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Midday Express of 2006-11-29

European Commission - MEX/06/1129   29/11/2006

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EXME06 / 29.11

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

29 / 11 / 06


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

The European Commission has confirmed its strong commitment to ensuring that the EU and Member States achieve their greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol. In deciding on the first 10 national plans for allocating CO² emission allowances to energy-intensive industrial plants for the 2008-2012 trading period under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the Commission reduced the allowances by almost 7% below the emissions proposed by the national allocation plans and 7% below the 2005 emissions. The plans concern Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They account for 42% of the allowances allocated in the first trading period of the EU ETS, from 2005 to 2007. The objective of the EU ETS is to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and industry sectors covered are cut at least cost to the economy, thus helping the EU and its Member States to meet their emission commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

La Commission européenne a fait savoir aux autorités espagnoles que, selon sa conclusion préliminaire, l'Espagne a enfreint l'article 21 du règlement CE sur les concentrations étant donné que certaines des conditions imposées à E.ON pour son projet de prise de contrôle d'Endesa suscitent des doutes sérieux quant à leur compatibilité avec le droit communautaire. La Commission renvoie en particulier aux nouvelles conditions imposées par le ministre espagnol de l'industrie, du tourisme et du commerce dans une décision du 3 novembre 2006, adoptée dans le cadre d'un recours administratif contre une décision précédente du régulateur espagnol du secteur de l’énergie, CNE, concernant l'opération envisagée. L'Espagne a jusqu'au 13 décembre pour donner son avis sur l'appréciation préliminaire de la Commission.

La Commission européenne a décidé de recommander au Conseil de mettre fin à la procédure concernant les déficits excessifs (PDE) engagée à l'égard de la France dans la mesure où le déficit est retombé à 2,9% du PIB en 2005 et devrait encore se contracter en 2006 et 2007 avec une suppression progressive du recours aux mesures temporaires. La tendance à l'accroissement de la dette s'est elle aussi inversée récemment. Ceci indique que la correction du déficit est crédible et reflète l'incidence positive de l'amélioration du contrôle des dépenses ces dernières années. En ce qui concerne l'avenir, il faut maintenant atteindre l'objectif de l'équilibre budgétaire que la France s'est fixé pour la fin de cette décennie afin de garantir la viabilité de ses finances publiques à long terme.


II. Other news - Autres nouvelles

The European Union will today request WTO consultations with Canada on its new fiscal measures affecting wine and beer. The new Canadian measures provide excise tax relief to Canadian wine and beer, while leaving the excise tax on imported EU wine and beer intact. The new discriminatory tax regime has been applied on a provisional basis since 1 July 2006 but is still pending before the Canadian Parliament.

Aujourd'hui, la vice-présidente Margot Wallström, en charge des relations institutionnelles et de la stratégie de communication, a informé la Commission de l'état d'avancement du plan D, un an après son annonce par la Commission européenne. Prenant la parole avant la réunion, Mme Wallström a déclaré : "Le plan D a contribué à donner un nouvel élan au débat sur l'avenir de l'Union. N'oublions pas qu'il appartient également aux Etats membres d'utiliser cette période de réflexion pour écouter les idées exprimées par leurs citoyens. A présent, l'objectif est de se concentrer sur la "majorité silencieuse" – en particulier les jeunes et les femmes. Nous voulons les encourager à faire entendre leur voix concernant l'avenir de l'Europe."

  • Commission clears acquisition of Thames Water by Macquarie

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Thames Water Holdings plc (Thames Water) of the UK by Macquarie Bank Limited (Macquarie) also of the UK. Macquarie is active in financial and investment banking services. Thames Water provides water and sewerage services in a designated area in and around London. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

La Commission européenne a donné son aval, en vertu du règlement communautaire sur les concentrations, au projet d'acquisition, par Telecom Italia S.p.A., de l'activité d'accès à Internet d'AOL LLC en Allemagne. La Commission a conclu que l'opération n'entraverait pas significativement l'exercice d'une concurrence effective dans l'Espace Economique Européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

The European Commission has opened a detailed investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the acquisition by Thalès of France of Alcatel's shareholdings in the two space joint ventures Alcatel Alenia Space (AAS) of France and Telespazio of Italy, currently jointly controlled by Alcatel and Finmeccanica. The Commission's initial market investigation found that the proposed transaction gives rise to competition concerns because of the combination of Thalès's dominant position for Travelling Wave Tubes (TWTs), a critical component for telecommunications satellites, and AAS's activities as a manufacturer of satellite subsystems and components, and as a satellite prime contractor. A decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days (until 17 April 2007) to take a final decision on whether the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area or a significant part of it.

  • Commission hosts major international product safety event

The European Commission has opened today in Brussels a major international conference on ways to ensure global product safety and international cooperation between consumer safety authorities. The two-day event is themed "Cooperation in the Global Marketplace - Meeting the Challenges of Consumer Product Safety" and is being organised by the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organisation (ICPHSO). The conference addresses the entire product life cycle, including the 'pre-market' stage assessment, i.e. its safety and manufacturing quality assurance; the 'on-the-marketplace' stage including market surveillance and control of production; and finally the 'coming-off-the-market' stage including corrective actions, recalls and notification requirements. The aim is to foster learning and exchange of best practice between all key players around the globe. Keynote speakers include Robert Madelin, Director General of the Commission's Health and Consumer Protection DG, and Heinz Zourek, Director General of the Enterprise and Industry DG, as well as representatives from the regulatory authorities of the People's Republic of China, Japan, Canada and the USA. The 150 participants include EU Member State authorities, manufacturers, retailers, importers, legal advisers and consumer representatives. In conjunction with the conference regulators and enforcers from around the world are also meeting to develop strategies for cooperation and exchange of information. Furthermore, on 1 December, the Commission is holding a major workshop on ways to ensure product safety by working closely with business. The event is themed "Economic operators' obligation to notify dangerous products" and will promote the obligation of manufacturers, importers and distributors to inform the competent authorities of the Member States in case the consumer products they placed on the market turn out to be unsafe. Further information on http://www.icphso.org/EuroMeet_1.html


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