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EXME08 / 07.05


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

07 / 05 / 08

Publication today at 15h00, at the same time as the presentation to the European Parliament by Commissioner Almunia, of the Communication on 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union together with accompanying staff report. Press release and Memo will be available on RAPID at 15h00; Communication and Report on DG ECFIN's website also at 15h00: EMU@ Report and EMU@10 website

European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot, in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security officially presented the Roadmap on visa liberalisation with Serbia in Belgrade today. The Roadmap gives clear indications to the Serbian authorities on the measures that need to be taken in order to grant visa free travel to all Serbian citizens.

As of today, the European Commission invites feedback by industry, consumers and other interested stakeholders to review the functioning and effectiveness of the EU Roaming Regulation, which entered into force on 30 June 2007. According to the provisions of the Regulation, the Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council in 2008 about the functioning of the new roaming rules and their effects. The public consultation aims to gather responses from mobile operators, businesses, consumer associations and any interested party by 2 July 2008.

  • Commission decision on Austrian safeguard clauses

The Commission today adopted a decision ordering Austria to lift the safeguard clause it had placed on the import and processing of two GMOs, Zea Mays L. line MON 810 and Zea Mays Line T 25. This decision does not affect the safeguard clause on cultivation. The two GMO maize varieties were authorised for import, processing into food and feed products and cultivation in Europe by a Commission Decision on 22 April 1998. One year later, on 2 June 1999, Austria informed the Commission that it was to provisionally prohibit the placing on the market of Zea Mays L. line MON 810 for all uses covered by the consent, and the following year it also banned the placing on the market of Zea Mays L. line MON 810 for all uses. EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed the safety of the products on several occasions, but the Council had failed to agree a position and the decision was therefore returned to the Commission. Today's decision therefore resolves the deadlock.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Getty Images by Abe Investment

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Getty Images, Inc. of the US by Abe Investment, LP of the US, controlled by Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VI, LP (HFCP), also of the US. HFCP is a private equity fund investing in various sectors. Getty Images creates and distributes digital media content. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Insurance: Commission issues consultation paper on 'Insurance Guarantee Schemes'

As part of its public consultation on insurance guarantee schemes, the European Commission has issued a consultation paper seeking the views of the widest possible range of interested parties on the need for, design and operation of insurance guarantee schemes in the EU. The European Commission will also host a public hearing on 2 June 2008. (MEX/08/0423). The consultation paper is based on the main findings of the OXERA Report on insurance guarantee schemes as set out in the Report's executive summary and asks a number of specific questions. An on-line electronic tool will be used to collect the responses and comments. The consultation will last 8 weeks and end on 6 July 2008. The consultation paper, the OXERA Report and details of the public hearing are all available on the Commission's insurance website at


The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of TietoEnator, a Finnish provider of information technology services by Jersey-based investment fund Nordic Capital. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area ("EEA") or any substantial part of it.

The European Commission has formally notified Spain that the excise duty, so called "Impuesto Especial sobre las Ventas Minoristas de Determinados Hidrocarburos", fails to comply with Community Law. The notification takes the form of a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the EC Treaty). If the relevant national provisions are not aligned with Community Law within two months, the Commission may decide to refer this matter to the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission has sent reasoned opinions (the second step of the infringement procedure of Article 226 of the EC Treaty) to Spain and Portugal about their rules under which dividends paid to foreign pension funds are taxed more heavily than dividends paid to domestic pension funds. It has also sent requests for information in the form of letters of formal notice (the first step of the infringement procedure) to Bulgaria about its rules under which inbound dividends paid to companies may be taxed more heavily than domestic dividends and to Romania and Bulgaria about their rules under which outbound dividends paid to companies may be taxed more heavily than domestic dividends. The four Member States are asked to reply within two months. At the same time the Commission has closed the case against Luxembourg on the higher taxation of outbound dividends paid to companies, as Luxembourg has eliminated the discriminatory taxation.

The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, attended today the Sudan Consortium conference in Oslo and announced that the European Commission will allocate further €300 million for development assistance for the five coming years in support of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Speech by Commissioner Piebalgs 'Consumers Come First in the Internal Energy Market', Brussels

• Speech by President Barroso 'Shaping a modern social agenda for Europe', Brussels

• Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel 'Annual Policy Strategy for Agriculture', Brussels

• Speech by Commissioner Potočnik 'The 7th Framework Programme: Opportunities for Albania and the European Union', Tirana

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

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

Ålö / MX

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