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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-11-28

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] I. Résultats de la Commission du 28 novembre 2007 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 28 November
  • [02] State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2007-2013 for Italy
  • [03] Mergers: Commission adopts Guidelines for merging companies with vertical or conglomerate relationship
  • [04] EU Telecoms rules: 112 delays forces Commission to take further action
  • [05] Commission opens infringement proceeding because Bulgaria's telecoms regulator lacks independence and effectiveness
  • [06] II. Other new - Autres Nouvelles
  • [07] Black list of banned airlines: the European Commission adopts new measures
  • [08] Commission launches formal investigation into annual compensation payments, investment grants to and capital endowment of Emsländische Eisenbahn GmbH
  • [09] Commission authorises rescue aid for the "Metronet Companies"
  • [10] Commission launches formal investigation into potential State aid by the CCI of Pau-Béarn
  • [11] Safety assessment of third-country aircraft using Community airports: Commission takes Poland to the Court
  • [12] Penalties for pollution by ships: Commission sends reasoned opinions to eight Member States
  • [13] Formation des conducteurs professionnels : la Commission poursuit l'Irlande devant la Cour de justice
  • [14] Our common goal: kick violence out of sport
  • [15] VAT: The European Commission proposes to modernise the current legislation for financial services and insurances (see MEMO/07/519)
  • [16] 2008 fishing possibilities: “Further efforts needed to secure the future of European fisheries”
  • [17] Launch of European digital library "on track"
  • [18] Public procurement: new classification system to provide EU businesses with easier access to public contracts
  • [19] Access to higher education: the Commission suspends its infringement cases against Austria and Belgium
  • [20] Commission authorises Spanish State aid for coal innovation and environmental protection
  • [21] The 7th meeting of the United Nations Inter-Agency Committee on Bioethics
  • [22] Joe Borg at Blue Planet Forum on maritime affairs
  • [23] Avian influenza H5N1 confirmed in Romania, control measures being applied
  • [24] Rediffusion
  • [25] Commission welcomes unanimous adoption of Bluefin tuna recovery plan
  • [26] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-11-28 Reference: MEX/07/1128 Date: 28/11/2007 EXME07 / 28.11

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    28/11/07


  • [01] I. Résultats de la Commission du 28 novembre 2007 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 28 November

    [02] State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2007-2013 for Italy

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules the regional aid map covering the period 2007-2013 for Italy. This decision closes a wider exercise to review regional aid systems in all Member States in accordance with the new Regional Aid Guidelines (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1653&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/05/1653 and <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/05/491&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">MEMO/05/491) adopted in December 2005. The new Guidelines aim at re-focussing regional aid on the most deprived regions of the enlarged EU, while allowing to improve competitiveness. The maps of all other Member States have already been approved by the Commission (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1176&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/1176, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1393&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/1393, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1451&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/1451 and <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1528&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/1528, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1871&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/06/1871, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/79&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/79, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/153&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/153, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/211&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/211, <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/290&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/290 and <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/959&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/959).

    [03] Mergers: Commission adopts Guidelines for merging companies with vertical or conglomerate relationship

    The European Commission has adopted Guidelines for the assessment of mergers between companies that are in a so-called vertical or conglomerate relationship (also known as "non-horizontal mergers"). Such mergers are aimed at broadening a company's activities either by merging with a company at another level of the supply chain (vertical merger) or with a company active in a related market (conglomerate merger). The Guidelines will provide guidance to companies as to how the Commission will analyse the impact of such mergers on competition.

    [04] EU Telecoms rules: 112 delays forces Commission to take further action

    The European Commission has referred Poland and Latvia to the European Court of Justice and has opened an infringement proceeding against Romania to ensure that the single European emergency call number 112 works properly also in these countries.

    [05] Commission opens infringement proceeding because Bulgaria's telecoms regulator lacks independence and effectiveness

    The independence of national telecoms regulators is a key element for ensuring the effective implementation of the EU Telecoms Rules. Under EU law certain minimum rules exist covering the independence of the national telecoms regulators. As the Commission has identified serious violations of the EU legal provisions in this respect in Bulgaria, it launched today infringement proceedings against Bulgaria.

    [06] II. Other new - Autres Nouvelles

    [07] Black list of banned airlines: the European Commission adopts new measures

    The European Commission adopted today the sixth update of the Community’s list of airlines banned in the European Union. With this update the Commission is lifting the ban imposed upon Blue Wing Airlines from Surinam together with the operating restrictions imposed on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The new list replaces the previous one and can already be consulted on the Commission’s website.

    [08] Commission launches formal investigation into annual compensation payments, investment grants to and capital endowment of Emsländische Eisenbahn GmbH

    The European Commission decided today to open a formal investigation procedure regarding the annual operating compensation payments for school transport and administrative costs, for the purchase of rolling stock and the operation of a passenger information system for the benefit of Emsländische Eisenbahn GmbH. Following a complaint, the Commission has to examine whether these measures are in line with the European rules on State aid.

    [09] Commission authorises rescue aid for the "Metronet Companies"

    The European Commission decided today to authorise the rescue aid granted by the UK authorities to the Metronet Companies (Metronet Rail BCV Limited and Metronet Rail SSL Limited in administration). The aid amounts in total to £897 (€ 1,329) million.

    [10] Commission launches formal investigation into potential State aid by the CCI of Pau-Béarn

    Following up on a notification by the French authorities, the European Commission has today decided to launch a formal investigation into contracts concluded by the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Pau-Béarn (CCIPB) with Ryanair and its subsidiary Airport Marketing Services Ltd. The Commission has doubts as to whether the conditions of the contracts are compatible with the common market.

    [11] Safety assessment of third-country aircraft using Community airports: Commission takes Poland to the Court

    Today, the European Commission has decided to take legal action against Poland for not having transposed properly the Directive on the safety of third-country aircraft using Community airports. The Commission has thus launched the third stage of an infringement procedure by lodging a formal complaint before the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

    [12] Penalties for pollution by ships: Commission sends reasoned opinions to eight Member States

    The European Commission has decided today to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and the United Kingdom for failure to adopt national legislation on penalties against those responsible for polluting discharges at sea.

    [13] Formation des conducteurs professionnels : la Commission poursuit l'Irlande devant la Cour de justice

    La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui d'engager devant la Cour de justice européenne une procédure contre l'Irlande pour n'avoir ni transposé la directive sur la formation des conducteurs professionnels ni notifié les mesures de mise en œuvre. Cette directive rend obligatoire la qualification initiale et la formation continue pour les conducteurs de certains véhicules routiers affectés aux transports de marchandises ou de voyageurs.

    [14] Our common goal: kick violence out of sport

    The European Commission, jointly with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council, the European Parliament and in association with UEFA, is holding a High Level Conference entitled "Towards a European Union Strategy against violence in sport" on 28 – 29 November 2007. The high-level participants include European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, European Commissioner Ján Figel', high-level representatives from the Member States, members of the European Parliament, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and the President of UEFA, Mr Michel Platini.

    [15] VAT: The European Commission proposes to modernise the current legislation for financial services and insurances (see MEMO/07/519)

    The European Commission has adopted today a proposal for a Directive aiming at modernising and simplifying the complex VAT rules for financial and insurance services and securing a level playing field in the pan-EU market for these services as far as VAT is concerned.

    [16] 2008 fishing possibilities: “Further efforts needed to secure the future of European fisheries”

    Today, the European Commission tabled its annual proposal on fishing possibilities and attendant measures for 2008. This proposal takes account of the latest independent scientific advice on the state of fish stocks received in October from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Commission’s own Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF), and input from stakeholders. It also applies the approach already outlined in the Commission's Policy Statement which was published in June, and has since been the subject of consultations with stakeholders (IP/07/773). The Commission views fisheries management as a long-term process based on the analysis of long-term trends in the health of fish stocks.

    [17] Launch of European digital library "on track"

    Yesterday a high level group on digital libraries met Commission officials in Brussels to discuss progress towards launching the European digital library. A European digital library foundation has recently been created. This formalises the agreement of European archives, museums, audiovisual archives and libraries to work together and to provide a common access point to Europe's cultural heritage online.

    [18] Public procurement: new classification system to provide EU businesses with easier access to public contracts

    The European Commission has adopted a Regulation that updates the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV), which is the EU-wide classification system for public procurement contracts. The new system will be more user-friendly and will take into account recent developments in technology, making it easier for businesses and SMEs to sell their products and services to public authorities across the EU. Every day, public procurement business opportunities worth almost € 1 billion are added to the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) database (http://ted.europa.eu), where all calls for tender in the EU are published. The CPV helps all EU businesses to easily identify these contracts irrespective of the original language of the tender notice, thereby increasing competition, efficiency and transparency.

    [19] Access to higher education: the Commission suspends its infringement cases against Austria and Belgium

    The European Commission has decided today to suspend its ongoing infringement cases concerning national measures that restrict the free movement of university students to Austria and Belgium. Both countries have been given five years to submit supplementary data on their situations. On this basis, the Commission will then be able to judge whether the national measures in question can be justified.

    [20] Commission authorises Spanish State aid for coal innovation and environmental protection

    The European Commission has decided today not to raise objections to a Spanish State aid measure to be granted to the region of Castilla y Leon for research, development and innovation purposes as well as for environmental protection related to the coal mining sector. The aid amounts to approximately €3 million.

    [21] The 7th meeting of the United Nations Inter-Agency Committee on Bioethics

    On November 28 and 29 the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA) on behalf of the Commission is hosting the 7th meeting of the United Nations Inter-Agency Committee on Bioethics

    Since its establishment in 2003, the UN Inter-Agency Committee on Bioethics has provided a forum for debate and exchange of information in the field of bioethics and related issues, with special attention to human rights. The Committee examines topical subjects and issues in order to identify where concerted or joint efforts would be beneficial and where major gaps and constraints affecting cooperation need to be addressed. Topics discussed at the 7th meeting included: Ethics, intellectual property and benefit sharing; capacity-building in research ethics; mainstreaming activity of ethics within the United Nations system and dual use, biosecurity and ethics of science.

    The event represents an important inter-institutional discussion platform on issues of major significance of bioethics and ethics of science.

    [22] Joe Borg at Blue Planet Forum on maritime affairs

    Tomorrow, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg will address the Plenary Session at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and participate in a question-and-answer session on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU. This will be the second time in two months that Commissioner Borg has been invited to address a CoR Plenary, which is further evidence of the CoR's keen interest in the "Blue Paper" on an Integrated Maritime Policy adopted by the Commission on 10 October. The Committee of the Regions, in cooperation with the European Commission, also organises this week the Blue Planet Forum which brings together maritime stakeholders, representatives of regional and local authorities, EU institutions, and representatives of the EU's Youth Forum, to discuss the sustainable and efficient governance of Europe's oceans and seas. The Forum comprises a conference and a political round table, as well as experts' and youth workshops. A series of exhibitions related to the seas and maritime activities are on display at the Committee of the Regions' headquarters during the Forum, including an exhibition on the future of the oceans which was opened yesterday by the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mr Michel Delabarre, and Commissioner Borg. The EU's coastal regions are amongst the key stakeholders of the emerging maritime policy. They already generate over 40% of the EU's GDP and maritime sectors show a strong growth trend, partly triggered by the worldwide boom in shipping, but also due to other factors, such as the seas' potential to provide renewable energy resources. For more information on this week's events at the CoR, and on the Commission's proposals for an integrated maritime policy, see: <a href="http://www.cor.europa.eu/en/activities/forums.htm">http://www.cor.europa.eu/en/activities/forums.htm and <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs">http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs.

    [23] Avian influenza H5N1 confirmed in Romania, control measures being applied

    The Romanian authorities have informed the European Commission of a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the Province of Tulcea, in the Danube Delta. The disease was detected following a high level of mortality in a backyard flock and the Romanian National Reference Laboratory confirmed last night that it was the H5N1 virus. Samples have also been sent to the Community Reference Laboratory in Weybridge for further testing. Upon suspicion of the disease, the Romanian authorities immediately applied the measures laid down in the Avian Influenza Directive and in Commission Decision 2006/415/EC on H5N1 in domestic poultry. All remaining birds on the affected holding (56 hens and 24 ducks) have been culled and a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been established around the outbreak. In these zones, strict movement controls are in place, poultry must be kept indoors and on-farm biosecurity measures have been strengthened. The Commission will today adopt an emergency Decision confirming these measures and defining the risk zones and the buffer area around them. The situation will be discussed by Member States at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health next week.

    For more information, see:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/dyna/influenza/index.cfm">http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/dyna/influenza/index.cfm

    (for more information: N. Papadoulaki – Tel: 298 6378 – Fax: 296 3067)

    [24] Rediffusion

    [25] Commission welcomes unanimous adoption of Bluefin tuna recovery plan

    The European Commission has welcomed the unanimous agreement reached earlier today by the Council of Fisheries Ministers meeting in Brussels on a recovery plan for Bluefin tuna. The agreement transposes into EU law, on a permanent basis, the recovery measures for Eastern Bluefin tuna recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) at its annual meeting in November 2006 in Dubrovnik, Croatia (MEX/07/0403).

    [26] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo: ESTONIA- Operational programme 2007-2013: "Development of Economic environment"

    • Memo: ESTONIA- Operational programme 2007-2013: "Development of Living Environment"

    • Memo: Modernising VAT rules applied on financial and insurance services – Frequently Asked Questions (see also IP/07/1782)

    • Memo: State Aid: Commission Guidelines on National Regional Aid for 2007-2013, Italy – frequently asked questions

    • Memo: European Commission’s proposal on fishing possibilities: why and how?

    • Memo: Telecom Council, Brussels, 29 November 2007

    • Memo: European Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions

    • Memo: Operational Programme Finland 2007-2013

    • Memo: Operational programme Italy-Austria 2007-2013

    • Memo: Operational programme Germany-Austria 2007-2013

    • Speech by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on "Institutional Reform and Capacity Building in the occupied Palestinian Territory" in Annapolis

    • Opening Remarks by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner at the Annapolis International Conference on the Middle East

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration : From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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