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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 02-08-23

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] EU makes its safety assessments of GM products available for WHO meeting in Harare
  • [02] Commission welcomes partial withdrawal of WTO illegal US steel protective measures
  • [03] New humanitarian aid package worth €16.7 million for the Afghan population
  • [04] Les allégements fiscaux en faveur des fondations bancaires n'exerçant pas d'activités économiques ne constituent pas des aides d'État
  • [05] Commission approves acquisition of TRW's aerospace components activities by Goodrich.
  • [06] EU Cereals Management Committee responds to flood crisis
  • [07] Des campagnes de promotion en faveur des produits agricoles de l'UE
  • [08] €443 million for restructuring and conversion of vineyards
  • [09] Commission clears JV between Finnish metals group Outokumpu and Lennox
  • [10] Commission clears Vivendi Environment buy of Southern Water Midday Express 23/08/2002 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 23/08/2002

  • [01] EU makes its safety assessments of GM products available for WHO meeting in Harare

    Health ministers from Southern African countries will meet with senior officials from the World Health Organisation next Monday in Harare, Zimbabwe, to discuss responses to the famine in the region, including the reluctance or refusal by some famine-hit countries to accept genetically modified food (GM maize) which has been offered by the US as food aid. The European Commission believes that food aid is welcome. It is clear that it is up to beneficiary countries to make an informed decision on whether to accept GM food or not. The Cartagena protocol of the Biodiversity Convention, signed by 111 countries, gives countries the right to carry out a scientific risk assessment prior to accepting import of GMOs. For the EU, there is no reason to believe that GM food is inherently unsafe to human health. EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne has said on a number of occasions that EU scientists have found the GM corn varieties that they have looked at to be as safe as their conventional counterparts. For example, seven genetically modified maize varieties used in processed foods have undergone scientific risk assessment in the EU and concluded to be as safe for human food use as their conventional counterparts. The Commission will make the EU's scientific opinions on GM products available to the participants of the Harare meeting. The European Commission is responding to the humanitarian crisis with almost €150 million. Equivalent to around 300 000 tonnes of maize, it is Commission policy to buy as much corn as possible from markets in the region (see also IP/02/1199REV).

    [02] Commission welcomes partial withdrawal of WTO illegal US steel protective measures

    The European Commission welcomes the latest batch of exclusion of steel products of interest to the EU exporters from the US safeguard measures which was announced yesterday by USTR. This will reduce the overall impact of the US WTO illegal safeguard measures which will now exempt more than 50% of EU exports. Nevertheless, a considerable number of products will still remain subject to prohibitive tariffs. The EU will therefore pursue its WTO complaint in that respect. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said :"This is at first sight a positive action and a signal to the world that the US realises that protectionism has a cost, in terms of higher prices for domestic users and in terms of American credibility in the WTO. The decision to exclude many EU products from the US safeguard measures will help both EU exports and those many industries in the US which need high quality imports from Europe. Let us hope that the next step will be action to restructure that part of the US steel industry which has traditionally been behind the adoption of protectionist measures. "

    [03] New humanitarian aid package worth €16.7 million for the Afghan population

    The European Commission has announced a further substantial package of humanitarian aid for vulnerable Afghans living inside the country and as refugees in neighbouring states. €16.724 million has been allocated to support a series of actions including assistance for people returning home, support for drought-affected populations and logistics. The funds are being channelled through the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) which comes under the authority of Commissioner Poul Nielson. Commenting on the decision, Mr Nielson emphasised the EU's "ongoing commitment to the people of Afghanistan." He continued: "This was always going to be a long haul. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have returned need help to re- establish themselves and many others are still living in camps awaiting the opportunity to go back to their home areas. Helping these people is not just a moral imperative but also essential in consolidating the recovery process."

    [04] Les allégements fiscaux en faveur des fondations bancaires n'exerçant pas d'activités économiques ne constituent pas des aides d'État

    Par décision adoptée ce jour, la Commission européenne a jugé que les mesures fiscales introduites par l'Italie en faveur des fondations bancaires, en 1998 et en 1999, ne sont pas soumises aux règles communautaires en matière d'aides d'État. En effet, la Commission considère que l'activité de gestion de leur propre patrimoine et l'utilisation des produits de cette gestion pour l'attribution de subventions à des organismes à but non lucratif ne constituent pas une activité économique. C'est pourquoi les fondations bancaires ne peuvent pas être qualifiées d'entreprises au sens des règles communautaires. Il s'agit d'une décision différente de celle prise en décembre 2001, dans laquelle la Commission avait estimé que d'autres allégements fiscaux en faveur des banques italiennes, octroyés par la même loi, étaient illégaux, et en avait ordonné le remboursement.

    [05] Commission approves acquisition of TRW's aerospace components activities by Goodrich.

    The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of TRW Aeronautical Systems Group (TRW ASG), the aerospace components unit of TRW Inc of the United States, by Goodrich Corporation, another US company also active in the aerospace sector. The Commission examined the operation carefully and did not identify any serious threats to competition in any parts of the European Union's territory.

    [06] EU Cereals Management Committee responds to flood crisis

    Under the authority of Commissioner Franz Fischler, responsible for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, the Management Committee for Cereals responded to the unprecedented situation in parts of Germany and Austria following the disastrous flooding. The Committee approved some initiatives designed to help affected farmers. "It is important that we act quickly to help those farmers and people in rural areas which are most affected by the floodings and in danger of loosing their livelihood", Fischler said, "we continue to do what is within our possibilities to find ways to help those who suddenly find themselves in such a disastrous situation". The European Commission itself will meet on 28 August to discuss further a comprehensive response in all relevant policy areas to the disastrous situation that now exists not only in Germany and Austria but also in many regions of Central and Eastern Europe.

    [07] Des campagnes de promotion en faveur des produits agricoles de l'UE

    La Commission européenne a approuvé aujourd'hui des programmes de diffusion d'informations sur les produits agricoles et de promotion de ces produits au sein de l'Union européenne (UE). Les États membres lui ont présenté 123 programmes de promotion et d'information. Quarante programmes, s'adressant principalement aux consommateurs de l'UE, ont été acceptés pour cofinancement. Les produits concernés sont les fruits et légumes, le fromage et les produits laitiers, les fleurs et les plantes vertes ainsi que le vin. On citera également des campagnes d'information sur les denrées alimentaires issues de l'agriculture biologique. Cofinancées à 50 % par la Commission, les dépenses prévues s'élèvent pour l'UE à 32,1 millions d'euros, le coût des programmes atteignant 64,2 millions d'euros.

    [08] €443 million for restructuring and conversion of vineyards

    The European Commission has adopted two decisions on restructuring and conversion of vineyards. The first makes an initial distribution of €443 million for action in the 2002/03 marketing year. The second reallocates the amount left over from the 2001/02 marketing year (€42 million out of the €422 million initially distributed) to Member States that have applied for additional funding.

    [09] Commission clears JV between Finnish metals group Outokumpu and Lennox

    The Commission has cleared the creation of a joint venture called Heatcraft between Outokumpu Copper Products Oy, a Finnish diversified metals group, and Lennox International Inc., a US company active in the design, manufacture and marketing of a broad range of products for heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration. Heatcraft will consist of Outokumpu Heatcraft LLC (USA) and Outokumpu Heatcraft BV (Netherlands). (The case, which was notified on July 19, was examined under the simplified procedure).

    [10] Commission clears Vivendi Environment buy of Southern Water

    The European Commission has granted regulatory clearance to the proposed acquisition of UK utility company Southern Water by Vivendi Water UK, a subsidiary of Vivendi Environment (the operation was examined under the simplified procedure).

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


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