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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-02-20

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 invites social partners to negotiate about European Works Councils
  • [02] Euro-Mediterranean Conference to place Financial and Banking Services at the Heart of Economic Transition
  • [03] EU-Afghanistan Troika: Ferrero-Waldner confirms long term commitment to Afghanistan
  • [04] Cohesion policy and energy challenge: boosting results in EU regions
  • [05] Connecting the European Union & Asia: Internet for global research
  • [06] Commissioner Piebalgs meets the first Chairman of the High Level Group on Nuclear Safety and Waste Management
  • [07] A new Head of Representation in the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [08] Joe Borg attends conference on fisheries control in Scotland
  • [09] WHO-Tobacco-Convention: negotiating anti-smuggling protocol.
  • [10] Commission assesses stability programmes of Ireland, Greece and Spain
  • [11] Commission assesses convergence programmes of Denmark and Lithuania
  • [12] Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Reuters by Thomson subject to conditions
  • [13] Statement by Commissioner Louis Michel on announcement by President Fidel Castro
  • [14] Protection of the EU's Financial Interests: Commission welcomes European Parliament’s call for increased cooperation by Member States
  • [15] Commission adopts Action Plan to strengthen supervision under shared management for structural actions
  • [16] Customs: Commissioner Kovács welcomes adoption by the Council and the Parliament of the modernised Community Customs Code Midday Express of 2008-02-20 Reference: MEX/08/0220 Date: 20/02/2008 EXME08 / 20.02

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    20/02/08


  • [01] Commission invites social partners to negotiate about European Works Councils

    The European Commission today invited trade unions' and employers' representatives to help improve the role of European Works Councils in consulting and informing employees. European Works Councils (EWCs) currently operate in 820 major companies across the EU, covering some 14.5 million employees. Today's second stage consultation gives social partners the opportunity to start negotiations on updating and improving the way the bodies operate, with a view to revising the existing legislation.

    [02] Euro-Mediterranean Conference to place Financial and Banking Services at the Heart of Economic Transition

    Leading government ministers, bank governors, international financial personnel, academics and media from both sides of the Mediterranean will meet in Brussels on 20 and 21 February for the 12th Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Economic Transition. These annual conferences are a regular part of the economic dialogue between the EU and its Mediterranean partners and strive to foster a better understanding of the policies and issues related to the process of economic transition in the Mediterranean partner countries. This year’s conference will examine the role of financial and banking services and their pivotal position at the heart of economic transition.

    [03] EU-Afghanistan Troika: Ferrero-Waldner confirms long term commitment to Afghanistan

    The Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner will attend the EU-Afghanistan Ministerial Troika meeting together with Slovene Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel currently holding the EU Presidency, French State Secretary Rama Yade and Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Spanta in Ljubljana on 21st February. The agenda includes state of play of the Afghanistan Compact, the EU contribution to improving law and order in the country, counter-narcotics, and regional developments. The Commission has made available a package worth €610 million for Afghanistan for 2007-2010. The package focuses on three key priority areas: reform of the justice sector; rural development including alternatives to poppy production; and health. The Commission remains one of the top donors in Afghanistan and one of the very few giving a multi-year commitment.

    [04] Cohesion policy and energy challenge: boosting results in EU regions

    Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, today explained how Cohesion policy for 2007-2013 will contribute to developing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency in the EU's regions. Nearly €9 billion will be invested in these sectors. The Commission will also act as facilitator by supporting Member States in making timely energy investments, and by promoting the sharing of know-how among regions.

    [05] Connecting the European Union & Asia: Internet for global research

    The European Union (EU) is investing in EU-Asia research cooperation. The European Commission will provide a further €12 million in funding for the Asia wide Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN). TEIN currently enables 10 countries in Asia and Pacific to use large-scale internet connection to carry out research projects globally. With the new budget and an additional €6million coming from Asian partners, TEIN will be able to operate until 2011 with improved capacity in a greater number of countries.

    [06] Commissioner Piebalgs meets the first Chairman of the High Level Group on Nuclear Safety and Waste Management

    Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs met with the first Chairman of the European High Level Group (HLG) on Nuclear Safety and Waste Management, Mr Andrej Stritar, in Brussels today. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss nuclear safety and waste management issues, particularly the establishment of common European rules in the field, ahead of the HLG's third meeting in April.

    [07] A new Head of Representation in the Republic of Cyprus.

    The European Commission has today launched the procedure to detach Ms Androulla Kaminara, a Commission official, as Head of Representation in Cyprus, with effect from 16th April 2008.

    [08] Joe Borg attends conference on fisheries control in Scotland

    Commissioner Joe Borg, will be in Peterhead tomorrow to participate in a two-day conference on fisheries control and compliance organised by the North Sea Regional Advisory Council and the Scottish government with support from the Community Fisheries Control Agency. The Commissioner will give the opening address to the conference tomorrow morning. He will also take part in a question and answer session with delegates at the end of the morning's proceedings. Mr Borg's visit will begin this evening with an informal dinner for participants, hosted by the Provost of Aberdeenshire, Bill Howatson. Early tomorrow morning, he will meet with the heads of the six existing Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) onboard a Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency vessel. Establishing more effective control and developing a culture of compliance are one of the European Commission's political priorities for fisheries in 2008. On Monday, the Slovenian presidency convened an informal meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss fisheries control, and the Commission's plans to table a proposal for a major overhaul of the main regulation governing control under the Common Fisheries Policy later this year. At this meeting, Commissioner Borg said that fostering a culture of compliance is key to sustainable and equitable fisheries in Europe.

    [09] WHO-Tobacco-Convention: negotiating anti-smuggling protocol.

    A senior official of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has been elected chairperson of the new Inter-Governmental Negotiating Body (INB) to produce a protocol to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control during the first meeting of the INB in Geneva from 11th to 15th February. The Protocol, which will be an international treaty, aims to enact world-wide measures to combat illict trade in tobacco products. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the first global health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). It was developed in response to the globalisation of the tobacco epidemic and does not only cover health aspects but also addresses the international problem of illicit trade in tobacco products. For more information please visit the WHO website on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/en/ and the OLAF website at http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/budget/index_en.html. Please see also IP/07/1934.

    Rediffusion

    [10] Commission assesses stability programmes of Ireland, Greece and Spain

    Today the European Commission assessed the updated stability programmes of Ireland, Greece and Spain. Ireland is encouraged to maintain a balanced budget while letting the automatic stabilisers play their role to absorb the slowdown in the residential property sector and a deterioration of the economic outlook in key trading partners. The Greek programme envisages speeding up the reduction of the still large budget deficit, but the MTO of a balanced position in structural terms is not planned to be fully achieved within the programme period. In Spain, the budgetary position is sound with high general government surpluses above the MTO and a relatively low debt ratio. Its challenge is to foster productivity-enhancing expenditure to underpin a smooth adjustment of the economy. With regard to the long-term sustainability of public finances, Spain and Ireland are at medium risk and are invited to take further measures to contain the impact of ageing on spending, while Greece remains at high risk, which calls for continued budgetary consolidation and further reforms of pensions and health care systems.

    [11] Commission assesses convergence programmes of Denmark and Lithuania

    Today the European Commission has examined the updated convergence programmes of Denmark and Lithuania. The Danish programme envisages a sound budgetary position throughout the 2007-2010 period with high, although declining, surpluses against the background of weakening cyclical conditions. Still, the medium-term objective (MTO) – a structural surplus between ¾% and 1¾% of GDP – will be fully respected over the programme period. Lithuania's programme aims at fostering macroeconomic stability via a tighter fiscal policy stance. However, given persistent external and domestic pressures, an even tighter fiscal policy would be appropriate. The programme foresees only a gradual improvement of the structural balance towards the MTO – a structural deficit of 1% of GDP – through a back- loaded revenue-based adjustment. Moreover, the budgetary outcomes could be worse than projected in view of optimistic revenue projections and the absence of a binding medium-term budgetary framework. As regards the long- term sustainability of public finances, both Denmark and Lithuania remain at low risk.

    [12] Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Reuters by Thomson subject to conditions

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the UK-based Reuters Group by Thomson Corporation of Canada, subject to conditions and obligations. The Commission’s in- depth investigation, opened in October 2007 (see IP/07/1460), indicated that the concentration, as originally notified, could have led to a substantial impediment of effective competition in several markets of the financial information sector. The parties submitted commitments which have removed the Commission’s competition concerns and are suitable to restore effective competition in the Single Market.

    [13] Statement by Commissioner Louis Michel on announcement by President Fidel Castro

    Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid has taken note of the announcement by President Fidel Castro to step down as President of the Council of Ministers and President of the Council of State of Cuba

    [14] Protection of the EU's Financial Interests: Commission welcomes European Parliament’s call for increased cooperation by Member States

    The European Parliament adopted today a report on the protection of the EU’s financial interests. The European Commission welcomes this document as an important support in the fight against fraud affecting the EU-budget. The report by rapporteur Francesco Musotto highlights the paramount importance of a constructive cooperation between the Member States and the Commission. It stresses the key responsibility of the Member States for the sound management of Community revenue and of expenditure, in particular in the areas of agriculture and structural funds, and including the recovery of unduly spent sums. Finally, the Report requests concrete follow up actions, including measures against certain Member States.

    [15] Commission adopts Action Plan to strengthen supervision under shared management for structural actions

    The Commission has adopted an Action Plan for structural funds to address the Court of Auditors' recommendations on how to improve its supervisory role of management and control systems in Member States for structural actions.

    [16] Customs: Commissioner Kovács welcomes adoption by the Council and the Parliament of the modernised Community Customs Code

    With today's vote in second reading of the European Parliament, a Regulation on a modernised Community Customs Code has been adopted. Commissioner Kovács welcomes the end of the co-decision process to adopt a legal framework for modern European Customs. "Together with the electronic customs initiative (IP/07/627), the modernised Customs Code is part of the Commission's global reform aimed at creating a new electronic customs environment. With today's decision, European Customs step up into the 21st century: Customs will be cheaper and faster and put a particular emphasis on the security and safety of the European citizen." said László Kovács, Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs. "The Community Customs Code dated from the 90's and needed to be modernised to help Member States and traders to face new challenges, such as globalisation and security threats. The modernised Community Customs Code will provide fewer and simpler rules that are adapted to a modern electronic and paperless customs environment. I am therefore very pleased that the Parliament and the Council quickly reached a decision on the Commission's proposal." For more information, see MEMO/08. Background information on the modernised Community Customs Code: IP/07/875

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/community_code/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/general/community_code/index_en.htm

    The modernised Community Customs Code will be available on this web site as soon as it will be published in the Official Journal.

    Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Modernised Community Customs Code – Frequently Asked Questions

    • Speech by Neelie Kroes on "Competition Policy challenges in 2008" at the 100th meeting of the OECD Competition Committee in Pars

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Nokia/Navteq From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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