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Top News from the European Commission
14 May – 10 June 2007

European Commission - AGENDA/07/19   11/05/2007

Other available languages: FR

AGENDA/07/19
Brussels, Friday 11 May

Top News from the European Commission
14 May – 10 June 2007

Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes



Information:

Please note that the European Commission will be closed from Thursday 17th May to Sunday 20th May. Therefore, we will not publish a Top News edition next week.

Please note also that we publish today a Special edition called "SUMMER TOP NEWS" which covers June-July and September. You can find it in front of the press room or in Rapid under "AGENDA/07/18".

Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 May: Conference on Bridging the Broadband Gap - Benefits of broadband for rural areas and less developed regions

The news:
Broadband is the backbone of the knowledge society, providing access to advanced public services and richer multimedia content for entertainment, training and work. With broadband connections, new forms of business innovation can transform the life of individuals, increase social cohesion and contribute to economic growth. But the communities whose economies are most likely to benefit from broadband are currently the worst placed to profit from the Information Society due to socio-economic factors and lack of connectivity.
The EU is determined to bridge the ‘broadband gap’, mobilising all relevant policy instruments, programmes and stakeholders. This is why the event has high-level endorsement from European Commissioners in four relevant fields (Information Society and Media; Agriculture and Rural Development; Regional Policy; Competition). In addition, 600 delegates will be present, including expert speakers who will explore how the strategic use of ICTs can support regional and local development and infrastructure, overcome geographical obstacles, and make these areas more attractive to business and individuals alike.


This event will bring together different communities concerned with information society, regional and rural development policies to:

  • launch a strong political message: increasing the strategic dimension that ICTs should have in the next programming period for both rural and structural funds; highlighting their role in reorienting economic activity, enabling the emergence of more productive sectors and increasing the added value of existing products and services;
  • contribute to the development of synergies among relevant Community policies in the fields of information society, cohesion, rural development and competition;
  • contribute to the identification of best practices and examples showcasing the benefits of ICT for the promotion of rural and regional/local development. Examples include the creation of new opportunities for business and the development of advanced public services.

The event:
Conference organized at the Charlemagne Building. Four Commissioners will address the conference during the 2-day event (V.Reding, M.Fischer Boel, D.Hübner and N.Kroes).

The sources:
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/broadband_gap_2007/index_en.htm http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/blog_fischerboel/page/fischerboel

The contacts:
Martin Selmayr +32 2 298 1230; Mona Lund +32 2 299 9020
Michael Mann+32 2 299 9780; Johan Reyniers +32 2 295 6728
Ana-Paula Laissy + 32 2 295 32 58; Constantina Avraam + 32 2 295 96 67
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07; Linda Cain +32 2 299 90 19

Tuesday 15 May: Commission announces new public/private partnerships for innovative medicines and embedded IT systems

The news
The EU's 7th Research Framework Programme, which started at the beginning of 2007, includes for the first time the creation of public/private partnerships to boost research in a few key industrial sectors. The proposals for the first two of these "Joint Technology Initiatives" will be launched on 15 May – in the sectors of innovative medicines and embedded systems.
The JTIs will combine private sector investment with national and European public funding to create a single European-wide research programme that is driven by the needs of industry and focused on clear joint technological and economic objectives.
EU research funding has stagnated in recent years and the investment by the private sector, according to latest figures, stands at about 54%, below the target of 66%. The JTIs will be one way in which the EU will seek to make the most of its investment in research in order to boost economic competitiveness and encourage greater private investment in key industrial sectors.

The event
Press conference with Janez Potočnik, European Science and Research Commissioner and Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

The sources:
MEMO/06/444 (7th Research Framework Programme)

The contacts:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 296 9921
Martin Selmayr +32 2 298 1230; Mona Lund +32 2 299 9020
Comm-rtd-press@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 16 May (tbc): Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Galileo at a crossroad: The implementation of the European GNSS Programmes.

The news :
In the conclusions of the Transport Council which were adopted during the meeting of 22 March 2007, the Commission has been asked to evaluate, before the next Transport Council of 7-8 June 2007, the progress made on the negotiations related to the concession contract and to present alternative scenarios in detail, with an assessment of the costs, risks and affordability.
The Commission is planning to adopt this evaluation in the form of a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on Wednesday 16 May

The event :
To be confirmed - Press conference by Vice-President Barrot in the Berlaymont press room.

The source :
Galiléo website:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/galileo/index_fr.htm

The contacts :
Michele Cercone +32 2 298 0963; Marja Quillinan Meilan +32 2 299 4014

Wednesday 16 May (tbc): Towards a comprehensive EU migration policy

The news:
All Member States of the European Union are affected by international migration. They have agreed to develop a common immigration policy at EU level. As a response to different requests made by the last December’s European Council, the Commission will make proposals to further develop this policy:

Communication on EU migration policy: the way forward:
This communication will explain the EU strategy in the immigration area, recalling the context (global approach, European Council conclusions, etc.). It stresses the Commission's balanced approach, which covers legal and illegal strands, including security but also social and economic aspects, and presents the subsequent packages of measures.

A Communication on legal movements of people:
The European Council invited the Commission "to present detailed proposals on how to better organize and inform about the various forms of legal movement between the EU and third countries by June 2007". The Communication will look at ways to facilitate circular migration, which offers interesting potential to help fulfil labour needs in Europe while responding to the development needs of countries of origin in terms of skill transfers and of mitigating the impact of brain drain.

A Proposal for a Directive providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals:
Illegal employment is perhaps one of the most important pull factors encouraging illegal immigration into the EU. The Proposal will present actions to intensify measures against illegal employment. At the same time, it tackles the serious humanitarian problem of exploitation of illegal migrants unable to protect themselves. The aim is to ensure that all Member States introduce similar penalties for employers of third-country nationals who are illegally staying.

A Proposal to apply the Global Approach to migration from the East and South-East:
In December 2005, the European Council established the Global Approach to Migration, which initially focused on Africa and the Mediterranean region. One year later, the European Council called on the Commission "to make proposals on enhanced dialogue and concrete measures" with regard to applying the Global Approach to the eastern and south-eastern regions neighbouring the EU.

The event:
To be confirmed - Press conference to be held by Vice President Frattini followed by a technical briefing on the Commission proposals + Technical briefing

The sources:
European Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/immigration/fsj_immigration_intro_en.htm
December 2006 European Council:
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/92202.pdf

The contacts:
Friso Roscam Abbing +32 2 296 67 46; Riccardo Mosca +32 2 296 14 04

Wednesday 16 May (tbc): Convergence Reports assessing whether Cyprus and Malta are ready to adopt the Euro

The news:

After careful examination, the Commission will publish reports, assessing whether the economies of Cyprus and Malta have sufficiently converged towards EU levels – according to the criteria set in the EU Treaty – to adopt the euro on the 1st of January 2008, as it is their wish.

Cyprus and Malta requested the Commission, respectively on 13 and 27 February 2007, to produce individual Convergence Reports assessing their readiness to adopt the Euro according to the economic and legal criteria set out in the treaty. The European Central Bank must produce its own report, expected to be published the same day.

The reports assess, whether the two countries have achieved a "high degree of sustainable convergence" by reference to economic criteria: regarding price stability, public finances, exchange rate stability and long-term interest rates. National legislation must also be in line with EU Economic and Monetary Union rules, and the statutes of the European System of Central Banks and the ECB.

If the Commission concludes that Cyprus and Malta fulfil the conditions, it will propose to the Council that they are ready adopt the Euro. Traditionally, this would be the subject of a discussion at the European Council in June, followed by a formal decision by the EU finance ministers in July. The latter would also decide on the rate at which the Cyprus pound and the Maltese lira would be converted into the Euro.

In January, Slovenia became the first of the Member States that joined the EU in May 2004 to adopt the Euro. Slovakia plans to adopt the Euro in 2009.

The event:
To be confirmed - Press Conference by Commissioner Joaquín Almunia at the Berlaymont in Brussels

The sources:

European Commission website:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/convergencereports_en.htm

The contacts:
Amelia Torres : +32 2 295 46 29; Marisa Gonzalez: +32 2 205 19 25

Friday 18 May: EU-Russia Summit in Samara (Russia)

The news:
The Summit will be hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The EU will be represented by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and High Representative Javier Solana. German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, External Relations and European Neighbourhood Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner will also be attending.
On the agenda of the EU-Russia Summit in Samara are EU-Russia relations including the state of play of the new EU Russia agreement to replace the current Partnership and Cooperation agreement; implementation of the four Common Spaces, notably energy and climate change, WTO accession, entry into force of visa facilitation and readmission agreements, cooperation in the common neighborhood to resolve the frozen conflicts, science and education and international issues such as Kosovo, Iran and Middle East.

The event:

There will be a press conference following the lunch discussions.

It is expected that the participants will sign the agreement on agreed principles of the modernisation of the existing system of utilisation of the Transiberian overflight routes with Russia in the margins of the Summit.

  • Video and photo coverage by EbS.

The sources:

EU-Russia relations website:

http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/russia/intro/index.htm

The contacts:

Christiane Hohmann +32 2 299 11 96; Christina Müschen 02 298 03 73

Monday 21 – Tuesday 22 May: 'HELP – For a Life without Tobacco' campaign in European Parliament for World No Tobacco Day

The news:
To mark World No Tobacco Day on 31 May and the half-way stage in the European Commission's anti-smoking campaign 'HELP – For a Life Without Tobacco', 27 stalls from the HELP campaign across the EU will be present throughout the European Parliament's plenary session in May.MEPs will be able to have their Carbon Monoxide levels tested and pick up tips on how to quit smoking.
A European Youth Manifesto on Tobacco Control will be debated by young people from across Europe and presented to EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou and Jules Maaten MEP.

Commissioner Kyprianou will present the achievements of the HELP campaign so far, and the results of a Eurobarometer on Attitudes to Tobacco will also be published to mark World No Tobacco Day.

The event:
Monday 21 May: Debate on tobacco control by young Europeans ahead of the presentation of a European Youth Manifesto on Tobacco Control, followed by a cocktail to present the HELP campaign stalls from across the EU.

Tuesday 22 May: Press conference at 11:30 by Commissioner Kyprianou and Jules Maaten at 11:30 am (TBC) on the HELP campaign, attitudes to smoking in Europe and the European Youth Manifesto on Tobacco Control

The sources:
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/Tobacco/tobacco_en.htm

http://www.help-eu.com/

The contacts:
Philip Tod +32 2 296 59 11; Nina Papadoulaki +32 2 298 63 78


Tuesday 22 May: Package on road transport – making market access more coherent and transparent

The news:
Since the implementation of the internal road transport market, the shape of the road sector has undergone profound changes. Road transport services have increased and diversified their offers, responding to customers’ needs for just-in-time services. The road haulage market has expanded on average by 3.4% a year, creating new business opportunities. Shippers and the whole economy have gained.
Nevertheless, operators still face disparate national rules on access to the profession and the market. Licensing authorities do not monitor in an even way the good repute of road transport undertakings and their records of offences. Cabotage rules are unequally applied and enforced.

These heterogeneous rules cause distortion of competition and lead to a higher propensity of non-resident undertakings poorly complying with road safety and social rules. This gives rise to a degree of opacity on the market and to a certain amount of mistrust vis-à-vis operators from other Member States. In that sense, customers and the economy in general are unable to reap the full benefits of a genuinely transparent and integrated road transport market.

For these reasons, the Commission is planning to adopt a Road Transport Package including a Report on Directive 2002/15/EC on the organisation of working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities, as well as three Proposals for Regulations on common rules for: 1/ admission to the occupation of road transport operator; 2/ access to the road haulage market (recast); 3/ access to the market in coach and bus services (recast).

The objective of these proposals is to simplify and clarify the legal provisions contained in the current Directive on the admission to the occupation, and the four Regulations on the access to the market, making them more enforceable and completing them when needed.

The more operational objectives are to:

  • contribute to a level playing field and reduce distortion of competition;
  • raise the level of professional qualifications of road transport managers;
  • reduce the administrative burden;
  • enhance compliance with safety, social and technical rules;
  • take into consideration the environmental impact of road, notably empty returns of vehicles.

The event:

Publication of a press release.

The source:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road/policy/index_en.htm

The contacts:
Michele Cercone +32 2 298 09 63; Marja Quillinan-Meiland +32 2 299 40 14

Tuesday 22 May: Communication on Cyber Crime

The news:
This Communication covers all forms of cyber-crime giving a particular focus on the protection of children, especially in relation to all forms of child pornography and child sexual abuse material and incitement to violence in text, images and on-line videogames.
The development of modern information technologies, electronic communication systems and different networks are largely controlled by private operators. Private companies carry out threat assessments, establish programmes for the fight against cyber crime and develop technical solutions to prevent crime. Nevertheless, industry has displayed a very positive attitude to assisting public authorities in the fight against cyber crime, especially in efforts to counter child pornography and other types of illegal content on the Internet.
The Communication will explore further ways of public-private co-operation and set the basis on which appropriate structures will be built. At the same time will continue to encourage Member States to allocate adequate resources to these issues.

The event:
Press Conference by Commissioner Frattini in the Press room, Berlaymont, Bruxelles followed by a Technical Briefing.

  • Available on EbS

The sources :
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/index_fr.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/crime/cybercrime/fsj_crime_cybercrime_en.htm

  • infoclip

The contacts
Friso Roscam Abbing +32 2 296 67 46; Riccardo Mosca +32 2 296 14 04

Tuesday 22 May: Commission to adopt Green Paper on ship dismantling

The news:
Each year some 200-600 large ships are dismantled worldwide, at least two-thirds of them in the Indian sub-continent under conditions that are dangerous for both workers and the environment. The number of ships scrapped is expected to peak in 2010 when around 800 single-hull tankers will have to be phased out.
In November 2006, the European Council has set environmentally sound management of ship dismantling as a priority for the EU and welcomed the European Commission's intention to work towards an EU strategy in this area.
The Commission has now prepared a Green Paper that proposes fresh ideas on ship dismantling to stimulate dialogue with member states and stakeholders and prepare the ground for future action.

The event:
The college of commissioners will adopt the Green Paper at its weekly meeting. Press conference by Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas (tbc)

The sources:
European Commission website
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/index_fr.htm

The contacts:

Barbara Helfferich +32 2 298 20 10; Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 05 67

Friday 25 May - Saturday 26 May 2007: Informal Ministerial for Urban Development and Territorial Cohesion – Leipzig, Germany

The news:

The German EU Presidency convened a 2-day informal Ministerial meeting. Ministers for urban and spatial development from the EU, accession countries and other neighbouring countries are invited to the meeting along with representatives from the European institutions and some non-governmental organizations.

The objective of the meeting is to politically emphasise the fact that European cities represents our economic, social and cultural model, and the need to strengthen the identity and diversity of European regions by future EU policies. The political messages of the ministerial meeting are to strengthen regional identities and to include distinctive urban and territorial characteristics in the early states of development policy programmes.

Two political documents will be presented:

The Leipzig Charter on sustainable European cities, which will focus on the strategy of integrated and sustainable urban development and on special areas of action for deprived urban areas.

Key themes are:

  • strategies for upgrading buildings in the face of pressures resulting from economic change and the challenges of building culture requirements;
  • enhancing local economies and labour market policies as mainstays of sustainable urban development;
  • sustainable urban development policies through proactive policies on children, adolescents, education and training
  • socially responsible urban transport, and
  • integration of migrants into the community as a cross-sector issue.

The EU Territorial Agenda that will present approaches which support all EU regions in contributing more to sustained economic growth and positive development of the labour market; enable growth zones by creating a network of urban regions; exercise a modern understanding of urban and spatial development, on where business, science, social groups and administration offices all cooperate to advance regional development.

The event:
The 2-day Ministerial meeting will be held in Leipzig. Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner will take part.

The sources:

European Commission website: 

Http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

http://www.eu2007.de/en/News/download_docs/Mai/0524-AN/060Hintergrundinfo.pdf

http://www.eu2007.de/fr/News/download_docs/Mai/0524-AN/060Hintergrundinfo.pdf

The contacts:
Ana-Paula Laissy + 32 2 295 32 58; Constantina Avraam + 32 2 295 96 67

Wednesday 30 May: EU-OPEC Roundtable on Energy Policies

The news
The work programme which has been adopted by the first EU-OPEC Ministerial meeting on 8th June 2005 calls for the organization of a Roundtable on Energy Policies. The objective of the Roundtable is to exchange views on recently adopted or envisaged policies relating to energy, to discuss the potential implications, in particular for oil demand and supply, and to gain a better understanding of the objectives that these policies aim to achieve.
The Roundtable focuses on the topic of how future oil demand is affected by consuming countries' policies – resulting in demand uncertainty and, consequently, in uncertainty over the level of supply and the level of idle capacity. Additionally, the future evolution of production capacity of OPEC to meet demand is an important element in the discussion.

The event
Roundtable event in the Centre Charlemagne from 9.30 am to 16.45 pm.

The sources:
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/energy/oil/index_en.htm

The contacts:
Ferran Tarradellas Espuny +32 2 296 62 93; Marilyn Carruthers +32 2 299 94 51

Friday 1st June: Preparation to the European Youth Week (3-10/06) + Results of a Flash Eurobarometer survey on youth

The news:
A European Youth Week will be organised during in the period 3-10th June 2007. It is the third such pan-european event, after similar successful undertakings in 2003 and 2005. European Youth Weeks will in future become regular events to be organised every 18 months.
The European Youth Week 2007 will see the organisation of youth related events in Member States and countries benefiting from the new Youth in Action programme (2007-2013). These events will mark the launch of the new programme at national level, contribute to the debate on the future of Europe, and discuss the overall theme of the EYW2007, "social integration and diversity of young people".
A centralised event, 'Youth in action!' will be organised in Brussels on 4-6th June with the participation of some 200 selected young participants. With an overall theme of "social inclusion and diversity of young people", the young participants will participate in working groups on selected topics, before adopting conclusions to be presented at a round table discussion with Mr. Figel and other Members of the Commission.
Being an integral part of the structured dialogue with young people, this event will draw on the conclusions reached by young participants at the Rome Youth Summit (25th March, 2007) and the German presidency youth event (Cologne, 13-16th April 2007). Witnesses from both events will report to the opening plenary session on their outcome and follow-up.
As part of this centralised event, the European Youth Celebrations will be held in the Residence Palace on 5th June, in the presence of Commissioner Jan Figel and other dignitaries, to recall the results of the Youth programme (2000-2006) and to highlight the launch of the new Youth in Action programme (2007-2013). Selected "social inclusion" projects funded under the Youth programme will receive "best practice" awards.
The European Commission will present the results of a Flash Eurobarometer survey of young people, between 15-30 years of age. Based on telephone interviewing in all 27 Member States, the survey deals with the following aspects of young Europeans' life: a) being a citizen of Europe b) the meaning and future of Europe c) leisure activities and membership of organisations d) employment and autonomy e) participation in society.

The event:

Friday 1st June: 11:30-12:00 : Press Conference in the Berlaymont press room (tbc).

The sources:
European Commission website ?

Special IP and or MEMO relevant about the issue ?

The contacts:
Frédéric Vincent + 32 298 71 66; Mona Lund+ 32 299 09 20

Monday 4 June: Conference "Towards a European policy for urban transport"

The news
The European Commission is organising a conference on a possible future European policy on urban transport, which will close the consultative phase of the preparation of the Green Paper on Urban Transport – planned for adoption by the Commission in September 2007.
The Green Paper will examine how the European Union can complement action taken at local level to enhance mobility, while at the same time reducing congestion, accidents and pollution in European cities. It will address all transport modes, including walking, cycling, motor cycles and motor vehicles, and will cover both urban freight (and logistics) and passenger transport. Further on, it focuses on the contribution of urban transport policy to achieving the EU targets on combating climate change and saving energy.
The Green Paper will form the basis for an extensive consultation with the EU Member States, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, and stakeholders.

The event
The full day conference will take place on 4 June 2007 in Brussels at the Charlemagne Conference Centre. The conference will include an overview of the input the Commission has received in the course of the internet consultation on the Green Paper. Representatives from European cities will be given the possibility to express their views. The conference will end with interventions by representatives from the European institutions. Vice-President Barrot will close the conference and outline his ideas for the future Green Paper.

The conference will be broadcasted life on: http://www.managenergy.tv/

The sources:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/clean/green_paper_urban_transport/index_en.htm

IP/07/118 "Green Paper on Urban Transport: a new role for urban transport within the European transport policy"

The contacts:
Michele Cercone +32 2 298 09 63; Marja Quillinan-Meiland +32 2 299 40 14

Monday 4 June: Conference on social services of general interest

The news

Social services of general interest (SSGIs) address the whole population (individuals or families) and are often personalised services which are directly connected to fundamental social rights and achieving greater social cohesion. SSGI frequently require the voluntary participation of citizens and non-profit organisations. Examples of such services are childcare facilities, care of the elderly, social housing. This conference will look at the current situation of SSGI in the MS focusing on trends in areas of long-term care, social housing, labour market services for disadvantaged people.

The event
The aim of the conference is to present the results of the consultation carried out by the Social Protection Committee and of the study on social services of general interest in Europe. Members of the social protection committee, representatives of organisations that have replied to the consultation and the experts that contributed to the study will be participating in the conference to debate and discuss the results and to reflect on the next possible steps at Community level.

The sources:
The report of both the study and the replies to the social protection committee's questionnaire will soon be available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/social_protection/questionnaire_en.htm

The contacts:
Katharina von Schnurbein +32 2 298 14 08; Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Tuesday 5 June: Istanbul: Conference on EU-Turkey Energy Cooperation

The news
The Conference "Turkey and the EU: Together for a European Energy Policy" assembles key political and economic actors to discuss the challenges and opportunities which both, the EU and Turkey, face regarding future Energy issues. Speakers include: Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, the Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs, the Foreign Minister of Turkey Abdullah Gül, the Energy Minister of Turkey Hilmi Güler, as well as other political and economic stakeholders.
Securing sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supplies is a major challenge for Europe today. There is an urgent need for diversification and investment. Turkey has a key role to play in the diversification of energy supply routes to Europe.
Turkey has already taken great strides in aligning its energy market with EU internal market rules. The full liberalisation of this rapidly growing market will create a strong domestic energy market for the benefit of Turkish consumers, and will also bring significant further investment opportunities for business. The EU has a strong interest to support this process. The ongoing negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU play a central role in this context.
In January, the European Commission tabled a comprehensive package of ambitious proposals for a "New Energy Policy for Europe", the importance of which was underlined by the Heads of State and Government at the recent European Council. Developing a common external energy policy is one of the main components of the package. Turkey is an important partner for the EU in the shaping of its external energy policy, and Turkey and the EU will both benefit from a close dialogue on its implementation.

The event
Conference, taking place in Istanbul, Conrad Hotel.
The conference lasts from 9.30 am to 6 pm, followed by an evening programme.

  • EbS coverage

The sources:
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/international/regional/euromed/index_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/international/regional/ect/index_en.htm

  • infoclip

The contacts:
Krisztina Nagy +32 2 298 86 63; Noora Häyrinen +32 2 295 84 37
Ferran Tarradellas Espuny +32 2 296 62 93; Marilyn Carruthers +32 2 299 94 51

Tuesday 5 June: Signature of Risk Sharing Finance Facility Agreement with EIB

The news:
RSFF (Risk Sharing Finance Facility) is an instrument of the 7th Research Framework Programme, administered by the EIB (European Investment Bank). Its aim is to use research funds to unlock access to additional credit for research, technological development and innovation.
RSFF will be a source of finance for long term research and innovation projects, in particular by the private sector including SMEs. It will also be a potential source of financing for European research infrastructures as identified in the ESFRI roadmap.
The signed agreement specifies terms and conditions for the practical implementation and management of the RSFF.

The event:
The agreement will be signed by Commissioner Potocnik during a conference on research infrastructures in Hamburg and by EIB President Maystadt during the EIB board meeting in Luxembourg.

  • Audiovisual material will be available.

The sources:
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/index_en.cfm?pg=understanding
http://cordis.europa.eu/esfri/

http://www.eib.org/site/index.asp?designation=rsff

The contact:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 29 69921

Tuesday 5 – Wednesday 6 June: European Conference on Research Infrastructures - Hamburg

The news:
The fourth European conference on Research Infrastructures will mainly focus on the needs of European users in all fields of Sciences and Technology.
During the conference topics such as best governance models, development of a common European strategy, and the international dimension of Research Infrastructures will be discussed.
The conference will cover all types of research infrastructures and the updating of the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures roadmap.
European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik is to attend the event.

The event:
The event is organised by the German Presidency and the European Commission.
Journalists who are interested in attending the conference should register at comm-rtd-press@ec.europa.eu

The sources:
European Commission website:
http://cordis.europa.eu/esfri/

http://www.ecri2007.de/

The contact:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 29 69921

Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 June: Employment Week

The news
The annual "Employment Week" will take place on 5 and 6 June 2007 in the Management Centre Europe, Brussels. The two-day conference and exhibition offers a great opportunity for practitioners and European decision-makers to connect and discuss the latest policies and trends in European employment.
This year, the key theme is "Working Europe, Creating More and Better Jobs". The employment week is a commercially organised event for employers and employees to learn about topics like: Improving productivity so as to keep existing jobs viable; Promoting diversity and respect at the place of work; Attracting, nurturing and retaining the talent and skills you need; Planning for a successful future with an ageing workforce; Restructuring the local economy so as to capture new job opportunities; Making work-life balance a realistic reality for everybody; Supporting worker mobility and cross-border migration.

The event
This year’s event takes particular account of the impact of EU entry on the new Member States, and their impact on the original EU members. It highlights ways in which all countries, all groups, and all employers can use the power of Europe to drive themselves forward.

Representatives from the European Commission, among which Commissioner Špidla, and from the European Parliament, and a range of European Institutions and Agencies will address the week on key employment challenges in the EU27.

The sources:
http://www.employmentweek.com/

The contacts:
Katharina von Schnurbein +32 2 2981408; Carmel Dunne +32 2 2998894

Wednesday 6 June: Building the future architecture of a single protection space for refugees

The news:
In 1999, in Tampere, the Member States of the European Union agreed to work towards the establishment of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), structured in two phases.
A refugee policy package will be presented consisting of: a Green Paper on the future of the CEAS, an evaluation of one of the "building blocks" of the first phase, the Dublin System, and a Proposal to extend to beneficiaries of international protection the possibility of obtaining Long-Term Residence status.

Evaluation of the Dublin system (Dublin Regulation and EURODAC Regulation) which determines which Member State shall be responsible for the examination of an asylum application:
The objective of the evaluation is to identify weaknesses in the system, and possible needs for amendments in order to make Dublin more efficient and coherent with the principles underlying the Common European Asylum System.

Green Paper on the future Common European Asylum System:
The publication of the Green Paper on the establishment of the second phase of the Common European Asylum System will stimulate the debate and dialogue with all actors involved in asylum policy. Their opinions will be taken into account in the preparation of the second stage legal instruments, which are to be proposed by the Commission in order to complete the CEAS by 2010.

Proposal for a Directive on the extension of the long-term resident (LTR) status to refugees and persons enjoying subsidiary protection:
Following the mandate of the Hague Programme, the Commission proposes that third-country nationals who have been granted protection by a Member State (currently excluded from the scope of the Directive 2003/109/EC which regulates the conditions under which third-country nationals may acquire long-term residence status) may have the possibility to: 1) acquire LTR status in the Member State which granted them the protection status; 2) to take up residence in another Member State and 3) to acquire LTR status in this second Member State under the same conditions as other third-country nationals.

The event:
Press Conference to be held by Vice- President Frattini (11 am), followed by a technical briefing with experts from the Directorate General Justice, Liberty and Security.

The source:
http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/asylum/fsj_asylum_intro_en.htm

The contacts:
Friso Roscam Abbing +32 2 296 67 46; Riccardo Mosca +32 2 296 14 04

Wednesday 06 June: Communication and services report on follow-up of guidance on the posting of workers

The news:
The 2007 Communication on the Posting of Workers is the follow-up to the 2006 Communication on guidance to help Member State governments, businesses and workers understand their rights and obligations when companies post workers from one EU country to work in another. The new Communication will provide an analysis of the situation in the Member States with conclusions on how to move forward. It will also assess the way the Posting of Workers directive is being put into practice across the EU. Its accompanying services report will describe the current situation in each Member State.
The report is based on replies to questionnaires by the social partners, Member States and the Commission's own monitoring.

The event:
Press conference with participation of Commissioner Špidla presenting the Communication (tbc).

The source:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/labour_law/postingofworkers_en.htm

The contacts:
Katharina von Schnurbein + 32 2 298 14 08; Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Thursday 7 June: Consumers – Commission clamps down on timeshare rogue traders and extends protection for holiday makers

The news:
What rights do you have as a consumer if you sign up to a long-term holiday club? What are your rights if you buy "timeshare" holiday on a canal boat or cruise ship? The answer is that your rights are not protected in either case.
Meglena Kuneva, the European Consumer Affairs Commissioner will present new proposals to revise the current EU Directive on Timeshare which dates back to 1994.
Timeshare is the right to spend a period of time (i.e. one or more weeks) in a holiday property for a specified period of the year for three years or longer. Timeshare holidays are very popular in many EU countries. For example, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Spain, have some of the highest number of consumers buying timeshare holidays. Spain, Portugal, Germany Italy and France have substantial domestic timeshare industries. Countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland show a growing market for consumers buying timeshare holidays. Current EU timeshare rules protect consumers, most importantly, with mandatory rules on the information that must be given to consumers in a prospectus before signing a contract. It also limits 'pressure selling' with a cooling-off period (right of withdrawal for consumer) of at least 10 days and a ban on deposits during that cooling-off period.
The revised proposal will extend the scope of the current Timeshare rules to cover new products like holiday clubs which have come on the market. The proposal will also deal with timeshare-like products such as timeshare accommodation in cruise boats which are very popular and are not covered by the current rules, as well as timeshare resale, and timeshare exchange schemes where consumers are not well enough protected and there are a high number of complaints.

The event:

Press Conference of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, Berlaymont, Brussels after the midday briefing

  • EbS coverage

The sources:

European Commission websites: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_int/safe_shop/timeshare/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/redress/ecc_network/ecc_network_centers.pdf

The contacts:
Helen Kearns + 32 2987638 or Maria Berghs +32 2 2988242


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