Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: FR

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

   Belgium :
   Mr Robert URBAIN              Minister  for  Foreign Trade  and  European
                                 Affairs
   Denmark :
   Mr Jan TROEJBORG              Minister for Industry

   Germany :
   Mr Jochen GRÜNHAGE            Deputy Permanent Representative

   Greece:
   Mr Georges THEOFANOUS         Secretary-General, Ministry of Trade

   Spain :
   Mr Javier ELORZA              State  Secretary  for  Relations  with  the
                                 European Communities
   France :
   Mr Pierre SELLAL              Deputy Permanent Representative

   Ireland :
   Mr Charles McCREEVY           Minister for Tourism and Trade
   Mr Willie O'DEA               Minister  of  State at the  Departments  of
                                 Justice and Health
   Italy :
   Mr Livio PALADIN              Minister for Community Policies

   Luxembourg :
   Mr Jean-Marc HOSCHEIT         Deputy Permanent Representative

   Netherlands :
   Mr Piet DANKERT               State Secretary for Foreign Affairs

   Portugal :
   Mr Vitor MARTINS              State Secretary for European Integration

   United Kingdom :
   Mr Nicholas SOAMES            Parliamentary   Secretary,   Ministry    of
                                 Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

                                     - + -

   Commission :
   Mr Martin BANGEMANN           Vice-President
   Mr Karel VAN MIERT            Vice-President
   Mr Raniero VANNI d'ARCHIRAFI  Member

                                     - - -

   FOODSTUFFS - ADDITIVES

   The  Council recorded its political agreement on the common  position  on
   the   amendment  of  Directive  89/107/EEC  concerning   food   additives
   authorized for use in foodstuffs intended for human consumption.

   The  common  position will be formally adopted at a  forthcoming  meeting
   once the texts have been finalized.

   It  should be noted that a proposal on the subject was submitted  by  the
   Commission  following the European Parliament's rejection in May 1992  of
   the  common  position  which  the Council had  adopted  on  the  proposal
   concerning  sweeteners (see following item).  A footnote to the  enacting
   terms of that common position gave Member States the option of protecting
   their  national  production  of  traditional  foodstuffs.  The  case   in
   question  involved  low-alcohol  or  alcohol-free  beers.  The   European
   Parliament  thought  that  a subject of such importance  and  of  general
   relevance  (i.e. the definition of traditional foodstuffs) could  not  be
   regulated  in  the  context of a specific Directive by means  of  a  mere
   footnote.

   The  agreement which has just emerged follows a legal method which  makes
   it possible to accept derogations from the general rules on additives  in
   order  to protect national production of traditional  foodstuffs  without
   prejudice  to  the  principles of the Single  Market,  particularly  with
   regard to the free movement of goods and freedom of establishment.

   Member  States may continue to apply national provisions prohibiting  the
   use  of certain additives in foodstuffs which they regard as  traditional
   subject to certain conditions:

   -  the prohibition must already have existed on 1 January 1992;

   -  the  foodstuffs  concerned must be produced on the  territory  of  the
      Member State applying the prohibition;

   -  there  must  be  no  obstacle to  the  free  circulation  of  products
      conforming to the provisions of Community Directives on additives;

   -  the freedom for anyone to establish themselves on the territory of any
      Member State and to produce and sell products conforming to  Community
      Directives on additives must not be called into question.

   Provision  is  made for Member States to communicate  to  the  Commission
   before  1 July 1994  the  list  of  foodstuffs  which  they  consider  as
   traditional  and  for  the  Council,  acting  on  a  proposal  from   the
   Commission,  to adopt before 1 April 1996 legislation on the criteria  to
   be  applied for deciding whether or not a product is traditional  and  on
   the  national  prohibitions which may be maintained  in  conforming  with
   those criteria.

   Provision is also made for Member States to be obliged to comply with the
   provisions of this Directive by 1 January 1994 at the latest.

   FOODSTUFFS - SWEETENERS

   The  Council recorded its political agreement on the common  position  on
   the  Directive concerning sweeteners intended for use in foodstuffs.  The
   Directive  will  be formally adopted at a forthcoming  meeting  once  the
   texts have been finalized.

   The Directive is a specific Directive forming a part of the comprehensive
   Directive 89/107/EEC  on  additives  which  stipulates  that  only  those
   substances which appear on the lists to be adopted by the Council may  be
   used  as foodstuffs additives and only subject to the conditions  of  use
   specified in those lists.

   The  main  purpose  of the Directive is to allow  the  free  movement  of
   foodstuffs containing sweeteners and in that context to draw up a list of
   permitted   sweeteners  and  the  conditions  governing  their   use   in
   foodstuffs.  In particular, the following sweeteners may be placed on the
   market  with  a  view  to sale to the ultimate consumer  or  use  in  the
   manufacture of foodstuffs:

   -  Sorbitol (E 420)
   -  Mannitol (E 421)
   -  Isomalt (E 953)
   -  Maltitol (E 965)
   -  Lactitol (E 966)
   -  Xylitol (E 967)
   -  Acesulfame K (E 950)
   -  Aspartame (E 951)
   -  Cyclamic acid and its Na and Ca salts (E 952)
      Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts (E 954)
   -  Thaumatin (E 957)
   -  Neohesperidine DC (E 959)

   The Directive also lays down the maximum levels for the use of sweeteners
   in foodstuffs with a view to protecting the health of  consumers.  Except
   where  specially  provided for, sweeteners may not be used in  foods  for
   infants and young children, as specified in Directive 89/398/EEC.

   It  is stipulated that Member States must comply with the  provisions  of
   the Directive within 18 months of its formal adoption.

   FOODSTUFFS - COLOURS

   The  Council  signified its agreement by a qualified majority  (with  the
   Danish delegation voting against) to the substance of the common position
   on  the  Directive on colours for use in foodstuffs. This is  a  specific
   Directive    based    on   the   general    principles    of    framework
   Directive 89/107/EEC on additives.

   The Directive sets out to establish:

   -  a positive list of colours permitted in the Community (43 substances);

   -  the list of foodstuffs in which those substances may be used (over 100
      categories of foodstuffs or specific products);

   -  conditions of use, particularly maximum doses.

   With  regard to meat products, the Directive provides that  only  natural
   colours  shall be permitted for certain generic categories  of  products,
   artificial colours being restricted to a number of specific products (for
   example  "chorizo"  and "saucisses de Strasbourg").  Colouring  of  white
   cheeses  would  be  prohibited.  The  use  of  E  160b  Annato  would  be
   restricted to particularly low doses in 14 foodstuffs.

   Member  States will have to comply with the provisions of this  Directive
   within 18 months of its formal adoption.

   PROCEDURE  FOR  THE PROVISION OF INFORMATION IN THE  FIELD  OF  TECHNICAL
   STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS

   The  Council held a detailed discussion of the proposal amending for  the
   second  time  Directive 83/189/EEC  laying  down  a  procedure  for   the
   provision  of  information  in  the  field  of  technical  standards  and
   regulations.

   It  should  be  that Directive 83/189/EEC imposes a  dual  obligation  on
   Member States proposing to adopt national technical regulations  relating
   to industrial, agricultural, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products:

   -  to communicate to the Commission and the other Member States the texts
      of such regulations at the draft stage (notification procedure);

   -  to abstain from adopting them for a given period the duration of which
      depends  on the specific cases indicated in the Directive  (standstill
      or status quo rule).

   The  proposal  currently before the Council basically  aims  to  increase
   transparency  with regard to national measures in the field of  technical
   regulations with a view to achieving the internal market.

   More particularly, it aims to extend the scope of Directive 83/189/EEC by
   redefining the concept of the "technical rule" so as to include de  facto
   technical regulations as well.

   At  the  close  of the discussion the Council  instructed  the  Permanent
   Representatives  Committee  to continue the discussions on the  basis  of
   certain  possible compromise elements which emerged during the course  of
   the discussion and to re-submit this item to the Council to enable it  to
   adopt a common position as soon as possible.

   STRATEGIC PROGRAMME ON THE INTERNAL MARKET

   The  Council  held a further discussion on the basis  of  the  Commission
   communication  entitled  "Reinforcing the effectiveness of  the  internal
   market"  and  of  the  working document  entitled  "Towards  a  strategic
   programme for the internal market".

   The aim of the discussion was to provide the Commission with  indications
   and  guidelines  for  use  in establishing its  strategic  plan  for  the
   internal  market.  The Council agreed to return to the subject  once  the
   Commission had submitted the strategic programme, which it was due to  do
   at the meeting of the Internal Market Council on 16 December 1993.

   At  the close of the discussion the Presidency drew the  conclusions  set
   out below:

   "The Council:

      - noted  with  great interest the  Commission  communication  entitled
        "Reinforcing  the  effectiveness  of the internal  market"  and  the
        working document attached to that communication entitled "Towards  a
        strategic programme for the internal market";

      - took note of the proceedings at expert level within a working  party
        set  up  by  the  Permanent  Representatives  Committee  which   are
        summarized in 8062/93 and which made it possible, for various topics
        in the said working document, to identify a number of main lines and
        directions  for discussion regarding the management of the  internal
        market and future action;

      - generally  endorsed,  taking account of the fact that  most  of  the
        legislative  programme  contained  in  the  White  Paper  has   been
        achieved, the political desirability of a programme as envisaged  by
        the Commission after consultation of all the parties concerned;  the
        aim of the programme would be to identify all the measures necessary
        both for the consolidation of the internal market and the  effective
        implementation  of the four freedoms of movement in accordance  with
        the  provisions  of  the Treaty and also, wherever  and  insofar  as
        appropriate,  for the dynamic development of a single market at  the
        service of the citizen; in this context, it laid particular emphasis
        on  the  need  to maintain a global and  balanced  approach  in  the
        management  of the single market as the only way of integrating  the
        specific measures taken in different fields into an overall vision;

      - felt  that such a programme could validly set a number  of  priority
        aims  to guide the Community and its Member States over  the  coming
        years;   in  that  connection  the  following  topics  would   merit
        particular attention:

   (i)  administration of the Community area:
      - prevention of the emergence of new barriers to trade;
      - organization  of the partnership through close co-operation  between
        Member  States  and  Commission; such co-operation  is  one  of  the
        priorities in the application and effective management of the  rules
        for the single market; establishment of appropriate instruments;
      - verification by the Commission of the transposition of Community law
        into  national  law  not only from the quantitative,  but  also  the
        qualitative, point of view;
      - in-depth consideration of access to justice, inter alia on the basis
        of a Green Paper promised by the Commission for the end of the  year
        which  will  consider the problems of means of  redress  and,  where
        appropriate, improved transparency regarding penalties;
      - evaluation  of  the effectiveness of existing  Community  rules  and
        general monitoring of the functioning of the single market;
      - transparency of Community action, particularly through consolidation
        of  existing  rules,  and  improved  co-ordination  of   information
        measures concerning Community law;
      - regular  assessments,  by the appropriate Community bodies,  of  the
        economic  and social effects of the internal market for all  regions
        of the Community;

   (ii) development of the single market

      - taking  into account the result of the Copenhagen  European  Council
        regarding in particular measures to promote growth,  competitiveness
        and employment;
      - creation  of  an environment free from barriers;  in  this  context,
        taking into account the inter-relationship between the single market
        and  Community policies in other sectors, (inter  alia,  competition
        policy,  industrial  policy, environment  policy,  consumer  policy,
        structural and cohesion measures, taxation);

      - measures  to assist SMEs, in accordance with the conclusions of  the
        Edinburgh European Council, directed at effectively integrating  SME
        policy   into   the  Community  growth  initiative,  with   a   view
        particularly  to increasing their competitiveness and their  ability
        to create jobs;
      - active policy of standardization as an instrument in the functioning
        of  the internal market with a view particularly to  developing  the
        use of quality instruments at Community level;
      - implementation  of  a  dynamic commercial policy and  action  to  be
        carried out at external frontiers to combat international fraud  and
        trafficking;

   (iii) trans-European networks

      - strengthening of the links between the achievement of trans-European
        networks,  the functioning of the internal market and  the  economic
        and industrial growth strategy;
      - implementation  of  means of ensuring  greater  interconnection  and
        inter-operability  between networks and within each network,  taking
        into  account in particular the needs of the island, landlocked  and
        peripheral regions;
      - with a view to transparency, consistency and better use of  existing
        funds,  introduction  of mechanisms giving an overall  view  of  the
        various   actions   carried   out  in   the   field   of   transport
        infrastructure,   energy   infrastructure   and   telecommunications
        networks."

   AGREEMENT ON COMMUNITY PATENTS - PROGRESS OF RATIFICATION

   At  the  initiative  of the Presidency, the Council  took  stock  of  the
   progress of ratification of the Agreement on Community Patents, which can
   only enter into force once it has been ratified by all the Member  States
   of the European Economic Community as signatory States.

   On the basis of European patents issued by the European Patents Office in
   Munich,  the Agreement,  which  was  concluded  in  December 1989,   will
   establish  for  the  various countries which are parties  to  the  Munich
   Convention  on  the  European  Patent  a  single  Community  patent  with
   identical effects in all Member States.

   As the Presidency had emphasized that it was important that the Agreement
   should  enter into force in the near future, Member  States'  delegations
   gave  details  on  the  progress  of  ratification  in  their  respective
   countries.  It  emerged  that four Member States had  hitherto  deposited
   their  instruments of ratification, while in several other Member  States
   ratification procedures were very well advanced.  The other Member States
   were  aware of the urgent need to implement the Agreement  and  expressed
   their willingness to attain that aim as soon as possible.

   CONTROL OF CONCENTRATIONS BETWEEN UNDERTAKINGS

   The Council took note of the report which the Commission had submitted to
   it  on the re-examination of the application of Regulation No 4064/89  on
   the control of concentrations between undertakings.

   It  should be noted that the Regulation on concentrations, which  entered
   into  force  on  21 September  1990,  created  for  the  first  time   an
   appropriate  legal  instrument for Community  control  of  concentrations
   likely to affect trade between Member States.

   At  the end of its report and in the light of experience, the  Commission
   concluded in particular that it would be appropriate to:

   -  re-examine  the possibility of making a proposal to the Council for  a
      revision of the thresholds by the end of 1996 at the latest, since  de
      facto the combined effects of inflation and devaluations have  already
      reduced  those  thresholds,  and that it would  prefer  to  gain  more
      experience before reviewing the matter;

   -  maintain  the  referral  rules of certain Member States  as  they  are
      (Article 9(3)) until the new revision of the thresholds.

   MISCELLANEOUS DECISIONS RELATING TO THE INTERNAL MARKET

   Extension  of  the  legal protection  of  topographies  of  semiconductor
   products  to  persons  from  the United States  of  America  and  certain
   territories

   The Council adopted this Decision, which aims to extend provisionally  to
   the  territories  of  Aruba  and  the  Netherlands  Antilles  the   legal
   protection   of  semiconductor  products  (Directive 87/54/EEC)   already
   extended  to  persons  from  the United States  of  America  and  certain
   territories (Decision 93/16/EEC).

   Motor vehicles - mechanical coupling devices

   The Council adopted the common position on the Directive relating to  the
   mechanical  coupling  devices of motor vehicles and  their  trailers  and
   their attachment to those vehicles.

   The   main   purpose   of   this   Directive   is   to   facilitate   the
   interchangeability  of motor vehicles and their trailers  by  harmonizing
   the  technical  requirements which the mechanical coupling  devices  must
   satisfy.  It  also aims to improve the economic and competitive  position
   of  Community  road  hauliers  and to have a  beneficial  effect  on  the
   environment.

   Copyright  and  related rights applicable to satellite  broadcasting  and
   cable retransmission

   Following  the common position adopted on 10 May 1993 and the  completion
   of  the co-operation procedure with the European Parliament  the  Council
   finally  adopted  the  Directive on the co-ordination  of  certain  rules
   concerning   copyright  and  related  rights  applicable   to   satellite
   broadcasting and cable retransmission.

   The  aim  of  the  proposal is  to  supplement  Community  provisions  on
   copyright, making a distinction between satellite broadcasting and  cable
   retransmission,  and  to introduce only the harmonization  necessary  for
   cross-border activities.

   The  proposal  provides  that satellite broadcasting is  subject  to  the
   authorization  of  the rightholder and that such  authorization  must  be
   obtained  in the country of origin.  It also provides for a common  level
   of  protection for authors, artists, performers, producers of  phonograms
   and broadcasting organizations throughout the Community.

   As regards cable retransmission rights, the proposal provides that  these
   must  be negotiated solely through collecting societies representing  the
   various categories of rightholders.

   With  regard  to  transitional provisions,  the  Directive  in  principle
   provides  that the act of satellite broadcasting is to take place  solely
   in  the  country of broadcasting.  In the case  of  agreements  currently
   concluded  on  the  basis  of  the  territorial  division  of  rights,  a
   transitional  period of five years is set from the date of  incorporation
   of  the Directive into national law to enable the parties to  renegotiate
   agreements to bring them into line with the Directive.  Some  delegations
   want  derogations  for international  co-production  agreements,  whereby
   several  producers of cinematographic or audiovisual works  of  different
   nationalities share the exploitation rights of the work on a  territorial
   basis.

   As  for  transitional provisions relating to  cable  retransmission,  the
   Member  States  concerned may retain the bodies with  responsibility  for
   settling  disputes  between interested parties that are in  existence  on
   1 January 1995 for a period of eight years after that date.

   Following the second reading in the European Parliament, it was  intended
   that  the Commission should submit a report on the implementation of  the
   Directive by 1 January 2000 at the latest in order to take into  account,
   if need be, the implications which the arrival of new technologies  would
   have on the exploitation of works of art and other services.

   MISCELLANEOUS DECISIONS

   Antidumping

   The  Council adopted by a qualified majority (with the French  delegation
   voting  against) the Regulation repealing, with retroactive effect to  29
   June  1990,  the  antidumping  measures  applying  to  imports  into  the
   Community of tapered roller bearings originating in Japan.

                                     * * *

Side Bar