EduBourseActualitésMidday Express of 2005-10-24

Midday Express of 2005-10-24

News from the Press and Communication Directorate General’s midday briefing

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

24 / 10 / 05

Maintenir sûrs, propres et sains les mers et les océans européens
La Commission européenne a proposé aujourd’hui une stratégie ambitieuse pour protéger l’environnement marin de l’Europe. La stratégie thématique pour la protection et la conservation du milieu marin vise à assurer que toutes les eaux marines communautaires soient écologiquement saines d’ici 2021, dans le but de protéger ce capital précieux, qui constitue la base de ressources dont dépendent les activités économiques et sociales marines. Il s’agit de la deuxième stratégie thématique adoptée par la Commission conformément au sixième programme d’action pour l’environnement. Elle constituera un élément essentiel de la future politique maritime que la Commission proposera en 2006.

Pakistan earthquake : Commission proposes €93.6 million aid package
The European Commission is proposing that an additional amount of at least €80 million be made available to address the immediate needs of survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan on 8th October (€30 million), and to contribute to the costs of rehabilitation and reconstruction (€50 million). This is in addition to the €13.6 million emergency humanitarian aid already released, bringing the total proposed for 2005/6 to €93.6 million ($111.7 million). The very substantial sum proposed underlines the European Commission’s commitment to Pakistan and to its people. The Commission has approached the budgetary authority (Council of Ministers and European Parliament) with this proposal, and has called for an early response to this proposal so that the EU can continue to act swiftly to help those still suffering the terrible effects of the earthquake.

Commission opens inquiry into funding for broadband in Appingedam (Netherlands)
The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether the public funding for a fibre access network in the Dutch town of Appingedam complies with EC Treaty state aid rules. The EC Treaty (Article 87) requires that aid granted by Member States does not distort or threaten to distort competition in a way liable to affect trade between Member States. This is the first time the Commission has had to open a formal inquiry into public support for broadband development. The launch of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge in any way the Commission’s final decision.

Commission endorses public funding for broadband in Kärnten, Austria
The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a broadband initiative by the Austrian Land of Kärnten. The scheme will enable citizens and businesses to have access to fast Internet connectivity in areas which do not currently have it. Although the scheme also supports advanced broadband services for professional users, the Commission concluded that the aid was not likely to distort competition significantly within the EU.

Commission orders repayment of €2.4 million subsidy paid to Componenta Corporation in Finland
The European Commission has decided that a transaction between the city of Karkkila, Finland, and Componenta Corporation violates EC Treaty rules that forbid state aids liable to distort competition within the Single Market (Article 87). In December 2003 Componenta sold its 50% stake in a real estate company to the city of Karkkila for €2.4 million, a sum higher than a private investor would have paid. The payment was conditional on Componenta moving some production from Sweden to Finland to create 50-70 new jobs there. The aid distorted competition because it provided Componenta with funds it would not have received under normal market terms. The aid of €2.4 million was granted without prior Commission approval and must be recovered from Componenta with interest.

Le Sommet tripartite de Londres examinera la contribution des partenaires sociaux à l’avenir de l’UE
MM. José Manuel Barroso, président de la Commission européenne, et Tony Blair, Premier ministre du Royaume-Uni, examinent aujourd’hui avec les partenaires sociaux européens (les organisations patronales et syndicales) quelles sont, à leur avis, les réformes économiques et sociales indispensables pour relever les défis de la mondialisation et maintenir le modèle social européen. Les deux dirigeants assisteront au Sommet social tripartite informel de Londres, auquel participeront également MM. Vladimir Špidla, commissaire européen, Wolfgang Schüssel, Chancelier fédéral autrichien, Matti Vanhanen, Premier ministre finlandais, ainsi que des représentants des partenaires sociaux. Cette rencontre est la dernière possibilité, pour les partenaires sociaux, de contribuer au Sommet des Chefs de gouvernement sur l’avenir du modèle social européen, qui se tiendra le 27 octobre à Hampton Court, au Royaume-Uni.

Mental health : Conference discusses how to improve EU situation
How can the mental health of the EU population be improved? That the key question that Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, is putting to stakeholders at a conference on mental health in Luxembourg today. Over 100 participants, comprised of a number of EU health ministers (including UK Presidency Minister Rosie Winterton), MEPs, WHO representatives, NGOs and academics, will look at how to approach the task of reducing mental illness, which affects over 25% of the European population. Discussions will centre on various actions that can be taken to improve mental health throughout the EU. The Commissioner will launch the Green Paper on Mental Health, adopted by the Commission last week (see IP/05/1292), and discuss the strategy and action plan that will be developed on the basis of the Green Paper public consultation. The aim is to promote greater visibility for mental health in all policies, develop better knowledge-sharing on this topic, and build consensus on what all actors can do to contribute to better mental health. A report by the European Platform for Mental Health Promotion and Mental Disorder Prevention (IMHPA) will also be presented, giving a first overview mental health promotion, related policies and underlying challenges in EU countries.

For more information, see:

José Manuel Barroso appoints new members of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
On 19 October 2005 te President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso appointed the 15 members of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) under the EGE mandate for 2005 – 2009. 6 of the new members are reappointed from the previous mandate and 9 of the new members are appointed for the first time. The EGE will hold its first meeting on 25 October 2005 and will on this occasion elect its President and Vice-President for a new term of four years.

Danuta Hübner in Spain : “The road to jobs and growth is through regional partnership”
Quality jobs in the regions and increased productivity are the key to growth in Europe stated European Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, while visiting Spain today. She is meeting Spanish National Authorities and the President of Madrid, Cataluña, Castilla y León and Asturias regions. During the three days of her visit Commissioner Hübner will discuss how Spanish regions can best use EU funding in 2007-2013 to help Spain and Europe become more innovative and competitive.

Application deadline for 2005 Lorenzo Natali Prize
Journalists of print and online media who wish to apply for the Lorenzo Natali prize of the European Commission should do so no later than 31 October 2005. Applications will be accepted from journalists from the following regions : Europe (EU Members States, States of eastern and south-eastern Europe and Mediterranean States) ; Africa ; the Arab World, Iran and Israel ; Asia and the Pacific ; Latin America and the Caribbean who have published an article on human rights or democracy in the developing world between 1 January 2004 and 31 August 2005. The Natali Prize for journalism is for excellence in reporting on human rights and democracy in the developing world and was created in 1992 by the European Union to promote quality in journalism and to commemorate the devotion of Lorenzo Natali, the former Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of development cooperation between 1985 and 1989. More information / application at :

August 2005 compared to July 2005 : industrial new orders down by 0.1% in euro-zone ; EU25 up by 0.1%
The euro-zone industrial new orders index fell by 0.1% in August 2005 compared to July 2005. The index dropped by 1.4% in July and increased by 3.2% in June. EU25 new orders increased by 0.1% in August, after a fall of 0.6% in July and an increase of 2.6% in June. In August 2005 compared to August 2004, industrial new orders grew by 7.5% in the euro-zone and by 8.9% in the EU25. These estimates are released by Eurostat.

Autre matériel diffusé
Message de José Manuel Barroso à l’adresse du nouveau Président de la République de Pologne, Lech Kaczynski
Questions and answers on the marine environment strategy
New money- and timesaving European Enforcement Order enables civil justice claims to be quickly and efficiently enforced throughout the EU
Speech by Stavros Dimas : “Developing the European Climate Change Programme” at stakeholder conference
Speech by Joaquín Almunia : “Europe: the best way towards Social Justice in the Global World” at Austrian Chamber of Labour

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