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Brussels Friday 24 April 2009

Top News from the European Commission
27 April to 24 May 2009

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



Monday 27 April:
Commission adopts an EU strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering   3


Monday 27 April:
The future of cohesion policy – the Commission seeks the opinion of        independent experts   4


Tuesday 28 April:
Promoting good governance in tax matters   5


Tuesday 28 to Wednesday 29 April:
Promoting the fifth freedom - conference to promote researchers' mobility   6


Wednesday 29 April:
Presentation of the 2010 Preliminary Draft Budget (PDB) 7


Wednesday 29 April:
Financial Services Package   8


Wednesday 29 April:
Dealing with the impact of an ageing population in the EU   9


Friday 1 st May:
International conference “From the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 to the  Enlargement of the European Union in 2004”   10


Thursday 7 May:
Employment Summit 12


Thursday 7 to Friday 8 May:
High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue between the European Commission       and China   13


Thursday 7 and Friday 8 May:
Research Connection 2009 - Networking our way to a research future   14


Monday 11 May:
The Commission and the Parliament bring together the three monotheistic    religions to discuss the economic and financial crisis   15


Monday 11 and Thursday 12 May:
The whole world wants to learn the success of the EU regional policy   16



Thursday 14 and Friday 15 May:
Brussels Economic Forum    17


Friday 15 and Saturday 16 May:
8 th European meeting of people experiencing poverty   18


Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 May:
EU Maritime Day celebrations in Rome   19


The news:

The European Commission is proposing a new strategy called "Youth – Investing and Empowering" which will guide EU youth policy in the coming decade. This nine year strategy will reinforce cooperation between Member States in dealing with youth issues.

The background:

The new EU youth strategy promotes a cross-sectoral approach to address important youth-related issues. It has three main goals: to create more opportunities for youth in education and employment, to improve the participation of young people in society, and to foster solidarity between youth and society.

Different actions by the Commission and Member States are foreseen in the fields of education, employment, creativity, inclusion, health and sport, participation, volunteering and youth global engagement. For instance, in order to create more education and employment opportunities for young people, the youth strategy proposes actions such as developing non-formal learning opportunities to address early school leaving, or promoting cross-border professional and vocational opportunities for young people.

Our present and future depends on our youth, and they represent a scarce resource. Young people represent 20% of today's population, and are projected to be around 15% in 2050. While this generation enjoys greater opportunities, they also face difficult challenges, as many drop out of school and employment, or are threatened poverty and social exclusion.

A new EU youth strategy will help the Member States to confront such challenges and open up new opportunities for all youth.

The event:

A press conference with Commissioner Figel' and Tine Radinja, the President of the European Youth Forum, will take place in the Berlaymont Building, Room S5, at 12:30. The European Commission's Representations in the Member States will be able to participate in the press conference via videolink, to give local journalists from around Europe the opportunity to ask Commissioner Figel' about the Commission's new youth strategy.

Available on EbS

The sources:

Youth policy and 'Youth in Action' programme website of the European Commission


Commissioner Figel 's website:


I-049806   VNR: Youth takes the floor

The contacts:

John Macdonald             +32 2 295 52 67               

Sophie Andersson          +32 2 295 02 08   

Fabienne Metayer          +32 2 299 86 43   

The news:

In order to nurture the debate on the future of cohesion policy, Commissioner Danuta Hübner has asked Dr Fabrizio Barca – a renowned Italian economist – to draw up an independent report looking at the post-2013 development of that policy.

Consideration of this topic is an essential part of a wider debate on the EU budget and the EU's priorities for the future.

The background:

The debate on the future of cohesion policy began in 2007 with the publication of the fourth report on social and economic cohesion. In December 2008 the Commission's Regions 2020 report contributed to the debate by analysing the challenges which Europe's regions will be facing by 2020.

For a year now, Dr Fabrizio Barca has been organising meetings and seminars with academics and experts from all over Europe and from the USA and New Zealand. The "Barca report" is the fruit of those discussions: it analyses the foundations, objectives and achievements of cohesion policy and the way in which the policy is conducted.

The ten final recommendations contained in the report have been drawn up quite independently of the European Commission and will provide a basis for discussion at events organised by the Czech and Swedish EU Presidencies.

The event:

In the presence of Danuta Hübner (Commissioner), Fabrizio Barca will present the conclusions of his report at 11 a.m. in the Berlaymont Press Room.

EbS coverage

The sources :

Commission website:


I-033970 illustrates various projects funded by the Structural Funds

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott                +32 2 29 59258    

Constantina Avraam       +32 2 29 59667    

The news:

The Commission will adopt a Communication which will identify possible EU's actions towards more transparency, exchange of information and fair competition in the tax area within and outside the EU.

The background:

The European Commission as pioneer in the fight against tax evasion and tax fraud, in 2006, with its Communication stressed the need to elaborate a European strategy to better combat tax fraud and tax evasion.

With the current financial crisis, national budgets are under increased threat and the need to guarantee revenue for national governments is more acute than ever. The OECD at the end of 2008 estimated that the world's tax havens have attracted around $5 trillion to $7 trillion in assets, although the degree of secrecy surrounding these accounts makes it difficult to determine exactly just how much is located in these individual jurisdictions.

During the run-up of the G20 meeting a lot of non cooperative jurisdictions made commitments to accept international standards in the field of exchange of information. The European Commission with this communication intends to open the debate on concrete actions towards better governance in the tax area within and outside the EU.

The event:

Press Conference by Commissioner Kovacs, 12h15 in the Berlaymont press room.

*         Available on EbS

The sources:

European strategy to combat tax fraud


Harmful tax competition


Administrative cooperation in the tax field



The contact:

Maria Assimakopoulou   +32 2 295 98 42

The news:

Researchers' mobility is still too low in the EU, preventing a full circulation of knowledge and workers' mobility. The conference Researchers in Europe without Barriers, organised in Prague 28 - 29 April by the Czech Presidency aims to promote the European Research Area (ERA) by creating a better environment for researchers in Europe and developing research skills and entrepreneurial mindset among young researchers.

It will give policy makers and stakeholders the opportunity to discuss national and European measures to improve the overall environment for research careers in Europe, of which mobility for researchers is a fundamental part.

This conference aims to promote the fifth freedom – the free movement of knowledge – that can be achieved through enhanced cross-border mobility of researchers, students and university teachers, and a more open and competitive labour market for European researchers.

The background:

The conference Researchers in Europe without Barriers will take stock of the implementation of the communication Better careers and more mobility: a European Partnership for Researchers. With this communication the Commission created a partnership with Member States to ensure that the necessary human resources are available to sustain and enhance the contribution of science and technology to a knowledge-based European economy.

In many Member States reforms and actions are already underway, to invest in people and modernise labour markets as well as to promote knowledge and innovation. Key areas for action are:

  • systematic opening up of recruitment,
  • meeting the social security and pension needs of mobile researchers,
  • providing fair employment and working conditions,
  • ensuring that researchers have the right training and skills.


The Communication Better careers and more mobility: a European Partnership for Researchers is one of five policy initiatives planned by the Commission, as a follow up to the 2007 Green Paper "The European Research Area: New Perspectives".

The event:

9:00 Tuesday 28 April: Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, will give an opening speech at the "Researchers in Europe without Barriers" conference, at the Prague Congress Centre, in Prague.

The sources:

Researchers in Europe without Barriers website:

Commissioner Potocnik's website:

I-061097 Future and emerging technologies (ex: person using a robotic hand to grasp different objects , robots communicating via red and blue light signals , researcher studying the operation of cells )

The contacts:

Catherine Ray                +32 2 296 99 21   

Sophie Andersson          +32 2 295 02 08   

The news:

The Commission to present its EU budget proposal for 2010

The background:

The presentation of the Preliminary Draft Budget (PDB) 2010 is the first major step in the EU's annual budget procedure. The proposal forecasts both commitments (legal pledges to provide financing) and payments (actual cash or bank transfers to beneficiaries). Appropriations (i.e. funding) for commitments and payments differ as multi-annual programmes and projects are usually committed in the year they are decided, but are only paid for as programmes and projects get rolling.

The planned timetable for the adoption of the 2010 EU budget is:

·           Mid-July: first reading of the Council and the first Conciliation meeting

·           End-October: first reading of the European Parliament

·           End-November: second reading of the Council and the second Conciliation meeting

·           End-December: final adoption by the Council and the European Parliament

The event:

Press conference with Vice-President Kallas at 12:15 in the BERL press room, Brussels.


Available on EbS

The sources:

Financial Programming and Budget website:


EU budget publication 2009:

The contacts:

Cristina Arigho   +32 2 298 53 99   

Roger Nunn       +32 2 295 36 47   

The news:

The Commission will publish a number of initiatives in the financial services sector

legislative proposal for establishing regulatory and supervisory standards for hedge funds, private equity and other systemically important market players;

updated and strengthened proposal for Recommendation on remuneration of directors;

proposal for  a new Recommendation on remuneration in the financial services sector;

A Communication on retail investment products to strengthen the effectiveness of marketing safeguards.

The background:

On 4 March the Commission presented an ambitious agenda for change (see IP/09/351 below). This programme is all about undertaking a comprehensive, coherent and robust overhaul of our regulatory and supervisory system. The recommendations and the general approach to the crisis were discussed and endorsed by EU leaders at the March Council. The initiatives that the Commission will bring forward on the 29 th are part of that programme.

The event:

Press Conference by Commissioner McCreevy in the Berlaymont’s press room

Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/09/459 Executive remuneration: European Forum sets out best practices for directors' pay


IP/09/351 Commission calls on EU leaders to stay united against the crisis, move fast on financial market reform and show global leadership at G20


IP/07/596 - Commission launches debate on future EU policy on retail financial services


Commission’s website on Directors' remuneration:


Initiatives in the area of Retail Financial Services:

The contacts:

Oliver Drewes                + 32 2 299 24 21

Catherine Bunyan          + 32 2 299 65 12

The news:

The Commission is expected to adopt a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the impact of an ageing population in the EU in the context of the current economic crisis.

An ageing society is fundamentally good news for Europe's citizens, the vast majority of whom are now able to lead active, healthy and participative lives well into old age. Ageing societies also demand new or adapted goods and services, bringing opportunities to innovative firms. However, they also will pose major economic, budgetary and social challenges. While potential economic growth is expected to decline, the need for public provision of age-related transfers and services will increase especially through pension, healthcare and long-term care spending.

Europe is facing the worst economic crisis since World War II and its ability to restore growth and employment depends crucially on the deployment of targeted and well-coordinated policy responses, as stressed by the European Recovery Plan put in place by Member States. Success in tackling Europe’s demographic challenge depends on a thriving, dynamic economy with rising productivity and efficiently functioning markets. The Commission proposes with this Communication clear policy orientations for the Member States and EU level policies in the current difficult economic situation.

The Communication builds upon a staff working document, an update of a joint long-term economic and budgetary projection exercise (the "2009 Ageing Report") together with the Member States, available on ECFIN's website (see below).

The background:

The 2009 Ageing Report fulfils the mandate given by the ECOFIN Council, to update and further deepen its common exercise of age-related expenditure projections by autumn 2009, on the basis of a new population projection by Eurostat, which was released in April 2008. The projections feed into a variety of policy debates at EU level. In particular, they are of great relevance for the Lisbon strategy, used in the annual assessment of the sustainability of public finances carried out as part of the Stability and Growth Pact; in the context of the open method of co-ordination on pensions; and in the analysis on the impact of ageing populations on the labour market and potential growth.

The event:

Communication + report + press release + Memos

The sources:

For the most recent public analysis on the future costs of ageing and their impact on public finances go to DG Ecfin's website:

DG ECFINs website - The 2009 Ageing Report:  economic and budgetary projections for the EU-27 Member States (2008-2060):

2006 Commission Communication on demography:


I-041880  Pension reform

I-059540   VNR: Active ageing

The contacts:

Amelia Torres                + 32 2 295 4629   

Marisa González                         + 32 2 295 1925     

The news:

Commissioners Ján Figel’ and Olli Rehn will speak at the conference "From the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 to the Enlargement of the EU in 2004 the Role of Civil Society and the Idea of Europe in Democratic Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe“. The conference is organised by the European Commission's Directorates General for Education and Culture and for Enlargement, together with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The 500 invited participants include civil society representatives, politicians, diplomats, academics and media from the EU Member States as well as from the Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries.

The background:

The year 2009 marks a historic double-anniversary. 20 years ago, we saw the Berlin Wall come down and the Iron Curtain crumble. In May this year, we celebrate the 5 th anniversary of the EU enlargement that successfully reunified Eastern and Western Europe.

The conference will take place on the day of the 5 th anniversary of the 2004 enlargement.
It will look back on the historical events of 1989 and highlight their impact on the European integration process. The high-level panel debates of the conference will focus among others on the role of the EU enlargement in the reunification of Europe, the restoration of democracy in Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the importance of civil society for the functioning of democracies.

The event:

The conference will be held at the Prague Congress Centre in the Czech Republic from 08:45 to 17.00. The address of the venue is 5.května 65, Prague 4.

The conference will be opened by Commissioner Ján Figel’ and the Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra. The opening will be followed by a special panel debate with Commissioner Olli Rehn on "The Role of the EU Enlargement in the Unification of Europe – Reflections on the Past and Perspectives for the Future".

Other high-level speakers: the Czech Foreign Minister Mr Karel Schwarzenberg, the former President of Lithuania Mr Vytautas Landsbergis and the Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (South East Europe) Mr Hido Biščević.

Commissioners Rehn and  Figel' will hold a press conference at 11:30.

The conference is for invitees only. Interested media should contact Ms Suvi Juvonen,
+32 2 29 67250 or by 24 April at the latest. 

Covered by EbS

The sources:

European Commission's website “Five years of an enlarged EU”:


I-053850 Enlargement 01/05/2004 - 01/05/2007: "best of" landscapes, historical buildings and principal activities of each of the 10 countries came into EU in 2004.

The contacts:

Krisztina Nagy               +32 2 29 88663    

Anna-Kaisa Itkonen        +32 2 29 93849   

John MacDonald            +32 498 983 729  


Monday 4 May: Spring 2009 Economic Forecasts

The news :

The Commission publishes its Spring economic forecasts for 2008-2010 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment and public finances among other indicators. For all 27 European Union countries plus the EU and euro area aggregates.

The background:

The Commission publishes economic forecasts four times a year: two comprehensive exercises in spring and autumn, plus two lighter exercises in between – the interim forecasts – for GDP and inflation for the seven largest EU economies.

Owing to the economic and financial crisis, the Commission in January published an extended interim forecast on all big economic indicators and for all EU countries. At the time, the Commission's services forecast a fall in GDP of 1.8% this year in the EU (-1.9% for the euro area) and +0.5% in 2010 (+0.4% for euro area). The forecast for inflation was 1.2% in 2009 and 1.9% for 2010 (respectively 1.0% and 1.8% for the euro area)

The event:

Press Conference by Commissioner Joaquín Almunia at the Berlaymont in Brussels at 11:30

IP and economic forecasts to be issued

Video and photo coverage by EbS

The sources:

IP/09/67 - January 2009 Economic Forecast


European Commission websites:

The contacts :

Amelia Torres                + 32 2 295 4629   

Marisa González                         + 32 2 295 1925   

The news:

A special Summit dedicated to employment will take place in Prague. The Prime Ministers of the Troika (the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain), together with President Barroso, Commissioner Špidla and the social partners will discuss the consequences of the crisis on employment. They will try to identify practical ways to keep people in jobs and to get those who have lost their jobs back into work as quickly as possible. They will also discuss how coordinated action at European level can best complement actions being taken at national level, and how to make the best use of the tools and resources at European level including the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation Fund.

The summit will be prepared by workshops, the first of which took place in Madrid on 15 April, the second one in Stockholm on 20 April and the final one will take place in Prague on 27 April. A debate at the European Parliament in Brussels is scheduled for 5 May. The aim of these workshops is to exchange views with the broadest possible range of stakeholders and to gather ideas to prepare for the summit.

The Employment Summit will identify concrete solutions to tackle rising unemployment for discussion at the June European Council.

The background:

After some years of relatively high growth and job creation (8 million new jobs alone in 2006-2008), the global financial crisis and its repercussions on the real economy are hitting the labour market and are increasingly affecting the prospects and livelihoods of European citizens.

Europe is expected to lose some 3.5 million jobs this year, and unemployment could reach 10% in 2010. The current economic crisis is clearly exceptional, and exceptional measures are called for. The Commission encourages Member States to work together to develop common responses to the crisis.

The events:

15 April: Workshop in Spain: Upgrading of skills, matching of labour market needs

20 April: Workshop in Sweden: Increasing access to employment

27 April: Workshop in Czech Republic: Maintaining employment, promoting mobility

5 May: Debate at the European Parliament.

7 May: Prague: Employment Summit (Prague)


Available on EbS

The sources:

More information on EU response to the social dimension of the crisis:

More information on employment:

Commissioner Špidla's website:

President's website on the crisis:

Other crisis website:

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes             +32 2 296 44 50               

Carmel Dunne                +32 2 299 88 94               

The news:

The High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue brings together the European Commission and the Chinese government for strategic talks to broaden and deepen cooperation on trade and economic issues.

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan will bring a group of ministers to Brussels to discuss topics including trade and investment, sustainable development, low carbon economy, SMEs, consumer protection and innovation.

For the Commission, the dialogue is chaired by EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, who will be joined by 10 other Commissioners.  European CEOs will also participate in a working lunch with Commissioner Ashton, Vice-Premier Wang and others.

The background:

The High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue is a joint body that aims to enlarge and deepen cooperation on trade and economic issues between the EU and China. It focuses on coordination of policy and practice on the most important issues.  A Chinese initiative, it was agreed on at the November 2007 Summit by President Barroso and Premier Wen, in order to address the imbalance in trade flows between the EU and China. 

The broad remit of the Dialogue is to examine the global trading system; strategic bilateral trade-related issues; investment; innovation, sustainable development, technology and IPR; and EU-China economic cooperation.  The mechanism is to function as a complement and reinforcement to established EU-China dialogues.

The event:

7 th May – 15.00 pm: Photo opportunity in VIP corner with Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Vice-Premier Wang Qishan. 

7 th May – 15.30 pm:  First plenary session begins

8 th May – 09.00 am:  Second plenary session begins

8 th May – 11.30 am:  Press point by Commissioner Ashton and Vice-Premier Wang

Further events/photo opportunities TBD

The sources:

European Commission website:


Commissioner Ashton's website:


I-030805 EU/China trade relations

The contacts:

Lutz Güllner                   +32 2 296 4641   

Michael Jennings           +32 2 298 6880    

The news:

Over 2000 EU scientists, policy makers and representatives of industry and research organisations will meet to exchange experiences, set up new collaborations, and create new and innovative partnerships during a conference organised in Prague under the Czech Presidency and as part of the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation.

The background:

Collaboration and networks are key factors leading to success in the cutting-edge areas of research and innovation. The global recession is challenging the European innovation system to provide new employment possibilities and sustainable development. 

The conference Research Connection 2009 will highlight how much has been achieved since the start of the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research in 2007 and look forward to developments until 2013. It will especially focus on research challenges in new Member States.

The event:

The European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, the Czech Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, Ondřej Liška, and the President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, Jeremy Rifkin, will give keynote speeches to open the conference at 9:30, and hold a press conference at 11:00, on the 7 May, in the Prague Congress Centre in Prague, Czech Republic.

A program for journalists will be organized during Research Connection 2009. For more information, please contact Press Officer Patrick Vittet-Philippe via email address

You can register for the conference via the Research Connection 2009 web site:

The sources:

The Research Connection 2009 website:


Commissioner Potocnik's website:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray                +32 2 296 99 21   

Sophie Andersson          +32 2 295 02 08   

The news:

Around twenty senior figures from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions from twelve Members States (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania) and from Russia, will meet in the Berlaymont in Brussels to talk about the economic and financial crisis and the ethical contributions for European and global economic governance.

Among the religious dignitaries present:

  • The Right Reverend Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme, Church of England;
  • Prof. Wolfgang Huber, Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg and Chairman of the German Evangelical church;
  • Dr Jean-Arnold de Clermont, President of the Conference of European Churches;
  • Chakib Benmakhlouf, President of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe;
  • Gilles Bernheim, Chief Rabbi of France;
  • His Eminence Nifon, Patriarchal Exarch for relations with the European Institutions;
  • His Excellency Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin.


The meeting will be chaired by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament.

The background:

This is the fifth in a series of annual meetings launched by President Barroso in 2005. However, this year's interfaith meeting has a particular significance, because as President Barroso said: "The turbulence that afflicted the financial system in recent months and the resulting economic crisis are having a serious impact on our society; they affect not only the markets and the investors, but indeed the daily life of all our fellow citizens. In fact, as this crisis progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the moment has come to reconcile economic governance with our fundamental ethical values on which the European project has been based upon over the last 50 years". Moreover, it has become clear that religions and faith communities, like civil society as a whole, play a key role in the search for sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by Europe and the wider world. This is why the conference has, on this occasion, been given the title "Economic and financial crisis: ethical contributions for European and global economic governance".

The event:

The meeting will be held in the Berlaymont building, rue de la Loi 200, from 10.00 to 14.00.

For the all list of religious dignitaries present, please contact

The press conference and the group photograph in formal dress will take place in the Berlaymont press room from 12:15 to 13:00.

Ebs coverage

The sources:

IP/08/676 – former meeting in 2008 on climate change and reconciliation with European faith leaders

President Barroso's website:

The contacts:

Johannes Laitenberger    +32 2 296 5745    

Jens Mester                  +32 2 296 3973    

Monday 11 and Thursday 12 May: The whole world wants to learn the success of the EU regional policy

The news:

For the first time, the European Commission will hold a conference on "Regional Governance in a Global Context". It will bring together representatives from countries such as Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and many others, and regional organisations such as MERCOSUR and the African Union.

The aim is to look at the experience of EU regional policy and similar policies in other parts of the world in a context of growing interest in regional policy in the EU's external relations.

The background:

Key players from outside the Union (such as China, Russia, Brazil) have expressed strong interest to learn more about how EU regional policy has helped to foster balanced regional development in the European Union.

A key theme will be to reflect on how to organise effective systems of governance capable of implementing regional development policies. As well as examining the EU's experience in this field, the conference will look at different models of development, at ways of sharing experience in cross-border co-operation, and the role of European regions in fostering direct partnerships with regions elsewhere.

The event:

This two-day conference is organised by the Directorate-General for Regional Policy in co-operation with the Directorate-General for Development, the Committee of the Regions and the Forum of Global Associations of Regions (FOGAR). Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner will provide the opening keynote speech and closing address.

            EbS coverage of Danita Hübner's speech and of the presse-conference

The sources:

IP/08/1737 : Danuta Hübner in China: strengthening cooperation on regional challenges at the 3rd EU-China High Level Seminar on regional policy


SPEECH/08/504: "European and Latin American regions – co-operating in the global world"


More information on the conference available at:


More information on international affairs in EU Regional Policy available at:

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott                +32 2 29 59258    

Constantina Avraam       +32 2 29 59667    

Thursday 14 and Friday 15 May: Brussels Economic Forum

The news:

The Brussels Economic Forum, the flagship economic conference of the European Commission, will this year debate on the new economic landscape emerging from the crisis and the critical economic challenges facing the EU.

Commissioner Joaquín Almunia will give the opening speech on the morning of 14 May.

The background:

The panel of speakers includes: Jacques de Larosière, President of the High-Level Expert Group on EU Financial Supervision, Chairman of the Strategic Committee of the French Treasury and Adviser at BNP Paribas; Anders Borg, Minister of Finance (Sweden); Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, Minister of Finance (Portugal); Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Mario Monti, former Commissioner and President of Bocconi University; Sundram Pushpanathan, Deputy Secretary-General, ASEAN; Andres Sutt, Deputy Governor, Bank of Estonia; Ignazio Angeloni, Adviser to the Executive Board, European Central Bank; Carlo Cottarelli, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF; Jørgen Elmeskov, Director of the Policy Studies Branch, OECD; Robert Holzmann, Director, World Bank; Henri Bogaert, Director of the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau; André Sapir, Professor (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Senior Fellow at Bruegel.

The event:

Brussels Economic Forum  – Venue : Charlemagne Building (170 rue de la Loi).

Publication of "The Forum" (news from the Brussels Economic Forum) which includes main key messages delivered by the speakers during the conference.

Publication of keynote addresses and high resolution pictures on the web.

EbS will cover the keynote addresses.

The event will also be streamed live on the web (

Connection to sound bands through interpretation channels available.

Recordings of sessions available on the web as from 19 May 2009.


The sources:

To register (Places are limited), for more details related to the programme or the organisation of the conference, go to:


2008 Brussels Economic Forum (including speeches and video interviews)


Web section on the economic and financial crisis – facts and key documents:

The contacts:

Amelia Torres    +32 2 295 46 29

Marisa Gonzalez +32  2295 19 25 

The news:

On 15 and 16 May 2009 the 8th Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty will take place in Brussels. This year’s event, is called “Where we live. What we need.” and is organised by the European Commission, the Czech Presidency of the EU and the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN). It is a forum where people who are experiencing poverty and are threatened by social exclusion can meet and talk to the people behind policies and measures at national and European level.

The meeting will provide European leaders with valuable input as the Commission and Member States prepare activities for the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. It will include discussions on the realities of everyday life in terms of access to adequate and affordable housing; financial inclusion (also indebtedness) and access to basic services. The places where the participants live and practical examples of how these issues are affecting their everyday lives will be the starting point for the meeting.

The background:

Around 79 million Europeans live at risk of poverty, 19 million of whom are children.

In 2000, EU leaders established the Social Inclusion Process to make a decisive impact on eradicating poverty by 2010. Integrating plans to combat poverty into national policies increased political awareness of poverty and exclusion and placed it higher on national political agendas. It highlighted how countries perform well in certain areas, spurring on other Member States to perform better. It also created a better basis for policy making by involving a range of actors such as NGOs, social partners, local and regional authorities and those working with people in poverty.

The European Commission and Member States are currently preparing the activities for the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

The event:

The conference will take place in the Palais d'Egmont, Place du Petit Sablon 8, 1000 Brussels, starting at 09.30 on Friday, 15 May. J ournalists are welcome to attend - access granted on production of a press card. A press conference will take place (details to be confirmed).

The sources:

More information on the conference:

More information on the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion:

More information on social inclusion:

Video on Access to Financial Services: the impact on financial inclusion:

Commissioner Špidla's website:


I-056404   VNR: Ending child poverty in Europe 2008

The contacts:

Katharina von Schnurbein           +32 2 298 14 08

Carmel Dunne                            +32 2 299 88 94

The news:

European Maritime Day is celebrated on 20 May each year. This year, the European Commission, in cooperation with the Italian government, will host a European Maritime Day Stakeholder Conference in Rome, Italy, from 19 to 20 May 2009.

Participants include Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister, Alexander Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of the Czech Republic, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou , Vice-President of the European Parliament, Altero Matteoli, Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, and Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries .

The conference will focus on sea-related cross-policy issues (i.e. clusters, tourism and climate change) and recent progress in the implementation of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, with regard to maritime governance, development of coastal regions, sustainable use of ocean resources and activities at sea. It will bring together many different stakeholders from different parts of the maritime-related sectors (transport, energy, fisheries, regional policy, environment …)

Different side-events will also take place, like exhibitions and work shops organised by different stakeholders, including NGOs.

The Commission strongly encourages member states and organisations to organise events in their country to celebrate Maritime Day.

The background:

European Maritime Day was set up as one of the key elements of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, adopted in 2007. It is an occasion to highlight the crucial role played by the Oceans and Seas and it contributes to a better visibility of the maritime sectors and more recognition of the importance they play in everyday life.

The event:

European Maritime Day Stakeholder Conference in Rome, Italy from 19 to 20 May 2009.

            Available on EbS (tbc)

The sources:

IP/08/750 – First edition of the Maritime Day


EU Maritime Day:


Maritime Affairs :


Commissioner Joe Borg's website:

The contacts:

Nathalie Charbonneau    +32 2 296 3763    

Lone Mikkelsen             +32 2 296 0567    



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