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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 03-06-19

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 takes issue with Topps' distribution practices for Pokémon collectible stickers and cards
  • [02] Commission approves new BSE tests
  • [03] Commission urges Member States to step up efforts to implement key industrial pollution law
  • [04] Portuguese agriculture : Commission report highlights steady progress and structural weaknesses
  • [05] First quarter 2003 compared to first quarter 2002 : Euro-zone labour costs up by 2.8% ; EU15 up by 2.9%
  • [06] Premier trimestre 2003 comparé au quatrième trimestre 2002 : la production dans le secteur de la construction en baisse de 1,5% dans la zone euro ; baisse de 1,3% dans l'UE15
  • [07] Monthly note on the euro-denominated Bond Markets (May 2003)
  • [08] Participation plus active de l'UE au dialogue sur la réforme des entreprises d'Etat dans les pays en développement
  • [09] Republic of Sierra Leone : Commission adopts its cooperation strategy for 2003-2007
  • [10] Pascal Lamy in the Middle East for trade talks
  • [11] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 19/06/2003 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 19/06/2003

  • [01] Commission takes issue with Topps' distribution practices for Pokémon collectible stickers and cards

    The European Commission has decided to open formal proceedings against Topps, a company which produces collectible stickers and cards popular with young children, for hindering cross-border trade in products bearing the image of the Pokémon cartoon characters. In the period investigated by the Commission it was found that the famous little cards, produced under a licence from trademark owner Nintendo, were 2.5 times more expensive in Finland than in Portugal. The evidence obtained by the Commission showed that Topps and its distributors put in place an elaborate strategy to prevent imports from low-price to high-price countries, a practice which distorted competition within the European Union's single market at the expense of European households.

    [02] Commission approves new BSE tests

    The European Commission today approved two new rapid BSE tests, Prionics Check LIA and InPro CDI-5 made by the companies Prionics and InPro. The two new tests should help to stimulate more competition in the field. Following a laboratory evaluation and a field trial, these tests were recommended for approval by the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC). All five tests can now be used to screen cattle for BSE. They are designed to detect BSE in brain material, collected from animals at the slaughterhouse or which have died on the farm. So far tests designed to detect BSE in live animals have not been evaluated. All five tests are also provisionally approved to detect TSE in sheep and goats, pending a formal evaluation. The three currently approved tests are Prionics Check Western, Bio-Rad TeSeE (previously Bio- Rad Platelia) and the Enfer BSE test produced by the companies Prionics, Bio-Rad and Enfer. They were evaluated by the Commission in 1999. The two newly approved tests have gone through a similar evaluation process, completed by a field trial under practical conditions. In March 2003 the SSC recommended their formal approval in the framework of the TSE Regulation (999/2001). In the EU all healthy bovine cattle slaughter above 30 months and all fallen stock above 24 months have to be tested for BSE with some derogation for some countries.

    [03] Commission urges Member States to step up efforts to implement key industrial pollution law

    Most governments are not doing enough to ensure that their industries are meeting EU pollution control standards. This emerges from a Communication published by the European Commission reviewing compliance with its Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. The Directive aims at a high degree of environmental protection through integrated prevention and control of the pollution arising from industrial and agricultural activities. It was introduced in 1996 and gave Member States ample time to ensure that all the industrial installations covered would be fully compliant by October 2007. In the Communication, the Commission is also launching a stakeholder consultation, which might lead to a revision of the Directive.

    [04] Portuguese agriculture : Commission report highlights steady progress and structural weaknesses

    Overall steady progress and success in certain sectors, as well as structural weaknesses which continue to hamper the development of Portuguese agriculture these are the main findings of a report adopted today by the European Commission. The Commission was asked by the European Council to present this report analysing the situation in Portuguese agriculture, following a request by Portugal at the summit of December 2002 in Copenhagen. The analysis shows that Portuguese agriculture continues to be affected by several specific difficulties. Economic output and income per labour unit, although steadily improving, remain very low, largely due to the fact that Portuguese agricultural labour is poorly equipped with land and capital and because there is serious underlying underemployment in the sector. The assessment of the Commission is that the specific nature of the problems experienced by Portuguese agriculture cannot just be traced to deeply rooted structural adjustment problems, but are also affected by the manner in which the CAP currently applies to Portugal. In global terms, the Commission expects that Portuguese agriculture would profit from the new perspectives offered by the various elements of the current CAP reform proposal. In becoming more market-oriented and thereby facilitating quality production, the CAP will be better adapted to the possibilities for growth in Portuguese agriculture.

    [05] First quarter 2003 compared to first quarter 2002 : Euro-zone labour costs up by 2.8% ; EU15 up by 2.9%

    Total hourly labour costs in the whole economy of the euro-zone grew by 2.8% in nominal terms in the first quarter of 2003 compared to the first quarter of 2002, Eurostat reports today. In the fourth quarter of 2002 the increase was 3.7%. For the EU15 the rise was 2.9% in the first quarter of 2003, compared to 3.7% in the previous quarter.

    [06] Premier trimestre 2003 comparé au quatrième trimestre 2002 : la production dans le secteur de la construction en baisse de 1,5% dans la zone euro ; baisse de 1,3% dans l'UE15

    Dans le secteur de la construction, la production corrigée des variations saisonnières a baissé de 1,5% dans la zone euro et de 1,3% dans l'UE15 au cours du premier trimestre 2003 et par rapport au quatrième trimestre 2002, selon les estimations publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat. Au cours du quatrième trimestre 2002, la production avait baissé de 0,4% dans la zone euro et de 0,3% dans l'UE15. Sur une base annuelle, la production a diminué de 3,6% dans la zone euro et de 2,2% dans l'UE15 au cours du premier trimestre 2003, après respectivement une baisse de 1,4% et une hausse de 0, 3% au cours du dernier trimestre 2002.

    [07] Monthly note on the euro-denominated Bond Markets (May 2003)

    The relatively unusual co-movement of bond and equity markets since the end of Iraq war continued in May. With a still gloomy economic outlook fuelling market expectations of further ECB rate cuts, the entire euro yield curve has shifted downward by about 25 basis points. Total issuance of euro- denominated bonds rose to €176 billion in May, compared to €139 billion in April. The composition of issuance was in line with trends over the previous 12-month period. Another notable characteristic of issuance in May was a shift from small to very large issues and the increased importance of medium maturities (3 to 11 years). Full document and tables available on : http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/bondmarkets_en.htm

    [08] Participation plus active de l'UE au dialogue sur la réforme des entreprises d'Etat dans les pays en développement

    La Commission européenne a adopté une communication relative à la réforme des entreprises d'Etat dans les pays en développement, qui met l'accent sur les entreprises de service public. Cette communication souligne le rôle plus actif que doit jouer l'Union européenne pour aider les gouvernements partenaires des pays en développement à concevoir la réforme de leurs entreprises publiques.

    [09] Republic of Sierra Leone : Commission adopts its cooperation strategy for 2003-2007

    The European Commission has adopted a five-year strategy paper (2003-2007) for its co-operation with Sierra Leone. The Country Strategy Paper (CSP) serves as a framework for relations with Sierra Leone, covering all aspects of assistance to that country. The chief objective is to support the government's efforts to rebuild the country after a decade of civil war and to implements its poverty reduction strategy. Priority will be given to the rehabilitation of infrastructure and to good governance. €220 million will be made available from the 9th European Development Fund to finance the implementation of the strategy.

    [10] Pascal Lamy in the Middle East for trade talks

    The European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will be in Egypt on 21-22 June to attend a mini-ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation. The purpose of this meeting is to inject political momentum in the on-going negotiations under the WTO Doha Development Agenda. He will then fly to Amman to discuss with the Jordanian Prime Minister Mr Abu Ragheb, on the state of play of the EU-Jordan trade relations, the prospects for further regional integration and participate at the Extraordinary Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum. The meeting to this region is also timely in view of the upcoming 3rd EU-Mediterranean Trade Ministerial which will take place in Palermo on 7 July. Before leaving to Sharm-Al-Sheik Pascal Lamy said : "Cancun is just around the corner and we still have a lot of work in front of us. I hope the meeting in Sharm-Al-Sheik will inject political impetus to the on-going negotiations so that substantial progress can be made before Cancun. More market opening and improved rules are essential to make trade contribute to development and this region is particularly well placed to draw these benefits."

    [11] Autre matériel diffusé

    Propos liminaires de la conférence de presse de M. Prodi à la veille du Conseil européen de Thessalonique (18/6)

    Speech by Chris Patten : "Situation in Middle East" at the European Parliament (18/06)


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


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