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EXME06 / 24.11
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
24 / 11 / 06
The European Commission proposes to extend the period of application of the "e-commerce VAT" Directive to 31 December 2008. In May 2006, the Commission already proposed an extension till end 2008. However, the Council of Ministers decided last June to limit the extension till the end of 2006. The objective of this proposal remains the same as the earlier extension proposal (see IP/06/621). Without this extension, the rules for services supplied by electronic means as well as to radio and television broadcasting services would revert to those prevailing prior to the changes introduced by the Directive. Further information on current legislation on VAT applied to electronically delivered services is available on the following website:
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Stratfield Limited of the UK by Group Inc (AIG) and Global Infrastructure Partners - A, L.P. (GIP), both of the US. AIG is active in insurance and insurance-related activities. GIP is active in equity and equity-related investments in infrastructure and related assets. Stratfield is a holding company for the entities that own and operate London City Airport (LCA). The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will visit Algeria tomorrow and on Sunday on the occasion of the Third Algeria Energy Week. The Commissioner will meet with the Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr. Chakib Khelil to discuss EU-Algeria bilateral energy relations and strategic energy partnership, including planned pipeline projects that can double Algeria's gas exports to Europe by 2010.
La commissaire responsable des relations extérieures et de la politique européenne de voisinage, Mme Benita Ferrero-Waldner, participera à une réunion ministérielle des partenaires euroméditerranéens à Tampere les 27 et 28 novembre. Cette réunion examinera les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre du programme de travail quinquennal arrêté lors du sommet de Barcelone de l'année passée et exposera les priorités pour 2007. Les ministres des Affaires étrangères réfléchiront à la façon de poursuivre ce programme de réforme en vue de parvenir à des résultats concrets et débattront du processus de paix au Moyen-Orient et de la situation dans la région au cours d'un dîner de travail. Lors de la rencontre de Tampere, la commissaire participera à des réunions distinctes de la troïka avec la délégation israélienne et le groupe arabe.
At the end of the preparatory meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York, Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, welcomed the consensus achieved by the Parties on tackling destructive fishing practices. Mr Borg said that the European Union had worked in a positive and constructive manner toward consensus-building on the most effective way to tackle fishing practices that have a destructive impact on fragile marine ecosystems. The Commissioner said that he was particularly pleased by the fact that the UN consensus marks a new and important step towards strengthening and responsibilising Regional Fisheries Management Organisations in relation to the governance of the high seas. The EU approach focused on ensuring acceptance of both the need to apply the precautionary principle and for urgent action to put in place measures that are effective and have a realistic chance of being applied. This is, of course, an on-going process and the EU will continue to play a full part in ensuring its success. Commissioner Borg said that he was confident that the text agreed today would become a resolution when the General Assembly meets on 7 December. The Commission will shortly table concrete proposals to the Council on the areas of EU responsibility in this domain. (for more information: M. Thom - tel: 299 1630 - fax: 296 3067)
Les 26 et 27 novembre, le service volontaire européen (SVE) célèbre son 10ème anniversaire. Mesure phare du programme JEUNESSE, le SVE est une initiative communautaire encourageant les jeunes à s'immerger à l'étranger dans une culture différente, tout en exerçant une activité bénévole, caritative ou à but non lucratif.