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EXME05 / 21.4


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 / 04 / 05

The final countdown to the advent of Europe's own ".eu" internet identity, by the end of 2005, has begun. In the coming days, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) will put the .eu top level domain in the Internet root, further to a 21 March agreement between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the .eu Registry. As from the beginning of 2006, businesses and citizens who register ".eu" internet addresses will be able to benefit from higher visibility within the EU single market and a level playing field for electronic commerce.

Un groupe d'experts mis en place par la Commission européenne pour étudier le rôle éventuel d'un Conseil européen de la recherche (CER) a estimé qu'un instrument paneuropéen de financement de la recherche exploratoire aurait un impact important sur le niveau d'excellence de la recherche en Europe. De l'avis de ces experts, un Conseil européen de la recherche serait sans doute le moyen le plus efficace de corriger les faiblesses actuelles de l'Europe dans la recherche de haute qualité et dans des domaines de recherche nouveaux et en développement rapide. Ce rapport, qui est présenté très peu de temps après la proposition de la Commission prévoyant un tel instrument dans le cadre de ses propositions relatives au programme-cadre de recherche et de développement pour la période 2007-2013, appuie la position adoptée par la Commission à l'égard à ce nouvel organe.

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, the grant of aid by the City of Wrocław to Wrocławskie Przedsiębiorstwo Hala Ludowa Sp. z o.o., the company entrusted with the management of the cultural heritage and exhibition building Hala Ludowa in Wrocław. The subsidy, amounting to around €0.95 million (PLN 3.9 million), will be used to fund essential renovation, conservation and construction works necessary for the preservation of the cultural and historic value of the building. The works, co-financed by the beneficiary, are due to be finished by 2006.

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Czech petroleum company Unipetrol by the Polish company PKN Orlen. The Commission concluded that the operation would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it since the activities of the two companies did not overlap to a significant extent.

At a meeting with representatives of a number of Polish ministries and members of Parliament this morning in Warsaw, Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, welcomed the contribution of Polish stakeholders in the dialogue on fisheries measures for achieving sustainable fisheries in the Baltic. Commissioner Borg said that, even before becoming a Member last May, Poland had already been working with the Union on fisheries management within the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC). That cooperation had intensified since Accession and Polish stakeholders had made a valuable contribution to the extensive consultation process that preceded the tabling of the Commission proposal last March on conservation measures for Baltic fish stocks. Mr Borg arrived in Warsaw for a two-day visit to Poland this morning. He was welcomed by Mr Pilarczyk, Secretary of Sate for Agriculture and Rural Development, who will accompany him throughout the visit. Mr Borg had a meeting with Mr Wojciech Olejniczak, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development before meeting with the representatives of the ministries and Parliament. Commissioner Borg will travel to Gdansk later on today and spend the day in Gdynia later on where a meeting with stakeholders will be held in the afternoon. Mr Borg will also be visiting port facilities, fishing vessels and processing plants.

Today the European Commission has published in the Official Journal of the European Union (C96 of 21.04.05) the list of members of the Advisory Group of the Food chain and Animal and Plant Health. This advisory group formalises the existing consultation between the Commission and relevant stakeholders on its programme of work in the fields of food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, plant health and human nutrition. Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said : " In line with our commitment to good governance, the Commission wants to reinforce the process of informing and consulting representative organisations of consumers and professionals during the preparation, evaluation and revision of food legislation. This Advisory Group will play a key role in the consultation of all representative stakeholders from an early stage and make the consultation process more transparent."

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