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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-09-22

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

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] Commission proposes revision of Working Time Directive
  • [02] La Commission autorise une aide d'Etat destinée compenser des coûts échoués au Portugal
  • [03] Commission approves restructuring of British Energy
  • [04] Commission approves Italian public financing of Elba airport
  • [05] Maritime transport : Commission approves continuation of German employment tax scheme
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [06] Erasmus Mundus : 82 universités européennes inaugurent le programme
  • [07] July 2004 : euro-zone external trade surplus €12.6 billion ; €0.7 billion surplus for EU25
  • [08] July 2004 compared to June 2004 : industrial new orders down by 0.6% in euro-zone ; EU25 up by 0.1%
  • [09] EU clears way for Russian dairy exports to EU
  • [10] US request for WTO consultations regarding EU customs procedures
  • [11] Franz Fischler presents track record after ten years in office
  • [12] Consumer organisations meet Commissioners : David Byrne and Pavel Telička address European Consumer Consultative Group
  • [13] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2004-09-22 Reference: MEX/04/0922 Date: 22/09/2004 EXME04 / 22.9

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Général Presse etb

    Communication

    22/09/04


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] Commission proposes revision of Working Time Directive

    The European Commission has, after extensive consultation across Europe, adopted a proposal to update key aspects of the working time directive. It is a balanced package of inter-related measures which retains the principal objective - health & safety of workers - while responding to the needs of the modern European economy. The individual opt-out from the 48 hour week would remain possible, but be subject to stricter conditions to prevent abuse. Member States would be given the possibility to extend the reference period for calculating the 48-hour maximum working week from four months to a year. Time spent on call that is not worked would not be counted as working time, with compensatory rest granted within 72 hours.

    [02] La Commission autorise une aide d'Etat destinée compenser des coûts échoués au Portugal

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas s'opposer l'octroi d'une aide d'Etat destinée compenser les "coûts échoués" de trois fournisseurs d'énergie portugais, EDP, Tejo Energia et Turbogás. En l'espèce, les coûts échoués découlent du fait que les centrales électriques construites avant février 1997 – c'est- -dire avant la libéralisation – ne seront pas suffisamment efficientes pour faire face l'ouverture la concurrence du marché de l'électricité. La Commission admet donc que les investissements réalisés dans ces centrales électriques non rentables constituent une catégorie de coûts échoués, pour lesquels il peut être prouvé que l'inefficience des ces investissements entraîne des pertes réelles après libéralisation. Ces coûts échoués ont déj fait l'objet de plusieurs décisions de la Commission.

    [03] Commission approves restructuring of British Energy

    The European Commission has approved British Energy's wide-ranging restructuring plan, paving the way for the nuclear group' survival. The Commission is satisfied that the new structure of British Energy will ensure that aid is exclusively used for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in the future. According to the approval granted today, State aid given for future decommissioning liabilities may not be used to subsidise competitive activities, such as the operation of a fossil fuel power plant and energy trading with large business customers.

    [04] Commission approves Italian public financing of Elba airport

    The European Commission has approved a financial contribution of €1.6 million by the Region of Tuscany for the development of the Marina di Campo airport on Elba. The grant will be used partly by the Province of Livorno and partly by the airport owner, Aerelba Spa., to finance infrastructure works necessary for the safe and smooth running of the airport and to improve airport security.

    [05] Maritime transport : Commission approves continuation of German employment tax scheme

    The European Commission has authorised Germany to continue financial contributions subsidising shipping companies' non wage labour costs of seafarers from EU Member States for 2004 and 2005. The objective is to safeguard employment of seafarers on board of German merchant ships and to preserve maritime know-how.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [06] Erasmus Mundus : 82 universités européennes inaugurent le programme

    La Commission européenne vient de sélectionner les 19 premiers masters Erasmus Mundus, impliquant 82 universités européennes, qui commenceront fonctionner compter de cette rentrée 2004. Ce programme a pour but de renforcer la coopération européenne et les liens internationaux dans l'enseignement supérieur, via le soutien des cours de master de haute qualité, ainsi qu' la mobilité des étudiants et des universitaires du monde entier, la fois destination ou depuis l'Union européenne. 230 millions d'€ seront consacrés au programme d'ici 2008.

    [07] July 2004 : euro-zone external trade surplus €12.6 billion ; €0.7 billion surplus for EU25

    According to Eurostat, the first estimate for euro-zone trade with the rest of the world in July 2004 was a €12.6 billion surplus, compared with +12.9 billion in July 2003. The June 2004 balance was +9.0 billion, compared with +7.2 billion in June 2003. In July 2004, exports, seasonally adjusted, remained nearly stable (-0.1%) compared to June 2004 while imports increased by 1.3%. The first estimate for July 2004 extra-EU25 trade was a €0.7 billion surplus, compared with +2.2 billion in July 2003. In June 2004 the balance was -1.6 billion, compared with -4.5 billion in June 2003. In July 2004, exports, seasonally adjusted, remained stable compared to June 2004 while imports increased by 1.7%.

    [08] July 2004 compared to June 2004 : industrial new orders down by 0.6% in euro-zone ; EU25 up by 0.1%

    The euro-zone industrial new orders index fell by 0.6% in July 2004 compared with the previous month, Eurostat estimates today. The index fell by 5.3% in June after a rise of 6.9% in May. EU25 new orders increased by 0.1% in July 2004, after a fall of 5.2% in June and a rise of 6.3% in May. In July 2004 compared to July 2003, industrial new orders grew by 5.4% in the euro-zone and by 6.2% in the EU25.

    [09] EU clears way for Russian dairy exports to EU

    The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health representing the Member States approved a European Commission proposal to add three Russian dairies to the list of establishments authorised to export milk and dairy products to the EU. This is the first time Russian dairy producers have been authorised to export to the EU. Approval of the three dairies follows guarantees from the Russian authorities that the establishments comply with the relevant EU food safety rules and an inspection visit of the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office earlier this year.

    [10] US request for WTO consultations regarding EU customs procedures

    Statement by Arancha González, European Spokeswoman for Trade : "The US has today requested WTO consultations concerning certain aspects of the EU customs regime. We regret the US move to bring this issue to the WTO rather than using the bilateral EU-US Joint Customs Cooperation Committee, which would have provided a better forum for resolving these issues. We now hope that any disagreement over this matter can be satisfactorily resolved in consultations and that we do not need to move to litigation. The consultations will give us an opportunity to explain to the US that we fully comply with all WTO rules relating to customs matters."

    [11] Franz Fischler presents track record after ten years in office

    At the occasion of his last appearance before the European Parliament's Agriculture and Fisheries Committees, Franz Fischler presented his record of ten years as European Agriculture Commissioner and his five years as Fisheries Commissioner. During Mr Fischler's time at the Commission, the Common Agricultural policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) have got more than a face lift. These policies have been fundamentally redrawn to adapt them to the politics, the economics and the public mood of the new century – which call for efficiency, solidarity, quality, sustainability and subsidiarity in an increasingly global economy. The document "Achievements in agriculture policy under Commissioner Franz Fischler" is available on the internet at :

    <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/publi/achievements/text_en.pdf">http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/publi/achievements/text_en.pdf

    The document "The Common Fisheries Policy on the way to sustainability" at :

    <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/news_corner/press/inf04_37_en.htm">http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/news_corner/press/inf04_37_en.htm

    + see speeches to EP commissions: SPEECH/04/410 and SPEECH/04/412

    [12] Consumer organisations meet Commissioners : David Byrne and Pavel Telička address European Consumer Consultative Group

    David Byrne, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, will give a farewell address today to the European Consumer Consultative Group (ECCG), the forum that brings together consumer organisations from all 25 EU Member States. Commissioner Byrne will review the progress made since 1999 in making the EU work for consumers and set out the conclusions he has reached on a number of key issues (improving consumer confidence, better and more comparable information for consumers about home loans / mortgages) and outline ideas for future directions. He will also announce the launch of an expert group of consumer representatives on competition policy issues, which are at the core of the current debate on consumer policy. Commissioner Pavel Telička will emphasise the need to do more to inform citizens about their consumer rights under EU law, and draw attention to the Commission’s recent information note on this subject (see MEMO/04/192) as an example of how this could be done. Mr Tlička will also warn consumer organisations that the fragmentation of the consumer movement - particularly in the Member States that joined the EU on 1 May - risks undermining some of its effectiveness. The ECCG is the European Commission’s main forum for engaging with the consumer movement. The Group holds regular exchanges of views with the European Commission on EU policies that impact on consumers and, from time to time, produces written opinions on issues that it, or the Commission, regard as having special importance. For more information about the ECCG, including a list of its members see :

    <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/consumers/cons_org/associations/committ/index_en.htm">http://europa.eu.int/comm/consumers/cons_org/associations/committ/index_en.htm

    [13] Autre matériel diffusé

    Frequently asked questions about working time

    Discours de M. Fischler : "La politique commune de la pêche met le cap sur la durabilité" devant la commission Pêche du PE (21/09)

    Speech by David Byrne : "European consumer protection works for the benefit of citizens" at European Consumer Consultative Group Meeting (!embargo 3 pm!)

    Speech by Pavel Telička : "Principles of consumer protection in the EU" at European Consumer Consultative Group Meeting (! embargo 15h00 !) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


    Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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