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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-03-16

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] Préparer l'avenir et valoriser le passé : la Commission adopte une Communication sur le cinéma européen
  • [02] Audit of company accounts : Commission proposes Directive to combat fraud and malpractice
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [03] EU-Canada Summit set to make relations deeper, more action oriented
  • [04] EUROPA site moves to 20 languages
  • [05] La Commission autorise sous conditions l'acquisition par Air Liquide des activités de Messer en Allemagne, au Royaume-Uni et aux Etats-Unis
  • [06] Europe at the forefront in research on solar, wave and geothermal energies
  • [07] First notification of deficit and debt data for 2003 : Euro-zone government deficit at 2.7% of GDP and public debt at 70.4% of GDP
  • [08] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 16/03/2004 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 16/03/2004[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Préparer l'avenir et valoriser le passé : la Commission adopte une Communication sur le cinéma européen

    La Commission européenne a adopté une Communication qui s'inscrit dans le prolongement de sa Communication du 26 septembre 2001. Ce nouveau texte, d'une part, étend jusqu'au 30 juin 2007 le régime d'aides publiques au secteur audiovisuel et, d'autre part, propose l'adoption d'une Recommandation du Parlement européen et du Conseil sur le patrimoine cinématographique. Adoptée sur proposition de Viviane Reding, Commissaire en charge de l'Education et de la Culture, en accord avec Mario Monti, Commissaire en charge de la Concurrence, cette Communication est aussi le résultat de plusieurs mois de consultations avec les Etats membres et les professionnels du secteur.

    [02] Audit of company accounts : Commission proposes Directive to combat fraud and malpractice

    The European Commission has proposed a new Directive on statutory audit in the EU. The objectives are to ensure that investors and other interested parties can rely fully on the accuracy of audited accounts and to enhance the EU's protection against the type of scandals that recently occurred in companies such as Parmalat and Ahold. The proposed Directive would clarify the duties of statutory auditors and set out certain ethical principles to ensure their objectivity and independence, for example where audit firms are also providing their clients with other services. It would introduce a requirement for external quality assurance, ensure robust public oversight over the audit profession and improve cooperation between regulatory authorities in the EU. It would allow for swift European regulatory responses to new developments by creating an audit regulatory committee of Member State representatives, so that detailed measures implementing the Directive could be rapidly taken or modified. The proposal also foresees the use of international standards on auditing for all statutory audits conducted in the EU and provides a basis for balanced and effective international regulatory cooperation with third country regulators such as the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The proposal will now be sent to the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for adoption under the so-called co-decision procedure.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [03] EU-Canada Summit set to make relations deeper, more action oriented

    On 18 March 2004 the EU and Canada will meet for the first Summit to be held with the new Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in Ottawa, opening a new chapter in EU-Canada relations. The European Commission will be represented by Commission President Romano Prodi and Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. Further, the Irish Prime Minister and EU-President in office, Taioseach Bertie Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, and Trade Minister Michael Ahern, as well as Secretary General of the Council and EU High Representative, Javier Solana will participate. Eneko Landaburu, Director-General for External Relations will represent Commissioner Chris Patten. At the Summit European and Canadian leaders will launch two major new initiatives : the EU-Canada Partnership Agenda, and the design of a new bilateral Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement (TIEA) which identifies the areas and main objectives of future negotiations. "These initiatives cement the close ties between the EU and Canada. They will extend our cooperation into new areas and move our relationship up a rung. We already agree on so much: now it is time to translate that partnership into action", President Prodi commented before heading for Ottawa.

    [04] EUROPA site moves to 20 languages

    European Commission President Romano Prodi and the 10 Commissioners- designate launched a first wave of websites on the European Union in the languages of the new Member States today. At the end of the first informal meeting of the enlarged College, President Prodi stressed the right of each and every EU citizen to be informed about the major decisions of the Union in their own language. He said : "The EU needs the support of its citizens, and to have that, it must show respect for their cultural identities and their diversity. The ability for EU citizens to interact with the European Institutions in their language is a fundamental prerequisite of a democratic Europe."

    [05] La Commission autorise sous conditions l'acquisition par Air Liquide des activités de Messer en Allemagne, au Royaume-Uni et aux Etats-Unis

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application du règlement sur les concentrations, l'acquisition par l'entreprise française de gaz industriels Air Liquide des activités du groupe Messer en Allemagne, au Royaume-Uni et aux Etats-Unis. La Commission craignait que l'acquisition n'eût pour conséquence une augmentation des prix pour les entreprises consommatrices de gaz industriels, en particulier en Allemagne où Air Liquide aurait eu une très forte position. Mais l'entreprise a offert des cessions significatives qui ont permis d'autoriser l'opération sans qu'il soit nécessaire d'ouvrir une enquête approfondie.

    [06] Europe at the forefront in research on solar, wave and geothermal energies

    Today at the "Solar platform" test site in Almeria (Spain) the European Commission presented the state of play on its research programmes in alternative energy sources, including solar thermal, wave and geothermal energy. World energy consumption will double over the next 50 years, with Europe currently depending heavily on foreign energy sources. Currently, 41% of EU energy consumption is based on oil, followed by gas (23%), coal (15%), nuclear (15%) and only 6% is based on renewable energies. The threat of global climate change and the warnings about energy security will force Europe to drastically change and diversify its sources of supply, relying more and more on renewable energy. The EU has set out a strategy to double the share of renewable energy, from the present 6% to 12% by 2010. Within its 6th Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006) the EU will devote €810 million to renewable energy sources. The projects showcased today include "European Hot Dry Rock" using geothermal energy, "Wave Dragon" using wave energy, and "Sol Air" using solar thermal.

    [07] First notification of deficit and debt data for 2003 : Euro-zone government deficit at 2.7% of GDP and public debt at 70.4% of GDP

    In 2003, the government deficit and debt of both the euro-zone and the EU15 worsened compared to 2002. These results are based on the data on government deficit and debt for 2003 transmitted by the EU15 Member States to the European Commission (first notification, based on the ESA95 system of national accounts. The data, verified by Eurostat, are consistent with Eurostat decisions, including the recent decisions on the treatment of payments in the context of transfers to the government of pension obligations, the treatment of public-private partnerships and capital injections into public corporations. However, Eurostat's recent decision on the classification of funded pension schemes in the case of government responsibility or guarantee has not been taken into account in this notification. The consequences of this decision, which could lead to a revision of the deficit and debt data in some countries, will be assessed on a case by case basis in time for the second 2003 notification.

    [08] Autre matériel diffusé

    Commission proposal for a Directive on statutory audit: frequently asked questions

    Enlargement and institutional changes

    David Byrne visits the US to discuss food safety and public and animal health issues

    Speech by Pascal Lamy : "The EU, China and Trade: challenges and opportunities ahead" at EU Chamber of Commerce (15/03, Shangai)

    Speech by Chris Patten : "The EU and Central Asia" (15/03, Almaty)

    Speech by Franz Fischler : "Bulgaria and the EU" at the la National and International Economic University (Sofia)

    Speech by Franz Fischler : "The Common Agricultural Policy and Enlargement opportunities and perspectives" at the European Information Conference (Sofia)

    Speech by Frits Bolkestein : "Progress on Financial Services Action Plan and Taxation" to European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (! embargo 4 pm !)


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


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