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

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] I. Résultats de la Commission du 11 décembre 2007 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 11 December 2007
  • [02] Aides au transport maritime: la Commission souhaite examiner en détail certains aspects des modifications que le Danemark envisage d'apporter son régime d'imposition forfaitaire sur la base du tonnage
  • [03] State aid: Commission approves Italian aid scheme for scrapping maritime and inland waterway vessels
  • [04] State aid: Commission concludes its investigation into aid to Tieliikelaitos (now Destia), clears transitional aid, puts end to unlimited State guarantee
  • [05] Commission approves changes to social aid for air travel between mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Region of Madeira
  • [06] Une nouvelle étude se penche sur les règles et les normes d’éthique s’appliquant aux hauts fonctionnaires
  • [07] Commission warns Italy about breaking EU TV advertising rules
  • [08] Aides d'Etat: la Commission autorise un régime d'aides français pour la création de jeux vidéo
  • [09] State aid: Commission prohibits tax exemption to Slovak subsidiary of Glunz&Jensen
  • [10] State aid: Commission finds misuse of €2 million of restructuring aid by Arcelor Huta Warszawa
  • [11] State aid: Commission improves procedural rules
  • [12] State aid: Commission adopts new method for setting reference and discount rates
  • [13] Commission clears acquisition of UI Holdings by Sony Ericsson and Motorola
  • [14] Commission clears acquisition of AITS by Avnet
  • [15] Commission clears acquisition of Forgings International by Oak Hill
  • [16] Agriculture: Commission increases ceiling for 'de minimis' aid to €7, 500
  • [17] II. Other news - Autres Nouvelles
  • [18] Cohesion Policy set to give major boost to Lisbon strategy for 2007- 2013
  • [19] 2010 to be the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • [20] Capitales européennes de la culture 2013 : réunions de présélection en Slovaquie et en France
  • [21] Le marché laitier: la Commission propose une augmentation de 2 % des quotas laitiers compter d'avril 2008
  • [22] Payment Services Directive: Commission encourages swift and coherent implementation at national level
  • [23] Consumers: New EU rules crackdown on misleading advertising and aggressive sales practices
  • [24] Charte des droits fondamentaux: les Présidents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission signent et proclament solennellement la Charte Strasbourg
  • [25] Public Hearing Solvency II
  • [26] Industrial production up by 0.4% in euro area
  • [27] Hausse de 0,3% de l'emploi dans la zone euro et dans l'UE27
  • [28] Rediffusion
  • [29] Commission welcomes European Parliament's support for new EU public- private research initiatives Midday Express of 2007-12-12 Reference: MEX/07/1212 Date: 12/12/2007 EXME07 / 12.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    12/12/07


  • [01] I. Résultats de la Commission du 11 décembre 2007 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 11 December 2007

    [02] Aides au transport maritime: la Commission souhaite examiner en détail certains aspects des modifications que le Danemark envisage d'apporter son régime d'imposition forfaitaire sur la base du tonnage

    Suite une notification par les autorités danoises, la Commission européenne a décidé aujourd’hui d’ouvrir une procédure formelle d'examen sur certaines des modifications que le Danemark envisage d'apporter son régime d’imposition forfaitaire sur la base du tonnage (tonnage tax). Ce régime d'imposition permet aux entreprises de transport maritime qui le souhaitent de ne pas payer l'impôt sur les sociétés mais un impôt forfaitaire, qui dépend seulement du tonnage de la flotte qu'elles opèrent. L'examen engagé porte sur certains aspects seulement des modifications envisagées, la Commission considérant que les autres modifications sont compatibles avec les règles communautaires.

    [03] State aid: Commission approves Italian aid scheme for scrapping maritime and inland waterway vessels

    The European Commission has decided today not to raise objections to an aid notified by Italy that aims to encourage the scrapping of old vessels. The vessels eligible to the scheme are used exclusively for local maritime and inland navigation public transport.

    [04] State aid: Commission concludes its investigation into aid to Tieliikelaitos (now Destia), clears transitional aid, puts end to unlimited State guarantee

    The European Commission has concluded today its investigation into aid given to Tieliikelaitos (now Destia), the successor to the national road service that was set up as a State Enterprise when Finland opened its road service market to competition. The Commission has decided not to raise objections to the aid provided on a transitional basis by the Finnish government to facilitate Tieliikelaitos' adaptation to its new competitive environment, in a context of overstaffing and of strict limitations on staff downsizing. At the same time, the Commission requested the Finnish government to put an end to a number of privileges that Tieliikelaitos enjoyed, namely the non-application of normal bankruptcy and corporate income tax legislation.

    [05] Commission approves changes to social aid for air travel between mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Region of Madeira

    The European Commission has today approved changes to a social State aid scheme proposed by the Portuguese authorities for air transport services to/from mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The scheme, approved by the Commission in 1998, is available to residents of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and students meeting certain criteria.

    [06] Une nouvelle étude se penche sur les règles et les normes d’éthique s’appliquant aux hauts fonctionnaires

    La Commission publie aujourd’hui une étude comparative indépendante sur les règles et les normes en matière d’éthique professionnelle s’appliquant aux titulaires de mandats publics. Cette étude, effectuée par l’Institut européen d'administration publique, a conclu que la plupart des institutions européennes obéissent des règles plus strictes que les institutions nationales. La Commission européenne et la Banque européenne d’investissement sont les institutions européennes disposant des règles éthiques les plus étendues. L’étude constate que la Commission européenne possède un système relativement bien développé de notification des conflits d’intérêts.

    [07] Commission warns Italy about breaking EU TV advertising rules

    The Commission sent Italy today a letter of formal notice for violating EU advertising rules under the Television without Frontiers Directive. This is the first stage of the EU's infringements proceedings in this case.

    [08] Aides d'Etat: la Commission autorise un régime d'aides français pour la création de jeux vidéo

    La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des règles du Traité CE sur les aides d'Etat, un crédit d'impôt français visant encourager la production de jeux vidéo. Cette aide fiscale ne peut s'appliquer qu'aux jeux vidéo répondant des critères de qualité, d'originalité et de contribution la diversité culturelle. A ce titre, la Commission a pu conclure, après une enquête approfondie ouverte en 2006 (voir IP/06/1602), qu'elle pouvait bénéficier de l'exception prévue par le Traité CE pour les aides en faveur de la culture.

    [09] State aid: Commission prohibits tax exemption to Slovak subsidiary of Glunz&Jensen

    The European Commission has decided that a Slovak regional investment aid worth SKK 42 million (some €1.15 million) in the form of a tax exemption in favour of Glunz&Jensen is incompatible with the EU state aid rules (and in particular the Regional Aid Guidelines) and could not be granted. After a formal investigation launched in April 2007 (see IP/07/558), the Commission found that the proposed aid did not contribute to regional development and would have created significant distortions of competition in a specific market in which Glunz&Jensen has an important share (graphic arts pre-press processing equipment). As the aid has not yet been granted, the aid does not have to be recovered.

    [10] State aid: Commission finds misuse of €2 million of restructuring aid by Arcelor Huta Warszawa

    The European Commission has decided under EC Treaty state aid rules that the Polish steel producer Arcelor Huta Warszawa (AHW), before becoming part of the Arcelor group, has misused restructuring aid it received in 2003 under special provisions for steel restructuring in Poland laid down in the Polish Accession Treaty. AHW has voluntarily repaid the €2 million of unlawful aid. It was therefore not necessary to order Poland to recover the aid.

    [11] State aid: Commission improves procedural rules

    The European Commission has acted to clarify its rules on the notification of state aids and ensure faster procedures by amending the Regulation which establishes complementary procedural provisions for the application of the EC Treaty state aid rules (the so-called "Implementing Regulation"). The modifications will inter alia introduce additional notification forms and require the compulsory use of an electronic notification system and a secured e-mail system by 1 July 2008. Moreover, the new general notification form will provide additional information to the Commission allowing quicker decision-making procedures. The new Regulation takes account of comments received from a public consultation in the course of 2007. This proposal is adopted within the context of the State Aid Action Plan (see IP/05/680 and MEMO/05/195), designed to simplify the state aid rules, to refine the economic analysis of subsidies and to allow the Commission to concentrate its enforcement on the most distortive cases.

    [12] State aid: Commission adopts new method for setting reference and discount rates

    The European Commission has adopted a new method for setting reference and discount rates used in the analysis of state aid cases for calculating the grant equivalent of aid and the aid element resulting from interest subsidy schemes. The new method is more in conformity with market principles as it contains a system to take account of the specific situation of the company or project and will thus contribute to a better economic approach to state aid analysis, as announced in the State Aid Action Plan (see IP/05/680 and MEMO/05/195). It will enter into force on 1 July 2008.

    [13] Commission clears acquisition of UI Holdings by Sony Ericsson and Motorola

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of UI Holdings B.V. (UI Holdings) of The Netherlands by Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB (Sony Ericsson) of Sweden and Motorola Inc. of the US. Sony Ericsson develops, produces and markets mobile telephones, data devices and related accessories. Motorola is active in wireless and broadband communications technologies, including the development, production and marketing of speech- based mobile devices. UI Holdings develops mobile phone user interfaces and application frameworks through its subsidiary UIQ Technology. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [14] Commission clears acquisition of AITS by Avnet

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Acal IT Solutions (AITS), a division of Acal IT Limited of the UK by Avnet Inc. of the US. Avnet distributes electronic components, computer products and technology services. AITS is active in the wholesale distribution of IT products and services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [15] Commission clears acquisition of Forgings International by Oak Hill

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Forgings International L.P., which wholly controls Firth Rixson Limited of the UK, by Oak Hill Capital Management, LLC (Oak Hill) of the Cayman Islands. Oak Hill manages private equity capital. Firth Rixson produces and supplies forged products and specialist alloys. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [16] Agriculture: Commission increases ceiling for 'de minimis' aid to €7, 500

    The European Commission today adopted a regulation increasing the ceiling for small amounts of aid ('de minimis) in the agriculture sector. The limit will rise to €7,500 per beneficiary over any period of three years and the maximum total per Member State to 0.75 percent of the value of agricultural output. Until now, under the regulation adopted in October 2004, these limits were €3,000 per beneficiary or 0.3 percent of the value of agricultural output for each Member State. The new regulation also sets out a clearer definition of the scope of such aid and gives the Member States greater room for manoeuvre in granting aid without distorting competition. Under the de minimis system, Member States may pay these sums to farmers without seeking prior clearance from the Commission because it is deemed not to distort competition. The changes follow a wide-ranging consultation with interested parties and two rounds of discussions with Member States. The changes come into effect from 1 January 2008, but can also be applied retroactively.

    [17] II. Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [18] Cohesion Policy set to give major boost to Lisbon strategy for 2007- 2013

    The reform of the cohesion policy is starting to bring tangible results and is reaffirming its role as one of the main Community policies delivering the Lisbon strategy for 2007-2013. This is the main message in a Communication the Commission published today. The document, entitled "Member States and regions delivering the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs through EU Cohesion Policy, 2007- 2013" gives an overview of national strategies and programmes prepared by the 27 Member States. It shows that most of the Cohesion Policy budget totalling € 347 billion will be invested in key Lisbon-related priorities, such as the knowledge economy, research, development and innovation, human capital and business development. Today's Communication is part of the package which sets out key Community actions for implementation of the Lisbon strategy for 2008- 2011 and gives an assessment of progress in achieving Lisbon objectives for 2005-2007.

    [19] 2010 to be the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

    The European Commission has today designated 2010 as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. The € 17 million campaign aims to reaffirm the EU's commitment to making a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010.

    [20] Capitales européennes de la culture 2013 : réunions de présélection en Slovaquie et en France

    Les jurys chargés d’évaluer les villes candidates au titre de “Capitale européenne de la culture 2013” vont se réunir mi-décembre en Slovaquie puis en France pour une présélection dans chacun de ces deux Etats Membre. Les villes présélectionnées par le jury devront compléter leur candidature d'ici la fin de l'été 2008. Les deux villes qui porteront finalement le titre pour 2013 — une en France et une en Slovaquie — seront sélectionnées l'automne de l'année prochaine.

    [21] Le marché laitier: la Commission propose une augmentation de 2 % des quotas laitiers compter d'avril 2008

    La Commission européenne a proposé aujourd'hui une augmentation de 2 % des quotas laitiers compter du 1er avril 2008 pour répondre la croissance de la demande tant dans l'Union européenne que sur les marchés mondiaux. Cette augmentation, soit 2,84 millions de tonnes, sera répartie équitablement entre les vingt-sept États membres. Elle ne préjuge pas des résultats du réexamen du marché laitier actuellement en cours dans le cadre du bilan de santé de la politique agricole commune, étant entendu que la Commission a suggéré dans ce contexte une augmentation progressive des quotas avant leur expiration le 31 mars 2015.

    [22] Payment Services Directive: Commission encourages swift and coherent implementation at national level

    The European Commission is to assist Member States in their implementation of the Payment Services Directive (PSD), which following its recent publication in the EU Official Journal has now to be written into national law as soon as possible, and by 1 November 2009 at the latest. In particular, the Commission will set up best-practice workshops and an interactive question-and-answer website. The aim of the PSD is to ensure that electronic payments within the EU – in particular credit transfer, direct debit and card payments – become as easy, efficient, and secure as domestic payments within a Member State, by providing the legal foundation to make the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) possible. The PSD will reinforce the rights and protection of all users of payment services (consumers, retailers, large and small companies and public authorities).

    [23] Consumers: New EU rules crackdown on misleading advertising and aggressive sales practices

    Just two weeks before Christmas, sweeping new EU rules to crackdown on misleading advertising and aggressive selling practices - including a ban on fake "free" offers and a ban on "pester power" advertising (direct exhortation) to children on the Internet - will come into force across the EU (December 12 2007). These restrictions are part of an extensive black list of schemes which are banned by the new Unfair Commercial Practices (UCP) Directive – targeting in particular a "dirty dozen" of the some of the most abusive practices, from bait advertising, to pyramid schemes, advertorials and false curative health claims which are used against consumers.

    [24] Charte des droits fondamentaux: les Présidents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission signent et proclament solennellement la Charte Strasbourg

    Aujourd'hui, Strasbourg, les Présidents des Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission ont signé et proclamé solennellement la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne. Ceci ouvre la voie la signature, demain, du traité de Lisbonne. Les citoyens européens disposeront avec la Charte d'un véritable catalogue de droits juridiquement contraignants pour les institutions, les organes et les organismes de l'Union ainsi que pour les Etats membres lorsqu'ils mettent en œuvre le droit de l'Union. C'est un pas important dans la construction européenne.

    [25] Public Hearing Solvency II

    In the context of the Solvency II project, the "Internal Market and Services" Directorate General of the European Commission will organise a Public Hearing on Solvency II and the fourth Quantitative Impact Study (QIS4) on Monday 28th January 2008 in Brussels. The aim of the Public Hearing is to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on the specifications of QIS4 before the exercise is launched in April 2008. The results of the hearing will be taken into account in the final QIS4 specification as well as in the development work on level 2 implementing measures. We expect the Hearing to be attended by a large number of key stakeholders representing all sections of the insurance community. Panel sessions at the Public Hearing will cover the following topics: Groups, SMEs, and the use of internal models under Solvency II. The Public Hearing forms part of a formal consultation process on the draft QIS 4 specifications running from 21 December 2007 to 15 February 2008, during which time stakeholders can provide written comments on the specification." <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/insurance/solvency/index_en.htm#qis4">http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/insurance/solvency/index_en.htm#qis4

    [26] Industrial production up by 0.4% in euro area

    In October 2007 compared with September 2007, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.4% in the euro area (EA13) and by 0.5% in the EU27. In September production fell by 0.8% and 0.6% respectively. In October 2007 compared with October 2006, industrial production rose by 3.8% in the euro area and by 3.6% in the EU27. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

    [27] Hausse de 0,3% de l'emploi dans la zone euro et dans l'UE27

    Le nombre de personnes ayant un emploi dans la zone euro (ZE13) a progressé, après correction des variations saisonnières, de 0,3% (407 000 personnes) au troisième trimestre 2007, selon des estimations provisoires, basées sur les comptes nationaux, publiées par Eurostat. Au cours de la même période, le nombre de personnes ayant un emploi dans l'UE27 a aussi augmenté de 0,3% (668 000 personnes). Au deuxième trimestre 2007, les taux de croissance avaient été de +0,6% dans la zone euro et de +0,5% dans l'UE27.

    [28] Rediffusion

    [29] Commission welcomes European Parliament's support for new EU public- private research initiatives

    Today the European Parliament gave its strong support to Commission proposals to launch the first ever Europe-wide public-private research partnerships. These Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) will pool industry, Member States and Commission resources into targeted research programmes. They will create critical mass for European research and innovation, consolidate the European research community in key strategic areas and streamline project funding to bring research results on-stream quicker. The first four, approved by today's parliamentary vote, will be in the areas of miniaturisation technologies, invisible computers, innovative medicines and greener aviation. Following the green light from Member States on 23 November, it will now be possible to go ahead with the ambitious plans to establish these JTIs in 2008.

    Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Joint Technology Initiatives, a new EU research initiative: Frequently asked questions

    • Memo on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive: Questions and Answers

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration : From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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