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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-05-31

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] Stepping up the fight against HIV/AIDS – José Manuel Barroso announces substantial EC contribution to the Global Fund for the period 2007 to 2010
  • [02] La très grande majorité des zones de baignade de 25 Etats membres satisfait aux normes communautaires
  • [03] Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis : EU Member States agree on coordinated measures concerning infected air passenger
  • [04] Customs : Commission publishes 2006 Customs seizures of counterfeit goods
  • [05] La Commission ouvre une procédure d'enquête formelle sur les mesures fiscales italiennes encourageant la comptabilisation des plus values latentes des banques privatisées
  • [06] Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed take-over of Denton by HgCapital
  • [07] Commission clears acquisition of TMIL by APW and GMG
  • [08] Commission clears acquisition of Enerjisa by Verbund and Sabanci
  • [09] Environment, growth and jobs
  • [10] May 2007 : Business Climate Indicator for the euro area declines slightly in May
  • [11] May 2007 : Economic sentiment increases further in both the EU and the euro area
  • [12] L'inflation de la zone euro estimée 1,9%
  • [13] EU-Japan Summit : a EU27 external trade deficit of €32 billion with Japan in 2006 ; surplus of €8 billion for trade in services
  • [14] Kimberley Process review visit to Zimbabwe to assess implementation of scheme to combat conflict diamonds
  • [15] Andris Piebalgs and Nancy Pelosi discuss the challenges of energy security and climate change (30/05)
  • [16] Brussels Economic Forum
  • [17] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-05-31 Reference: MEX/07/0531 Date: 31/05/2007 EXME07 / 31.5

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    31/05/07


  • [01] Stepping up the fight against HIV/AIDS – José Manuel Barroso announces substantial EC contribution to the Global Fund for the period 2007 to 2010

    The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, has pledged today €100 million for the Global Fund for 2007, and proposed a further €300 million over the following three years, in conformity with the budget procedures. This would bring the total EC contribution to the Global Fund up to €400 million over a period of four years.

    [02] La très grande majorité des zones de baignade de 25 Etats membres satisfait aux normes communautaires

    Le rapport annuel sur les eaux de baignade présenté ce jour par la Commission européenne montre qu'en 2006, la grande majorité des sites de baignade travers l'Union européenne respectait les normes d'hygiène communautaires. Le pourcentage des eaux de baignades présentant des valeurs conformes aux valeurs impératives est de 96% pour les zones côtières et de 89% pour les sites aménagés dans les rivières et les lacs. Le nombre des sites de baignades radiés des listes officielles est en diminution, mais cette pratique continue d'inquiéter la Commission. Le rapport de la Commission fournit des informations utiles sur la qualité des eaux l'intention des millions de personnes qui fréquentent chaque été les plages européennes.

    [03] Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis : EU Member States agree on coordinated measures concerning infected air passenger

    At a meeting chaired by the European Commission and held at the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) in Stockholm on 30 May, authorities responsible for taking measures in the EU Member States agreed to follow the ECDC's advice, requested by the Commission on 29th May, on the case of a US passenger with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) travelling on flights between Europe and North America. As a precautionary measure and following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the ECDC's advice is to perform contact tracing for passengers 2 rows ahead, 2 rows behind and the row of the infected passenger, and the cabin crew concerned. The ECDC's advice is that the risk for these persons is very limited, other passengers are not considered at risk. The passengers will be contacted by the corresponding national health authorities, as the Member States are responsible for tracing their own nationals. The distribution of the relevant information from the airlines for this process will be coordinated by ECDC.

    [04] Customs : Commission publishes 2006 Customs seizures of counterfeit goods

    Statistics just published by the European Commission show a significant increase in the amount of counterfeit and pirated articles seized at the EU's external borders in 2006. Customs officials seized more than 250 million of such articles in 2006 compared with 75 million in 2005 and 100 million in 2004. Medicines, cigarettes and other goods that can seriously damage the health of consumers continue to be faked in large quantities. Changes in the routes used by criminals to trade in fake goods, the use of the internet and the transport of small quantities by air or postal traffic make customs job even more challenging. However, customs' reply has never been as high as in 2006 with more than 36,000 seizures, an increase of around 40% compared with 2005.

    [05] La Commission ouvre une procédure d'enquête formelle sur les mesures fiscales italiennes encourageant la comptabilisation des plus values latentes des banques privatisées

    La Commission européenne a ouvert une procédure formelle d'examen, en application des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'Etat, concernant la disposition de la loi de finances italienne de 2004 qui permet aux anciennes banques publiques de libérer les plus values latentes générées lors des restructurations d'entreprises effectuées dans les années 1990 en versant un impôt nominal de 9% au lieu de l'impôt ordinaire sur les sociétés de 37,5%. Le montant total des plus values comptabilisées dépasse les €2 milliards pour les neuf banques ayant décidé de recourir ce système. La différence entre l'impôt normalement dû et l'impôt effectivement payé s'élève plus de €586 millions. La Commission craint que la libération des plus values n'affecte indûment le processus actuel de consolidation des conglomérats bancaires dans l'UE sans apporter une contribution significative au développement économique. La procédure d'examen permettra aux parties intéressées de présenter leurs observations sur les mesures faisant l'objet de l'enquête. Elle ne préjuge pas de la décision finale de la Commission.

    [06] Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed take-over of Denton by HgCapital

    The European Commission has opened a detailed investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the planned acquisition of sole control of Denton of the US by the UK-based financial investment group HgCapital, owner of FTSS. The proposed concentration was originally notifiable to several Member States. However, Hg Capital asked for the case to be referred to the Commission and the Member States agreed to let the case be reviewed under the EU Merger Regulation. Denton and FTSS are the world's two largest suppliers of anthropomorphic testing devices, better known as 'crash test dummies', and also produce other devices used for safety tests in the car industry. An in-depth investigation will enable the Commission to assess the effects of this transaction on competition and customers, as early indications show it could lead to the creation of a quasi monopoly on a worldwide level. The Commission has now 90 working days, until 4 October 2007 to take a final decision on whether the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area or a substantial part of it. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation.

    [07] Commission clears acquisition of TMIL by APW and GMG

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Trader Media Investments Limited (TMIL) of the UK by investment funds controlled by Apax Partners Worldwide LLP (APW) of the UK and Guardian Media Group Plc (GMG), also of the UK. APW is a private equity fund. GMG is a multimedia group with newspaper, magazine; radio and internet businesses. TMIL is active in the classified advertising of cars through magazines and online publications. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review.

    [08] Commission clears acquisition of Enerjisa by Verbund and Sabanci

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Enerjisa Enerji Üretim A.S. (Enerjisa) of Turkey by Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts- Aktiengesellschaft (Verbund) of Austria and H.Ö. Sabanci Holding A.S. (Sabanci) of Turkey. Verbund and Enerjisa are both active in the generation, transmission, supply and trading of electricity. Sabanci is an industrial and financial conglomerate that controls more than sixty companies in various business areas including energy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [09] Environment, growth and jobs

    The economic and environmental benefits of eco-innovation and ways to strengthen the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) will be at the centre of discussions at the informal meeting of EU environment ministers from 1 to 3 June in Essen, Germany. Ministers from the candidate and EFTA countries will also participate. The German Presidency has chosen the theme of "Environment – Innovation – Employment" and intends to focus discussions in the main working session on the opportunities that eco- innovations offer for the environment, industry and employment. Ministers will also have a 'fireside chat' on ideas for further developing and strengthening the EU ETS from 2013 onwards, including the question of how allowances should be allocated and what role auctioning should play. Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Mogens Peter Carl, Director-General for Environment, will represent the Commission at the meeting.

    [10] May 2007 : Business Climate Indicator for the euro area declines slightly in May

    After an increase in April, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area declined slightly in May. Despite a small deceleration in industrial production growth in March 2007, the BCI remains at a high level, pointing to strong industrial production growth in the second quarter of 2007. The decrease in the BCI in May is due to managers' deteriorating views of four out of five components of the BCI: total order books, production trend observed in recent months, production expectations for the months ahead, and stocks of finished products. The only component for which managers' assessment improved was export order books.

    [11] May 2007 : Economic sentiment increases further in both the EU and the euro area

    The Economic Sentiment Indicator increased in both the EU and the euro area in May, after remaining almost stable in April. The indicator increased moderately, by 1.3 points in the EU and by 0.9 of a point in the euro area, to 114.9 and 111.9 respectively.

    [12] L'inflation de la zone euro estimée 1,9%

    Selon une estimation rapide publiée par Eurostat, le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro s'établirait 1,9% en mai 2007. En avril, le taux était de 1,9%. L'inflation de la zone euro est mesurée par l'Indice des Prix la Consommation de l'Union Monétaire (IPCUM). Pour élaborer les estimations rapides de l'IPCUM, Eurostat utilise les informations préliminaires sur les prix du mois de référence des Etats membres pour lesquels les données sont disponibles, ainsi que des informations préliminaires sur les prix de l'énergie.

    [13] EU-Japan Summit : a EU27 external trade deficit of €32 billion with Japan in 2006 ; surplus of €8 billion for trade in services

    Between 2000 and 2006, EU27 exports of goods to Japan fell slightly in value, from €45.5 billion to €44.7 billion, while EU27 imports from Japan decreased by 17%, from €92.1 billion to € 76.8 billion. As a result the EU27 deficit in trade with Japan declined from €46.6 billion in 2000 to €32.1 billion in 2006. The share of Japan in the EU27's total external trade in goods has fallen by a third between 2000 and 2006. In 2006, Japan accounted for 4% of EU27 exports and 6% of EU27 imports, and was the EU27's fifth most important trading partner. On the occasion of the European Union-Japan summit, which will take place on Tuesday 5 June 2007 in Berlin, Eurostat issues data on trade in goods and services between the EU and Japan.

    [14] Kimberley Process review visit to Zimbabwe to assess implementation of scheme to combat conflict diamonds

    The Kimberley Process, chaired by the European Community in 2007, is sending a review visit to Zimbabwe from 29 May to 2 June 2007 at the invitation of its government. The team will assess the implementation of Kimberley Process rules in Zimbabwe. The team is led by the Russian Federation, with representatives from Norway, South Africa, the World Diamond Council and civil society (Partnership Africa Canada) and will meet relevant stakeholders in Zimbabwe.

    [15] Andris Piebalgs and Nancy Pelosi discuss the challenges of energy security and climate change (30/05)

    European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs met the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to enhance future cooperation between the US and the EU in the fields of energy and climate change. Commissioner Piebalgs presented to the US delegation the recent EU energy package which includes ambitious targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and for share of renewables in the energy mix. "Climate change and energy security ha ve put a new challenge in our transatlantic relation. Our cooperation is crucial to be successful with addressing these issues", said Commissioner Piebalgs.

    [16] Brussels Economic Forum

    The annual flagship economic conference of the European Commission kicked off this morning. Opening the conference, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso noted that solid economic growth that the European Union is presently enjoying owes much to the wide-ranging reforms carried out by Member States in recent years, as advocated in the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. "Two years after the re-launch of the Lisbon Strategy, my impression is that it has indeed added momentum to Europe's reform process". The reforms, intended to make the EU more competitive and hence create more jobs, have covered some of the most difficult and politically sensitive topics such as the labour market, the welfare state - including pension systems, the liberalisation and deregulation of sheltered markets, and measures to integrate financial markets. We need to pursue on this road and to take advantage of the opportunities that globalisation brings to the store, as well as meet its challenges, he noted. "It is impossible to have global solutions with closed minds. We cannot have a protectionist Europe". "So at the G8 Summit at Heiligendamm next week, I will urge G8 leaders to send three clear signals:- of the potential benefits of an ambitious and balanced Doha deal; of the need for urgency. We have weeks, not months; and of the need for everyone to contribute". Other speakers during the two-day conference, which ends Friday, include Commissioner Joaquín Almunia (today 14:00), Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück, Ernest-Antoine Seillière, President of BusinessEurope, Reiner Hoffmann, Deputy Secretary General of the European Trade Unions Confederation ETUC and Deputy Governor of the Bank of China, Wu Xiaoling. Venue: Charlemagne Building, Brussels. For more information on the programme:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/events/2007/events_brussels_0507_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/events/2007/events_brussels_0507_en.htm

    [17] Autre matériel diffusé

    Bathing Water: Overview of the situation in Member States

    2006 customs seizures of counterfeit goods – Frequently Asked Questions

    Speech by President José Manuel Barroso : "The EU in the global economy: perspectives and challenges" at Brussels Economic Forum

    Speech by Joaquin Almunia : "Making EMU fit for the 21st Century" at Brussels Economic Forum

    Speech by Charlie McCreevy : "The EU Single Market: A vision for the 21st Century" at Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (30/05, Nicosia)

    EU-OPEC hold Roundtable meeting to discuss Energy Policies (30/05) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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