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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-12-07

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] RĂ©sultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Renewable energy: Commission proposes ambitious biomass and biofuels action plan and calls on Member States to do more for green electricity
  • [02] La Commission approuve une mesure de soutien Ă un projet de R&D de Snecma Ă hauteur de €140 millions
  • [03] Commission opens investigation into UK scheme to support paper production from waste paper
  • [04] La Commission ordonne le remboursement partiel des aides accordĂ©es en France, en Irlande et en Italie en faveur de la production d'alumine
  • [05] Commission approves the financial part of the restructuring plan for ABX Logistics
  • [06] La Commission entame un examen approfondi des aides accordĂ©es par la SNCB Ă Inter Ferry Boats
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [07] Temps de conduite et de repos des chauffeurs routiers : l'Europe fait avancer les règles sociales dans les transports
  • [08] High Level Transport Group calls for better transport links with EU Neighbours
  • [09] Stavros Dimas se fĂ©licite de l'accord de conciliation sur les dĂ©chets miniers
  • [10] Commission welcomes Court of Justice ruling on smoke flavourings
  • [11] EU welcomes permanent WTO solution on generic medicines
  • [12] Joe Borg visits Slovenia
  • [13] Autre matĂ©riel diffusĂ© Midday Express of 2005-12-07 Reference: MEX/05/1207 Date: 07/12/2005 EXME05 / 7.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Presse etb

    Communication

    07/12/05


  • [I] RĂ©sultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Renewable energy: Commission proposes ambitious biomass and biofuels action plan and calls on Member States to do more for green electricity

    The European Commission has adopted a detailed action plan designed to increase the use of energy from forestry, agriculture and waste materials. Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Energy, said : "This plan will reduce Europe's dependence on imported energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, protect jobs in rural areas and extend the EU's technological leadership in these sectors. The Plan outlines measures in three sectors : heating, electricity and transport. The measures in favour of transport biofuels, in particular, are a practical response to the problem of high oil prices." In parallel, the Commission adopted a report on the different support schemes of electricity from renewable energy sources which concludes that governments need to step up efforts to cooperate among themselves and optimise their support schemes as well as to remove administrative and grid barriers for green electricity.

    [02] La Commission approuve une mesure de soutien à un projet de R&D de Snecma à hauteur de €140 millions

    La Commission européenne a approuvé, selon les règles du Traité CE en matière d'aides d'Etat, une mesure de soutien à la R&D de €140 millions proposée par les autorités françaises en faveur de Snecma. Le projet vise à développer, dans le contexte d'une coopération franco-russe, un moteur pour l'avion régional RRJ (Russian Regional Jet). La Commission a considéré que le projet respecte les critères de l'encadrement communautaire des aides d'Etat à la recherche et au développement et peut donc être considéré compatible avec le Traité (article 87).

    [03] Commission opens investigation into UK scheme to support paper production from waste paper

    The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into a proposed UK scheme granting aid to paper mills to increase printing and writing (P&W) paper production capacity and to stimulate the demand for collection of waste paper from offices. The Commission recognises the environmental benefit of recycling waste paper, but it has doubts whether the use of recycled fibre for the production of P&W paper goes beyond the "state of the art" in the industry. The Commission's decision to investigate will shortly be published in the EU's Official Journal and interested parties will be able to comment on the UK's proposed measures. The Commission will then take a final decision on the compatibility of the scheme with EU state aid rules. The launch of the inquiry does not prejudge the Commission's final decision.

    [04] La Commission ordonne le remboursement partiel des aides accordées en France, en Irlande et en Italie en faveur de la production d'alumine

    La Commission européenne a décidé, en vertu des règles communautaires sur les aides d'Etat, que pour la période expirant au 30 décembre 2003, une partie des exonérations totales du droit d'accise sur les huiles minérales utilisées comme combustible pour la production d'alumine, accordées par la France, l'Irlande et l'Italie constituaient des aides au fonctionnement illégales de nature à fausser la concurrence sur le marché unique européen. Ces aides avaient été accordées sans l'autorisation préalable de la Commission, et devraient donc normalement être intégralement récupérables. Toutefois, eu égard aux particularités du cas d'espèce et notamment au fait que ces exonérations avaient été accordées en vertu de réglementations communautaires sur les droits d'accise par des décisions du Conseil des ministres de l'UE fondées sur des propositions de la Commission, la Commission considère que jusqu'à la publication de sa décision d'ouvrir la procédure formelle d'examen (voir IP/01/1520), les bénéficiaires pouvaient avoir des raisons de croire que les mesures en cause ne constituaient pas des aides d'Etat incompatibles. C'est la raison pour laquelle la Commission a ordonné aux bénéficiaires de ne rembourser que la partie des aides incompatibles reçue à partir du 3 février 2002. L'enquête sur les exonérations à partir du 1er janvier 2004 est encore en cours.

    [05] Commission approves the financial part of the restructuring plan for ABX Logistics

    The European Commission has decided to approve the financial part of the restructuring plan for the ABX Logistics group, worth €176 million. This decision is based on a restructuring plan which significantly reduces the capacity of the ABX Worldwide group, including its branches ABX Germany and ABX Netherlands, restores the viability of the whole of the group and transfers all of its capital to a private investor who must act within 12 months of this decision. As for the domestic activities of ABX France, these were privatised in 2005.

    [06] La Commission entame un examen approfondi des aides accordées par la SNCB à Inter Ferry Boats

    La Commission européenne a décidé d'ouvrir la procédure formelle d’examen à l'égard des aides accordées par la SNCB pour financer la restructuration de sa filiale Inter Ferry Boats (IFB), afin de vérifier si ces aides remplissent les conditions posées par le droit communautaire pour les aides d'Etat à la restructuration.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [07] Temps de conduite et de repos des chauffeurs routiers : l'Europe fait avancer les règles sociales dans les transports

    Le Parlement européen et le Conseil ont conclu le 6 décembre un accord sur le projet de législation européenne qui améliore le temps de conduite et de repos des chauffeurs routiers et renforce les contrôles sur les camions. Ainsi, les chauffeurs vont pouvoir bénéficier d'un repos d'au moins deux jours pleins toutes les deux semaines et d'un repos journalier plus long. Ces nouvelles règles rapprochent les pratiques des différents Etats européens et contribuent à la sécurité routière. "L'ouverture des marchés doit être accompagnée des règles applicables à tous pour assurer des conditions de travail équitables. Ces règles sociales européennes créent de nouveaux droits pour les travailleurs et protègent contre le dumping social", s'est réjoui Jacques Barrot, vice- président de la Commission européenne en charge des transports.

    [08] High Level Transport Group calls for better transport links with EU Neighbours

    The High Level Group set up by the European Commission last year to look at transport connections between the newly enlarged European Union and its 26 neighbours submitted its final report today. Recommendations include a mix of infrastructure projects and simpler measures aiming to stimulate trade and to facilitate traffic flows between countries along five major transnational transport axes. “Better integration of national networks will foster regional cooperation and integration not only between the EU and its neighbours but also between the neighbouring countries themselves. I am delighted with the speed and efficiency of the work of this Group. It is particularly appropriate given the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona process and the ministerial meeting taking place in Marrakech on 16 December” declared Vice-President Jacques Barrot, in charge of transport.

    [09] Stavros Dimas se félicite de l'accord de conciliation sur les déchets miniers

    Stavros Dimas, Commissaire européenne à l'Environnement, s'est félicité de l'accord de conciliation obtenu entre le Parlement européen et le Conseil concernant la révision de la directive sur la gestion des déchets des industries extractives. Par leur composition et leur volume, ces déchets peuvent devenir une menace grave et durable pour le milieu naturel et la santé des personnes s'ils ne sont pas correctement gérés. La directive vise à instaurer des règles applicables à l'ensemble de l'UE pour prévenir la pollution de l'eau et du sol due à l’entreposage des déchets sur terril ou en bassin et insiste en particulier sur la stabilité à long terme de ces installations. Conjuguée avec la directive révisée Seveso II concernant la maîtrise des accidents industriels majeurs et avec un document de référence sur les meilleures techniques disponibles, la future directive garantira une gestion responsable des déchets miniers dans l'ensemble de l'UE.

    [10] Commission welcomes Court of Justice ruling on smoke flavourings

    The European Commission welcomes judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 6 December confirming the validity of Regulation (EC) 2065/2003 on smoke flavourings intended for use in or on foods. The judgement relates to a case for annulment brought by the UK, which did not object to the substance of the measures laid down in the legislation, but to the use of Article 95 (internal market) of the EU Treaty as the legal basis. The ECJt ruled against the UK's challenge, finding that the legal base was appropriate to the objectives of the Regulation i.e. to harmonise the diverse national laws on the approval and use of smoke flavourings. Regulation 2065/2003 on smoke flavourings lays down an EU-wide system for the safety assessment and authorisation of smoke condensates used to flavour food (see IP/03/1370). The legislation aims to ensure a high level of food safety when it comes to smoke flavourings and to remove potential barriers to the internal market which existed when each Member State had its own divergent rules on these flavourings. Smoke flavourings are used to impart a smoky flavour to foods such as meat, fish or snacks. They are produced by condensing fresh smoke in water, after which the condensed smoke is purified. Because of the purification process, the use of smoke flavourings is generally considered to be less of a health concern than the traditional smoking process.

    [11] EU welcomes permanent WTO solution on generic medicines

    The EU welcomes the decision taken on 6 December in the World Trade Organisation to amend the WTO Agreement on Intellectual Property with a view to improving access to medicines for developing countries. The EU had called on WTO Members to adopt such measures as part of a development package for the Hong Kong Ministerial. This decision will allow poor countries without manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector to import generic medicines for humanitarian purposes. It will replace the temporary decision adopted by WTO on 30 August 2003 to this effect. This amendment will safeguard the balance of rights and obligations of the TRIPS Agreement. The EU took an active part, as honest broker, in the negotiations on the amendment.

    [12] Joe Borg visits Slovenia

    The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, will arrive in Slovenia this afternoon, where he will meet with Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Ms Marica Lukacic. Their discussion will touch on a wide range of issues, including the current state of preparations for the planned European Fisheries Fund and the challenges facing the Slovenian fishing industry. Slovenia is active in Mediterranean fisheries, and Commissioner Borg and Minister Lukacic will discuss progress with proposed measures for this area, as well as more general issues concerning the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. Tomorrow will begin with a visit to the Port of Izola, where Mr Borg, accompanied by Secretary of State Mr Franc But, will see the local fishing fleet. The Commissioner will also meet with the local fisheries inspectors before visiting a fisheries processing plant. Following lunch, he will meet with representatives of both the industry and local communities at Izola town hall to discuss the state of the Slovenian fisheries sector. There will then be a joint press conference by the Commissioner and Minister Lukacic. Commissioner Borg will depart from Slovenia in the afternoon to begin an official visit to Cyprus on Friday.

    [13] Autre matériel diffusé

    Note on Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (08- 09)

    Speech by Danuta HĂĽbner : "Making cities full partners in EU Cohesion policy" at EU Ministerial Informal meeting on Sustainable Communities (06/12, Bristol)

    Discours de M. Olli Rehn : "L'élargissement, la sécurité pour l'Europe" devant la Commission des Affaires étrangères de l'Assemblée nationale française (06/12, Paris) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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