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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 05-09-05

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] Competition: Commission urges Member States to step up efforts to open professional services to competition
  • [02] EU and Thailand agree on new EU rice import regime
  • [03] Madame Hübner, Commissaire européenne en charge de la Politique régionale, participe la XIème Conférence des Présidents des Régions ultrapériphériques Saint-Denis de La Réunion.
  • [04] Commission clears acquisition of Aviapartner by 3i
  • [05] Rédiffusion
  • [06] EU poised to send assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina after request by the US
  • [07] Keynote address in Cernobbio by Charlie Mc Creevy on the recent internal market developments in Italy and France
  • [08] Statement from Commissioner Mandelson on the state of play in the China Textile Talks
  • [09] Mercosur-EU negotiators meeting at Ministerial Level
  • [10] Autre matériel diffusé
  • [11] Competition in professional services – frequently asked questions
  • [12] Q&A on management of oil reserves
  • [13] Speech by Janez Potocnik on Nuclear Energy for a New Europe 2005
  • [14] Speech by Charlie McCreevy – The Agenda for Europe – Economy and Competitiveness
  • [15] Speech by José Manuel Barroso – Joint Statement of the 8th EU-China Summit
  • [16] Speech by Neelie Kroes - Competition must drive European competitiveness in a global economy Midday Express of 2005-09-05 Reference: MEX/05/0905 Date: 05/09/2005 EXME05 / 05.9

    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

  • [01] Competition: Commission urges Member States to step up efforts to open professional services to competition

    The European Commission’s 2005 Communication on competition in professional services welcomes progress made in some Member States but finds that regulations that seriously restrict competition are still all too common in many countries. These regulations - for example fixing prices or banning advertising - harm consumers and the EU’s competitiveness, and the Commission urges Member States and the professions to support the Lisbon Strategy by stepping up their efforts to modernise the provision of these services.

    [02] EU and Thailand agree on new EU rice import regime

    The European Commission has just presented to the Member States an agreement with Thailand on a new regime for imports of rice into the EU. This brings to a successful conclusion the process of negotiating the move to a new regime with our main trading partners as required under WTO rules. The agreement establishes bound rates for husked rice, semi-milled and milled rice and broken rice. For semi-milled and milled rice, the EU will adjust every six months the applied tariff rate to 175 €/t or 145 €/t based on a comparison of actual imports and a reference import level. It will open a zero duty quota of 13,500 tonnes and allocate 4,313 tonnes to Thailand. For broken rice, the EU will apply a duty of 65 €/t, and will increase the reduced duty quota to 100,000 tonnes.

    [03] Madame Hübner, Commissaire européenne en charge de la Politique régionale, participe la XIème Conférence des Présidents des Régions ultrapériphériques Saint-Denis de La Réunion.

    Danuta Hübner, Commissaire en charge de la Politique régionale et responsable au sein de la Commission européenne de la coordination des questions liées aux régions ultrapériphériques dans l’ensemble des politiques communautaires, est intervenue lors de la XIème Conférence des Présidents des Régions ultrapériphériques qui s’est tenue Saint- Denis de La Réunion les 3 et 4 septembre 2005 sous la présidence de M. Paul Vergès, président du Conseil régional de la Réunion. .

    [04] Commission clears acquisition of Aviapartner by 3i

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Aviapartner N.V. (Aviapartner) of Belgium by the 3i Group Plc (3i) of the UK. 3i is a European venture capitalist which provides management advice and manages investments on behalf of investment funds. 3i holds investments in various sectors of industry and services, such as communications, engineering, food, health, information technology, leisure, media, oil and gas, transport and logistics. Aviapartner is an independent European airport ground-handler. It provides passenger and ramp handling services, cargo services, in-flight catering and cabin maintenance at airports in five European countries (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy). The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [05] Rédiffusion

    [06] EU poised to send assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina after request by the US

    The U.S. has this morning made an official request for emergency assistance to the EC Delegation in Washington and the Presidency through the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This request came after several days of informal contacts and preparatory activities between the U.S., the EC Delegation in Washington and the UK Presidency. The initial needs identified include first aid kits, blankets, water trucks and 500, 000 prepared meals (MREs). Additional ones are being identified and will be communicated to the EU in due course. “We are and have been ready to contribute to the US efforts aimed at alleviating the humanitarian crisis in New Orleans. Having received an official request by the US this morning, the European Community Mechanism for Civil Protection is ready to co- ordinate emergency assistance by different Member States to the area of New Orleans,” said EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas. The European response will be channelled through the Community Civil Protection Mechanism, in close consultation with the UK Presidency. It has been agreed with the Presidency that they would act as the point of contact to the U.S. while the Mechanism would focus on internal coordination. The Mechanism will facilitate internal coordination through its Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) located in DG ENV. The MIC is in contact with Member States and is currently drawing up a preliminary list of materials, teams and equipment based on Member States offers. A large number of Member States (UK, DE, IT, DK, SE, NL, FI, BE) have already made specific offers or are assessing what they can make available (AT, SK, LU, ES), focusing on material, teams and equipment for flood response. Specialist teams from several Member States are on stand-by and ready for immediate deployment. The MIC will also nominate a technical coordinator based on proposals received from Member States. The EU “package” will be discussed and consolidated with the US authorities through the UK Presidency during Sunday and details for delivery discussed.

    [07] Keynote address in Cernobbio by Charlie Mc Creevy on the recent internal market developments in Italy and France

    "It is for policy makers to create the framework for people to take risks in these sectors, principally to ensure that risk taking carries adequate rewards, because there will always be losers as well as winners, assuming there are those who risk their capital to explore new fields of opportunity. Shielding industries from the forces of competition is the surest way to guarantee their decline. As Commissioner for the Internal Market I want a vibrant, open, competitive market place. Recent events in the financial services sector demonstrate the limitations of defending national interests. I am under no illusions but that the protection of national interests takes place in other Member States. The recent cases in Italy just highlight what can occur. We need to learn and draw conclusions. There will now be a long overdue debate on the need for transparent, non discriminatory rules. This will make the forthcoming report from the Commission to the Council of Finance Ministers, on barriers to cross frontier mergers in the banking sector, all the more pertinent. Unfortunately it does not seem to be only financial services where protectionist tendencies are evident. If press reports are to believed then I can envisage difficulties with another major member state which seems to want to protect certain segments of its industry from takeover. I won’t pass judgement until I see the details. But I will vigorously pursue any such measures that are contrary to EU law."

    [08] Statement from Commissioner Mandelson on the state of play in the China Textile Talks

    Discussions are continuing between the Member States and the Commission. I believe there is now broad agreement on the substance of the Commission's regulation proposing action to unblock imports held in customs. The Textiles management Committee is also discussing the nature and objectives of the negotiation with China on how excess goods are counted against the quota. On this I recognise there are still differences of emphasis and tactics. These can and will be resolved. I do not expect us to reach full agreement this evening. The talks will continue over the weekend and on Monday. It remains my firm position that immediate action should be taken to unblock the goods. This will be in Europe's interest. Every day that they are held costs money for business and Member States. It is unfair to penalise importers in this way. In the meantime, I will fly to China tomorrow and will continue discussions there on Sunday morning. I will pursue the issues vigorously to achieve the best possible outcome, which preserves the interest of Member States and the integrity of the Shanghai Agreement. Member States cannot prescribe in advance the outcome of this negotiation. That would be self-defeating. I urge Member States to move with utmost rapidity to approve the Commission regulation and get the goods released.

    [09] Mercosur-EU negotiators meeting at Ministerial Level

    Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the strategic relationship between Mercosur and the EU and the priority they attach to the conclusion of an ambitious and equitable inter-regional Association Agreement as an instrument to reinforce political, economic and trade relations and to contribute to the reduction of existing socio-economic disparities between the two regions. In line with the previous Lisbon Ministerial meeting, Ministers acknowledged that substantial progress has been made already towards the conclusion of the Association Agreement, including a free trade area in accordance with WTO rules. However, they agreed that more needs to be done to reach the level of ambition that reflects the strategic importance of this Association Agreement. To this end, and recognising the relation between the ongoing Mercosur-EU negotiations and the Doha Development Agenda, Ministers agreed to re-convene again in early 2006 for substantive negotiations at their level. In the meantime, Ministers called for two meetings in November 2005 and February 2006 at co-ordinators level to prepare the ground, exploring ways and means to substantially advance towards an ambitious and balanced outcome taking into account the different levels of development between the two regions. Underlining the importance of the future Association Agreement, which goes well beyond trade into political, economic, social and cultural co-operation, Ministers also defined a number of actions designed to further deepening the strategic dimension of our partnership, including the forthcoming Political Dialogue Meeting at Senior Officials level as well as convening the Third Meeting of the Cooperation Council and an event to be organised in early 2006 to consult the private sector and bring together representative members of the business community.

    [10] Autre matériel diffusé

    [11] Competition in professional services – frequently asked questions

    [12] Q&A on management of oil reserves

    [13] Speech by Janez Potocnik on Nuclear Energy for a New Europe 2005

    [14] Speech by Charlie McCreevy – The Agenda for Europe – Economy and Competitiveness

    [15] Speech by José Manuel Barroso – Joint Statement of the 8th EU-China Summit

    [16] Speech by Neelie Kroes - Competition must drive European competitiveness in a global economy

    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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