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Daily News – 22.05.2017

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 22 / 05 / 2017

Brussels, 22 May 2017

European Semester 2017 Spring Package: Commission issues country-specific recommendations

Today Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Thyssen and Commissioner Moscovici presented the 2017 country-specific recommendations (CSRs), spelling out the economic policy guidance for Member States for the coming 12 to 18 months. The European economy has proven resilient in the face of significant challenges; reflected in growth rates of nearly 2 % in both the euro area and the EU in 2016, improving public finances and employment levels at a record of nearly 233 million people. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2009 and investments exceed pre-crisis levels in some Member States – also helped by the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called Juncker Plan. Although economic conditions in the euro area and the EU are improving, challenges remain: slow productivity growth and the legacies of the crisis, including disparities within and across countries, continue to weigh on the economy, as does uncertainty stemming mostly from external factors. The Commission therefore calls on Member States to use this window of opportunity to strengthen the fundamentals of their economies by implementing the economic and social priorities identified in common at European level - boosting investment, pursuing structural reforms and ensuring responsible fiscal policies. Particular attention is paid to the challenges and priorities identified for the euro area. Priorities vary across the EU but further efforts across the board are essential to achieve more inclusive, robust and sustainable growth. (Full opening remarks will be available on the rapid database. For more information see the press release and memo or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914; Enda Mc Namara – Tel.: +32 229 64976) 


Entry into force of the ‘European Investigation Order' to help authorities fight crime and terrorism

Today, the "European Investigation Order" enters into force. It simplifies the work of judicial authorities when they request evidence located in another EU country. For instance, if French judicial authorities are tracking terrorists hidden in Belgium, they can ask their Belgian counterparts to interrogate witnesses or conduct house searches on their behalf. This new tool will simplify and speed up cross-border criminal investigations. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "Criminals and terrorists know no borders. Equipping judicial authorities with the European Investigation Order will help them cooperate effectively to fight organised crime, terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption. It will give judicial authorities access to evidence quickly wherever it is in the EU. I call on all Member States to implement it as quickly as possible to improve our common fight against crime and terrorism. In June we will also discuss with Member States solutions to facilitate the collection and exchange of e-evidence. It is time to fully modernise the tools available to judicial authorities to conduct investigations." The European Investigation Order is a sets strict deadlines for its execution, limits on the reasons for refusing such requests and reduces paperwork by introducing a single standard form. It also protects the fundamental rights of the defence. Member States had time to implement it in national legislation by today, 22 May 2017. The European Commission will now analyse the state of the implementation and follow up with Member States in case they have not taken the necessary measures yet. In parallel, the Commission is currently working on solutions to equip judicial authorities with modern investigation tools to simplify their access to e-evidence. This will be further discussed at the Justice Council on 8 June. The full press release is available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Au Caire, la Commission salue l'adoption de l'Agenda Urbain de l'Union pour la Méditerranée

L'Union pour la Méditerranée (UpM), forum de coopération et de dialogue entre les Etats membres de l'UE et 15 pays au Sud et à l'Est de la Méditerranée, adoptera aujourd'hui au Caire une Déclaration établissant un Agenda Urbain pour la région. Véritable feuille de route pour un développement urbain durable dans le Bassin Méditerranéen, sa méthodologie reprend les principes fondateurs de l'Agenda Urbain de l'UE dont les autres pays se sont inspirés: groupes de travail thématiques sur les principaux enjeux urbains (qualité de l'air, logement et inclusion sociale, mobilité durable, entreprenariat…), gouvernance partagée et pleine implication des villes, ainsi que des partenaires de la société civile et du secteur privé. L'Agenda Urbain de l'UpM poursuit également les objectifs de développement durable des Nations Unis d'ici à 2030, notamment l'objectif 11 sur des villes durables, ainsi que les objectifs du Nouvel Agenda Urbain qui en découle, adopté par les Nations Unis en Octobre 2016. Assurant la co-présidence de la réunion ministérielle au Caire, la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu a salué l'adoption de ce nouveau programme de développement urbain: "Les villes et les acteurs locaux, y compris de la sphère privée, connaissent mieux que personnes les problématiques urbaines. Leur participation à l'élaboration des politiques qui les concernent directement ne peut que bénéficier aux millions de personnes qui vivent autour de la Méditerranée. J'espère ainsi que l'on saura tirer profit de l'expérience et des pratiques qui font le succès de l'Agenda Urbain de l'UE." La Déclaration ainsi qu'un communiqué de presse seront bientôt disponibles sur le site de l'UpM et l'intervention de la Commissaire Creţu lors de la réunion ministérielle est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)





Preparation of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, Brussels 22-23 May 2017

Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at today's meeting of the Eurogroup. The Eurogroup will discuss the next steps towards concluding the second review of the stability support programme for Greece following the preliminary agreement reached between the institutions and the Greek authorities on a policy package earlier this month. Ministers will discuss the economic situation and outlook for the euro area on the basis of the European Commission's Spring 2017 Economic Forecast. The Commission and the European Central Bank will also debrief ministers on the main findings of the seventh post-programme surveillance mission to Spain. Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At tomorrow's ECOFIN, Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission. Ministers are expected to agree on a new dispute resolution mechanism for taxation. The new rules would address the problem of double taxation, which currently creates uncertainty and unnecessary costs for many companies. The measures form part of a wider package of corporate tax reforms proposed by the Commission last October. A political debate on common rules for taxing corporate profits in the EU (the CCCTB) will also take place on Tuesday. The European Commission will also present its report on addressing national barriers to capital flows, part of its ongoing efforts to build integrated financial markets in the context of the Capital Markets Union. As part of the European Semester, the Council will adopt conclusions on the macroeconomic imbalance procedures on the basis of the in-depth reviews. Finally, Ministers will follow up on the general conclusions drawn by the G20 summit that took place in Washington D.C. on 21-23 April during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring meetings. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the ECOFIN session. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 64976; Enda Mc Namara- Tel.: +32 229 64976;  Patrick McCullough- Tel.: +32 229 87183)


Commissioners Avramopoulos and Thyssen to launch "Employers for Integration" at second European Dialogue on Skills and Migration

Tomorrow, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen will host the second meeting of the European Dialogue on Skills and Migration, at the European Business Summit. The Commissioners will officially launch the "Employers together for integration" initiative, in the presence of CEOs and other high-level representatives of several companies committed to fostering migrant integration. The initiative aims to promote employers' efforts across the EU to support the integration of refugees and other migrants in the labour market and beyond. On this occasion Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: "Making integration work is not just a social but an economic imperative. Only a successful integration of all migrants in the EU will allow turning migration into an opportunity, both for them and for our European society and economy. The role and engagement of employers is essential for this." Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "The forum is a sign of commitment that we unite forces with employers. Our primary task now is to tackle the challenges and to seize the opportunities of integrating refugees and asylum seekers in the labour market. It can and should be a win-win for all." All interested companies can support the initiative and sign up here. The event will be recorded on EbS and can be followed live on the social media through #EBS2017 and #IntegrationMatters. The European Dialogue on Skills and Migration was launched in 2016 to foster exchanges between the Commission and economic and social partners, in particular employers, on labour migration related issues. For its second edition on 23 May 2017, the Dialogue focuses on the labour market integration of refugees and other legally residing migrants. More information on the Dialogue is available here. See here for more information on the Commission's participation in the European Business Summit. (For more information: Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 2 298 67 64; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253)


Climate action: Commissioner Arias Cañete in Berlin for high-level global climate talks

On 22-23 May, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will be in Berlin to take part in the 8th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, an annual gathering of ministers from all regions of the world for informal discussions in support of the negotiating process of the UN climate change convention. This year's Dialogue comes at a crucial time right after the UN climate talks held in Bonn on 8-18 May and ahead of the G7 leaders' summit to take place in Taormina, Italy, on 26-27 May. This year's dialogue, entitled "Working together on Solutions", will address the challenges and opportunities ahead for implementation of the global Paris Agreement on climate change, in terms of both mitigation and adaptation and also sustainable development. The Dialogue will be chaired by Germany and Fiji, president of the upcoming COP23 climate negotiations in November. In the margins of the main meeting, Commissioner Arias Cañete will meet with members of the High Ambition Coalition – the alliance of developed and developing countries that were instrumental in securing a successful outcome in Paris. He will also meet with China's Special Representative on Climate Change, Mr Xie Zhenhua and Canada's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Ms Catherine McKenna. More information on international action on climate change is available here. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.:+32 229 52589)


Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)