First Plenary Session of 2003

January 21, 2003

CES/03/3 Brussels, 17 January 2003

Opinions on Competition policy, pesticides and the Committee's contribution to the development of the EU's communication and information strategy

Visits to the EESC by:

Mr Akis Tsochatzopoulos , the Greek Minister for Development, on behalf of the Presidency-in-office of the Council of the European Union, will present the programme of the Greek Presidency.

Mrs Loyola de Palacio , Vice-President of the Commission will be in attendance in order to present the Commission's work programme for 2003.

Seven members of the Chinese Economic and Social Council, including its President Mr Chen Jinhua , will be visiting the EESC on a fact-finding visit during the plenary session.

Mr Bas Treffers, Vice-President of the European Forum for People with Disabilities will be present within the activities of the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003.

Main Opinions due to be adopted for this session include:

Opinion on Competition Policy

(Rapporteur Mr Barros Vale, Group 1, Employers, Portugal)

Key Points: the Committee reaffirms the importance of Competition rules, the application of which is not only vital for the proper functioning of the internal market, but also constitutes one of the main duties of the Commission. In view of the EU's future enlargement, the Committee also underlines the crucial importance of ensuring that the Commission pays more attention to the candidate countries and ensures that across the EU, the same rules are applied with the same efficiency. The Committee also underlines the importance of reinforcing the investigative powers of the Commission and supports the Commission's proposal to have an automatic community competence (currently the Commission may intervene in cases concerning at least three member states and involving a certain turnover threshold). The Committee suggests that the Commission should be more concerned with disseminating information on the laws governing competition policy so that the general public (a key ally in fighting anti-competitive practices) is more aware of the problem and can report infringements. Finally the Committee stresses that although the involvement of national authorities in merger control has advantages given their knowledge of the sectors and markets in question, the Commission's controlling role must hold sway.

Communication on the use of Pesticides

(Rapporteur Mr Staffan Nilsson, Group 3, Various interests, Sweden)

Key Points: the EESC supports the Commission's effort to draw up a thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides along the lines set out in the Commission communication. The strategy should combine existing and supplementary measures, to be implemented in an organic and coherent way so as to avoid overlaps that could lead to confusion over roles or to excessive cost increases for economic operators. New measures to be proposed in a future strategy should include: common EU criteria and guidelines (although the practical details of the action programme must be determined at national level to allow for tailoring of general criteria to local circumstances); training of, and advice to, farmers, farm workers, seasonal workers and other users in order to reduce environmental and health risks, part-funded through a fair levy on pesticides which should preferably also be introduced in third countries to avoid distortion of competition and; attention on reducing pesticide-related risks, which may also involve reducing the quantities of chemicals used, particularly when tailored to national, regional and local requirements.

Opinion on the Communication concerning the EU's information and dissemination strategy

(Rapporteur: Mr Ernst Ehnmark Group 2, Employees, Sweden)

Key Points: the Opinion broadly welcomes the Commission's proposal as a good basis for further development of the EU's information and communication policy. Overcoming the lack of awareness of what the EU does and ensuring that citizens are well informed is absolutely essential, it continues. It however points out that the strategy does not pay enough attention to the role that organised civil society can play within such a strategy . The Committee also agrees with the need for the information strategy to be more directed towards the education sector and the young . As far as key themes are concerned, the Committee suggests adding an extra set of subjects under the global heading of the environment (which would also cover sustainable development, food safety and consumer protection areas that effect the daily lives of EU citizens) to the list of key subject areas covered by the information strategy. The Opinion also suggests incorporating the set of values surrounding the development of the EU into such a communication strategy. The Communication concludes by underlining the unique network of contacts, that, due to its role, the Committee has at its disposal in terms of reaching out to different sectors in EU society.

The following Opinions are also due to be adopted during this session:

Civil Responsibility/Circulation of Motor vehicles

(Rapporteur: Mr Levaux Group 1, Employers, France)

The checking of good practice in laboratories (codification)

(Rapporteur: Mr Bedossa, Group 3, France)

Application of good practice in laboratories/trials of chemical substances

(Rapporteur: Mr Bedossa, Group 3, France)

Tax regime for fuel

(Rapporteur: Mr Levaux, Group 1, Employers, France)

Promoting the learning of languages and linguistic diversity

(Rapporteur: Anne Heinisch, Group 3 Various interests, Germany)

For more details please contact Vasco de Oliveira, press officer, on tel. 32 2 546 93 96, e-mail:

DN: CES/03/3 Date: 20/01/2003

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments