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AGENDA/09/42

Brussels Friday 4 December 2009

Top News from the European Commission

7 December 2009 to 3 January 2010

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

Wednesday 9 December: Tax and Development -To fight against poverty 3

Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 December: Council decides fishing possibilities for 2010 on the Commission's proposal 4

Tuesday 15 December 2009: Joint Employment Report 5

Wednesday 16 December: Designation of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), in Budapest 6

Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 December: Create. Innovate. Grow- Closing Conference of European Year of Creativity and Innovation 7

Friday 1st January 2010: Start of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 9

Monday 7 to Friday 18 December: Copenhagen climate conference

The news:

The UN climate change conference will take place in Copenhagen on 7-18 December. The Commission and the Swedish Presidency will be negotiating on behalf of the European Union, which is a party to the UN climate change convention and the Kyoto Protocol. The high-level segment of the conference starts on December 16.

The background:

The Copenhagen conference is the culmination of two years of talks to draw up a new UN climate change agreement that would take over when the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period expires at the end of 2012. The EU wants a global, ambitious and comprehensive agreement that aims to avert dangerous climate change by keeping global warming below 2°C above the pre-industrial temperature (around 1.2°C above today's level). The EU has demonstrated global leadership by committing unilaterally to cut its own emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by 2020, and has pledged to scale up this reduction to 30% provided other major emitters take on their fair share of the effort.

The European Commission wants the Copenhagen conference to agree on a simple, understandable and clear text that is politically binding on all countries while reflecting the common but differentiated responsibilities. The Copenhagen agreement should cover all the key elements of the future treaty, set up a process and deadline in 2010 for completing it, and include a 'fast start' deal that allows for immediate implementation of certain activities, including disbursement of financial assistance to least developed countries.

Commissioner Dimas will represent the Commission in Copenhagen from 12 December and President Barroso from 17 December. More than 90 world leaders are expected to participate in the final two days of the conference.

The event:

The conference takes place between 7 and 18 December.

The EU 'troika' – Sweden, Commission and Spain (as next presidency) – will hold daily press briefings at 1400 which will be streamed live and on demand on the website of the UN climate change convention at www.unfccc.int

  • Available on EbS – please check the schedule

The sources:

IP/09/1867 : Copenhagen conference must produce global, ambitious and comprehensive agreement to avert dangerous climate change

MEMO/09/534 : The Copenhagen climate conference: key EU objectives

European Commission Climate Action site :

DG Environment Copenhagen site :

Sources for audiovisual journalists:

Danish government Copenhagen conference site:

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change site:

The contacts:

Barbara Helfferich +32 2 298 20 10 barbara.helfferich@ec.europa.eu

Mark Gray +32 2988644 mark-stephen.gray@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 9 December: Tax and Development -To fight against poverty

The news:

The European Commission with Commissioners Karel De Gucht and Lásló Kovács and the European Parliament with Eva Joly, Chairwoman of the Development Committee, will organize a conference entitled "Tax and Development - To fight against poverty.

This conference aims at highlighting the considerable impact that taxes have on development and focuses on the consequences of domestic and international harmful tax practices for developing countries. It will bring together specialists, politicians and civil society to look into possible policy measures to increase tax revenue in developing countries

The following subjects will be treated during the conferences roundtables:

  • Tax Challenges Facing Developing Countries

  • Does extractive industry contribute to development?

  • Tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax incentive

  • Tax evasion and illicit financial flows, what can be done at the developing country level?

  • Helping developing countries benefit from the OECD initiatives on tax transparency

  • Putting an end to Tax haven, Tax evasion, illicit financial flow:  the way forward

The background:

The European Commission and the European Parliament hope to contribute to advancing the debate on tax governance in developing countries, and to raise awareness on the fundamental importance of tax revenue mobilisation for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The event:

The conference will take place in European Parliament Room 3C50 from 9.30 to 18.30

  • Available on EbS

    Journalist accreditation available on:

The sources:

The conference's official website and agenda are available:

European Commission's website on Development:

European Commission's website on Taxation and Customs:

Commissioner De Gucht's website:

Commissioner Kovacs' website:

The contacts:

John Clancy +32 2 29 53 773 john.clancy@ec.europa.eu
Marie-Pierre Jouglain +32 2 29 84 449
marie-pierre.jouglain@ec.europa.eu

Emer Traynor + 32 2 29 21 548 emer.traynor @ ec.europa.eu

Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 December: Council decides fishing possibilities for 2010 on the Commission's proposal

The news:

Fisheries Ministers at Council will debate and adopt annual fishing possibilities for 2010, based on the Commission's proposal tabled on 16 October.

This proposal covers the main commercial stocks in the Atlantic, including the North Sea. The fishing opportunities decided by Council will apply from 1 January 2010.

The background:

The Commission's proposal is based on scientific advice from STECF, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, and ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, and follows the principles already set out in the Commission's Communication "Consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2010" published in May.

Although there are some improvements in 2009, most fish stocks in the areas concerned continue to be overfished, and for these the Commission is proposing less fishing in the short term to allow stocks to rebuild. The Commission is also proposing a zero targeted catch for certain shark species, and to keep the Bay of Biscay anchovy fishery closed until the state of the stock can be assessed in spring 2010. The cod recovery plan was revised last year and a new, more flexible system to limit fishing effort in cod fisheries based on kilowatt-days, rather than days-at-sea, was also being introduced. The levels of effort will need to be adjusted according to the plan.

Contrary to previous years, and as a consequence of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the annual fishing opportunities Regulation can no longer contain certain technical measures. Therefore, a transitional regulation was adopted at the November Council, which extends for 18 months some key technical measures from the 2009 fishing opportunities Regulation and notably extends the high-grading ban to cover all EU waters in an effort to reduce discards.

The legislative process for the adoption of a new and streamlined Council Regulation on technical measures for the Atlantic and North Sea, as proposed by the Commission in 2007, will continue with the Council and Parliament under co-decision during 2010.

The event:

Council of Fisheries Ministers meeting and joint Commission/presidency press conference following political agreement, Council Press room, Justus Lipsius building, Brussels.

  • EbS coverage

The sources:

IP/09/1538 - Fisheries: Commission proposal for Total Allowable Catches for 2010

I P/09/747 - Commission opens the discussion on fishing possibilities for 2010

Commissioner Borg's website:

The contacts:

Nathalie Charbonneau +32 2 296 3763 nathalie.charbonneau@ec.europa.eu

Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 0567 lone.mikkelsen@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 15 December 2009: Joint Employment Report

The news:

The Commission will present its draft for the 2009 Joint Employment Report (JER) on 15 December. The JER is the employment analysis and reporting part of the EU's Jobs & Growth Strategy. It will be discussed by employment and social affairs ministers in the Council in early-2010 and when adopted, will become a joint report by the Commission and Member States. Its recommendations then pass to the Spring European Council for endorsement by EU leaders.

The report will give an update of the employment situation in the EU - unemployment is forecast to grow next year in almost all Member States - set out the principal reforms undertaken and highlight the main challenges for the future, in particular how employment policies will need to adapt to prepare for and encourage labour market recovery. The JER will set out certain areas where progress on labour market reforms has been made as well as areas where it has been more limited or insufficient. It looks at gaps and weaknesses as well as differences in labour market outcomes from country to country.

In particular it focuses on how employment policies will need to adapt, but not too soon, to prepare for and encourage labour market recovery as part of exit strategies from the crisis, including pointers to recovery strategy.

The background:

After some years of relatively high growth and job creation (8 million new jobs alone in 2006-2008), the economic crisis has hit labour markets in Europe and affected the prospects and livelihoods of Europeans. In response, the European Commission launched a recovery plan to tackle the effects of the crisis and set three priorities for safeguarding jobs.

Evidence shows that Member States' employment measures in response to the crisis have significantly contributed to stabilise economies, and have in many cases reduced the adverse impact on employment in 2009. The key issue over coming months will be to ensure coherence between these short-term measures and longer term structural reforms.

The event:

Adoption of the report by the Commission. A press release and a MEMO will be issued.

Technical briefing in the Berlaymont press room (date and time to be confirmed).

The sources:

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

More information on employment:

Commissioner Špidla's website:

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50 chantal.hughes@ec.europa.eu

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 carmel.dunne@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 16 December: Designation of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), in Budapest

The news:

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will designate its first two or three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) in the evening of 16 December 2009 in Budapest.

The background:

The selection of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities is the next crucial step towards a fully operational EIT. The EIT is a European flagship initiative which aims to foster innovation by bringing together higher education, research and business enterprise, thereby helping to make Europe a true knowledge economy and create sustainable growth and jobs.

The KICs are the autonomous operational base of the EIT. For the first time in Europe, top-class businesses, research centres and higher education institutions will be brought together to form highly integrated, excellence-driven partnerships, accumulating the necessary critical mass for excellence in innovation. People within a KIC will work together in co-location centres, generating a fertile breeding ground for innovative ideas and creating attractive and stimulating work environments for students, researchers and entrepreneurs.

The first call for KICs, launched on 2 April 2009, addresses three priority areas that are major societal challenges: climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable energy and the future information and communication society.

In total, 20 proposals were submitted across the three priority areas by the deadline of 27 August 2009. The proposals were evaluated by independent experts who put forward the top two proposals from each priority area. The EIT Governing Board will take the final decision following hearings with the six shortlisted candidates on 16 December in Budapest. Finally, two or three KICs will be designated based on the excellence of the proposals and partnerships.

The event:

Thursday 17 December

11.15: Press conference in Berlaymont via live, interactive video link from Budapest, Hungary, with Martin Schuurmans, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the EIT, and representatives of the winning KICs (in Budapest), and Commissioner Šefčovič (in Brussels). (Time and place to be confirmed).

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT):

Commissioner Ševčovič's web site:

The contacts:

John R. Macdonald +32 2 295 52 67 John.Macdonald@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 Sophie.Andersson@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 December: Create. Innovate. Grow- Closing Conference of European Year of Creativity and Innovation

The News

The closing conference of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation will be held in Stockholm under the auspices of the Swedish presidency of the European Union and will highlight good examples of what has happened within the EU during the Year of Creativity and Innovation.

The conference will also offer a meeting place for policy-makers active in these fields beyond 2009. It aims to encourage continued and strengthened work within different sectors and beyond traditional sector boundaries at different levels of decision-making.

The background:

The European Union has declared 2009 the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. The Year aims to raise awareness of importance of creativity and innovation as key factors for personal, social and economic development.

The closing conference will highlight successful examples of innovative projects and activities presented at various conferences and seminars across Europe during the year, and will offer a forum for policy-makers and stakeholders to share and reflect on experiences related to enhancing creativity and innovation.

The event:

Closing Conference of European Year of Creativity and Innovation

Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm, Sweden

Speakers:

  • Maud Olofsson, Minister for Enterprise and Energy

  • Maroš Šefčovič, Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth

  • Tobias Krantz, Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research

Ambassadors of the European Year present:

  • Leonel  Moura (PT), Conceptual artist

  • Ernõ  Rubik (HU), Professor, architect, designer

  • Karlheinz  Brandenburg (DE), Professor, researcher in information and communication technology

  • Damini  Kumar (IE), Designer and inventor

  • Dominique  Langevin (FR), Professor, physicist

  • Edward de Bono (MT), Author and international speaker on creativity and lateral thinking

The sources:

Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:

Swedish presidency web site:

Home page Europa:

The contacts:

John R. Macdonald +32 2 295 52 67 John.Macdonald@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 Sophie.Andersson@ec.europa.eu

Friday 1 st January 2010: Start of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

The news:

2010 will be the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion - a one-year programme aimed at raising awareness on poverty and social exclusion. It will be implemented in all EU Member States as well as in Iceland and Norway, with a total budget of €17 million (to be complemented by national co-financing), covering activities at European as well at national level.

The European Year events are being organised in partnership between participating countries, the EU, civil society, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and social partners, who will work together to ensure its success. A range of activities will be organised across Europe, such as awareness-raising campaigns, information sessions in schools, roundtables and training for the media and decision-makers. The activities and events planned at European level include two focus weeks, a journalist competition, an art exhibition, and two major conferences in January and December 2010.

The Year will be launched in Madrid, on 21 January 2010 at a high-level conference being organised by the Spanish Presidency and the European Commission.

The background:

Ten years ago, at the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, EU leaders pledged to 'make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty' by 2010. Since then, many efforts have been made (e.g. through the Open Method of Coordination), yet a significant number of Europeans still live in poverty: approximately 80 million people are at risk of poverty, including 19 million children. Poverty and exclusion affect not only the wellbeing of individuals and their ability to play a part in society; they also impair economic development. With all this in mind, the EU is stressing the importance of collective responsibility in combating poverty, involving decision-makers and actors in the public and private sectors. The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion will seek to give a voice to those experiencing poverty on a daily basis.

The event:

Launch event in Madrid on 21 January 2010 (more details later).

  • EbS coverage

The sources:

European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion:

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

More information on employment:

Commissioner Špidla's website:

  • I-059732 VNR: 7th European Round Table on poverty and social exclusion

  • I-056687 VNR: Ending child poverty in Europe (long version)

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50 chantal.hughes@ec.europa.eu

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 carmel.dunne@ec.europa.eu


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