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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-11-10

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 9 novembre 2005 -

  • [01] Promoting growth and employment : Commission tables new, comprehensive policy for small and medium-sized enterprises
  • [02] Stratégie d'élargissement : consolidation, conditions et communication
  • [03] Commission recommends candidate status for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • [04] Commission endorses German innovation programme
  • [05] Commission opens formal investigation into long term power purchase agreements in Hungary
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [06] Message of President Barroso to King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan
  • [07] Education et formation tout au long de la vie et compétences clés pour tous : des contributions essentielles la prospérité et la cohésion sociale
  • [08] Company taxation : Commission adopts Code of Conduct concerning transfer pricing
  • [09] L'avenir des services postaux : la Commission demande l'avis des utilisateurs
  • [10] Commission clears acquisition of Ihr Platz by Goldman Sachs
  • [11] La Commission autorise la Compagnie de Saint-Gobain acquérir BPB
  • [12] Financial services : consultation on possible implementing measures for 'Transparency Directive' 2004/109/EC
  • [13] La Commission publie une étude sur les effets potentiels de l'abrogation de l'exemption en faveur des conférences maritimes
  • [14] The digital divide in Europe : 85% of students used the internet in 2004 ; only 13% of the retired used the internet
  • [15] Joe Borg visits Ireland
  • [16] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2005-11-10 Reference: MEX/05/1110 Date: 10/11/2005 EXME05 / 10.11

    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

    10/11/05


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 9 novembre 2005 -

    Outcome of Commission meeting of 9 November

    (voir aussi / see also ME of 9/11)

    [01] Promoting growth and employment : Commission tables new, comprehensive policy for small and medium-sized enterprises

    Europe's 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a major source of jobs, entrepreneurial skills, innovation as well as economic and social cohesion in the EU. This is why the European Commission has tabled a new, more pragmatic, comprehensive and inclusive policy for Europe's SMEs. By improving synergies between policy areas and by establishing a genuine partnership between the EU and Member States' actions, this will help make SMEs more competitive, by streamlining EU policy instruments. The Commission proposes to integrate the "Think Small First Principle" into all policies both at the national and EU level to make them truly SME friendly. Better regulation is another key area for SMEs. The Commission is committed to simplifying regulations and to ensuring that the forthcoming legislation does not inhibit SMEs' growth and innovation potential. To reduce the information gap between the European institutions and businesses, the Communication calls for a more regular and structured dialogue with SME stakeholders.

    [02] Stratégie d'élargissement : consolidation, conditions et communication

    La Commission européenne a adopté une stratégie d'élargissement globale qui s'adresse aux pays candidats que sont la Croatie et la Turquie, ainsi qu'aux pays candidats potentiels des Balkans occidentaux. Cette stratégie est fondée sur les trois principes suivants : consolider les engagements de l'Union européenne en matière d'élargissement, appliquer des conditions équitables et rigoureuses, et mieux communiquer sur l'élargissement.

    [03] Commission recommends candidate status for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

    The European Commission has adopted its opinion on the application for EU membership of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission recommends that the Council should grant the status of candidate country to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Commission considers that negotiations for accession to the European Union should be opened with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia once it has reached a sufficient degree of compliance with the membership criteria.

    [04] Commission endorses German innovation programme

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a German aid scheme fostering innovation in German enterprises. The scheme will finance precompetitive development activities of small, medium-sized and certain large enterprises through the provision of loans. The measure forms part of the ERP Innovation Programme 2005 and is administered by the German public development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau GmbH (KfW). The Commission concluded that the scheme was not liable to distort competition unduly within the Single Market.

    [05] Commission opens formal investigation into long term power purchase agreements in Hungary

    The European Commission has opened a formal investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 88(2)) into Hungary's long term power purchase agreements (PPAs) concluded between the state-owned electricity network operator MVM Rt. and the power generators. The PPAs guarantee a return on investment to the generators without any risk. They cover around 80% of the Hungarian power generation market, leaving little room for new market entrants. The Commission has doubts about the compatibility of the PPAs with EC Treaty state aid rules that require Member States not to grant aids or subsidies which distort or threaten to distort competition within the EU's Single Market. The investigation will allow the Commission to obtain more information on the PPAs and give interested third parties an opportunity to comment. The Commission will then finalise its assessment of whether the PPAs are likely to cause undue distortion of competition.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [06] Message of President Barroso to King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan

    The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, has sent the following message to King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan : "The devastating bomb attacks which occurred yesterday in Amman and caused the death and injury of many innocent people are contemptible acts that the European Commission condemns unreservedly. On behalf of the European Commission, I wish to express my most sincere condolences and offer my deepest sympathy to Your Majesty and to the people and government of Jordan, and to the victims and their families. To those wounded I convey our best wishes for a speedy recovery. The European Commission stands in solidarity with the Jordanian people at this time of great emotion and sadness. The European Commission reaffirms its complete rejection of any form of terrorism. I can assure you that the European Commission together with Member States will continue cooperating with Jordan on the fight against and prevention of terrorism. I have the honour to remain your majesty's loyal friend."

    [07] Education et formation tout au long de la vie et compétences clés pour tous : des contributions essentielles la prospérité et la cohésion sociale

    Dans une communication approuvée aujourd'hui, la Commission européenne aboutit la conclusion que les Etats membres doivent accélérer le rythme des réformes de leurs systèmes d'éducation et de formation, faute de quoi une forte proportion de la prochaine génération sera confrontée l'exclusion sociale. Il y a urgence : en dépit des efforts importants déployés par tous les Etats membres, trop peu de progrès ont été accomplis par rapport aux niveaux de référence (benchmarks) européens fixés pour l'amélioration des qualifications et des compétences des jeunes. Les conséquences en seront graves pour tous les citoyens, en particulier les groupes défavorisés et les quelque 80 millions de travailleurs peu qualifiés en Europe, ainsi que pour l'économie tout entière, en matière de compétitivité et de création d'emplois. La Commission a également approuvé aujourd'hui une proposition visant établir un cadre européen des compétences clés - outil de référence pratique destiné soutenir les efforts des Etats membres.

    [08] Company taxation : Commission adopts Code of Conduct concerning transfer pricing

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Code of Conduct that would standardise the documentation that multinationals must provide to tax authorities on their pricing of cross-border intra-group transactions ("transfer pricing" documentation). The proposal, that has been developed on the basis of work in the EU Joint Transfer Pricing Forum (see IP/02/1105), would reduce significantly the tax complications that companies face when trading with associated enterprises in other Member States. Companies frequently complain at present about the onerous and divergent documentation obligations with which they have to comply in such cases in the different Member States involved. The Code would be a political commitment and would not affect the Member States' rights and obligations or the respective spheres of competence of the Member States and the Community.

    [09] L'avenir des services postaux : la Commission demande l'avis des utilisateurs

    La Commission européenne a lancé une consultation publique sur l'avenir du secteur postal de l'UE. Les résultats de cette consultation l'aideront mieux comprendre l'évolution des besoins des consommateurs et des entreprises, l'impact social et économique potentiel des éventuelles prochaines réformes et la meilleure façon de garantir le service postal universel mesure que les marchés s'ouvrent complètement la concurrence. La consultation se présente sous la forme de questionnaire en ligne. Les particuliers et les entreprises sont invités répondre jusqu'au 27 janvier 2006.

    [10] Commission clears acquisition of Ihr Platz by Goldman Sachs

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Ihr Platz GmbH + Co. KG (Ihr Platz) of Germany by Goldman Sachs of the US. Goldman Sachs is a global investment banking and securities firm. Ihr Platz is one of the major drugstore chains in Germany and currently under insolvency administration. The majority of Ihr Platz's stores are located in North- Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony and operate under the brand names "Ihr Platz" and "Drospa". Ihr Platz owns and runs 681 outlets and operates another 154 under the group's franchise system. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [11] La Commission autorise la Compagnie de Saint-Gobain acquérir BPB

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application du règlement sur les concentrations de l'UE, le projet de rachat de BPB plc. (BPB), un fabricant britannique de plaques en plâtre et autres produits base de plâtre, par l'entreprise française Compagnie de Saint-Gobain (Saint-Gobain). La Commission est parvenue la conclusion que l'opération n'entraverait pas de manière significative la concurrence effective dans l'Espace Economique Européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

    [12] Financial services : consultation on possible implementing measures for 'Transparency Directive' 2004/109/EC

    The European Commission has published a working document on possible implementing measures for Directive 2004/109/EC, known as the 'Transparency Directive'. This working document has been drawn up following technical advice given to the Commission by the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR). It also contains a draft recommendation for a standard form for the notification and disclosure of acquisition or disposal of major holdings of voting rights. Publication of the document is part of the open and transparent regulatory process the Commission follows for drawing up technical implementing measures in line with the procedures implementing the March 2001 Stockholm European Council Resolution to improve decision- making concerning securities markets (see IP/02/195). The Commission invites stakeholders to comment on the working document, which is available at:

    <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/securities/transparency/index_en.htm">http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/securities/transparency/index_en.htm

    [13] La Commission publie une étude sur les effets potentiels de l'abrogation de l'exemption en faveur des conférences maritimes

    La Commission européenne a publié une étude réalisée par des consultants extérieurs sur les effets potentiels d'une éventuelle abrogation du règlement d'exemption par catégorie en faveur des conférences maritimes. La Commission a déclaré qu'elle envisageait d'abroger l'exemption par catégorie dans son Livre blanc d'octobre 2004 concernant cette question (voir IP/04/1213). L'étude est arrivée la conclusion que l'exemption de l'interdiction des pratiques restrictives édictée par les règles de concurrence du traité CE dont bénéficient actuellement les conférences maritimes conduirait probablement une baisse des prix du transport et qu'elle serait sans effet ou aurait un effet positif sur la compétitivité des entreprises européennes de transport maritime. Un système d'échange d'informations proposé en remplacement de l’exemption par la European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA) ne devrait, selon les consultants, pas être accepté sous sa forme actuelle, car il pourrait faciliter la collusion entre compagnies maritimes au détriment des clients.

    [14] The digital divide in Europe : 85% of students used the internet in 2004 ; only 13% of the retired used the internet

    In the EU25, 85% of students (aged 16 or more in school or university) used the internet during the first quarter of 2004, as did 60% of employees, 40% of the unemployed and 13% of the retired, compared to an EU25 average of 47% for individuals aged from 16 to 74. This divide by employment status is also found by educational level : only 25% of those with at most lower secondary education used the internet during the first quarter of 2004, while the proportion rose to 52% for those who had completed secondary education, and 77% for those with a tertiary education. During the past decade, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have become widely available to the general public, in both accessibility and cost. However, gaps remain in the use of ICT amongst the EU population depending on factors such as their age, employment status and educational level, and the degree of urbanisation of the area where they live. This so-called digital divide has several origins : missing infrastructure or access ; missing incentives to use ICTs ; lack of the computer literacy or skills necessary to take part in the information society. This information comes from a report released by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, which takes a closer look at the magnitude of the digital divide and some possible explanations for its existence.

    [15] Joe Borg visits Ireland

    The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, began a visit to Ireland this morning. He was welcomed in Dublin by Minister of State in charge of the Marine, Pat the Cope Gallagher, who will be accompanying him throughout his visit. The Commissioner left Dublin for Castletownbere, where he will meet with fishermen’s representatives before going on board a fishing vessel and visiting a fish processing plant. This will be followed by further meetings with fishermen’s organisations in Killarney. Tomorrow, Commissioner Borg will go to Killybegs where he will also meet stakeholders before undertaking a tour of the harbour. Before leaving for Dublin, Commissioner Borg said: “I am looking forward to hearing from Irish stakeholders what their particular problems are and their suggestions for tackling them. I believe that dialogue among the interested parties is the surest way to identify the best solutions to respond to the challenges that the fisheries sector is facing. In this respect, I welcome Ireland’s contribution to the setting up of both the Pelagic and the North Western Waters Regional Advisory Councils. Together, we need to ensure that we take the necessary measures to rebuild threatened fish stocks, such as cod, and to protect those in better shape, with all the related constraints that this implies so as to ensure that the fishing industry continues to sustain our coastal communities. It is crucial, of course, that these measures are equally applied by all concerned so as to ensure fairness and effectiveness. I also look forward to a fruitful discussion about the Commission consultation paper on a Maritime Policy for the European Union which will be published next spring and to which Ireland has an important contribution to make.”

    [16] Autre matériel diffusé

    The enlargement package 2005

    Key findings of the 2005 progress reports on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo

    Key findings of the 2005 progress reports on Croatia and Turkey

    Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the postal sector and EU Postal Policy

    Discours de M. Verheugen : "Umsetzung des Lissabon-Programms der Gemeinschaft – Eine zeitgemäe KMU Politik für Wachstum und Beschäftigung"

    Code of Conduct on transfer pricing documentation in the EU - frequently asked questions

    Modernising education and training systems : a vital contribution to prosperity and social cohesion in Europe

    Key competences for lifelong learning in Europe : frequently asked questions

    Discours de M. Louis Michel : "L'avenir du modèle social européen" l'occasion de la visite du PE organisé par la cellule Europe de la CGSLB From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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