News from the Press and Communication Directorate General’s midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Presse et Communication
25 / 10 / 05
Avian influenza : EU bans imports of live birds and certain poultry products from Croatia
A European Commission decision to ban imports of live birds including poultry, wild feathered game meat and unprocessed feathers from Croatia was adopted on 24 October, and is being reviewed today by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. The decision, which is now in force, was taken in response to a case of H5 avian influenza virus found in wild birds in Croatia. Tests are ongoing to confirm the exact strain of the virus.
The EU and South East Europe sign a historic treaty to boost energy integration
Today the first ever multilateral treaty in South East Europe was signed in Athens. Signing the Energy Community Treaty, the European Union and nine partners of South East Europe – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria and UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo – will create the legal framework for an integrated energy market. Negotiations with Turkey are ongoing for joining the treaty at a later stage. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the Treaty as “a major achievement for peace and stability in Europe”. Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who signed the treaty on behalf of the European Union, commented that “the Energy Community Treaty will enhance security of supply and give support to a strategically vital sector”.
Joe Borg welcomes agreement on long term recovery measures for hake and Norway lobster stocks off the Iberian Peninsula
The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, has welcomed the unanimous decision in the Fisheries Council to adopt a much needed long-term recovery plan for southern hake and Norway lobster stocks off the Iberian Peninsula (see MEMO 05/391). The Commission had proposed these long term measures, in December 2003, in response to scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), indicating that the stocks concerned were severely depleted and recommending the set up of a recovery plan. The measures adopted yesterday will ensure a gradual reduction in the amount of fishing effort applied to these stocks until they return to safe biological levels. In the case of Norway lobster, two areas will be closed : the one off the north-west coast of Spain will be closed to bottom trawlers from 1 June to 31 August while the other, located to the south-west of Portugal, will be closed from 1 May to 31 August. To safeguard the benefit gained by these temporary bans, Portugal and Spain, which are the two Member States concerned, will have to ensure that there is no increase in the amount of fishing effort in these areas, outside the closed periods, as compared to the equivalent periods in the same areas in 2004.
La Commission autorise le rachat d’Amena par France Télécom
La Commission européenne a autorisé, conformément au règlement CE sur les concentrations, le projet d’acquisition de l’opérateur espagnol de télécommunications mobiles Amena par l’opérateur de télécommunications français France Télécom. Elle est parvenue à la conclusion que l’opération n’entraverait pas de manière significative la concurrence effective dans l’Espace économique européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.
Commission welcomes agreement on measures to fight illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber
The European Commission welcomed agreement on 24 October by Member States on measures to fight illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber, a growing problem that robs governments in affected developing countries of an estimated €10-15 billion every year in lost revenue and damages environment. The measures adopted consist of (i) voluntary partnerships to support and promote governance reform in countries badly affected by illegal logging ; and (ii) a regulation that sets up a legally-binding licensing scheme with partner countries to ensure that only legal timber from these countries is imported into the EU. The measures are based on an innovative approach linking efforts to strengthen governance in developing countries with the incentives for good practice offered by the EU market.
Jacques Barrot nomme Karel Van Miert comme facilitateur pour Galileo
Jacques Barrot, vice-Président de la Commission européenne en charge des Transports, a demandé à M. Karel van Miert, ancien commissaire européen, d’accepter le rôle de médiateur sur Galileo. Il s’agit d’une mission de bons offices auprès des Etats membres et des industries européennes afin de faciliter le processus de décision pour le programme Galielo.
Commission report proposes improvements to EU rules on animal by-products
The European Commission has adopted a report describing the experience of Member States in applying the Animal By-Products (ABP) Regulation and outlining ideas for future amendments to the legislation. The ABP Regulation, applicable since May 1, 2003, was adopted in response to various food-borne crises. It lays down health rules for the handling, processing, use and disposal of animal by-products unfit for human consumption. On the basis of information supplied by Member States and FVO inspection reports, the ABP report finds that Member States’ compliance with the EU rules has been generally satisfactory. However, it notes that changes may need to be made to some aspects of the Regulation in order to clarify its scope, make measures more proportionate to the risks, and remove unnecessary obstacles to the competitiveness of industry. The ABP report aims to serve as a basis for a wide debate with the Member States and stakeholders on a number of topics related to EU animal by-products rules, and will be used as a reflection paper on medium and long-term changes to the legislation. The European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou briefly presented the report to the Agriculture Council yesterday, and the Commission will develop proposals for amendments to the ABP Regulation, to be agreed by Council and Parliament by the end of 2006 / early 2007.
25 octobre 2005 : Journée européenne de la Justice Civile et Prix “Balance de cristal”
Après 2003 et 2004, la troisième édition de la Journée européenne de la Justice civile sera à nouveau l’occasion pour organiser différents événements autour de la date du 25 octobre, au sein des Etats membres de l’Union européenne et du Conseil de l’Europe. Le point commun de ces actions sera de rapprocher la justice civile des citoyens.
Turkey set to participate in the EU Culture 2000 programme
Nikolaus van der Pas, Director General of the Directorate General for “Education and Culture” and His Excellency, Oguz Demilralp, Turkish Ambassador to the European Union, signed this morning a Memorandum of Understanding on Turkey’s participation in the Culture 2000 programme from 2006 onwards. The Memorandum should enter into force by the end of 2005. Participation of Turkey is part of the pre-accession strategy. Bulgaria and Romania already participate in the Culture 2000 programme and negotiations will start in the near future with Croatia for participation in the programme after 2007. Turkey’s participation in this programme also contributes to the Commission’s strategy on strengthening civil society dialogue and intercultural dialogue with candidate countries, in line with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004. Turkey will participate on the same footing as Member States and contribute financially (€1,4 million) to the programme budget. The programme encourages trans-national cooperation between cultural operators across Europe. For more information on Culture 2000, see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/culture/eac/index_en.html
Démographie européenne : la population de l’UE25 a augmenté de 0,5% en 2004 ; près d’un tiers des naissances hors mariage dans l’UE25
Au 1er janvier 2005, la population de l’UE25 a été estimée à 459,5 millions d’habitants, contre 457,2 millions au 1er janvier 2004. Elle a augmenté de 2,3 millions en 2004, soit à un taux annuel de 0,5%, principalement en raison d’une migration nette de 1,9 million, tandis que l’accroissement naturel a atteint 0,4 million. En comparaison, la population des Etats-Unis a augmenté de 0,9% (294,4 millions au 1er janvier 2005) et celle du Japon de 0,1% (127,4 millions), tandis que la population en Russie a diminué de 0,5% (143,5 millions). Les deux pays les plus peuplés du monde ont connu une croissance démographique, à hauteur de 0,6% en Chine (1302,6 millions d’habitants au 1er janvier 2005) et de 1,4% en Inde (1072,7 millions). Ces données sont extraites d’un rapport publié conjointement par Eurostat et le Conseil de l’Europe, présentant des chiffres sur l’UE25 et ses Etats membres, sur les autres Etats membres du Conseil de l’Europe ainsi que sur d’autres pays importants.
Autre matériel diffusé
An integrated market for electricity and gas across 34 European Countries
Speech by Danuta Hübner : “More regions in Europe, more Europe in regions” (24/10, Barcelona)
Speech by Peter Mandelson : “Doha for Development” at informal meeting of EU Development Ministers (24/10, Leeds)