2128th Council meeting
Brussels, 3 November 1998
S U M M A R Y
For further information call 285.60.83 or 285.68.08
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
Adopted without discussion. In the case of legislative acts, votes against or abstentions are indicated. Decisions involving statements which the Council has decided to release to the public are asterisked; the statements in question may be obtained from the Press Office.
EEA - rules of origin
The Council approved on behalf of the Community the draft Decision of EEA Joint Committee amending Protocol 4 to the EEA Agreement on rules of origin, in order to avoid that products originating in a country eligible for pan-European cumulation could legally escape the payment of customs duties on the basic products.
CEECs and Cyprus - participation in EC programmes
The Council approved, on behalf of the Community, the draft decisions of the EU-Bulgaria, EU-Czech Republic, EU-Estonia, EU-Poland and EU-Romania Association Councils concerning the terms of the participation of these countries in EC programmes in the field of culture.
It also approved the draft decisions of the Association Councils with Estonia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia concerning these countries' participation in EC programmes in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Furthermore, the Council approved the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cyprus establishing cooperation in the audiovisual field including the participation of Cyprus in the MEDIA II Programme.
Promotion of transparency in nuclear-related export controls
The EU adopted a Decision concerning a further contribution by the EU of up to 75.000 ECU to finance the second seminar of the Nuclear Supplier Group on nuclear-related export controls, scheduled to take place in New York on 8-9 April 1998.
On 29 April 1997 the Council adopted a Joint Action aimed at contributing to the strengthening of the international nuclear non-proliferation system, including the promotion of transparency in nuclear-related export controls within the framework of dialogue and cooperation among all interested States party to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation; in support of this objective, the Joint Action had established a first contribution of up to 75.000 ECU to finance the first NSG seminar in October 1997.
Ukraine - Cooperation Committee
The Council endorsed the position to be taken by the European Union at the Cooperation Committee with Ukraine to be held on 5 November 1998.
The Cooperation Committee will discuss outstanding issues regarding EU-Ukraine trade and cooperation. As this will be its first meeting, its agenda is also devoted in part to organisational matters, such as the adoption of a structure of sub-committees, the agreement of precise steps to be taken in 1998-1999 with regard to the implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Committee, and charging the sub-committees of specific implementation tasks.
Anti-dumping - imports of leather handbags from China
The Council adopted a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1567/97 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of leather handbags from China, by adding 14 companies to those qualifying for individual treatment in respect of their export price. For those companies a rate different from the general anti-dumping duty of 38% will be applied, ranging from 0 to 58,3%.
Anti-dumping - imports of unwrought unalloyed magnesium from China
The Council adopted a Regulation imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of unwrought unalloyed magnesium from China.
The duty is set at the level of the difference between the minimum import price of 2,622 ECU/tonne and the CIF Community frontier price in all cases where the latter is less than the minimum import price and established on the basis of an invoice issued by an exporter located in China to a party unrelated to it. No duty will be collected where the CIF Community frontier price per tonne is equal or higher than the minimum price.
In all other cases the duty will be set at 31.7%.
The amounts secured by way of the provisional anti-dumping duty imposed pursuant to the provisional Regulation (Reg. (EC) No 1002/98) shall be definitively collected at the level defined above.
Agreement with Chile on the control of drugs precursors and chemical substances
The Council decided to conclude the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Chile on precursors and chemical substances frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
Like similar agreements with other countries, this one sets out measures to strengthen administrative cooperation between the Parties to prevent the diversion of chemical substances frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, without prejudice to the due recognition of the legitimate interests of trade and industry.
Chile and the EC will assist each other by monitoring the trade between them in controlled substances and by providing mutual administrative assistance to ensure that the relevant legislation on the control of trade in such substances is correctly applied.
The Agreement also contains provisions on information exchange and confidentiality, technical and scientific cooperation, the possibility of suspending shipments and for certain exceptions to the obligation to provide assistance.
A Joint Follow-up Group will be set up to administer the Agreement and ensure its proper application.
The Agreement will be concluded for a period of five years and, unless otherwise stated, will be automatically renewed for successive periods of the same duration.
Quality of water for human consumption *
The Council adopted by a qualified majority with the Italian delegation voting against an amendment to Directive 80/778/EEC on the quality of water for human consumption. The Opinion of the European Parliament (second reading) has been given on 13 May 1998 and the Commission has presented a re-examined proposal on 8 July 1998.
The amendment, which is based on Article 130s(1) of the Treaty (cooperation with the European Parliament), is intended to simplify, consolidate and update Directive 80/778/EEC in the light of scientific and technical progress and with account being taken of the subsidiarity principle.
The general objective (see Press Release 11332/97 Presse 296) is to guarantee that water intended for human consumption is wholesome. That means that its quality must satisfy the minimum requirements laid down in Annex I to the Directive with which Member States must in principle comply within five years of the Directive's adoption.
TACs and quotas for North Sea cod
The Council adopted a regulation, amending for the third time, Regulation (EC) No 45/98 fixing for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, the total allowable catches for 1998 and certain conditions under which they may be fished.
This regulation amends TACs and quotas for Cod in the North Sea, zone IIa, as follows:
Registration documents for motor vehicles
The Council adopted its common position on a directive concerning registration documents for motor vehicles.
The aim of this directive is to harmonize, at Community level, the form and content of registration certificates for motor vehicles in order to facilitate road traffic within the Community, simplify procedures for the re-registration of vehicles in another Member State, promote exchanges of information on the transfer of ownership of vehicles so as to step up the fight against illegal vehicle trafficking, and improve the functioning of the internal market.
Motor vehicle registation plates - Mutual recognition of the symbol of Member States *
The Council adopted a Regulation on the recognition in intra-Community traffic of the distinguishing sign of the Member State in which motor vehicles and their trailers are registered.
At the end of the 1980s, Commission departments and government experts drew up a Community model registration plate. This has on the extreme left a vertical blue zone with at the top a circle of twelve yellow stars representing the Community flag and underneath the abbreviation for the Member State of registration (D/P/IRL, etc.).
Since then, some Member States have incorporated the model in their national rules, making it either compulsory or optional. Other provisions, coming under the Vienna Convention on road traffic of 1968, apply in other Member States and in Member States which have introduced the sign on an optional basis. The Convention stipulates that the letters of the distinguishing sign of the Member State of registration should be in black within a white ellipse and should not be incorporated in the registration number.
Some Member States require vehicles registered in another Member State to display a distinguishing registration sign when they are being driven in their territory. The Regulation obliges such Member States to recognize the distinguishing sign of the Member State of registration displayed on the extreme left of the registration plate in accordance with the requirements of the Annex to the Regulation as being equivalent to any other distinguishing sign that they recognize for the purpose of identifying the State in which the vehicle is registered.
CODIFICATION OF LEGISLATION
Fisheries - EC structural assistance
The Council adopted the Regulation consolidating Regulation (EC) No 3699/93 of 21 December 1993 laying down the criteria and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and the processing and marketing of its products.
CMO in sheepmeat and goatmeat
The Council adopted the Regulation consolidating Regulation (EEC) No 3013/89 of 25 September 1989 on the common organisation of the market in sheepmeat and goatmeat.
Public access to Council documents
The Council agreed on the replies to the twelfth confirmatory application for access to Council documents from Mr. Steve PEERS and the eighth confirmatory application for access to Council documents from Mr. Tony BUNYAN in 1998. The Danish delegation voted against both replies.
(1)()Conclusions adopted by the Telecommunications Council on 19 May 1998 and endorsed by the Ecofin Council on 5 June 1998.
(2)()Made by OECD Ministers on 8 October 1998 at the Ottawa Ministerial Conference on a "borderless world: realising the potential of global electronic commerce".
(3)()OJ No C 110, 20.4.1993, p.1.
(4)()Directive 85/374/EEC - OJ No L 210, 7.8.1985, p. 29.
(5)()SOGITS-Senior Officials Group on Information Technology No 1032
(6)()At international level, see ISO/IEC Guide No 37, 1995;At national level, see, for example, DIN V 8418.
(7)()Child safety and standards - general guidelines; ref. no ISO - IEC guide 50, 1987, 1st edition April 15.
(8)()Such as "white" goods (i.e. kitchen and other household appliances usually covered with white enamel), do-it-yourself appliances, electric and electronic goods for home and portable entertainment, and telecommunication terminal equipment.