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Top News from the European Commission
11 June – 08 July 2007

European Commission - AGENDA/07/22   08/06/2007

Other available languages: FR

AGENDA/07/22
Brussels, Friday 8th June

Top News from the European Commission
11 June – 08 July 2007

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

Monday 11 June: Agriculture Council: Reform of the EU fruit and vegetable sector

The news:

The Agriculture/Fisheries Council, meeting in Luxembourg, is expected to reach a political agreement on the Commission proposals to reform the fruit and vegetable (F&V) sector, to bring it into line with the CAP reforms which began in 2003.
The reform aims to improve the competitiveness and market orientation of the F&V sector, reduce income fluctuations resulting from crises, increase consumption, enhance environmental protection and, where possible, simplify the rules and reduce the administrative burden.
It will encourage more growers to join Producer Organisations; offer POs a wider range of tools for crisis management; integrate the F&V sector into the Single Payment Scheme; require a minimum level of spending on environmental measures; include measures to encourage consumption, especially among the young; higher EU funding of organic production and promotional measures; and abolish export subsidies for F&V.

The reform will enter into force in 2008.

The event:
Press conference by Commissioner Fischer Boel and the German Presidency in Luxembourg.
A press release will be issued.

The sources:

European Commission websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/capreform/fruitveg/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/fischer-boel/index_en.htm

IP/07/75 "CAP reform: Fruit and vegetable reform will raise competitiveness, protect producers from crisis, increase consumption, improve environmental protection and simplify rules"

MEMO/07/28 "Fruit and vegetable reform"

The contacts:

Michael Mann +32 2 299 9780; Johan Reyniers +32 2 295 6728

Monday 11 June: Agriculture Council: Phasing out of public buying of surplus maize

The news:

The Agriculture/Fisheries Council will adopt a Regulation to phase out intervention for maize over a period of three years. The Agriculture Council is expected to adopt a compromise scenario, whereby intervention for maize will be gradually reduced and brought down to zero in three steps.
At the end of the 2005/2006 marketing season, EU maize intervention stocks had spiralled to 5.6 million tonnes, or 40 percent of total intervention stocks. Without changes to the current system, these stocks, which are bought and stored at public expense, are forecast to rise to as much as 15.6 million tonnes by 2013. Possible outlets for soaring stocks of maize are limited, and maize is unsuitable for long-term storage. Regions that historically exported maize onto the world market are now offering a large part of their harvest directly for intervention.
Ending intervention for maize would allow the EU cereals market to achieve a new balance and see intervention regain its original purpose as a safety net. Therefore, the Commission proposed to abolish the system of public intervention purchases for maize from the 2007/2008 marketing year.

The event:
Press conference by Commissioner Fischer Boel and the German Presidency in Luxembourg.
A press release will be issued.

The sources:

European Commission websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/fischer-boel/index_en.htm

IP/06/1818 "European Commission proposes to end public intervention for maize"

The contacts:

Michael Mann +32 2 299 9780; Johan Reyniers +32 2 295 6728

Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 June: European Conference on the Integration of People with Disabilities and Informal meeting of Ministers responsible for disability issues, Berlin

The news:
As part of its contribution to the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, the German Presidency is hosting the Conference "Education, Employment, equal Opportunities: Empowering people with disabilities".
The Conference will be based around the recent UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, bringing together civil society, social partners and representatives of the European institutions. As the first comprehensive human rights Convention containing provisions for education, training and employment and whose fundamental principles are non-discrimination and equal opportunities, the Convention will give new impetus to disability policy worldwide. The conference aims to set out a common strategy to implement the Convention. Identifying a strategy will facilitate and speed up the ratification process of the Convention by Member States as well as by the Community. This will also allow for the rapid implementation of its provisions.

In the afternoon of June 11th, on the margins of the conference, there will also be, for the first time ever, an informal meeting of EU Ministers responsible for disability issues. The meeting will be presided by Franz Müntefering, vice Chancellor and German Minister for Labour; participants include Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum. This will be an opportunity for Ministers to have an informal exchange of views on the recent Convention on the Rights for persons with Disabilities, raising the visibility of rights for people with disabilities.

The event:
Family photo with Ministers and secretaries of State: June 11th before the informal ministerial meeting.

Press conference: June 12th at 10h30 in the context of the presidency conference.

The sources:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/emplweb/news/news_en.cfm?id=222

Convention des Nations Unies sur les droits des personnes handicapées:
http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/

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

Tuesday 12 June: Rocard report on science education

The news:
In 2006 Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik and Commissioner for Education and Culture Jan Figeľ commissioned a report on the state of science education in European primary and secondary schools. A five member group chaired by Michel Rocard, former French prime minister and now MEP has prepared the report which draws up policy recommendations designed to improve the way that Europe approaches science teaching and ensure future generations are properly prepared for a society and economy that relies on knowledge as a driving force.
The four other group members are distinguished scientists with long standing experience and a particular interest in science education: Peter Csermely, Doris Jorde, Dieter Lenzen and Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson.

The event:
Journalists will have an opportunity to discuss the report's findings with Mr Rocard and the two Commissioners. Those interested in attending should register at comm-rtd-press@ec.europa.eu by 17h on 8 June. The event will take place at the Berlaymont at 10.45 on 12 June.

The source:
IP/06/1631 "European Commission looks to experts to stimulate science education"

The contacts:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 296 99 21; Frederic Vincent +32 2 298 71 66;
Sophie Andersson +32 2 297 16 52

Wednesday 13 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 at 12.15 pm with participation of Commissioner Špidla, presenting the Communication.

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

Wednesday 13 June: 2007 Public Finances Report

The news:
As part of its budgetary surveillance responsibilities, the Commission adopts every year a report on public finances in the European Union. The focus of the 2007 edition of Public Finances in EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) is to ensure the effectiveness of the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. As the correction of excessive deficits is making rapid progress, the crucial challenge ahead is to achieve the objective of sustainable public finances, in particular in view of the impending impact of an ageing population.

The average government deficit in 2006 decreased to 1.7% of GDP in the EU as a whole and 1.6% of GDP in the euro area compared with 2.4% and 2.5%, respectively, in 2005. A significant part of the improvement reflects the adjustment effort put in place by the countries under Excessive Deficit Procedure – i.e. with a deficit in excess of 3% of GDP. In May, the Commission proposed to the Council to close the procedure on Germany, Greece and Malta on account of their deficit having been corrected in a sustainable way (see IP/07/672). The ECOFIN Council is expected to consider those recommendations on 5 June. After this, seven Member States are still subject to an excessive deficit procedure: two euro-area countries, namely Portugal and Italy, the UK and four recently acceded Member States, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The analytical sections of the eighth report on Public Finances focuses on two issues relevant for the preventive arm of the Pact. The first issue relates to the track record of the Member States in meeting the budgetary targets set in the Stability and Convergence programmes. The second examines fiscal consolidation over the period 1970-2006 and identifies what makes consolidation lasting.

The event:
Press conference by Commissioner Almunia at 13.00 pm in the Berlaymont press room.

  • Video coverage by EbS

The sources:
European Commission websites: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/forecasts_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/about/activities/sgp/scp_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publicfinance_en.htm

STAT/07/55 "Provision of deficit and debt data for 2006
Euro area and EU27 government deficit at 1.6% and 1.7% of GDP respectively"
IP/06/779 "Public Finances in 2006: new Stability and Growth Pact gets off to a good start but key tests ahead"

The contacts:

Amelia Torres + 32 2 295 46 29; Marisa González + 32 2 295 19 25

Wednesday 13 June: Adoption of the Communication "Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid" by the European Commission

The news:
Humanitarian aid is a fundamental expression of European solidarity. Given an increasingly challenging environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in need and a diversification of actors involved, it is time to seek to reinforce European humanitarian action through an explicit statement of the principles and values that govern the EU approach to humanitarian aid.
That is why the Commission is invited to adopt this communication – in order to clarify the principles and values underpinning EU humanitarian aid, to establish a policy agenda for pursuing a consensus and further work on implementing it in practice and to empower the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid to conclude a joint Declaration with the Council and the European Parliament concerning a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.

In developing this Communication, the Commission has reviewed lessons learnt in its responses to crises, and conducted an extensive consultation process of the EC's humanitarian partners and Member States. This has shown considerable consensus on the challenges faced by humanitarians and on the need for a clear EU stance on these. The results of this accompanying work will be presented in two staff working papers linked to this Communication. It is intended that this Communication will contribute to further encourage policy dialogue and definition of action at a European level.

The event:
Adoption of the Communication by the European Commission. A Press Release is going to be published.

The source:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/echo

The contacts:
Amadeu Alatfaj +32 2 295 26 58; Marc Lognoul +32 2 295 64 93

Wednesday 13 June (tbc): Greening Europe's aviation industry – a new Joint Technology Initiative for Clean Skies

The news:
The Commission is due to adopt a proposal for a Council Regulation to create a major new public-private partnership for research that will improve the environmental impact of aviation. In July last year seven major European aerospace manufacturers signed a commitment to the innovative "Clean Sky" policy.

The Clean Sky JTI is a large research project with an estimated budget of 1,7 billion euro over a seven year period which aims aim to radically improve the impact of Air Transport on the environment and come up with innovative technologies and solutions to reduce emissions and noise pollution. This proposal comes after the first two JTIs were proposed in May 2007. JTIs are an instrument of the 7th Research Framework Programme, designed to boost public/private research collaboration in industrial areas key to Europe's future.

The event:
A press event with Commissioner Potočnik at the Paris Air Show to be confirmed closer to the date.

The sources:

IP/07/668 "Joining forces for growth and jobs: Commission, Member States and industry to pool investment in strategic research programmes"

MEMO/07/191 "Joint Technology Initiatives, a new EU research initiative: Frequently asked questions"

The contacts:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 296 99 21; Sophie Andersson +32 2 297 16 52

Wednesday 13 June: Signing of association with FP7 – Serbia, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The news:
The EU's 7th Research Framework Programme provides the possibility for countries from outside the EU to become "associated members", thereby participating on an equal footing with EU Member States. Ministers from three Balkan countries - Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia - will sign the agreements associating them with the 7th Framework Programme at a ceremony to be held in Brussels on 13 June. Turkey's association agreement will be signed the previous week by senior officials.

The event:

The ceremony will take place at 17h00 on 13 June. Journalists who wish to attend the event are welcome to do so. As it is in the Commissioner's office, please sign up by 17h on 11 June by sending an e-mail to comm-rtd-press@ec.europa.eu

There will be a technical briefing about the involvement of non-EU countries in the 7th Research Framework Programme at 16.00.

  • EBS will cover the event

The source:

European Commission website:
http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/public_en.html

The contacts:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 296 99 21; Sophie Andersson +32 2 297 16 52

Thursday 14 June: New Cash Control Rules applicable as from 15 June 2007 at the EU's external borders

The news:

As from 15 June 2007, travellers entering or leaving the EU are required to make a declaration to customs authorities if they are carrying €10,000 or more in cash (or its equivalent in other currencies or easily convertible assets such as cheques).

Bringing cash into the EU to convert into another currency is a classic money laundering scenario. At present, not all Member States monitor cash movements across their national frontiers and in those that do, these national rules vary greatly. This lack of an EU wide-arrangement undermines the effectiveness of controls and leaves open loopholes for criminals to exploit. The new legislation harmonizes therefore the rules at Community level to ensure an equivalent level of control on movements of cash crossing the borders of the Community while it does not prevent them for taking further national measures as for instance intra-community controls.

The event:

Announcement by Maria Assimakopoulou at the Midday press briefing (BERL- Brussels); publication of a Press Release and distribution of leaflets at all entry or leaving point of the EU.

The sources:
European Commission websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/eucashcontrols For access to declaration forms: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_controls/cash_controls/declaration_form/index_en.htm

The contact:
Maria Assimakopoulou +32 2 295 98 42

Thursday 14 June: Contribution of science to maritime policy

The news:

The consultation period on last year's Maritime Policy Green Paper comes to an end on 30th June, and just before (18-21 June) there will be a major conference, EurOcean, providing a forum for discussion of how marine and maritime science can contribute to maritime policy.

Marine and Maritime science covers a vast range of issues: shipping, biodiversity, tourism, food safety and quality, health, climate change and transport to name but a few. Experts from the European Commission will on 14 June present some of the research that has already been financed by the EU in this area, through the Research Framework Programmes, and highlight the major priorities for the future.

The event:

11h00 on 14 June – technical briefing on the contribution of science to maritime policy, with experts from DG Research, DG Joint Research Centre and DG Fisheries and Maritime Affairs. Research presented will include using seafood waste for health applications, new ideas for vessels and floating structures and systems for tracking vessels and monitoring fishing.

The sources:
European Commission websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/
http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/

The contact:
Antonia Mochan +32 2 296 99 21; Sophie Andersson +32 2 297 16 52

Thursday 14 June 2007: Danuta Hübner in the Basque Country (Spain)

The news:

Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner is visiting the Basque Country in Spain. The Commissioner will address the Annual Conference of the Innovative Actions Network for Information Society (IANIS).

The Annual Conference of the Innovative Actions Network for Information Society (IANIS), in Bilbao will address:

  • the importance of transformative uses of ICT to achieve competitiveness,
  • the ways in which regions can contribute to the Lisbon Agenda and their own development,
  • the challenges that regions will face,
  • and the new priorities they will need to adopt so as to become creative regions better adapted to today’s global competitive environment.

Further on, the Commissioner will meet with Regional Government President (Lehendakari) Juan José Ibarretxe and Vice-president Idoia Zenarrutzabeitia, regional media and the social and economic partners. Danuta Hübner will also visit the Technological Park of Zamudio, which has been co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The event:
Speech of Danuta Hübner at the Annual Conference of the Innovative Actions Network for Information Society; visit of the Technological Park of Zamudio.

The sources:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

The contacts:
Eva Kaluzynska +32 2 2992615; Constantina Avraam +32 2 295 96 65

Friday 22 June: EurOcean 2007: a key debate on the future of European Marine Science

The news:
The European Commission will host the EurOcean 2007 conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. The event will gather key stakeholders of the European marine science community and will play an important role in terms of the scientific community's contribution to the Green Paper on a future maritime policy for the European Union, which is the subject of ongoing consultation until June 30th. In that sense, the Aberdeen conference shall further strengthen the role of science as an important foundation for the European Maritime Policy. Fifteen partners from across Europe, under the coordination of the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation, have contributed to the programme of the conference.


EurOcean 2007 follows the EurOcean 2004 and EurOcean 2000 events.
The Galway Declaration, adopted in 2004, played a major role in positioning marine science and technologies as important factors in enhancing the EU's competitiveness, while respecting the principles of sustainable development. In particular, the Galway Declaration influenced the inclusion of marine science and technology as a priority cross-cutting theme for the 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development.

The event:
Opening address by Joe Borg, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs. Publication of a press release.

EurOcean 2007 will be held alongside the Oceans '07 conference "Marine challenges: Coastline to Deep Sea" which is taking place from 18-21 June 2007.

The sources:

European Commission websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/index_en.html

EurOcean 2007 website: http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/eurocean2007.html

http://www.oceans07ieeeaberdeen.org/

The contacts:

Mireille Thom +32 2 299 16 30; Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 05 67

Wednesday 27 June: Communication on flexicurity


The news:
Flexicurity combines active labour market policies, flexible contractual arrangements, lifelong learning and modern social protection systems. On 27th June, the Commission will adopt a communication to help Member States implement flexicurity strategies together with social partners and other stakeholders. The aim of the communication is to facilitate a comprehensive debate between these actors so that the European Council may adopt, by the end of 2007, a set of common principles of flexicurity.

The communication will present pathways towards better combination of flexibility and security, based on important challenges found in many Member States: Flexible arrangements are vital to confronting the effects of globalisation and demographic ageing in Europe's labour markets. However, workers also need greater security if they are to remain and progress in work and – if faced with spells of unemployment – find a new, good job quickly. Flexicurity is an attempt to unite these fundamental goals.

The 2006 European Council asked the Commission to explore the development of a set of common principles of flexicurity. To do this, the Commission carried out a broad consultation with Member States, national authorities, trade unions, business and civil society. A key event in this consultation process was the major conference on Flexicurity in Brussels on 20 April 2007. The Commission Communication will be based on these consultations.


The event:
Adoption by the Commission of the communication on flexicurity, followed by a press conference by Commissioner Špidla in the Berlaymont press room at 12.15 am.

The sources:
European Commission website:

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/employment_strategy/flex_meaning_en.htm

Conference on Flexicurity, 20 April 2007
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/employment_strategy/flex_stakeholderconference_en.htm


The contacts:

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

Wednesday 27 June: Adoption of the Communication "From Cairo to Lisbon- The New EU-Africa Strategic Partnership."

The news:
In December 2005, the EU adopted a Strategy for Africa. The aim of this Strategy was to establish a common and coherent framework for the relations of all EU actors (27 Member States and the European Commission) with Africa adapted to the major transformations Africa had gone through since the beginning of the 21st century and confirm Africa's development as one of the EU's top political priorities. This Strategy has been extremely useful in mobilising more, and more coherent, EU support for Africa-led development efforts and made the EU a better and more effective partner. It also gave a more strategic dimension to the EU-Africa partnership and opened the way towards the establishment of strategic partnership between the two continents.

A Joint EU-Africa Strategy is intended to be agreed upon during the second EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in December. It aims at mapping the future of EU-Africa relations well beyond the traditional donor-recipient relationship, and setting up the basis of an EU-Africa partnership fully adapted to the new economic, social and political realities of both continents and the global environment they operate in.

The main orientations of the Joint Strategy have been agreed upon by the 8th EU-Africa Ministerial Troika meeting on 15 May. It is on this basis that European and African experts in charge of the preparation of the Joint Strategy will pursue their work from this summer until the Lisbon Summit.
In this context, the upcoming Communication of the Commission will aim at:
1) Providing a clear historical outlook of the evolution of the EU-Africa relations since the Cairo summit organised in 2000. It will highlight the major mutations Africa has been going through and explain how and why they require a radical change in the EU approach towards the continent.
2) Putting forward a set of key proposals for the elaboration of the agenda of the Lisbon Summit and suggest a series of concrete actions deriving from this new strategic partnership to be implemented from 2008 onward. It will particularly focus on energy security, climate change, migration and employment, migration management as well as research and culture.
3) Presenting a set of proposals and issues requiring further reflection so as to ensure that political and institutional modalities of cooperation with Africa properly mirror the rationale at the basis of the envisaged Joint EU-Africa Strategy and our willingness to bring back the EU-Africa dialogue where it has always belonged: the highest political level.

The event:
Adoption of the Communication by the European Commission on June 2007. A Press Release will be published.

The sources:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/development/Geographical/europe-cares/index_en.html

Public consultation on the Joint EU-Africa Strategy website: http://europafrica.org/

The contacts:
Amadeu Altafaj +32 295 26 58; Marc Lognoul +32 295 64 93

Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June: 50th Anniversary of the European Social Fund

The news:
The German Presidency will host the conference "50th Anniversary of the European Social Fund – Review and Prospects" in Potsdam, Germany, to mark the official 50th anniversary of the European Social Fund (ESF). The conference will reflect on 50 years of the ESF in the Member States while looking ahead to the new programming period 2007-2013.
Participants include Franz Müntefering, Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, national and regional ESF managing authorities, several NGOs, social partners, and representatives of the European Institutions.

10% of the EU's budget goes back to Europeans, where and when they need it, through the European Social Fund. With a budget of 10 billion Euros a year for the next seven years it will support projects to help people improve their skills and job prospects.

The event:
Press conference (tbc) with Franz Müntefering and Vladimír Špidla, currently scheduled for June 29th at 12h50 at the Kongresshotel at Lake Templin, Am Luftschiffhafen 1, 14471 Potsdam.

The German Presidency will host an exhibition at the conference, looking back on 50 years of ESF. The Commission will also be publishing a book – available in all EU languages – on the ESF with a wide selection of photographs and texts tracing the history and development of the Fund over the past 50 years. There will also be a leaflet in all languages, explaining the new ESF funding period 2007-2013.

The source:
European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/esf2000/index_en.html

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


Late June: Commission monitoring report on Bulgaria and Romania

The news:

In its monitoring report of 26 September 2006, the Commission carried out a thorough analysis of the preparedness of Bulgaria and Romania for accession to the European Union. It concluded that Bulgaria and Romania were prepared to carry out the obligations of EU membership. Both countries became members of the European Union on 1 January 2007.

The report also identified a series of accompanying measures where further work was necessary. These measures concerned areas such as food safety, payment of EU funds and the establishment of a special mechanism to help Bulgaria and Romania to continue the reforms required of the judiciary and the fight against corruption (and organised crime in Bulgaria). The report identified six benchmarks to be met by Bulgaria and four to be met by Romania.

On 13 December 2006, the Commission adopted a formal decision on the cooperation and verification mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania. This called on Bulgaria and Romania to submit reports on the progress made by the end of March 2007. These reports were received in accordance with the deadline. The Commission subsequently undertook expert missions to both countries in April and has received additional information from the two member states periodically.

The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and Council for the first time in June 2007 on the findings in the areas covered by the benchmarks. This report is prepared by the Secretariat General under the authority of the President of the Commission in agreement with Vice-President Frattini.

If Bulgaria or Romania should fail to address the benchmarks adequately, the Commission may apply safeguard measures based on Articles 36-38 of the Act of Accession relating to mutual recognition of judgements in criminal or civil law.

The event:
Press Conference – details to be confirmed.

  • Video and photo coverage by EbS. (tbc)

The sources:
Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania – Articles 36, 37 and 38. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOHtml.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:157:SOM:EN:HTML

Commission decisions of 13 December 2006 establishing a mechanism for cooperation and verification of progress in Bulgaria and Romania to address specific benchmarks in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption, OJ L 354/56 and L 354/58, 14.12.2006.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/l_354/l_35420061214en00560057.pdf

The contact:
Mark Gray +32 2 298 86 44

Wednesday 4 July: Reform of the European Union wine sector

The news:

Following a thorough debate on its Communication from June 2006, the Commission will now adopt a legal proposal for the reform of the common market organisation (CMO) for wine.

Europe is by far the biggest producer and exporter of wine. But while EU exports are still growing, ‘New World’ exports are increasing much faster, especially to those European countries where consumers are drinking more wine.

Europe is also left with large quantities of wine for which there is no outlet. As a result, we spend too much money – around half a billion euros a year – on measures to dispose of, store and distil wine surpluses into alcohol. This money could be more usefully spent on improving market balance, boosting quality and promoting sales of European wines. EU winegrowers are also hamstrung by over-complex rules on wine-making practices and labelling, which also confuse consumers. The Commission is not advocating reducing the annual budget for wine – around 1.2 billion euros – but using it more intelligently.

The reform must:

1. Increase the competitiveness of the EU’s wine producers, strengthen the reputation of EU quality wine as the best in the world, recover old markets and win new ones in the EU and worldwide;

2. Create a wine regime that operates through clear, simple rules – effective rules that ensure balance between supply and demand;

3. Create a wine regime that preserves the best traditions of EU wine production and reinforces the social and environmental fabric of many rural areas.

The event:
Adoption of the reform proposal by the College. Press conference by Commissioner Fischer Boel. A press release, a memo, an information pack and a video presentation will be issued.

The sources:

European Commission websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/comm/agriculture/capreform/wine/index_en.htm

Commissioner Fischer Boel's blog: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/fischer-boel

IP/06/824 "Wine: Profound reform will balance market, increase competitiveness, preserve rural areas and simplify rules for producers and consumers"

MEMO/06/245 "EU wine reform: Background information on the wine sector"

The contacts:

Michael Mann +32 2 299 97 80; Johan Reyniers +32 2 295 67 28




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