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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-07-19

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] Commission clears acquisition of Unifeeder by MPE
  • [02] La Commission ouvre une procĂ©dure d'infraction Ă l'encontre de l'Italie concernant la rĂ©cupĂ©ration d'aides incompatibles Ă l'emploi
  • [03] Commission opens in-depth investigation into Hungarian export-credit guarantee scheme
  • [04] Commission endorses €32 million aid to Kia Motors Slovakia to expand car manufacturing plant
  • [05] Commission endorses €120 million aid for German R&D project THESEUS
  • [06] La Commission traduit l'Espagne devant la Cour de justice pour non- rĂ©cupĂ©ration d'une aide illĂ©gale
  • [07] Commission ends Court proceedings against Hungary after amendment of Media Act
  • [08] Commission sends Reasoned Opinion to Italy over poultry labelling rules
  • [09] Commission continues infringement procedure against Finland over oral tobacco
  • [10] EU funded research results gives hope to HIV patients
  • [11] Commission launches consultation on responsible research in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies
  • [12] La pĂŞche Ă l'anchois dans le Golfe de Gascogne restera fermĂ©e
  • [13] Joe Borg and JoĂŁo Mira Gomes attend Lisbon's major workshop on EU maritime policy
  • [14] Meglena Kuneva visits the People's Republic of China Midday Express of 2007-07-19 Reference: MEX/07/0719 Date: 19/07/2007 EXME07 / 19.7

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    19/07/07


  • [01] Commission clears acquisition of Unifeeder by MPE

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Unifeeder A/S (Unifeeder) of Denmark by Montagu Private Equity LLP (MPE) of the UK. MPE is a private equity investor in the European mid-market. Unifeeder provides commercial feeder services, door-to-door container transport services and freight forwarding services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [02] La Commission ouvre une procédure d'infraction à l'encontre de l'Italie concernant la récupération d'aides incompatibles à l'emploi

    La Commission européenne a invité l'Italie à lui communiquer des informations au sujet des mesures prises pour récupérer des aides illégales et incompatibles à l'emploi accordées à un grand nombre de sociétés dans les années 90. Le 1er avril 2004, la Cour de justice européenne a condamné l'Italie pour défaut d'exécution de la décision de la Commission du 11 mai 1999 qui lui enjoignait de récupérer les aides (voir IP/99/321). Bien que plus de trois ans se soient écoulés depuis cet arrêt, seule une petite partie des aides a été récupérée. La demande de renseignements de la Commission prend la forme d'une lettre de mise en demeure, qui constitue la première étape de la procédure d’infraction prévue en cas de non-respect d'un arrêt de la Cour (article 228 du traité CE). L'Italie dispose à présent de deux mois pour informer la Commission des mesures prises pour se conformer à la décision de 1999. Si sa réponse n'est pas satisfaisante, la Commission pourra lui demander officiellement de respecter l'arrêt de la Cour de justice, faute de quoi elle pourra la traduire une deuxième fois devant la Cour.

    [03] Commission opens in-depth investigation into Hungarian export-credit guarantee scheme

    The European Commission has opened a formal investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into a planned scheme providing export credit guarantees to Hungarian SMEs and their customers. The scheme would be operated by the Hungarian public export-credit agency, Magyar Export-Import Bank Zrt. (Eximbank). The Hungarian authorities notified the measure under the Commission Communication on short-term export-credit insurance. However, the Commission has doubts that the envisaged measure would meet the criteria laid down in the Communication. Export aid is strictly forbidden in intra-Community trade since it directly affects competition between Member States. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested parties the possibility to comment on the proposed measure. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

    [04] Commission endorses €32 million aid to Kia Motors Slovakia to expand car manufacturing plant

    The European Commission has authorised under the EC Treaty state aid rules an ad hoc aid of €32 million that the Slovak Government plans to grant to Kia Motors Slovakia for the expansion of its car manufacturing plant situated in Žilina, Slovakia. The aid consists of a direct cash grant for an eligible investment cost of €216 million. The Commission considers the aid to be compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules, in view of the Commission's cohesion policy and in the conformity of the project with the conditions for regional aid to large investment projects.

    [05] Commission endorses €120 million aid for German R&D project THESEUS

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty State aid rules aid worth €120 million that Germany intends to grant to start THESEUS, a research project for developing and testing new search technologies for the next generation Internet. THESEUS would involve both large companies and SMEs. The Commission found the aid to be in line with the criteria laid down in its Framework for Research and Development and Innovation (R&D&I, see IP/06/1600 and MEMO/06/441).

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

    La Commission européenne a décidé, en application des règles du traité CE en matière d'aides d'Etat, de saisir la Cour de justice européenne à l'encontre de l'Espagne pour non-respect d'une décision de la Commission du 27 novembre 2002 déclarant l'aide d'État accordée à Refractarios Especiales SA incompatible avec le marché unique (voir IP/02/1745). La décision de 2002 ordonnait à l'Espagne de récupérer cette aide auprès du bénéficiaire. Près de cinq ans après son adoption, les autorités espagnoles n'ont récupéré qu'une partie de l'aide. La Commission estime qu'elles n'ont pas encore pris toutes les mesures nécessaires pour exécuter la décision de récupération.

    [07] Commission ends Court proceedings against Hungary after amendment of Media Act

    The European Commission has withdrawn its pending case at the Court of Justice against Hungary after the latter abolished a provision of its Media Act that prevented cable operators from providing cable TV services to more than one third of the Hungarian population. The provision had limited competition on the markets for cable TV and broadband internet services in Hungary: such a lack of competition typically leads to higher prices, less innovation and slower take-up of these services. The Commission had formally requested the abolition of the restriction in April 2006 by means of a reasoned opinion under Article 226 of the EC Treaty (see IP/06/1811). The relevant provision of the Hungarian Media Act prevented the consolidation of the cable networks, in breach of the Commission Directive on electronic communications, but this has now been abolished.

    [08] Commission sends Reasoned Opinion to Italy over poultry labelling rules

    The European Commission has decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Italy over its legislation setting out a specific compulsory labelling system for poultry meat and poultry meat products. Under an Order adopted in August 2005, Italian producers and the first recipients of poultry meat are obliged to indicate the Member State of origin of the meat, as well as the date of import for poultry meat and products coming from other Member States and third countries. This measure contravenes EU rules on food labelling and the marketing of poultry, and could cause market discrimination and hamper the Internal Market and other trade. The Italian authorities claim that these labelling measures were taken so that, in the event of an avian flu outbreak, poultry meat could be rapidly traced and withdrawn from the market. However, the Commission finds no justification for the Italian rules. Strict EU veterinary legislation ensures that any poultry meat placed on the EU market is safe, while there are also harmonised rules on food labelling which ensure that consumers are properly informed and not misled. Under Regulation 1906/90 on the marketing of poultry products, Member States can only require the labelling of origin when the absence of such information could mislead or confuse the consumer – which is not the case at issue. The Italian authorities have 2 months to reply to the Reasoned Opinion. If they fail to take the appropriate measures to rectify the situation, the Commission will refer this matter to the Court of Justice.

    [09] Commission continues infringement procedure against Finland over oral tobacco

    The European Commission has decided to continue the infringement procedure against Finland due to its non-compliance with the Court judgment which confirmed Finland's failure to comply with a Directive prohibiting oral tobacco from being placed on the market. The Commission is sending a Reasoned Opinion to Finland for non-compliance with Article 8 of Directive 2001/37/EC on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. In addition, the Commission believes that new legislation adopted by Finland's Ă…land Islands also fails to implement the above Directive, as it only prohibits "snus" from entering the market, rather than oral tobacco in general, as foreseen in the EU Directive. Furthermore, in relation to the selling of oral tobacco on vessels, the law limits its application to vessels operating within Finnish territorial waters. This would allow the sale of oral tobacco on vessels registered in the Ă…land Islands, once these vessels exit Finnish territorial waters. The Finnish authorities have two months to reply to the Reasoned Opinion. If they fail to take the appropriate measures to rectify the situation, the Commission can refer Finland to the Court of Justice.

    [10] EU funded research results gives hope to HIV patients

    A study conducted by the Royal Free Centre for HIV Medicine and the Royal Free and University College London Medical Schools, and funded by the European Commission, shows that long term treatment of HIV-infected patients with the combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) effectively restores their immune function levels to levels similar to those found in healthy individuals. These findings are derived from an analysis of a long- standing European collaborative study, EuroSIDA, a research project that has been funded by the European Commission since 1994.

    [11] Commission launches consultation on responsible research in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies

    The European Commission has today announced a public consultation on responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research. The consultation will provide input for a Recommendation to the Member States on a possible Code of Conduct for this emerging area of science, which the Commission will put forward later this year. Contributions are expected from a broad cross-section of European society, including the scientific community, industry, civil society, policy-makers, media and the general public.

    [12] La pêche à l'anchois dans le Golfe de Gascogne restera fermée

    Après un examen approfondi des derniers avis scientifique et des éléments reçus des Etats membres, la pêche à l'anchois dans le Golfe de Gascogne, actuellement fermée jusqu'à la fin de l'année, ne sera pas réouverte. L'avis, rendu récemment par le Comité scientifique, technique et économique de la Pêche de la Commission (CSTEP) indiquait "qu'aucune mesure de gestion autre qu'une la fermeture complète de la pêcherie en 2007 ne devrait être considérée". Le CSTEP a basé ses recommandations sur des données recueillies lors des campagnes de recherche menées au printemps sur l'état du stock concerné. Il a estimé à 30.000 tonnes la quantité de poissons adultes dans le stock, ce qui est plus élevé que les 18.640 tonnes du printemps dernier, mais bien en dessous du niveau auquel la pêche commerciale pourrait reprendre sans danger pour le stock concerné. Etant donné l'état d'épuisement de ce stock et le fait que l'anchois a une durée de vie courte, il est essentiel que chaque anchois adulte ait la possibilité de contribuer à la reconstitution du stock. Des aides publiques sont disponibles pour aider à amortir l'impact pour les pêcheurs affectés par cette fermeture.

    [13] Joe Borg and JoĂŁo Mira Gomes attend Lisbon's major workshop on EU maritime policy

    Today European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Policy Joe Borg and Portuguese State Secretary for Defence and Maritime Affairs JoĂŁo Mira Gomes will address the opening of a workshop in Lisbon on the Governance of an Integrated, Holistic Maritime Policy for Europe. The two-day workshop is being hosted by the Portuguese government, which currently holds the EU Presidency. It will bring together leading policy makers, scientists and stakeholders from across Europe to discuss the governance issues involved in developing a more coherent approach to policy making in the maritime sector.

    [14] Meglena Kuneva visits the People's Republic of China

    On July 22-26 European Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva will be visiting the People's Republic of China. She will meet Mr Li Changjiang, Minister of AQSIQ, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and Mr Zhou Bohua, Minister for SAIC, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. She will also meet representatives of Chinese industry and consumer associations, and visit toy factories and a testing laboratory. Her aim is to ensure that the best use is made of the EU-China cooperation framework and explore further actions to improve the safety track record of Chinese manufactured non-food consumer goods. Commissioner Kuneva will urge Chinese authorities to use the information relayed to them by the Commission to take corrective action at the source, addressing the responsible manufacturer directly, and to report quarterly the results of the enforcement actions carried out to the Commission. She will underline the mutual benefits of shared high safety standards and offer to work in partnership with the Chinese to achieve a high level of product safety. "The EU puts health and safety at the heart of policy-making", says Ms Kuneva. "We want to build confidence with the Chinese". For further information please visit:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_safe/prod_safe/gpsd/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_safe/prod_safe/gpsd/index_en.htm From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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