.4 billion in October 2002. In September 2003, the balance was +0.5 billion, compared with +1.4 billion in September 2002. In October 2003, exports, seasonally adjusted, decreased by 0.3% compared to September 2003 while imports remained stable.

    [18] Commerce extérieur : arbres de Noël, jouets, parfums, vins mousseux - le commerce des produits de Noël

    A l'approche des fêtes de fin d'année, Eurostat publie quelques données sur le commerce extérieur des produits de Noël tels que : arbres de Noël, vins mousseux, dindes, cadeaux tels que jouets, parfums, etc. L'UE est un importateur net de jouets en provenance du reste du monde. Les importations extra-UE de jouets ont doublé entre 1995 et 2002, passant de 5,8 milliards d'€ à 11,5 milliards. La France est de loin le plus grand exportateur de vins mousseux et de parfums, et le Danemark le premier exportateur d'arbres de Noël.

    [19] Autre matériel diffusé

    Déclaration de M. Fischler à l'issue du Conseil Pêche Note sur la préparation du Conseil Environnement Calendrier du 22 décembre 2003 au 9 janvier 2004

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


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