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No 39.  Weekly. 21 February 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 

Commission reopens procedure against Spanish coal mining company González y Díez S.A.

Commission authorizes aid granted by Spain to the HUNOSA coalmining company

Commission will investigate aid to the coal industry granted by the region of Castilla-Leon

Commission clears UK grant for long distance bus services to old and reduced mobility persons

Commission approves Belgian combined transport aid scheme

Commission acts to improve pedestrian safety

Inspections in deep-sea maritime transport services

Parliament ask port pilotage services to be excluded from Ports liberalisation directive

EP: Adult safety belts for children over 1.5 metres tall

Coal Issues on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission reopens procedure against Spanish coal mining company González y Díez S.A.

The Commission has decided on 19 February to reopen the procedure against the Spanish coal mining company González y Díez S.A. in order to replace a decision taken on 2 July 2002 and adopt a new decision with the new procedural rules that apply after the expiry of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty on 23 July 2002. In the decision that is going to be replaced, the Commission ordered Spain to take all the necessary measures in order to recover the aid regarding the years 1998 and 2000 and did not authorise an aid for the year 2001. The Commission considers that the new procedural rules offer better opportunities to guarantee the rights of Member States, the concerned company and third parties.

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Coal Issues on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission authorizes aid granted by Spain to the HUNOSA coalmining company

On proposal of Loyola de Palacio, vice-president in charge of transport and energy, the European Commission on 19th February decided to not raise any objections to the subsidies amounting to € 1.6 billion which Spain granted in the years 1999 and 2001 to the coalmining company of Hulleras del Norte S.A. (HUNOSA). The aid, which is compatible with the internal market, was granted to cover exceptional costs having arisen from the restructuring of the coal industry.

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Coal Issues on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission will investigate aid to the coal industry granted by the region of Castilla-Leon

On proposal of Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of transport and energy, the European Commission has decided on 19 Februrary to start an investigation of the subsidies amounting to € 18 millions which the Autonomous Community of Castilla-Leon has granted to private coal mining companies in 2001 and 2002. The Commission has doubts whether the aid is compatible with the proper functioning of the internal market and will investigate the risk of an unlawful cumulation between aid granted by the Spanish central government and aid granted by the region of Castilla-Leon.

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Road transport on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission clears UK grant for long distance bus services to old and reduced mobility persons

On proposal of Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of transport and energy, the European Commission has decided on 19 February not to raise any objections to the grant (£ 12million - € 18.7 million - annually), which the UK Government will give long distance bus operators as a compensation for offering half-fare concessions to older and disabled passengers.

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Intermodal transport and logistics on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

State Aid legislation
                     

Commission approves Belgian combined transport aid scheme

On proposal of Loyola de Palacio, vice-president in charge of transport and energy, the European Commission authorised on 19 Februry the decision of the Flemish Regional Government to provide aid for investment in combined transport, which intends to reduce road congestion. The scheme will grant subsidies for investments in combined transport. In particular, combined transport equipment (containers, swap bodies and semi-trailers), transhipment facilities and intermodal loading and unloading systems, as well as electronic information systems for increasing the reliability of combined transport.

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Road Safety on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

Automotive industry in the web site of Enterprise DG 
                     

Commission acts to improve pedestrian safety

Vehicle manufacturers will have to respect more stringent safety requirements in order to reduce the severity of injury to pedestrians and cyclists involved in accidents with motor vehicles. These requirements are set out in a draft Directive that the European Commission tabled 19 February. About 8,000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed and a further 300,000 injured in the EU each year in road accidents. Reducing the number of fatalities and casualties on European roads is a priority for the Commission, in line with the EU target of reducing road deaths by 50% by 2010. The Commission proposal, which takes account of the European Parliament's call for legislation in this field, (see IP/02/863), aims to reduce deaths and injuries in road traffic through changes to the construction of the front of vehicles, mainly affecting the bonnet and the bumper. Vehicle manufacturers will have to demonstrate that their vehicles satisfy a series of safety tests.

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The web site of Competition DG 
                     

Inspections in deep-sea maritime transport services

Following press inquiries, the European Commission's spokesperson for competition has confirmed that on 19 February 2003 Commission officials have carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of operators of deep sea maritime tanker services in several EEA countries. The purpose of these inspections is to ascertain whether there is evidence of a cartel agreement and related illegal practices for deep-sea maritime tanker services..

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Ports on Transport in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The web site of the European Parliament                      

Parliament asks for Port pilotage services to be excluded from liberalisation directive

Given their importance for maritime safety, port pilotage services should be completely excluded from the directive on market access to commercial port services, said the Transport Committee of the European Parliament on 18 February. It thus disagrees with the Council of Transport Ministers, which has proposed in its common position that Member States be allowed to liberalise their pilotage services, albeit under strict conditions. Most members of the committee believe the regulations on pilotage should be left in the hands of individual Member States, as this will provide the best guarantees for safety and environmental protection in vulnerable regions.

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Road Safety on Energy in the web site of Energy & Transport DG 
                     

The web site of the European Parliament                      

EP: Adult safety belts for children over 1.5 metres tall

Parliament's Transport Committee nodded through the latest proposals on the compulsory use of car seat belts at second reading on Tuesday 18 February. MEPs noted that their demand at first reading for children over 1.5 metres tall to be allowed to wear adult car seat belts in vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes had been accepted by the Transport Council. In its original proposal the Commission had suggested that children under 12 should be required to wear some form of "restraint system" and that if a child was under 12 it should only be allowed to wear an adult seat belt if it had a body mass of over 36kg. MEPs argued that some children under 12 were too tall to be carried in a child restraint system - irrespective of their body mass - and hence that height should also be a criterion. 

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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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