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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-05-17

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 16 mai 2006 -

  • [01] Bulgaria's and Romania's accession possible in 2007, if preparation efforts are intensified
  • [02] Commission proposes Slovenia to adopt the euro in January 2007
  • [03] Commission assesses the state of convergence in Lithuania
  • [04] La Commission autorise un régime français de garanties en faveur du financement de la construction navale
  • [05] Commission opens investigations into restructuring aid to Slovenian wood manufacturers
  • [06] La Commission ouvre une enquête sur le projet d'aide en faveur de la formation Auto Europa ; autorise l'aide en faveur de la formation Webasto
  • [07] La Commission ouvre une enquête sur les incitations italiennes la concentration des petites et micro-entreprises
  • [08] Commission endorses media support schemes in Poland, Ireland, France and Denmark
  • [09] Commission approves a system for start-up aid for transport services from regional airports in the UK
  • [10] La Commission autorise l'allongement de la durée de la concession du Tunnel du Mont-Blanc pour développer la sécurité
  • [11] Commission accepts changes to two State aid schemes for maritime transport in Finland
  • [12] Wittenberg Landkreis : Commission finds financing of bus transport to be compatible with single market
  • [13] Commission approves social aid scheme for air travel in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
  • [14] Commission approves public financing of infrastructure at City of Derry Airport
  • [15] Commission authorizes State aid for road infrastructure in Ireland
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [16] Modernisation des procédures douanières et fiscales : la Commission propose de renouveler les programmes communautaires visant financer la réforme douanière et faciliter la gestion des systèmes fiscaux informatiques
  • [17] Commission has carried out inspections in the EU gas sector in five Member States
  • [18] Commission has carried out inspections at Hungarian electricity companies
  • [19] La Commission engage le dialogue sur la création d'un marché intérieur du crédit hypothécaire
  • [20] Markos Kyprianou se félicite du vote du Parlement sur les aliments fortifiés
  • [21] Markos Kyprianou welcomes European Parliament vote on health and nutrition claims
  • [22] Peter Mandelson in Malaysia : "Asia is changing ; Europe's trade policy needs to change with it"
  • [23] Déclaration de Louis Michel sur l'élection présidentielle au Tchad
  • [24] Avril 2006 : le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro en hausse 2, 4% ; l'UE25 en hausse 2,3%
  • [25] New report on taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2004 : small decline in overall taxation to 39.3% of GDP in 2004 ; tax burden on labour remained broadly stable
  • [26] Seventh edition of Brussels Economic Forum
  • [27] Exposition d'œuvres artistiques au Berlaymont : inauguration le 18 mai
  • [28] Stavros Dimas at Floods Conference and Informal Environment Council meeting in Vienna
  • [29] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-05-17 Reference: MEX/06/0517 Date: 17/05/2006 EXME06 / 17.5

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    17/05/06


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 16 mai 2006 -

    Outcome of Commission meeting of 16 May 2006

    [01] Bulgaria's and Romania's accession possible in 2007, if preparation efforts are intensified

    The European Commission has adopted its monitoring reports on Bulgaria's and Romania's preparedness for EU accession. In the light of its findings the Commission considers that Bulgaria and Romania should be prepared for EU membership on 1 January 2007, provided that they address a number of outstanding issues. The Commission presents a carefully calibrated approach that is aimed at ensuring the continuation of the reforms in both countries up to and beyond accession.

    [02] Commission proposes Slovenia to adopt the euro in January 2007

    The European Commission concluded that Slovenia has achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence with the other Member States and that it fulfils the necessary conditions to adopt the euro. On the basis of its Convergence Report, the Commission is proposing to the Council that Slovenia adopts the euro on 1 January 2007. The final decision will be taken by EU finance ministers in July, after consultation of the European Parliament, and following a discussion by the Heads of State or Government at their summit in June.

    [03] Commission assesses the state of convergence in Lithuania

    The European Commission has assessed, at the request of the Lithuanian authorities, whether Lithuania is ready to adopt the euro and concluded that, at the present stage, there should be no change in its status as an EU Member State with a derogation.

    [04] La Commission autorise un régime français de garanties en faveur du financement de la construction navale

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application des règles du traité CE régissant les aides d'Etat, un régime de garanties mis en place par l'Etat français. Ces garanties seront consenties aux institutions financières accordant des prêts et des garanties de prêts aux chantiers navals français en vue du financement de la construction de navires de grandes dimensions. Des primes calculées au cas par cas en fonction des risques seront facturées. Le niveau de ces primes couvrira les risques de paiement et les coûts administratifs du régime, de sorte que celui-ci devra s'autofinancer. La Commission estime que la mesure en cause ne constitue par conséquent pas une aide d'Etat et n'est pas susceptible de fausser la concurrence l'intérieur du marché unique.

    [05] Commission opens investigations into restructuring aid to Slovenian wood manufacturers

    The European Commission has launched two in-depth investigations under EC Treaty state aid rules into aid to Javor Pivka and Novoles Straža, two Slovenian companies manufacturing semi-finished wood products and furniture. The Commission will seek to verify that the aid complies with the rules governing state aid for the restructuring of firms in difficulty. The opening of in-depth investigations gives interested parties an opportunity to comment on the measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedures.

    [06] La Commission ouvre une enquête sur le projet d'aide en faveur de la formation Auto Europa ; autorise l'aide en faveur de la formation Webasto

    La Commission européenne a ouvert une enquête approfondie afin d'établir si l'aide de €3,5 millions que le Portugal envisage d'accorder en faveur de la formation l'usine Auto Europa, Setúbal, est compatible avec les règles du traité CE applicables aux aides d'Etat. La Commission doute que cette aide incite l'entreprise organiser des actions de formation supplémentaires, ce qui la rendrait inutile et en ferait une aide au fonctionnement interdite. L'ouverture de cette enquête permet aux parties intéressées de présenter leurs observations sur les mesures envisagées. Elle ne préjuge pas du résultat de la procédure. Parallèlement, la Commission a autorisé une aide de €3,4 millions en faveur de Webasto, qui est un équipementier d'Auto Europa, car elle favorisera dans ce cas la formation au del des besoins immédiats de Webasto.

    [07] La Commission ouvre une enquête sur les incitations italiennes la concentration des petites et micro-entreprises

    La Commission européenne a ouvert une procédure formelle d’examen, en application des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'Etat (article 88, paragraphe 2), concernant un dispositif italien de crédit d'impôt visant encourager la concentration des petites et micro-entreprises. La Commission est d'avis qu'une telle mesure est de nature fausser les échanges et la concurrence et doute qu'une aide d'Etat soit l'instrument le mieux adapté pour régler cette question. Ce dispositif, tel qu'il est conçu, peut rapporter des bénéfices exceptionnels certains acteurs économiques et la distorsion peut être renforcée par des aides illégales et incompatibles antérieurement versées et restant rembourser. La communication relative l'ouverture de l'enquête officielle paraîtra au Journal officiel de l'Union européenne et invitera les parties intéressées présenter leurs observations. L'ouverture de la présente enquête ne préjuge pas de la décision finale de la Commission.

    [08] Commission endorses media support schemes in Poland, Ireland, France and Denmark

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules four aid schemes which support film-making in Poland and Ireland, music recordings by new talent in France and newspaper distribution in Denmark. The Polish scheme provides grants to support all stages of production, distribution and promotion of films that are relevant to Polish and European culture. In Ireland, tax incentives are given to investors in film production. The French scheme aids music productions that have lesser commercial appeal. In Denmark, the subsidy will compensate part of distribution costs and promote the availability of certain newspapers. The Commission concluded that in all four cases the subsidies would not give rise to undue distortion of competition within the Single Market.

    [09] Commission approves a system for start-up aid for transport services from regional airports in the UK

    The European Commission has found compatible with the common market the "Air route development funds" measure, whereby regional authorities in the United Kingdom may put in place a common system for granting start up aid for new aviation routes to and from these regions.

    [10] La Commission autorise l'allongement de la durée de la concession du Tunnel du Mont-Blanc pour développer la sécurité

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'autoriser un allongement de la durée de la concession du Tunnel du Mont-Blanc en faveur de la société concessionnaire, Societ Italiana del Traforo del Monte Bianco (SITMB), en vue de faire face aux nouvelles règles en matière de sécurité dans les tunnels, imposées unilatéralement par les autorités italiennes et françaises et adoptées suite l'accident du Tunnel du Mont-Blanc en 1999.

    [11] Commission accepts changes to two State aid schemes for maritime transport in Finland

    The European Commission raised no objections to extending two existing State aid schemes linked to the international shipping register, namely the reimbursement of social security contributions and seafarers' income tax, for ships whose owners are not based in Finland but which are managed by a Finland-based operator.

    [12] Wittenberg Landkreis : Commission finds financing of bus transport to be compatible with single market

    The European Commission has found that aid payments by the Wittenberg Landkreis (district administration) to finance public transport in the district are compatible with the single market.

    [13] Commission approves social aid scheme for air travel in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

    The European Commission has found compatible with the common market a State aid scheme proposed by the Scottish Executive for aid of a social character for air transport services to, from and within certain eligible regions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The approved scheme will be available to all people who reside in the most peripheral parts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

    [14] Commission approves public financing of infrastructure at City of Derry Airport

    The European Commission has found a measure involving joint financing by the UK and Irish governments of City of Derry Airport in Northern Ireland compatible with the common market. The two Member States intend to jointly fund a number of essential infrastructure projects at the airport together with Derry City Council, the airport's owner.

    [15] Commission authorizes State aid for road infrastructure in Ireland

    The European Commission has decided that the financing schemes foreseen by Ireland for two new road projects constitute State aid compatible with the proper functioning of the common market. The road projects - the M3 Clonee to north of Kells motorway and Limerick tunnel - will be run as Public Private Partnerships. The private partner will be chosen through a call for tender, which has been published in the Official Journal in 2004.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [16] Modernisation des procédures douanières et fiscales : la Commission propose de renouveler les programmes communautaires visant financer la réforme douanière et faciliter la gestion des systèmes fiscaux informatiques

    La Commission européenne a présenté deux propositions de renouvellement des programmes Fiscalis 2007 et Douane 2007 (voir IP/02/144) pour la période 2008 2013. Les nouveaux programmes ont pour objet de donner aux Etats les moyens de lutter plus efficacement contre la fraude fiscale et douanière et de réduire les coûts de mise en conformité pour les opérateurs économiques et les assujettis. Le programme Douane 2013 favoriserait de nouvelles initiatives en matière de sécurité, la modernisation du code des douanes et la création dans l'UE d'un environnement douanier électronique, c'est- -dire sans papier (voir IP/05/1501). Quant au programme Fiscalis 2013, il continuerait d'encourager la coopération entre les administrations fiscales et de les aider trouver un bon équilibre entre l'efficacité des contrôles et l'effort demandé au contribuable. Ces deux programmes devraient faciliter l'élaboration et la gestion des systèmes informatiques transeuropéens dans les domaines des douanes et de la fiscalité.

    [17] Commission has carried out inspections in the EU gas sector in five Member States

    The European Commission can confirm that on 16th May 2006 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of gas companies in five Member States. The countries concerned are Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Austria. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC-Treaty antitrust rules that prohibit restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 81 and 82 respectively).

    [18] Commission has carried out inspections at Hungarian electricity companies

    The European Commission can confirm that on 16th May 2006 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of electricity companies in Hungary. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC Treaty anti-trust rules that prohibit restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 81 and 82 respectively).

    [19] La Commission engage le dialogue sur la création d'un marché intérieur du crédit hypothécaire

    La Commission européenne a engagé le dialogue entre le secteur du crédit hypothécaire et les associations de consommateurs en vue de créer un marché européen intégré du crédit hypothécaire dans l'intérêt des consommateurs. Ce dialogue a pour but de parvenir un consensus sur de grandes mesures de protection des consommateurs. Le processus est conduit conjointement par M. Charlie McCreevy, membre de la Commission chargé du marché intérieur et des services, et M. Markos Kyprianou, membre de la Commission chargé de la santé et de la protection des consommateurs.

    [20] Markos Kyprianou se félicite du vote du Parlement sur les aliments fortifiés

    Markos Kyprianou, commissaire européen en charge de la santé et de la protection des consommateurs, s'est félicité du vote effectué le 16 mai par le Parlement européen sur le règlement concernant les aliments fortifiés. Cette législation fixera des règles communes de l'UE concernant l'adjonction de vitamines, de substances minérales et d'autres substances aux denrées alimentaires. Le règlement proposé contient une liste positive de vitamines et de substances minérales pouvant être ajoutées aux denrées alimentaires, de même que des critères applicables la fixation de teneurs minimales et maximales en nutriments de ce genre dans les denrées alimentaires. Le Conseil devrait adopter formellement ce règlement au cours des prochaines semaines et celui-ci entrera en vigueur 20 jours après sa publication au Journal officiel des Communautés européennes. Les nouvelles règles sur la fortification seront applicables six mois après cette date. Cependant, les produits non conformes au règlement seront encore autorisés sur le marché jusqu' trois ans après cette date, pour autant qu'ils aient été étiquetés ou mis sur le marché avant son entrée en vigueur.

    [21] Markos Kyprianou welcomes European Parliament vote on health and nutrition claims

    Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, welcomed on 16 May the European Parliament's second reading vote on the Health and Nutrition Claims Regulation, which paves the way for the adoption of this important piece of legislation. The proposed Regulation will ensure that consumers will be able to rely on the truth and accuracy of information on food labels and will create a level playing field for food manufacturers wishing to use health or nutrition claims. The Council is expected to give their political agreement to the Parliament's amendments in the coming weeks, before the formal adoption by Council of the Regulation expected by this autumn, and the Regulation will enter into force within 20 days of its publication in the Official Journal. The first provisions of the Regulation will begin to apply six months from entry into force. As a transitional measure, existing nutrition claims will be able to remain on the market for two years, and existing health claims for three years. Nutrient profiles will be drawn up by the Commission based on an opinion by EFSA within two years.

    [22] Peter Mandelson in Malaysia : "Asia is changing ; Europe's trade policy needs to change with it"

    The European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has today said that EU trade policy for Asia needs to adapt to the dramatic changes in that dynamic region. Speaking at a meeting hosted by the Europe-Malaysia Chamber of Commere in Kuala Lumpur, Commissioner Mandelson argued that the EU needed to look beyond China to the whole Asian region in formulating a new European trade strategy for the region. He welcomed the publication of the results of a study by the EU-ASEAN Vision Group launched in 2005 that sets out a range of strategies for developing EU-ASEAN trade, including the possibility of an FTA between the two regions.

    [23] Déclaration de Louis Michel sur l'élection présidentielle au Tchad

    A la suite de l'élection présidentielle au Tchad, qui s'est tenue le 3 mai 2006, le Commissaire européen au développement et l'aide humanitaire, Louis Michel, s'est félicité que celle-ci se soit déroulée dans le calme et a pris note du résultat favorable M. Idriss Déby Itno.

    [24] Avril 2006 : le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro en hausse 2, 4% ; l'UE25 en hausse 2,3%

    Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro est passé de 2,2% en mars 2006 2,4% en avril. Un an auparavant, il était de 2,1%. Le taux d'inflation mensuel a été de 0,7% en avril 2006. Le taux d'inflation annuel de l'UE25 est passé de 2,1% en mars 2006 2,3% en avril. Un an auparavant, il était de 2,1%. Le taux d'inflation mensuel a été de 0,7% en avril 2006. Le taux d'inflation annuel de l'IPCE a été de 2,3% en avril 2006. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat.

    [25] New report on taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2004 : small decline in overall taxation to 39.3% of GDP in 2004 ; tax burden on labour remained broadly stable

    In 2004, the overall tax ratio (i.e. the total amount of taxes and social security contributions) in the EU25 stood at 39.3% of GDP. Compared to the year before, the weighted average declined by 0.2 percentage points, restarting the gradual downward trend that had been apparent since the turn of the century, but which had been interrupted in 2003. The decline is due essentially to developments in the euro area, notably to marked declines in Germany and Italy. This information comes from the publication 'Structures of the taxation systems in the European Union: 1995-2004' issued by Eurostat and the Commission's Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union.

    [26] Seventh edition of Brussels Economic Forum

    The European Commission's Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate General organises Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May the seventh edition of the Brussels Economic Forum which gathers academic, economic and political figures. The themes of this year's conference include : "The economic outlook : weighing the risks", "Competition and Innovation : making it happen", "Social models : fostering faster growth" and "Enlargement : will the magic work again ?". Commissioners Joaquin Almunia and Olli Rhen will give speeches. The conference will take place at the Charlemagne building and the press is welcome. Programmes in Amelia Torres' secretariat: 02/2965522. Registration form on line : <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/events/2006/events_brussels_0506_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/events/2006/events_brussels_0506_en.htm

    [27] Exposition d'œuvres artistiques au Berlaymont : inauguration le 18 mai

    Le jeudi 18 mai 2006, plus de 300 œuvres artistiques européennes, en provenance des 25 Etats membres de l'Union, feront leur entrée dans le bâtiment du Berlaymont. L'inauguration de cette exposition permanente sera effectuée par le Président de la Commission, José Manuel Barroso, et le commissaire européen en charge de l'Education et de la Culture, Ján Figel'. A quelques heures du Conseil Culture, le Secrétaire d'Etat autrichien pour les arts et médias, Franz Morak, représentera la Présidence de l’Union, en présence de ses homologues européens.

    [28] Stavros Dimas at Floods Conference and Informal Environment Council meeting in Vienna

    On 18-19 May, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will participate in the European Conference on Flood Risk Management, organised by the Austrian Presidency in Vienna. This conference will discuss flood risk, and in particular the impact of climate change on floods. Mr Dimas will present the work of the European Commission on this topic, in particular the Flood Action Programme and its draft Floods Directive. In 19-21 May, Commissioner Dimas continues to the Informal Council of environment ministers being hosted by the Austrian presidency in Rust, Austria. The meeting will focus on improving the quality of the environment in urban areas, environmental technologies and the link between them. The presidency intends to draw up conclusions which will serve as the basis for formal Council conclusions at the next Environment Council meeting on 26-27 June. Commissioner Dimas said : "Environmental problems are increasing in many cities and action is needed from all of us. I am very pleased that the Austrian presidency has chosen to give priority to this issue and to the thematic strategy on the urban environment we launched in January. Eco-technologies are key to solving many of the environmental problems facing cities, such as air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. I am glad to have this opportunity to update ministers on the progress of the Commission's Environmental Technologies Action Plan, which is promoting eco-innovation and the broad take-up of environmental technologies."

    [29] Autre matériel diffusé

    Key findings of the May 2006 monitoring reports on Bulgaria and Romania

    Taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2004 - frequently asked questions

    Taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2004 - frequently asked questions

    Avian influenza : regionalised ban on Romanian poultry and poultry products extended

    Classical Swine Fever in Germany : measures adjusted

    Questions and answers on health and nutrition claims

    Nutrition claims and conditions applying to them

    Questions and answers on fortified foods

    Speech by Peter Mandelson : "The Future of EU-ASEAN trade relations" at EU- Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kuala Lumpur)

    Speech by Viviane Reding : "Europe's free-to-air content and advertising: not one without the other" at World Federation of Advertisers Conference (15/05, Paris) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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