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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-12-10

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 10 décembre 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 10 December 2008

  • [01] Commission to reopen financial framework to fund energy and broadband projects
  • [02] Free movement and residence rights of EU citizens and their families: the Commission assesses application by Member States
  • [03] Commission issues guidelines to get Mobile TV on Europeans' mobile phones
  • [04] State aid: Commission authorises PLN 24 million (€ 6.2 million) aid to Polish foundry Odlewnia Żeliwa "Śrem"
  • [05] State aid: Commission opens in-depth inquiry into proposed €2.7 million restructuring aid to Przędzalnia Zawiercie
  • [06] State aid: Commission opens in-depth inquiry into €11 million sale of Greek Cassandra Mines to Ellinikos Xrysos
  • [07] State aid: Commission closes in-depth inquiry into support to Italian public mining company Fluorite di Silius
  • [08] Marco Polo Programme: simplified and adapted to market needs
  • [09] State aid: Commission approves Austrian support scheme for financial institutions
  • [10] Commission approves public financing of the German JadeWeserPort project
  • [11] La Commission approuve un régime-cadre d'aides aux actions menées par les interprofessions reconnues, actives dans le secteur agricole en France
  • [12] Negative decision on aid measures to combat bird flu crisis in Italy
  • [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

  • [13] Bolivian Foreign Minister visits the Commission and signs future cooperation
  • [14] Danuta Hübner en Corse (France) assiste au lancement des programmes européens 2007-2013, placés sous le signe de l'innovation
  • [15] Commission proposes ways to deliver cheaper and more competitive food prices in Europe
  • [16] EU27 Member States granted citizenship to 735 000 persons in 2006
  • [17] Launch of public consultation on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the area of financial services
  • [18] Président J.M.Barroso la remise du Prix du Livre européen, le 10.12, au Parlement européen Bruxelles
  • [19] Enregistrement de trois dénominations de produits agricoles
  • [20] Health Challenges and opportunities in Europe: health experts, policy makers and NGOs debate in Brussels at the EU Open Health Forum
  • [21] Breakthrough in EU-Canada negotiations on far-reaching aviation agreement
  • [22] L'UE et Israël signent un accord dans le domaine de l'aviation civile
  • [23] Les commissaires Benita Ferrero-Waldner et Louis Michel propos des élections présidentielles et législatives au Ghana
  • [24] EU signs aviation agreement with Armenia
  • [25] Deux villes présélectionnées en Suède pour le titre de "Capitale européenne de la culture 2014"
  • [26] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-12-10 Reference: MEX/08/1210 Date: 10/12/2008 EXME08 / 10.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    10/12/08


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 10 décembre 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 10 December 2008

    [01] Commission to reopen financial framework to fund energy and broadband projects

    Today the European Commission has proposed to revise the EU financial framework to source the €5 billion required by the Economic Recovery Plan (IP/08/1771) for trans-European energy interconnections and broadband infrastructure investment. The money will help improve energy supply security and boost the number of faster internet connections in the EU-27. The proposal uses part of the financial margins available in the EU budget under agriculture for 2008 and 2009 and shifts them to the budget heading for Competitiveness for Growth and Employment in 2009 and 2010. This means using funds that would otherwise remain unspent, while staying within the overall ceiling of the EU budget. The proposal does not change the total amount set out in the 2007-2013 financial framework, nor does it compromise spending for agriculture. The next step is to reach an agreement with Council and European Parliament.

    [02] Free movement and residence rights of EU citizens and their families: the Commission assesses application by Member States

    The Commission adopted today a report on the application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. The report concludes that the overall transposition of the Directive is rather disappointing. It outlines the steps the Commission will take to ensure that Member States improve their laws and administrative practices so that EU citizens’ rights are not impaired.

    [03] Commission issues guidelines to get Mobile TV on Europeans' mobile phones

    The European Commission has today taken a decisive step towards the promotion of competitive Mobile TV services in the EU. It has published a set of guidelines for the authorisation of Mobile TV to accelerate roll-out of the service across Europe. Mobile TV revenues worldwide are expected to reach more than €7.8 billion in 2013. The commercial services launched before summer 2008 in some European countries show that there is an increasing consumer demand: in the Netherlands alone, 10 000 users had already subscribed to the service at the beginning of autumn. Authorisations from Member States for Mobile TV services are needed before any commercial launches by operators. Along with the addition of the DVB-H standard to the EU list of official standards in March 2008 (IP/08/451), these guidelines underline the Commission's strong commitment to the promotion of new services for European consumers.

    [04] State aid: Commission authorises PLN 24 million (€ 6.2 million) aid to Polish foundry Odlewnia Żeliwa "Śrem"

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules restructuring aid in favour of the cast iron producer Odlewnia Żeliwa "Śrem" (OZS). After an in-depth investigation (see IP/06/1706), the Commission found that the restructuring measures were adequate to restore the company's viability, that the aid was limited to the minimum necessary and did not create undue distortions of competition. The Commission therefore concluded that the aid was in line with the EU rules on restructuring of companies in difficulties.

    [05] State aid: Commission opens in-depth inquiry into proposed €2.7 million restructuring aid to Przędzalnia Zawiercie

    The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules to establish whether approximately €2.7 million (PLN 10.4 million) of aid, which Poland intends to grant for the restructuring of Przędzalnia Zawiercie, is in line with the EU Guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty (see MEMO/04/172). Przędzalnia Zawiercie produces pure cotton, viscose and technical fabrics yarn. The Commission has doubts whether the company is eligible for new restructuring aid, as it had already received state support in the past. The Commission also needs to verify whether the notified restructuring plan is sufficient to restore the company's long term viability and whether the aid is limited to the minimum necessary. The Commission further has to determine whether the compensatory measures are adequate and ensure that the aid would not create an undue distortion of competition within the EU. The opening of an in-depth investigation allows interested parties to comment on the proposed measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

    [06] State aid: Commission opens in-depth inquiry into €11 million sale of Greek Cassandra Mines to Ellinikos Xrysos

    The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules to establish whether the terms of the sale of the Greek state-owned Cassandra Mines to Ellinikos Xrysos for €11 million constitute illegal state aid. In particular, the Commission will examine the sale of the mine and without any open, transparent and unconditional tendering procedure at a price which appears to be below the market value. The opening of an in-depth investigation allows interested parties to comment on the proposed measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

    [07] State aid: Commission closes in-depth inquiry into support to Italian public mining company Fluorite di Silius

    The European Commission has closed a formal investigation procedure, launched in December 2007 (see IP/07/1891) under EC Treaty state aid rules into the tender procedure by the Sardinia Region awarding a concession to operate the Sardinian mine "Genna Tres Montis" to the public company Fluorite di Silius. The tender included features, in particular recruitment conditions, which could amount to state aid. In the course of the investigation, Italy decided to cancel the tender and re-launch it without conditions. The Commission has therefore closed the case.

    [08] Marco Polo Programme: simplified and adapted to market needs

    The European Commission today proposed to amend the second Marco Polo programme with a view to increase substantially and its effectiveness. The programme aims to avoid or shift off Europe's roads a substantial part of the yearly growth of international freight transport. The modification will adapt the Marco Polo programme to the changing needs of the European transport market and thereby help achieve its full potential.

    [09] State aid: Commission approves Austrian support scheme for financial institutions

    The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an Austrian package of measures aimed at stabilising the financial markets by providing guarantees, capital and loans to eligible credit and insurance institutions. After intensive exchanges with the Austrian authorities, the Commission found the scheme as amended to be in line with its Guidance Communications on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the measures provide for non- discriminatory access, are limited in time and scope, require market oriented remuneration and contain sufficient safeguards to avoid abuses. The Commission therefore concluded that the package was an adequate means to restore a serious disturbance of the Austrian economy and as such compatible with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty.

    [10] Commission approves public financing of the German JadeWeserPort project

    The European Commission decided today not to raise any objections to Germany's plan to support the construction of a new port in Wilhelmshaven. The Commission found that the measures adopted by the German authorities are compatible with the Common market.

    [11] La Commission approuve un régime-cadre d'aides aux actions menées par les interprofessions reconnues, actives dans le secteur agricole en France

    La Commission européenne a autorisé aujourd'hui un régime-cadre d'aides notifié par la France et financé par des "cotisations volontaires rendues obligatoires" (CVO) en faveur des membres de chacune des filières agricoles représentées par les interprofessions agricoles reconnues. Le régime prévoit des aides l'assistance technique, aux produits agricoles de qualité, la recherche-développement et aux actions de publicité. Le budget annuel des aides est estimé 250 millions d'€. Ces aides sont considérées compatibles avec les règles relatives aux aides d'Etat dans le domaine agricole. Cette décision ne concerne pas les aides qui ont été octroyées avant la date d'adoption de la présente décision.

    [12] Negative decision on aid measures to combat bird flu crisis in Italy

    The European Commission today decided that the €20 million in aid which Italy had planned to grant in the form of urgent measures to cope with the bird flu crisis in 2005 was not compatible with the rules on State aid in agriculture. In July 2006 the Commission launched the procedure to investigate the measures set out in Article 5 of Italian Decree-Law No 202/05 which provided for: the purchase by the Italian Government of 17 000 tonnes of poultry meat and other poultry products to be used for humanitarian aid; the suspension of tax payments, social security contributions and bills for operators in the poultry sector; and aid for loans to convert and restructure poultry undertakings affected by the crisis in the poultry sector.

    [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [13] Bolivian Foreign Minister visits the Commission and signs future cooperation

    Bolivia´s Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca Céspedes will visit the European Commission in Brussels on 10 December 2008. He will meet Commissioner for External Relations and Neighourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero- Waldner, to discuss a range of significant bilateral issues as well as EU- Andean Community relations. During the visit, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and Foreign Minister Choquehuanca will sIgn the Memorandum of Understanding on the Community cooperation with Bolivia for the period 2007 to 2013, which has an allocation of €234 million. This cooperation will focus on the creation of sustainable economic opportunities for decent work; the fight against illicit drug production and trafficking by means of comprehensive development to tackle poverty and enhance social cohesion; and the sustainable management of natural resources, in particular through support for the integrated management of national and international river basins.

    [14] Danuta Hübner en Corse (France) assiste au lancement des programmes européens 2007-2013, placés sous le signe de l'innovation

    Danuta Hübner, Commissaire la politique régionale sera en visite en Corse, les 11 et 12 décembre, répondant l’invitation d’Ange Santini, le Président du Conseil Exécutif de Corse. Elle assistera au lancement des programmes européens qui contribueront au développement de l'île jusqu'en 2013 et se rendra sur le site de plusieurs projets qui ont vu le jour grâce aux investissements communautaires. En pleine phase de transition, la Corse vient de sortir du groupe des régions européennes en retard de développement et se tourne résolument vers l'innovation.

    [15] Commission proposes ways to deliver cheaper and more competitive food prices in Europe

    The European Commission has agreed a Communication that aims to improve the functioning of the food supply chain in order to lower prices for consumers. The prices of food have come down significantly from record levels earlier this year but the underlying causes for the surge in agricultural commodity prices in the medium-term -including regulatory restrictions, insufficient competition and speculation – have not disappeared and must be dealt with.

    [16] EU27 Member States granted citizenship to 735 000 persons in 2006

    In 2006, 735 000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU27 Member State compared with 722 000 in 2005, 647 000 in 2003 and 483 000 in 1998. These new citizens in 2006 came mainly from non-EU27 Europe (27% of the total number of citizenships acquired), Africa (27%), Asia (22%) and North and South America (12%). Citizens of one EU27 Member State who acquired citizenship in another Member State accounted for 8% of the total. These data on the acquisition of citizenship of the EU27 Member States are taken from a report issued by Eurostat. In many Member States, the citizenship of a child is determined by its parents' citizenship, rather than its place of birth. Therefore acquisition of citizenship concerns not only migrants but also their descendents. The acquisition of citizenship can be considered as an important part of the migratory and integration processes.

    [17] Launch of public consultation on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the area of financial services

    The European Commission has launched a public consultation on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the area of financial services. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes, such as ombudsmen, mediators or complaint boards, responsible for resolving disputes between consumers and financial services providers, do not currently exist in all EU Member States and for all financial services sectors. Existing schemes do not always cover all financial services providers. Where ADR is available, consumers are not systematically informed by their financial services providers about this possibility. Reflecting these gaps, FIN-NET, the network of national ADR schemes dealing with financial services disputes, created by the European Commission in 2001, currently covers only 19 Member States of the 27.This consultative document invites stakeholders to express their views on what steps they would consider necessary to improve the coverage and efficiency of FIN-NET, to promote the creation of ADR schemes and to ensure that financial services providers adhere to them. The document also raises the issue of whether financial services providers should be obliged to inform customers about the possibility to resolve disputes through an ADR scheme. The Commission encourages wide participation of all interested stakeholders and invites them to respond to the consultation by 27 February 2009. Further information can be found: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/fin- net/docs_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/fin-net/docs_en.htm

    [18] Président J.M.Barroso la remise du Prix du Livre européen, le 10.12, au Parlement européen Bruxelles

    Le Président José Manuel Barroso va participer et prononcer un discours la cérémonie de la remise du Prix du Livre européen, qui se déroule au Parlement européen, le 10 décembre. Cet événement réunira, entre autres, J. Delors, H-G. Poettering, M. Schulz, J. Solana, J. Semprun. Lors de son discours, le Président Barroso soulignera: "Je dis souvent que je n’échangerai l’Europe contre rien au monde. L’extraordinaire richesse du débat intellectuel européen, y compris sur l’Europe, y est pour beaucoup! Dans le débat d’idées, le livre occupe une place privilégiée. C’est aussi une des premières pratiques culturelles des Européens. C’est pourquoi je suis convaincu que ce prix du Livre européen donnera ces Européens épris de culture une véritable curiosité et une envie d’Europe". Le Prix du Livre européen entend promouvoir les valeurs de l’Europe et contribuer a mieux incarner L’Union européenne auprès des citoyens. Il récompense un ouvrage exprimant une vision de l’Europe et publié dans les 27 Etats membres. Le jury, présidé par l’écrivain Jorge Semprun, est composé de dix journalistes spécialistes des affaires européennes et notamment parmi les correspondants permanents Bruxelles. Ce prix est une initiative privée menée par l’association "Esprit d’Europe" en coopération avec l’association "Lire la Politique". Il est doté d’une valeur de 20 000 EUR et est attribué pour la seconde fois Bruxelles. L’année dernière, le prix avait été donné Guy Verhofstadt pour son livre "Les Etats-Unis d’Europe". Cette année, le Comité de parrainage a sélectionné trois ouvrages finalistes: "Sur l’Europe" du philosophe et sociologue allemand Jürgen Habermas, "Après la Guerre" du professeur Tony Judt, fondateur et directeur de l’Institut Erich Maria Remarque, "Pourquoi l’Europe?" du journaliste et correspondant du quotidien Le Monde Thomas Ferenczi. Lors de la cérémonie, Jacques Delors rendra hommage au professeur Bronislaw Geremek et Robert Picht, décédés cette année, pour leur livre "Visions d’Europe" paru aux éditions Odile Jacob.

    [19] Enregistrement de trois dénominations de produits agricoles

    La Commission européenne a ajouté trois dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit du fromage espagnol "San Simón da Costa" (AOP), de l'ail français "Ail blanc de Lomagne" (IGP) et du légume Autrichien "Steirischer Kren" (IGP). Les trois dénominations s'ajoutent la liste d'environ 820 produits déj protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet l'adresse: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/foodqual/quali1_fr.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/foodqual/quali1_fr.htm

    [20] Health Challenges and opportunities in Europe: health experts, policy makers and NGOs debate in Brussels at the EU Open Health Forum

    How does the EU Health Strategy – Together for Health - influence health status, health determinants and health care systems in the EU? How can we reduce inequalities in health? These are some of the questions that over 500 policy makers, public health experts, NGO representatives and other stakeholders will debate in Brussels on December 11, at the Commission conference: EU Open Health Forum: Developing and Implementing Health in the European Union. EU Health Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou welcomes the 500 participants and opens the conference this afternoon. This is the 3rd EU Open Health Forum. The conference provides an opportunity for the Commission to discuss health issues face to face with stakeholders from across Europe both on the implementation of EU Health Policies and on identifying new policy initiatives. It also encourages networking and exchange of best practice at EU, national, regional and local levels. Details of the event: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_overview/health_forum/open_2008/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_overview/health_forum/open_2008/index_en.htm

    Rediffusion

    [21] Breakthrough in EU-Canada negotiations on far-reaching aviation agreement

    Vice-President Tajani today announced a breakthrough in the EU-Canada negotiations on a large aviation agreement. Negotiators from the EU and Canada had initialled a few days ago a comprehensive agreement on air services in line with the conclusions of the EU-Canada summit on 17 October. The agreement will be a major step in the opening of markets and investment opportunities. It both completes the transatlantic market started with the EU-US first stage aviation agreement, and goes well beyond it. The agreement will generate major benefits for both partners' consumers, airlines and broader economies.

    [22] L'UE et Israël signent un accord dans le domaine de l'aviation civile

    La Communauté européenne et Israël ont signé aujourd'hui un accord dans le domaine de l'aviation qui supprimera les restrictions de nationalité prévues dans les accords bilatéraux en matière de services aériens entre les États membres de l'UE et Israël. Cet accord autorisera toutes les compagnies aériennes de l'UE exploiter des liaisons entre n'importe quel État membre de l'UE et Israël dans les cas où un accord bilatéral a été conclu avec Israël et où des droits de trafic sont disponibles. Parallèlement, l'UE et Israël ont engagé aujourd'hui des négociations sur un accord global dans le domaine de l’aviation.

    [23] Les commissaires Benita Ferrero-Waldner et Louis Michel propos des élections présidentielles et législatives au Ghana

    Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy said: “I congratulate the people of Ghana for their strong commitment to the democratic process in their country. I also want to commend the authorities for the orderly conduct of the elections, which took place in an open, transparent and competitive environment. I am pleased to see that fundamental freedoms such as the right to stand for election, the right to vote and the freedoms of assembly, expression and movement were widely respected. These elections can hopefully serve as a good example for upcoming elections in other countries on the African continent. I also want to thank Nickolay Mladenov, MEP, Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission and his entire team for their hard work and commitment." Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development, added: “These are the fourth competitive general elections in Ghana since 1996. Once again, the proper conduct of these elections illustrate Ghanaian political maturity and represent an important milestone in further consolidating and strengthening Ghanaian democracy. The Ghanaian people showed their commitment to peace and the democratic development of their country and I trust that other countries in the region will follow this path. The EU remains engaged with Ghana and will continue to support the country's democratic and economic development in line with the EU-Ghana country strategy."

    [24] EU signs aviation agreement with Armenia

    The European Union and the Republic of Armenia today signed an aviation agreement which will allow all European airlines to fly between Armenia and any EU Member State. After three years of negotiation, the agreement was signed by Commissioner Ms Benita Ferrero Waldner, responsible for external relations, Mr Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Secretary of State for European Affairs for the French Presidency, and Mr Eduard Nalbandyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia in the framework of the EU-Armenia Cooperation Council .

    [25] Deux villes présélectionnées en Suède pour le titre de "Capitale européenne de la culture 2014"

    Le jury chargé d’évaluer les villes candidates au titre de “Capitale européenne de la culture 2014” réuni aujourd'hui Stockholm recommande que Lund et Umeå soient présélectionnées pour le titre 2014. La Suède devrait entériner cette recommandation dans les semaines qui viennent. Les villes présélectionnées devront approfondir et compléter leurs candidatures d’ici l’été 2009.

    [26] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on The EU-Canada aviation agreement – Q&A

    • Memo on The Directive on the right of EU citizens to move and reside freely in the European Union / The Commission issues report on the application of the Directive

    • Memo on Marco Polo: Fresh air for European freight transport

    • Opening remarks by President Barroso at the Pre European Council Press conference, Brussels

    • Final Closing Remarks by Commissioner McCreevy at the Conference on Audit Regulation, Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner McCreevy at the European Contact Group/EGIAN dinner, Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Rehn 'Prospects for enlargement in the South- Eastern and North-Western corner of Europe', Oslo

    • Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel 'Global food demand: role of the EU', Paris From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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