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2364th Council meeting - TRANSPORT / TELECOMMUNICATIONS - Luxembourg, 27/28 June 2001

European Council - PRES/01/257   27/06/2001

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL

C/01/257

10235/01 (Presse 257)

2364th Council meeting

- TRANSPORT / TELECOMMUNICATIONS -

Luxembourg, 27/28 June 2001

President :

Mr Björn ROSENGREN

Minister for Industry, Employment and Communications of the Kingdom of Sweden

CONTENTS

PARTICIPANTS 4

ITEMS DEBATED

TELECOMMUNICATIONS 6

REVISED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK AND SERVICES 6

RADIO SPECTRUM POLICY 8

CREATION OF THE .EU TOP LEVEL DOMAIN 9

POSTAL SERVICES 9

INTRODUCTION OF THIRD GENERATION MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS IN THE EU 10

eEUROPE ACTION PLAN: INFORMATION AND NETWORK SECURITY 10

TRANSPORT

SHIPPING 11

Maritime Safety 11

    - Regulation on the phasing-in of double hull tankers (Erika I package) 11

    - Community vessel traffic and monitoring system (Erika II package) 12

    - Negotiations on black boxes in the IMO framework 12

    - Compensation fund for oil pollution damage 13

Reporting formalities for arriving and departing ships 13

HORIZONTAL ISSUES 14

STRATEGY FOR THE COMMON TRANSPORT POLICY ("WHITE PAPER") 14

GALILEO 14

AVIATION 16

SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY 16

AVIATION AND AIRCRAFT NOISE IN THE CONTEXT OF ICAO 16

EUROPEAN AVIATION SAFETY AGENCY (EASA) 17

MONTREAL CONVENTION ON AIR CARRIER LIABILITY 17

PASSENGER RIGHTS 18

LAND TRANSPORT 19

PUBLIC SERVICE OBLIGATIONS IN PASSENGER TRANSPORT 19

TRAINING OF PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS 20

ROAD PACKAGE 20

OTHER BUSINESS 21

    - Enhancing Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on transport and energy 21

    - Ratification of international conventions 21

    - Siberian overflight 21

    - Agreements on aviation with CEECs and Cyprus 22

    - Allocation of slots 22

    - Railway Package 22

AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EU AND ROMANIA ON ROAD TRANSIT 23

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

TRANSPORT

  • Directive on loading of bulk carriers I

AGRICULTURE

  • Regulation on Food Law and the creation of a European Food Authority I

  • Community registration of Bavarian beer* II

  • International Sugar Agreement II

INTERNAL MARKET

  • Marketing of short chain chlorinated paraffins * III

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

  • Europol - Agreements with Iceland, Norway and Interpol III

  • Grotius II - Penal III

  • Oisin II * III

  • STOP II * III

  • Hippocrate * IV

Carriers liability - Council directive supplementing the provisions of article 26 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 IV

ECOFIN

  • Financial assistance to Kosovo V

  • Relations with the associated CEECs VI

  • Outermost regions of the EU VI

YOUTH

  • Fight against racism and xenophobia on the Internet - Declaration VII

EXTERNAL RELATIONS - FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

  • European Union Monitoring Mission VII

  • EU Special Representative VIII

_________________

For further information call 285 60 83 or 285 74 59

PARTICIPANTS

The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium :

Mr Rik DAEMSMinister for Telecommunications and Public Undertakings
Mr José DARASVice-Minister-President and Minister for Transport, Mobility and Energy (Walloon Region)
Denmark :
Mr Jacob BUKSTIMinister for Transport
Germany :
Mr Siegmar MOSDORFParliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Technology
Mr Henner WITTLINGState Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing
Greece :
Mr Alexandros VOULGARISState Secretary for Transport and Communications
Spain :
Mr Francisco ALVAREZ-CASCOS FERNANDEZMinister for Internal Development
Mr Baudilio TOME MUGURUZAState Secretary for Telecommunications and the Information Society
France :
Mr Jean-Claude GAYSSOTMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing
Mr Christian PIERRETState Secretary to the Minister for Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry, with responsibility for Industry
Ireland :
Ms Mary O'ROURKEMinister for Public Enterprise
Italy :
Mr Maurizio GASPARRIMinister for Communications
Mr Pietro LUNARDIMinister for Infrastructure and Transport
Luxembourg :
Mr François BILTGENMinister for Labour and Employment, with responsibility for Communications
Mr Henri GRETHENMinister for Transport
Netherlands :
Ms Tineke NETELENBOSMinister for Communications and Public Works
Ms Monique DE VRIESState Secretary for Transport, Communications and Public Works
Austria :
Ms Monika FORSTINGERFederal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology
Portugal :
Mr José JUNQUEIROState Secretary for Port Administration
Mr Rui CUNHADeputy State Secretary for Transport

Finland :

Mr Olli-Pekka HEINONENMinister for Transport and Communication

Sweden :

Mr Björn ROSENGRENMinister for Industry, Employment and Communications
United-Kingdom :
Mr Douglas ALEXANDERMinister of State for E-Commerce and Competitiveness
Mr John SPELLARMinister of State, Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, Minister for Transport
Ms Sarah BOYACKMinister for Transport (Scottish Executive)
* * *
Commission :
Ms Loyola DE PALACIOVice-President
Mr Erkki LIIKANENMember

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

REVISED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK AND SERVICES

    UNIVERSAL SERVICE AND USERS' RIGHTS

The Council reached a political agreement on a common position with a view to adopting a Directive on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services. After the finalisation of the text in all the Community languages, the common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for its second reading, in accordance with the co-decision procedure of the Treaty.

This draft Directive seeks to:

     adapt and modernise existing measures on universal service so as to define the scope of this service, the rights of users and the measures for compensating providers of the service without distorting competition;

     create a process for reviewing the scope of universal service obligations;

     lay down specific users' and consumers' rights where necessary;

     carry forward current measures on and ensure the availability of leased lines in the EU until competition in these services develops;

     allow National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to take measures on behalf of users and consumers;

     underpin industry's efforts to ensure interoperability of consumer digital television equipment.

    PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY

Pending the opinion of the European Parliament, the Council had a thorough debate on the proposal for a Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. Noting that an agreement had been reached on all issues but one (unsolicited communications), the Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue to work on this last issue, with a view to enabling rapid adoption of this Directive at the next session of the Council under the Belgian Presidency.

This proposal for a Directive is merely a revision of Directive 97/66/EC with a view to adapting and updating its provisions to take account of new and foreseeable developments by creating rules which are technologically neutral and by maintaining a high level of personal data protection and privacy for citizens.

It specifies and complements Directive 95/46/EC in the context of the electronic communication sector whilst providing for protection of legitimate interests of subscribers who are legal persons.

Like the existing Directive, it shall not apply to activities which fall outside the scope of the EC Treaty.

RADIO SPECTRUM POLICY

The Council, while awaiting the Opinion of the European Parliament, reached a common orientation regarding the draft Decision on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community. It invited the Permanent Representatives Committee to submit, with a view to its formal adoption, a draft common position taking account of the Opinion of the European Parliament.

The aim of this draft Decision is to establish a policy and legal framework in the European Community in order to ensure co-ordination of policy approaches and, where appropriate, harmonised conditions with regard to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum necessary for the establishment and functioning of the internal market in Community policy areas such as electronic communications, transport and Research and Development (R&D).

In order to meet this aim, the draft Decision establishes procedures in order to:

    (a) facilitate policy-making with regard to the strategic planning and harmonisation of the use of radio spectrum in the Community taking into consideration inter alia economic, safety, health, public policy, freedom of expression, cultural, scientific, social and technical aspects of Community policies as well as the various interests of radio spectrum user communities with the aim of optimising the use of spectrum and of avoiding harmful interference;

    (b) ensure the effective implementation of radio spectrum policy in the Community, and in particular establish a general methodology to ensure harmonised conditions for the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum;

    (c) ensure the coordinated and timely provision of information concerning the allocation, availability and use of radio spectrum in the Community;

(d) ensure the effective co-ordination of Community interests in international negotiations where radio spectrum use affects Community policies.

CREATION OF THE .EU TOP LEVEL DOMAIN

The Council, while awaiting the Opinion of the European Parliament, reached a common orientation on this draft Regulation and instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to finalise, in the light of the Opinion of the Parliament, the text of a common position, and submit it to the Council at its forthcoming session.

The objective of this Regulation is to implement the .EU country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) within the Community. The Regulation sets out the conditions for such implementation, including the designation of a Registry, and establishes the general policy framework within which the Registry will function.

This Regulation applies without prejudice to arrangements in Member States regarding national Top Level Domains.

POSTAL SERVICES

The Council took note of the information provided by the Presidency on this dossier. It requested the Permanent Representatives Committee to actively pursue its work on this file with a view to submitting a draft common position for adoption as soon as the political conditions permit.

This proposal for a Directive tends to amend existing Directive 97/67/EC on a number of points and provides for two further phases in the process of liberalising postal services.

The Commission proposal provides for a first phase, due to be implemented by 1 January 2003 at the latest, representing a further 20% liberalisation compared with the current Directive. Further measures, to be decided on in 2005, would take effect as of 1 January 2007. The main points of this proposal are, firstly, those applicable in 2003 the introduction of new definitions, the limits of 50g and 2,5 times the basic tariff in the case of the weight and price limits for reserved services and the liberalisation of outgoing cross-border mail and secondly the new phase proposed to apply from 2007.

INTRODUCTION OF THIRD GENERATION MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS IN THE EU

The Commission, as a follow-up to the Communication it presented to the (Transport/Telecommunications) Council on 4/5 April 2001, provided further information on this subject, which was commented on by several delegations.

The President summed up the discussion by stating that

    - the importance of taking into account eventual threats to the growth and development of the European IT and telecommunications market was agreed upon;

    - as Member States have different ways of distributing mobile phone licences, it was important to pursue the dialogue between Member States and industry on this issue;

    - the Council had taken note of the Commission's presentation as well as of experiences on i.a. network sharing, which can contribute to greater efficiency for society. This kind of cooperation has to respect competition rules while taking into account the benefits for the consumer;

    - the Council underlined its confidence in 3G and confirmed its intention to continue the dialogue on this matter;

    - the Council invited the Commission, together with the Council and the industry, to pursue the work on this issue in order to ensure an economically and socially successful 3G.

eEUROPE ACTION PLAN: INFORMATION AND NETWORK SECURITY

Over lunch, the Commission presented its Communication entitled as above. It is to be noted that the (Internal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism) Council on 31 May adopted a Resolution on this issue (see Press release of 31 May 2001 no. 9120 Presse 205).

TRANSPORT

SHIPPING

Maritime Safety

  • Regulation on the phasing-in of double hull tankers (Erika I package)

    The Council agreed - as a common position - on the draft Regulation on the accelerated phasing-in of double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull oil tankers. After finalisation of the text in all Community languages, the common position will be formally adopted by the Council and forwarded to the European Parliament in accordance with the co-decision procedure.

      The purpose of this Regulation is to establish an accelerated phasing-in scheme for the application of the double hull or equivalent design requirements of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention to single hull oil tankers.

      This Regulation shall apply to all oil tankers of 5000 tons deadweight and above,

      • when entering into a port or offshore terminal under the jurisdiction of a Member State, irrespective of their flag, or

      • flying the flag of a Member States.

      It is recalled that, last April, during the session of the Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London, a world-wide agreement was reached on this issue. This agreement has now to be transposed in Community legislation.

- Community vessel traffic and monitoring system (Erika II package)

    The Council, pending examination of the Opinion of the European Parliament at its first reading (which was given on 14 June 2001), agreed - as a common orientation - on a draft directive establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system for maritime traffic. This common orientation will serve as a basis for preliminary contacts with the European Parliament within the framework of the co-decision procedure.

      The objective of this draft Directive is to improve the instruments in place to try to avoid, better monitor and cope with accidents or pollution caused by substandard shipping in waters of the Member States. It includes, in particular, the transposition in legal terms of the political commitment undertaken last December concerning the carriage obligation for Voyage Data Recorder Systems (VDR) on cargo ships.

  • Negotiations on black boxes in the IMO framework

    Following the conclusions adopted at its December session (Press Release 14004/00), the Council agreed on the common approach to be defended by the delegations of the Member States and the representatives of the Commission in the IMO negotiations on the carriage obligation for a Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) system on existing cargo ships. Work on this matter will be carried out next week in London during the meeting of the Sub-Committee on the Safety of Navigation (NAV).

      It is recalled that an agreement has already been reached at the level of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on such an obligation for all passenger ships and for cargo ships built on or after 1 July 2002. The issue of introducing a similar obligation for existing cargo ships is discussed in the same forum.

  • Compensation fund for oil pollution damage

    In the aftermath of the Erika incident, the Commission considered that the level of compensation for oil pollution damage offered by the existing liability and compensation regime was not sufficient. Consequently, it issued a proposal aiming at creating a EU complementary compensation fund. At its session last December, the Council agreed on the need to ensure a proper and, as far as possible, global regime for liability and compensation in cases of oil pollution damage.

    Having considered that the best way to achieve this objective was to seek and international solution in the framework of the IMO, the Council now reached agreement on a common approach concerning the position to be defended by the delegations of the Member States and the representatives of the Commission in the IMO negotiations on a supplementary compensation fund for oil pollution damage.

Reporting formalities for arriving and departing ships

The Council, while awaiting the Opinion of the European Parliament at its first reading, reached a common orientation on a draft directive on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and departing from ports of the Member States of the Community, with a view to preliminary contacts with the European Parliament in the framework of the co-decision procedure.

    The objective of this proposal, which is the Commission's response to the Council Resolution of December 1999 on short sea shipping, is to simplify the reporting formalities that ships have to fulfil when calling at ports, by implementing the use of IMO Facilitation (FAL) forms.

HORIZONTAL ISSUES

STRATEGY FOR THE COMMON TRANSPORT POLICY ("WHITE PAPER")

The Council took note of the information by Vice-President DE PALACIO on the state of play of the Commission's White Paper on European Transport Policy. The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to initiate work on this policy document, as soon as it has become available so as to allow the Council to consider it by the end of the year.

Outlining the objectives of the forthcoming White Paper, Vice-President DE PALACIO stressed that, in the face of the anticipated strong growth in the overall demand for transport in the EU, the Commission is advocating a framework which would accommodate this demand on a sustainable basis. This would be achieved by aiming at a substantial increase of the share of transport by rail, sea and inland waterway at the horizon of 2010, implying among other things, the encouragement of intermodal transport.

GALILEO

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

    Having regard to the Commission Communication of 22 November 2000 and the results published to date of the definition phase of GALILEO initiated by the Council Resolution of 19 July 1999(1);

    Following its Resolution of 5 April 2001(2) establishing arrangements that contain the necessary components for launching the development phase of the GALILEO project as the next step, in particular its paragraph 4 which lays down that a preliminary definition of the services has to be endorsed by the Council in June 2001 as an important element of the initial tendering process;

    Emphasising that GALILEO is a civil programme under civil control providing a framework within which its services can be developed;

    Notes that the Commission, in close co-operation with ESA, is drawing up a clear statement of mission requirements in accordance with the Council Resolution of 5 April 2001, including performances at least equivalent to existing Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), optimised interoperability and redundancy with other systems, no common failure modes, integrity at all latitudes, compatibility with existing navigation systems, a continuity of service in crisis situations, and compatibility with intellectual property rights mechanisms. Notes the Commission's intention to regularly inform the Council on the evolution of its High Level Definition Document drawn up in co-operation with ESA

    Endorses that the initial tendering process be based on a system with capabilities that would open the following range of possible services for development, in order to carry out the consolidation and final selection of the services to be decided by the Council no later than the end of 2003, with a view to operational deployment in 2008.

    Navigation services:

- open service

    - safety-of-life service

      - commercial service

      - public regulated service

      - GNSS-1 augmentation service

    Navigation related services:

- search and rescue service

 - navigation related communications service;

    Underlines that the result of the initial tendering process will have to clarify the costs, feasibility and comprehensive market aspects of demand for all services, specifying the potential revenue flows and how these will be achieved.

    Notes the report by the Commission containing the independent consolidation of the Cost-Benefit Analysis presented in June 2001. This report will be analysed further by the Council;

    Takes note of the Commission proposal on the Joint Undertaking and will examine it;

    Underlines that the future services from Galileo will be developed based on technical requirement, user needs, economic viability and economic and social benefits of different services, in close co-operation with private and other potential partners.

AVIATION

SINGLE EUROPEAN SKY

Over lunch, the Council took note of information provided by Vice-President DE PALACIO on this issue.

    It is recalled that the June 1999 Transport Council adopted a Resolution inviting the Commission to submit to the Council a Communication on measures aimed at solving the problem of ever-growing air traffic delays. In December 1999, the Commission presented a Communication aimed at setting up a Single European Sky. At Göteborg, the European Council recalled the importance of the Single Sky initiative and noted that contacts were underway between the relevant Member States on the question of its territorial application. It expressed the hope that these contacts would produce early agreement. The Commission has indicated its intention to bring forward detailed proposals with a view to achieving a Single Sky by 2004.

AVIATION AND AIRCRAFT NOISE IN THE CONTEXT OF ICAO

The Council took note of the information given by Vice-President DE PALACIO on the state of play concerning the ongoing work on aircraft noise at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and of the interventions by delegations.

This issue covers three aspects:

    - the complaint lodged by the US with respect to the "hushkits" regulation under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention;

    - the setting up by the ICAO Assembly of a new Chapter 4 standard following the CAEP meeting last year, in order to reduce aircraft noise (-10 dbs);

    - the phasing out of the noisiest Chapter 3 aircraft.

EUROPEAN AVIATION SAFETY AGENCY (EASA)

The Council welcomed the positive work which has been done over the last months and reached a broad preliminary agreement on a draft Regulation on common rules in the field of civil aviation safety and the setting up a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).. While awaiting the Opinion of the European Parliament, the Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue to work on the refinement of the draft Regulation, taking into account the outcome of today's discussions concerning two issues:

    - the application of the regulation to third country aircraft, and

    - the appointment of the Executive Director by the EASA's Management Board.

On the first issue there was consensus to give the Commission one year to present adequate proposals; on the latter, most delegations agreed to have the Executive Director designated by a majority of 4/5 of the Management Board on the basis of a list of persons submitted by the Commission.

MONTREAL CONVENTION ON AIR CARRIER LIABILITY

The Council reached a common position on a Regulation amending Regulation 2027/97 on air carrier liability, which is intended to align Community legislation with the Montreal Convention. After finalisation of the text in all Community languages, this common position will be formally adopted and forwarded to the European Parliament in accordance with the co-decision procedure.

PASSENGER RIGHTS

The Council adopted the following conclusions on the development of the rights of air passengers:

"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

EMPHASISES the importance of fair and strong rights of air passengers in a modern and efficient air transport sector in order to give the development of the sector a good and balanced direction;

IS AWARE of the specific needs of persons with reduced mobility;

RECALLS its Resolution on the rights of air passengers of 2 October 2000, in which the Council concluded that priority actions in this field should seek to improve information, strengthen air passengers' rights, improve service and facilitate handling of disputes;

REFERS to the Conclusions on the Ratification of the Montreal Convention, the Decision on the conclusion of the Montreal Convention by the Community and the expected adoption of the Regulation amending Regulation (EC) 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air, that together constitute major steps for the promotion of the rights of air passengers;

CONFIRMS its desire that the rights of air passengers in areas were legislation is not required - primarily be improved by voluntary measures by those involved in air transport of passengers;

REAFFIRMS its position that legislative initiatives may prove necessary in areas not adequately addressed by such voluntary measures;

WELCOMES the Airline Passenger Service Commitment and the Airport Voluntary Commitment on Air Passenger Service presented at the EU-ECAC dialogue meeting in Lisbon in May 2001;

NOTES that the voluntary arrangement does not address the question of monitoring of the compliance with the arrangements,

CONSIDERS THAT in so far as the voluntary agreements are effectively implemented within a reasonable period of time the services to air passengers would be improved in so far as:

1. Airlines would help passengers to obtain

    a better deal when booking flights,

    better information on their flight,

    assistance and information in case of delays, cancellations and mishandled baggage,

    better response to complaints and prompt refunds.

2. Airports would provide

    passenger friendly and well-maintained infrastructure and equipment,

    assistance in case of major disturbances.

SPECIFICALLY WELCOMES that both airlines and airports undertake to improve services provided to meet the needs of passengers with reduced mobility and that such services will be free of charge, but emphasises that the cost of such services shall not be transferred to passengers with reduced mobility and notices that further work is required to address the question of financing such services;

CONSIDERS that persons with reduced mobility ought to have a right to travel by air at the same cost and level of convenience as other passengers irrespective of whether they require a higher level of service from those involved in air transport of passengers;

BELIEVES that passengers ought to be able to claim the fulfilment of contracts and of the service promised in the voluntary commitments through systems for out of court dispute settlements;

URGES all air carriers and all airports of the Community to sign up to the commitments;

ENCOURAGES all parties to work further on the implementation of the agreements, in particular on mechanisms to monitor the fulfilment of voluntary commitments and share information on such monitoring;

INVITES those involved in air transport of passengers and their baggage to continue the co-operation with the aim to cover areas not covered by the present commitments."

LAND TRANSPORT

PUBLIC SERVICE OBLIGATIONS IN PASSENGER TRANSPORT

The Council took note of a progress report concerning the work on the draft regulation on action by Member States concerning public service requirements and the award of public service contracts in passenger transport by rail, road and inland waterway. It instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to continue work on this proposal.

    The draft regulation aims to define a Community regulatory framework for all relations between public authorities and transport operators as regards the provision of public transport services.

TRAINING OF PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS

The Council took note of a progress report on the state of play of work on a proposal for a directive on the training of drivers for the carriage of passengers or goods by road. It also noted the incoming Presidency's intention to continue work on this proposal.

    At present, in most Member States the proportion of drivers that undergoes training is very small. The great majority of them pursue their occupation on the basis of their driving licences alone. The Commission therefore proposes, in view of the existing constraints in the road transport sector, to introduce compulsory initial and periodic training in order to raise the level of road safety and quality of service and harmonise drivers' social conditions and the conditions of their employment.

ROAD PACKAGE

The Council noted the presentation by Vice-President DE PALACIO of the forthcoming proposals regarding the revision of Regulation 3820/85/EEC and of the proposal for a Directive on the use of speed limitation devices; this latter proposal has already been adopted by the Commission. The Council instructed the Permanent Representatives Committee to initiate work on these proposals, as soon as they have become available, so as to allow the Council to consider these proposals by the end of the year.

    The proposal on the harmonisation of certain legislation relating to road transport would replace Regulation 3820/85 which regulates the maximum working time and the rest periods for drivers of vehicles transporting goods or passengers, by simplifying and updating it, as well as by ensuring its more effective application.

    The proposal to amend Directive 92/6/EEC on the use of speed limitation devices would extend the obligatory installation of speed limitation devices to vehicles smaller than those covered by the current Directive, dating from 1992.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • Enhancing Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on transport and energy

The Council took note of the presentation by the Commission of its Communication on this subject, which was also presented to the Industry/Energy Council on 14/15 May last. The Commission aims to relaunch the cooperation with the Mediterranean States within the framework of the Barcelona process in priority areas such as transport and energy.

  • Ratification of international conventions

The Council took note of the joint initiative of the French and United Kingdom Ministers for Transport who make an appeal to Member States for a rapid ratification of certain international conventions in the area of liability and compensation in the case of pollution caused by shipping activities.

  • Siberian overflight

Over lunch, the Council welcomed the positive developments in the relations with Russia on this point.

    It is recalled that Member States and the Commission have been endeavouring for several years to end the practice by the Russian authorities of charging additional payments to Community airlines for overflying Siberia. It is envisaged that these payments will be replaced by financial contributions on a temporary basis to the Modernisation Fund for Russian Aviation which is to be established by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

  • Agreements on aviation with CEECs and Cyprus

The Council took note of the finalisation of negotiations on the agreements on aviation with CEECs and Cyprus, with the exception of Hungary.

    It is recalled that in the framework of the pre-accession strategy, negotiations have been opened with CEECs and Cyprus with a view to establishing a European Civil Aviation Area, in the form of a multilateral agreement with a series of individual protocols. Subject to the opinion of the ECJ (requested by the Commission) on the compatibility of these agreements with the Treaty, the Commission expressed its intention to initial such agreements as soon as possible.

  • Allocation of slots

The Council took note of information given by the Commission on its proposal to revise the existing Regulation concerning the allocation of airport slots.

  • Railway Package

The Council noted the Commission's information with respect to the implementation of the Directives constituting the Railway Package. The Commission underlined the good cooperation which has taken place so far between the Member States and the Commission as regards the implementation which is currently in progress.

    The "railway package" is a legislative package which came into force on 15 March 2001. It takes into account economic realities and recent developments in the railway transport markets, with a view to revitalising Europe's railways by creating favourable conditions for the development of a dynamic and competitive customer-oriented railway system. It sets out a definition for a Trans-European Railway Freight Network (TERFN), which will enable international freight transport within the Community with access for EU railway undertakings to that network. In particular, the package provides for the opening up of the entire European railway network by 15 March 2008 at the latest. After that date, railway transport operators will have guaranteed access and transit rights for the international transport of goods across the network - with equal conditions for every company.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EU AND ROMANIA ON ROAD TRANSIT

In the margins of the present meeting of the Council, an Agreement between the EU and Romania on road transit was signed, for the European Community by Mr Björn ROSENGREN, Minister for Industry, Employment and Communications of Sweden, President of the Council, and Ms Loyola DE PALACIO, Vice-President of the Commission, and for Romania by Mr Miron Tudor MITREA, Minister of Public Works, Transport and Housing.

This transit Agreement will enable transport operators from Romania and from the Member States of the European Union to benefit from the transparent and non-discriminatory treatment which is assured to them by the provisions of the Agreement. It has also an important environmental dimension. The corresponding provisions of the Agreement aim to promote the use of combined transport, whereby particular emphasis is laid upon the use of the most environmentally friendly mode of transport.

The Agreement forms an important improvement for the land transport connections between Greece and the other Member States of the European Union as well as Romania and this in view of the particular geographic situation of Greece as one of the Member States on the current periphery of the European Union.

The Agreement is also significant in the wider framework of the pre-accession strategy for Romania. Further harmonisation of the relevant legislation on both sides - which has been achieved through the negotiation of this Agreement - together with its economic benefits, are all elements which help to pave the way towards the accession of Romania to the European Union.

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

(Decisions for which statements for the Council minutes have been made available to the public are indicated by asterisks; the statements in question may be obtained from the Press Office.)

TRANSPORT

Directive on loading of bulk carriers

The Council adopted its common position with a view to adopting a Directive concerning loading and unloading of bulk carriers.

The aim of this draft Directive is to improve protection for bulk carriers calling at Community terminals in order to load or unload solid bulk cargoes. It is intended to reduce the risks of excessive stresses and physical damage to the ship's structure during cargo handling operations, by defining the requirements applicable to such ships and terminals and by establishing harmonised procedures for cooperation and communication between those ships and terminals.

AGRICULTURE

Regulation on Food Law and the creation of a European Food Authority

The Council formally endorsed a political agreement on the proposed regulation on food law and the creation of a European Food Authority. The text approved by the Council takes account of the majority of the Parliament's amendments in first reading which were accepted by the Commission. The Commission was however unable to support the agreement on account of the approach retained by the Council for the composition of the Authority's Management Board. The Council will adopt its common position at a forthcoming session after the finalisation of the text, and will forward it to the European Parliament for the second reading, in accordance with the co-decision procedure.

The creation of the European Food Authority is one of the main policy measures contained in the Commission's January 2000 White Paper on food safety and subsequently approved by the European Council.

Its mission will be to provide the Community with the independent scientific and technical advice that it requires to underpin policy and legislation in all areas of food safety. Its aim is to contribute to a high level of health protection, taking into account animal health and welfare, plant health and the environment. It will not be a regulatory body for rule-making, control or enforcement; responsibility for these will remain with the relevant Community institutions and the Member States.

The structures of the Authority are designed to ensure the realisation in practice of a number of important objectives - independence, transparency, scientific excellence - as well as close cooperation with the competent bodies in the Member States. It shall comprise a Management Board, and Executive Director and his/her staff, an Advisory Forum involving the competent bodies in the Member States, a Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels.

The Authority will also have an explicit duty to address and identify and resolve diverging scientific opinions at Community or Member State level. Key to the restoration of consumer confidence, the Authority will give clear and publicly accessible information on all matters on food safety. It will also be entrusted with the collection and analysis of data and with the identification of emerging risks. Central to its functioning is the promotion of networking among organisations operating in the field of food safety.

The draft regulation also aims to provide a comprehensive basis for food law in the Community, establishing general principles and requirements for food law, general obligations of food trade as well as common provisions on transparency.

Community registration of Bavarian beer*

The Council adopted by a qualified majority, with the Danish, Finnish and Swedish delegations voting against and the Austrian delegation abstaining, the Regulation supplementing the Annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin. It adds the name "Bayerisches Bier (PGI)" as a protected geographical indication under the heading beer from Germany to the Annex of Regulation 1107/96.

International Sugar Agreement

The Council decided to authorise the Commission to vote on behalf of the Community within the International Sugar Council (ISC) for a two-year roll-over of the International Sugar Agreement (ISA), 1992.

It is recalled that the International Sugar Agreement (ISA), 1992, was concluded by the Community by Council Decision 92/580/EEC (3), and entered into force on 1 January 1993 for a period of two years until 31 December 1995. Since then, it has three times been extended for a two-year period. The ISA will therefore expire on 31 December 2001 if not extended.

Community Plant Variety Office - President and Vice-President renewals

The Council, on the basis of a proposal from the Commission, decided to renew for another five years the terms of office of the President of the Community Plant Variety Office, Mr Bart KIEWIET, as of 31 July 2001, and of the Vice-President, Mr José ELENA ROSSELLO, as of 28 February 2002.

INTERNAL MARKET

Marketing of short chain chlorinated paraffins *

The Council adopted by qualified majority, the Belgian, Danish and the Netherlands' delegation voting against, its common position on the directive amending for the 20th time the Directive relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations.

The aim of the draft Directive is to harmonise differing national laws on the use of short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) for two purposes: metalworking and leather finishing. Restriction of the use of these substances appears advisable in the light of the outcome of a risk assessment of SCCPs, which found there to be potential risks to the environment.

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

Europol - Agreements with Iceland, Norway and Interpol

The Council authorised the Director of Europol - in accordance with Article 42(2), Article 10(4) and Article 18 of the Convention on the establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention) which allows Europol to have relations with third States and bodies- to conclude co-operation agreements between Europol and Norway, Iceland and Interpol.

These agreements regulate the exchange of data (including personal data), the coordination of activities, as well as the organisation of administrative and practical cooperation.

Grotius II - Penal

The Council adopted a Decision establishing a second phase of the Grotius II - Penal Programme for the encouragement of exchanges, training and co-operation aimed at practitioners in the field of justice.

Oisin II *

The Council adopted a Decision establishing a second phase of the Oisin II Programme for the encouragement of exchanges, training and co-operation between law enforcement services.

STOP II *

The Council adopted a Decision establishing a second phase of the STOP II Programme for the encouragement of exchanges, training and co-operation aimed at persons responsible for the fight against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.

Hippocrate *

The Council adopted a Decision establishing the Hippocrate Programme of encouragement, exchanges, training and co-operation in the area of crime prevention.

Carriers liability - Council directive supplementing the provisions of article 26 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985

The Council - following the political agreement reached at the Mixed Committee on the 29 May 2001 - adopted a Directive supplementing the provisions of Article 26 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985, concerning the harmonisation of penalties imposed on carriers transporting into the territory of the Member States third-country nationals lacking the documents necessary for admission.

The Directive provides that Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the penalties applicable to carriers under the existing provisions of Article 26(2) and (3) of the Schengen Convention are dissuasive, effective and proportionate, and that, with a view to harmonising current practices by the Member States, the following financial penalties shall apply:

  • either the maximum amount of the applicable financial penalties is not less than € 5 000 or equivalent national currency at the rate of exchange published in the Official Journal on the day on which this Directive enters into force for each person carried, or

  • the minimum amount of these penalties is not less than € 3 000 or equivalent national currency at the rate of exchange published in the Official Journal on the day on which this Directive enters into force for each person carried, or

  • the maximum amount of the penalty imposed as a lump sum for each infringement is not less that € 500 000 or equivalent national currency at the rate of exchange published in the Official Journal on the day on which this Directive enters into force, irrespective of the number of persons carried.

These penalties are without prejudice to Member States' obligations in cases where a third country national seeks international protection.

ECOFIN

Financial assistance to Kosovo

The Council adopted a Decision on further exceptional financial aid to Kosovo.

In addition to the financial assistance already decided upon by the Council in its Decision 2000/140/EC on 14 February 2000, the Community shall make available to UNMIK, in conjunction with the contributions of the other donors, exceptional financial assistance in the form of straight grants of up to EUR 30 million to be released in at least two instalments, with a view to alleviating the financial situation in Kosovo, facilitating the establishment and continuation of essential administrative functions and supporting the development of a sound economic framework.

This assistance shall be managed by the Commission, which will agree in particular with UNMIK, after consultation of the EFC, the economic conditions attached to this assistance.

Protection of the euro against counterfeiting

The Council adopted two parallel Regulations concerning the protection of the euro against counterfeiting. The first Regulation (based on article 123 (4) ECT) defines the measures necessary for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting in the euro-zone and the other (based on article 308 ECT) extends the effects of the Regulation to Member States that have not adopted the euro as a single currency

The first Regulation aims to ensure a high level of protection against counterfeiting and falsification. Its purpose is to strengthen the legal protection of Euro banknotes and coins in time for their introduction on the 1st January 2002. The Regulation covers the processing of technical and statistical information relating to counterfeiting, the processing of operational and strategic data, and co-operation and mutual assistance.

Under the terms of the regulation, credit institutions, and any other institutions engaged in the sorting and distribution to the public of notes and coins as a professional activity, including establishments whose activity consists in exchanging notes and coins of different currencies, such as bureaux de change, shall be obliged to withdraw from circulation all Euro notes and coins received by them which they know or have sufficient reason to believe to be counterfeit. They shall immediately hand them over to the competent national authorities. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the establishments which fail to discharge their obligations shall be subject to effective, proportionate and deterrent sanctions.

The regulation also contains provisions dealing with:

  • Gathering and access of technical and statistical data by the competent national authorities and the role of the ECB

  • The obligation of the competent national authorities to transmit counterfeit notes and coins for identification to the National Analysis Centres (NAC) or National Coin Analysis Centres

      (NCAC) of the Member States - to be established by the Member States - and to communicate their findings to the ECB

  • Co-operation amongst the competent national authorities to protect the Euro against counterfeiting

    • Centralisation of information at national level

    • Definition of competent national authorities (the remaining open question on this issue was resolved by the adoption of a Council declaration which takes note of the existing situation in two Member States concerning the competence of police and judicial authorities)

    • Relations with third countries and relevant international organisations

    • Unauthorised notes

    Relations with the associated CEECs

    The Council agreed to the EU-Hungary Association Council adopting by the written procedure a Decision concerning the terms and conditions for the participation of Hungary in the Community "Culture 2000" programme.

    All the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe have taken part in one or more Community programmes in the cultural sphere (Ariane, Kaleidoscope and Raphael) which have now expired: the conditions for their participation had been established by respective Association Council decisions. These countries also wish to participate in the new "Culture 2000" programme which has been implemented for the period 2000-2004. To permit such participation, a fresh Association Council decision is needed. This is the purpose of the proposed Decision concerning Hungary.

    Outermost regions of the EU

    The Council adopted four regulations concerning structural and agricultural measures in relation to the outermost regions of the EU.

    The regulations aim to:

    • give greater emphasis in the Structural Fund regulations on the outermost regions' specific handicaps, and increase the rates of assistance;

    • help the outermost regions cope with the permanent handicaps (climate, remoteness, small size of holdings) and the specific constraints experienced there (lack of economies of scale, economic dependence, very high production costs).

    YOUTH

    Fight against racism and xenophobia on the Internet - Declaration

    Following the Education and Youth Council meeting on 28 May 2001, the Council formally adopted the Declaration on combating racism and xenophobia on the Internet by intensifying work with young people. For the text of the Declaration, see Press release no 8536/01 Presse 179.

    Promoting young people's initiative, enterprise and creativity - Resolution

    Following the Education and Youth Council meeting on 28 May 2001, the Council formally adopted the Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States on promoting young people's initiative, enterprise and creativity: from exclusion to empowerment. For the text of the Resolution, see Press release no 8536/01 Presse 179.

    EXTERNAL RELATIONS - FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

    European Union Monitoring Mission

    The Council authorised the Presidency, assisted by the Commission as appropriate, to open negotiations with FYROM in order to conclude an agreement with FYROM on the activities of the EUMM in FYROM. This agreement should replace, as far as the EU and FYROM are concerned, the Memorandum of Understanding of 13 July 1991 with the Federal Authorities of Yugoslavia on the European Community Monitoring Mission and the Memorandum of Understanding of 1 September 1991 on the extension of monitoring activities of the ECMM and contain provision for the establishment of an EUMM office in Skopje.

    EU Special Representative

    The Council adopted by written procedure on 29 June 2001 a Joint Action appointing an EU Special Representative in FYROM.

    It is recalled that on 15 June 2001 the European Council agreed to appoint, for a limited period of time an EU representative, resident in Skopje, to act under the authority of the High Representative. The (General Affairs) Council, at its meeting on 25 June 2001, agreed to appoint Mr François LEOTARD to this post (see Press Release 10228/01 - Presse 250).

    The Joint Action states that the mandate of the Representative shall be to act, under the authority of the High Representative, in the following areas:

    • establish and maintain close contact with the government of FYROM and with the parties involved in the political process;

    • offer EU's advice and facilitation in the political process;

    • liaise closely with the local Presidency, the Heads of Mission and the European Commission, as well as with EUMM;

    • establish and maintain close contact with other relevant international and regional actors, including local representatives of NATO, OSCE and the UN with a view to ensure the required coordination;

    • contribute, where requested, to the implementation of agreements reached;

    • follow closely developments and initiatives in the field of security and liaise with all relevant bodies.

      (1)O.J. C 221, 3.8.1999, p.1.

      (2)O.J. C 157, 30.5.2001, p. 1-3.

      (3) OJ L 379, 23.12.1992, p 15.


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