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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-01-29

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] Romano Prodi to receive award in Vienna from the Rabbinical Center of Europe
  • [02] Directives "Oiseaux sauvages" et "Habitats" : la Commission intente une action contre huit Etats membres
  • [03] Towards the first European Parliament "enlarged elections" : participation of a further one million EU citizens living in outside their home country successfully guaranteed
  • [04] L'UE décide d'exercer un contrôle accru sur les avions des pays tiers
  • [05] Avian influenza : EU expert flies to Vietnam
  • [06] EU reduces the 100% testing requirement for imports of poultry meat from Brazil to 20%
  • [07] EU suspends imports of pet birds from South East Asia
  • [08] Quarterly data on price and cost competitiveness of the European Union and its Member States
  • [09] December 2003 Monthly note on the euro-denominated bond markets
  • [10] La Commission accueille un séminaire ministériel concernant le Fonds social européen
  • [11] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 29/01/2004 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 29/01/2004

  • [01] Romano Prodi to receive award in Vienna from the Rabbinical Center of Europe

    Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, will join in Vienna the Convention of the Rabbinical Center of Europe. On February 2, 2004 President Prodi will receive a humanitarian achievement award from the Rabbinical Center of Europe for his ongoing efforts throughout his administration to promote cultural dialogue and to protect the rights of minorities, and for his engagement with the diversity of cultures in Europe and of the Jewish community in particular, as said by the organizers.

    [02] Directives "Oiseaux sauvages" et "Habitats" : la Commission intente une action contre huit Etats membres

    La Commission européenne intente une action judiciaire contre huit Etats membres afin de protéger et de maintenir la biodiversité en Europe. Les Etats membres en cause sont le Luxembourg, la Belgique, l'Italie, l'Autriche, l'Espagne, l'Irlande, la Grèce et le Royaume-Uni. Ces Etats membres, de manières diverses, n'ont pas suffisamment assuré la protection des oiseaux, des habitats et des espèces sauvages protégés en vertu des directives européennes "Habitats" et "Oiseaux sauvages". La Belgique, le Luxembourg et l'Italie sont invités à se conformer à des arrêts antérieurs de la Cour. A défaut, ils pourraient se voir infliger des amendes importantes. L'Espagne, l'Irlande, l'Autriche et la Grèce doivent être renvoyée devant la Cour de Justice pour un certain nombre d'infractions à ces deux directives.

    [03] Towards the first European Parliament "enlarged elections" : participation of a further one million EU citizens living in outside their home country successfully guaranteed

    The follow up for the European Commission Communication on participation of all EU citizens to the 2004 European parliamentary elections confirms that the Member States have taken measures for early electoral registration of all EU citizens, including nationals of ten new Member States. This guarantees that they can vote and stand as a candidate in the June elections also when living outside their home country.

    [04] L'UE décide d'exercer un contrôle accru sur les avions des pays tiers

    Loyola de Palacio, vice-présidente de la Commission européenne, en charge des transports et de l'énergie, a salué l'accord obtenu entre le Parlement européen et le Conseil sur un système de contrôle des avions des pays tiers empruntant des aéroports communautaires. Cet accord, trouvé à l'issue d'une procédure de conciliation entre les deux institutions le 27 janvier à Bruxelles, constitue un changement majeur et permettra d'assurer une plus grande sécurité dans le transport aérien. Il établit un système de contrôle et d'échanges d'informations sur les avions des pays tiers qui garantit une information précise et fiable diffusée à l'ensemble des Etats de l'UE et la Commission. Sur cette base, la Commission publiera chaque année un rapport sur les inspections et pourra décider d'étendre à l'ensemble de l'UE une interdiction prononcée dans un pays. "La sécurité est une priorité majeure de la Commission dans tous les domaines du transport : cette nouvelle législation va garantir davantage d'information, de transparence et permettre des décisions communes pour protéger l'Union européenne des avions dangereux", a souligné Loyola de Palacio. "D'autres propositions suivront afin de mieux contrôler et de donner aux citoyens les informations auxquelles ils ont droit. Mais nous serons également vigilants pour l'application stricte et rigoureuse de cette nouvelle législation par les Etats membres", a-t-elle annoncé.

    [05] Avian influenza : EU expert flies to Vietnam

    A European Union animal health expert is today flying to Vietnam to help control the avian influenza outbreak there. The EU expert is being dispatched in response to a call by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for international assistance in tackling the spread of the disease in several Asian countries (see IP/04/64 + http://www.who.int/mediacentre/releases/2004/pr7/en/). He will work with the Vietnamese authorities as part of a WHO lead team and provide advice on how to eradicate the disease from the country's poultry farms. Avian influenza, so-called "bird flu", is highly contagious amongst chickens and other birds but is usually difficult for humans to catch. Nonetheless, a total of eight people have died of the disease during the current outbreak in Asia, six of them in Vietnam. The WHO has warned of the danger of the virus evolving into a highly contagious strain of human influenza. For the moment, though, contact with inflected birds is the only way for humans to catch the virus and so containing the disease in the animal population is the focus of efforts by government and international organisations. As well as the outbreak in Vietnam, cases of avian influenza have been confirmed in Cambodia, China, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea. The EU does not import poultry or poultry meat from any of the countries hit by the outbreak, other than Thailand. Imports of poultry products from Thailand into the EU were suspended after confirmation of the outbreak there (see IP/04/95). Further information on avian influenza and animal health: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/avian_en.htm and on avian influenza and humans: http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_threats/com/Influenza/avian_influenza_en.htm

    [06] EU reduces the 100% testing requirement for imports of poultry meat from Brazil to 20%

    Since October 2002, all consignments of poultry meat and poultry meat products from Brazil to the EU had to be tested for the presence of residues of nitrofurane, since this substance had been detected in imported products from this country (see IP/02/1351). Yesterday, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health agreed on a European Commission proposal to reduce the frequency of the checks in the Member States to 20% of the consignments. The proposal will now be adopted by the Commission and enter into force in the coming weeks. The testing was reduced because the action plan, put in place by the Brazilian authorities to address the deficiencies, has been implemented and enforced efficiently according to a mission report of the Food and Veterinary Office. Furthermore, the results of the checks carried out by Member States have shown a major improvement in the situation : no notification of nitrofuran in poultry meat or poultry meat products has been reported since August 2003.

    [07] EU suspends imports of pet birds from South East Asia

    The Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health, representing the Member States, has agreed to a proposal from the European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne to suspend imports of pet birds to provide maximum assurance following a detailed discussion with the Member States of the emerging situation in South East Asia. This move is in order to exclude any possible risk for avian influenza virus occurrence in quarantine stations in the Member States. Imports have been suspended from Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Pakistan, People's Republic of China including the territory of Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam with immediate effect. The birds concerned include exotic tropical birds such as parrots, cockatoos, finches, budgerigars, hawks and falcons.

    [08] Quarterly data on price and cost competitiveness of the European Union and its Member States

    According to the fourth quarter 2003 report carried out by the European Commission's Directorate General of Economic and Financial Affairs, during the fourth quarter of 2003, the euro appreciated against most major currencies. On average, the euro gained 10% against the US dollar, 3% against the Japanese yen, 1% against the pound sterling, and ½% against the Swiss franc. All in all, the nominal effective exchange rate of the euro against the currencies of 12 industrialised countries appreciated by around 4% during the fourth quarter, leaving it at 9% above its inception level. The appreciation of the euro exchange rate led to a weakening of the cost competitiveness of euro area producers (based on ULCE and measured against 12 industrialised countries) of about 2% in the fourth quarter. Compared to one year ago, cost competitiveness of the euro area producers fell by 10%. In a long-term perspective, the current euro area competitiveness position is only 2% below its 1980-2002 average. Full document is available on : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/priceandcostcompetiteveness_en.htm

    [09] December 2003 Monthly note on the euro-denominated bond markets

    The continuing appreciation of the euro against the US dollar in December weighed on euro-area growth prospects in 2004 and fuelled market expectations of a further easing of monetary policy by the ECB. Accordingly, the euro yield curve shifted slightly downward and became a little steeper, with the 2-year/10-year spread increasing from about 165 to 175 basis points. Total issuance of euro-denominated bonds declined significantly to €85 billion from €116 billion in November. The relative inactivity of public-sector issuers meant that the composition of issuance diverged significantly from the 12-month average. The main characteristics were a low share of central government bonds (22%) and a relatively high share bonds issued by financial institutions (30%). The other main characteristic of issuance in December was a high share of floating rate notes (38%), reflecting the increased share of bonds issued by financial institutions and ABS. Full document is available on : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/bondmarkets_en.htm

    [10] La Commission accueille un séminaire ministériel concernant le Fonds social européen

    La Commission européenne tiendra, les 29 et 30 janvier 2004, avec les ministres des Etats membres actuels et futurs, un séminaire sur le Fonds social européen. Cette réunion a pour but d'examiner les résultats de la série de séminaires nationaux tenus en 2003 et d'en tirer des enseignements pour l'avenir, à mi-parcours de la période de programmation 2000-2006. Les ministres se pencheront aussi sur l'avenir de l'investissement dans le capital humain et du FSE.

    [11] Autre matériel diffusé

    Qu'est-ce que le Fonds social européen?

    Déclaration de M. Barnier sur la Constitution européenne au Parlement européen (28/01)

    Statement by Mario Monti on changes in Italian insolvency laws (Marzano decree) (28/01)


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


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