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No 31.  Weekly. 13 December 2002

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Direct link to Green Paper on Security of Energy Supply
Green Paper on Energy

Direct link to the White Paper on European Transport Policy

White Paper 
on Transport 

Commission concludes its examination of the Olympic Airways case

Air transport: Commission investigates the nature of advantages granted to Ryanair when it set up operations at Charleroi airport

Airlines: Commission refuses extension of the French scheme to compensate for costs suffered following the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001

Commission investigates the benefits granted to Intermed for scheduled air services between Gerona and Madrid

Airline insurance: Commission authorises Italian aid scheme

Commission authorises Danish environmental subsidies for the transport of goods by rail

Maritime transport : Commission clears the introduction of a tonnage tax in Ireland

Commission hails final agreement by Council and European Parliament on introducing sulphur-free petrol and diesel fuels throughout the EU

Commission settles investigation into territorial sales restrictions with Nigerian gas company NLNG

Renewable Sources of Energy: Winners of the 2002 EU Campaign for Take-Off received their awards on 9 December

Prestige oil spill: Commission takes swift action to support affected fishermen and fish farmers

EP: Loyola de Palacio asks for urgent measures after the Prestige disaster

Parliament and Council agree on early introduction of sulphur-free fuels for all vehicles

The European Parliment asks for more Statistics on Air Passengers, Freight and Mailrs

Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission concludes its examination of the Olympic Airways case

The Commission adopted on 11 December 2002 a decision calling on Greece to recover part of the aid granted earlier to Olympic Airways, as well as new aid granted unlawfully after 1998, representing a total of approximately EUR 194 million. It considers that all this aid enabled Olympic Airways to benefit from preferential treatment compared with its competitors, thus distorting competition in the common market. In addition, it found that a loan of EUR 19.5 million to Olympic Airways did not constitute aid. Moreover, it confirmed that the compensation received for moving to the new airport of Spata and the application of 8% VAT on domestic links was compatible with the competition rules.

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Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Air transport: Commission investigates the nature of advantages granted to Ryanair when it set up operations at Charleroi airport

The Commission decided on 11 December 2002 to open a formal investigation into the advantages granted to the airline when it set up its first base in mainland Europe at Charleroi in 2001. It has doubts regarding the nature of the measures taken by the Walloon Region and by Brussels South Charleroi Airport, which exclusively benefit Ryanair and might constitute State aid incompatible with the proper functioning of the internal market.

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Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Airlines: Commission refuses extension of the French scheme to compensate for costs suffered following the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001

The Commission had approved on 11 Decembre 2002 the original scheme to compensate for costs suffered during the four-day closure of airspace following the attacks in the United States. By contrast, it considered the extension planned by France after the resumption of flights to the USA to be incompatible with smooth operation of the internal market.

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Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission investigates the benefits granted to Intermed for scheduled air services between Gerona and Madrid

The Commission has decided on 11 December 2002 to launch a formal investigation into the benefits granted to Intermediacion Aerea SL (Intermed), the airline which operates scheduled services between Gerona and Madrid. It has doubts about the measures taken by the Government of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia to support Intermed, which could be regarded as State aid that is incompatible with the proper functioning of the internal market.

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Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Airline insurance: Commission authorises Italian aid scheme

The Commission authorised on 11 December 2002 the insurance guarantee scheme put in place for the air industry by Italy from 28 September 2001 to 31 October 2002 following the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001.

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Rail Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission authorises Danish environmental subsidies for the transport of goods by rail

The Commission has decided on 11 December 2002 not to raise any objections to the prolongation of a Danish environmental aid scheme, which intends to support the transport of goods by rail on Danish territory. The aid is in line with the White Paper on European transport policy, which acknowledges the need to shift transport from road to rail.

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Maritime Policy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Maritime transport : Commission clears the introduction of a tonnage tax in Ireland 

The Commission decided on 11 December 2002 to approve the fiscal package aimed at replacing the normal corporation tax by a tax based on the net tonnage of the fleet for maritime companies engaged in international traffic.

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Oil issues in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The web site of Environment DG                      

Commission hails final agreement by Council and European Parliament on introducing sulphur-free petrol and diesel fuels throughout the EU

The Commission is pleased that the European Parliament and the Council have been able to reach agreement on its proposal of May 2001 on the introduction of sulphur-free fuels. This paves the way for the full market availability of sulphur-free fuels from 1.1.2005 at the latest. The phasing in of these fuels will be completed by 1.1.2009. These fuels enable manufacturers of vehicles and mobile machinery to make full use of the technical potential to reduce the emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particles and to improve fuel efficiency. Reduction of emissions will contribute to the improvement of air quality and reduce the release of greenhouse gases.

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Enlargement and international relations in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

Gas issues in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

Commission settles investigation into territorial sales restrictions with Nigerian gas company NLNG

The European Commission has reached on 11 December 2002 a landmark agreement with Nigerian gas company Nigeria LNG Ltd (NLNG), which agreed to delete a clause preventing one of its European customers to re-sell the gas outside its national borders. NLNG also undertook not to introduce this clause in future contracts with European companies and also confirmed that its existing contracts do not contain profit-splitting mechanisms (PSM), nor will it introduce them in new contracts. Both the so-called territorial sales restrictions and profit splitting mechanism violate European Union competition rules. Competition Commissioner Mario Monti welcomed the settlement saying: "This ground-breaking settlement shows that producers of gas in Nigeria and elsewhere can preserve the essential revenues they derive from the sale of gas in the EU while respecting our competition rules. I hope that other non-EU gas producers will feel encouraged to follow the example of NLNG so that we will be able to bring our long-standing investigation to a successful end".

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Renewable energies in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The Altener Programe in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The web site of Loyola de Palacio                      

Renewable Sources of Energy: Winners of the 2002 EU Campaign for Take-Off received their awards on 9 December

Vice-President Loyola de Palacio and Mr. Jose Folgado, Spanish Secretary of State for Energy handed-over on 9 December 2002 in Salamanca the 2002 EU Awards of the Campaign for Take-Off. The Campaign for Take-Off rewards efforts made in promoting renewable energy and showcasing successful projects and initiatives all over Europe. For this third EU Awards edition, the winners represent 8 EU countries. "The European Union is making steady progress in legislating in favour of renewables, be it with the renewables Directive, now being implemented by Member States, with the energy efficiency in buildings Directive, adopted in record time, or with the biofuels Directive on which discussions are progressing. But legislation can sometimes be a dead letter without a true involvment from stakeholders. This is why I am particularly thrilled to see that on the ground innovative renewables projets are implemented throughout the European Union" said Loyola de Palacio.

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The web site of Fisheries DG                      

MEMO on The "Prestige" (PDF)
                     

The "Prestige" accident in the web site of Energy & Transport DG
                     

Maritime Safety in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

Prestige oil spill: Commission takes swift action to support affected fishermen and fish farmers

The Commission decided on 12 October 2002 to authorise President Romano Prodi and Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler to propose changes to existing rules to enable a swift response to the Prestige oil spill. "The EU stands by the affected fishermen. We will make an appropriate contribution to this reparation, alongside the Member States concerned.", President Prodi said. "Rapid reaction is key for the fishing community in Spain which is heavily suffering from this ecological disaster. The Commission will do its part. Economic activities in the fisheries and aquaculture sector had to be suspended in the regions concerned. A great number of enterprises and individuals have suffered considerable economic damage. Given this situation and the fact that the regions have a high economic dependence on the fisheries and aquaculture sector, it is necessary to foresee appropriate reparation of the damages which are not compensated by insurance.", Commissioner Fischler commented. For this purpose, it will be necessary for the Commission to adopt an appropriate proposal to be submitted to the Council and the European Parliament. The Commission will bring forward a package including the necessary modification of the rules of the Financial Instrument of Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) in the coming days, which will already be presented to the Fisheries Council next week.

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The web site of the European Parliament                      

MEMO on The "Prestige" (PDF)
                     

The "Prestige" accident in the web site of Energy & Transport DG
                     

EP: Loyola de Palacio asks for urgent measures after the Prestige disaster

Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio had a second discussion on the Prestige oil spill with members of the Fisheries Committee on Tuesday 10 December 2002. This environmental disaster raises questions about the speed and effectiveness of EU legislation and Mrs de Palacio has been looking at urgent measures that could prevent further accidents of this kind. The Commission proposed a package of measures on 3 December and the Council of Transport Ministers broadly endorsed this on 6 December when it backed moves to increase protection for European waters as well as a ban on the transport of heavy fuel by single-hull vessels. The Commission will be submitting a legislative proposal on these issues.

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Oil issues in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The web site of the European Parliament                      

 

Parliament and Council agree on early introduction of sulphur-free fuels for all vehicles

The Parliament-Council Conciliation Committee this week endorsed an agreement on new fuel-quality legislation that will make sulphur-free petrol and diesel fuel mandatory from 2009, two years ahead of the deadline originally proposed by the Commission.The new fuels directive will also cover off-road machinery (such as bulldozers) and farm and forestry tractors, in addition to road vehicles, from 2009 (subject to review). This is something Parliament's Finnish Green rapporteur, Heidi HAUTALA, fought for from the beginning, pointing out that although these vehicles only account for 8.5 per cent of diesel consumption in the EU they have a major impact on health and the environment.

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Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

MEP Samuli Pohjamo Report on air statistics (PDF)                      

 

The European Parliament asks for more Statistics on Air Passengers, Freight and Mail

Over the last few decades air traffic has increased exponentially, raising questions concerning the saturation of airspace, the capacity of airports to meet requirements and the ability of the airline industry to develop procedures and methods enabling it to respect ever tighter environmental controls.Samuli Pohjamo (ELDR, FIN) will be recommending the approval of the Council Common Position without amendment. Progress has been made possible due to the Common Position including an Article on Gibraltar which recognises that the regulation will not apply to the Gibraltar airport "until the arrangements in the Joint Declaration made by the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom on 2 December 1987 come into operation". The debate will take place on 18 December 2002.

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