News from the Press and Communication Directorate General’s midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Général Presse et Communication
21 / 09 / 04
BSE : all restrictions on Portuguese exports lifted
The EU Member States today accepted a proposal from European Commissioner David Byrne to lift the embargo on Portugal and remove all restrictions on the export of cows, beef and related animal products. The embargo was adopted in November 1998 because of the high rate of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in Portugal at that time combined with inadequate management of the disease. Since then, Portugal has taken firm risk management action and the incidence of BSE has consistently decreased.
Trade and development : success stories in EU trade-related assistance
Between 2001 and 2004 the European Commission has spent €2.8 billion in supporting developing countries’ efforts to benefit from trading opportunities, meaning new commitments of around €700 million per year. A total of 121 new projects were launched in 2003 alone. Today Commissioners Pascal Lamy and Poul Nielson launch a report on the EU’s trade-related assistance – “Making Trade Work for Development” – setting out a number of these success stories.
Commission clears Finmeccanica’s acquisition of GKN’s stake in Agusta Westland
The European Commission has granted regulatory clearance, under the EU Merger Regulation, to plans by Finmeccanica S.p.A. to acquire sole control over helicopter maker AgustaWestland N.V., which is currently a 50/50 joint venture between Finmeccanica and GKN plc. (The deal, which was notified on 16 August 2004, was examined under a simplified procedure.)
Monthly note on the euro-denominated bond markets (August 2004)
With activity subdued during the holiday season, sentiment in the euro-denominated bond market reflected the effects of lower-than-expected US payroll reports, a fall in German investor and consumer confidence indices, and Q2 GDP data for the EU broadly in line with expectations. As a result, there was a slight downward shift in the euro yield curve in August. Total issuance of euro-denominated bonds declined to €57 billion in August from €162 billion in July. The composition of issuance in August was characterised by a high share of central government bonds (56%), which included the issuance of a new 10-year German benchmark bond. On the other hand, issuance by local government, agencies and international institutions was very limited (1%). With the exception of issuance of unsecured bonds by financial institutions, which was somewhat higher than in previous years (33%), private-sector issuance was subdued. Full document available on :
La Commission s’emploie à faciliter l’accès des PME au micro-crédit
A une conférence de haut niveau co-organisée par la Commission européenne et qui s’est tenue aujourd’hui à Bruxelles, la Commission et les principaux groupes d’intérêt industriels ont souligné l’importance de promouvoir en Europe un environnement plus favorable à l’accès des petites entreprises et petits entrepreneurs au micro-crédit. Sont appelés micro-crédits les prêts inférieurs à €25.000. Les participants à la conférence se félicitent de l’émergence d’une industrie proposant ce type de prêt aux petites entreprises et petits entrepreneurs. Aujourd’hui, plusieurs établissements accordent annuellement des milliers de micro-crédits et CONFIDI, principale société de cautionnement mutuel, délivre quelque 100.000 cautions pour les micro-crédits. Le Président Romano Prodi et le Commissaire Jan Figel ont participé à la conférence.
Launch of the Asia Trust Fund, a new instrument for trade related technical assistance
Today, the European Commission welcomed the Ambassadors of Asian developing countries and the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre at the ceremony to launch the Asia Trust fund (ATF), a newly approved €5 million facility for the delivery of trade related technical assistance to Asian developing countries. The Asia Trust Fund – managed by the International Trade Centre, a Geneva-based UN agency – is a channel to provide quick delivery of short-term Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA), in response to an immediate need identified by a national government or regional organization. Developing countries need support to acquire the institutional capacity required to deal with complex trade negotiations. The Commission already offers bilateral and regional programmes to provide Asian developing countries with expertise in the trade sector. While these programmes cover – depending on the country – a number of fields such as technical barriers to trade, standardisation, and intellectual property rights, there is an additional and urgent need for a flexible tool that can deliver short-term expertise. The ATF will be complementary to the bilateral and regional TRTA programmes of the EC.
Autre matériel diffusé
Trade and development – some facts and figures
Discours de M. Fischler : “OMC, sucre, développement rural et Mercosur” devant la commission Agriculture du PE
Speech by Frits Bolkestein : “Een ondernemend Europa” au Vlaams Economisch Verbond (! embargo 13h00 !)