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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-11-15

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 14 novembre 2006 -

  • [01] Proposed cuts of 25% in red tape to lead to increase in EU GDP of 1.5%
  • [02] La Commission autorise la fusion de Gaz de France et de Suez, sous réserve de certaines conditions
  • [03] Poland is not yet taking sufficient action to correct its budget deficit, Commission says in recommendation to the Council
  • [04] Libre circulation des capitaux : la Commission entame des procédures d'infraction contre l'Italie concernant le nouveau régime de concession des autoroutes
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [05] La culture contribue hauteur de 2,6% au PIB de l'UE et emploie au moins 5,8 millions d'Européens, selon une étude publiée aujourd'hui Bruxelles
  • [06] "AIDS - remember me?" Commission launches online vote for best EU HIV/AIDS awareness commercial
  • [07] Les chercheurs européens appellent un recours plus large aux écotechnologies existantes pour lutter contre le réchauffement climatique
  • [08] Commission clears acquisition of Europolis by AXA IMD and Investkredit
  • [09] Commission provides €7 million for natural disaster preparedness in South-East Asia
  • [10] Opening of tariff quota for 2007 for bananas from ACP countries
  • [11] Septembre 2006 comparé août 2006 : baisse de 1,0% de la production industrielle dans la zone euro ; baisse de 0,6% dans l'UE25
  • [12] Danuta Hübner in Graz : "Innovation and knowledge society" at the heart of European Regional Policy's programmes
  • [13] Joe Borg meets German ministers on future maritime policy for the EU
  • [14] Climate change : Stavros Dimas at UN ministerial conference in Nairobi
  • [15] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2006-11-15 Reference: MEX/06/1115 Date: 15/11/2006 EXME06 / 15.11

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    15/11/06


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 14 novembre 2006 -

    Outcome of Commission meeting of 14 November

    [01] Proposed cuts of 25% in red tape to lead to increase in EU GDP of 1.5%

    The European Commission has put forward a proposal to cut, jointly with Member States, the administrative burden for companies by 25% by 2012. This could lead to an increase of an estimated 1.5% in EU GDP and subsequently more investment for growth and new jobs, amounting to €150 billion. To achieve this target, member states and regional and local authorities must also give a new political momentum to their own efforts to cut red tape. This is one of the forward looking initiatives contained in the first strategic review of the "Better Regulation" initiative. The strategic review assesses the progress to date and makes an ambitious set of proposals. The system for impact assessment of all major new proposals for legislation will be beefed up to ensure quality and objectivity through the establishment of an Impact Assessment Board. Furthermore, 43 new initiatives have been added to the simplification rolling programme covering the period 2006-2009 across a broad spectrum of policy areas. These include actions in the agriculture domain, for manufactured goods including construction products, cosmetics, and industrial emissions.

    [02] La Commission autorise la fusion de Gaz de France et de Suez, sous réserve de certaines conditions

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, la fusion de Gaz de France (GDF) et du groupe Suez. A l'issue d'une enquête approfondie, la Commission avait estimé dans un premier temps que l'opération aurait des effets anticoncurrentiels sur les marchés de la distribution en gros et au détail de gaz et d'électricité en Belgique et sur les marchés du gaz en France (voir IP/06/802 et IP/06/1109). Les préoccupations de la Commission portaient essentiellement sur l'élimination de la pression concurrentielle croissante que GDF et Suez avaient exercée jusqu'alors (et auraient exercée dans un avenir proche) l'une sur l'autre en Belgique comme en France. Eu égard aux conditions régnant sur les marchés, et notamment aux barrières très élevées l'entrée, leurs positions dominantes respectives auraient été considérablement renforcées par la fusion. Pour répondre ces préoccupations, les parties ont proposé des mesures correctives substantielles comprenant notamment la cession de Distrigaz et de SPE et l'abandon du contrôle de Suez sur Fluxys, l'exploitant de réseau belge. A la lumière de ces mesures correctives structurelles, la Commission a conclu que la fusion n'entraverait pas significativement la concurrence dans l'Espace Economique Européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

    [03] Poland is not yet taking sufficient action to correct its budget deficit, Commission says in recommendation to the Council

    While it has made a significant improvement in the last few years, Poland is not yet taking sufficient action to be able to correct its budget deficit in 2007, as recommended by the Council in July 2004. The draft budget for 2007 sets the deficit at 3.7%, including the costs of pension reform, but according to the European Commission's autumn forecast it may turn out slightly higher. This is despite a much better outcome in 2006 than initially budgeted and strong economic growth of around 5¼%.

    [04] Libre circulation des capitaux : la Commission entame des procédures d'infraction contre l'Italie concernant le nouveau régime de concession des autoroutes

    Dans le cadre de la réforme du système de concession de l'exploitation des autoroutes en Italie et du projet de fusion entre Autostrade et Abertis, la Commission européenne a envoyé aux autorités italiennes une lettre de mise en demeure concernant une violation possible des dispositions du traité relatives la libre circulation des capitaux et la liberté d'établissement. La Commission est surtout préoccupée par le fait que le nouveau système de concession des autoroutes pourrait créer des incertitudes susceptibles de décourager les investisseurs. Les dispositions en question sont dépourvues d'objectifs clairement définis et les mesures prises ne sont pas justifiées, ce qui pourrait créer des incertitudes concernant la prochaine renégociation des contrats de concession en cours et, par conséquent, le nouveau régime risque de restreindre indûment la liberté de circulation des capitaux et le droit d'établissement inscrits dans les règles du traité CE (articles 56 et 43 respectivement). L'effet restrictif de ces dispositions est renforcé par la menace d'annulation des contrats de concession en vigueur dans le cas où un accord ne serait pas trouvé entre les autorités italiennes et les concessionnaires. La Commission croit comprendre par ailleurs que les dispositions qui limitent le droit de vote des entreprises de construction parties aux contrats de concession des autoroutes 5% du capital de la société lors de la désignation des membres du conseil d'administration de la société concessionnaire et qui sont susceptibles de restreindre indûment les deux libertés fondamentales susmentionnées, vont être modifiées.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [05] La culture contribue hauteur de 2,6% au PIB de l'UE et emploie au moins 5,8 millions d'Européens, selon une étude publiée aujourd'hui Bruxelles

    Dans une étude qu'elle a présentée aux ministres européens de la culture le 13 novembre, la Commission européenne souligne l'importance du secteur de la culture pour l'économie européenne et met en évidence son potentiel de création d'emplois plus nombreux et de meilleure qualité l'avenir. Avec ses 5,8 millions de travailleurs, le secteur de la culture emploie davantage de personnes que la population active réunie de la Grèce et de l'Irlande. En outre, le secteur de la culture s'adjuge 2,6% du PIB de l'Union en 2003 et affiche des taux de croissance supérieurs la moyenne des autres secteurs de l'économie.

    [06] "AIDS - remember me?" Commission launches online vote for best EU HIV/AIDS awareness commercial

    The European Commission today launched the "AIDS - Remember me?" campaign website, paving the way for a "Night of the HIV/AIDS TV commercials" to be held at the Kinepolis cinema in Brussels 30 November, the eve of World AIDS Day. Through the web site, <a href="http://www.aids-remember- me.eu">www.aids-remember-me.eu, the public can view and vote for the best clip from a selection of HIV/AIDS awareness commercials produced by EU Member States. The Commission's awareness raising campaign also includes a contest for the best screenplay for an HIV/AIDS TV commercial, with the winner seeing the production of their clip financed by the European Commission, and allows web surfers to comment via a video blog. The campaign will culminate in the "Night of the HIV/AIDS TV commercials", at which Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou will announce the winner of the 'best EU HIV/AIDS awareness clip'. In partnership with MTV, 'La Nuit des Publivores' and Kinepolis, the Commission event will invite the audience of young people, media and representatives of HIV/AIDS awareness NGOs to vote by SMS for the best clip from the selection screened on the night. The campaign also includes a giant banner on the Commission's Berlaymont headquarters from 20 November, as well as posters and postcards with the logo and slogan. The aim of the Commission's campaign is to urge young people in particular to remember that HIV/AIDS is still with us and to protect themselves. The slogan also invites people to remember those who lost their lives to the disease. A recent Eurobarometer survey revealed widespread ignorance about the basic facts about HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS infections are on the rise in Europe, 50% of new cases are among people aged 15-25, and the most common way of transmission is heterosexual intercourse.

    [07] Les chercheurs européens appellent un recours plus large aux écotechnologies existantes pour lutter contre le réchauffement climatique

    Les protocoles internationaux et les législations nationales en vigueur visant réduire la pollution atmosphérique doivent aller plus loin pour éviter que le climat et l'environnement ne continuent se dégrader du fait de trop fortes concentrations d'ozone. Dans l'attente de ces changements, une meilleure utilisation des technologies existantes peut contribuer réduire l'effet de ces émissions et ramener dans la plupart des régions du monde les niveaux d'ozone des niveaux conformes aux normes en vigueur. Les effets néfastes de l'ozone sur la santé humaine, les écosystèmes et le réchauffement climatique en seraient atténués. C'est ce qui ressort d'études scientifiques réalisées par des chercheurs de la Commission européenne et du réseau de scientifiques ACCENT financé par l'UE.

    [08] Commission clears acquisition of Europolis by AXA IMD and Investkredit

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Europolis Bitwy Warszawskiej Sp. z o.o., Poland Business Park VII Sp. z o.o., Europolis Saski Point Sp. z o.o., Europolis Sienna Center Sp. z o.o. and Warsaw Towers Sp. z o.o. (collectively Europolis) of Poland by AXA Investment Managers Deutschland GmbH (AXA IMD) of Germany and Investkredit Bank AG (Investkredit) of Austria. AXA IMD is active in the management of assets. Investkredit provides financial services to corporate and real estate partners and loans for real estate projects. Europolis owns office properties located in Warsaw, Poland. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [09] Commission provides €7 million for natural disaster preparedness in South-East Asia

    The European Commission adopted €7 million from the humanitarian aid budget to improve the capacities of communities at risk to better prepare for and protect themselves against natural disasters in South-East Asia. The funds will be channelled through the Commission's humanitarian aid department (ECHO) under the direct responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The decision was adopted under the 5th DIPECHO (for Disaster Preparedness ECHO) Action Plan and will target the most vulnerable local communities, approximately 1.5 million beneficiaries, in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

    [10] Opening of tariff quota for 2007 for bananas from ACP countries

    The Management Committee for Bananas gave a favourable opinion on a European Commission proposal to open a duty-free tariff quota of 775,000 tonnes for ACP countries for 2007. 81% of the quota is on a "first come, first served" basis and the remaining 19% under licences, the same division that applied for the period March-December 2006. This means that 628,152 tonnes will be made available on a "first come, first served" basis, in six tranches of 104,692 tonnes each. The tranches will be made available every two months. The remaining 146,848 tonnes of the tariff quota will be reserved for operators who actually imported bananas from ACP countries in 2006. The licences for these operators will be proportional to the quantities they imported from ACP countries in 2006. The proposal will now be put for formal approval to the Commission. Background: on 29 November 2005, the EU adopted a new "tariff-only" import regime for bananas from countries enjoying Most Favoured Nation status, applying from 1 January 2006 (see IP/05/1493). The regime also includes a duty-free annual import quota of 775,000 tonnes for bananas originating in ACP countries.

    [11] Septembre 2006 comparé août 2006 : baisse de 1,0% de la production industrielle dans la zone euro ; baisse de 0,6% dans l'UE25

    La production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a baissé de 1,0% dans la zone euro en septembre 2006 par rapport août 2006. La production avait augmenté de 1,7% en août et diminué de 0,5% en juillet. Dans l'UE25, la production a baissé de 0,6% en septembre, après avoir augmenté de 1,2% en août et diminué de 0,3% en juillet. En septembre 2006, par rapport septembre 2005, la production industrielle a augmenté de 3,3% tant dans la zone euro que dans l'UE25. Ces estimations sont publiées par Eurostat.

    [12] Danuta Hübner in Graz : "Innovation and knowledge society" at the heart of European Regional Policy's programmes

    Europe's interest is in modernising its economy through innovation and the creation of a society based on knowledge. This is the main message European Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, delivers today in the best practices conference held in Graz, Austria. The Commissioner is addressing the "New Horizons in Graz – Shaping Best Practice IV" conference which brings together almost 250 practitioners and experts from many member states of the European Union. Among the key themes to be discussed this year are: generating innovative projects, using innovative financial engineering, and creating an environment favouring the effective transfer of knowledge.

    [13] Joe Borg meets German ministers on future maritime policy for the EU

    European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg will visit Berlin tomorrow for a series of high-level meetings with the future German Presidency of the EU on a future European maritime policy. Over the course of the day, Mr Borg will hold meetings with Reinhard Silberberg, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, Wolfgang Tiefensee, Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Development, and Joachim Würmeling, Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. At the end of the morning, Commissioner Borg will have the opportunity to tour the National Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. Last June the Commission published a Green Paper on how an integrated maritime policy would contribute to growth, jobs and sustainable development across the EU, to serve as the basis for an in-depth consultation with European citizens. This debate is one of the top priorities for the Commission this coming year. Germany, which is a key maritime player within the EU, will be assuming the Presidency of the European Council of Ministers from 1 January 2007. Germany will thus have a key role to play in guiding this consultation process to a successful conclusion, as well as in determining what further actions then need to be taken. The Commission has welcomed Germany's strong support for the Green Paper process, and looks forward to working together even more closely during the German presidency. Mr Borg will also discuss the calendar of the upcoming German presidency, and in particular the two major events on maritime policy which will take place in Germany – the National Maritime Conference to be held in Hamburg on 4 December, and the Presidency conference on an EU Maritime Policy planned for May next year, in Bremen.

    [14] Climate change : Stavros Dimas at UN ministerial conference in Nairobi

    The European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will be participating in the high-level segment of the United Nations climate change conference in Nairobi from 15 to 17 November. The Commission is seeking from the other participants in the conference further global progress in the battle against climate change. This year's conference has a special focus on the needs of Africa and other developing countries. The other key agenda topic is the discussion of what further action the international community should take to combat climate change after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol emission targets expire. The conference will also carry out a review of the Protocol. In Nairobi, active discussions are under way, since the start of the Conference on 6 November, with the goal of finalising the details of two important initiatives designed to help reduce the impacts of climate change through adaptation measures. These initiatives are a new Adaptation Fund to support developing countries, and a five-year programme of work on adaptation for all countries. Kyoto Protocol parties have made progress towards agreement on an agenda for discussing further global action to combat climate change after 2012. This discussion will be broadened to involve non-Kyoto countries, including the US and Australia, during the high-level segment of the conference beginning on Wednesday. Before his departure for Nairobi Mr Dimas said : "Climate change threatens catastrophic impacts that will transform the world we live in. Developing countries in Africa and elsewhere are likely to be hit hardest by climate change but they are the ones least able to cope. The Nairobi conference is an important opportunity to support them. We must take concrete steps to help developing countries adapt to climate change and thus reduce its risks." He added : "Climate change is already happening and there are signs that its pace is accelerating. Kyoto is a first step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions but the international community will need to take much more ambitious action after 2012. I hope the Nairobi Conference will make good progress towards shaping an international consensus on the next steps. The recent Stern Review shows it makes perfect economic sense for us to act as quickly as possible. There is no reason for further delay."

    See website: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/nairobi_06.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/nairobi_06.htm

    [15] Autre matériel diffusé

    Measuring administrative costs and reducing administrative burdens in the EU

    A corner stone of better regulation : simplification

    Working to ensure better quality of Commission impact assessments

    Concentrations : résumé des mesures correctives proposées par GDF et Suez

    Competition: state of play on Microsoft's compliance with March 2004 Decision

    Questions and answers on EU action on fighting HIV/AIDS

    Présentation par le Président Barroso du programme de travail de la Commission européenne pour 2007 (14/11, PE, Strasbourg) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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