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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-04-29

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 proposes new steps in budgetary surveillance for Portugal, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy
  • [02] Négociation des valeurs mobilières : la Commission présente sa stratégie et ses priorités en matière de compensation et de règlement- livraison
  • [03] EU budget for 2005 : Commission presents its proposal for the enlarged Union
  • [04] Droits des suspects et personnes mises en cause dans des procédures pénales : la Commission présente une proposition de décision cadre
  • [05] Commission fines Compagnie Maritime Belge for abuse of a dominant position in Cewal case
  • [06] Commission appoints senior managers in regional policy and agriculture
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [07] Rapport annuel de l'office d'aide humanitaire (ECHO) pour 2003 : la Commission demande le respect des principes humanitaires dans la région du Darfour, au Soudan, et annonce l'octroi d'une aide supplémentaire de 10 millions d'€ destinée aux victimes du conflit
  • [08] Increasing efficiency of EU development assistance : Commission proposes complete untying of aid
  • [09] Justice and Home Affairs Council - analysis of the asylum procedures directive
  • [10] Réforme de la PCP : création d'une nouvelle agence européenne de contrôle des pêches en vue d'une meilleure application de la réglementation
  • [11] Les institutions européennes feront face aux défis de l'élargissement sans explosion des coûts administratifs
  • [12] Commission and Japan take further steps to facilitate trade in pharmaceutical products
  • [13] EU and Russia confirm the extension of the PCA to the enlarged EU
  • [14] EU-Andean Community : 7th meeting of the Joint Committee on 28 April 2004
  • [15] "WTO and Mercosur deals will boost farm trade with Brazil", Franz Fischler says
  • [16] Les accidents du travail dans l'UE ; diminution des accidents du travail graves et mortels dans l'UE
  • [17] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 28/04/2004 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 28/04/2004[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Commission proposes new steps in budgetary surveillance for Portugal, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy

    Following on the decision taken on 7 April (IP/04/466), the European Commission has adopted a series of budgetary surveillance decisions under the provisions of the Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact. First, the Commission recommends to the Council of Ministers the end of the excessive deficit procedure for Portugal. The Portuguese deficit, which exceeded the 3% of GDP threshold in 2001, was below 3% of GDP in both 2002 and 2003, in line with the Council recommendation addressed to Portugal in November 2002. The Portuguese case demonstrates that the excessive deficit procedure can be terminated when Member States take the necessary budgetary consolidation measures. Second, the Commission adopted a report on the budgetary situation of the Netherlands, whose deficit was above the 3% reference value in 2003. Similarly the Commission adopted a report on the budgetary situation of the UK, whose deficit is estimated above the 3% reference value in the 2003-04 financial year. In the case of the UK, the deficit is however expected to return to below 3% of GDP already this year on both calendar and financial year basis. The Economic and Financial Committee will prepare an opinion on the Commission reports within two weeks from their adoption. These two cases demonstrate that surveillance procedures have enough flexibility to take into account temporary situations without necessarily declaring a Member State in an excessive deficit situation if appropriate corrective action is taken in time. Finally, the Commission recommends to the Council to address an early warning to Italy. Italy's budget deficit is forecast to exceed the 3% reference value in 2004 on the basis of current policies. Moreover, the pace of debt reduction in Italy is a source of major concern and coming to a halt. The early warning is the preventive instrument of the Stability and Growth Pact aiming to help the country concerned to take appropriate additional budgetary measures and thereby avoid entering into an excessive deficit position.

    [02] Négociation des valeurs mobilières : la Commission présente sa stratégie et ses priorités en matière de compensation et de règlement- livraison

    La Commission européenne a publié sa seconde communication consultative sur la compensation et le règlement-livraison de titres. Ce document contient un plan d'action exposant les diverses initiatives requises pour créer, aux fins de la négociation des valeurs mobilières dans l'Union européenne, un marché de la compensation et du règlement-livraison intégré, sûr et efficace, qui soit fondé sur l'égalité des conditions de concurrence pour les différents prestataires de ces services. La réalisation de cet objectif sera un processus complexe, qui nécessitera les efforts combinés de ces prestataires, des participants au marché, des régulateurs et des législateurs. La Commission invite donc toutes les parties intéressées à formuler des observations sur l'approche et les mesures spécifiques proposées. Le délai de réponse à la consultation est fixé au 30 juillet 2004.

    [03] EU budget for 2005 : Commission presents its proposal for the enlarged Union

    The European Commission has adopted its proposal for the European 2005 budget (preliminary draft budget). It will be the first budget covering the expenditure for 25 Member States over the whole year. The room for new initiatives in 2005 is rather small as most expenditures are already fixed by prior decisions of the Council and EP. The budget proposal plans an expenditure volume of €109.5 billion. The current Financial Perspectives would provide for a maximum of €114.2 billion. Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer stated : "With the budget 2005 we have to fulfil the Union's commitments fixed in the agenda 2000 decision, the accession treaties and the reform of the agricultural sector. We will increase the support to the new Member States, enhance the Community policies for security and meet our responsibility in the external sector. Nevertheless, we have managed to propose a budget volume which stays again far below the ceilings of the Financial Perspectives and in line with the principle of budgetary discipline."

    [04] Droits des suspects et personnes mises en cause dans des procédures pénales : la Commission présente une proposition de décision cadre

    La Commission européenne a adopté sa première proposition de décision cadre axée sur les droits de la défense dans le domaine de la justice pénale. La proposition, qui va être transmise au Conseil et au Parlement européen, porte sur l'accès des suspects et personnes mises en cause à l'assistance d'un avocat, sur l'accès des personnes mises en cause d'origine étrangère aux services d'un interprète et d'un traducteur, sur la protection des personnes incapables de comprendre ou de suivre la procédure, sur l'assistance consulaire accordée aux détenus étrangers, sur la déclaration des droits ainsi que sur l'évaluation et le suivi. Les droits de la défense sont expressément mentionnés dans les conclusions que le Conseil européen a adoptées à l'issue de la réunion qu'il a tenue à Tampere, en Finlande, en octobre 1999 en vue d'arrêter les modalités de mise en œuvre du traité d'Amsterdam dans le domaine de la justice et des affaires intérieures. L'objectif est de parvenir à une équivalence entre les Etats membres, même si, pour commencer, ce sont des "normes minimales communes" qui seront adoptées, ce qui laissera aux Etats membres une certaine latitude pour garantir, sur cette base, la tenue de procès équitables sur leur territoire.

    [05] Commission fines Compagnie Maritime Belge for abuse of a dominant position in Cewal case

    The European Commission has fined Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) €3.4 million for abusive behaviour committed when part of the now defunct Cewal liner conference. Cewal was an Antwerp-based liner conference grouping CMB and other shipping companies that operated a regular service between northern Europe, on the one hand, and Zaïre and Angola, on the other. In an earlier decision the Commission had fined CMB €9.6 million. The earlier decision was appealed and the appeal was rejected by the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice as to the findings of facts and the establishment of the abuses. However, the Court of Justice annulled the fine on CMB on procedural grounds. The Commission has decided to take a new decision so that the infringements will not remain without sanction and in order to protect the financial interests of the EU.

    [06] Commission appoints senior managers in regional policy and agriculture

    The European Commission has appointed Mr Graham Meadows to the post of Director-General for Regional Policy : his priorities will be the sound and efficient management of the funds for regional development, cohesion, solidarity and pre-accession, as well as the development of policy for economic and social cohesion. Mr Michele Pasca-Raymondo has been appointed to the post of Deputy Director General for Regional policy, in charge of the implementation of regional programmes in the 25 Member States. Furthermore, Mr Lars Hoelgaard has been appointed to the post of Deputy Director General for Agriculture, in charge of the Directorates responsible for the implementation of policies on agriculture markets, communication, quality and institutional relationships. This post is key in the development and implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [07] Rapport annuel de l'office d'aide humanitaire (ECHO) pour 2003 : la Commission demande le respect des principes humanitaires dans la région du Darfour, au Soudan, et annonce l'octroi d'une aide supplémentaire de 10 millions d'€ destinée aux victimes du conflit

    La Commission européenne invite fermement les belligérants s'affrontant dans la région du Darfour, située à l'ouest du Soudan, à garantir au personnel humanitaire un "accès sécurisé", afin qu'il puisse répondre de façon appropriée aux besoins considérables de la population. La Commission a également annoncé l'élaboration par ECHO d'une nouvelle décision d'aide humanitaire s'élevant à 10 millions d'€, afin de porter secours aux victimes d'un conflit qui a fait des milliers de morts et entraîné des déplacements de population massifs. Cette proposition de décision sera soumise prochainement aux Etats membres. S'exprimant à l'occasion du lancement du rapport annuel de l'office d'aide humanitaire de la Commission européenne ("ECHO 2003"), Poul Nielson, le Commissaire européen chargé du développement et de l'aide humanitaire, a rappelé la "situation tragique" dans laquelle se trouve la région du Darfour. Les menaces pesant sur "l'espace humanitaire" sont au cœur du rapport annuel d'ECHO pour cette année.

    [08] Increasing efficiency of EU development assistance : Commission proposes complete untying of aid

    The European Commission has today adopted a proposal for a regulation on further untying of community aid from the EU budget in a bid to boost the effectiveness of its development assistance. The regulation should increase competitive bidding for the supply of goods and services financed by development aid thereby securing the best value for money of the €3.5 billion in annual EU development aid from the EU budget. Untying should furthermore promote regional integration by encouraging suppliers in developing countries to pursue contracts in neighbouring countries and strengthen local ownership by removing constraints on recipient governments' procurement of aid financed goods and services. As a novelty the proposed regulation offers unrestricted access to its programs to suppliers from other donor countries, including the USA and Japan. Access will be based on reciprocity. With the adoption of the regulation the EU will take the lead in the international efforts to end the practice of tying aid to the delivery of supplies from the donor country.

    [09] Justice and Home Affairs Council - analysis of the asylum procedures directive

    The Asylum Procedures Directive will be central to the political discussion at the next JHA Council in Luxembourg on 29 April. The European Commission believes that reaching political agreement on this text, within the five year deadline set by the Treaty, is of the utmost importance to complete the first stage of the Common European Asylum System as called for by the Tampere European Council in 1999. Together with the adoption of the Qualification Directive, the formal adoption of the Asylum Procedures Directive, after re-consultation of the European Parliament, will pave the way for future developments in this area under a new institutional framework which will include co-decision with the European Parliament and qualified majority voting in the Council.

    [10] Réforme de la PCP : création d'une nouvelle agence européenne de contrôle des pêches en vue d'une meilleure application de la réglementation

    La Commission européenne a présenté une proposition pour la création d'une agence communautaire de contrôle des pêches, qui s'inscrit dans le cadre des efforts visant à améliorer le respect de la réglementation à la suite de la réforme de 2002 de la politique commune de la pêche (PCP). L'agence renforcera l'uniformité et l'efficacité de l'application de la réglementation grâce à la mise en commun des moyens communautaires et nationaux de contrôle des activités de pêche et de surveillance des ressources et à la coordination des mesures d'application. Cette coordination opérationnelle permettra de s'attaquer aux carences qui pèsent sur l'application en raison des disparités au niveau des moyens et des priorités des systèmes de contrôle dans les Etats membres. L'agence organisera le déploiement des moyens de contrôle et d'inspection nationaux conformément à une stratégie européenne. Ces tâches et ce mandat seront définis en étroite coopération avec les Etats membres conformément à des objectifs et priorités communautaires. En décembre dernier, le Conseil européen s'était félicité de l'intention de la Commission de proposer la création de l'agence et avait décidé que son siège serait implanté en Espagne.

    [11] Les institutions européennes feront face aux défis de l'élargissement sans explosion des coûts administratifs

    L'élargissement implique bien entendu de nouvelles tâches et défis pour les institutions européennes. Celles-ci s'y sont préparé activement, et ont fait de nombreux efforts pour s'assurer que les coûts administratifs soient compatibles avec la nécessaire rigueur budgétaire.

    [12] Commission and Japan take further steps to facilitate trade in pharmaceutical products

    Under the agreement reached today between the European Commission and Japan, a number of pharmaceutical products imported into one party will circulate in the other without the need for additional testing or certification, thus reducing costs for companies and facilitating trade in the pharmaceutical sector. This agreement will enter into force on 29 May 2004. Total trade volume between the EU and Japan in the sector covered by today's deal mounts to €10,000 million annually.

    [13] EU and Russia confirm the extension of the PCA to the enlarged EU

    At the first meeting of the Permanent Partnership Council on 27 April, Irish Foreign Minister, Brian Cowen, and European External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten, for the European Union, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, for the Russian Federation, signed a protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and the Russian Federation, extending the agreement to the ten new Member States of the enlarged EU on 1 May 2004. They also adopted a joint statement by the EU and the Russian Federation on EU enlargement and EU-Russia relations.

    [14] EU-Andean Community : 7th meeting of the Joint Committee on 28 April 2004

    The 7th meeting of the EU-Andean Community (Comunidad Andina de Naciones, CAN) Joint Committee will take place in Quito on 28 April. The meeting will bring together senior representatives of the 5 CAN member countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela), the European Commission and the EU Council of Ministers. The meeting will provide the first opportunity to review the bi-regional relationship following the signature of the new Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement in Rome in December 2003. Figuring prominently among the issues on the agenda is the preparation of the forthcoming Guadalajara Summit of the EU, Latin American and Caribbean countries on 28 May and, in this context, an exchange of views about the future perspectives of EU-CAN relations. The meeting will also provide the occasion for a joint examination of bilateral trade relations and discuss ongoing and future cooperation projects in support of Andean economic integration and the construction of an Andean Peace zone. The meeting will be co-chaired by Ambassador José Piedrahita Flores representing the Ecuatorian pro-tempore Secretariat of the CAN and Mr Hervé Jouanjean, Deputy Director General for External Relations of the Commission. In addition to its bilateral cooperation programmes with each Andean country, the Commission has allocated €29 million to its 2002-2006 bi-regional cooperation programme with the CAN. In 2004, two new projects are under preparation, in support of the realisation of the Andean internal market and to strengthen public support for the Andean integration process, the oldest on the Latin American subcontinent.

    [15] "WTO and Mercosur deals will boost farm trade with Brazil", Franz Fischler says

    Speaking at a press conference in Brasilia on 27 April, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries addressed two issues of major importance to Brazil and the European Union - the WTO agriculture talks and the EU-Mercosur negotiations. Mr Fischler made clear that in the WTO talks the EU offers Brazil a considerable improvement of market access for farm goods, substantial cuts in trade- distorting farm support. "This means that there is a big prize on offer for Brazil", the Commissioner stressed. On the EU-Mercosur negotiations, Mr Fischler said that the EU stood ready to beef up its offer on agriculture, especially regarding market access of sensitive products such as beef or poultry. "To be very clear. We can only hand over this offer if the Mercosur group matches our high level of ambition. Opening up trade is a two-way street, it is about give and take. If both sides show strong political will and determination a deal should be possible by October", he stressed.

    [16] Les accidents du travail dans l'UE ; diminution des accidents du travail graves et mortels dans l'UE

    Dans l'UE, les accidents du travail graves entraînant plus de 3 jours d'arrêt de travail, et les accidents du travail mortels sont en recul constant. Entre 1994 et 2001, les accidents graves ont diminué de 15% dans l'UE, et les accidents mortels de 31%. En 2001, environ 4,7 millions d'accidents du travail graves ont été dénombrés dans l'UE. Si les accidents n'entraînant aucune absence du travail, ou jusqu'à 3 jours seulement d'arrêt, sont pris en compte, le nombre total estimé d'accidents du travail était d'environ 7,6 millions, soit un accident du travail toutes les 5 secondes.

    [17] Autre matériel diffusé

    Propos liminaires de la conférence de presse de M. Almunia sur la surveillance budgétaire

    Communication on the Commission's strategy and priorities for clearing and settlement Frequently Asked Questions

    Speech by Chris Patten : "The next European Commission" at Konrad Adenauer Foundation Lecture (27/04)

    Speech by Franz Fischler : "Europe's agriculture: where does the worry really lie?" at round table 'Agricultural trade: Moving forward in a complex multilateral and bi-regional trade agenda' (27/04, Brasilia)

    Speech by Chris Patten : "The Western Balkans: The Road to Europe" to German Bundestag, European Affairs Committee (Berlin)

    Speech by Erkki Liikanen : "International competitiveness and innovation through local action" at Dynamic regions - Shannon Development Conference (Limerick)

    Closing remarks by David Byrne at Conference on European Contract Law


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


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