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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-03-02

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission lance des consultations sur la politique maritime future de l'Union
  • [02] La Commission adopte un projet de règlement visant améliorer la qualité des statistiques budgétaires
  • [03] European Neighbourhood Policy : the next steps
  • [04] European Neighbourhood Policy : Armenia
  • [05] European Neighbourhood Policy : Azerbaijan
  • [06] European Neighbourhood Policy : Egypt
  • [07] European Neighbourhood Policy : Georgia
  • [08] European Neighbourhood Policy : Lebanon
  • [09] La Commission donne son feu vert la restructuration de Fret SNCF
  • [10] Commission has decided to investigate the aid paid to Combus
  • [11] La Commission invite la France mettre fin certaines exonérations fiscales en faveur des mutuelles et institutions de prévoyance
  • [12] Commission approves £10 million public funding for Ford training project in UK
  • [13] Commission orders recovery of €6.7 million of illegal aid to Chemische Werke Piesteritz
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [14] Data protection : new guidelines on payment card fraud prevention databases
  • [15] Un sondage Eurobaromètre révèle que le soutien de la PAC est considéré positivement dans l'UE élargie
  • [16] Commission indicator forecasts euro area quarterly GDP growth of 0.2% to 0.6% for the 1st quarter and 0.3% to 0.7% for the 2nd quarter of 2005
  • [17] Janvier 2005 par rapport décembre 2004 : prix la production industrielle en hausse de 0,6% dans la zone euro - hausse de 0,5% dans l'UE25
  • [18] First estimates for the fourth quarter of 2004 : Euro-zone GDP up by 0.2% and EU25 by 0.3% - +1.6% and +1.9% respectively compared to the fourth quarter of 2003
  • [19] GALILEO : une nouvelle étape de la mise en concession
  • [20] Burundi : la Commission se félicite du bon déroulement du référendum constitutionnel (01/03)
  • [21] EU and WHO experts discuss influenza pandemic preparedness
  • [22] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2005-03-02 Reference: MEX/05/0302 Date: 02/03/2005 EXME05/ 2.3

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Général Presse etb

    Communication

    02/03/05


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] La Commission lance des consultations sur la politique maritime future de l'Union

    La Commission européenne a annoncé sa décision de lancer un processus de consultation sur la politique maritime future de l'Union. Dans une communication présentée conjointement par le président José Manuel Barroso et le commissaire Joe Borg, la Commission expose les raisons motivant cette initiative. La communication souligne que la contribution de la mer notre subsistance et notre bien-être est considérable, comme l'est également son potentiel de croissance économique. L'enjeu est de tirer le meilleur profit de ce potentiel d'une manière durable. Une approche intégrée contribuera éviter les conflits et optimiser les synergies entre les diverses activités maritimes de façon dynamiser leur potentiel économique et protéger l'environnement. Elle encouragera également une participation accrue des parties prenantes et permettra toutes les parties concernées de considérer la mer comme un tout et de comprendre les implications de chaque type d'activités sur ce tout. Une Task Force constituée des commissaires chargés des politiques liées la mer et présidée par le commissaire Joe Borg préparera un document de consultation sur la politique maritime future de l'Union. La publication de ce document, prévue pour le premier semestre de l’année prochaine, lancera une large consultation sur les options possibles d'une politique maritime de l'Union. La Commission examinera ensuite toutes les contributions et décidera quelle forme la nouvelle politique devrait revêtir avant de préparer des propositions dans ce sens.

    [02] La Commission adopte un projet de règlement visant améliorer la qualité des statistiques budgétaires

    La Commission européenne a adopté un projet de règlement visant améliorer la qualité des statistiques budgétaires nationales, ce qui est indispensable pour qu'elle puisse remplir la mission de surveillance fiscale qui lui incombe en vertu du traité UE. Le projet de règlement prévoit qu'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne, se rende dans les Etats membres afin d'effectuer des visites de contrôle approfondi, en plus de ses missions régulières, le but étant de vérifier les données fiscales transmises. En outre, le projet entérine d'une manière générale les meilleures pratiques existantes en ce qui concerne l'élaboration et la déclaration des données dans le contexte de la procédure de déficit excessif.

    [03] European Neighbourhood Policy : the next steps

    The European Commission has recommended an intensification of relations with Egypt and Lebanon, and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, based on Country Reports on all five countries published by the European Commission today. On the basis of these reports, the Council is invited to decide whether to develop Action Plans under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) with the three Southern Caucasus countries : the decision has already been taken to negotiate Action Plans with Egypt and Lebanon, although for Lebanon the timing will depend on the evolution of the political situation. The purpose of these Action Plans will be to define a joint agenda for relations with the EU for the following three to five years, with the objective of deepening political co operation and economic integration.

    [04] European Neighbourhood Policy : Armenia

    The European Commission is recommending a significant intensification of relations with Armenia, through the development of an Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This recommendation is based on the Commission’s Country Report published today, which provides a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Armenia and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. The ENP goes beyond the existing Partnership and Co operation Agreement to offer the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation. It is now for the Council of Ministers to decide the next steps.

    [05] European Neighbourhood Policy : Azerbaijan

    The European Commission is recommending a significant intensification of relations with Azerbaijan, through the development of an Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This recommendation is based on the Commission’s Country Report published today, which provides a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Azerbaijan and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. The ENP goes beyond the existing Partnership and Co- operation Agreement to offer the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation. It is now for the Council of Ministers to decide the next steps.

    [06] European Neighbourhood Policy : Egypt

    The European Commission today took the next step in intensifying relations with Egypt by presenting a Country Report providing a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Egypt and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. Following the previous recommendation by the Council to develop an Action Plan for Egypt under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), this report provides a basis for the development of that plan. It may also serve as a basis for assessing future progress in the EU’s relations with Egypt. The ENP goes beyond the existing Association Agreement to offer the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation.

    [07] European Neighbourhood Policy : Georgia

    The European Commission is recommending a significant intensification of relations with Georgia, through the development of an Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This recommendation is based on the Commission’s Country Report published today, which provides a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Georgia and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. The ENP goes beyond the existing Partnership and Co operation Agreement to offer the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation. It is now for the Council of Ministers to decide the next steps.

    [08] European Neighbourhood Policy : Lebanon

    The European Commission today took the next step in intensifying relations with Lebanon by presenting a Country Report providing a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Lebanon and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. Following the previous recommendation by the Council to develop an Action Plan for Lebanon under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), this report provides a basis for the development of that plan. It may also serve as a basis for assessing future progress in the EU’s relations with Lebanon. With the resignation of the Lebanese Government, and elections scheduled for May, the evolution of the situation there will influence the timing of consultations. The ENP offers the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation.

    [09] La Commission donne son feu vert la restructuration de Fret SNCF

    La Commission européenne a décidé de donner son feu vert au volet financier de la restructuration de Fret SNCF, qui connaît depuis quelques années d'importantes difficultés financières. Les mesures examinées font partie d'un plan de restructuration global, qui vise permettre le retour la viabilité de l'opérateur. La Commission a considéré que ce plan était compatible avec les règles européennes dans la mesure où il répond aux stricts besoins de restructuration de Fret SNCF et qu'il s'accompagne de contreparties en termes de réduction de capacité et d'ouverture anticipée du marché ferroviaire français.

    [10] Commission has decided to investigate the aid paid to Combus

    The European Commission has decided to launch a formal procedure to investigate the State aid paid by Denmark to Combus, a company which provides public transport by bus. It questions whether the investments made in 1999 and 2001 by Denmark to Combus, a public company, to prepare for its restructuring and privatisation are in conformity with European law.

    [11] La Commission invite la France mettre fin certaines exonérations fiscales en faveur des mutuelles et institutions de prévoyance

    La Commission européenne a adopté une recommandation invitant la France supprimer, au plus tard le 1er janvier 2006, l'exonération de la taxe sur les conventions d'assurance pour les risques "non-maladie" dont bénéficient les mutuelles et les institutions de prévoyance. La Commission estime que cette exonération constitue une aide d'Etat incompatible avec les règles communautaires en la matière. En novembre 2001, la Commission avait déj invité la France supprimer l'exonération de la taxe sur les conventions d'assurance pour les risques "maladie". La France dispose d'un délai d'un mois pour répondre la recommandation de la Commission. A défaut de réponse positive, la Commission pourra ouvrir une procédure formelle d'examen.

    [12] Commission approves £10 million public funding for Ford training project in UK

    The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty's rules on state aid, training aid of £10 million (€15 million) to Ford Motor Company for an extensive training project to be carried out over the next three years at Ford’s engine plant in Dagenham, Essex. The training will benefit 2000 employees and contribute significantly to the region’s competitiveness. The Commission concluded that the aid was not likely to cause undue distortion of competition within the Single Market and was therefore compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 87).

    [13] Commission orders recovery of €6.7 million of illegal aid to Chemische Werke Piesteritz

    The European Commission has decided that a number of measures worth €6.7 million benefiting Chemische Werke Piesteritz, a producer of phosphoric acid and phosphates situated in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, constitute subsidies liable to distort competition within the EU's Single Market in violation of the EC Treaty’s state aid rules (Article 87). The money must now be recovered by the German Government. The measures were provided to the company in the years 1997 and 1998 to help the company with its restructuring.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [14] Data protection : new guidelines on payment card fraud prevention databases

    The EU Committee of Data Protection Authorities ("Article 29 Working Party") has endorsed guidelines on the collection and processing of data on merchants whose contracts to accept payment cards have been terminated. The guidelines will help banks prevent fraud and ensure that merchants' privacy is better protected. Databases on "terminated" merchants are very important for the banking industry. In the UK, one of the EU countries where the operation of these databases does not pose any legal problems, substantial fraud savings have been made. Their use across Europe could potentially generate savings of €200 million.

    [15] Un sondage Eurobaromètre révèle que le soutien de la PAC est considéré positivement dans l'UE élargie

    D'après le dernier sondage d'opinion Eurobaromètre, deux tiers des citoyens de l'Union européenne approuvent l'évolution récente de la distribution des crédits dans le cadre de la politique agricole commune. Dans le premier sondage réalisé dans l'UE des 25 Etats membres, il se dégage un large soutien en faveur du passage des aides la production aux aides directes aux agriculteurs et une assistance accrue de l'économie rurale dans son ensemble. L'enquête a porté sur 25.000 personnes dans les 25 Etats membres entre le 22 novembre et le 19 décembre 2004.

    [16] Commission indicator forecasts euro area quarterly GDP growth of 0.2% to 0.6% for the 1st quarter and 0.3% to 0.7% for the 2nd quarter of 2005

    The indicator-based model for quarterly GDP growth for the euro area, developed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, forecasts a range of 0.2% to 0.6% for GDP growth in the first quarter, unchanged compared to the previous release. For the second quarter of 2005 the model predicts quarterly GDP growth of 0.3% to 0.7%, an upward revision of 0.1 of a percentage point compared to the previous release.

    [17] Janvier 2005 par rapport décembre 2004 : prix la production industrielle en hausse de 0,6% dans la zone euro - hausse de 0,5% dans l'UE25

    L'indice des prix la production industrielle dans la zone euro a enregistré une hausse de 0,6% en janvier 2005 par rapport au mois précédent, selon Eurostat. Dans l'UE25, les prix ont augmenté de 0,5% en janvier 2005. En décembre 2004, les prix avaient diminué de 0,2% tant dans la zone euro que dans l'UE25. En janvier 2005, par rapport janvier 2004, les prix la production industrielle se sont accrus de 3,9% dans la zone euro et de 4,6% dans l'UE25.

    [18] First estimates for the fourth quarter of 2004 : Euro-zone GDP up by 0.2% and EU25 by 0.3% - +1.6% and +1.9% respectively compared to the fourth quarter of 2003

    Euro-zone GDP grew by 0.2% and EU25 GDP by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2004, compared to the previous quarter, according to first estimates released by Eurostat. In the third quarter of 2004, growth rates were also +0.2% for the euro-zone and +0.3% for the EU25. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2003, GDP rose by 1.6% in the euro-zone and by 1.9% in the EU25, after +1.9% and +2.2% respectively in the previous quarter.

    [19] GALILEO : une nouvelle étape de la mise en concession

    La Commission européenne a pris note de la décision de l'entreprise commune Galileo d'entamer avec les deux candidats encore en lice les négociations du contrat de concession. Cette nouvelle étape de la procédure de sélection est conforme au calendrier prévu. La Commission se félicite d'ailleurs de la qualité des offres présentées, qui respectent pleinement les conditions imposées, notamment en termes financiers. "La qualité des offres démontre, s'il en était encore besoin, la viabilité commerciale de ce grand projet spatial européen", a déclaré Jacques Barrot, vice-Président de la Commission, avant d'ajouter : "L'ouverture en parallèle des négociations du contrat de concession va encore permettre d'améliorer les propositions des deux candidats, au plus grand bénéfice du projet Galileo."

    [20] Burundi : la Commission se félicite du bon déroulement du référendum constitutionnel (01/03)

    La Commission européenne s'est félicitée du déroulement satisfaisant du référendum sur la nouvelle Constitution au Burundi, qui a eu lieu le 28 février et qui met fin de longues années de guerre et de tensions.

    [21] EU and WHO experts discuss influenza pandemic preparedness

    Epidemiologists and health experts from 52 European Union and WHO Europe Member States will meet in Luxembourg on 2 and 3 March to review and update national preparedness plans for an influenza pandemic. There has been mounting concern among health experts that the highly infectious strain of avian influenza seen in Asia could mutate into a deadly virus capable of being transmitted from human to human. The two-day meeting in Luxembourg will examine measures to improve the preparedness of public health systems for dealing with such a pandemic. The aim of the meeting will be to help those countries that do not yet have them to draw up plans, and to help those that do to update and improve them. It will identify whether further assistance to countries is needed and, if so, what form it should take. Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said : "Having the means in place to rapidly identify and respond to the emergence of a pandemic strain of influenza could save many thousands of lives. The avian influenza outbreak in South East Asia has given us not only a clear warning but also time to improve our preparedness. No one can say when the next pandemic will strike. But, should it occur, we need to be properly prepared." In March 2004 the Commission issued a strategy paper outlining how the EU and its Member States could work together to counter an influenza pandemic (see IP/04/432), which was endorsed by Member State health ministers in June 2004 (see MEMO/04/128). The Commission and Member States have also had discussions with the vaccine and pharmaceutical industries on issues such as ensuring availability of vaccines and anti- viral medicines. For more information see:

    <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_threats/com/Influenza/influenza_en.htm">http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_threats/com/Influenza/influenza_en.htm

    [22] Autre matériel diffusé

    Vers une politique maritime de l'Union

    Speech by Joaquin Almunia : "Stabilitätspakt - Quo Vadis?" at German Chamber of Commerce - DIHK (Berlin)

    Speech by Günter Verheugen : "Strategies for EU-Japan Economic Partnership" (01/03) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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