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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-07-20

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] Lebanon : Commission launches aid decision for €10 million and urges all parties to respect humanitarian law
  • [02] La Commission interdit 22 substances pour teintures capillaires dans un souci d'amélioration de la sécurité des consommateurs
  • [03] Messages courts sur les téléphones mobiles ("SMS") : la Commission approuve la décision du régulateur français de baisser les prix de gros
  • [04] Commission confirms new Statement of Objections sent to 'Groupement des Cartes Bancaires'
  • [05] La Commission donne le feu vert la création de l'entreprise commune de commissariat aérien entre LSG et Gate Gourmet l'aéroport de Paris Charles de Gaulle
  • [06] Commission endorses €2 million restructuring aid to Polish energy company ; opens investigation into restructuring aid to Polish metal producer
  • [07] Commission opens inquiry into state financing of digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) in German Länder of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia
  • [08] Commission rejects restructuring aid for Kliq in The Netherlands and orders recovery of €9.25 million
  • [09] Commission concludes that two loans to recyclable waste collection company VAOP do not constitute aid
  • [10] La Commission ouvre une enquête propos de la prolongation du tarif préférentiel de l'électricité en Italie
  • [11] La Commission traduit l'Italie devant la Cour de justice pour non- récupération d'une aide d'Etat illégale
  • [12] Commission endorses €67 million of public funding for British R&D project led by Rolls-Royce
  • [13] La Commission demande aux autorités belges de clarifier les modalités de financement du radiodiffuseur public VRT
  • [14] Commission requests Belgium to end discrimination in Flemish registration tax
  • [15] Fiscalité directe : la Commission demande la Belgique de mettre un terme l'imposition discriminatoire des dividendes entrants
  • [16] Impôts directs : la Commission demande la Belgique de mettre fin aux pratiques discriminatoires l'égard des déductions fiscales personnelles accordées aux résidents percevant des revenus de source étrangère
  • [17] Ouverture d'une distillation de crise pour le vin au Portugal
  • [18] EU and Kiribati initial new fisheries partnership agreement
  • [19] Anchovy fisheries in the Bay of Biscay to be closed until the end of the year
  • [20] Joe Borg addresses Maritime conference in Turku, Finland
  • [21] Excise duties/ commercial diesel : public consultation
  • [22] Europeans on holiday : a preference for domestic holidays, but not in all Member States ; nearly 60% of trips made by private car and 25% by air
  • [23] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-07-20 Reference: MEX/06/0720 Date: 20/07/2006 EXME06 / 20.7

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    20/07/06


  • [01] Lebanon : Commission launches aid decision for €10 million and urges all parties to respect humanitarian law

    The European Commission is launching an emergency decision for €10 million to provide humanitarian aid for victims of the conflict in Lebanon. The funds, managed by the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), will cover a range of urgent relief activities including the provision of emergency supplies for displaced people and medical assistance.

    [02] La Commission interdit 22 substances pour teintures capillaires dans un souci d'amélioration de la sécurité des consommateurs

    En vue de garantir la sécurité des produits de teinture capillaire pour les consommateurs, la Commission européenne a interdit aujourd'hui 22 substances entrant dans la composition de teintures capillaires. Cette interdiction s'applique 22 substances pour teinture capillaire sur lesquelles les industriels n'ont communiqué aucun dossier de sécurité. Le comité scientifique conseillant la Commission a recommandé l'interdiction de ces substances en s'appuyant sur les conclusions d'une étude scientifique qui a déterminé que l'utilisation long terme de certaines teintures capillaires serait susceptible de provoquer le cancer de la vessie. L'interdiction d'aujourd’hui n’est que la première étape d'une stratégie générale convenue avec les Etats-membres et les parties prenantes en avril 2003 en vue d'établir une liste positive de substances pour teinture capillaire considérées comme sans danger pour la santé humaine. L'interdiction entrera en vigueur le 1er décembre 2006. Par ailleurs, l'industrie des produits cosmétiques a présenté 115 dossiers de sécurité sur des substances entrant dans la composition de teintures capillaires pour évaluation par le Comité scientifique des produits de consommation (CSPC) de l'Union européenne.

    [03] Messages courts sur les téléphones mobiles ("SMS") : la Commission approuve la décision du régulateur français de baisser les prix de gros

    La Commission européenne a approuvé les conclusions de l'autorité réglementaire nationale française, l'ARCEP ("l'Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques"), visant réguler les prix pratiqués par les opérateurs mobiles pour la réception de messages courts (SMS) sur les téléphones mobiles. L'ARCEP est le premier régulateur d'un pays membre de l'Union européenne proposer cette mesure.

    [04] Commission confirms new Statement of Objections sent to 'Groupement des Cartes Bancaires'

    The European Commission can confirm that it sent a new Statement of Objections to the 'Groupement des Cartes Bancaires' (CB) on19th July 2006. In its new Statement of Objections the Commission takes the preliminary view that 'Groupement des Cartes Bancaires' restricted competition between member banks by adopting tariffs which hinder the issuing of cards by new entrants at a reduced price, thereby preserving the revenues and market shares of incumbent banks to the detriment of consumers. The Commission's preliminary view is that such behaviour is contrary to the EC Treaty's ban on restrictive business practices (Article 81).

    [05] La Commission donne le feu vert la création de l'entreprise commune de commissariat aérien entre LSG et Gate Gourmet l'aéroport de Paris Charles de Gaulle

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, au titre du règlement CE sur les concentrations, le projet d'entreprise commune entre LSG, une filiale de Deutsche Lufthansa AG, et la société suisse Gate Gourmet. Les deux sociétés projettent de regrouper, au sein de l'entreprise commune de plein exercice, leurs activités respectives dans le secteur du commissariat aérien l'aéroport de Paris Charles de Gaulle. La Commission a conclu que cette opération n'entraverait pas de manière significative une concurrence effective sur le marché du commissariat aérien dans la région des aéroports de Paris.

    [06] Commission endorses €2 million restructuring aid to Polish energy company ; opens investigation into restructuring aid to Polish metal producer

    The European Commission has authorised under EC Treaty state aid rules a €2 million aid aimed at restructuring the local Polish energy company Energetyka Wisłosan. The aid will help the company to restore its long- term viability inter alia by financing the switch to a more efficient production technology. The Commission has also launched an in–depth probe under EC Treaty state aid rules to verify whether €5.5 million of restructuring aid in favour of Huta Cynku Miasteczko Ślskie (HCM), a Polish company producing non–ferrous metals, is compatible with the Single Market. The Commission already approved €2.9 million of rescue aid for HCM in September 2005. The initiation of an in-depth inquiry into the restructuring aid gives interested parties the opportunity to comment on the envisaged measures. It does not prejudge the Commission's final decision.

    [07] Commission opens inquiry into state financing of digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) in German Länder of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia

    The European Commission has launched under EC Treaty state aid rules an investigation into subsidies granted to commercial broadcasters for the use of the digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) network in the German Länder of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia. The Commission will investigate whether these subsidies threaten to distort competition in the Single Market. The investigations launched today follow an earlier inquiry into similar subsidies granted in Berlin-Brandenburg which the Commission ruled illegal in November 2005 (see IP/05/1394). The investigation will provide interested parties with the opportunity to comment on the planned measures. The opening of a formal investigation procedure does not prejudge the final outcome.

    [08] Commission rejects restructuring aid for Kliq in The Netherlands and orders recovery of €9.25 million

    The European Commission has decided under EC Treaty state aid rules to reject plans for €45 million of restructuring aid, which The Netherlands intended to grant to KG Holding N.V. (Kliq). Even though the Commission approved a rescue aid package of €45 million for Kliq in 2003, the company has since gone bankrupt. The Commission concluded that the restructuring plan would not have enabled Kliq to return to profitability, even had the company not gone bankrupt and that bankruptcy would anyway have prevented a successful restructuring. The conditions under which restructuring aid can be granted under the EU state aid rules have thus not been met. In addition, The Netherlands, by order of a Dutch court, have already paid €9.25 million of the aid. Under EU rules, this aid is illegal and incompatible and the Commission therefore orders The Netherlands to recover that aid from Kliq.

    [09] Commission concludes that two loans to recyclable waste collection company VAOP do not constitute aid

    The European Commission has closed an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules, concluding that two loans to the Dutch recyclable waste collection company VAOP, one granted by the Dutch bank BNG and one granted by several municipalities, do not constitute state aid. On the first loan, the Commission found that a privately owned bank had offered at the same time financing to VAOP, that BNG had requested adequate securities and that the financial terms of the loan do not point to state aid. On the second loan, the Commission found that the municipalities concerned had certain existing claims against VAOP. Transforming a part of these claims into a loan was more favourable to them than letting VAOP go bankrupt. Accordingly, they have acted as typical creditors in a market economy and their behaviour does not constitute state aid.

    [10] La Commission ouvre une enquête propos de la prolongation du tarif préférentiel de l'électricité en Italie

    La Commission européenne a ouvert une enquête approfondie pour vérifier si le projet de l'Italie visant prolonger le régime préférentiel des tarifs de l'électricité consentis certaines industries grosses consommatrices d'énergie est compatible avec les règles du traité CE applicables aux aides d'Etat. Cette mesure qui n'a pas fait l'objet d'une notification la Commission modifie le tarif préférentiel qui est entré en vigueur en 2004 pour le prolonger jusqu'en 2010. La Commission nourrit des doutes sur la compatibilité de l'aide car de nombreuses usines qui bénéficient de ce tarif préférentiel sont implantées en dehors des régions éligibles une aide régionale de ce type. Dans le cas de l'usine d'Alcoa en Sardaigne, cette prolongation ne semble pas répondre aux exigences des lignes directrices concernant les aides d'Etat finalité régionale (voir IP/97/1137) et pourrait créer de graves distorsions de concurrence sur le marché européen de l'aluminium de première fusion, où l'énergie entre pour une part importante dans les coûts de production. L'ouverture d'une enquête approfondie donne la possibilité aux parties intéressées de présenter leurs observations sur les mesures envisagées. Elle ne préjuge pas du résultat de l'enquête.

    [11] La Commission traduit l'Italie devant la Cour de justice pour non- récupération d'une aide d'Etat illégale

    La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour de justice l'encontre de l'Italie pour non-respect d'une décision de la Commission du 16 mars 2005. Cette décision avait conclu que l'aide octroyée par l’Italie des sociétés récemment cotées en bourse sous forme d'incitations fiscales était incompatible avec le marché unique et elle avait ordonné l'Italie de récupérer l'aide déj accordée auprès de ses bénéficiaires (voir IP/05/304). Les autorités italiennes n'ont toutefois encore pris aucune mesure concrète et effective dans ce sens.

    [12] Commission endorses €67 million of public funding for British R&D project led by Rolls-Royce

    The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty’s rules on state aid (Article 87), €67 million (£47 million) of public funding for a research and development project led by Rolls-Royce. The project aims to develop new innovative technologies designed to meet the needs of improved environmental performance of aero-engines. As all the requirements of the EU framework for state aid for research and development are satisfied, the Commission considers that the aid does not threaten to distort competition in the Single Market and is therefore compatible with the EC Treaty.

    [13] La Commission demande aux autorités belges de clarifier les modalités de financement du radiodiffuseur public VRT

    La Commission européenne a demandé des clarifications aux autorités belges concernant la mission de service public ainsi que le financement de la VRT, le radiodiffuseur public de la Communauté flamande de Belgique. Après avoir examiné les allégations de plusieurs plaignants, la Commission estime, titre préliminaire, que le système actuel de financement n'est plus compatible avec les dispositions relatives aux aides d'Etat du traité CE, qui imposent aux Etats membres de ne pas accorder de subventions susceptibles d'affecter la concurrence (article 87). Les autorités belges ont maintenant la possibilité de soumettre leurs commentaires et de proposer des changements au système de financement.

    [14] Commission requests Belgium to end discrimination in Flemish registration tax

    The European Commission has sent Belgium a formal request to end discrimination in the Flemish registration tax. Flanders deduct from the registration tax on the purchase of a house the amount of the registration tax paid earlier on another house, provided it was in Flanders. Registration taxes paid in other Member States are not credited. The Commission considers that the Flemish rule is contrary to the EC Treaty. The request is in the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If Belgium does not reply satisfactorily to the reasoned opinion within two months the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.

    [15] Fiscalité directe : la Commission demande la Belgique de mettre un terme l'imposition discriminatoire des dividendes entrants

    La Commission européenne a adressé la Belgique une demande officielle lui enjoignant de mettre un terme l'imposition discriminatoire des dividendes payés par des entreprises étrangères (dividendes entrants) des investisseurs privés belges. Le régime fiscal belge implique une double imposition des dividendes sortants, mais pas des dividendes nationaux. La Commission estime que cette différence de traitement est contraire la liberté d'établissement et la libre circulation des capitaux garanties par le traité CE. La demande se présente sous la forme d'un "avis motivé" émis conformément l'article 226 du traité CE. Si la Belgique n'y répond pas de façon satisfaisante dans les deux mois, la Commission peut saisir la Cour de justice européenne du dossier concerné.

    [16] Impôts directs : la Commission demande la Belgique de mettre fin aux pratiques discriminatoires l'égard des déductions fiscales personnelles accordées aux résidents percevant des revenus de source étrangère

    La Commission européenne a demandé officiellement la Belgique de modifier la législation prévoyant que les résidents belges percevant la fois des revenus de source nationale et des revenus de source étrangère n'ont pas droit la totalité des abattements liés la situation personnelle et familiale. La Commission estime que cette limitation est contraire au traité CE. La Cour de justice européenne a déj statué sur cette question dans une affaire concernant les Pays-Bas (affaire "De Groot" – C-385/00). La demande se présente sous la forme d'un "avis motivé" émis en vertu de l'article 226 du traité CE. Si la Belgique n'y répondait pas de façon satisfaisante dans les deux mois, la Commission pourrait saisir la Cour de justice européenne.

    [17] Ouverture d'une distillation de crise pour le vin au Portugal

    Le comité de gestion des vins a émis hier un vote sur une proposition de la Commission européenne visant ouvrir une distillation de crise pour le vin au Portugal. Une quantité maximale de 200.000 hectolitres de vin de table pourra être offerte la distillation. Le prix fixé pour le vin distiller est de €1,914 par % vol et par hl. Des excédents considérables ont été relevés sur différents marchés vitivinicoles de l'UE qui ont entraîné une baisse des prix et une hausse préoccupante des stocks. L'actuelle organisation commune du marché (OCM) du vin prévoit la possibilité de la distillation de crise en cas de perturbations exceptionnelles du marché dues d'importants excédents. La Commission avait déj ouvert des distillations en faveur de la France et de l'Italie pour une quantité totale de 5,6 millions d'hectolitres (voir IP/06/748) et en faveur de l'Espagne et de la Grèce pour une quantité totale de 800.000 hectolitres (voir IP/06/837). La proposition doit encore être adoptée formellement par la Commission et s'appliquera compter du 16 août 2006.

    [18] EU and Kiribati initial new fisheries partnership agreement

    The European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, and Kiribati have initialled a 6-year fisheries partnership agreement (FPA). The new agreement, which provides fishing possibilities exclusively on tuna, will come into force on 16 September 2006. The new protocol will continue to provide fishing possibilities for 16 vessels. The annual EU financial contribution will amount to €478,000, representing the same amount of compensation as under the current protocol: €416,000 compensation for a reference tonnage of 6,400 tonnes of tuna catches per year, plus a specific allocation of €62,400 to support the application of Kiribati's national fisheries policy. The contribution by vessel owners will amount, as now, to €35 per tonne, and the EU's to €65.

    [19] Anchovy fisheries in the Bay of Biscay to be closed until the end of the year

    The European Commission today adopted a Regulation closing the anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay until the end of the year. This closure follows the decision taken by the December 2005 Fisheries Council requiring the Commission to close the fisheries if scientific advice estimated the stock concerned to be below 28,000 tonnes. As announced on 3 July, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) warned of the severe risk of collapse of the anchovy stock. In 2004, acting on advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Commission proposed a substantial reduction of the total allowable catch (5, 000 tonnes, as compared to the then level of 33,000 tonnes). The 2004 December Council, however, set the TAC at 30,000 tonnes. In spring 2005, the situation had deteriorated to such an extent that ICES advised closure of the anchovy fishery. The fishery was temporarily closed on 1 July, a closure that was subsequently extended until the end of the year. The Commission then proposed a zero TAC for 2006, and an in-season management system to allow for adjustment when the anchovy stock had recovered. The December 2005 Council decided to set the TAC at 5,000 tonnes and agreed strict biological criteria to deal with the scientific advice in spring. Council decided that if the stocks could support increased fishing effort, the TAC could be increased. If, on the other hand, the stock of adult anchovy fell below 28,000 tonnes during spawning time, the Commission should close the fishery. In spring 2006, STECF estimated the stock of adult anchovy to be at 18,640 tonnes during spawning time, which is well below safe biological levels and warrants an immediate closure of the fishery until the end of the year as had been decided by Council. Last Monday, Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg told the July Council that he had great sympathy for the fishermen whose livelihoods were being disrupted by this closure. He also said that the Commission was looking at the possibilities of financial support for the fishermen concerned. However, he said, that the need to close the fishery in order to protect the anchovy stock was a urgent one.

    [20] Joe Borg addresses Maritime conference in Turku, Finland

    European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Mr Joe Borg, took part earlier today in the opening session of a conference entitled 'Towards a future Maritime Policy for the European Union – A European Vision for the oceans and seas', which takes place today and tomorrow, in Turku, Finland. This event, organised by the City of Turku, aims to contribute to the year-long consultation on the Maritime Policy Green Paper published by the Commission last month (link to June IP). In his speech, Mr Borg stressed that an integrated, sustainable maritime policy can be a catalyst for growth and jobs and he highlighted tourism as one of the major growth areas. Commissioner Borg used the example of coastal tourism to show how maritime activities are closely linked to each other and how they depend on a healthy marine environment. "This demonstrates the economic value of investing rigorously in environmental protection", he said. While noting the importance of shipbuilding in Turku, Mr Borg pointed out the important role of engineers in promoting innovation and new technologies. In his closing remarks, the Commissioner called on all stakeholders to provide creative input during the consultation process on the Green Paper. "We are at the beginning of a new chapter in maritime history, searching for a solid new basis on which to develop our relations with the oceans in a sustainable manner. It will require all of us to be creative, to innovate and to think 'outside the box'. I believe that it is only by mobilising the creative energies of all those Europeans who have 'the sea in their blood' that we will succeed."

    [21] Excise duties/ commercial diesel : public consultation

    The European Commission is launching an online consultation seeking views from the public and business on reforming Community legislation on excise duty for commercial diesel. The consultation is based on a document which aims to generate views on the current legal framework and on options for change. It explains why there is a need to review Community legislation in this area and looks at ways to narrow the differences in commercial diesel tax levels in the European Union. This paper is of interest to stakeholders mainly in the haulage, car and petroleum industries as well as in the sectors of railways and motorways services companies and indeed also to any other stakeholders. Comments are invited by 30 September 2006. Online consultations: <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/common/consultations/tax/index_en.htm">Consultations - Get involved! <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/common/consultations/tax/index_fr.htm">Consultations - Donnez votre avis! <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/common/consultations/tax/index_de.htm">Konsultationen - Bestimmen Sie mit!

    [22] Europeans on holiday : a preference for domestic holidays, but not in all Member States ; nearly 60% of trips made by private car and 25% by air

    In the EU25, in 2004, 57% of holiday trips of four nights or more were domestic – made within a country. Outbound trips – those made in other countries – accounted for 43% of holiday trips, of which two-thirds were taken in other Member States of the EU25, and one third outside the EU25. The most popular mode of transport was private car (58% of trips), followed by air (25%), rail and coach (8% each). These figures come from publications from Eurostat which deal with the travel behaviour of European tourists.

    [23] Autre matériel diffusé

    Calendrier du 24 au 28 juillet 2006

    Note on the Competitiveness Council (24/07) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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