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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-04-30

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 Council's agreement on common European asylum system
  • [02] La Commission règle l'affaire Marathon avec Gaz de France et Ruhrgas
  • [03] La Commission clôture l'enquête concernant les pratiques d'Interbrew envers les grossistes belges de bière
  • [04] EU improves controls on the transfer of explosives
  • [05] La Commission préconise des actions pour stimuler la compétitivité du secteur des équipements hertziens et de télécommunications
  • [06] Energy taxation : Commission welcomes adoption of Directives granting transitional periods for new Member States
  • [07] EPSO launches competitions for middle-managers from the new Member States
  • [08] Commission clears joint acquisition of Grundig by Turkey's Beko and Britain's Alba
  • [09] April 2004 : economic sentiment in the EU and in the euro area sees strong improvement
  • [10] April 2004 : strong increase in the euro area Business Climate Indicator
  • [11] Estimation rapide - avril 2004 : l'inflation de la zone euro estimée à 2,0%
  • [12] EU concludes new Cooperation Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  • [13] EU-Mexico : adaptation of the Association Agreement in view of enlargement
  • [14] "Big prize on offer for Argentina in WTO and Mercosur farm talks", Franz Fischler says
  • [15] "Agriculture and Enlargement" goes on line
  • [16] Enlargement What's in it for trade ?
  • [17] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express 30/04/2004 TXT: FR ENPDF:DOC:Midday Express 30/04/2004

  • [01] Commission welcomes Council's agreement on common European asylum system

    The Council formally adopted on 29 April the Directive on a common definition of who is a refugee or otherwise requires international protection and the rights and benefits which attach to each status (the Qualification Directive). The Council also reached political agreement on the Asylum Procedures Directive, in which Member States take a common approach to processing asylum applications in the EU. These Directives, together with the other legislative instruments on asylum already adopted by the Council guarantee a minimum level of protection and procedural safeguards in all Member States for those who are genuinely in need of international protection, whilst preventing abuses of asylum applications which undermine the credibility of the system.

    [02] La Commission règle l'affaire Marathon avec Gaz de France et Ruhrgas

    La DG Concurrence de la Commission européenne a décidé de clore son enquête concernant le refus présumé des sociétés gazières française et allemande Gaz de France et Ruhrgas d'accorder l'accès à leurs réseaux de gazoducs à la filiale norvégienne du producteur de gaz américain Marathon. Les deux sociétés ont proposé des engagements destinés à améliorer l'accès des tiers à leurs réseaux de transport de gaz et à permettre aux clients en France et en Allemagne de bénéficier plus effectivement de l'ouverture des marchés gaziers à la concurrence.

    [03] La Commission clôture l'enquête concernant les pratiques d'Interbrew envers les grossistes belges de bière

    La Commission européenne a clôturé son enquête sur les pratiques d'Interbrew envers les grossistes belges de bière. Interbrew a proposé une série d'engagements pour modifier ces pratiques de façon à ce qu'elles ne soient plus anticoncurrentielles. L'enquête de la Commission s'était concentrée sur les pratiques d'Interbrew de vente aux grossistes, incluant une politique de rabais, ainsi que sur un accord de distribution entre Interbrew et un concurrent. Le présent accord fait suite à un arrangement intervenu l'année dernière et portant sur des contrats de fourniture de bière, passés entre Interbrew et des débits de boisson belges comme des cafés ou des restaurants (voir IP/03/545.)

    [04] EU improves controls on the transfer of explosives

    The European Commission has just adopted improved controls on the transfer of explosives between Member States. The controls are contained in a Commission Decision harmonising the information required, and procedures to be followed, when a company is seeking to move explosives between Member States. It should make it easier to trace explosives and to check that their movement has been approved by national authorities.

    [05] La Commission préconise des actions pour stimuler la compétitivité du secteur des équipements hertziens et de télécommunications

    Un nouveau rapport de la Commission européenne confirme que la directive concernant les équipements hertziens et les équipements terminaux de télécommunications (directive R&TTE) a bien atteint ses objectifs. Ce texte de 1999 contenait des règles harmonisées pour le secteur des équipements terminaux, qui regroupe de multiples produits allant des téléphones portables aux télécommandes de voiture. La directive poursuivait un double objectif : supprimer des réglementations nationales divergentes qui empêchaient la création d'un marché unique européen et assurer un niveau élevé de sécurité et de protection de la santé. Toutefois, afin de consolider la position bien établie dont jouissent les fabricants européens dans le domaine des infrastructures de réseau et de la téléphonie mobile, la Commission recommande aujourd'hui une analyse technique de la législation. Celle-ci est nécessaire pour déterminer si des modifications sont à apporter aux règles en vigueur afin de tenir compte de l'évolution technologique et d'une concurrence internationale croissante.

    [06] Energy taxation : Commission welcomes adoption of Directives granting transitional periods for new Member States

    The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by the EU's Council of Ministers of amendments to the Energy Tax Directive (see IP/03/1456) so as to allow the new Member States temporarily to apply excise duty exemptions or lower rates of duty than the EU-wide minimum rates normally required on all energy products (mineral oils, coal, natural gas) and electricity. The transitional arrangements agreed are along the lines of those allowed to existing Member States. In particular, they are strictly limited in time and none will last longer than 2012 ; they are proportionate to the effective problems that they are designed to address ; and, where relevant, they include a progressive alignment towards the relevant EU minimum rates. The exemptions will come into force on 1 May 2004, the date by which the accession countries will be required to apply the Energy Tax Directive.

    [07] EPSO launches competitions for middle-managers from the new Member States

    Four competitions have been launched today aimed at finding 160 successful candidates to fill posts as Heads of Unit in the European Institutions. Apart from one earlier competition for Heads of Linguistic Divisions, these are the first middle-management competitions in the current EU enlargement programme and are aimed at graduates with professional experience. For the first time in EU open competitions, assessment centres will be used to help the Selection Boards evaluate the management skills of candidates, over and above their specialised qualifications and knowledge of EU policies.

    [08] Commission clears joint acquisition of Grundig by Turkey's Beko and Britain's Alba

    The European Commission has approved, under the Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture between Turkish television maker Beko Elektronik and Alba Plc to acquire Grundig's business involved in the development and marketing of consumer electronics products. The notified deal, which does not concern Grundig's production assets, does not raise any competition problems in the European television market.

    [09] April 2004 : economic sentiment in the EU and in the euro area sees strong improvement

    Following its small increase in March, the economic sentiment indicator (ESI) for the EU rose by a solid 0.4 points in April, reaching a level of 97.2. The increase was even stronger in the euro area, where the indicator went up by 0.5 points and reached a level of 96.6. For both areas, the indicators are now above their long-term averages of 96.4 and 96.2, respectively.

    [10] April 2004 : strong increase in the euro area Business Climate Indicator

    Following its decline in the previous two months, in April the Business Climate Indicator for the euro area climbed by 0.45 points, the highest month-to-month increase ever recorded since 1985. The indicator reached a value of 0.38, which is the highest level in three years. The BCI combines the responses of managers in industry to the questions regarding production trend in the recent past, production expectations, total order books, export order books and stocks of finished products. Its increase in April was driven by positive developments in most components of the indicator.

    [11] Estimation rapide - avril 2004 : l'inflation de la zone euro estimée à 2,0%

    Selon une estimation rapide publiée aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique des Communautés européennes, le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro s'établirait à 2,0% en avril 2004. En mars 2004, le taux était de 1,7%.

    [12] EU concludes new Cooperation Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

    The European Commission welcomes the conclusion of a new Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 29 April 2004 following approval by the European Parliament on 22 April 2004. This Agreement will lead to a significant deepening in relations between Pakistan and the European Community.

    [13] EU-Mexico : adaptation of the Association Agreement in view of enlargement

    The European Union and Mexico signed on Thursday 29 April a protocol adapting the EU-Mexico Association Agreement to the new reality of an enlarged Union of 25 members. The new EU Member States will be incorporated as parties to the EU-Mexico Agreement as from 1 May, from when new Member States and Mexico will grant each other the reciprocal trade preferences established as part of the EU-Mexico free trade area. The protocol was signed by Mr Peter Gunning, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ireland to the EU, and by H.E. Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, Ambassador of Mexico. The European Commission, responsible for the negotiation of the protocol, was represented by Mr Duplá Del Moral, Director for Latin America in the Directorate General for External Relations.

    [14] "Big prize on offer for Argentina in WTO and Mercosur farm talks", Franz Fischler says

    Speaking at a press conference in Buenos Aires on 28 April, Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries made clear that he wanted to push both, the WTO agriculture talks and the EU- Mercosur negotiations. "Both represent a huge trade opportunity for both sides, both will offer Argentina opener markets for agriculture goods, both will create a win-win situation for Europe and Argentina. Contrary to what some believe, one does not exclude the other. On the EU-Mercosur talks, Mr Fischler showed himself confident that improved offers could be exchanged soon. "Europe's ambitions are high, we want an ambitious, substantial and comprehensive agreement with Mercosur. We are prepared to significantly beef up our offer on agriculture. But there is no such a thing as a free lunch. We can only hand over our improved offer if the Mercosur group matches our high level of ambition and puts forward an equally ambitious offer at the same time. Opening up trade is a two way street", he stressed. Regarding the ongoing WTO talks on agriculture, the Commissioner said that there was "a big prize on offer for Argentina". "The EU has offered a considerable improvement of market access for farm goods and substantial cuts in trade-distorting farm support. We are now open to talk about a phasing out of ALL forms of unfair export subsidy tools for products of interest of developing countries, but we are not ready to go it alone", he underlined.

    [15] "Agriculture and Enlargement" goes on line

    Enlargement of the European Union on the 1st of May 2004 with the accession of 10 new Member States will bring a further 4 million farmers into Europe to join forces with the existing 7 million, catering for an internal market without tariff restrictions, export quotas or trade barriers. This enlargement is a historic milestone in the remaking of Europe after centuries of destructive divisions engendered by war and ideological conflict. Europe as a whole will gain from an assured political stability and security, as well as from the expansion of the internal EU market from 380 to 454 million consumers. This larger market will also offer new and important opportunities for the development of European agriculture and of the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP). Two new papers on "Agriculture and Enlargement" and the CAP, along with a broad range of information on the acceding countries' agricultural situation, as well as studies and reports on specific topics and documents relating to the pre-accession period, can be found at the DG Agriculture's website at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/eu25/index_en.htm

    [16] Enlargement What's in it for trade ?

    On 1st May 2004 the European Union welcomes 10 new countries. This historic integration marks the reunification of Western and Eastern Europe and an extension of the EU towards Southern Europe. But, beyond these symbolic achievements, what benefits will enlargement bring as far as trade is concerned ? Give your opinion, ask questions to European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Commissioner Danuta Hübner and confront other people's point of view on our online forum.

    [17] Autre matériel diffusé

    Déclaration du Président Prodi à l'occasion de l'élargissement (pour publication le 1er mai)

    Discours du Président Prodi : "Allargamento dell'Unione e prospettive di crescita" (Trieste)

    Discours du Président Prodi : "Allargamento e lingue" à la Scuola Superiore per Interpreti e Traduttori (Trieste, ! embargo 14h30 !)

    Calendrier du 2 au 9 mai 2004


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


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