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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-10-21

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 20 octobre 2005 -

  • [01] Moderniser l'Europe pour relever les défis de la mondialisation et du vieillissement démographique
  • [02] José Manuel Barroso presents five proposals to relaunch negotiations on EU financial perspectives for 2007-13
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [03] Biotech : unleashing the enormous potential
  • [04] Avian influenza : further preventive measures agreed and Russian import restrictions adopted
  • [05] Commission clears acquisition of MEHC by BHI
  • [06] L'analyse par la Commission des mesures correctives appliquées dans des affaires de concentration classées fournit des orientations pour les affaires futures
  • [07] Commission requires Greece to suspend illegal tax exempt fund and opens investigation
  • [08] Commission recommends opening of Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • [09] European Union biggest donor for Iraq's elections and referendum
  • [10] Adoption d'une Convention sur la diversité culturelle l'UNESCO
  • [11] Danuta Hübner in Greece : "Let's help our regions deliver growth and jobs"
  • [12] La fiscalité dans l'UE de 1995 2003 : dans l'UE25, la charge fiscale globale a représenté 40,3% du PIB en 2003 ; l'imposition du travail contribue pour la moitié des recettes fiscales
  • [13] Climate change : start of the second European Climate Change Programme
  • [14] Quick Guide to EU employment and social policies now available on the EUROPA website
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2005-10-21 Reference: MEX/05/1021 Date: 21/10/2005 EXME05 / 21.10

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

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

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

    Communication

    21/10/05


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 20 octobre 2005 -

    Outcome of Commission meeting of 20 October

    (voir aussi - see also ME of 20/10)

    [01] Moderniser l'Europe pour relever les défis de la mondialisation et du vieillissement démographique

    L'Europe doit réformer et moderniser ses politiques pour préserver ses valeurs. La modernisation est essentielle si l'Europe veut continuer jouir de ses niveaux historiquement élevés de prospérité, de cohésion sociale, de protection de l'environnement et de qualité de la vie. Le rapport de la Commission européenne sur "les valeurs européennes dans un univers mondialisé", qui constitue sa contribution au sommet informel des chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement qui se tiendra le 27 octobre au Royaume-Uni, souligne que si nous ne sommes pas capables de changer, les forces de la concurrence mondialisée, l'impact des nouvelles technologies et le vieillissement démographique vont remettre en question notre succès économique et la viabilité financière de nos systèmes sociaux (retraites, prestations sociales et santé). Il est donc particulièrement urgent d'avancer dans les réformes économiques et de moderniser nos systèmes sociaux.

    [02] José Manuel Barroso presents five proposals to relaunch negotiations on EU financial perspectives for 2007-13

    Increasing resources for growth and jobs up to 1/3 of EU budget, new crisis mechanism to absorb shocks related to globalisation, more dynamism in agricultural spending, review of EU spending as from 2009 with a view to modernising the budget and increasing democratic scrutiny and coherence of European external actions – these are five ideas presented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in order to relaunch negotiations on Financial Perspectives for 2007-13.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [03] Biotech : unleashing the enormous potential

    Biotechnology is driving innovation in medicines, agriculture and industry. Biotech-based industrial techniques consume fewer resources, clean up the environment and provide substitutes for more harmful chemical processes. And new possibilities are opening up for preventing, treating and curing hitherto incurable diseases : it is estimated that over 80% of biotechnology activity in Europe is health-care related. Aiming to ensure that this emerging technology can fulfil its promise, the European Commission's in-house research facility, Joint Research Centre (JRC) is launching a study on the social, economic and environmental consequences and challenges of modern biotechnology. The Commission plans to draw on this study to update its Biotechnology Strategy of 2002 in preparation for the Spring European Council 2007.

    [04] Avian influenza : further preventive measures agreed and Russian import restrictions adopted

    Member States have endorsed three Commission decisions aimed at further reducing the threat of avian influenza, within the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) on 20 October. The decisions relate to further biosecurity measures for domestic flocks, preventive vaccination of zoo birds and an extension of the Russian import ban. The Standing Committee also issued a statement, which is annexed below, and took note of the situation in Greece.

    [05] Commission clears acquisition of MEHC by BHI

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (MEHC) of the US by Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BHI), also of the US. BHI is a holding company active through its portfolio companies in a wide range of activities, including insurance services, clothing, building products, housing and other asset finance products, interior design and advanced training services for operators of aircraft and ships. MEHC is a holding company which is mainly active through its portfolio companies in the electricity and gas markets. In addition to a range of businesses in the US, mainly in the generating, transmission, distribution and selling of electricity and gas, MEHC also controls CE Electric UK, which owns and operates two electricity distribution networks in the UK (Northern Electric and Yorkshire Electricity). It also provides engineering and contracting services to network operators in the UK and Ireland and has interests in the exploration, production and sale of natural gas. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [06] L'analyse par la Commission des mesures correctives appliquées dans des affaires de concentration classées fournit des orientations pour les affaires futures

    Une étude, que la Commission européenne utilisera pour l'aider analyser l'efficacité escomptée de mesures correctives proposées par les entreprises dans les affaires relevant du règlement CE sur les concentrations, vient d'être publiée sur le site Europa. Elle analyse la conception, la mise en œuvre et l'efficacité de 96 mesures correctives imposées dans 40 affaires de concentration entre 1996 et 2000. Il ressort des conclusions de l'étude qu'il convient d'être vigilant notamment lors de la définition de l'étendue d'une activité cédée, de garantir sa sauvegarde jusqu' la cession, de choisir les bons acheteurs et d'assurer une surveillance efficace de la mise en œuvre des mesures correctives.

    [07] Commission requires Greece to suspend illegal tax exempt fund and opens investigation

    The European Commission has required Greece under the EU state aid rules to suspend further granting of illegal state aid in the form of tax breaks under Greek Law 3220/2004. This law reduces the tax base of many companies in various sectors by 35% of their profits. This measure was never notified to the Commission and is therefore illegal. At the same time the Commission has launched an in-depth investigation as it has doubts that such aid would be compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 87) because of the serious risk that it will distort competition in a way liable to affect trade between Member States. If the Commission finds the aid to be contrary to the EC Treaty, it may require Greece to recover the unlawful aid paid to undertakings, including interest.

    [08] Commission recommends opening of Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The European Commission has recommended to the Council opening of negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), and submitted the draft Negotiating Directives for adoption by the Council. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is the first major step in the European integration process for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The process of SAA negotiations has now been initiated.

    [09] European Union biggest donor for Iraq's elections and referendum

    The European Commission will be providing €30 million for the preparation of forthcoming elections in Iraq bringing the total made available from the Community Budget for Iraq's historic votes in 2005 to €80 million. This makes the Commission the major international donor to the elections and constitutional referendum, which are the milestones of the current political transition. International support for the elections and referendum have chiefly been supplied through the United Nations window of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, in line with the role assigned to the UN by UN Security Council Resolution 1546. The Commission financed 100% of the UN's requirements for preparation of the recent referendum, and together with member states will finance nearly two thirds of the UN’s budget for preparation of the two sets of elections.

    [10] Adoption d'une Convention sur la diversité culturelle l'UNESCO

    La Conférence générale de l'UNESCO a adopté le 20 octobre 2005 la Convention sur la protection et la promotion de la diversité des expressions culturelles. Négociée conjointement par la Commission européenne, au nom de la Communauté, et par la Présidence du Conseil, au nom des Etats membres, cette Convention est une première historique dans les relations internationales. Elle consacre en effet un consensus jamais atteint jusqu'alors par la communauté internationale autour d'une série de principes directeurs et de concepts liés la diversité culturelle. Ce texte constitue la base d'un nouveau pilier de gouvernance mondiale en matière culturelle.

    [11] Danuta Hübner in Greece : "Let's help our regions deliver growth and jobs"

    Regions can make the most of EU money to bring growth and jobs if they are prepared sufficiently in advance, said Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, while visiting Greece today. Commissioner Hübner is discussing in Athens the progress of current EU funded projects and also the impact new regional policy programmes may have on the Greek economy. She is meeting the Deputy Minister for Economy and Finance Christos Folias, the Minister of Economy and Finance Georgios Alogoskoufis, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ioannis Valinakis, the Minister of Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Georgios Souflias and the leader of PASOK George Papandreou. She is also visiting the construction sites of the Attico Metro SA and the Citizen Center at Vyrona EU funded projects in the Athens area.

    [12] La fiscalité dans l'UE de 1995 2003 : dans l'UE25, la charge fiscale globale a représenté 40,3% du PIB en 2003 ; l'imposition du travail contribue pour la moitié des recettes fiscales

    En 2003, la charge fiscale globale (c'est- -dire le total des impôts et des cotisations de sécurité sociale) a atteint 40,3% du PIB dans l'UE25. La charge fiscale totale variait fortement selon les Etats membres, allant de 28,5% en Lituanie et 28,9% en Lettonie 50,8% en Suède et 48,8% au Danemark. Des différences significatives entre les Etats membres étaient également observées en ce qui concerne les niveaux des taux d'imposition implicites (c'est- -dire des taux d'imposition effectifs moyens) et des taux d'imposition maxima sur le revenu des personnes et des sociétés. La publication "Structures of the taxation systems in the EU" d'Eurostat et de la Direction générale Fiscalité et union douanière de la Commission européenne présente un ensemble d'indicateurs fiscaux harmonisés sur la base du système européen des comptes (SEC95) permettant l'analyse des structures des systèmes fiscaux des Etats membres et le suivi des politiques fiscales dans l'UE. L'édition 2005 fournit également, pour la première fois, des taux d'imposition implicites pour les dix nouveaux Etats membres.

    [13] Climate change : start of the second European Climate Change Programme

    On Monday, 24 October, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will launch the second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II) at a stakeholder conference in Brussels. In view of the magnitude of the climate change threat, ECCP II will focus on new cost-effective measures and technologies that will allow the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years and to adapt to the climate change effects that are inevitable. The ECCP, which was initiated in 2000, is the umbrella under which the European Commission and stakeholders discuss and prepare measures to fight climate change.

    [14] Quick Guide to EU employment and social policies now available on the EUROPA website

    A set of 15 concise policy briefs looks at what the EU is doing to create more and better jobs, ensure social protection and promote equal opportunities for all. The briefs also underline the role of the different policy instruments of EU social policy. The final brief explains what the EU is doing to promote the social dimension worldwide and how the European social model offers lessons for global policy players. Clear examples are provided on actions in the Member States. The Quick Guide is available online in English at the following address :

    <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/social_model/index_en.html">http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/social_model/index_en.html

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    Five proposals to relaunch negotiations

    Life Sciences and Biotechnology – A strategy for Europe (third progress report and JRC biotechnology assessment study)

    Taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2003 - frequently asked questions

    Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of October 2005

    Speech by Joe Borg : "Tourism and European Maritime Policy" at 4th European Tourism Forum (Valetta)

    Speech by Neelie Kroes : "One Year In: Continuity, Concentration and Consolidation in European Competition Policy" at the IBA's Ninth Annual Competition Conference (Fiesole)

    Discours de M. Louis Michel : "La Commission et la Communauté Internationale confirment leur engagement en faveur de Haïti" la Conférence Haïti

    Speech by Janez Potočnik : "Europe needs a wake-up call" at International Symposium – Natural Sciences in Contemporary Society (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) (Ljubljana)

    Speech by Olli Rehn : "From peace-building to state-building" at Conference 'Ten Years of Dayton and Beyond' (20/10, Geneva)

    Discours de M. Michel : "Un nouveau contrat pour l’Europe : de la croissance pour les solidarités – de la sécurité pour nos libertés" au European Policy Center

    Calendrier du 24 au 29 octobre 2005 From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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