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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-06-01

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 launches five-year strategy to boost the digital economy
  • [02] 2007 to be "European Year of Equal Opportunities for All"
  • [03] Public Finances in 2005 : implementation of sound policies in line with the reformed Stability and Growth Pact is key
  • [04] Restructuring of Polish shipyards under Commission scrutiny
  • [05] Commission endorses public funding to bridge broadband communications gap in Wales
  • [06] La Commission approuve le nouveau régime français d'aides fiscales la reprise d'entreprises industrielles en difficulté
  • [07] Commission approves restructuring of Spanish public military shipyards
  • [08] Commission opens formal investigation into envisaged sale of the Tote
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [09] SIS II : la Commission présente un ensemble de propositions visant étendre l'espace Schengen aux nouveaux Etats membres
  • [10] High-speed internet connections growing fast, say Commission figures
  • [11] Günter Verheugen outlines new strategy for pharmaceutical industry
  • [12] Commission clears acquisition of Chariot by Barclays and IVECO
  • [13] Commission clears acquisition of Bekaert by CVC and Gilde
  • [14] Commission indicator forecasts euro area quarterly GDP growth of 0.1% to 0.5% for the second quarter of 2005 and 0.2% to 0.6% for the third quarter
  • [15] April 2005 : Euro-zone and EU25 unemployment stable at 8.9%
  • [16] Premières estimations pour le premier trimestre 2005 : le PIB de la zone euro et celui de l'UE25 en hausse de 0,5% ; +1,3% et +1,6% respectivement par rapport au premier trimestre 2004
  • [17] Louis Michel to participate in the Summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
  • [18] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2005-06-01 Reference: MEX/05/0601 Date: 01/06/2005 EXME05 / 1.6

    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

    01/06/05


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

    [01] Commission launches five-year strategy to boost the digital economy

    The European Commission has adopted the initiative "i2010: European Information Society 2010" to foster growth and jobs in the information society and media industries. i2010 is a comprehensive strategy for modernising and deploying all EU policy instruments to encourage the development of the digital economy : regulatory instruments, research and partnerships with industry. The Commission will in particular promote high- speed and secure broadband networks offering rich and diverse content in Europe.

    [02] 2007 to be "European Year of Equal Opportunities for All"

    The European Commission has designated 2007 as 'European Year of Equal Opportunities for All' as part of a concerted effort to promote equality and non-discrimination in the EU. The European Year is the centrepiece of a framework strategy designed to ensure that discrimination is effectively tackled, diversity is celebrated and equal opportunities for all are promoted. The strategy is set out in a Communication adopted by the European Commission today.

    [03] Public Finances in 2005 : implementation of sound policies in line with the reformed Stability and Growth Pact is key

    In its annual report on the state of public finances in the European Union, the European Commission calls on Member States to live up to their renewed commitment to sound budgetary policies and pledges to implement forcefully the reformed Growth and Stability Pact. The report shows that the average budget deficit in the euro area and in the EU25 improved slightly in 2004 after having deteriorated for three consecutive years. But this was largely the result of a reduction in the comparatively higher deficits of the new Member States. Budgetary consolidation must remain a priority to reduce government debts, address the problem of an ageing population and re-direct public resources to growth-enhancing measures.

    [04] Restructuring of Polish shipyards under Commission scrutiny

    The European Commission has decided to open formal inquiries into public support for three shipyards in Gdynia, Gdańsk and Szczecin. The restructuring aid granted to these yards will be scrutinised in the light of EC Treaty rules on state aid, and in particular the rules on state aid to companies in difficulties, in so far as it has been granted after the accession of Poland to the European Union on May 1 2004. The Commission will not examine several measures granted by the Polish authorities before accession.

    [05] Commission endorses public funding to bridge broadband communications gap in Wales

    The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a UK subsidy which aims at bridging the "digital divide" between areas of Wales that currently have broadband communications and those that do not. The measure by the Welsh Assembly Government, which will be co-financed by EU funds, will bring first generation broadband to currently underserved regions of Wales allowing citizens to exploit the benefits of broadband technologies. The Commission concluded that the aid was not likely to cause undue distortion of competition within the Single Market and was therefore compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 87).

    [06] La Commission approuve le nouveau régime français d'aides fiscales la reprise d'entreprises industrielles en difficulté

    La Commission européenne a approuvé le nouveau régime français d'aides fiscales la reprise d'entreprises industrielles en difficulté. La Commission estime que ce régime, qui favorise la création d'emplois lors d'une reprise, satisfait aux règles du Traité CE sur les aides d'Etat, et en particulier les règles en matière d'aides aux régions défavorisées et aux petites et moyennes entreprises.

    [07] Commission approves restructuring of Spanish public military shipyards

    The European Commission has approved, under the terms of the EC Treaty's rules allowing Member States to take measures to protect essential security interests linked to defence industries (Article 296 of the EC Treaty), a reorganisation of the Spanish public military shipyards. These yards were formerly owned by IZAR but have recently been taken over by a new company called Navantia. The solution allows Spain to protect its essential security interests by rescuing its military shipyards, while ensuring that there will be no undue distortion of competition in the market for civil shipbuilding and ship repair. The solution also takes account, to the greatest possible extent, of the social and regional problems involved in this case.

    [08] Commission opens formal investigation into envisaged sale of the Tote

    The European Commission has opened a formal investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules to examine UK Government plans to sell the Tote, a British betting operator, to Racing, a consortium representing the various parts of the UK horseracing sector. The Commission believes that the envisaged sale might involve substantial state aid to Racing and has doubts whether the aid favouring racing and betting activities is necessary and proportionate.

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [09] SIS II : la Commission présente un ensemble de propositions visant étendre l'espace Schengen aux nouveaux Etats membres

    La Commission européenne a présenté ce jour trois propositions relatives l'établissement du système d'information Schengen de deuxième génération (SIS II), qui remplacera le SIS actuel. Le SIS II permettra aux nouveaux Etats membres de participer pleinement l'espace Schengen, de sorte que les voyageurs ne seront plus soumis des contrôles aux frontières entre ces Etats et les autres Etats membres de l'UE. Il soutiendra également les efforts déployés par les services répressifs pour relever les défis majeurs auxquels l'Union européenne est actuellement confrontée en matière de sécurité, et son cadre juridique garantira un niveau élevé de protection aux personnes dont les données seront stockées dans le système.

    [10] High-speed internet connections growing fast, say Commission figures

    Take-up of high-speed "broadband" internet connections is growing fast, according to figures released today by Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. There are now 40 million broadband lines in the EU, an increase of 70% on last year. This represents 45,000 new broadband lines on average per day, up from 29,000 per day in 2003. The surge in broadband take-up, driven by competition among market players to provide consumers with faster, lower-priced internet access, bodes well for the "i2010" strategy, tabled today (see IP/05/643), to boost jobs and growth in the digital economy. New entrants are stepping up investment in broadband infrastructure to build market share. Some European countries are among the top performers in the world while others are lagging behind.

    [11] Günter Verheugen outlines new strategy for pharmaceutical industry

    (! embargo 18h00 !) The European pharmaceutical sector, once the bastion of pharmaceutical innovation, is falling behind the United States in terms of innovation and R&D (research & development) expenditure and is increasingly under threat from newcomers, especially in India and China. Today, in a speech at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Association (EFPIA), European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen has addressed these difficulties and outlined elements of a new Commission industrial strategy for the pharmaceutical sector that goes beyond regulatory interventions by enhancing the environment for innovation and investment, reflecting on ways to give more market flexibility to industry and improving quality of information to patients and patient safety.

    [12] Commission clears acquisition of Chariot by Barclays and IVECO

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of the undertaking IVECO Finance S.p.A. (Chariot) of Italy by Barclays Mercantile Business Finance Limited (BM) of the UK controlled by Barclays Plc (Barclays) of the UK and IVECO S.p.A. of Italy, controlled by the Fiat Group. BM provides asset finance to small, medium and large companies in the UK, France and Germany. BM belongs to Barclays, which is primarily engaged in banking, investment banking and investment management for private and commercial customers. IVECO is part of Fiat, operating in the commercial vehicle sector. Under the proposed transaction, Barclays will acquire joint control of a division of IVECO (IVECO Finance S.p.A.) which provides various financial services in relation to commercial vehicles, including end user finance, dealer finance and contract hire. IVECO will transfer this division to a company named Chariot, established for the purpose of the proposed transaction. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [13] Commission clears acquisition of Bekaert by CVC and Gilde

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Bekaert Fencing NV (Bekaert) of Belgium by CVC Capital Partners Sarl (CVC) of Luxembourg and Gilde Buy-Out Fund II, (Gilde) of the Netherlands, belonging to the Rabobank Group, also of the Netherlands. CVC provides investment advice and manages investments on behalf of investment funds. These investment funds hold controlling investments in a number of companies in various industrial sectors including chemicals, automotive, utilities, manufacturing, retailing and distribution in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Gilde is a specialised investment fund which focuses on investing in medium to large sized companies through management buy-outs/buy-ins in continental Europe. The company is part of the Rabobank Group, a Dutch bank and credit institution active in the financial services sector. Bekaert manufactures and sells steel based fencing systems, industrial mesh and cable and wire. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [14] Commission indicator forecasts euro area quarterly GDP growth of 0.1% to 0.5% for the second quarter of 2005 and 0.2% to 0.6% for the third quarter

    The indicator-based model for quarterly GDP growth for the euro area, developed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, forecasts a range of 0.1% to 0.5% for GDP growth for the second quarter of 2005, revised downwards by 0.1 percentage point compared to the previous release. For the third quarter of 2005, the predicted range for GDP growth is 0.2% to 0.6%, unchanged compared to the previous release.

    [15] April 2005 : Euro-zone and EU25 unemployment stable at 8.9%

    Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment stood at 8.9% in April 2005, unchanged compared to March, reports Eurostat. It was also 8.9% in April 2004. The EU25 unemployment rate was 8.9% in April 2005, unchanged compared to March. It was 9.0% in April 2004. Eurostat estimates that, in April 2005, 13.0 million men and women were unemployed in the euro-zone and 19.3 million in the EU25. In April 2005, the US unemployment rate was 5.2% and the Japanese rate was 4.4%.

    [16] Premières estimations pour le premier trimestre 2005 : le PIB de la zone euro et celui de l'UE25 en hausse de 0,5% ; +1,3% et +1,6% respectivement par rapport au premier trimestre 2004

    Au cours du premier trimestre 2005, le PIB de la zone euro et celui de l'UE25 ont augmenté de 0,5% par rapport au trimestre précédent, selon les premières estimations publiées par Eurostat. Au cours du quatrième trimestre 2004, les taux avaient été de +0,2% dans la zone euro et de +0, 3% dans l'UE25. En comparaison avec le premier trimestre 2004, le PIB de la zone euro a enregistré une croissance de 1,3% et celui de l'UE25 de 1,6%, contre respectivement +1,5% et +1,9% au trimestre précédent.

    [17] Louis Michel to participate in the Summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

    The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, will participate in the 10th Summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, on the 2nd and 3rd June. Commissioner Michel will seize the opportunity to stress the added value that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) can bring to regional integration and to helping Africa gradually integrate into the global trading system.

    [18] Autre matériel diffusé

    i2010 - A European Information Society for growth and employment

    Broadband access in the EU: situation at 1 January 2005

    Schengen: from SIS to SIS II

    New industrial strategy for the pharmaceutical sector (! embargo 18h00 !)

    Speech by Günter Verheugen : "Future Post-G10/Pharmaceutical Strategy" at annual meeting of European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Association (EFPIA) (! embargo 18h00 !)

    Statement by Peter Mandelson on Boeing, Airbus and the WTO (31/05)

    Speech by Stavros Dimas : "Climate change: the urgency of the problem" at opening debate of Green Week (31/05) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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