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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-06-11

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] Environment and health : Commission launches a strategy to reduce diseases linked to environmental factors
  • [02] Commission proposes a programme for financial and technical assistance to third countries in the field of migration and asylum
  • [03] Commission approves Austrian electricity merger subject to conditions and obligations
  • [04] Commission clears Celanese oxo chemicals JV with Degussa
  • [05] Commission approves UK aid scheme to clean up contaminated sites and derelict land
  • [06] Commission approves €15 million regional aid for Volkswagen in Navarra
  • [07] Commission approves UK aid to reduce fishing pressure on cod and salmon
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [08] Commission refers parts of milk merger to the UK authorities
  • [09] EU requests establishment of WTO Panel over Korean unfair shipbuilding practices
  • [10] Franz Fischler on farm reform : "No lame compromises"
  • [11] European Economic Area : conclusion of enlargement negotiations
  • [12] Pascal Lamy visits China to strengthen trade relations
  • [13] Network and Information Security : better standards to improve security Midday Express 11/06/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 11/06/2003[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Environment and health : Commission launches a strategy to reduce diseases linked to environmental factors

    There is a strong link between poor health and environmental problems. A recent report from the European Environmental Agency, EEA, shows that as many as 60,000 deaths per year in large European cities are caused by long- term exposure to air pollution. Children are more exposed to environmental risks than adults. One child in seven is affected by asthma. Compared to 30 years ago this is a dramatic increase. In order to reverse this alarming trend the European Commission is launching a European Environment and Health Strategy. With this new strategy the Commission expects to achieve a better understanding of the complex relationship between environment and health and to identify and reduce diseases caused by environmental factors.

    [02] Commission proposes a programme for financial and technical assistance to third countries in the field of migration and asylum

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council "Establishing a programme for financial and technical assistance to third countries in the area of migration and asylum". The proposal contains a multiannual programme (for 2004 to 2008, with an overall expenditure of €250 million) that gives effect to the Commission's Communication on "Integrating migration issues into the EU's external relations" issued in December 2002.

    [03] Commission approves Austrian electricity merger subject to conditions and obligations

    The European Commission has approved a link-up between the Austrian power company Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG (Verbund) and five Austrian regional power suppliers grouped together as EnergieAllianz, subject to conditions and obligations. The initial plan (known as the "Austrian power solution" or ÖSL in German) would have created or strengthened dominant positions held by Verbund and EnergieAllianz, especially on the market for the supply of electricity to large customers. But the parties have entered into significant commitments which fully resolve the Commission's concerns. One of these commitments : the sale of Verbund's controlling stake in APC, its distributor for large customers, will need to be fulfilled before the merger can take place.

    [04] Commission clears Celanese oxo chemicals JV with Degussa

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the European Union's Merger Regulation to a proposed joint venture between German chemical producers Celanese AG and Degussa AG in the market for oxo chemicals, which are used as chemical intermediates, solvents and plasticizers. The Commission was initially concerned about the parties' strong position in several markets. But an in-depth analysis showed that competitors would be able to keep in check any attempt by the venture to raise prices especially in view of the spare capacity in the sector.

    [05] Commission approves UK aid scheme to clean up contaminated sites and derelict land

    The European Commission has given its blessing to a plan by the UK government to back the transformation of contaminated or brownfield land into clean vacant sites. The "Support for Land Remediation" scheme, which will free up land formerly not suitable for development and hence reduce pressure on greenfield land, will help environmental protection and revive business in derelict areas without affecting trade between Member States.

    [06] Commission approves €15 million regional aid for Volkswagen in Navarra

    The European Commission has partially approved investment aid to be granted to Volkswagen Navarra for its Arazuri (Pamplona) plant. After an in-depth investigation, the Commission concluded that only part of the aid proposed by Spain was necessary for the investment to be carried out.

    [07] Commission approves UK aid to reduce fishing pressure on cod and salmon

    The European Commission has approved two UK fisheries aid schemes : the first is designed to finance the permanent removal of Scottish fishing vessels which target cod fisheries. The objective is to ensure a reduction of fishing effort on cod of between 15 to 20%. The budget for the decommissioning scheme amounts to £40 million (around €60 million). The vessel owners concerned will have to remove the vessel from the register for good and surrender all licences. The second decision concerns the buy- out of licences from fishermen catching salmon with nets in the north-east of England. It involves an increase of £500,000 in the budget of an existing scheme (from £750,000 to £1,25 million) which received the green light from the Commission last year. Additional funds from NGOs, for a global amount of £2.05 million contribute to this scheme. Some 69 licence holders have an interest in the fishery concerned. The initial budget proved insufficient to attract enough candidates for the licence buy-out. Both aid schemes, which the Commission has declared compatible with the internal market rules, will operate in a context of severely depleted cod and salmon stocks.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [08] Commission refers parts of milk merger to the UK authorities

    The European Commission has decided to refer part of the proposed merger between Danish-based dairy products company Arla Foods and Britain's Express Dairies to the UK competition authorities, which will further assess the competitive impact in the markets for the supply of processed fresh milk and fresh cream in Britain. The Commission, at the same time, cleared the operation for what concerns the other product and geographical markets.

    [09] EU requests establishment of WTO Panel over Korean unfair shipbuilding practices

    The European Commission has today requested the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to set up a Panel over the unfair Korean shipbuilding practices, at its next regular meeting of 24 June. This decision has been taken further to the failure of bilateral and or WTO consultations to reach an amicable solution to this long-standing dispute. Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said : "It is regrettable that Korea has shown no real will to resolve the issue in an amicable manner. In particular, we deplore the fact that Korea has failed to respect its commitments under the bilateral Agreement with the EU signed in June 2000 (the so-called Agreed Minutes). Furthermore Korea has made no efforts to find a solution during the three rounds of WTO consultations which have taken place since October 2002. This lack of progress has left us with no option but to take Korea to the WTO."

    [10] Franz Fischler on farm reform : "No lame compromises"

    Ahead of the negotiations starting today at the Agriculture Council in Luxembourg, aimed at reaching a decision on the CAP reform proposals, European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler said : "It is decision time. The negotiations will be tough and we have a few days' and nights' hard work ahead of us. But an agreement can be reached. Our agricultural policy needs reform, and we need it now. We do not want reform for reform's sake. It is not an end in itself. What we want is a long-term, modern and sustainable aid policy, in the interests of farmers, consumers and taxpayers alike. To achieve that, we must decouple farm aid from production, reinforce our rural development policy and ensure that in return for aid farmers produce the public goods our society nowadays expects from them. Where previous reforms did not go far enough, for instance on cereals, milk and rice, we need to complete the reform process."

    [11] European Economic Area : conclusion of enlargement negotiations

    Agreement on the accession of the ten future EU Member States to the European Economic Area (EEA) has been reached at the end of last week in Brussels. With the accession of the new Member States to the EU, these countries will also become members of the EEA. The EEA, created in 1994, creates a single European market for the EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The main issue for the negotiations, which were launched on 9 January 2003, was an increase in the financial contribution of the EEA-EFTA countries to alleviate structural and social disparities in the enlarged internal market. Future trade in marine products was another key element in the negotiations. The European Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, said : "I am very pleased that we have been able to reach a mutually satisfactory result within the necessary timeframe. The overall outcome of the negotiations is well balanced, and I would like to thank all parties for their flexible and constructive approach to the difficult issues at hand. I am very encouraged that the EEA-EFTA countries, and Norway in particular, are taking on a more substantial share of our efforts to reduce social and economic disparities in the enlarged internal market. This will contribute to realise the full potential of the enlarged single market and be to the benefit of us all."

    [12] Pascal Lamy visits China to strengthen trade relations

    European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will visit China on 13 June 2003. The trip provides an excellent opportunity to discuss with the newly appointed Chinese leadership the on-going talks under the WTO the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and examine means to reinforce EU-China cooperation ahead of the WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancun in September. The visit will also offer an opportunity to discuss with China the progress to date in implementing the terms of its accession to the WTO and trade matters of bilateral interests, including the up-coming EU enlargement. On the eve of his departure, Mr Lamy said : "China has become a key EU partner and together we can make an enormous contribution to keeping the Doha Development Agenda steaming ahead. Close collaboration is also going to be increasingly vital to address the specific trade problems we may face. I look forward to discussing all these matters with the new government."

    [13] Network and Information Security : better standards to improve security

    A set of recommendations on network and information security standards will be debated at an open meeting to be held on 13 June in Brussels. The recommendations have been produced by the Network and Information Security (NIS) Focus Group, a group of technical experts set up by the two European standards organisations CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) further to the request of the Commission's services, in response to the Commission's Communication on Network and Information Security (see IP/01/794).

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


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