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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-06-29

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] New, secure biometric passports in the EU, strengthen security and data protection and facilitates travelling
  • [02] La Commission adopte une communication soulignant l'importance de la formation des professionnels de la justice dans l'Union européenne
  • [03] Télécommunications : la Commission élabore des projets en vue de stimuler la concurrence entre les opérateurs de télécommunications et de construire un marché unique des services qui utilisent le spectre radioélectrique
  • [04] Online public services are increasingly interactive : "intelligent delivery" is the next frontier, says latest e-Government report
  • [05] Tunnel du Brenner : le percement de la galerie de reconnaissance démarre
  • [06] Commission welcomes judgments of the Court of Justice in SGL Carbon and Showa Denko Cases (Graphite electrodes cartel)
  • [07] Commission clears drinks distribution joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Kuehne + Nagel
  • [08] La Commission donne son feu vert l'acquisition de Hornitex par Sonae Indústria
  • [09] A new financing instrument to promote democracy and human rights
  • [10] Commission allocates €3 million for victims of internal conflict in Timor Leste
  • [11] Markos Kyprianou launches new consumer education tools
  • [12] Designing safer medical devices
  • [13] Joe Borg to address Maritime Policy conference in Antibes
  • [14] La Commission saisit la Cour de justice propos du traitement des eaux résiduaires en Grèce
  • [15] Commission takes legal action against illegal bird hunting
  • [16] Importation de voitures d'occasion : la Commission prend des mesures l'encontre du Luxembourg, de la République tchèque, de la Pologne, de l'Autriche et de la Hongrie
  • [17] Second Railway Package : Commission sends a reasoned opinion to four Member States
  • [18] Installations de réception portuaires pour déchets d'exploitation des navires et résidus de cargaison : la Commission envoie des avis motivés l'Allemagne, l'Estonie et l'Espagne et saisit la Cour de justice contre la Grèce, la France, l'Italie, la Finlande et le Portugal
  • [19] Port State Control : Commission sends a reasoned opinion to Portugal and brings Malta to the Court of Justice
  • [20] Tarification routière discriminatoire : la Commission adresse un avis motivé l'Espagne et la France
  • [21] Public procurement : infringement procedures against Germany, Austria, Italy and Malta
  • [22] Marchés publics : procédures d'infraction contre la Grèce, l'Espagne et le Portugal
  • [23] Qualifications professionnelles : des procédures d'infraction contre la France, la Grèce et l'Espagne
  • [24] Freedom to provide services and freedom of establishment : infringement proceedings against Germany and Austria ; progress in cases against France and Italy
  • [25] Internal Market : infringement proceedings against Sweden and Greece
  • [26] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-06-29 Reference: MEX/06/0629 Date: 29/06/2006 EXME06 / 29.6

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    29/06/06


  • [01] New, secure biometric passports in the EU, strengthen security and data protection and facilitates travelling

    The European Commission adopted on 28 June 2006 the second part of the technical specifications required for the introduction of biometric identifiers (fingerprints) into the passport and other travel documents issued by Member States following Council Regulation (EC) 2252/2004 on the introduction of common security standards and biometrics into passports and other travel documents issued by Member States.

    [02] La Commission adopte une communication soulignant l'importance de la formation des professionnels de la justice dans l'Union européenne

    La formation des juges des procureurs et des avocats est soutenue par la Commission européenne depuis de nombreuses années travers divers programmes financiers. Néanmoins, les récents développements de l'Espace Judiciaire Européen (adoption du mandat d'arrêt européen, développement européen du droit de la famille et plus largement du droit civil) exigent des professionnels une actualisation permanente de leurs connaissances dans cette matière en pleine évolution. D'autre part, les décisions de justice sont appelées circuler en Europe en application du principe de reconnaissance mutuelle : le jugement rendu aujourd'hui Helsinki peut devoir être exécuté Porto ou Ljubljana.

    [03] Télécommunications : la Commission élabore des projets en vue de stimuler la concurrence entre les opérateurs de télécommunications et de construire un marché unique des services qui utilisent le spectre radioélectrique

    La Commission européenne lance aujourd'hui une consultation publique sur les actions possibles pour actualiser les règles relatives au marché communautaire des télécommunications, édictées en 2002 et rassemblées sous le nom de "cadre réglementaire pour les communications électroniques". Les communications électroniques comprennent la téléphonie vocale fixe, les communications mobiles et large bande – ce qui représente un marché de plus de €270 millions dans l'UE en 2005. Dans un rapport sur le fonctionnement du cadre réglementaire, la Commission constate que des progrès importants ont été accomplis depuis 2002 dans l'ouverture des marchés nationaux des télécommunications la concurrence et propose de supprimer progressivement la réglementation ex- ante dans au moins 6 des 18 segments du marché des télécoms existants, y compris ceux des appels nationaux et internationaux. Concernant les marchés sur lesquels il n'existe pas encore de concurrence réelle (par exemple, le marché essentiel des télécommunications large bande), la Commission veut que les règles communautaires soient appliquées plus efficacement, afin d'intensifier la concurrence dans l'ensemble du marché unique. La Commission prend ainsi clairement position contre l'idée de "pause réglementaire" pour les opérateurs en place. La Commission recommande par ailleurs d'évoluer vers une approche commune et davantage axée sur le marché pour l'attribution du spectre radioélectrique nécessaire pour que les nouveaux services et produits fonctionnent dans l’ensemble de l'UE. L'objectif de la Commission est que les nouvelles règles soient entièrement transposées dans les législations nationales d'ici 2010.

    [04] Online public services are increasingly interactive : "intelligent delivery" is the next frontier, says latest e-Government report

    The maturity of online public services in the EU keeps improving and they have now reached an overall level of sophistication where full two-way interaction between citizens and governments is the norm. Nearly 50% of services allow the citizen to conduct the whole process on-line, says the latest e-Government survey carried out for the Commission. This in turn leads to better, more efficient and effective service provision. The sophistication index has risen by 6% in the year to April 2006 in the EU 15 Member States, but by 16% in the EU10, reflecting the considerable efforts made in recent years. Austria leads the online public service league, followed by Malta and Estonia. Since 2001, this survey has measured the share of public services fully available on line in the EU, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Many billions of euros could be saved for European taxpayers every year through administrative modernisation across the 25 EU Member States, as outlined in the European Commission's eGovernment Action Plan of April 2006 (see IP/06/523).

    [05] Tunnel du Brenner : le percement de la galerie de reconnaissance démarre

    Avec le lancement demain, 30 juin 2006, des travaux de creusement d'une galerie de reconnaissance dans l'axe du futur tunnel de base du Brenner, une étape déterminante sera franchie pour réussir le transfert modal de la route vers le rail pour la traversée des Alpes. La Commission européenne se félicite des progrès rapides et confirme son soutien.

    [06] Commission welcomes judgments of the Court of Justice in SGL Carbon and Showa Denko Cases (Graphite electrodes cartel)

    The European Commission welcomes today's judgment by the European Court of Justice allowing the Commission's appeal and dismissing the appeals by SGL Carbon and Showa Denko in respect of the graphite electrodes cartel, and increasing the fine on SGL Carbon. The Court upheld the Commission's argument that a company subject to a Commission investigation must produce documents even where those documents could be used as evidence of an infringement by that company. The provision of such documents cannot lead to a reduction of fines for cooperation as their production is required by law. The Court also confirmed that a reduction of a fine under the Leniency Notice can be justified only where the company demonstrates a genuine spirit of cooperation, which SGL Carbon had failed to do. The Court therefore held that the reduction in fine by the Court of First Instance (from €80 million to €69 million) was incorrect on these points. Consequently, the Court re-increased the fine imposed on SGL Carbon to €75.7 million. SGL Carbon will therefore have to pay more than 94% of the fine originally imposed by the Commission, together with the Commission's costs of this appeal. The Court also underlined that deterrence is an important aspect of the Commission's fining policy. This principle of deterrence has been reinforced in the Commission's new guidelines on fines, adopted on 28th June 2006 (see IP/06/698 and MEMO/06/224).

    [07] Commission clears drinks distribution joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Kuehne + Nagel

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the formation of a joint venture for UK drinks distribution between the UK brewery group Scottish & Newcastle ('S&N') and Kuehne+Nagel Logistics Ltd ('K+N'). The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.

    [08] La Commission donne son feu vert l'acquisition de Hornitex par Sonae Indústria

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement CE sur les concentrations, le projet d'acquisition de l'entreprise allemande Hornitex par la société portugaise Sonae Indústria. Ces deux entreprises se consacrent la fabrication et la vente de panneaux de fibres. La concentration proposée permettrait Sonae Indústria de prendre le contrôle des activités de Hornitex dans le secteur de la fabrication de panneaux en bois en Allemagne. La Commission a conclu que l'opération envisagée n'entraverait pas de manière significative la concurrence effective dans l'Espace économique européen ou dans une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

    [09] A new financing instrument to promote democracy and human rights

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a self-standing financing instrument to promote democracy and human rights worldwide. The new instrument is to replace the present external assistance scheme (European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights – EIDHR), which will run out by the end of the year. The proposal has immediately been sent to the European Parliament and the Council to ensure an efficient legislative process enabling the instrument to become operational by the beginning of next year.

    [10] Commission allocates €3 million for victims of internal conflict in Timor Leste

    The European Commission has allocated €3 million in humanitarian aid for up to 140,000 people displaced by the recent violence in Timor Leste and for their host families. The funds will be used to meet their most basic needs for a period of 6 months. All funds are channeled through the Commission's department for Humanitarian Aid, ECHO, under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

    [11] Markos Kyprianou launches new consumer education tools

    The European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou today launched three consumer education tools at a workshop in Brussels bringing together decision-makers, media and consumer associations. In particular, the Commissioner presented a new on-line portal known as 'Dolceta' (Development of On Line Consumer Education Tools for Adults) which provides a useful educational tool for citizens on their consumer rights and financial services issues (<a href="http://portal.dolceta.net">http://portal.dolceta.net). The Commissioner also presented the 2006-07 edition of the successful Europa Diary, an EU-wide publication for students aged 15-18. The diary is used in schools and sets out useful information on issues of interest to young consumers including smoking, nutrition and consumer rights. Finally the Commissioner outlined another project contributing to consumer education : EU-funded training courses for staff of consumer organisations. These courses on management, lobbying and consumer law, are open to consumer association personnel from the 25 Member States plus Bulgaria and Romania.

    [12] Designing safer medical devices

    The Global Harmonisation Task Force for Medical Devices (GHTF) held its tenth conference in Lübeck (Germany) under the theme : 'Design for Patient Safety' – a design philosophy that seeks to reach a new level of safety for patients and healthcare workers by eliminating complex or confusing products. GHTF is the worldwide organisation of government and industry experts in medical device technology that seeks to set and promote the highest standards in medical device safety. The conference that was organized by the European Commission and hosted by the European Federation of Precision Mechanical and Optical Industries (EUROM) brought together the world's leading governmental and industrial experts on medical device safety. With over 420 delegates from 33 countries, this has been the most successful GHTF Conference to date, and demonstrates the enormous worldwide interest in the adoption of GHTF principals. In tackling the issue of design for patient safety, experts also examined new and emerging technologies, how device manufacturers follow their products in the market and the minimum standards for technical and safety data.

    For more information see: <a href="http://www.ghtf.org">http://www.ghtf.org and/or

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/medical_devices/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/medical_devices/index_en.htm

    [13] Joe Borg to address Maritime Policy conference in Antibes

    This evening, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, will arrive in Antibes to attend the international conference on the Commission's Green Paper on a Future European Maritime Policy which is being hosted by the French government. Following the conference hosted by the Regional Government of the Azores at the beginning of this week, which focused on the maritime experience of Europe's outermost regions, this meeting will, for the first time, bring together ministers from 10 EU Member States, mainly from the Mediterranean, to discuss how an integrated maritime policy would support sustainable growth and jobs and encourage better policy-making across a range of sectors which are currently dealt with separately. "From the start, France has played a major role in supporting the Commission's initiative on a maritime policy, as befits one of Europe's leading seafaring nations", said Joe Borg. "I am delighted that the French government is hosting this event to help launch the consultation on a future maritime policy, and I look forward to working closely with all the Member States over the coming year." Mr Borg will address tonight's opening ceremony, alongside Ms Catherine Colonna, French Minister for European Affairs, and Mr Jean Leonetti, Deputy Mayor of Antibes. He will then introduce the formal proceedings of the conference tomorrow morning. A general presentation of the Green Paper will be followed by thematic sessions focusing on Integrated Coastal Zone Management and the governance of maritime affairs in Europe, amongst others.

    [14] La Commission saisit la Cour de justice propos du traitement des eaux résiduaires en Grèce

    La Commission européenne a engagé devant la Cour du Justice européenne une action visant la Grèce, qui n'assure pas comme il convient le traitement des eaux urbaines résiduaires dans vingt-quatre villes du pays. Le problème aurait dû être réglé avant la fin de l'année 2000. L'absence de traitement met en danger la santé des populations concernées, les eaux usées non traitées pouvant contenir des bactéries et des virus dangereux. Ces eaux contiennent également des nutriments tels que l'azote et le phosphore, susceptibles de nuire au milieu marin en favorisant la prolifération d'algues qui étouffent les autres formes de vie.

    [15] Commission takes legal action against illegal bird hunting

    Hunting regulation is a crucial aspect of EU nature and biodiversity protection policy. However, a number of Member States fail to ensure correct regulation of hunting practices. To address this problem, the European Commission has launched legal action against four Member States. Finland, Italy and Spain are being asked to bring their rules on hunting into line with the EU's Wild Birds Directive. Currently, laws in these Member States allow the hunting of birds during key periods of migration and breeding, or with insufficient controls. These laws are in breach of EU legislation intended to ensure the protection and conservation of birds across the EU. A first warning letter has also been sent to Malta over the spring hunting of two species of birds.

    [16] Importation de voitures d'occasion : la Commission prend des mesures l'encontre du Luxembourg, de la République tchèque, de la Pologne, de l'Autriche et de la Hongrie

    La Commission européenne a pris des mesures l'encontre du Luxembourg, de la République tchèque, de la Pologne, de l'Autriche et de la Hongrie parce que ces Etats membres rendent difficile l'importation de voitures d'occasion sur leur territoire. Les cinq affaires, qui se trouvent des étapes différentes de la procédure d'infraction, constituent des entraves la libre circulation des marchandises. Le Luxembourg exige par exemple, avant l'importation de véhicules, des justificatifs de l'inscription du concessionnaire au registre du commerce, sans que cela se justifie. D'autres Etats membres imposent des contrôles techniques avant l'immatriculation de véhicules d'occasion importés alors que cette exigence n'existe pas pour des véhicules similaires (même âge, modèle ou type) déj immatriculés auparavant dans le pays.

    [17] Second Railway Package : Commission sends a reasoned opinion to four Member States

    Greece, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia were sent a reasoned opinion for failing to notify the European Commission of any transposition measures for a Directive, which opens the market for international and national rail freight services. The transposition of this directive into the national legal framework should enable more efficient and on-time international and national services by rail, which are particularly important to make rail more competitive. The Commission will fully play its role in ensuring an open internal market for rail freight services.

    [18] Installations de réception portuaires pour déchets d'exploitation des navires et résidus de cargaison : la Commission envoie des avis motivés l'Allemagne, l'Estonie et l'Espagne et saisit la Cour de justice contre la Grèce, la France, l'Italie, la Finlande et le Portugal

    La Commission européenne a envoyé des avis motivés l'Allemagne, l'Estonie et l'Espagne et a décidé de saisir la Cour de justice contre la Grèce, la France, l'Italie, la Finlande et le Portugal. Ces pays n'ont pas respecté la législation communautaire sur l'amélioration de la disponibilité et de l'utilisation des installations de réception portuaires pour les déchets d'exploitation des navires et les résidus de cargaison.

    [19] Port State Control : Commission sends a reasoned opinion to Portugal and brings Malta to the Court of Justice

    The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion – the last step before lodging a case to the Court of Justice – to Portugal and brought Malta to Court for failure to respect EU legislation on port State control of shipping.

    [20] Tarification routière discriminatoire : la Commission adresse un avis motivé l'Espagne et la France

    La Commission européenne a adressé un avis motivé l'Espagne et la France pour non-respect de la législation européenne en matière de tarification routière. Ces deux Etats membres offrent des remises excessivement élevées, allant jusqu' 50% et 30% respectivement, aux usagers fréquents de leurs autoroutes.

    [21] Public procurement : infringement procedures against Germany, Austria, Italy and Malta

    The European Commission has taken action against Germany, Austria, Italy and Malta to correct breaches of EU public procurement law. The Commission will refer Germany to the European Court of Justice over waste disposal services awarded by several administrative districts in Lower Saxony. The Commission will also make formal requests to Germany regarding the award of a bus transport service concession in the city of Worms and regarding group pension services awarded by public employers. These requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. The Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send a letter of formal notice asking Austria for full information on its execution of a European Court judgement concerning the disposal of waste in the city of Mödling. The Commission has also decided to send reasoned opinions to Austria in two other similar cases concerning long-term waste disposal contracts in the cities of Hartberg and Kapfenberg. The Commission has decided to send Italy reasoned opinions concerning procedural errors in the procurement of prisons and trams. Finally the Commission has decided to send Malta a reasoned opinion concerning a public contract for the provision of programme management services and technical assistance.

    [22] Marchés publics : procédures d'infraction contre la Grèce, l'Espagne et le Portugal

    La Commission européenne a pris des mesures contre la Grèce, l'Espagne et le Portugal pour remédier des infractions au droit communautaire sur les marchés publics. La Commission a décidé d'assigner la Grèce devant la Cour de justice européenne concernant les procédures d'adjudication pour la fourniture de dispositifs médicaux plusieurs hôpitaux en Grèce, et concernant ses règles d'attribution directe de fournitures médicales dans certains cas. La Commission adressera également des demandes formelles la Grèce concernant la procédure d'adjudication relative un projet de chemin de fer public Thriasio et concernant la procédure d'adjudication relative un projet de construction d'usines thermoélectrique Atherinolakkos, en Crète. Ces demandes prennent la forme d'«avis motivés», qui constituent la seconde étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue l’article 226 du traité CE. En l'absence de réponse satisfaisante dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission pourra saisir la Cour de justice. La Commission adressera entre-temps un avis motivé au Portugal concernant la procédure d'adjudication relative aux services de conseil pour les travaux de construction dans le réseau de métro de Porto. La Commission a également décidé, en vertu de l'article 228 du traité CE, d'adresser l'Espagne encore un autre avis motivé, lui demandant de se conformer immédiatement l'arrêt rendu en 2005 par la Cour de justice concernant sa transposition en droit national des directives de l'UE relatives aux marchés publics de fournitures et aux marchés publics de travaux. Si l'Espagne ne s'y conforme pas, la Commission peut demander la Cour de justice d'infliger des amendes. Enfin, la Commission a décidé, au titre de l'article 228 du traité CE, d'adresser l'Espagne une lettre de mise en demeure lui demandant des informations complètes sur son exécution d'un arrêt rendu en 2005 par la Cour de justice concernant l'adjudication de services de santé.

    [23] Qualifications professionnelles : des procédures d'infraction contre la France, la Grèce et l'Espagne

    La Commission européenne a pris des mesures contre la France, la Grèce et l'Espagne pour remédier aux violations de la législation communautaire sur les qualifications professionnelles. La Commission saisira la Cour de justice d'un recours contre la France au sujet de ses règles sur la prestation temporaire de services par des médecins, dentistes et sages- femmes établis dans un autre Etat membre. Elle invitera aussi formellement la France modifier sa législation sur la reconnaissance des qualifications des guides de canyon et des moniteurs de snowboard. Ces demandes prendront la forme d'«avis motivés», seconde étape de la procédure d’infraction prévue l'article 226 du traité CE. En l'absence de réponse satisfaisante dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission pourra saisir la Cour de justice. Parallèlement, la Commission a décidé d'adresser la Grèce un autre avis motivé au titre de l’article 228 du traité CE lui demandant de se conformer sans délai l'arrêt de la Cour de 2005 et autoriser des sociétés ouvrir des magasins d'optique. Elle enverra aussi la Grèce un avis motivé concernant la qualification des médecins. Enfin, la Commission enverra un avis motivé l'Espagne concernant les qualifications de pharmacien hospitalier.

    [24] Freedom to provide services and freedom of establishment : infringement proceedings against Germany and Austria ; progress in cases against France and Italy

    The European Commission has taken action to put an end to obstacles to the freedom of establishment and to the free movement of services in Germany and Austria, and can report progress in cases against France and Italy concerning hydroelectric concessions. The Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send a letter of formal notice asking Germany for full information on its execution of a European Court of Justice judgment concerning conditions imposed on EU employers who wish to post nationals of non-EU countries to other Member States in connection with the cross-border provision of services. The Commission considers that these conditions are contrary to EC Treaty rules on the free movement of services (Article 49). The Commission has also decided to formally ask Austria to modify its rules on company registration that impose special requirements upon nationals from certain Member States that joined the EU in May 2004. The Commission considers that these conditions are contrary to EC Treaty rules on the freedom of establishment (Article 43). The request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. Finally, in the area of hydroelectric concessions, the Commission has decided to close a case against Italy concerning the preference given to outgoing concession- holders when concessions for works using hydraulic power come up for renewal, as Italy has now modified its legislation. In a similar case against France, the French authorities have now declared their intention to modify their legislation. A related case against Italy concerning a similar preference given to local public bodies in the Trentino-Alto Adige Region remains open, pending a forthcoming judgment of the Italian Constitutional Court.

    [25] Internal Market : infringement proceedings against Sweden and Greece

    The European Commission has taken action against Sweden and Greece to ensure that they implement Internal Market laws correctly. The Commission will formally request Sweden to modify an aspect of its taxation legislation requiring foreign financial institutions that are not formally established in Sweden to provide the Swedish tax authorities with annual information on any business they do with Swedish residents. The Commission considers that this requirement tends to dissuade foreign financial institutions from providing cross-border services in Sweden and is therefore incompatible with EC Treaty rules on free movement of services and free movement of capital. The Commission will also formally request Greece to modify its legislation on company law rendering valid decisions on capital increases in public limited liability companies taken by the Greek government. The Commission considers this to be incompatible with EU company law, which requires these decisions to be taken at a general meeting. These requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [26] Autre matériel diffusé

    The review 2006 of the EU's regulatory framework for electronic communications: frequently asked questions

    Speech by Peter Mandelson : "EPAs: remarks to ACP Ministers" at ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Trade Committee (28/06)

    Speech by Danuta Hübner : "Innovation and change in European Regional Policy" at Conference on Modern Cohesion Policy (28/06) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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