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Midday Express of 2006-10-04

European Commission - MEX/06/1004   04/10/2006

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EXME06 / 4.10

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

04 / 10 / 06


I. Résultats de la Commission de ce jour -
Outcome of today's Commission meeting

The European Commission has adopted a new strategy to integrate trade policy into the European Union's competitiveness and economic reform agenda. The policy review ("Global Europe: competing in the world") sets out a strategy for opening new markets abroad for EU companies to trade and ensuring that European companies are able to compete fairly in those markets. It also commits Europe to ensuring that its own markets remain open, arguing that in a global market, with global supply chains, Europe needs to import to export. It cannot argue for openness from others while sheltering behind barriers of our own.

La Commission européenne a adressé à la France une recommandation proposant de mettre fin à la garantie illimitée dont bénéficie La Poste en tant que personne morale de droit public avant la fin de l'année 2008. Dans le cadre de l'examen permanent des régimes d’aide existants prévu par les règles du traité CE, la Commission a examiné cette garantie qui impliquerait la responsabilité de l'Etat pour les obligations encourues par La Poste. La nature illimitée de cette garantie permet à La Poste de se financer à des conditions plus favorables, ce qui place l'entreprise dans une position avantageuse par rapport à ses concurrents et crée ainsi une distorsion de concurrence sur un marché en voie de libéralisation. La France a un mois pour répondre à la recommandation de la Commission.


II. Other news - Autres nouvelles

La Commission européenne a adopté son second rapport concernant le maintien de situations de non-réciprocité par certains pays tiers en matière d'exemption de visa. Ce rapport montre que des progrès ont été réalisés, puisque la réciprocité a désormais été établie avec un certain nombre de pays. En revanche, pour les Etats-Unis, l'ouverture d'un dialogue est encourageante, mais il n'existe aucun progrès tangible à cette heure concernant l'exemption de visa.

The European Commission has adopted a decision fixing an annual indicative allocation, per Member State, of the funds made available under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013. From the beginning of next year, the EFF will replace the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) as the EU's core instrument for financial support to the fisheries sector and fishing communities. It will run for seven years with a budget of €3.849 billion.

La Commission européenne a publié une étude indépendante sur l'impact économique des règles communautaires actuelles concernant les régimes de responsabilité des auditeurs et les conditions d'assurance dans les Etats membres. L'étude analyse la structure du marché de l'audit et son évolution future possible, décrit les limites existantes sur le marché des assurances pour les audits internationaux, étudie les facteurs économiques qui requièrent une limitation de la responsabilité des auditeurs et compare plusieurs méthodes envisageables de limitation de responsabilité. C'est la première étude économique sur ce sujet effectuée à l'échelle de l'UE. La préparation de l'étude s'est accompagnée de la création d'un Forum sur la responsabilité des auditeurs composé d'experts du marché (voir IP/05/1420).

In a letter dated 29 September 2006, the Commission has informed the German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA”) that at this stage it has serious doubts as regards the compatibility of the notified draft measures for the German wholesale leased lines markets with Community law. In the Commission’s view, BNetzA has so far provided insufficient evidence to support its definition of the wholesale leased lines markets in Germany and the conclusions on the competitive situation in certain market segments, says the Commission. The wholesale leased lines markets are crucial markets for business customers. During the next two months, it will call for and assess further market data from BNetzA and market players. On the basis of the additional data received, the Commission will decide whether BNetzA will need to withdraw or whether it can adopt the proposed regulatory measure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of SADOPORT by MEAS and DSPL

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Sadoport Terminal Marítimo do Sado S.A. (SADOPORT) of Portugal by Mota-Engil-Ambiente e Serviços, SGPS, S.A. (MEAS) of Portugal, belonging to the Monta-Engil group of Portugal, and Dragrados Servicios Portuarios y Logísticos, S.L. (DSPL) of Spain, belonging to the ACS group of Spain. MEAS is a holding company active in environmental services such as solid waste and waste water disposal and water concessions, building maintenance and recycling. DSPL is active in construction, industrial services and port terminal operations including logistics. SADOPORT operates terminal services in the port of Setúbal in Portugal. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Classical Swine Fever : post-enlargement measures for Bulgaria and Romania agreed

A Commission proposal to approve Romania's eradication plan and emergency vaccination programme for classical swine fever was endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health yesterday. The Bulgarian eradication plan and emergency vaccination programme (for wild boars) had already been approved by the Standing Committee in mid-September. These programmes will be eligible for co-financing once the two countries join the EU, and it has also been agreed that the EU will provide Romania with vaccines to effectively carry out its vaccination programmes. The provision of these vaccines will be funded through the EU Veterinary Fund. The proposal voted on yesterday is part of a series of Commission Decisions on post-Enlargement transitional measures for Romania and Bulgaria linked to classical swine fever, which have been backed by Member States over the past weeks. The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health has already agreed that the current EU import bans on live pigs and pig meat from Romania and Bulgaria, which are in place due to outbreaks of the contagious swine disease, should be prolonged for a transitional period of 9 months after the two countries join the EU. It was decided that such measures are necessary in view of the fact that outbreaks of classical swine disease are still occurring in both countries. Bulgaria has reported 7 outbreaks so far in 2006, while in Romania the situation is more serious, with over 500 outbreaks reported this year. Therefore, in order to protect animal health elsewhere in the EU, it was decided that transitional measures should be taken, as provided for in Article 42 of the Accession Treaty. Romania will not be allowed to trade pigs or pig products to other Member States after Enlargement, except for certain heat-treated products. Pig meat and pig products will have to be marked with a special stamp, to allow full traceability and ensure that they are only consumed within Romania. Similar provisions will also be in place for Bulgaria. However, due to the lesser disease situation there, the Standing Committee agreed that the measures for Bulgaria will be integrated in the Community legislation already applicable to parts of Germany, Slovakia and France, where the disease is only present in the wild boar. Now that all of these draft Commission Decisions related to classical swine fever in Bulgaria and Romania have been agreed in the Standing Committee, they will be formally adopted by the Commission before the end of the year.

La Commission européenne a débloqué €5 millions pour venir en aide aux populations les plus vulnérables touchées par le récent conflit entre l'armée et les forces irrégulières au Katanga, dans le sud-est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC). Le conflit a de lourdes conséquences sur le plan humanitaire. Il a touché 300.000 personnes. Dans le centre du Katanga, la plupart des villages et des cultures ont été pillés ou détruits. La moitié de la population a pris la fuite pour s'installer dans des camps, se cacher au fond des forêts ou des marécages ou chercher refuge en Zambie ou en Tanzanie. La Commission a déjà financé des opérations de secours au Katanga et à travers la RDC pour un montant de €45 millions cette année. Les fonds supplémentaires serviront à apporter une aide directe aux plus vulnérables - populations déplacées au Katanga, personnes de retour et communautés d'accueil. En février, la Commission a lancé, avec les Nations unies, un plan d'action humanitaire global en faveur de la RDC qui rassemble tous les acteurs clés qui contribuent à soulager les souffrances du peuple congolais (voir IP/06/153).

In August 2006, compared to August 2005, the volume of retail trade grew by 2.4% in the euro area and by 3.3% in the EU25. Compared to July 20063, the retail sales index rose by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.6% in the EU25. In August 2006, compared to August 2005, retail trade of "food, drinks and tobacco" gained 0.7% in the euro area and 1.5% in the EU25. The non food sector increased by 3.8% and by 4.7% respectively. Among the Member States for which data are available, total retail trade rose in Latvia (+20.6%), Estonia (+17.6%), Lithuania (+8.7%), Slovakia (+8.3%), Sweden (+8.0%), Poland (+6.6%), Finland (+5.5%), the United Kingdom (+4.2%), Spain (+4.1%), France (+3.6%), Denmark (+3.1%), Portugal (+2.6%), Luxembourg (+2.3%), Austria (+1.8%) and Germany (+0.5%), while falls were recorded in Slovenia (-2.7%) and Belgium (-1.6%). These first estimates come from Eurostat.

European Commission President José-Manuel Barroso, Portuguese Prime Minister José Socrates and Finnish Presidency Trade and Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen will lead in Lisbon on 6 October a one-day seminar of national coordinators responsible in Member States for implementing the EU's Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. Commission Vice-President Gunther Verheugen will also take part. The seminar will focus on practical ways to create the right policy environment for making Europe a world-class innovation performer, an objective at the heart of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. It will be a chance for Member States to learn from each other's successes and for policy makers to exchange views with business leaders and technological experts from the academic world. Entitled "Excellence and Partnerships for an Innovative Europe", the seminar is the first in a series on practical issues identified by EU leaders as priorities under the EU's ongoing drive for Growth and Jobs.


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