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No 35.  Weekly. 24 January 2003

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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 

MEPs deplored the lack of progress in Council on more than 20 legislative proposals on transport

Transport Committee sets Parliament on collision course with Council over ecopoints

The Commission approves rescue aid for ABX Logistics

Rescue and restructuring aid for Air Lib: the Commission starts to investigate the measures taken by France

Commission authorises the Principality of Asturias to grant aid to the coal industry

Commission authorises the United Kingdom to grant aid to the coal industry 

Commission launches debate on a space policy for the EU

The web site of the Greek Presidency
                     

The web site of the European Parliament
                     

MEPs deplored the lack of progress in Council on more than 20 legislative proposals on transport

The outgoing and incoming Presidents of the Transport Council came under heavy fire in the Transport Committee on 18 January 2003 when MEPs deplored the lack of progress in Council on more than 20 legislative proposals. Some Members felt the Council was "just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" and asked Danish Minister Fleming HANSEN and Greek Minister Christos VERELIS why so many dossiers were bogged down, some for more than three years. MEPs stressed they did not wish to criticise the two ministers personally but they still voiced deep concern at the general lack of movement within the Transport Council, arguing that legislative proposals on airport slots, working conditions for pilots and other cabin crew, public transport in urban areas, the second railway package, maritime safety and civil aviation needed to be tackled urgently. Mr VERELIS admitted there were serious problems in reaching agreements and he could not guarantee that the 20-plus outstanding issues would be resolved under the Greek Presidency.

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Ecopoints in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The web site of the European Parliament
                     

Transport Committee sets Parliament on collision course with Council over ecopoints

The Transport Committee attacked on 23 January 2003 the deal agreed in Council on 31 December 2002 on establishing a transitional system for the transit of heavy goods vehicles through Austria during the period 2004-2006 after the expiry of the current "ecopoints" system on 31 December 2003. Chairman and rapporteur Luciano CAVERI (ELDR, I) said the Transport Ministers' accord, which he stressed was merely a "virtual" agreement at this stage, was incompatible with MEPs' demands. The committee wants environmentally-friendly lorries to be promoted and older lorries gradually banned, although it also says transit restrictions should apply only to three environmentally sensitive Alpine regions.

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Rail Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

The Commission approves rescue aid for ABX Logistics

The Commission has on 21 January 2003 approved rescue aid in the form of three bridging loans to three companies belonging to ABX Logistics in France, Germany and the Netherlands, whose parent company is Belgian Railways (NMBS/SNCB). The rescue aid, which must be repaid in the medium term, is intended to enable the three recipients to remain temporarily afloat and to avoid job losses, which should benefit all of ABX's activities. A decision on the recipient companies' future will have to be taken within six months of today's date.

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Air Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Rescue and restructuring aid for Air Lib: the Commission starts to investigate the measures taken by France

The Commission on 21 January 2003 decided to start a formal investigation into the measures taken by France to support Air Lib in view of France's decision to extend rescue aid to the company for a total of twelve months, France's failure to notify a restructuring plan and the possible existence of other sources of public funding. The Commission doubts whether these measures, which could in particular be used to develop the company's network, are compatible with competition rules.

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Coal issues in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

 

Commission authorises the Principality of Asturias to grant aid to the coal industry

The Commission has decided on 21 January 2003 not to raise any objections to the subsidies amounting to € 3 000 000 which the Principality of Asturias is proposing to grant to private coal mining companies to improve working safety in mines and to protect the environment. The aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the internal markets.

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Coal issues in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission authorises the United Kingdom to grant aid to the coal industry

The Commission has decided on 21 January 2003 not to raise any objections to the operating aid amounting to almost GBP 9 000 000 which the United Kingdom is proposing to grant to ten coal mines. The aid should help to make the mines viable, enabling them to continue their activities beyond 2002 without the need for public subsidy. The aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the internal market.

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Galileo satellite positioning system in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

European Space Policy in the web site of the Commission 
                     

The web site of the European Space Agency (ESA)
                     

Commission launches debate on a space policy for the EU

European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin introduced on 21 January 2003 the Green Paper on EU Space Policy. The Paper, prepared by the Commission in co-operation with the European Space Agency (ESA), looks into Europe's assets and weaknesses in this sector. As a basis for a broad consultation, the report tackles key issues such as the EU's independent access to space, scientific excellence in this field, the industrial and technological base, relevant markets, human resources, the legal and institutional framework, international co-operation, and environmental and security aspects. It aims to launch a debate with all players - national and international organisations, the EU space industry and users, scientific community and citizens. The consultation will help shape an EU response to competitiveness and security challenges related to space, to be detailed in a forthcoming White Paper. ESA Director General Antonio Rodotà will join Commissioner Philippe Busquin for a formal press presentation of the Green Paper on Monday 27 January at 11 am in Brussels.

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The contents of this digest are prepared by officials of the Energy and Transport DG and represent their personal views on the subject matters. These views have not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the Commission or the Energy and Transport DG.

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