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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 99-06-17

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <>


News from the Spokesman's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi du Porte-Parole 17/06/1999b


  • [01] Outcome of the Scientific Committee on food - dioxins in milk
  • [02] Commission clears the acquisition of Freemans by Otto Versand
  • [03] Premier sommet UE-Amérique latine/Caraïbes
  • [04] Premier rapport sur les fonds de pension européens
  • [05] Commission may make recommendations to individual Member States on employment performance

  • [01] Outcome of the Scientific Committee on food - dioxins in milk

    The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) is of the opinion that every effort should be taken to lower human exposure to dioxins and PCBs. The most efficient way to lower human exposure to these substances is to prevent entry of PCBs and dioxins into the food chain wherever possible. In an opinion on dioxins in milk derived from cattle fed on contaminated feed in Belgium which the scientists adopted on Wednesday, they recommend to screen all restricted farms with appropriately sensitive methods for the presence of PCBs in the milk produced at these farms. If levels of PCB above 100 ng PCB/g fat are found, it is reasonable to assume that the milk has additional dioxin contamination associated with the incident and therefore additional analyses for dioxins should then be carried out to determine whether further action is necessary. The SCF which studied the question together with a group of external experts stressed that these conclusions only apply to the current contamination event identified in Belgium. The report will shortly be available on the internet under the following address :

    [02] Commission clears the acquisition of Freemans by Otto Versand

    The European Commission has approved the acquisition of the British non- food home shopping company Freemans plc by German-based non-food home shopping company Otto Versand, which in the UK already owns Grattan plc, another home shopping company. The merger will neither create nor strengthen a dominant position given the two companies' market share and competitive pressures. The Commission has therefore decided to approve the take-over.

    [03] Premier sommet UE-Amérique latine/Caraïbes

    Le premier sommet qui réunira les chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement de l'Union européenne ainsi que des pays d'Amérique latine et des Caraïbes, les 28 et 29 juin à Rio de Janeiro, marquera la fondation d'un nouveau partenariat stratégique qui permettra d'approfondir la compréhension mutuelle dans les domaines politique, économique et culturel. Une déclaration politique et un plan d'action conjointe seront souscrits à la fin de la réunion par les dirigeants des 48 pays participants.

    [04] Premier rapport sur les fonds de pension européens

    En matière de prévoyance vieillesse par le biais de fonds de pension complémentaire autonomes, les Suisses arrivent en tête d'une liste de pays européens publiée aujourd'hui. Au total, ils ont versé à ces fonds 21.132 millions d'euros de cotisations en 1997. Viennent ensuite le Royaume-Uni (19.400 millions) et l'Allemagne (15.639 millions). Ces chiffres figurent dans un rapport - une "première" d'Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes à Luxembourg - fournissant des détails sur des fonds de pension dans plusieurs pays disposant de données. Les fonds de pension autonomes sont définis comme des fonds liés à l'emploi offrant aux bénéficiaires des prestations de pension complémentaire venant s'ajouter à celles du régime public obligatoire. Leur importance est variable : par exemple, en Suisse, les membres actifs de ces fonds dépassent 44% de la population et en Islande, plus de 51%. Ailleurs, ils sont beaucoup moins nombreux. En Espagne, ils représentent environ 6% de la population cotisante, en Italie 1,6% et en Autriche près de 2% ; au Danemark, ils constituent un infime pourcentage de 0,27%. A remarquer que ces fonds n'existent pas actuellement en France, ni en Finlande.

    [05] Commission may make recommendations to individual Member States on employment performance

    The 1999 National Action Plans (NAP's) on employment have now been submitted to the European Commission by all Member States. The Commission is working intensively to evaluate the NAP's and will present the results in the draft Joint Employment Report in early September. Commenting on this exercise Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn said : "Particular attention will be paid this year to following up weaknesses we identified in last year's draft Joint Employment Report. For example : - Have countries such as Greece, Italy and the Netherlands taken fully on board the preventive approach to youth and long-term employment ? - Has the regional and local dimension of the NAP's been strengthened in countries such as the UK and Germany ? - Has the jobs potential of the services sector been given the attention it deserves, especially in countries such as Italy, France and Germany which have been lagging behind ? - Have countries such as Belgium and Finland increased the availability of active labour market measures as opposed to passive income supports ?". Mr Flynn pointed out that the Amsterdam Treaty makes provision in Article 128 for the Commission to address recommendations to individual Member States. He said : "This is an important feature of the new Employment Title and it is designed to strengthen and give practical effect to the European Union- level dimension. Following the entry into force on 1 May of the new Treaty, the Commission is now obliged to make such recommendations where this is deemed appropriate and useful." (NB: The NAP's can be consulted on the internet, DG V site on the Europa Server -


    From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at
    © ECSC - EC - EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995, 1996

    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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