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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 98-06-29

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>

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Paroleb

29/06/98


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] EU foreign ministers approve Commission's strategy for partnership with China
  • [02] Conference "Natura 2000 and people : a partnership"
  • [03] Franz Fischler : "The environment must become the key to multifunctional agriculture"
  • [04] Commission examines how to improve the efficiency of public transport through better regulation

  • [01] EU foreign ministers approve Commission's strategy for partnership with China

    European Union (EU) foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg today gave their approval to the Commission's new Communication on China, which provides for closer engagement and co-operation than ever before between China and the EU. The Communication is a wide-ranging reappraisal of EU- China relations which reflects China's growing economic and political importance in the world. It includes concrete measures to support China's economic integration into the global economy, to reinforce its economic and social reforms and to encourage its development into a more open society based on the rule of law. It envisages a better co-ordination of EU policy instruments - political dialogue, trade, economic co-operation and human rights policy, coupled with closer co-operation with other international lending bodies and with individual Member States - which will enable EU funding to go further.

    [02] Conference "Natura 2000 and people : a partnership"

    The European Commission and the United Kingdom Presidency of the Council co- host a Conference in Bath, in the south-west of England, on 29 to 30 June 1998. It will be opened by Michael Meacher, UK Minister of the Environment, and Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner for the Environment. The objective of this Conference is to stimulate progress into the creation of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites, which is one of the central pillars of the European Union's nature protection measures.

    [03] Franz Fischler : "The environment must become the key to multifunctional agriculture"

    In his keynote speech at the Natura 2000 Conference in Bath European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development, Franz Fischler, addressed the relationship between agriculture and environmental protection : "Fact is that - as in other sectors - modern technology and related profit considerations have had their downside in terms of environmental consequences." Mr Fischler stressed considerable reductions of fertilizer use as an important success of 1992 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, but pointed out that this was only the beginning of an evolution : "The environment must progressively become the key to a multifunctional agriculture". Mr Fischler drew the attention to the inclusion of environmentally sensitive areas into the less favoured area scheme within Agenda 2000. Furthermore, a new horizontal regulation will oblige Member States to link payments under the CAP to environmental requirements. "We must convince farmers and society that farming is becoming more and more an ecological activity per se. Consequently, farmers have to be paid adequately for the services they provide to society", he concluded.

    [04] Commission examines how to improve the efficiency of public transport through better regulation

    At a seminar of representatives of Member State transport ministries, local authorities and public transport bodies the European Commission today examined ways of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public transport systems through regulatory change. Neil Kinnock, Commissioner responsible for Transport Policy, said it was important to strike the right balance between the role of the European Union in defining the regulatory framework and the principle of subsidiarity. But he said : "Regular users of public transport need stable service patterns, integrated information and ticketing systems, and networks of routes with co-ordinated timetables. That means that the Union should continue to recognise the role of exclusive rights in public transport - even if some operators would prefer markets with completely free entry."

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996


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