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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 09-01-28

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission du 28 janvier 2009 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 28 January 2009

  • [01] Better regulation – a European success story
  • [02] VAT: Commission proposes a review of the VAT rules on invoicing with a view to reduce burdens on business and to help Member States tackle fraud
  • [03] Antitrust: Commission fines marine hose producers € 131 million for market sharing and price-fixing cartel
  • [04] State aid: Commission prolongs film support rules until end 2012
  • [05] State aid: Commission endorses €68 million loan guarantee to rescue Italian domestic appliances producer Antonio Merloni
  • [06] Changement climatique: la Commission présente ses propositions en vue d'un pacte mondial sur le changement climatique Copenhague
  • [07] The Commission proposes € 5 billion new investment in energy and Internet broadband infrastructure in 2009-2010, in support of the EU recovery plan
  • [08] Commission approves Czech State aid to promote the interoperability of railway transport
  • [09] Commission approves restructuring aid for PKS Wadowice S. A.
  • [10] Différenciation des redevances aéroportuaires: la France supprime les aides d’État existantes
  • [11] Commission adopts Lisbon Strategy recommendations to build a lasting recovery
  • [12] La Commission autorise une aide la restructuration l'entreprise française d'exportation de volaille Tilly-Sabco
  • [13] La Commission enquête sur les aides portugaises pour le ramassage, transport, traitement et destruction des déchets d'abattoir
  • [14] La Commission déclare incompatibles des aides d’État au secteur des fruits et légumes en France
  • [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

  • [15] Commissioner Hübner's visit to Podkarpackie: Cohesion Policy support for aviation and technology crucial as Polish region plots course to beat the slump
  • [16] Telecoms: Commission asks Italy's telecoms regulator AGCOM to wait for verified cost data before approving price increases for access to Telecom Italia's network
  • [17] Statement by Vice-President Jacques Barrot on the occasion of Data Protection Day
  • [18] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2009-01-28 Reference: MEX/09/0128 Date: 28/01/2009 EXME09 / 28.01

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    28/01/09


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 28 janvier 2009 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 28 January 2009

    [01] Better regulation – a European success story

    The strategic review on Better Regulation in the European Union tabled by the European Commission today, shows that better regulation is a core component of Europe's response to the economic and financial crisis. The review shows that citizens and companies, in particular small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), already benefit from simplified measures and administrative costs savings. Thanks to radical simplification some 1,300 acts, representing around 10 % of the acquis or 7800 pages of the Official Journal, have been proposed for removal so far. The administrative burden reduction measures already presented or foreseen, represent savings in excess of €30billions. Today's proposal on VAT alone amounts to €18 billion in savings. The Commission's leadership on administrative burdens has inspired most Member States and 21 of them have put in place at national level ambitious national programmes to reduce administrative burdens. Finally the Commission will continue to improve the quality of all new legislation it produces by further upgrading the quality of its impact assessments. It will do this by strengthening the subsidiarity check, improving the consultation of stakeholders, and by assessing more thoroughly impacts on, for example, SMEs, administrative burdens, fundamental rights, consumers and regions.

    [02] VAT: Commission proposes a review of the VAT rules on invoicing with a view to reduce burdens on business and to help Member States tackle fraud

    The European Commission today adopted a proposal to change the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC in respect to the invoicing rules, based on a Communication on the technological developments in the field of electronic invoicing. The aim of the proposal is to increase the use of electronic invoicing, reduce burdens on business, support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and help Member States to tackle fraud. The proposal simplifies, modernises and harmonises the VAT invoicing rules. In particular, it eliminates the current barriers to e-invoicing in the VAT Directive by treating paper and electronic invoices equally. The proposal is a key element of the Commission's Action Programme to reduce burdens on business by 25% by 2012, and is part of the Commission's strategy to combat VAT fraud more efficiently.

    [03] Antitrust: Commission fines marine hose producers € 131 million for market sharing and price-fixing cartel

    The European Commission has imposed a total of € 131 510 000 fines on five groups – Bridgestone, Dunlop Oil & Marine/Continental, Trelleborg, Parker ITR and Manuli – for participating in a cartel for marine hoses between 1986 and 2007 in violation of the ban on cartels and restrictive business practices in the EC Treaty (Article 81) and the EEA Agreement (Article 53). Yokohama also participated in the cartel but was not fined because it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. Marine hoses are used to transport crude oil to and from ships for transportation from production sites. The cartel members fixed prices for marine hoses, allocated bids and markets and exchanged commercially sensitive information. The fines for Bridgestone and Parker ITR were increased by 30% because of their leadership of the cartel. Manuli was granted a 30% reduction of its fine for its cooperation with the investigation under the Commission's leniency programme.

    [04] State aid: Commission prolongs film support rules until end 2012

    The European Commission has today adopted a Communication extending the validity of the state aid assessment criteria for the production of films and audiovisual works until 31 December 2012. These criteria, laid down in a Commission Communication of 2001, are used by the Commission to approve Europe’s national, regional and local film support schemes under the EU's state aid rules. The new Commission Communication also identifies a number of trends which are likely to have to be addressed by a future Cinema Communication. Across the EU, around €1.6 bn is spent on national film support each year.

    [05] State aid: Commission endorses €68 million loan guarantee to rescue Italian domestic appliances producer Antonio Merloni

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a €68 million loan guarantee to keep the Italian domestic appliances group Antonio Merloni afloat. The aid is in line with the EU Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/04/172&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">MEMO/04/172). In particular, it is limited in time and scope and will be remunerated at a price in line with normal market conditions. Moreover, within six months, Antonio Merloni will either repay the aid in full or present a plan for a long-term restructuring.

    [06] Changement climatique: la Commission présente ses propositions en vue d'un pacte mondial sur le changement climatique Copenhague

    La Commission européenne a présenté aujourd'hui ses propositions en vue d'un nouvel accord mondial global et ambitieux pour lutter contre le changement climatique, ainsi que les modalités envisageables pour son financement. Le nouveau pacte doit être conclu lors de la conférence des Nations unies qui se tiendra Copenhague en décembre prochain. Pour que la hausse des températures puisse être maintenue en dessous de 2 °C, il faudra que les pays industrialisés et les institutions multilatérales accordent aux pays en développement un soutien financier bien plus important afin de les aider apporter leur contribution dans la lutte contre le changement climatique. Les propositions de la Commission comprennent la création d'un marché du carbone au niveau de l'OCDE d'ici 2015 et de sources innovantes de financement international fondées sur les émissions des pays et leur capacité contributive.

    [07] The Commission proposes € 5 billion new investment in energy and Internet broadband infrastructure in 2009-2010, in support of the EU recovery plan

    As part of the ongoing implementation of the EU recovery plan endorsed by the European Council in December 2008, the European Commission has today presented proposals to invest in key energy and Internet broadband infrastructure projects. These will deliver a much needed stimulus to the EU economy in the short term, while at the same time targeting strategic goals such as energy security. All Member States will benefit from the package of measures.

    [08] Commission approves Czech State aid to promote the interoperability of railway transport

    The European Commission adopted today a positive decision on a State aid regime notified by the Czech authorities and investing in the interoperability of rail transport.

    [09] Commission approves restructuring aid for PKS Wadowice S. A.

    The European Commission authorised today a restructuring loan for the Polish passenger transport company PKS Wadowice S.A. The aid will mainly finance the partial replacement of the company's bus fleet and the repayment of its liabilities.

    [10] Différenciation des redevances aéroportuaires: la France supprime les aides d’État existantes

    La Commission européenne a accepté aujourd’hui les mesures prises par la France pour mettre fin la différenciation des redevances par passager entre les vols nationaux et les vols de/vers les pays de l'espace Schengen. Suite la plainte d'une compagnie aérienne bas coût, la Commission a examiné les règles applicables en France pour la fixation du niveau des redevances aéroportuaires. Elle conclut que la différenciation des niveaux de redevances entre ces deux catégories de vols constitue une aide d'Etat existante, qui n'est pas compatible avec le marché intérieur. La France a entretemps adopté les mesures nécessaires la suppression de cette aide.

    [11] Commission adopts Lisbon Strategy recommendations to build a lasting recovery

    The Commission has adopted "country chapters" and recommendations under the Lisbon Growth and Jobs Strategy. These will also help ensure the European Economic Recovery Plan (see IP/08/1771) is implemented in a way that builds for the future as well as responding to the economic crisis. The country chapters analyse progress in each Member State in implementing the Growth and Jobs Strategy, taking account of the crisis. They include proposals for formal recommendations for endorsement by the Spring European Council. The Commission has also adopted reports on the overall implementation of the Lisbon Strategy in the macro and micro-economic and employment fields.

    [12] La Commission autorise une aide la restructuration l'entreprise française d'exportation de volaille Tilly-Sabco

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'État, une aide la restructuration d'un montant de 3,6 millions d'euros en faveur de l'entreprise d'exportation de la filière avicole SA Tilly-Sabco. Après un examen du plan de restructuration, la Commission a estimé que les mesures de restructuration étaient appropriées pour restaurer la viabilité de l'entreprise, que l'aide était limitée au minimum nécessaire et qu'elle n'entraînait pas de distorsion de concurrence excessives. Le Commission est donc parvenue la conclusion que l'aide était conforme aux dispositions de l'UE relatives la restructuration des entreprises en difficulté.

    [13] La Commission enquête sur les aides portugaises pour le ramassage, transport, traitement et destruction des déchets d'abattoir

    La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui d'ouvrir la procédure formelle, en vertu des règles du traité relatives aux aides d'état, l'égard des aides accordées depuis 1998 par le Portugal destinées prendre en charge les coûts de ramassage, de transport, de traitement et de destruction des sous-produits de viande de mammifères et de volailles. Ces aides ont été financées par le biais de taxes parafiscales prélevées entre autres sur l'existence d'une éventuelle surcompensation accordée aux entreprises prestataires de services, ainsi que sur la présence d'un avantage accordé aux centres d'abattage et de découpe et aux éleveurs en raison du service dont ils ont bénéficié.

    [14] La Commission déclare incompatibles des aides d’État au secteur des fruits et légumes en France

    La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd’hui une décision finale négative concernant les aides d'Etat octroyées par la France entre 1992 et 2002 visant financer des mesures dénommées "plans de campagne". Il s'agit des fonds publics payés par l’Office National Interprofessionnel des Fruits, des Légumes et de l’Horticulture (ONIFLHOR) certains Comités Economiques Agricoles français pour financer des actions destinées faire face des situations de crise dans le marché des fruits et légumes. Les destinataires finaux des aides étaient les organisations de producteurs de fruits et légumes français des départements concernés. Les fonds publics affectés ces aides auraient dépassé les € 330 millions.

    [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [15] Commissioner Hübner's visit to Podkarpackie: Cohesion Policy support for aviation and technology crucial as Polish region plots course to beat the slump

    On 29 January, Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner visits Podkarpackie region in Poland, where she will hold talks with Marshal Zygmunt Cholewinski and the Regional Development Agency. She will also visit the Aeropolis Science and Technology Park, which has received funding through the EU's Cohesion Policy, and take part in a debate with business leaders and academics on the future development of Podkarpackie.

    [16] Telecoms: Commission asks Italy's telecoms regulator AGCOM to wait for verified cost data before approving price increases for access to Telecom Italia's network

    In a letter made public today, the European Commission has asked the Italian telecoms regulator AGCOM not to allow Telecom Italia to increase the prices it charges competitors to access its telephone network (the so- called local loop unbundling fees) until audited data justifying an increase in costs is available. According to AGCOM the proposed price increase aims to better reflect actual cost. In the view of the Commission, the costing methodology used by regulators is a very important factor in determining the price of wholesale charges between operators. The Commission therefore calls on AGCOM to base the regulation of this price on audited data. Furthermore, the Commission invites telecoms regulators in the EU to work with it to develop a consistent approach as regards the calculation of the prices for the access to the local loops of incumbent operators.

    Rediffusion

    [17] Statement by Vice-President Jacques Barrot on the occasion of Data Protection Day

    Data protection laws are in place throughout the European Union to ensure that personal data is handled under very clear conditions and to give EU citizens the right to challenge any mishandling of their data. But without awareness, effective protection is impossible. Legal rights and protection regimes are only effective if people know that they exist and know how to use them. Data Protection Day is an excellent opportunity to raise such awareness in Europe and worldwide.

    [18] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo Antitrust: Commission welcomes CFI President's dismissal of Intel's request for interim measures

    • Memo Cutting administrative burden under full steam

    • Memo Radical simplification of EU law continued in 2008

    • Memo Antitrust: Commission action against cartels – Questions and answers

    • Memo State aid: Commission prolongs film support rules until end 2012 - frequently asked questions (See also IP/09/138)

    • Memo Questions and Answers on the Communication Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen

    • Memo Commission earmarks €1bn for investment in broadband – Frequently Asked Questions

    • Memo European Commission: investing today for tomorrow's energy

    • Speech by Commissioner Almunia 'Financial Markets and Economic Recovery: a Critical Juncture' , Brussels From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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