Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

EXME07 / 25.4

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

25 / 04 / 07


I. Résultats de la Commission du 24 avril 2007 -
Outcome of Commission meeting of 24 April 2007

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on draft guidelines that clarify the Commission's policy with regard to "remedies" in merger control. "Remedies" are modifications to a merger proposed by the parties to the transaction with a view to eliminating competition concerns identified by the Commission in its merger control inquiry. The new draft Remedies Notice would adapt the current guidelines (dating from 2001) in the light of an extensive study undertaken by the Commission into the implementation and effectiveness of remedies (see IP/05/1327), recent judgements of the European Courts and the new Merger Regulation (139/2004 –see MEMO/04/9), in force since 2004. The new Remedies Notice is due to be adopted definitively by the Commission later in 2007, taking into account the results of the consultations just launched.

La Commission européenne organise des consultations sur le nouveau projet de règles visant à exempter davantage de filiales de l'obligation de notification inscrite dans les règles sur les aides d'Etat figurant dans le traité CE. Le nouveau règlement d'exemption par catégorie simplifierait et consoliderait dans un texte unique les cinq exemptions par catégorie existantes et qui concernent les aides en faveur des PME, les aides à la recherche et au développement en faveur des PME, les aides à l'emploi, les aides à la formation et les aides régionales. Le nouveau règlement étendrait également l'exemption par catégorie à trois nouveaux types d'aides: les aides pour la protection de l'environnement, les aides sous forme de capital investissement et les aides à la recherche et au développement en faveur des grandes entreprises. Les filiales répondant aux conditions énoncées dans le nouveau règlement seraient jugées compatibles avec les règles relatives aux aides d'Etat et ne devraient pas être notifiées au préalable à la Commission. Les parties intéressées sont invitées à présenter leurs commentaires d'ici le 3 juin 2007. Au terme d'un second cycle de consultations, la Commission entend adopter la version finale du règlement avant l'été 2008. Cette initiative s'inscrit dans le plan d'action dans le domaine des aides d'Etat, qui vise à simplifier les règles en la matière et à affiner l'analyse économique des subventions (voir IP/05/680 et MEMO/05/195).

The European Commission has decided to formally close an investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into the financing regime for German public service broadcasters in the light of formal commitments from the German Government to amend the current regime. The Commission's decision accepts these commitments, submitted in December 2006, as an adequate means to ensure compliance with general EU Treaty state aid rules and the 2001 Commission Communication on the application of state aid rules to public service broadcasting. The amendments announced include a more precise definition and a proper entrustment of the public service mission in particular as regards new media activities, adequate safeguards against overcompensation and cross-subsidisation, the respect of market principles in commercial activities and more transparency as regards the sublicensing of sports rights. The Commission's investigation, opened in March 2005, was prompted by complaints.

The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty’s state aid rules investment aid in the form of tax relief worth €30 million for INA Kysuce for the extension of an existing plant producing ball bearings in Kysucké Nové Mesto, Central Slovakia. The total costs of the new investment amount to approximately €140 million. At the same time, the Commission has decided to open an investigation into €1.15 million of public funding for an investment project by Glunz&Jensen in Prešov, Eastern Slovakia because it has doubts as to its compatibility with the EC Treaty state aid rules. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested parties the possibility to comment on the proposed measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.

The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty's state aid rules, the Slovenian 'feed-in' tariffs for so-called 'green' electricity from renewable sources and efficient combined heat and power installations, as well as for security of electricity supply. This decision closes an in-depth enquiry that the Commission launched on 2 February 2005 (see IP/05/126). It retroactively authorises support measures contained in the Slovenian Electricity Act. As all measures fulfil in particular the Community guidelines for state aid for environmental protection, the Commission considers that the aid will not distort competition in the Single Market.

La Commission européenne a officiellement pris note de l'accord de la Pologne de mettre fin, le 30 juin 2008, à la garantie illimitée d'Etat dont bénéficie actuellement la Poste polonaise (Poczta Polska). Dans le cadre du contrôle de la compatibilité des régimes d'aides d'Etat avec les règles du traité CE en la matière, la Commission a procédé à l'examen de la garantie en vertu de laquelle l'Etat est responsable des passifs de Poczta Polska. Le fait que la garantie porte sur une durée et un montant illimités et qu'elle couvre tout le passif de Poczta Polska permet à cette dernière d'obtenir un financement à des conditions plus favorables, ce qui lui confère un avantage sur ses concurrents et fausse ainsi la concurrence dans le marché unique.

The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to two investment projects by Airport of Tallinn Ltd. The investments are geared at rehabilitating the Tallinn airport airside area, upgrading the Tallinn airport passenger terminal and constructing a phyto-sanitary and veterinary border inspection point.

La Commission européenne a décidé d'approuver l'aide de €95,3 millions à verser à l'entreprise InterFerryBoats, active dans le transbordement de fret et dans la logistique. Cette décision se fonde sur un plan de restructuration prévoyant une réduction de capacités de la société InterFerryBoats, avec une concentration sur son core business.

La Commission européenne a approuvé les subventions que la région Sicile envisage de donner à deux compagnies maritimes pour l'accomplissement de liaisons de service public entre la Sicile et les Iles Mineures. Une aide de €1,25 million est accordée à la compagnie Uscita Lines et une aide de €0,25 million à la compagnie Navigazione Generale Italiana. Les deux compagnies sont titulaires des contrats de service public pour les lignes maritimes entre la Sicile et les Îles Mineures.

The European Commission has decided to authorise a state aid scheme promoting innovation in maritime transport in the Netherlands. The aid scheme is designed to help shipowners to meet the challenges of the new maritime and environmental safety requirements.

The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections to the contribution of the Dutch State to the Rotterdam Mainport Development Project. The project is designed to extend the existing port, which covers 10,500 hectares and is a major contributor to the national and regional economy. By responding to the growing demand for dock and port areas, the project will solve the future space shortage in the harbour of Rotterdam.


II. Other news - Autres nouvelles

The first "Common Visa Application Centre" in the history of the European Union visa policy has been officially inaugurated today in the presence of Vice-President Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Justice and Security, in Chisinau, Moldova. This Common Centre will facilitate in a very tangible way the issuance of visas for Moldovan citizens. Vice-President Frattini also initialled today, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, the agreements for readmission and visa facilitation between the European Community and the Republic of Moldova.

Le camion européen de la diversité quittera aujourd'hui le siège du Parlement européen à Strasbourg pour entamer sa tournée dans toute l'Europe. Sa tournée de promotion de la diversité et de l'égalité des chances pour tous l'emmènera dans 19 pays et lui fera parcourir plus de 18 000 km. Présente dans des centres-villes, des universités, des salons de l'emploi et des festivals publics, la plate-forme mobile d'information renseignera les citoyens sur leurs droits à l'égalité de traitement et assurera la promotion de l'Année européenne de l'égalité des chances pour tous 2007.

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Abbott Laboratories' in vitro diagnostics business (Abbott Diagnostics) by General Electric Company (GE) of the US. US based Abbott Diagnostics is one of the world's leading suppliers of in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products to the healthcare profession. GE is also active in the healthcare sector. After careful examination, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.

  • Commission clears acquisition of S-Oil by Hanjin and Saudi Aramco

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of S-Oil Corporation (S-Oil) of South Korea by Hanjin Energy Co Ltd (Hanjin) of South Korea, controlled by Korean Airlines Co Ltd and belonging to the Hanjin Group, and Aramco Overseas Company B.V., controlled by Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia. Hanjin Group is active in air transport, shipping and airport services. Saudi Aramco is active in the production and marketing of crude oil and refined products. S-Oil produces and markets refined products primarily outside the EU. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Le 24 avril, le Parlement européen a adopté la proposition de Directive sur les services de paiement (ci-après "la Directive"), pour laquelle le Conseil Ecofin avait préalablement approuvé une orientation générale lors de sa réunion du 27 mars 2007. La Directive doit à présent être transmise au Conseil de l'UE en vue de son adoption définitive. Il conviendra alors que les Etats membres transposent la Directive dans leur législation nationale aussi rapidement que possible, en tous les cas avant le 1er novembre 2009 au plus tard.

With an overwhelming majority (567 votes in favour), the European Parliament yesterday granted the European Commission discharge for the implementation of the 2005 general budget and closed the 2005 accounts. Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas welcomed the positive vote of the Parliament and its strong support for the Commission's efforts and achievements in modernising and fine-tuning its budgetary practice.

  • Reducing Salmonella : Member States back EU targets for broiler chickens

A European Commission proposal aimed at reducing the prevalence of Salmonella in chickens kept for meat production (broilers) has been endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. The draft Regulation lays down an EU wide target for the reduction of Salmonella in broilers, which in turn should lead to less Salmonella contamination of poultry meat. In line with the proposal, Member States will have to reduce the prevalence of Salmonella in broiler flocks to 1% or less by 2011. Working towards this target will help operators to ensure that their products are not banned from being sold in the EU in the future. Under the Zoonoses legislation, from 2010, only meat in which Salmonella has been proved absent in 25g tested will be allowed to be marketed in the EU. Failure to meet this criterion will result in the meat being blocked or removed from the market. The proposal also stipulates that Member States will have to carry out checks on the progress being made in meeting the set threshold. The Regulation will now be formally adopted by the Commission, and will apply as from 1 July 2007. Member States must submit details of their national control plans for Salmonella in broilers to the Commission within 6 months of the Regulation being published. For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/salmonella/index_en.htm.

European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, arrives tomorrow morning in Copenhagen for a two-day visit to Denmark. The first day will be devoted to discussing a maritime policy for Europe with the Danish authorities and maritime stakeholders. On Friday, Mr Borg, accompanied by Denmark's Fisheries Minister, Hans Christian Schmidt, will be in the fishing port of Ebeltoft, where he will meet industry representatives and address the Annual General Meeting of the Danish Fishermen's Association.

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will take part in the Asia-Europe ministerial meeting on the environment in Copenhagen on 24 and 25 April. The meeting will focus on climate change, sustainable use of energy and the links between climate change and loss of biodiversity and deforestation. In his speech Commissioner Dimas will present the EU climate and energy strategy and underline the need for negotiations to be launched this year on a strong international agreement to combat climate change after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol targets expire. The meeting is expected to result in a final declaration or statement on the key issues discussed. The ministerial is the third held under the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework, which was launched in 1996 and now comprises the EU-25, the European Commission, the ten ASEAN countries, and China, Japan and South Korea. Bulgaria and Romania, as well as India, Mongolia and Pakistan, will join next year. The EU sees ASEM as a useful forum for promoting dialogue and cooperation between the two regions on environmental issues.

European Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner addressed today the 2nd International Conference on Managing Urban Land, held in Stuttgart, Germany. The Commissioner highlighted the role of cities in Cohesion Policy and how networking could bring better results to urban development in the European Union. Danuta Hübner asked the participants to work together and share experience to attract more new jobs and investment and eventually to improve the quality of life in a sustainable urban environment. Over three hundred participants from twenty-two countries take part in the conference while speakers include Stuttgart Lord Mayor, Wolfgang Schuster, and Baden-Württemberg Economic Affairs Minister, Ernst Pfister.


Side Bar

My account

Manage your searches and email notifications


Help us improve our website