EXME 13 / 12.12
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Last night’s agreement is a fundamental step towards the completion of the financial regulatory framework that we are building piece by piece to respond to the crisis. Once the new rules are in place, they will ensure that failing banks can be wound down in a predictable and efficient way with minimal cost for the taxpayer. They will be applicable in the 28 Member States. The Single Resolution Mechanism, once in place, will be the authority applying these new rules in the context of the banking union. In a statement issued last night, Commissioner Barnier welcomed this major achievement “with these new rules in place, massive public bail-out of banks will finally be a practice of the past” and presented the key aspects of the text including the resolution fund, which the banks will have to finance themselves.
Ukraine: meeting between Commissioner Füle and deputy Prime Minister Arbuzov
Today at 14:30, Commissioner Füle will receive Ukrainian deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov, to discuss issues related to the signature and implementation of the EU-Ukraine association agreement. A press corner with take place after the meeting – approximately at 17:00, transmitted also by EbS live.
See also: statement by HRVP Ashton at yesterday's press conference in Kiev.
Nobel Peace Prize one year on: President Barroso delivers €500,000 under the 'EU Children of Peace' initiative
European Commission President Barroso is in Bogota, Colombia, today, where he will hold bilateral meeting with the President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón of Colombia. Meeting will be followed by a joint press conference at 15:00 Brussels time. Afterwards (20:30 Brussels time), President Barroso will visit the headquarters of Benposta – Nación de Muchachos, where he will officially deliver €500,000 under the "Niños de la Paz" initiative. Following the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize and in the spirit of Europe's global solidarity, the EU created the "Niños de la Paz" and dedicates the prize money for humanitarian projects to help children affected by conflict with education. One of the projects selected for funding addresses education in emergencies for children in Ecuador and Colombia affected by the internal conflict in Colombia. Later in the evening (23:30 Brussels time) President Barroso will deliver a speech to the business community at the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá (Chapinero) on "Europe and its challenges in the future". President Barroso's statements will be available on RAPID.
Organisations wishing to bid for funding in 2014 through Erasmus+, the European Union's new programme for education, training, youth and sport, can start to prepare their grant applications from today. The new Erasmus+ Programme Guide, which provides detailed information on how to apply, is available here . The programme is open to organisations in the field of education, training, youth or sport. They can apply online for funding from the end of January. Individuals cannot apply directly for grants; instead they should contact their university, college or organisation, which makes the application.
The European Commission has formally requested the Italian telecoms regulator (AGCOM) to withdraw or amend its proposal for the prices applicable to wholesale broadband access throughout 2013. These access prices are the fees that the dominant operator, Telecom Italia, can charge other operators who want to sell broadband services based on Telecom Italia's copper access network.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of ACC Austria by Secop
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control of certain assets of ACC Austria GmbH of Austria by Secop GmbH of Germany. Secop designs, develops, manufactures and distributes hermetic reciprocating refrigeration compressors for use in household appliances, as well as for light commercial and mobile applications. ACC Austria, currently in insolvency procedure, is active in the segment for hermetic reciprocating refrigeration compressors for use in household appliances. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity's combined market shares remain moderate, there are sufficient alternative suppliers, the parties are not each other's closest competitors and their customers are large multinational OEMs which exercise buyer power. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.6996 .
Taxing the Digital Economy: First meeting of High Level Expert Group
Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta today opened the first meeting of the High Level Expert Group on Digital Taxation. The question of how best to tax the digital economy has become a pressing one, particularly in the clamp down on corporate tax avoidance. It has become clear that taxation needs to be re-aligned to support the growth of this sector, while at the same time ensuring that digital companies pay their fair share. Chaired by Vitor Gaspar, former Portuguese Finance Minister, the Expert Group will identify the key problems with digital taxation from an EU perspective, and present possible solutions. The Commission will then develop any EU initiatives necessary to improve the tax framework for the digital sector in Europe. Given the pace at which the digital economy is developing, a taxation response needs to be rapidly implemented. Therefore, the expert group should report back to the Commission by summer 2014. In parallel, the EU will continue to contribute actively to the work underway at global level in this sphere, within the context of the OECD's project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). The aim is to ensure a coherent and complementary approach to digital taxation at EU and international level. For full list of members of the Digital Taxation Expert Group, see: MEMO/13/1042 and for Commissioner Šemeta's speech on Taxing the Digital Economy, see: SPEECH/13/791
In October 2013 compared with September 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 1.1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.7% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In September industrial production decreased by 0.2% in the euro area and rose by 0.1% in the EU28. In October 2013 compared with October 2012, industrial production increased by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU28.
In 2012, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Luxembourg, expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS), was more than two and a half times the EU28 average. But this is an exception: Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Belgium were between 20% and 30% above the average, while Finland was 15% above average. France, the United Kingdom and Italy were between the average and 10% above. Spain and Cyprus were between the EU28 average and 10% below, while Malta, Slovenia and the Czech Republic were between 10% and 20% below. Slovakia, Portugal, Greece, Lithuania and Estonia were between 20% and 30% below the average, while Poland, Hungary, Latvia and Croatia were between 30% and 40% below. Romania and Bulgaria were around 50% below the average.
A total of €335 million of EU agricultural policy funds, unduly spent by Member States, is being claimed back by the European Commission today under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure. However, because some of these amounts have already been recovered from the Member States the financial impact of today's decision will be some €304 million. This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.
Commission publishes report on EU Dairy Sector conference
A report on the outcome of the recent conference 'The EU dairy sector: developing beyond 2015' has been published by the European Commission today. Held on 24th September 2013, the event brought together the actors of the dairy supply chain, as well as representatives of the EU institutions, Member States and experts from research and economic bodies in order to discuss the new challenges that the sector will face in the coming years, notably after the end of the quota regime in 2015. It considered the most likely trends that will be faced by the EU milk sector and whether additional instruments were needed and feasible. The conference report will now be passed to the Council and the European Parliament for debate. These discussions will feed into the preparations for a Commission report on the milk market situation and the functioning of the Milk Package, due for publication in June 2013.
Are there reductions in pollutant emissions in the EU? Is there a trend towards more sustainable consumption patterns in the EU? Is life expectancy continuing to increase? Has the employment rate of older persons in the EU increased? Is there a reduction in the EU greenhouse gas emissions? Is there an increase in EU financing for developing countries? Answers to these questions and many more can be found in the fifth Monitoring report on Sustainable Development in the European Union, published today by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The EU Sustainable Development Strategy brings together the many strands of economic, social and environmental policy under one overarching objective – to continually improve the quality of life and well-being for present and future generations. Eurostat’s role is to produce a monitoring report every two years based on the EU set of Sustainable Development Indicators.
The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commission have adopted a Joint Communication setting out concrete steps that the EU, collectively, is taking towards an increasingly comprehensive approach in its external action. The comprehensive approach is about the strategically coherent use of EU tools and instruments. The Union has a wide array of policies, tools and instruments at its disposal – spanning the diplomatic, security, defence, financial, trade, development cooperation and humanitarian aid fields.
Following the 9th December agreement by the EU's Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers on a so-called 'general approach' on the proposal for a Directive on the enforcement of the posting of workers (see IP/13/1230), the European Commission has updated the MEMO on the posting of workers. The proposal would help to improve the effective implementation, application and enforcement in practice of the existing Posting of Workers Directive which puts in place a number of safeguards to protect the social rights of posted workers and to prevent social dumping.
Tomorrow (13 December) Viviane Reding will attend the 41st Citizens' Dialogue in Vilnius where she will discuss topics such as the future of Europe, citizens' rights and the recovery from the economic crisis. The dialogue will take place from 12:00 to 14:00 (11:00 to 13:00 CET) in Vilnius Town Hall. Citizens from all over Lithuania will participate in the Dialogue alongside Lithuanian politicians, business leaders and cultural figures. The Mayor of Vilnius Artūras Zuokas will kick off the debate alongside Vice-President Reding. The Dialogue will be moderated by Edmundas Jakilaitis (national television LRT) and it will followed by a press conference and it can be followed live via webstream . You can also participate via Twitter by using the hashtag #EUDeb8 and on Facebook .
What Commissioners said
Vice-President Rehn has welcomed today’s publication of the independent assessment of the health and resilience of the Slovenian banking sector. He said it is clear today that Slovenia can proceed with the repair of its financial sector without turning to her European partners for financial assistance. This is good news and demonstrates both the paramount importance of decisive action by the authorities and the fact that the overall economic recovery of the eurozone is now solidly underway. He looks forward to the effective implementation of the strategy for banking sector repair and modernisation outlined today by the Slovenian authorities. It is also critical that Slovenia moves forward with the broader economic reform agenda, in particular strengthening corporate governance and carrying out privatisations and regulatory reforms to improve the business environment.
Commissioner Hahn is in Greece this week to discuss how EU Regional Policy can help in the coming years the country's recovery and return to growth. At his meeting with Prime Minister Samaras in Athens, Commissioner Hahn welcomed both the substantial progress in absorbing EU funds and the considerable work done to plan investments for 2014-2020. Commissioner Hahn said: "I welcome the Partnership Agreement from Greece which we received this week. In particular its clear focus on the real economy that will create jobs and give people hope for the future". The Commissioner was also in Crete, the 7th of 13 regions he has visited so far. In Athens he is also attending a key-event on re-launching the Athens' project - an innovative urban development strategy to tackle social exclusion as well as the economic and physical decline of the city.