Brussels, Friday 11 May
Top News from the European
14 May – 10 June 2007
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for
The European Commission reserves the right to make
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.
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
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
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
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
- 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.
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).
European Commission websites:
Martin Selmayr +32 2 298 1230; Mona Lund +32 2 299
Michael Mann+32 2 299 9780; Johan Reyniers +32 2 295 6728
Laissy + 32 2 295 32 58; Constantina Avraam + 32 2 295 96 67
+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
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.
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.
Press conference with Janez Potočnik, European Science and Research
Commissioner and Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society
(7th Research Framework Programme)
Antonia Mochan +32 2 296 9921
Martin Selmayr +32
2 298 1230; Mona Lund +32 2 299 9020
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
The Commission is planning to adopt this evaluation in the
form of a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on Wednesday
The event :
To be confirmed - Press conference by Vice-President
Barrot in the Berlaymont press room.
The source :
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
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
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
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.
To be confirmed - Press conference to be held by Vice
President Frattini followed by a technical briefing on the Commission proposals
+ Technical briefing
European Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/immigration/fsj_immigration_intro_en.htm
2006 European Council:
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
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
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.
To be confirmed - Press Conference by Commissioner
Joaquín Almunia at the Berlaymont in Brussels
European Commission website:
Amelia Torres : +32 2 295 46 29; Marisa Gonzalez: +32
2 205 19 25
Friday 18 May: EU-Russia Summit in Samara (Russia)
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
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.
There will be a press conference following the lunch discussions.
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.
EU-Russia relations website:
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
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
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.
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
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
European Commission websites:
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
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.
Publication of a press release.
European Commission website:
Michele Cercone +32 2 298 09 63; Marja
Quillinan-Meiland +32 2 299 40 14
Tuesday 22 May: Communication on Cyber Crime
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.
Press Conference by Commissioner Frattini in the Press
room, Berlaymont, Bruxelles followed by a Technical Briefing.
The sources :
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
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 college of commissioners
will adopt the Green Paper at its weekly meeting. Press conference by
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas (tbc)
European Commission website
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 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
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
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 2-day Ministerial meeting will be held in Leipzig.
Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner will take part.
European Commission website:
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 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.
Roundtable event in the Centre Charlemagne from 9.30 am to 16.45 pm.
European Commission websites:
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
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".
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.
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.
Friday 1st June: 11:30-12:00 : Press Conference in the Berlaymont
press room (tbc).
European Commission website ?
Special IP and or
MEMO relevant about the issue ?
Frédéric Vincent + 32 298 71 66; Mona Lund+
32 299 09 20
Monday 4 June: Conference "Towards a European policy for urban
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
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.
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 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/
European Commission website:
"Green Paper on Urban Transport: a new role for urban transport within the
European transport policy"
Michele Cercone +32 2 298 09
63; Marja Quillinan-Meiland +32 2 299 40 14
Monday 4 June: Conference on social services of general
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 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 report of both the study and the replies to the
social protection committee's questionnaire will soon be available at:
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 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
Conference, taking place in Istanbul, Conrad Hotel.
The conference lasts from 9.30 am to 6 pm, followed by an evening programme.
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
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
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 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.
European Commission websites:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 29 69921
Tuesday 5 – Wednesday 6 June: European Conference on Research
Infrastructures - Hamburg
The fourth European
conference on Research Infrastructures will mainly focus on the needs of
European users in all fields of Sciences and Technology.
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
European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez
Potočnik is to attend the event.
is organised by the German Presidency and the European Commission.
Journalists who are interested in attending the conference should register
European Commission website:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 29 69921
Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 June: Employment Week
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
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
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
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.
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
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:
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
report is based on replies to questionnaires by the social partners, Member
States and the Commission's own monitoring.
Press conference with participation of Commissioner
Špidla presenting the Communication (tbc).
European Commission website:
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
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
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.
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.
Press Conference of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, Berlaymont,
Brussels after the midday briefing
European Commission websites: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_int/safe_shop/timeshare/index_en.htm
Helen Kearns + 32 2987638 or Maria Berghs +32 2