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EXME06 / 7.7

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

07 / 07 / 06

"The bombings in London on 7 July 2005 were an attack against all European citizens, an attack against the very principles on which the EU is founded. Our thoughts today are with the victims and relatives of the London bombings and all victims of terrorism." ... "One year after the London bombings we remember the brutal and senseless loss of lives. And as we express once again our solidarity and compassion with those who still bear the mental and physical scars of that day, the EU will continue its relentless fight against terrorism. It is also a fight to preserve and uphold our most fundamental and cherished values and freedoms."

Les Européens sont bien informés sur la grippe aviaire et ont confiance dans les actions prises par l'UE et les autorités nationales pour combattre cette maladie ; cependant, les connaissances sur les risques encourus sont parfois très insuffisantes, comme le révèle une enquête Eurobaromètre spéciale sur la grippe aviaire publiée aujourd'hui par la Commission européenne et réalisée en mars et avril. La plupart des personnes interrogées (soit un pourcentage allant de 70 à 80% selon le type de mesures) ont correctement fait référence aux mesures spécifiques de surveillance, de lutte et d'éradication prises pour prévenir et endiguer les foyers de grippe aviaire et 70% d'entre elles ont reconnu que les pouvoirs publics de l'UE étaient guidés dans leur action par le souci réel de protéger la santé des citoyens européens. Néanmoins, l'enquête révèle qu'un pourcentage important d'Européens ne connaît pas avec certitude certaines données fondamentales sur la grippe aviaire. A titre d'exemple, 28% ignorent que la grippe aviaire ne peut être transmise par des œufs ou de la viande de volaille quand ces aliments sont bien cuits. La majorité des citoyens de l'UE ont répondu qu'ils n'avaient pas réduit leur consommation de produits à base de volaille et ceux qui ont indiqué l'avoir fait ont précisé qu'ils avaient agi uniquement par précaution.

The European Commission has approved 31 programmes in 19 Member States (Belgium, France, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) to provide information on and to promote agricultural products in the European Union. The total budget of the programmes running between one and three years is €55.3 million, of which the EU will contribute half. In total 23 Member States submitted 79 programme proposals. The selected programmes cover organic products, agricultural quality products (PDO, PGI, TSG), dairy products, meat, wine, fruit and vegetables, plants, honey and potatoes.

In a new round of proceedings against possible infringements of EU telecoms rules, the European Commission has closed another 18 cases as Member States have taken steps to comply with EU rules as required. These steps range from enabling national telecoms regulatory authorities to promote competition, to protecting telephone users' privacy. At the same time, five new cases have been opened, four of which concern the non-conformity of national "must-carry" rules with the EU "Universal Service" Directive in Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels), the Netherlands and Finland. In addition, pending proceedings against three Member States (Finland, Latvia and Poland) have been carried forward. European Court of Justice proceedings are being brought against Poland and Latvia, for failing to ensure the publication of a comprehensive directory and a comprehensive inquiry service. Finally, Finland faces infringement proceedings for failing to ensure that its national telecoms authorities have sufficient powers to regulate the market for terminating fixed to mobile calls.

La Commission européenne s'est félicitée de l'accord intervenu en première lecture du Parlement européen sur sa proposition de règlement visant à renforcer le contrôle des virements dans le but de priver les terroristes et les autres criminels de leurs sources de financement (voir IP/05/1008). Le règlement proposé exigerait que les virements soient accompagnés d'informations sur l'identité du donneur d'ordre (nom, adresse et numéro de compte) afin d'aider les autorités répressives compétentes à détecter les terroristes et autres criminels, à enquêter sur eux et à déterminer l'origine de leurs actifs. Cette proposition, qui s'inscrit dans le cadre du plan d'action de l'Union européenne contre le terrorisme, permettrait d'aligner la politique de l'UE sur les recommandations du groupe d'action financière (GAFI), l'organisme international qui fixe les normes en matière de lutte contre le blanchiment de capitaux et le financement du terrorisme. Le Conseil des ministres devrait voter la proposition en temps utile.

  • Company law and corporate governance : report on consultation on future priorities for Action Plan

The European Commission has published a report on the public consultation on future priorities for the Action Plan on Company Law and Corporate Governance, and on the associated public hearing held on 3 May 2006 (see IP/05/1639). The results of the consultation show clear support for the application of Better Regulation principles to the field of company law and corporate governance. The Commission received 266 contributions to the public consultation, and some 300 stakeholders actively participated in the debates at the public hearing. Overall respondents to the consultation considered the Action Plan to be useful, but they did not consider all measures scheduled for adoption in the medium to long term as priorities. Respondents called for the adoption of enabling legislation as well as of legislation favouring the increased mobility of capital and companies in the EU. The report is available at :

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/company/news/index_en.htm

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en application des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'Etat, une initiative des autorités grecques visant à promouvoir la pénétration et la couverture de la large bande dans les régions du pays dans lesquelles les avantages que procure cette technologie sont encore difficilement accessibles pour les citoyens et les entreprises. La Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que cette aide de €210 millions n'était pas susceptible de créer une distorsion indue de la concurrence dans le marché unique et qu'elle était donc compatible avec les règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'Etat (article 87).

The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty's rules on state aid, the Austrian 'feed-in' tariffs for electricity from renewable sources and the support tariff for combined heat and power installations for public district heating. This decision retroactively authorises the support measures contained in the Austrian Green Electricity Act 2002 and paves the way for the continuation of the support under the new Green Electricity Act recently adopted by the Austrian Parliament. As all the requirements of the Community guidelines for state aid for environmental protection are satisfied, the Commission considers that the aid does not threaten to distort competition in the Single Market.

Une action préparatoire dotée de €2 millions a été mise en place hier pour soutenir des projets en faveur des victimes d'attentats terroristes. Elle vise à promouvoir la dimension européenne des actions de soutien en faveur des victimes ou de sensibilisation du grand public. L'appel à propositions est disponible dès aujourd'hui.

On 10 and 11 July, EU Member States and countries from West, Central and North Africa will meet in Rabat to discuss concrete ways to ensure migration flows are effectively managed and that migration positively contributes to the development process of countries of origin, transit and destination. The Conference is expected to create a partnership between all participants and to adopt an Action Plan containing suggestions for concrete measures in areas such as migration and development, legal migration, illegal migration, police and judicial cooperation and assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings. The Conference should be seen in the context of the comprehensive approach the European Union is developing that aims at better managing migration by working in partnership with third countries and international organisations and bringing together the various policy areas that are relevant to migration policy, including good governance, human rights and development policies.

Le développement, c'est l'éducation, c'est la santé, c'est l'accès à l'eau, c'est les infrastructures. Mais le développement c'est aussi la culture. Donc, aussi le cinéma. La Commission européenne a décidé de financer un nouveau programme UE-ACP d'appui au cinéma et à l'audiovisuel, dans le cadre du 9ème Fonds européen de développement (FED). Les cinéastes et autres professionnels du cinéma et de la télévision bénéficieront des subventions de ce programme pluriannuel, doté de €6,5 millions. Il vise à contribuer au développement et à la structuration des industries cinématographiques et audiovisuelles des pays ACP et à permettre aux cinéastes et autres professionnels du secteur de mieux créer et diffuser leurs propres images. En ce faisant, il contribue à défendre la diversité culturelle, met en valeur les identités culturelles des pays ACP et favorise le dialogue interculturel.

As announced by Commissioner Louis Michel, the European Commission today allocated €34 million in humanitarian aid for vulnerable Palestinian populations in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon. This will enable an urgent and forceful response to the worsening humanitarian situation, including the delivery of food, emergency employment, health and psycho-social support, water and sanitation services, shelter rehabilitation, protection and coordination. These activities will be implemented by UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross. Funds are channelled through the Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).

European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, today congratulated the Romanian authorities on finalising, before accession, the Extended Decentralised Implementation System (EDIS) process. The Commission therefore considers Romania capable to adequately managing ISPA projects independently.

La Commissaire européenne en charge de la politique régionale, Danuta Hübner, a rencontré ce jour MM. Victorin Lurel (Président du Conseil Régional de Guadeloupe et président en 2006 de la Conférence des Présidents des régions ultrapériphériques), Pierre Vergès (Président du Conseil Régional de la Réunion), Alfred Marie Jeanne (Président du Conseil Régional de Martinique), Antoine Karam (Président du Conseil Régional de Guyane), Adan Martin (Président du Gouvernement régional des Canaries), Brazão de Castro (Directeur général des affaires européennes de la Région de Madère) et Vasco Cordeiro (Secrétaire général de la présidence du Gouvernement régional des Açores).

  • Stavros Dimas in Serbia

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will visit Serbia on 9-10 July for talks with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and other government ministers. He will also represent the Commission at the unveiling and consecration of a monument to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Serbian physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla, a pioneer in the field of electricity. The meeting with Prime Minister Kostunica will focus on EU-Serbia cooperation on environmental issues, which is not affected by the current suspension of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. A joint press conference will take place at 10h30 after the meeting. Commissioner Dimas will also hold talks with the Minister for Science and Environment, Aleksandar Popovic, and the Minister for Mining and Energy, Radomir Naumov.

European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will meet with top officials of key European and Russian energy companies in the European Business Leaders Convention that is taking place today in St. Petersburg. The meeting will be attended by the Finish Prime Minister, President of the EU Council Matti Vanhanen. "Now that the energy relations between the EU and Russia are on the top of the agenda, I consider as extremely crucial that representatives of the respective industries from both sides discuss at the same table their challenges and concerns and thus contribute to deepening of our energy relationship", said Commissioner Piebalgs.

European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has today asked a Brussels conference on the EU-China trade and economic relationship to help shape the Commission's forthcoming strategic review of the EU's trade ties with China. Speaking to representatives from industry, civil society, and trade unions Mandelson asked how Europe and China can ensure that Europe faces up to the Chinese challenge, and that European businesses do not "meet a Chinese wall rather than an open door". He asked: "How do we build bridges with China rather than throwing up protectionist barriers?". Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Yu Guangzhou, also addressed the conference.


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