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Midday Express

Midday Express

· Commission welcomes the Naples charter for promoting better Transeuropean transport infrastructure in the enlarged EU

During the informal Transport Ministers Council, which took place in Naples on 4-5 July 2003, main issues about Transeuropean transport network (TEN-T) were discussed for the first time at the pan-European level. At the end if this meeting, the Italian Presidency presented a charter of Naples, aiming at developing the European dimension of main infrastructures and giving more impetus to the transport network. Loyola de Palacio, European Commission vice-president in charge of transport and energy, welcomed strongly the results of this Informal Council : "This charter highlights the need of an important commitment in favour of the development of the Transeuropean Transport network, which is a major condition of European competitiveness : it is high time we take the crucial decisions which will commit our future for the next twenty years." The charter of Naples welcomes the intention of the Commission to rapidly present a proposal to revise the TEN-T guidelines and invites the Commission to further develop the details of the options for new financing. "There are various possibilities, like the long-term loans by the EIB, the setting-up of a mutual guarantee fund, the promotion of public-private partnerships or the opening of possibilities of crossed subsidies in sensitive regions. But, as the Commission Prodi made clear in the last years, there is no doubt that we will face important choices to increase significantly the share of the budget for transport infrastructure", Ms de Palacio added.

· Commission successfully concludes farm talks with Israel

The European Commission and Israel initialled an agreement concerning new reciprocal liberalisation measures in the agricultural sector. On the basis of the outcome of the negotiations, most of the agricultural trade from both sides will be liberalised (preferential treatment with or without quotas). Before entering into force, the deal has to be adopted by the EU Member States.

· Midterm meeting of high level group on patient mobility

Health ministers from most Member States will attend a meeting hosted by the European Commission in Brussels today to continue an informal high level process of reflection on the question of patient mobility which was launched in February this year. The reflection process seeks to produce a coherent political response to a range of issues affecting healthcare systems including recent European Court of Justice judgements (see IP/01/995) on the right of patients to have their national healthcare system pay for treatment received in another Member State. The aim is to produce a set of conclusions by the end of 2003. Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne will be chairing the meeting. Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein will also participate and Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will be represented by Odile Quintin, Director General for Employment and Social Affairs. Observers from the acceding countries will also attend. This is the midterm meeting of the reflection process which will review the work accomplished so far by the working groups on European collaboration, information, access and quality and reconciling national objectives and European obligations.

· Winners of eEurope awards for eGovernment 2003 announced at Ministerial Conference

The three top prize winners for the eEurope awards for eGovernment Applications were announced today by European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, in a formal ceremony held in the presence of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Lucio Stanca, Italian Minister for Innovation and Technology. This ceremony was watched by some 30 Ministers attending the European eGovernment Conference at Villa Erba, beside Lake Como in Italy.

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