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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 02-07-22

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] Prix des véhicules automobiles dans l'Union européenne : les écarts restent importants, en particulier dans les segments de masse du marché
  • [02] Internal Market : Commission launches free advice and problem-solving services to help citizens and business
  • [03] May first estimates, April revised figures - Euro-zone external trade surplus : € 8.3 billion in May 2002 ; €1.5 billion surplus for EU15
  • [04] New decision of Eurostat on deficit and debt : treatment of non- returned banknotes and coins in the context of the cash changeover to the euro
  • [05] Commission warns Belgium, Sweden and Finland about non-compliance with environmental laws
  • [06] Couche d'ozone : la Commission ouvre des procédures d'infraction à l'encontre de tous les Etats membres
  • [07] Commission files appeal against dismissal of its cigarette smuggling action against three tobacco companies and is supported by WHO, US law enforcement officers and US anti-smoking campaign
  • [08] Last minute US steel concessions persuade EU to hold fire on sanctions
  • [09] Chris Patten and Pascal Lamy attend Rio Ministerial meeting to inject impetus into EU-Mercosur negotiations
  • [10] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 22/07/2002 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 22/07/2002

  • [01] Prix des véhicules automobiles dans l'Union européenne : les écarts restent importants, en particulier dans les segments de masse du marché

    Dans son dernier rapport sur les prix des voitures, la Commission européenne a constaté qu'il subsiste des écarts de prix importants pour les voitures neuves dans le marché intérieur, malgré l'introduction de l'euro. La situation au 1er mai 2002 montre qu'aucune convergence notable des prix ne s'est encore produite. L'Espagne, la Grèce, la Finlande et le Danemark, pays qui n'est pas membre de la zone euro, sont les marchés où les prix hors taxes des voitures sont généralement les plus bas. C'est en Allemagne, le plus grand marché, et en Autriche, qu'ils sont les plus élevés au sein de la zone euro. L'enquête révèle l'absence de tendance perceptible à un rapprochement des prix entre les marchés nationaux les moins chers et ceux qui sont les plus chers, c'est-à-dire des hausses de prix sur les premiers et/ou des baisses de prix sur les seconds. M. Mario Monti, commissaire chargé de la Concurrence, a déclaré : "La surveillance des écarts de prix ainsi que d'autres indices confirment régulièrement que le fonctionnement du marché intérieur peut encore être sensiblement amélioré dans le secteur automobile. La réforme adoptée par la Commission le 17 juillet 2002 crée les conditions nécessaires à la concurrence dans les ventes et les services après-vente des véhicules automobiles, de sorte que le marché intérieur pourra fonctionner à l'avantage tant des consommateurs européens que des opérateurs économiques."

    [02] Internal Market : Commission launches free advice and problem-solving services to help citizens and business

    Problems getting a diploma recognised or getting social security cover in another EU country ? Need advice on your rights after being unable to travel because a flight is overbooked ? Other difficulties making use of Internal Market rights ? The European Commission's newly improved Citizens Signpost Service gives people the personalised help they need. It is quick, easy and free of charge. Users need simply to telephone an easy-to-remember number (the same everywhere in the EU) - or to submit their query by e- mail. Legal experts will, within three working days, and faster where possible, reply with informal advice and "signposting" to where the questioner can get further help. The Commission has also set up a new problem-solving network called SOLVIT, open for business from 22nd July and targeting cases of misapplication of EU law. EU citizens and businesses can contact SOLVIT Centres directly, either in their Member State of origin or in the one where they are living or doing business. Alternatively, they can be referred to a SOLVIT centre by the Signpost Service. The target deadline for solving problems is 10 weeks. The Signpost Service and SOLVIT are part of the Commission's 'Dialogue with Citizens and Business' initiative. The Dialogue aims to make citizens more aware of their rights and to establish two-way communication with them about problems in exercising those rights.

    [03] May first estimates, April revised figures - Euro-zone external trade surplus : € 8.3 billion in May 2002 ; €1.5 billion surplus for EU15

    According to Eurostat, the first estimate for euro-zone trade with the rest of the world in May 2002 was a €8.3 billion surplus, against +2.0 billion in May 2001. The revised April 2002 balance was +5.0 billion, compared with a 0.2 billion deficit in April 2001. Euro-zone trade recorded a surplus of €33.0 billion for the first five months of 2002, against a 0.2 billion deficit in 2001. The first estimate for May 2002 extra-EU15 trade was a €1.5 billion surplus, compared with a 5.2 billion deficit in May 2001. In April 2002, there was a revised deficit of 3.3 billion, against -8.4 billion in April 2001. The EU15 recorded a deficit estimated at 6.8 billion in the first five months of 2002 compared with -38.8 billion in 2001.

    [04] New decision of Eurostat on deficit and debt : treatment of non- returned banknotes and coins in the context of the cash changeover to the euro

    Eurostat has taken a decision on the treatment of non-returned banknotes and coins in national accounts in the context of the cash changeover to the euro. The decision has been taken in order to ensure comparability of the government deficit and debt data in Member States and assuring conformity with the European System of Accounts (ESA95) and the Manual on government deficit and debt. The decision is consistent with the opinion of a very large majority of CMFB (Committee on Monetary, Financial and Balance of Payments Statistics) members. According to this decision, the treatment of gains from non-returned banknotes has no impact on government deficit and the treatment of gains from non-returned coins in government balance sheet has an impact on the government debt but leaves the government deficit unchanged.

    [05] Commission warns Belgium, Sweden and Finland about non-compliance with environmental laws

    The European Commission is acting to safeguard the environment by pursuing infringement proceedings against Belgium and Sweden. The Commission has sent Belgium a formal request ("Reasoned Opinion") for information concerning measures taken to comply with a 2001 ruling of the Court of Justice. This ruling condemned Belgian legislation allowing activities with an impact upon the environment to be authorised without an express act of the administration (so-called "tacit authorisations"). In separate cases, Sweden and Finland have received formal requests ('Reasoned Opinions') to correct shortcomings in their legislation on integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). EU law on IPPC law aims to ensure that potentially polluting operations are subject to strict environmental controls. Current Swedish and Finnish legislation does not guarantee citizens that their environment will be protected as strictly as the Directive requires. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months of receipt of the 'Reasoned Opinion', the Commission may refer Sweden and Finland to the Court.

    [06] Couche d'ozone : la Commission ouvre des procédures d'infraction à l'encontre de tous les Etats membres

    La Commission européenne a décidé de demander formellement à tous les Etats membres de lui communiquer des informations relatives aux progrès accomplis en matière de limitation des substances qui endommagent la couche d'ozone. Les Etats membres devaient fournir ces informations au plus tard le 31 décembre 2001, conformément au règlement de l'UE sur la couche d'ozone. Il est essentiel de protéger la couche d'ozone terrestre puisqu'elle bloque les rayonnements solaires délétères à l'origine de cancers de la peau et d'autres maladies humaines, réduit la production végétale et nuit à la faune et à la flore marines. En vertu du règlement sur la couche d'ozone, les Etats membres doivent rendre compte des systèmes mis en place pour récupérer les substances appauvrissant la couche d'ozone, des installations existant dans ce domaine, des exigences en matière de qualification du personnel et des quantités récupérées. Les demandes adressées aujourd'hui aux Etats membres prennent la forme de "lettres de mise en demeure", première étape de la procédure d'infraction en vertu de l'article 226 du traité CE. En l'absence de réponse satisfaisante dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission peut enjoindre aux Etats membres (par "avis motivé") d'établir les systèmes requis par le règlement sur la couche d'ozone. Si aucun rapport concernant la mise en place de ces systèmes ne parvient à la Commission, celle-ci peut alors saisir la Cour de justice.

    [07] Commission files appeal against dismissal of its cigarette smuggling action against three tobacco companies and is supported by WHO, US law enforcement officers and US anti-smoking campaign

    The European Commission has filed an appeal before the US Court of Appeals on behalf of the EU and ten Member States against the dismissal of its cigarette smuggling action, and has been supported by the World Health Organisation, the US Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the US Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. The action is against three cigarette manufacturers : Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Japan Tobacco. The following Member States participate in the appeal : Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, The Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg. "Protecting the financial interests of the European Union and fighting fraud, remains a top priority for the Commission", said Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer. "The Commission is determined to continue its legal case against cigarette smuggling, and warmly welcomes the support of the World Health Organisation, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association".

    [08] Last minute US steel concessions persuade EU to hold fire on sanctions

    On 19 July, the European Commission recommended to the Council of Ministers the postponement until 30 September of its decision on the application of short-term sanctions against the US in response to the US's protectionist steel safeguards, but warned that further US steps are necessary. The Commission's recommendation met with the full support of the Member States and will be formalised at Ministerial level at the General Affairs Council on Monday 22 July. The Commission's recommendation took account of a significant last minute announcement of a sizeable number of exclusions. Welcoming the latest US concessions, Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "Our job is to defend EU interests in the most effective way in order to achieve our objectives. On balance, right now the EU interest is best served by maintaining maximum pressure on the US to deliver a meaningful rebalancing package. The US have taken useful steps in this direction and have told us there is more to come, but there is much more to do. They know that we need to see substantial additional exclusions between now and September to avoid the adoption of countermeasures."

    [09] Chris Patten and Pascal Lamy attend Rio Ministerial meeting to inject impetus into EU-Mercosur negotiations

    On 23rd July, European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten and Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will meet with Foreign and Economics Ministers of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) in Rio de Janeiro. The meeting will be hosted by Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Lafer, representing the Pro-Tempore Presidency of Mercosur. The meeting provides an opportunity to review EU-Mercosur relations in the light of the political agreement reached at the EU-Mercosur Summit on 17th May 2002, "to give a new impetus to the economic/trade negotiations, and to hold a meeting between negotiators at ministerial level". Ministers will concentrate on the negotiations for an EU-Mercosur Inter-Regional Association Agreement. The EU is committed to concluding an ambitious agreement. It is the first time that two regional blocks negotiate an Association Agreement, incorporating the three pillars of political dialogue, cooperation and free trade. The EU will also re-affirm its strong support for Mercosur's regional integration.

    [10] Autre matériel diffusé

    Programme of European Coal and Steel Community flag ceremony and symposium

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


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