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EXME06 / 19.6


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

19 / 09 / 06

La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui le cofinancement de six actions spécifiques dédiées à des situations d'urgence au titre de son programme ARGO 2005/2006, qui seront mises en œuvre en Espagne, à Malte et en Italie. Cette décision est la concrétisation de l'engagement de la Commission de mettre rapidement en œuvre des actions prévues afin d'aider immédiatement et efficacement les Etats membres confrontés au problème de l'immigration clandestine par voie maritime et d'éviter de nouvelles pertes de vies humaines.

The third annual report on the activities of Eurodac was published today by the European Commission. The report gives essential information on patterns of asylum seeking and illegal entry in the EU and shows that 16% of all applications in 2005 were 'multiple applications' - asylum claims where the same person has already made an application in the same country or in another Member State.

  • Commission proposes to introduce definition of driftnets in three regulations

The European Commission adopted today a proposal to amend three Regulations that relate to the use of drift nets by introducing a definition of these nets. The Commission believes that this single definition will simplify and increase transparency in the EU legislation on this fishing gear. In today's proposal, the Commission's definition is as follows "drift net means any gillnet held on the sea surface or at a certain distance below it by floating devices, drifting with the current either independently or with the boat to which it may be attached. It may be equipped with devices aiming to stabilise the net and/or to limit its drifting." The Regulations concerned by this proposal are: the 1997 Regulation on technical measures for the conservation of fisheries resources (No894/97) as amended by Regulation 1239/98, the Regulation on the protection of small cetaceans (No812/2004; IP/04/ 378) and the Regulation on technical measures in the Baltic Sea (No2187/2005). Legislation has to evolve with fishing methods and the extension of the zones it covers as well as with changes in the governance of the Common Fisheries Policy such as the establishment of the Regional Advisory Councils. The initial phasing out of driftnets in fisheries for highly migratory species such as tuna and swordfish leading to the complete ban from 1 January 2002 was made necessary by the incidental catches of protected species such as small cetaceans. In 2004, the Council decided to extend this protection to the Baltic Sea through the introduction of a gradual ban on driftnets, from 1 January 2005 until complete prohibition by January 2008.

La Commission européenne s'est félicitée des résultats de la réunion du groupe de haut niveau "Textile et habillement" organisée hier, qui a permis l'adoption de recommandations sur la future compétitivité du secteur. Le groupe de haut niveau brosse également un tableau prospectif du secteur du textile et de l'habillement jusqu'en 2020. Dans ses principales recommandations, le groupe de haut niveau appelle notamment le secteur à rationaliser ses structures et à devenir plus coopératif, tout en augmentant sa compétitivité et en consacrant une part quelque peu supérieure de son chiffre d'affaires aux exportations. Le tableau esquissé par le groupe de haut niveau reprend les principes de politique industrielle établis dans la communication de la Commission sur la politique industrielle du 5 octobre 2005.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Caudwell by Providence

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Caudwell Holdings Limited (Caudwell Group) of the UK by Providence Equity Offshore Partners V, LP (Providence) of the Cayman Islands. Providence is a private investment fund of Providence Equity Partners Inc., a global private investment company specialising in equity investments in media and communications. Caudwell Group is active in the sale of mobile phones and related services, mobile handset distribution and repair services, insurance products and recruitment of personnel. Following completion of the transaction, Providence intends to sell the Mobile Distribution Business of Caudwell to Doughty Hanson & Co, a UK-based private equity fund manager unrelated to Providence. The Commission has also granted clearance to this deal. Both operations were examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Caudwell Group Mobile Distribution Business by Doughty Hanson

he European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Caudwell Group Mobile Distribution Business (Mobile Distribution Business) of the UK by Doughty Hanson & Co. Limited (Doughty Hanson) also of the UK. Doughty Hanson manages private equity funds. Mobile Distribution Business distributes and repairs mobile handsets and accessories and provides ancillary services, such as customisation/kitting of mobile phones and packaging. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of FBG by BC Partners and Buziol

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Fashion Box Group S.p.A. (FBG) of Italy by. Canal Investment SA, controlled by BC Partners Holdings Limited (BC Partners) of Guernsey, the Channel Islands and Buziol Investment Soparfi SA (Buziol) of Italy. BC Partners is a private equity funds company. Buziol is active in real estate. FBG designs, manufactures and markets casual men's and women's wear and accessories. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Today European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, and People's Republic of China Minister Li Changjiang, in charge of AQSIQ (Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) signed a "Roadmap for safer toys". The agreement aims at ensuring toys imported to the EU are safe. Commissioner Kyprianou and Minister Li Changjiang also signed an agreement to fight the trade of "illegal food products", based on a better exchange of information and enhanced coordination. Tomorrow EU and Chinese officials will hold a joint seminar on market surveillance for industrial products, to properly enforce product safety legislation.

The European Commission and China have agreed to strengthen cooperation in order to increase security and trade facilitation throughout the supply chain. As a first step, they are going to run a pilot project with the aim of creating smart and secure trade lanes between the European Community and China. The pilot project would initially involve the European Commission, the Customs Administration of China and of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Once successful, the cooperation could be expanded step by step to the whole of the European Community. This initiative takes place in the framework of the EU-China Agreement on Customs Cooperation and is the outcome of today's meeting between Taxation and Customs Union Commissioner László Kovács and Chinese Customs Minister Mu Xinsheng.

La journée sans voiture, qui aura lieu le 22 septembre 2006, est le point d'orgue de la semaine européenne de la mobilité, consacrée à la mobilité durable. L'objectif de cette semaine est de faciliter le débat sur la nécessité de changer les comportements en matière de mobilité, et plus particulièrement en ce qui concerne l'usage de la voiture particulière. A cette occasion, Eurostat publie des statistiques sur les voitures particulières et sur les décès dus aux accidents de la route dans l'UE25 et les Etats membres, ainsi que dans les pays de l'AELE.

  • First meeting of Banking expert group

The first meeting of the Banking expert on customer mobility in relation to bank accounts takes place today in Brussels. The expert group will identify legal, administrative or other obstacles that customers encounter when switching bank accounts at both domestic and cross-border level and will advise the Commission on how those obstacles can be addressed. The creation of this expert group is a follow-up action to the White Paper on Financial Services Policy 2005-2010 (IP/05/1529) and is part of the Better Regulation agenda. The group will meet up to eight times and issue a report with concrete recommendations. The expert group was selected following an open call for applications (IP/06/619) and is composed of representatives of the banking industry, consumers and the academic world. The expert group report is expected to be to be available in the first half of 2007. The list of appointed experts, as well as the Commission's decision establishing the group and the terms of reference for the group's constitution and operation can be found at:

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