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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 00-06-07

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 Service Presse et Communicationb

07/06/2000


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Commission proposes amendments to VAT treatment of electronically delivered services
  • [02] La Commission entend proscrire le harcèlement sexuel sur le lieu de travail
  • [03] Commission unveils new arsenal in fight for EU-wide sex equality
  • [04] Commission fines ADM, Ajinomoto, others in lysine cartel
  • [05] Commission proposes more competitive rice market
  • [06] Décollage de l'initiative de la Commission pour réduire les retards des vols en Europe
  • [07] Commission proposes increased market access for products from Western Balkans
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [08] Franz Fischler meets CEEC farm ministers : "SAPARD can be showcase for restructuring"
  • [09] La Commission se réjouit de l'accord rapide intervenu sur les règles en matière de discrimination raciale
  • [10] Volume of retail trade down by 0.3% in the euro-zone ; EU15 up by 0.5%
  • [11] UN reviews how the world treats women : Anna Diamantopoulou speaks at Beijing+5 conference

  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Commission proposes amendments to VAT treatment of electronically delivered services

    The European Commission has presented a proposal for a Directive to modify the rules for applying value added tax (VAT) to certain services supplied by electronic means as well as subscription-based and pay-per-view radio and television broadcasting. The objective of the proposal is to create a level playing field for the taxation of digital e-commerce in accordance with the principles agreed at the 1998 OECD Ministerial Conference and to make compliance as easy and straightforward as possible. The proposal mainly concerns the supply over electronic networks (ie digital delivery) of software and computer services generally, plus information and cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational, entertainment or similar services. The proposal would ensure that when these services were supplied for consumption within the EU, they were subject to EU VAT, and that when these services were supplied for consumption outside the EU, they were exempt from VAT. The changes modernise the existing VAT rules to accommodate the emerging electronic business environment and to provide a clear and certain regulatory environment for all suppliers, located within or outside the EU. The proposal also contains a number of facilitation and simplification measures aimed at easing the compliance burden of business. The full text of the proposal is available on the Europa Internet site: http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/proposals/taxation/tax_prop.htm

    [02] La Commission entend proscrire le harcèlement sexuel sur le lieu de travail

    La Commission européenne a adopté une proposition visant à interdire le harcèlement sexuel au travail. Ce projet de directive, qui met également la vieille directive de 1976 sur l'égalité des chances en accord avec les arrêts de la Cour de justice européenne et les dernières propositions de la Commission en matière de lutte contre les discriminations, présentées en vertu du traité d'Amsterdam, constitue une première tentative de mettre fin au harcèlement sexuel par le biais de la législation communautaire. Il est dit dans la directive que le harcèlement sexuel est une forme de discrimination fondée sur le sexe et qu'à ce titre elle peut engager la responsabilité des employeurs qui négligent de rendre leur lieu de travail exempt de harcèlement.

    [03] Commission unveils new arsenal in fight for EU-wide sex equality

    The European Commission has adopted a memorandum for a broad-ranging EU framework strategy on gender equality for the years 2001-2005. The comprehensive strategy aims to tackle gender inequalities in economic, political, civil and social life as well as gender roles and stereotypes. The strategy builds upon the experiences of the past equal opportunities programmes, which suggest a more ambitious approach involving all EU policies. A specific programme will accompany the overall strategy by providing support for awareness-raising campaigns, better data-gathering and transnational projects.

    [04] Commission fines ADM, Ajinomoto, others in lysine cartel

    The European Commission has fined Archer Daniels Midland, Ajinomoto and three other companies a total of almost euro 110 million for operating a global price-fixing cartel for lysine. The decision highlights the Commission's determination to fight cartels, the most damaging of all anti- competitive practices.

    [05] Commission proposes more competitive rice market

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal to reform the Common Market Organisation for rice. Aimed at restoring balance in the European rice market, the reform strives to increase the competitiveness of European rice. The reform is based on two components. An increase of the direct aid for the rice producers and the abolition of the intervention mechanism. Private storage is foreseen to protect farmers from market disturbances. The proposal further helps to ensure the continuation of rice growing in areas where it is beneficial for the environment and foresees a report from Member States by the end of 2003 on the environmental situation of rice production with special reference to the development in traditional zones.

    [06] Décollage de l'initiative de la Commission pour réduire les retards des vols en Europe

    L'été approche et de nombreux voyageurs seront de nouveau victimes des retards des vols, qui ont atteint en Europe un niveau inacceptable, ce qui a conduit la Commission européenne à faire de la réforme de la gestion de l'espace aérien une des ses priorités. Mme Loyola de Palacio, vice- présidente en charge des transports et de l'énergie, a informé aujourd'hui le Collège des premiers résultats très encourageants du Groupe de Haut niveau qu'elle préside sur la création du Ciel Unique européen. Le rapport intermédiaire qu'elle a présenté confirme le soutien de tous les pays à cette initiative et décrit le consensus au sein du Groupe à Haut niveau sur la nécessité d'une gestion intégrée de l'espace aérien européen, l'engagement des autorités civiles et militaires et le renforcement des questions de sécurité.

    [07] Commission proposes increased market access for products from Western Balkans

    The European Commission has decided to propose an extension of the existing EU autonomous trade preferences for Western Balkan countries. Trade promotion and cooperation is one of the core elements in the EU policy towards the Western Balkans, which is embodied both within the EU Stabilisation and Association Process and the Stability Pact for South- Eastern Europe. It is proposed to abolish remaining tariff ceilings for certain industrial products from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and to improve market access for agricultural products, to extend these preferences to Kosovo, to grant tariff quotas for Montenegrin aluminium products and to streamline all trade preferences in a single new regulation.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [08] Franz Fischler meets CEEC farm ministers : "SAPARD can be showcase for restructuring"

    Speaking at a conference with the agriculture ministers from the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) on the implementation of the EU's pre- accession instrument SAPARD yesterday, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, welcomed the progress made in the Central and Eastern European applicant countries. SAPARD foresees the delegation of substantial responsibility to the candidate countries regarding the management of EU funds for rural development. "Exchanging views, keeping the information flowing is key to successful enlargement. Our common goal is to make the euro 520 million per year available as soon as possible. Speed is important, but we also need efficiency and controls. In the run-up to accession the candidate countries still have to overcome huge structural weaknesses in their agricultural sectors. Although SAPARD cannot be the solution, it can be the showcase how to face this challenge and how EU payments could be used also after accession : focusing on investments to improve the competitiveness of the sector also after the accession", he said.

    [09] La Commission se réjouit de l'accord rapide intervenu sur les règles en matière de discrimination raciale

    La Commission européenne se félicite de l'accord auquel a abouti le Conseil des ministres sur une directive interdisant la discrimination raciale sur le lieu de travail et ailleurs. Mme Anna Diamantopoulou, Commissaire en charge de l'emploi et de la politique sociale, a déclaré : "Cet accord, qui survient un an seulement après l'entrée en vigueur du traité d'Amsterdam, témoigne clairement de l'engagement des institutions européennes pour la défense des droits fondamentaux de l'homme. Cette directive renforcera la protection contre la discrimination raciale dans l'ensemble de l'UE et montre que nous pouvons apporter des changements concrets et positifs dans la vie quotidienne de nos citoyens".

    [10] Volume of retail trade down by 0.3% in the euro-zone ; EU15 up by 0.5%

    (! embargo 12 am !) In March 2000, as compared to March 1999, the volume of retail trade declined by 0.3% in the euro-zone and increased by 0.5% in the EU15, Eurostat estimates today. Compared to February, sales fell by 0.7% in the euro-zone and 0.5 in the EU15. This decline should be seen on the background of an upward revision of the February 2000 data and of the effect of Easter sales falling into April this year. The decline was significant in the "textiles" sector (-5.1% in the euro-zone, -2.7% in EU15). The other sectors showed still positive growth. The "household goods" sector increased by 2.1% in the euro-zone and 3.6% in the EU15. Sales in the "food" sector rose by 1.4% in the euro-zone and by 1.5% in the EU15.

    [11] UN reviews how the world treats women : Anna Diamantopoulou speaks at Beijing+5 conference

    Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Policy, will on Friday speak for the European Union at the UN 'Beijing +5' world conference on women in New York. She will update the conference on progress for women in Europe since the last conference in Beijing in 1995, stressing the importance of the Amsterdam Treaty and pointing forward to the planned new gender equality programme, but will say that equality between women and men cannot come as a result of economic and social development but needs to be a central part of it. Mrs Diamantopoulou said : "We must redouble our efforts to bring about the structural changes needed for gender equality in practice. We face the incontrovertible evidence of the structural nature of discrimination against women : persistent pay gaps, under-representation in decision-making in politics and business, violence against women and other human rights abuses".

    MIDDAY EXPRESS


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


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