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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 06-08-31

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 provides scientific support to Stockholm donors conference for Lebanon
  • [02] Commission clears acquisition of Deli Universal, Deli Mij Holdings, Red River Commodities and Imperial Commodities Corporation by NIBC Principal Investments Equity B.V. and NPM Capital N.V.
  • [03] Bluetongue confirmed in France
  • [04] Rédiffusion
  • [05] Commission reaffirms its 2006 work programme priorities
  • [06] Further strengthening of the EC - Norway energy cooperation
  • [07] Statement of Vice President Frattini on the occasion of the visit of Vice President Fernandez de la Vega
  • [08] Statement by Commissioner Olli Rehn on the UN Security Council consultations on Cyprus August 30, 2006 Midday Express of 2006-08-31 Reference: MEX/06/0831 Date: 31/08/2006 EXME06 / 31.8

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    31/08/06


  • [01] Commission provides scientific support to Stockholm donors conference for Lebanon

    The Commission, through its in-house scientific expertise in DG JRC, and working with the EU Satellite Centre, has provided a preliminary damage assessment and needs assessment for South Lebanon, to assist today's donors conference in Stockholm. Through the use of very high resolution satellite imagery, it is possible to assess needs in areas where access is difficult on the ground, for security reasons, or due to infrastructure damage. Together with assessments done by the Government of Lebanon and UN bodies, it should help provide an objective basis for today's discussion.

    The use of satellite imagery cannot give a complete picture, as it does not show damage to the internal structure of buildings. Nonetheless, it shows that in South Lebanon 1489 buildings, 21 of 29 bridges over the Litani river, 535 sections of road and 545 cultivated fields were destroyed or damaged. In Beirut, 326 residential buildings are either damaged or destroyed in the southern suburbs, of which 269 are located in the cadastral limit Haret Horaik (or Harat Hurayk). All runways of Beirut airport and 6 strategic highway sections are severely damaged.

    An executive summary and example image can be downloaded at: <a href="http://www.jrc.cec.eu.int">www.jrc.cec.eu.int

    [02] Commission clears acquisition of Deli Universal, Deli Mij Holdings, Red River Commodities and Imperial Commodities Corporation by NIBC Principal Investments Equity B.V. and NPM Capital N.V.

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of N.V. Deli Universal (The Netherlands), Deli Mij Holdings Limited (United Kingdom), Red River Commodities Inc. (US) and Imperial Commodities Corporation (US) by NIBC Principal Investments Equity B.V. (“NIBC”, The Netherlands), controlled by J.C. Flowers (“JCF”), and the undertaking NPM Capital N.V. (“NPM”, The Netherlands), controlled by SHV Holdings N.V. (“SHV”). NIBC is an independent private bank involved in corporate finance, risk management and structured investment solutions. SHV trades in food and non- food consumer articles, provides private equity, trades and produces raw materials and undertakes exploration and production of oil and gas. N.V. Deli Universal, Deli Mij Holdings Limited, Red River Commodities, Inc and Imperial Commodities Corporation are all involved in the supply of timber and building materials to the construction industry, supply of construction and decorative materials, garden centres and the supply of speciality agri- products. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [03] Bluetongue confirmed in France

    The European Commission has been informed of an outbreak of bluetongue in France, close to the border with Belgium. The virus was confirmed in cattle in the Ardennes region, within the 150km restriction zone already set up in response to outbreaks in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (see IP/06/1133). The French authorities have established a 20km protection zone around the outbreak, in which a movement ban will apply to all ruminants, other than those who have received veterinary approval for transport for direct slaughter or to another holding within the restriction zone. The Commission will meet with the Chief Veterinary Officers of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg tomorrow, to ensure a fully coordinated response by the Member States to the bluetongue situation. The issue will be addressed again by Member States veterinary experts in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health next week.

    For further information, see:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/bluetongue_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/bluetongue_en.htm

    [04] Rédiffusion

    [05] Commission reaffirms its 2006 work programme priorities

    The European Commission has today adopted its mid-term review of the Commission work programme for 2006. This communication sets out key achievements that the Barroso Commission has delivered on during the first eight months of 2006, and reaffirms the political priorities that will be achieved during the second half of the year. In undertaking its mid-term review, the Commission has shown the flexibility required to react to changing political developments by making a series of amendments to the list of initiatives it will present over the coming months. The Commission has also reaffirmed its commitment to the better regulation agenda with a series of new initiatives to enhance delivery of this approach.

    [06] Further strengthening of the EC - Norway energy cooperation

    Due to State Budget meetings in Oslo, the Energy Dialogue meeting between the EU Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Andris Piebalgs, and the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Odd Roger Enoksen, has now been postponed until 15 September. However, in a telephone conference today, they agreed to further strengthen the energy cooperation by establishing a Joint EC-Norway Energy Cooperation Group. Its main task will be to examine the whole spectrum of energy issues and make concrete proposals to the Ministerial meetings. Both parties reaffirmed their mutual interest for close and comprehensive consultations on key energy issues. Norway is a major exporter of oil and gas to the European Union and an integral part of the EU internal energy market through the European Economic Area Agreement.

    [07] Statement of Vice President Frattini on the occasion of the visit of Vice President Fernandez de la Vega

    Immigration is a cross border issue which can only be effectively addressed in a cross border, European, comprehensive and integrated manner. Flowing from this recognition, the European Commission had decided today to establish, at the highest possible level, a Commissioners Group on Migration Issues, under the coordination of Vice President Franco Frattini, bringing together all policy areas implicated including development and external relations. The Group will meet for the first time before the Tampere JLS Summit of 21/22 September 2006.

    Indeed, the Spanish problem is a European problem, as is the Maltese, the Italian or the Greek. Certain Member States should not carry an excessive burden vis- -vis others only because of their geographical location. All EU external borders must be protected and all EU Member States have to contribute to this objective

    This political consideration forms the basis of the notion that I have called “Solidarity in action”. Over the summer, this notion was put in practice and this is something really innovative for the European Union. It is indeed the first time that countries, such as Finland, provide technical and operational assistance to other Member States which have become the first destination of illegal immigration flows.

    The HERA and the JASON operations are pioneer operations, which surely will have their child diseases and their limitations. Yet they represent a first, concrete answer. Perhaps, it may not be strong enough to face the growing flows of illegal immigrants, but I cannot subscribe to those comments which dismiss this sort of operations as "useless activities". I believe that we should assess, once completed, the results of these operations. This overall evaluation should examine their advantages and disadvantages. The final result would be that, in the future, we will be able to adjust the EU strategy accordingly.

    I fully understand the frustration of the Spanish government and of the Canary Islands regional government. Indeed the citizens of the Canary Islands, of Malta or those of Lampedusa continue to bear the brunt of this dramatic situation and I have to admit that a lasting solution to this thorny problem will require constant efforts and substantial resources. There is no quick fix. Yet I wish to put on the record that the Commission has done and will keep on doing its utmost to rise up to this formidable challenge. We will continue to help, with our political and financial tools, any EU country which requires assistance. I am personally committed to increasing those "tools" and the tangible result of my efforts is the "Solidarity programme", which will start in 2007. In this context I have decided to create, in an unprecedented move, 4 very substantially funded funds which give concrete manifestations to the notion of solidarity in action. I refer to the European Integration Fund, the European Return Fund, the European Refugee fund and the European External Border Management Fund. Spain and others countries affected by extraordinary migration pressure can start benefiting, as of 2007, from these funds in a much more substantial way than they can do now.

    In addition to Commission's initiatives, it is essential that all Member States continue to show their political readiness to share the heavy burden which is now carried by a limited number of Member States, which do their best to protect the EU external borders. Member States have to make available experts, means and financial resources to help those Member States which are adversely affected by illegal immigration flows. I intend to reiterate this call during the first meeting of Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice when they come together in Tampere on 21 September 2006. I think that is the appropriate place and time to jointly address crisis situations which concern or indeed should all of us.

    Finally, we all now and realise that the real solution in addressing the migration pressure from Africa to the EU does not lie in more boats or more money only. Eventually we need to take away the very reasons why people feel compelled to leave their home and embark on an extremely dangerous journey to the EU. In this context I attach great importance to the Rabat Conference of 11 July where some 56 countries of origin, transit and destination came together and agreed on a very concrete Action Plan. At the time I called for a Political Task Force which would ensure that that political momentum would be maintained and that concrete and tangible results would be made possible. I am personally committed to ensuring that such political task force does not remain a nice simple idea but it will be put into practice very soon

    [08] Statement by Commissioner Olli Rehn on the UN Security Council consultations on Cyprus August 30, 2006

    Following the United Nations Security Council consultations yesterday, Olli Rehn, European Commissioner responsible for Enlargement made the following statement:

    "The European Commission fully supports the efforts of the United Nations to further the reunification process in Cyprus.

    Earlier I welcomed the Agreement that was reached on July 8 during the mission of Undersecretary-General Ibrahim Gambari at his meeting with the leaders of the two communities, Tassos Papadopoulos and Mehmet Ali Talat. The agreed set of principles and the decision by the two leaders to commence the Technical Committees on day-to-day issues and the expert bi- communal working groups on substantive issues constitute an important and promising step forward.

    By the end of July, as foreseen, representatives of the two communities had exchanged lists of issues to be discussed. The list must now be finalized without further delay to allow substantive discussions to begin quickly.

    Positive results will benefit both communities directly and will help prepare the ground for the resumption of talks on a comprehensive settlement using the good offices of the UN Secretary-General. Progress in the reunification process in Cyprus is in the interest of the wider international community." From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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