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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-06-11

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 du 11 juin 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 11 June 2008

  • [01] Commission assesses Belgium's stability programme and Poland's convergence programme; recommends abrogation of EDP for Poland
  • [02] Antitrust: Commission fines sodium chlorate paper bleach producers € 79 million for market sharing and price fixing cartel
  • [03] Aides d'État: la Commission entame une enquête approfondie sur le prêt de 300 millions d'euros consenti Alitalia par l'État italien
  • [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

  • [04] EU27 current account deficit € 23.7 billion
  • [05] Commission clears joint venture between Iberia and ST Aerospace
  • [06] Commission hosts conference on soil and climate change
  • [07] Call for tender for a project on the value of agricultural production under the EU schemes for PDO and PGI
  • [08] Conférence des donateurs pour le Kosovo du 11 juillet
  • [09] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-06-11 Reference: MEX/08/0611 Date: 11/06/2008 EXME08 / 11.06

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    11/06/08


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission du 11 juin 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 11 June 2008

    [01] Commission assesses Belgium's stability programme and Poland's convergence programme; recommends abrogation of EDP for Poland

    The European Commission today assessed the updated stability programme of Belgium and the updated convergence programme of Poland. Belgium is encouraged to meet its objective of a balanced budget in 2008 and achieve its medium-term objective (MTO) of a general government surplus of 0.5% of GDP in structural terms by 2009. Although it has reduced government debt substantially over the past 15 years, Belgium remains at medium risk as regards the long-term sustainability of public finances, which needs to be addressed by achieving high structural primary surpluses as well as by implementing structural reforms. In Poland, the government deficit was reduced significantly below the reference value of 3% of GDP in 2007 and is projected to remain below this ceiling also in 2008 and 2009. For this reason, the European Commission recommends that the Council abrogate the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) for Poland. However, progress towards the achievement of the MTO envisaged in the convergence programme, a structural deficit of 1% of GDP, is too slow given the favourable growth conditions. Poland is therefore encouraged to strengthen the pace of its budgetary consolidation in 2008 and beyond, which should also help containing inflationary pressures. Poland remains at low risk as regards the long-term sustainability of public finances.

    [02] Antitrust: Commission fines sodium chlorate paper bleach producers € 79 million for market sharing and price fixing cartel

    The European Commission has imposed fines, totalling € 79 070 000, on four groups of companies for allocating sales volumes and fixing prices for sodium chlorate, an oxidizing agent used mainly for bleaching in the pulp and paper industry, in violation of the ban on cartels and restrictive business practices in the EC Treaty (Article 81) and the EEA Agreement (Article 53). The companies concerned are EKA Chemicals, Akzo Nobel, Finnish Chemicals, Erikem Luxembourg, Arkema France, Elf Aquitaine, Aragonesas Industrias y Energia and Uralita. Between late 1994 and 2000, these companies fixed prices and allocated markets through a series of meetings and other illicit contacts. Akzo Nobel and its subsidiary EKA Chemicals received full immunity from fines under the Commission’s 2002 Leniency Programme (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/02/247&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/02/247 and <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/02/23&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">MEMO/02/23), as they were first to provide information about the cartel. Finnish Chemicals' fine is reduced by 50% because it co-operated with the investigation. The fine imposed on Arkema France was increased by 90%, as the company is a repeat offender (condemned for three previous cartels before this one).

    [03] Aides d'État: la Commission entame une enquête approfondie sur le prêt de 300 millions d'euros consenti Alitalia par l'État italien

    La Commission européenne a décidé d’ouvrir une enquête approfondie afin de vérifier la compatibilité avec les règles communautaires en matière d’aides d’État du prêt consenti Alitalia par l'État italien. À ce stade, la Commission estime que ce prêt, que la compagnie italienne a la faculté d'imputer sur ses capitaux propres, pourrait constituer une aide incompatible avec le marché commun. L'enquête permettra l’ensemble des parties intéressées de présenter leurs observations.

    [II] Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [04] EU27 current account deficit € 23.7 billion

    The EU27 external current account recorded a deficit of € 23.7 billion in the first quarter of 2008, compared with a deficit of € 30.4 billion in the first quarter of 2007 and a deficit of € 2.8 bn in the fourth quarter of 2007. In the first quarter of 2008, the EU27 external balance of trade in services recorded a surplus of € 16.3 billion, compared with a surplus of € 18.9 billion in the first quarter of 2007 and a surplus of € 21.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. These provisional data, issued by Eurostat, will be subject to revision.

    [05] Commission clears joint venture between Iberia and ST Aerospace

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of a newly created company, Madrid Aerospace Services, SL of Spain, by way of a joint venture between Iberia Lineas Aereas de España, SA (Iberia) of Spain and Singapore Technologies Aerospace, Ltd (ST Aerospace) of Singapore. Iberia provides air transport of passengers and cargo, as well as aircraft maintenance and other complementary activities. ST Aerospace provides airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul (‘MRO’) with regard to regional and military aircraft, as well as B737NG and MD80/90 aircraft. The joint venture will provide MRO services for Airbus landing gears. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [06] Commission hosts conference on soil and climate change

    The Commission will host a high-level conference in Brussels on Thursday 12th June 2008 on soil and climate change and on the possible role of soil management in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The conference aims to inform the debate at European level on the best course of action for supporting the Soil Thematic Strategy and its accompanying legislative proposal adopted by the European Commission in September 2006. The conference will be opened by Mr Dimas and will see the participation of leading scientists and researchers as well as Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the Council of Ministers, and other key players.

    [07] Call for tender for a project on the value of agricultural production under the EU schemes for PDO and PGI

    The European Commission has launched a call for tender for a project on the value of agricultural production under the EU schemes for protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI). The aim of this project is to put in place a monitoring tool that provides data on the volume and value of production under the EU schemes for PDO and PGI (Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006). The project shall develop a database that can be made partially available to the public and can easily be updated periodically. The maximum budget attributed to this project is € 100 000. The deadline for submitting offers expires on 1 September 2008. The Commission intends to award the contract before the end of 2008, following the evaluation of the offers received. The contractor will have to carry out the study within 7 months from the signature of the contract. Details are available at:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/tenderdocs/2008/148219/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/agriculture/tenderdocs/2008/148219/index_en.htm

    Rediffusion

    [08] Conférence des donateurs pour le Kosovo du 11 juillet

    Le 11 juillet prochain, la Commission européenne organisera, Bruxelles, une conférence des donateurs pour le Kosovo. Y seront conviés les États membres de l'Union européenne, les grands donateurs internationaux, les institutions financières internationales, de même que des organisations internationales et des agences des Nations unies. Cette conférence aura pour but de collecter les promesses d'aide de donateurs en faveur du développement socio-économique du Kosovo et de créer les conditions propices la croissance, l'investissement et l'emploi au bénéfice de l'ensemble des communautés d'un des territoires les plus démunis du continent européen.

    [09] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Competition: Commission action against cartels – Questions and answers

    • Memo on Telecom Council, Luxembourg, 12 June 2008

    • Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel 'A Health Check for sustainable competitiveness', Paris

    • Speech by Commissioner Hübner 'EU Structural and Cohesion Funds: How to raise the absorption capacity of new Member States', Brussels

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

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    EZW / Gazeley From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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