MEX 13 / 1209
12 / 09 / 13
Vice President Neelie Kroes announces a significant set of measures to build a connected continent – with new proposals to end roaming charges, introducing new safeguards and consumer protections for the open internet, and bringing the single market boost to the telecoms sector, for European growth, fairness and leadership.
Member States back move to allow advance of agricultural Direct Payments
A Commission proposal to allow Member States to pay up to 50% of farmers’ direct payments for 2013 in advance has received unanimous support from Member States in the Management Committee for Direct Payments. This percentage may be increased to up to 80% for specific beef and veal payments. This Regulation will help farmers alleviate the financial difficulties resulting from unfavourable weather conditions, notably a harsh winter and severe rainfall experienced in some regions earlier in the year. As in previous years, these advance payments can be granted as of 16 October 2013, rather than 1 December, on condition that Member States have verified applications in the usual way. EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş commented: "Past experience shows that an adjustment like this can be a major boost for a farmer's cash-flow situation, which is needed in some regions after difficult weather conditions earlier in the year."
More than 6000 entrepreneurs have already benefitted from loans worth a total of close to €50 million under the European Progress Microfinance Facility, according to the third annual report on this EU instrument. The report confirms that Progress Microfinance has significantly contributed to job creation. European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "Starting a business can be a viable way for some people to get back to work and a powerful tool to help disadvantaged groups to integrate into society. Easing access to micro-finance is therefore a great social investment with considerable added value for would-be entrepreneurs and for society at large. I am glad that the recent agreement on a new Programme for Employment and Social Innovation will enable us to increase outreach of the European Progress Microfinance Facility in the 2014-20 period."
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid will represent the European Union at the third Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue in Yerevan, Armenia, on 13 September. The meeting brings together Ministers and senior officials from the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).
Commissioner Füle and Deputy Secretary General Schmid will meet foreign ministers to discuss developments in the region, as well as Iran, Syria and Egypt. Commissioner Vassiliou will join Education Ministers, including Dainius Pavalkis, the Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, representing the EU Presidency, to highlight the opportunities which will be created by Erasmus+, the EU's new programme for education, training, youth and sport. The Commission envisages that non-EU partner countries will receive €400 million per year for student exchanges and cooperation. The Informal Dialogue will help to prepare for the third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius 28-29 November.
Customs Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta has warmly welcomed the adoption of the Union Customs Code (UCC) by the European Parliament yesterday. The UCC is the new rulebook for customs throughout the EU which will increase legal certainty for companies, provide more clarity for customs officials and complete the shift by customs to a fully electronic environment. Following the endorsement by the European Parliament, Commissioner Šemeta said: "The Customs Union is the quiet success story of the EU. For over 40 years, it has protected our citizens, safeguarded our businesses and facilitated the ever increasing trade flows in and out of the Union. The Union Customs Code, endorsed by the European Parliament today, will ensure that customs continues its vital work, but in an even more efficient, cost-effective way; one which best meets the challenges of our modern economy."
In July 2013 compared with June 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 1.5% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.0% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In June industrial production increased by 0.6% and 0.9% respectively. In July 2013 compared with July 2012, industrial production dropped by 2.1% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU28.
CLIMATE ACTION: Commissioner Hedegaard “communicates the obvious” in Copenhagen on Friday 13 September
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will attend a climate event of the University of Copenhagen – entitled "Communicating the obvious", on Friday 13 September. The event will discuss how to incite Europeans to take personal action against climate change, with experts from communication and business. A string of examples will be presented from the housing, transport, food and waste sectors. For more information, please go to http://communicatingtheobvious.dk/ . The event is part of the communication campaign A world you like. With a climate you like ( .
Tomorrow Vice-President Viviane Reding and Minister-President of Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Rudy Demotte, will discuss Europe's way out of the economic crisis, citizens' rights and Europe's future with over 350 citizens, many of them young people. The debate will take place in the context of the " Fêtes de Wallonie /Colloque Jeunes" on Friday 13 September between 14:30 and 15:45 at the cinema-complex Acinapolis de Namur (Jambes). Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "I am looking forward to hearing the fresh ideas of the young people gathered in Namur, their views on Europe and what it should be." It will be particularly interesting to talk to these young people who will be voting for the first time in their lives".