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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 09-01-05

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] Official launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009
  • [02] A single certificate for safer navigation on European inland waterways
  • [03] Measures expected to reduce human salmonellosis caused by eggs
  • [04] Commissioner Vassiliou welcomes entry into force of ban on imports, exports and trade in cat and dog fur
  • [05] State aid: Commission approves Spanish guarantee scheme for credit institutions
  • [06] State aid: Commission approves first real economy crisis measures
  • [07] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2009-01-05 Reference: MEX/09/0105 Date: 05/01/2009 EXME09 / 05.01

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    05/01/09


  • [01] Official launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009

    The Czech Presidency of the EU and European Commission will officially launch the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 on Wednesday 7 January with the slogan “Imagine. Create. Innovate”. The aim of the Year is to promote creative and innovative approaches in different sectors of human activity and help equip the European Union for the challenges ahead in a globalised world.

    [02] A single certificate for safer navigation on European inland waterways

    As of 2009, vessels carrying the new European safety certificate are allowed to navigate on all rivers in the Union, including the Rhine. According to the new Community rules this single certificate is delivered on technical requirements for inland waterway vessels. The implementation of these common rules is a great step forward for the safety of inland waterway transport in Europe.

    [03] Measures expected to reduce human salmonellosis caused by eggs

    As of January 1 2009 all eggs from flocks of laying hens, not monitored for the presence of Salmonella or found positive to Salmonella Enteritidis or Salmonella Typhimurium, can not be sold as table eggs but must be processed as egg products and pasteurised in order to eliminate all risks for consumers. In particular, the measure is expected to reduce considerably the number of human salmonellosis infections. Restrictions on table eggs from flocks of layers infected with Salmonella were first adopted in 2003 through Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the control of Salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents. Initially, the restrictions were to enter into force at the end of 2009. However, high Salmonella prevalence was recorded in flocks during an EU survey in 2005-2006, and in 2007 it was decided to accelerate the regulations' enforcement. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1237/2007 set January 1 2009 as the new date to enforce these restrictions. According to the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) annual reports on the monitoring of zoonoses, eggs and egg products are responsible for more than half of all outbreaks of human salmonellosis in the EU where the source of infection was demonstrated. More than 95% of these infections are caused by Salmonella Enteritidis or Salmonella Typhimurium. Monitoring for Salmonella is mandatory in flocks of laying hens since the beginning of 2008. Since then, whenever Salmonella was detected, measures had to be taken to eliminate the infection from the farm. However, trade restrictions were not systematically applied. Because eggs constitute one of the major sources of human salmonellosis, it is expected that these measures will reduce considerably the number of cases of infection. The measures also apply to eggs imported from third countries. Only Croatia, Norway and Switzerland have provided equivalent guarantees on the safety of eggs. Therefore, only imports of table eggs from these countries are authorised in the EU.

    [04] Commissioner Vassiliou welcomes entry into force of ban on imports, exports and trade in cat and dog fur

    A comprehensive EU ban on imports, exports and intra-Community trade in cat and dog fur and products containing such fur entered into force on 1 January 2009. European Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: "I am delighted that this long awaited measure is now in force, so that European consumers can be confident that they will no longer be at risk of inadvertently purchasing products containing cat or dog fur. This ban reflects the profound attachment that Europeans have to cats and dogs as companion animals only, and their total rejection of this appalling practice." The European Commission proposed a ban on cat and dog fur in November 2006, due to evidence that cat and dog fur was being placed on the European market, usually undeclared or disguised as synthetic or other types of fur. Diverging national bans on cat and dog fur threatened to disrupt the single market. The vast majority of cat and dog fur is believed to be imported from third countries, notably China, where the rearing of these animals for their fur is practiced. The Commission's proposal for a regulation was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on December 11 2007. It assures EU citizens that cat and dog fur will no longer be sold anywhere in the EU through a harmonised approach, prohibiting all production, marketing and imports and exports of cat and dog fur in the EU. Cat and dog fur, found occasionally on the EU market in the past, provoked a strong response from EU consumers, who demanded that measures be taken to prevent such fur and fur products from being sold in the EU. Tens of thousands of Europeans sent protest letters to the Commission and handed petitions to Members of the European Parliament. For more information, see: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/fur_cats_dogs_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/fur_cats_dogs_en.htm

    Rediffusion

    [05] State aid: Commission approves Spanish guarantee scheme for credit institutions

    The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty State aid rules a Spanish scheme to support the financial sector by providing guarantees to eligible financial institutions. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Guidance Communication on State aid to overcome the financial crisis (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1495&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1495). In particular, the scheme is non-discriminatory, limited in time and scope, provides for behavioural constraints to avoid abuses and is subject to a market-oriented remuneration from the beneficiaries. The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme is an adequate means to remedy a serious disturbance of the Spanish economy and as such in line with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty.

    Aides d'État: la Commission autorise le plan italien de recapitalisation des établissements financiers

    La Commission européenne a autorisé le plan de recapitalisation italien qui vise soutenir le financement de l'économie réelle en mettant des instruments de fonds propres la disposition des établissements financiers fondamentalement sains. Après des échanges intensifs avec les autorités italiennes, la Commission a pu constater que le plan modifié était conforme sa communication relative aux aides d'État destinées surmonter la crise financière (voir <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1495&format=HTML&aged=0&language=FR&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1495 et <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1901&format=HTML&aged=0&language=FR&guiLanguage=en">IP/08/1901). En particulier, les mesures sont d'une durée et d'une portée limitées, exigent une rémunération conforme aux conditions du marché et prévoient suffisamment d'incitations racheter progressivement la participation de l'État ainsi que des garde-fous de nature éviter les abus. La Commission est donc parvenue la conclusion que ce plan constituait un moyen adéquat de remédier une grave perturbation de l'économie italienne et était, de ce fait, compatible avec l'article 87, paragraphe 3, point b) du traité CE.

    [06] State aid: Commission approves first real economy crisis measures

    The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, two German real economy crisis measures. The first measure, a EUR 15 billion German loan programme ("KfW-Sonderprogramm 2009") which is intended to provide liquidity for undertakings affected by the current credit squeeze, provides for interest rate reductions on loans to finance investments and working capital of up to EUR 50 million to be granted to undertakings with a turnover of less than EUR 500 million. The programme will be administered by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the main public development bank in Germany, in close cooperation with the undertakings' own bankers. The second measure, a Federal framework scheme ("Bundesregelung Kleinbeihilfen") allows economic policy actors at Federal, regional, and local level to provide aid of up to EUR 500.000 per undertaking to firms in need. These are the first cases to be approved under the Commission's new temporary framework providing Member States with additional possibilities to tackle the effects of the credit squeeze on the real economy (see <a href="http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1993" title="blocked::http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1993">IP/08/1993).

    [07] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo Antitrust: Commission confirms sending Statement of Objections to EdF on French electricity market From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/

    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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