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

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

  • [01] "Common Visa Application Centres" and introduction of biometrics in Visa Information System (VIS) will reinforce internal security and facilitate legitimate travelling to EU
  • [02] "Common Visa Application Centres" and introduction of biometrics in Visa Information System (VIS) will reinforce internal security and facilitate legitimate travelling to EU
  • [03] Markos Kyprianou welcomes agreement on revision of food additives and sweeteners legislation
  • [04] European countries are joining a European-wide Campaign against Climate Change.
  • [05] Vingt-quatre États membres sont d’ores et déj parties l’accord relatif la lutte contre la contrebande conclu entre PMI, la Communauté européenne et les États membres
  • [06] Fostering the competitiveness of Europe's ICT industry: Commission launches Task Force
  • [07] Meeting between Vice President Margot Wallström and The European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros with the European Commission coordinators
  • [08] Euro-Mediterranean Conference to discuss the economic benefits of the European Neighbourhood Policy
  • [09] Rédiffusion
  • [10] Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Arcelor by Mittal, subject to conditions
  • [11] Mergers: Commission authorises creation of joint venture for lactose between Campina and Fonterra
  • [12] Mergers: Commission clears takeover of bearing manufacturer SNFA by competitor SKF
  • [13] Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of UPC Sweden by Providence/Carlyle
  • [14] Un groupe haut niveau recommande des mesures urgentes pour la mise en place d'un système énergétique européen la fois compétitif et durable
  • [15] Influenza: Commissioner Kyprianou regrets failure to agree on EU anti- viral stockpile
  • [16] Classical Swine Fever in Germany: measures eased slightlyA draft Commission Decision modifying certain measures in place due to classical swine fever in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, over the past few months (see IP/06/589) was backed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today. The Committee agreed that pigs from the surveillance zone established around the most recent outbreaks in Borken may be moved to empty farms in the protection zone, subject to certain conditions. This is for animal welfare reasons, to avoid overcrowding on the farms in the surveillance zone, to which a movement standstill applies. Before movement of pigs from the surveillance zone to a farm in the protection zone, the holding of destination must be have been empty and thoroughly cleansed for at least 21 days, it must be situated at least 10km away from the national border, the pigs must undergo a veterinary test prior to departure, and they cannot be moved once they arrive on the farm, unless for slaughter. In Detmold and Köln (territories in North Rhine Westphalia most distant from the surveillance zone) measures have been lifted, so that these areas will now subject to the same conditions as the rest of Germany outside North Rhine-Westphalia. In Münster, Arnsberg and Dusseldorf, two zones are established: one (the Northen part surrounding the previous outbreaks) from which movement of pigs to other parts of Germany will not be allowed and the other one in the Southern part from which these movements will be allowed subject to certain conditions. The Decision will apply until 31 July 2006, subject to review if new developments occur. However, from 30 June 2006 on, only certain restrictive measures on the movement of pigs in the surveillance zone in Borken will remain in place for a limited period.
  • [17] Avian Influenza : import ban on all Romanian poultry and poultry products
  • [18] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-06-06 Reference: MEX/06/0606 Date: 06/06/2006 EXME06 / 6.6

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    06/06/06


  • [01] "Common Visa Application Centres" and introduction of biometrics in Visa Information System (VIS) will reinforce internal security and facilitate legitimate travelling to EU

    The European Commission adopted on 2 June a proposal for a Regulation introducing biometric identifiers in the Visa Information System (VIS). This proposal also includes different options allowing Member States to jointly organise the reception and processing of visa applications.

    [02] "Common Visa Application Centres" and introduction of biometrics in Visa Information System (VIS) will reinforce internal security and facilitate legitimate travelling to EU

    The European Commission adopted on 2 June a proposal for a Regulation introducing biometric identifiers in the Visa Information System (VIS). This proposal also includes different options allowing Member States to jointly organise the reception and processing of visa applications.

    [03] Markos Kyprianou welcomes agreement on revision of food additives and sweeteners legislation

    The European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, has welcomed the agreement at Health Council on 2 June to amend two EU Directives on food additives and sweeteners. The proposed amendments include stricter requirements for nitrites and nitrates in meat, in line with a Court of Justice ruling and a European Food Safety Authority opinion on the levels of these substances which can be considered safe in meat. This proposal also allows the use of seven new food additives and extends the permitted uses of certain other additives. These changes to the current legislation for food additives and sweeteners will ensure the better functioning of the internal market, and maintain a high level of food safety and consumer protection.

    [04] European countries are joining a European-wide Campaign against Climate Change.

    Over the last few days, countries across Europe have been joining in the European Commission’s campaign against climate change. The campaign entitled “You Control Climate Change” reaches out to people to convince them that small changes in their daily routine can help significantly in the fight against climate change. The EU, which has been leading the fight against climate change, has been urging the US and other major polluting countries to make commitments to reduce the level of greenhouse gases. “Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge that the planet faces. We cannot afford losing the battle against climate change. We need to engage all actors: we need global commitment, strong EU legislation targeting all major polluters, and we need citizens to do their bit by changing habits - turn down, recycle, walk...”, said European Commissioner Stavros Dimas on the occasion.

    http://ec.europa.eu/environment/index_en.htm

    <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/684&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/684&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

    [05] Vingt-quatre États membres sont d’ores et déj parties l’accord relatif la lutte contre la contrebande conclu entre PMI, la Communauté européenne et les États membres

    Depuis juillet 2004, quatorze États membres ont rejoint la Communauté européenne et les dix États membres initiaux dans leur lutte contre la contrebande de cigarettes et ont signé l’accord relatif la lutte contre la contrebande et la contrefaçon avec Philip Morris International, Inc, faisant passer le nombre total de pays signataires vingt-quatre. Cet important accord qui met en place une coopération substantiellement renforcée différents niveaux de la lutte contre le commerce illégal de cigarettes, s'est avéré être d’une grande efficacité.

    [06] Fostering the competitiveness of Europe's ICT industry: Commission launches Task Force

    The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is a key contributor to growth in the EU. Meeting for the first time today, the new Task Force – launched by the European Commission – will tackle barriers to competition and the competitiveness of the ICT sector. Today’s meeting kicks off a 5-month debate on challenges to ICT producers and users, in particular on the challenges and opportunities created by the convergence of digital networks, content and devices. It will identify major obstacles for competitiveness of Europe’s ICT industry and for the completion of the internal market for this sector. The Task Force will recommend possible policy responses. It will deliver its report to the Commission by the end of the year. The ICT Task Force is composed of high-level representatives of the ICT industry and of civil society. This is one of several Commission initiatives that aim to help create a more favourable environment for business in the EU.

    [07] Meeting between Vice President Margot Wallström and The European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros with the European Commission coordinators

    Today, European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström, responsible for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy and European Ombudsman Mr. Diamandouros met the network of civil servants, who in various Directorates General at the Commission, follow the Ombudsman’s enquiries. The purpose of the meeting is to achieve greater transparency in the Commission’s work and enhance its capacity to listen to citizens’ complaints. The new procedure adopted by the Commission last October gives stronger political ownership of the Ombudsman’s enquiries, with each Commissioner now signing replies to the Ombudsman in the name and under the authority of the whole Commission. The meeting also provided an opportunity to review the relations between the Commission and the Ombudsman and examine how the commitments entered into at the meeting between the Ombudsman and the College of Commissioners on 25 May 2005 were followed up, especially as regards the possibility of reaching friendly solutions more frequently in the disputes between complainants and the Commission. The Ombudsman plays an active role as an external control mechanism to guarantee the right of citizens to good administration on the part of European institutions, and also as a resource at the disposal of the EU administration to set up structures based on a culture of service and respect of human rights and the rule of law. The Commission and the Ombudsman have decided to organize joint initiatives on a more regular basis, particularly a meeting with Directors General and Heads of service and another meeting between the Ombudsman and the College of Commissioners to review progress.

    [08] Euro-Mediterranean Conference to discuss the economic benefits of the European Neighbourhood Policy

    The 10th annual Euro-Mediterranean Economic Transition Conference “Giving the Neighbours a stake in the EU Internal Market” takes place in Brussels on 6-7 June. This year conference deals with the economic aspects of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the potential benefits that neighbours can derive from gradual participation in the EU internal market and from trade liberalisation in services. Over two days, more than 300 economic policy makers, researchers, private sector representatives and media from the EU’s Mediterranean Partners countries, together with representatives of the Eastern Neighbourhood countries, will focus on specific aspects of the internal market and their potential applications and benefits for them. Discussions will focus on clarifying what is meant by “a stake in the EU Internal Market”, enhancing awareness of the potential benefits of that “stake” and explaining how this articulates with economic policies under the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements and the Barcelona Process. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner will deliver the opening address.

    [09] Rédiffusion

    [10] Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Arcelor by Mittal, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the company Arcelor S.A. (Luxembourg) by the Mittal Steel Company N.V. (The Netherlands), subject to conditions. Both companies are major steel producers. The Commission has found that the proposed transaction would not give rise to competition concerns in the EEA markets for most steel products, except for heavy section beams, a specific type of long carbon steel product. However, Mittal offered remedies that would remove the concerns identified by the Commission. In the light of the remedies submitted, the Commission has concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

    [11] Mergers: Commission authorises creation of joint venture for lactose between Campina and Fonterra

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint venture between Campina of The Netherlands and Fonterra of New Zealand, both active in dairy products. Campina and Fonterra will combine their respective pharmaceutical and fine chemical lactose activities. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) or a substantial part of it.

    [12] Mergers: Commission clears takeover of bearing manufacturer SNFA by competitor SKF

    The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition by Sweden-based Aktiebolaget Svenska Kullagerfabriken (“SKF”) of French company SNFA S.A.S. (“SNFA”). Both companies manufacture anti-friction bearings. As the combined entity will continue to face strong competition from major bearing manufacturers, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any significant part of it.

    [13] Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of UPC Sweden by Providence/Carlyle

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of NBS Nordic Broadband Services AB (UPC Sweden) by private investment firms Carlyle Europe Partners II L. P. (“Carlyle”) and Providence Equity Offshore Partners V LP (“Providence”). The Commission has concluded that the operation would not result in a significant impediment to effective competition in the EEA, or any substantial part of it.

    [14] Un groupe haut niveau recommande des mesures urgentes pour la mise en place d'un système énergétique européen la fois compétitif et durable

    Le groupe haut niveau (GHN) sur la compétitivité, l’énergie et l’environnement a adopté aujourd’hui son premier rapport qui contient un certain nombre de recommandations concrètes concernant des questions urgentes comme l’amélioration et la mise en œuvre du cadre réglementaire européen dans le domaine de l’énergie, l’utilisation plus rationnelle des ressources par les industries forte intensité énergétique, l’efficacité énergétique ou le fonctionnement et la révision du système communautaire d’échange des quotas d’émission. Composé de représentants haut niveau des parties intéressées, le GHN s’attache renforcer la cohérence entre les initiatives politiques et législatives et contribue la mise en place d’un cadre réglementaire plus stable, plus prévisible et plus concurrentiel (voir IP/06/244 et IP/06/226). La Commission estime que seule une approche globale de toutes les composantes de la chaîne énergétique et des trois objectifs que sont la sécurité de l’approvisionnement énergétique, la protection de l’environnement et le maintien de la compétitivité peut produire des effets positifs durables ainsi qu’elle l’a suggéré dans son récent Livre vert sur l’énergie. Les recommandations du GHN contribueront atteindre cet objectif.

    [15] Influenza: Commissioner Kyprianou regrets failure to agree on EU anti- viral stockpile

    Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, has expressed his regret that EU Health Ministers today failed to agree to proceed with the creation of a European strategic stockpile of anti-virals against influenza. The possibility of a stockpile had been discussed as part of the overall EU pandemic preparedness measures. It would have served as a pool of anti-virals which could have been re-distributed according to need should pandemic influenza occur in Europe. Following months of discussion with Member State health experts on the issue, the Commission today put forward a concept paper which set out the basic purpose and principles of the stockpile. The aim was not that it would substitute national stockpiles, which must continue to be compiled by every Member State, but to have it as an additional and complementary resource. Commissioner Kyprianou said "I very much regret that Member States have failed to agree with the idea of establishing an EU strategic stockpile of antivirals. The Commission has put a lot of effort into working on this idea and how it would operate in practice, and it is my view that such a stockpile could have given us reinforced defences throughout the EU, particularly in the early stages of a pandemic. Today’s debate showed there was no agreement on the development of such a measure and it means that it is even more important that Member States make every effort to build up their own anti-viral stockpiles. The responsibility now lies fully with national authorities to ensure that there are sufficient resources, at the very least for the most vulnerable, in the case of a pandemic."

    [16] Classical Swine Fever in Germany: measures eased slightlyA draft Commission Decision modifying certain measures in place due to classical swine fever in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, over the past few months (see IP/06/589) was backed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today. The Committee agreed that pigs from the surveillance zone established around the most recent outbreaks in Borken may be moved to empty farms in the protection zone, subject to certain conditions. This is for animal welfare reasons, to avoid overcrowding on the farms in the surveillance zone, to which a movement standstill applies. Before movement of pigs from the surveillance zone to a farm in the protection zone, the holding of destination must be have been empty and thoroughly cleansed for at least 21 days, it must be situated at least 10km away from the national border, the pigs must undergo a veterinary test prior to departure, and they cannot be moved once they arrive on the farm, unless for slaughter. In Detmold and Köln (territories in North Rhine Westphalia most distant from the surveillance zone) measures have been lifted, so that these areas will now subject to the same conditions as the rest of Germany outside North Rhine-Westphalia. In Münster, Arnsberg and Dusseldorf, two zones are established: one (the Northen part surrounding the previous outbreaks) from which movement of pigs to other parts of Germany will not be allowed and the other one in the Southern part from which these movements will be allowed subject to certain conditions. The Decision will apply until 31 July 2006, subject to review if new developments occur. However, from 30 June 2006 on, only certain restrictive measures on the movement of pigs in the surveillance zone in Borken will remain in place for a limited period.

    [17] Avian Influenza : import ban on all Romanian poultry and poultry products

    A draft European Commission proposal to extend the import ban on Romanian live poultry and poultry products to cover the whole country has been endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 2 June. The proposal was put forward on the basis that the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus has been spreading rapidly in Romania since avian influenza began re-occurring in the country in mid-May. During the meeting the Romanian authorities gave an extensive overview on the avian influenza situation in their country and the measures they have undertaken to contain the disease, including an overview of the diagnostic procedures in place in their avian influenza laboratories. The Romanian authorities have notified an outbreak outside the area currently under restriction, from where imports of poultry and poultry products are already banned by the EU (see IP/06/590). Romania is applying stringent eradication and control measures in the affected counties and supplementary biosecurity measures are in force in all 42 Romanian counties. However, outbreaks are still being detected and the situation is being closely monitored by the Commission. The measures in place will be reviewed at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health in July 2006.

    [18] Autre matériel diffusé

    « Common Visa Application Centres and the introduction of biometrics in the Visa Information System (VIS)

    &lt;!-- PRV_REF ID="MEMO|06/229|0|EN" --&gt;ECOFIN Council of 6 and 7 June From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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