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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-10-01

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 1er octobre 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 1st October 2008

  • [01] Commission proposes revision of bank capital requirements rules to reinforce financial stability (see MEMO/08/599)
  • [02] Antitrust: Commission fines wax producers € 676 million for price fixing and market sharing cartel
  • [03] State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into restructuring of WestLB
  • [04] State aid: Commission approves UK rescue aid package for Bradford & Bingley
  • [05] La Commission renforce la promotion du transport par voies navigables avec une nouvelle plate-forme
  • [06] Commission proposes 2009 fishing opportunities for the Black Sea
  • [07] Commission proposes 2009 /2010 fishing opportunities for deep sea fisheries
  • [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

  • [08] Brussels: Public debate on the role played by Education in Intercultural dialogue
  • [09] Euro area unemployment up to 7.5%
  • [10] Commission clears acquisition of Piaggio by Tata, Mubadala and Lochmore
  • [11] Commission clears acquisition of CERP Lorraine Répartition France by Phoenix
  • [12] Nanotechnology: Tiny stuff draws big crowd to international dialogue on safety for success
  • [13] Mergers: Commission refers review of Acque Blu joint venture between Acea and Ondeo Italia to Italian competition authority
  • [14] EU-Africa co-operation strengthens with 4th meeting between European Commission and African Union Commission
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-10-01 Reference: MEX/08/1001 Date: 01/10/2008 EXME08 / 01.10

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    01/10/08


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 1er octobre 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 1st October 2008

    [01] Commission proposes revision of bank capital requirements rules to reinforce financial stability (see MEMO/08/599)

    The European Commission has put forward a revision of EU rules on capital requirements for banks that is designed to reinforce the stability of the financial system, reduce risk exposure and improve supervision of banks that operate in more than one EU country. Under the new rules, banks will be restricted in lending beyond a certain limit to any one party, while national supervisory authorities will have a better overview of the activities of cross-border banking groups. The proposal, which amends the existing Capital Requirements Directives, reflects extensive consultation with international partners, Member States and industry. It now passes to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for consideration.

    [02] Antitrust: Commission fines wax producers € 676 million for price fixing and market sharing cartel

    The European Commission has imposed a total of € 676 011 400 fines on 9 groups - ENI, ExxonMobil, Hansen & Rosenthal, Tudapetrol, MOL, Repsol, Sasol, , RWE and Total - for participating in a cartel for paraffin wax in the European Economic Area (EEA) in violation of the EC Treaty’s ban on cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 81) between 1992 and 2005. Shell also participated in the cartel but was not fined because it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. The infringement committed by ExxonMobil, Sasol, Shell, RWE and Total also related to slack wax sold to end-customers on the German market. Slack wax is the raw material used to produce paraffin wax. All participants fixed prices for the products concerned. ExxonMobil, MOL, Repsol, Sasol, Shell and Total in addition allocated markets and customers for paraffin waxes. The fine for Sasol was increased by 50% because it was the leader of the cartel. The fine for ENI was increased by 60% as it had been previously taking part in similar cartels.

    [03] State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into restructuring of WestLB

    The European Commission has opened under EC Treaty state aid rules an in- depth investigation into state support measures in favour of the German bank WestLB. This is a first step towards finding a viable long-term solution, in close contact with the German authorities. As a consequence of investments in US sub-prime markets, WestLB ran into financial difficulties. In February 2008, the owners of the bank, i.e. the Land of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and the savings banks associations, provided a risk shield of €5 billion that was authorised by the Commission as temporary rescue aid on 30 April 2008 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/655&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/665). As this measure continues to be necessary for the bank to overcome its difficulties, Germany has notified a restructuring plan. The opening of an investigation is common for state interventions of this magnitude and will ensure legal certainty for the companies concerned. It also gives interested parties the possibility to submit their comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

    [04] State aid: Commission approves UK rescue aid package for Bradford & Bingley

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, the UK authorities' package of measures designed to ensure financial stability, protect retail depositors and support the orderly winding down of Bradford & Bingley, the UK mortgage bank. The Commission was in contact with the UK authorities over the week-end to support in the design of measures that could comply with competition rules. It received a formal notification on 30 September, and was able to decide within 24 hours that the state aid measures comply with EU rules on rescue aid. The UK authorities have committed to submit a restructuring and/or liquidation plan within six months, which will be examined by the Commission under its rules on restructuring aid.

    [05] La Commission renforce la promotion du transport par voies navigables avec une nouvelle plate-forme

    La Commission européenne a lancé aujourd'hui son projet PLATINA destiné rendre plus efficace la mise en œuvre des actions et mesures de promotion du transport par voies navigables. Ce projet, qui réunit 22 partenaires de 9 pays européens, bénéficie d'un financement de 8,5 millions d'euros octroyé par la Commission. La plate-forme PLATINA a été conçue pour aider mettre en œuvre le programme d'action NAIADES pour la promotion du transport par voies navigables. La Commission a également présenté aujourd'hui un guide relatif aux possibilités de financement dans le domaine du transport par voie navigable, ainsi que les résultats d'une étude sur les entraves administratives et réglementaires la navigation intérieure, dont le suivi sera assuré, de manière coordonnée, en association avec PLATINA. Recourir davantage au transport par voies navigables constitue un moyen efficace de réduire les embouteillages et les émissions de CO2 et de contribuer de manière viable la prospérité industrielle de l'Europe.

    [06] Commission proposes 2009 fishing opportunities for the Black Sea

    The European Commission has today adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for the Black Sea for 2009. The Commission proposes a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 100 tonnes for turbot, unchanged from 2008, a TAC of 12,750 tonnes for sprat, representing a 15% reduction compared to 2008. These proposals are based on advice from a working group of leading Bulgarian and Romanian fisheries scientists, and from the Commission's own Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) which has reviewed the working group's report.

    [07] Commission proposes 2009 /2010 fishing opportunities for deep sea fisheries

    Today the European Commission adopted a proposal for deep-sea fishing opportunities for 2009 and 2010. The proposal reflects both commitments made by Member States in 2006 to progressively reduce catch levels on certain stocks to zero over four years, and the recent scientific advice confirming the poor biological condition of many deep sea stocks,. In addition, the Commission has sought to bring Total Allowable Catches (TAC) more closely in line with actual fishing effort for those stocks where catches are small or close to zero. The Commission is committed to a precautionary approach in managing fragile deep sea stocks.

    [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [08] Brussels: Public debate on the role played by Education in Intercultural dialogue

    Education and Intercultural Dialogue will be in the spotlight on Wednesday, 1 October for the sixth Brussels Debate of the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The debate entitled "Education - ready for the intercultural challenge?” is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the European Youth Forum (EYF). It will take place at 17:30 in the Residence Palace and will be opened by EU Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel'.

    [09] Euro area unemployment up to 7.5%

    The euro area (EA15) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stood at 7.5% in August 2008, compared with 7.4% in July. It was 7.4% in August 2007. The EU271 unemployment rate was 6.9% in August 2008, unchanged compared with July. It was 7.1% in August 2007. Eurostat estimates that 16.572 million men and women in the EU27, of which 11.596 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in August 2008. Compared with July 2008, the number of persons unemployed increased by 67 000 in the EU27 and by 90 000 in the euro area. Compared with August 2007, unemployment fell by 225 000 in the EU27 but rose by 272 000 in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat. Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were registered in the Netherlands (2.6%) and Denmark (2.9% in July 2008), and the highest in Spain (11.3%) and Slovakia (9.9%).

    [10] Commission clears acquisition of Piaggio by Tata, Mubadala and Lochmore

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of a joint controlling stake of Piaggio Aero Industries SpA (Piaggio) of Italy by Tata Limited of the UK. Piaggio is currently jointly controlled by Mubadala and Lochmore. Tata Limited is a purchasing agent, representative and trader in commodities and industrial raw materials and in trade financing. Piaggio manufactures aircraft, aircraft structural components and engine parts and provides engine maintenance services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [11] Commission clears acquisition of CERP Lorraine Répartition France by Phoenix

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of fourteen agencies for pharmaceutical wholesale in France known as CERP Lorraine - Répartition France by undertaking RTB Pharma SARL, France (RTB Pharma) controlled by Phoenix Pharmahandel AG & Co. KG, Germany, belonging to the Phoenix Group. Both Phoenix and CERP Lorraine -Répartition France are active in pharmaceutical wholesale in France. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [12] Nanotechnology: Tiny stuff draws big crowd to international dialogue on safety for success

    Health Commissioner Ms. Androula Vassiliou opens the Second Annual Nanotechnology “Safety for Success” Dialogue Workshop in Brussels on 2 October 2008. The conference provides a forum to exchange state-of-the-art information on nanotechnology, risk assessment, and risk management. Experts from across the world, representing industry, NGOs, academia and consumers, will examine the adequacy of existing risk assessment and regulatory frameworks, and how to promote safe innovation. For more information on the workshop: <a href="http://www.nano-safety-for- success.eu">www.nano-safety-for-success.eu

    Rediffusion

    [13] Mergers: Commission refers review of Acque Blu joint venture between Acea and Ondeo Italia to Italian competition authority

    Acting under the EU Merger Regulation, the European Commission has referred the proposed creation of the joint venture Acque Blu by Acea and Ondeo Italia, both of Italy, to the Italian competition authority. The Commission concluded that the proposed concentration would only affect the Italian market for the assignment of integrated water services (comprising water treatment, water supply and wastewater collection and treatment), and that the Italian competition authority would be best placed to examine it.

    [14] EU-Africa co-operation strengthens with 4th meeting between European Commission and African Union Commission

    Almost one year on since the launch of a new strategic partnership between the EU and Africa at the Lisbon Summit, tomorrow's joint College to College meeting will highlight the increased partnership between the two institutions. Discussions will focus on the priority actions to be taken in areas such as migration, energy and the Millennium Development Goals as well as current concerns surrounding global economic stability and the increase in food prices.

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Employment and Social Affairs Ministers to meet in Luxembourg on 2 October 2008

    • Memo on State aid: Competition Commissioner Kroes meets Polish Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad to discuss shipyards

    • Memo on Capital Requirements Directive - Frequently Asked Questions - (see IP/08/1433)

    • Memo on Competition: Commission action against cartels – Questions and answers

    • Memo on The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership

    • Speech by Commissioner Reding 'Net Neutrality and Open Networks – Towards a European Approach', Copenhagen

    • Speech by Commissioner Hübner 'EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region', Stockholm

    • Speech by Commissioner Vassiliou 'Europe for Patients', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Reding 'The digital dividend: A unique opportunity for Europe's wireless economy', Dublin

    • Speech by Commissioner Kroes on Paraffin Wax Cartel, Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner McCreevy on Capital Requirements Directive, Brussels From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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