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EXME06 / 21.8

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

21 / 08 / 06

In a letter sent today to the German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur (“BNetzA”), the Commission endorses, with comments, a regulatory measure proposed by BNetzA that will give new market entrants high-speed access to end-customers (or bitstream access) via the broadband networks of Deutsche Telekom. This measure is meant to remedy the position of dominance of Deutsche Telekom on the German broadband market, identified by BNetzA already in December 2005 in agreement with the Commission (see IP/05/1708). The Commission welcomes in particular that the remedy proposed now requires bitstream access regardless of the technology used by Deutsche Telekom (ADSL2, ADSL2+, SDSL and VDSL). In its comments, the Commission asks the German regulator to ensure that the remedy is applied without further delay, in line with EU law, and that final clarifications are made in the interest of legal certainty on the German broadband market.

  • Déclaration du commissaire Louis MICHEL à l’occasion de la signature de l’accord politique global dans le cadre du dialogue intertogolais

Le Commissaire européen en charge de la politique de Développement et de l’Aide Humanitaire, Louis MICHEL, a exprimé sa profonde satisfaction à l’occasion de la signature de l’accord politique global dans le cadre du dialogue intertogolais.

Il a fait la déclaration suivante :

« Je me réjouis vivement de l’aboutissement du dialogue intertogolais et de la signature de cet accord qui ne se limite pas aux seules élections mais traite également des problèmes de fonds qui ont entretenu une situation de crise dans le pays. Il s’agit indiscutablement d'un événement essentiel et d’un pas fondamental vers une réconciliation nationale durable.

Concilier l’ensemble des points de vue n’était pas une chose facile. Je tiens à adresser mes félicitations à tous ceux qui ont participé de près ou de loin à ce succès, en particulier aux participants au dialogue qui ont eu le courage de faire des concessions mutuelles mais également au Président Compaoré dont le travail de facilitation a été essentiel.

Cet accord est un élément essentiel qui devrait permettre rapidement de procéder à la normalisation de la coopération entre le Togo et l'Union européenne. La Commission européenne reste pleinement mobilisée et continuera, en concertation avec ses partenaires de l’Union Africaine et de la CEDEAO, à accompagner le Togo dans ses efforts pour renforcer la démocratie et le respect des droits de l’homme. »

  • Trace amounts of non-authorised GM rice on US market

The European Commission was informed late on Friday, 18 August 2006, by US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns about the detection of trace amounts of non-authorised genetically modified rice in samples taken on the US market from commercial long grain rice. According to the US authorities and based on the information available to them, the presence of these traces do not pose safety concerns, neither in food and feed, nor in the environment.

The European Commission will write today to the US authorities to request urgently more and specific information, in particular in relation to the risk assessment and to the detection method. In addition, the Commission will meet company representatives today to get additional information. Based on this information, a decision on further actions, if necessary, will be taken.

As in the past, the European Commission will ensure that unauthorised GM products do not reach the EU citizen.

  • Foreign Trade in June

The euro area external trade surplus amounted to €2.0 billion in June whereas the EU25 recorded a deficit of €11.8 bn.

The first estimate for the euro area trade balance with the rest of the world in June 2006 gave a €2.0 bn surplus compared with +€6.8 bn in June 2005. The May 2006 balance was -€3.2 bn, compared with +€2.0 bn in May 2005. In June 2006 compared with May 2006, exports and imports, seasonally adjusted, both rose by 0.3%. The first estimate for June 2006 extra-EU25 trade was a deficit of €11.8 bn, compared with -€2.3 bn in June 2005. In May 2006, the balance was -€15.7 bn, compared with -€7.6 bn in May 2005. In June 2006 compared with May 2006, exports, seasonally adjusted, fell by 0.2% while imports rose by 0.7%. These data was released today by Eurostat. See ESTAT 109/206

Rédiffusion

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation Sea-Invest’s proposed acquisition of joint control in EMO-EKOM. Both companies are cargo-handling companies mainly active in the loading, unloading and storage of iron ore and coal. The Commission was initially concerned about horizontal overlaps of the parties’ activities on the market for coal and iron ore terminal services at the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, including Zeeland, the so called ARA range, and therefore opened a detailed inquiry (see IP/06/417). However, the in-depth investigation has shown that in practice there is only very limited competition for the services concerned between the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. Thus the Commission has now concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

Meeting Israel's Minister of Defence, Amir Peretz, in Tel Aviv on Thursday, 17 August, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, urged Israel to bring to an immediate end its blockade of Lebanon so that urgently needed humanitarian aid can reach the people. Louis Michel also met with officers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responsible for IDF's Center for Coordination of Humanitarian Relief (CCHR), to discuss possibilities for expanded and improved access to the victims of the conflict in Southern Lebanon. He called for the respect of the international humanitarian rules that are designed to limit the effects of armed conflict on non-combatants. The Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Paula Lehtomäki, representing the EU Presidency, accompanied Louis Michel on his visit.

  • La Commission Européenne a adopté une « communication des griefs » concernant le projet de fusion entre Suez et Gaz de France

Le 18.8.2006 la Commission Européenne a adopté une « communication des griefs » concernant le projet de fusion entre Suez et Gaz de France.

Ce document, qui présente les résultats préliminaires de l’enquête approfondie menée par la Commission, énonce les problèmes de concurrence identifiés à ce stade par la Commission sur les marchés suivants :

·- Les marchés du gaz en Belgique (négoce, fourniture aux différentes catégories de clients),

- les marchés d’électricité en Belgique (production et marché de gros, négoce, fourniture aux différentes catégories de clients),

·- les marchés de gaz en France (négoce, fourniture aux différentes catégories de clients),

·- le marché des réseaux de chaleur en France.

La communication de griefs est une étape normale dans la procédure d’examen d’une concentration en Phase II. Elle ne reflète que la position provisionnelle de la Commission et ne préjuge pas de l’issue finale du cas.

La Commission prendra une décision définitive en tenant compte des observations des parties sur la communication de griefs ainsi que d’éventuels propositions de remèdes le cas échéant.

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the planned acquisition of the US aerospace spare parts distributor Aviall Inc. by the US aircraft manufacturer the Boeing Company (Boeing). The Commission has concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

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