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EXME07 / 21.12


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

21 / 12 / 07

In only 10 days Cyprus and Malta will adopt the euro, bringing to 15 the number of European Union countries that share the same currency. The final practical preparations are well under way and banks, retailers and consumers seem to be ready for the changeover. Banks and enterprises have been receiving supplies of euro banknotes and coins to be able to handle transactions in euro as from 1 January. Euro coin mini-kits have also been available for citizens since early December, to help them familiarise themselves with their new currency before €-day.

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint venture between the UK company INEOS Silicas Limited (IS), belonging to the INEOS Group and the US company PQ Corporation (PQ), belonging to the Carlyle Group. Both companies produce speciality chemicals. The Commission concluded that the concentration would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of EMS of Romania by Enel of Italy. Both companies are active in the electricity sector. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

The European Commission today adopted new legislation on industrial emissions to strengthen the provisions already in force and reduce industrial emissions throughout the European Union. The proposal will bring significant health and environmental benefits and will create a better level playing field across the EU, reducing competition distortions between companies. It will also simplify current legislation by merging seven directives into one, significantly cutting the administrative burden for industry and public authorities.

The Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, announces today the adoption of 35 programmes this month under the "European territorial cooperation" objective of Cohesion policy. These programmes, mainly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), provide support for cross-border and transnational cooperation among the Member States. Turkey, the Western Balkans countries, Norway, Switzerland, Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation also take part in some of these programmes with the support of the new Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).

The European Commission has cleared, under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint-venture between Münchmeyer Petersen & Co (MPC) of Germany, Grupo Villacero (Viga-Villacero) of Mexico and MAN AG of Germany. The proposed concentration would result in MPC, Viga-Villacero and MAN combining their worldwide activities in non-stockholding steel distribution. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it.

La Commission a proposé de réduire le volume des oxydes d’azote et des particules émis par les poids lourds et les bus (de respectivement 80 % et 66 % par rapport à l’étape Euro V). La nouvelle norme «Euro VI» apportera une contribution sensible à l’amélioration de la qualité de l’air en Europe. Elle constituera en outre un pas en avant vers une harmonisation globale, étant donné qu’elle prévoit des valeurs limites similaires à celles des États-Unis d’Amérique. Par ailleurs, la législation actuelle sera simplifiée, puisque des directives (qui doivent être transposées dans 27 législations nationales différentes) seront remplacées par des règlements qui sont directement applicables. La norme Euro VI devrait entrer en vigueur en 2013. La proposition a fait l’objet de consultations auprès des parties prenantes et sur Internet et sera maintenant discutée par le Parlement européen et le Conseil des ministres.

La Commission européenne a rendu public aujourd'hui un projet de lignes directrices sur les aides d'État aux entreprises ferroviaires. Ce projet fera maintenant l'objet de consultations des Etats membres et des parties intéressées. La Commission projette d'adopter ces lignes directrices au cours du premier semestre de 2008.

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Vertex Standard of Japan by the US-based communications technologies operator Motorola. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

  • Kimberley Process: Handover of Chairmanship

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner on the handover of the Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process to India: "We are approaching the end of our Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, and I am sure that India as the new Chair will ambitiously continue to pursue our joint aims in the new year. 2007 was a year of consolidation, and the Kimberley Process has shown, that it is capable to react to crisis and situations that put at risk the credibility of the international diamond trading system and endanger international peace and security. We will of course remain actively engaged in the Kimberley Process in 2008, in particular as chair of the two important Kimberley Process bodies: the Participation Committee and the Working Group on Monitoring. I am looking forward to collaborate with India and other Kimberley Process member countries successfully in 2008."

  • Commission to finance staff for UN Special Envoy for Burma with more than € 570.000

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: “We see the good offices of the UN Special Envoy as a positive means to further a peaceful transition towards a legitimate, civilian government in Burma/Myanmar. Therefore we have decided to expand our support to the UN Special Envoy for Burma/Myanmar, Professor Ibrahim Gambari with the financing of professional staff for his office as of 2008. We will allocate a sum of € 574.000”. The European Union maintains a balanced policy vis-à-vis Burma/Myanmar. While a set of restrictive measures are expressing the Union’s disappointment about the lack of visible progress, the EU also wishes to engage the government in a dialogue on socio-economic development, with a view of helping over its responsibilities to attain the Millennium Development Goals, and to help the people of Burma/Myanmar. EU Assistance focuses on health and education. To finance office of the UN Special Envoy, the Commission will be using the new “Stability Instrument” over the next 12 months. These efforts complement those of the EU’s Special Envoy on Burma/Myanmar, Piero Fassino, who is also working in support of Professor Gambari.

  • Solvency II: Start of the consultation process for a new Quantitative Impact Study

On 10 July 2007, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive introducing a new solvency regime for insurance and reinsurance undertakings. This ground-breaking revision of EU prudential insurance law is being prepared in close consultation with all stakeholders. The Commission has asked the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) to run a fourth Quantitative Impact Study (QIS4) between April and July 2008. In order to allow for wide consultation before the QIS4 exercise is launched, the Commission is today launching a public consultation on the draft QIS4 technical specifications produced by CEIOPS. The purpose of the consultation on QIS4 is to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the technical specifications that will form the basis for the QIS4 exercise. In particular, the consultation provides key stakeholders and decision makers with an opportunity to provide input at an early stage on the shape of solvency capital requirements which will be adopted later. The Commission welcomes comments from all interested parties, before 15 February 2008.

The euro area (EA13) industrial new orders index grew by 2.5% in October 2007 compared with September 2007. The index fell by 1.0% in September. EU27 new orders increased by 5.4% in October 2007 after a decrease of 1.7% in September. Excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment4 industrial new orders gained 1.9% in the euro area and 0.8% in the EU27 in October 2007. In October 2007 compared with October 2006, industrial new orders increased by 10.9% in the euro area and by 16.6% in the EU27. Total industry excluding ships, railway & aerospace equipment grew by 9.0% in the euro area and by 11.1% in the EU27. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo on Background information on the euro and euro area

• Memo on Spain: Operational Programme for the Spanish Fisheries Industry 2007-2013

• Memo on Germany: Operational Programme "European Fisheries Fund (EFF) 2007-2013

• Memo on Antitrust: Commission confirms sending Statement of Objections to alleged participants in an air freight cartel

• Memo on Questions and Answers on the Commission's proposal for the revision of industrial emissions legislation in the EU.

• Speech by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner "Entfernung des Grenzbalkens – Schengenerweiterung" - available in German only -

• Calendrier hebdomadaire du 24 décembre 2007 au 6 janvier 2008

• Top News from the European Commission

A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

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