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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-06-13

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] Commission welcomes final adoption of new Regulation on the transboundary movements of genetically modified organisms
  • [02] Commission clears Barclays takeover bid for Banco Zaragozano
  • [03] Commission clears ING acquisition of Germany's Entrium Direct Bankers
  • [04] Premières estimations pour le premier trimestre 2003 : l'UE15 a enregistré un déficit des échanges courants de 4,4 milliards d'€ ; excédent de 5,6 milliards d'€ pour la balance des services
  • [05] Taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2001 : a modest decline in the EU overall tax burden since 1999 ; EU tax burden on labour started to ease
  • [06] Galileo : Loyola de Palacio welcomes the nomination of the Joint Undertaking's Executive Director
  • [07] EU requests WTO dispute settlement consultations over US anti-dumping practices
  • [08] Chris Patten calls for more funds for the Afghan Government Budget
  • [09] Frits Bolkestein speaks in London on capital markets and corporate governance
  • [10] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 13/06/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 13/06/2003

  • [01] Commission welcomes final adoption of new Regulation on the transboundary movements of genetically modified organisms

    The European Commission welcomed the formal adoption by EU Environment Ministers today of the Regulation on the transboundary movements of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This agreement marks an important step towards the full implementation into EU legislation of the provisions of the UN Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which aims to ensure, on a global scale, the protection of biodiversity and of human health.

    [02] Commission clears Barclays takeover bid for Banco Zaragozano

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Spanish retail and corporate bank Banco Zaragozano by Barclays Bank S.A., the Spanish subsidiary of the Barclays Group. The operation, notified on 12 May 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure).

    [03] Commission clears ING acquisition of Germany's Entrium Direct Bankers

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Entrium Direct Bankers AG, an online retail bank that operates in Germany, by ING Groep N.V. of the Netherlands. (The operation, notified on 12 May 2003, was examined under the simplified merger review procedure).

    [04] Premières estimations pour le premier trimestre 2003 : l'UE15 a enregistré un déficit des échanges courants de 4,4 milliards d'€ ; excédent de 5,6 milliards d'€ pour la balance des services

    Selon les données provisoires publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat, la balance des opérations courantes de l'UE15 avec les pays tiers a enregistré un déficit de 4,4 milliards d'€ durant le premier trimestre 2003, comparé à un excédent de 0,9 milliard d'€ au premier trimestre 2002 et à un excédent de 15,8 milliards d'€ au quatrième trimestre 2002. Au cours du premier trimestre 2003, la balance des services extra-UE15 a enregistré un excédent de 5,6 milliards d'€, comparé à un déficit de 0,8 milliard d'€ durant le premier trimestre 2002 et à un excédent de 8,8 milliards d'€ durant le quatrième trimestre 2002.

    [05] Taxation in the EU from 1995 to 2001 : a modest decline in the EU overall tax burden since 1999 ; EU tax burden on labour started to ease

    According to a publication issued today by Eurostat, in 2001, the overall tax burden (i.e. the total amount of taxes and social security contributions) stood at 41.1% of GDP in the EU, decreasing compared to 41.8% in 1999 and almost stable compared to 40.8% in 1995. Among the Member States, Sweden recorded the highest tax-to-GDP ratio (54.1% in 2001), followed by Denmark (49.8%), Finland and Belgium (46.0% each). At 31.2%, Ireland had the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio, followed by Spain (35.6%), Portugal (35.9%) and Greece (36.8%).

    [06] Galileo : Loyola de Palacio welcomes the nomination of the Joint Undertaking's Executive Director

    The Supervisory Board of the Galileo's Joint Undertaking has decided on 12 June to design Mr Rainer Grohe as Executive Director. "This is a new step ahead for the project Galileo", said Loyola de Palacio, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of Transport and Energy. "The Joint Undertaking can now start immediately its work to build the system and develop one of the main European technological projects." The Executive Director of the Joint Undertaking is the person primarily responsible for the success of Galileo, the European satellite positioning and navigation system. Galileo, a project developed in cooperation with the European Space Agency, will enable users to determine their exact position in time and space at any moment : the system has many practical applications, ranging from radio navigation in private cars to transport safety in general, with knock-on effects in various commercial sectors (banking, geological applications, public works, energy, etc).

    [07] EU requests WTO dispute settlement consultations over US anti-dumping practices

    The European Commission has requested the World Trade Organisation to set up formal consultations under its Dispute Settlement Mechanism over the United States use of "zeroing" when performing dumping calculations. "Zeroing" is a method of calculating dumping which consists of ignoring negative margins of dumping and therefore results in an unfair increase of the dumping liability of EU exporters. Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process and if they prove unsuccessful, they entitle the EU to ask for a WTO Panel to be set up to rule on the legality of the US practice. Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy commented : "Zeroing as practised by the US is contrary to WTO rules and causes damage to many EU exporters. The EU has already abandoned this practice and has several times asked the US to do likewise, in order to ensure a level playing field. Unfortunately, the US refuses to move on this issue, and regrettably we are left with no choice but to refer the matter to the WTO."

    [08] Chris Patten calls for more funds for the Afghan Government Budget

    In letters to all 15 EU Member States and 13 other countries, European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten has urged the international donor community to allocate more money to the recurrent budget of the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA). He has also asked them to consider increasing overall contributions to Afghan reconstruction. The letters were sent to the Foreign Ministers of Australia, China, India, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, as well as the 15 EU Member States. In the letter Commissioner Patten says : "Afghanistan is now at a critical juncture, and it is essential that the Afghan government is able to cover its operating expenses. To date, the response of the international community to Afghanistan has been impressive, and the Tokyo commitments have been honoured fully. Looking to the future, we must build on this success. (…) I would therefore urge your government to consider whether it is able to allocate more resources to Afghan reconstruction, and in particular more funds to the ordinary budget."

    [09] Frits Bolkestein speaks in London on capital markets and corporate governance

    Concerning the proposed Takeovers Directive, "Frankly, the positions taken by some Member State governments are astonishing", said Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein in a speech in London today (! embargo 1.30 pm!) on an integrated European capital market. "Some are protectionist and defensive. Others are even backtracking on what they were previously willing to sign up to. This measure or our inability to agree it will be taken as a symbol of whether Europe is ready to reform. Or not. Whether it is outward-looking. Or not. Whether Europe is open for business. Or not. I sincerely hope that we can break the current impasse. Because an integrated financial market can only really work when all the major barriers are removed. When the good can take over and improve the bad." Mr Bolkestein also expressed his disappointment at the current US position on allowing European securities markets to have trading screens in the United States. Company board members' pay was one of the issues addressed by Mr Bolkestein in his corporate governance speech (! embargo 4 pm !). "The remuneration for top dogs (and fat cats) in industry is out of all proportion". He argued in favour of disclosure in the annual accounts of both remuneration policy and details of remuneration of individual directors, prior approval by the shareholder meeting of share and share option schemes in which directors participate, and proper recognition in the annual accounts of the costs of such schemes for the company. He concluded that : "A sound corporate governance framework will be achieved neither by the markets acting on their own only, nor by the introduction of an overly prescriptive legal infrastructure. By increasing transparency and generating shareholder power we will help to restore confidence in the markets. This is the European way forward, different from the United States Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but with the same objectives. It is up to corporate Europe to shape up. The quicker it does, the faster confidence will return."

    [10] Autre matériel diffusé

    Convention : déclaration de la Commission sur le projet de traité constitutionnel

    Note sur les résultats du Conseil Agriculture et Pêche

    Discours de M. Busquin à la remise du titre du Dr. Honoris Causa de l'université de Ferrara

    Calendrier du 16 au 21 juin


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


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