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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-01-25

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] "Time to move up a gear" - Commission President Barroso presents Annual Progress Report on Growth and Jobs
  • [02] Commission simplifies External Cooperation Programmes
  • [03] Commission approves aid to Centocor Inc. for the setting-up of a biopharmaceutical production plant in Ireland
  • [04] La Commission poursuit l'Italie et la Belgique devant la Cour de Justice pour non récupération d’aides illégales
  • [05] Commission does not authorise reimbursement mechanism for the German toll system
  • [06] Commission approves Polish aid scheme for combined transport
  • [07] Commission approves Spanish aid for people with reduced mobility in road transport
  • [08] Commission authorises Slovakia's investment plan for the coal industry for the years 2005 to 2010
  • [09] La Commission autorise la prolongation des aides visant améliorer la sécurité dans les mines des Asturies
  • [10] Commission approves State aid to Hungarian coal and gas companies
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [11] Commission allocates €20 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan
  • [12] Tackling the EU's drugs problems : Commission joins forces with civil society and NGOs
  • [13] Concours Scolaire Semaine Verte 2006 : les écoliers européens font appel leur créativité pour illustrer la biodiversité
  • [14] Commission clears acquisition of Reebok by adidas
  • [15] Commission clears acquisition of Multirent, SAG IFC and HBF by SCF and SAG GEST
  • [16] Statement by Commissioner Olli Rehn on Turkey's Cyprus initiative (24/01)
  • [17] La Commission félicite le nouveau Président de l'Union africaine
  • [18] Commission to take part in International Forum for new generation of nuclear research
  • [19] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-01-25 Reference: MEX/06/0125 Date: 25/01/2006 EXME06 / 25.1

    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

    25/01/06


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

    [01] "Time to move up a gear" - Commission President Barroso presents Annual Progress Report on Growth and Jobs

    (! embargo 14h00 !) The European Commission has published its new Annual Progress Report on the Lisbon Strategy, the partnership between the EU and Member States for growth and more and better jobs. The Annual Progress Report is designed to reinforce momentum and force the pace of delivery. There are three main elements in the Progress Report. First, the Report provides an analysis of the 25 new National Reform Programmes submitted by Member States in October 2005. Second, it identifies the strengths in different national programmes with a view to promoting the exchange of good ideas. Third, it highlights areas where there are shortcomings and proposes concrete action at EU and national level to deal with them. Four priority action areas are identified: investment in education, research and innovation; freeing up SMEs; employment policies to get people into work; and guaranteeing a secure and sustainable energy supply. For each of these areas, the Commission's Spring Report makes clear proposals for European leaders to commit to when they meet at the March Summit in Brussels and to implement by 2007.

    [02] Commission simplifies External Cooperation Programmes

    The European Commission approved today seven new thematic programmes in the framework of the reform of its External Actions. With the EU's country and regional programmes, the new thematic programmes will form the backbone of the Commission’s external cooperation activities from 2007 onwards. The seven new thematic programmes regroup the 15 current thematic programmes. The aim is to simplify the delivery of foreign assistance and achieve more and better results with the resources available. Thematic programmes are set up to achieve policy objectives that are not geographically limited and where the goal cannot be fully achieved through country and regional programmes. The decision is part of a larger reform of the Community's external cooperation for the new financial period until 2013 under which the Commission will deliver foreign assistance more effectively and more efficiently, under a reduced number of budget lines. The financial allocations for the new thematic programmes await final agreement.

    [03] Commission approves aid to Centocor Inc. for the setting-up of a biopharmaceutical production plant in Ireland

    The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty’s rules on state aid (Article 87), a direct grant of €48.25 million that the Irish Industrial Development Agency (IDA) plans to provide to Centocor Inc. for the establishment of a biopharmaceutical production plant on a greenfield site at Ringaskiddy, County Cork, Ireland. The Commission considered that the aid would not give rise to undue distortion of competition within the Single Market.

    [04] La Commission poursuit l'Italie et la Belgique devant la Cour de Justice pour non récupération d’aides illégales

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour de Justice en raison du non-respect par l'Italie et la Belgique de deux décisions déclarant des aides incompatibles et ordonnant leur récupération. Pour l'Italie, la décision du 20 octobre 2004 considérait que les aides accordées par l'Italie en faveur d'entreprises réalisant des investissements dans des communes affectées par des calamités naturelles en 2002 étaient incompatibles et devaient être récupérées auprès des bénéficiaires (voir IP/04/1253). Pour la Belgique, la décision du 24 avril 2002 déclarait l'aide accordée par les autorités wallonnes en faveur de Beaulieu incompatible et ordonnait sa récupération auprès du bénéficiaire (voir IP/02/608). Dans les deux cas, la Commission a constaté qu'aucune aide n'avait été récupérée. Par conséquent, elle a décidé de saisir la Cour afin d’obtenir l'exécution de ses décisions.

    [05] Commission does not authorise reimbursement mechanism for the German toll system

    The European Commission has decided that the proposed German aid measure concerning a reimbursement mechanism for the toll of heavy goods vehicles on German motorways is incompatible with the European common market.

    [06] Commission approves Polish aid scheme for combined transport

    The European Commission has authorised a Polish scheme which intends to encourage the development of combined transport through the construction of logistics centres and terminals. The notified scheme is expected to generate a growth of 7% in intermodal freight transport. The scheme is available to all EU companies which perform or plan to perform haulage operations in Poland and which invest in intermodal transport.

    [07] Commission approves Spanish aid for people with reduced mobility in road transport

    The European Commission has authorised the prolongation for the years 2006 to 2010 of a programme from the Community of Madrid which helps taxis and occasional or regular interurban bus service undertakings to acquire new vehicles with devices for people with reduced mobility and/or wheelchair users. The annual budget is €250,000. The Commission has considered the aid compatible with the competition rules.

    [08] Commission authorises Slovakia's investment plan for the coal industry for the years 2005 to 2010

    The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the SKK 525 million (€13.9 million) aid which Slovakia is proposing to grant to mining company Hornonitrianske Bane Prievidza a.s. (HBP) in the years 2005 to 2010 for initial investments. The aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the common market.

    [09] La Commission autorise la prolongation des aides visant améliorer la sécurité dans les mines des Asturies

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'autoriser la Principauté des Asturies octroyer des subventions d'un montant de €3,300,000 aux charbonnages privés pour la période 2005-2007. Ce régime d'aide vise améliorer la sécurité du personnel travaillant dans les mines et protéger l'environnement.

    [10] Commission approves State aid to Hungarian coal and gas companies

    The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the €67.6 million aid which Hungary is proposing to grant to mining company Vértesi Erömü Rt. for the years 2005 and 2006. The aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the common market. At the same time, it decided that the fixed feed-in tariffs for coal which Hungary imposed upon the state-owned electricity undertaking MVM in the years 2004 and 2005 did constitute State aid, which is compatible with the common market.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [11] Commission allocates €20 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan

    The political situation in Afghanistan, though fragile, is progressing and post-emergency development assistance is beginning to have a significant impact on people’s lives. Nonetheless, humanitarian aid is still needed for the most vulnerable people affected by the long and violent crisis and by recent climatic conditions (notably drought). Returning refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and their host communities face particular challenges. To address the continuing humanitarian needs and foster the return and reintegration process, the Commission has allocated €20 million in humanitarian aid. Assistance is also planned for regions in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran with high numbers of Afghan refugees. The two countries still play host to four million Afghans.

    [12] Tackling the EU's drugs problems : Commission joins forces with civil society and NGOs

    There are up to two million problem drug users in the European Union and around 8000 people die of a drugs overdose every year. Drug use is at historically high levels and remains a threat to the entire international community. To confront this challenge the Commission has organised in Brussels a two-day conference (26-27 January 2006) on "Civil Society and Drugs". The number of participants attending the meeting, over 140, reflects the interest of civil society in working together with the Commission on drugs issues. There are representatives not only of European NGO networks but also from voluntary organisations in 16 Member States, 4 Accession and Candidate Countries, and Norway.

    [13] Concours Scolaire Semaine Verte 2006 : les écoliers européens font appel leur créativité pour illustrer la biodiversité

    Le Concours Scolaire Semaine Verte de cette année met en exergue la biodiversité. Il s'inscrit dans le cadre de la conférence et de l'exposition annuelles de la Semaine Verte qui auront lieu du 30 mai au 2 juin 2006. Ce concours encourage les jeunes de tous les Etats membres de l'UE, des pays candidats et des pays membres de l'AELE parfaire leur connaissance en matière de questions environnementales et s'exprimer par les arts. Les plus jeunes pourront créer des dessins et des peintures illustrant leur point de vue sur la biodiversité, tandis que les plus âgés seront invités soumettre un bref document vidéo numérique sur le même sujet. Les trois meilleurs participants de chaque catégorie du concours seront invités Bruxelles pour assister la cérémonie de remise des prix qui aura lieu pendant la Semaine Verte. Une sélection des meilleures contributions dans chaque catégorie sera présentée lors de la conférence. La date limite de participation est le 25 mars.

    [14] Commission clears acquisition of Reebok by adidas

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed €3.1 billion acquisition of US based Reebok International Ltd ("Reebok") by adidas-Salomon AG ("adidas") of Germany. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.

    [15] Commission clears acquisition of Multirent, SAG IFC and HBF by SCF and SAG GEST

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Multirent-Aluguer e Comércio de Automóveis, S.A. (Multirent) of Portugal, SAG International Finance Company Limited (SAG IFC) of Ireland and HBF Auto-Renting S.A. (HBF business) of Spain by Santander Consumer Finance, S.A. (SCF) of Spain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Grupo Santander, and Soluçes Atomóvel Globais, SGPS S.A. (SAG GEST) of Portugal. The proposed concentration concerns the markets for the provision of fleet management services in Portugal and Spain. Grupo Santander is a group of banking and financial companies which operates across various European and Latin American countries. SAG GEST is mainly active in the car distribution business (wholesale and retail) in Portugal. Multirent and HBF are active in the provision of fleet management services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [16] Statement by Commissioner Olli Rehn on Turkey's Cyprus initiative (24/01)

    "The European Commission welcomes efforts to achieve progress in the current deadlock with regard to the Cyprus problem. The status quo is in no- one's interest. Turkey's initiative announced by Foreign Minister Gül deserves careful examination and I have asked my services to do so. I understand it is intended as a basis for further discussion with the concerned parties, under the auspices of the United Nations. The Commission is ready to contribute to such a discussion. By signing the Additional Protocol in July 2005, Turkey has made commitments towards the EU and all its Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus, and is expected to meet them fully. The EU has in April 2004 made the commitment to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community. The Commission made proposals to this end and hopes that the Council will soon take a decision on this basis. In line with its long-standing position, the Commission remains fully committed to supporting a resumption of UN-led talks for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue as soon as possible.

    [17] La Commission félicite le nouveau Président de l'Union africaine

    La Commission européenne a félicité le 24 janvier le président du Congo, M. Sassou Nguesso, pour sa désignation la présidence de l'Union africaine, qui occupe une place centrale dans la politique de la Commission vis- -vis de l'Afrique. Le Commissaire au Développement et l'Aide humanitaire, Louis Michel, a souligné cette occasion que l'Union africaine "est devenue en peu de temps un acteur indispensable dans l’intégration et le développement du continent. Elle constitue aussi un interlocuteur fiable et privilégié pour le dialogue politique qui est la base de la Stratégie pour l’Afrique approuvée en décembre dernier par l'Union européenne". Ensemble avec les différentes organisations régionales, l'Union africaine constitue un pilier du partenariat long terme pour les relations entre les deux continents. Sur cette base, la Commission entend avancer vite dans la mise en œuvre de cette stratégie tout au long de la Présidence de M. Sassou Nguesso. Le Commissaire Michel, qui rencontrera lundi prochain M. Sassou Nguesso Brazzaville, a souligné son souhait de "renforcer le dialogue politique entre nos continents".

    [18] Commission to take part in International Forum for new generation of nuclear research

    Janez Potočnik European Commissioner for Science and Research has signed the letter of accession of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Framework Agreement. The Forum serves as a framework for international research and development on promising new nuclear energy systems to meet future energy challenges. The objective is nuclear systems with advanced nuclear safety, improved nuclear non-proliferation resistance and physical protection, competitive costs of energy production and minimized waste and the best use of natural resources. EURATOM membership in GIF provides the opportunity for all interested Member States to participate in GIF Research & Development activities, to build competence and knowledge and gain information about the technical and safety issues connected to the next generation of nuclear reactor systems. It is expected that GIF R&D will also lead to significant developments in non-nuclear fields, e.g. materials, electronics and informatics.

    [19] Autre matériel diffusé

    Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs : Commission's annual progress report - frequently asked questions

    Discours de M. pidla : "Pour un action commune contre les coutumes traditionnelles dommageables"

    Discours de M. Barroso : "La France et l'Europe: une communauté de destins" devant l'Assemblée nationale française (24/01, Paris)

    Discours de M. Barrot la première Conférence ministérielle sur les autoroutes de la mer (24/01, Ljubljana)

    Speech by Andris Piebalgs : "The European initiative on Energy Efficiency" at joint meeting ITRE – National Parliaments (24/01) 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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