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EXME04 / 21.12

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Général Presse et Communication

21 / 12 / 04

The EU and most individual Member States should be able to achieve their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol on the basis of policies, measures and third-country projects currently planned, a progress report just adopted by the European Commission concludes. The EU-15 has committed itself to reducing emissions by 8% from 1990 levels by 2008-2012, while most of the new Member States have individual reduction targets of 8% (6% for Hungary and Poland) under the Protocol. By 2002 emissions had been reduced by 2.9% in the EU-15 and by 9.0% in the EU-25. The latest emission projections from Member States suggest that a combination of existing domestic policies and measures, additional policies and measures which are already in an advanced state of planning, and emission credits gained through the Protocol's project-based mechanisms will deliver a total EU-15 emissions cut of 8.6% by 2010. This is despite the fact that some EU-15 Member States are projected to have emissions in 2010 exceeding their legally-binding targets. All new Member States with targets are on track to meet their Kyoto Protocol targets on the basis of existing and additional policies and measures.

Today the European Commission adopted the final piece of legislation foreseen under the Emissions Trading Directive, in preparation for the innovative EU greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme to begin on 1 January 2005. This Regulation lays the foundation for an electronic registries system that will keep track of the ownership of emission allowances as they change hands in the market. The emissions trading scheme is one of the key policies and measures developed under the European Climate Change Programme to ensure that the European Union and Member States limit or reduce emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases in line with their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

The European Commission welcomed the swift political agreement reached by the Environment Council on a proposed new Directive on batteries and accumulators. The Directive aims at collecting and recycling all waste batteries and at preventing their incineration and disposal. Waste batteries can cause environmental and health problems due to the heavy metals that they contain. This agreement includes the setting of binding collection and recycling targets, and a partial ban on portable (ie consumer) cadmium batteries.

  • New Animal Health Strategy announced by Markos Kyprianou

A new EU Animal Health Strategy to improve the prevention and control of animal disease in the EU was announced today by European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou at the Agriculture Council. The Commission plans to propose a Communication in 2007 setting out actions for 2007-13. Mr Kyprianou said : "The devastating social and economic consequences of diseases like foot-and-mouth disease or avian influenza demonstrate the importance of a strong and effective animal health policy at EU level. The Commission intends to develop a new and improved animal health strategy for the EU, to go beyond what has already been achieved with the existing animal health policy." Animal disease outbreaks are costly and there are also ethical issues related to the mass slaughter of animals when controlling an outbreak. Added to this, there is growing concern about the potential impact of certain animal diseases on human health. A disease like avian influenza might even lead to a worldwide pandemic. The new EU animal health strategy therefore aims to develop the policy of disease prevention, make emergency vaccination a more viable option, simplify the legislation and make better use of financial resources. The existing EU animal health policy will soon undergo an external evaluation. Animal health policy at the EU level plays a key role in facilitating the trade in animals and animal products, ensuring food safety, preventing the transmission of animal diseases to humans and providing financial support for the control and eradication of many serious diseases. For further information:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/strategy/index_en.htm

The European Commission today committed €20 million to support the EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which aims to combat illegal logging and related trade. The Commission will support international and non-governmental organisations and the private sector, through a range of innovative pilot activities, to promote governance reform in countries affected by illegal logging and to facilitate trade in legally harvested timber. The release of €20 million to support the FLEGT initiative forms part of a new commitment of more than €60 million for projects to support the conservation and sustainable management of forests in developing countries.

  • Commission clears acquisition of SEA by Bridgepoint

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Italian company SEA (Società Europea Autocaravan S.p.A) by newly created company SIX, controlled by UK company Bridgepoint. Bridgepoint is active in the private equity management business and controls a number of private equity funds, including Bridgepoint Europe II which will, through SIX, acquire control of SEA. SEA designs, produces, sells and rents caravans. It is active only in the European Union. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of CBR Group by Apax and Cinven

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of a number of undertakings belonging to the CBR Group (Germany) by Apax Euope, based in the Channel Islands, and UK company Cinven. (On 5th November 2004 the Commission approved the acquisition of the CBR Group by Cinven.) Apax Europe is a financial investment fund which belongs to the pan-European group of Apax investment funds, and is ultimately controlled by The Hirzell Trust (Guernsey, Channel Islands). Cinven is a private equity business, providing investment management advice and services to a number of investments funds, including pension funds. The CBR Group is active in the design and wholesale distribution of women's clothing. The CBR Group has no production facilities or retail operations of its own. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

D'après les premières estimations pour le mois d'octobre 2004, la zone euro a réalisé un excédent du commerce extérieur de €5,5 milliards avec le reste du monde, contre +9,1 milliards en octobre 2003. Le solde enregistré au mois de septembre 2004 était de +2,5 milliards, contre +8,5 milliards en septembre 2003. En octobre 2004, les exportations, corrigées des variations saisonnières, ont fléchi de 0,4% par rapport à septembre 2004, tandis que les importations ont augmenté de 1,0%. Les premières estimations du solde des échanges extra-UE25 pour le mois d'octobre 2004 indiquent un déficit de €7,1 milliards, contre -2,4 milliards en octobre 2003. Au mois de septembre 2004, le solde était de -7,7 milliards, contre -3,9 milliards en septembre 2003. En octobre 2004, les exportations, corrigées des variations saisonnières, ont diminué de 1,2% par rapport à septembre 2004, alors que les importations ont augmenté de 0,8%. Ces données sont publiées aujourd'hui par Eurostat.

La Commission européenne a décidé de saisir la Cour de justice, au titre de l'article 226 du Traité CE, au sujet de la législation allemande relative à l'exercice de la psychothérapie dans le cadre de la sécurité sociale. Elle saisira la Cour également contre le Luxembourg en raison du contrôle linguistique qu'il a introduit pour l'établissement des avocats, ce qui est incompatible avec la directive 98/5/CE, qui permet à un avocat de s'établir dans un autre Etat membre et de pratiquer le droit du pays d'accueil.

The European Commission has decided to refer Spain, Ireland and Portugal to the European Court of Justice for failure to implement fully into national legislation the public lending right provided for by Directive 92/100/EEC on rental right and on certain rights related to copyright. Portugal is also to be referred to the Court for failure to implement correctly the rental right set out in the same Directive. The Directive aims to ensure that the rights of authors and others who create cultural products are protected throughout the European Union when their works are lent or rented and thus that their ability and incentive to create is maintained (see IP/02/1303).

La Commission européenne a entrepris des actions afin de mettre fin à des entraves à la liberté d'établissement et à la libre circulation des services dans quatre Etats membres. Elle a décidé de traduire devant la Cour de Justice européenne l'Italie et le Luxembourg pour ne pas s'être mis en conformité avec l'arrêt de la Cour qui en 2003 avait censuré leur législation respective en matière d'agents de brevet : la Commission demande ainsi l'application de sanctions pécuniaires à l'égard de ces deux Etats membres. La Commission a aussi décidé de traduire l'Italie devant la Cour en raison de la législation nationale relative à l'activité de recouvrement extra judiciaire des crédits. La Commission saisira la Cour à l'encontre de l'Autriche, au motif de sa réglementation sur les inspections périodiques des appareils à pression (par exemple, les chaudières). La Commission a également demandé formellement à deux Etats membres de modifier leurs respectives législations : la France, pour son régime d'attribution des concessions hydroélectriques et l'Italie, en raison de sa législation en matière de services de sécurité. Ces demandes prennent la forme d'avis motivés, la deuxième étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue à l'article 226 du traité CE : faute de réponse satisfaisante dans un délai de deux mois, la Commission peut saisir la Cour.


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