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AGENDA/09/44

Brussels Friday 18 December 2009

Top News from the European Commission

21 December 2009 to 17 January 2010

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

Friday 1st January 2010: Start of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2

Friday 1st January 2010: Entry into force of new, stronger system to control fisheries and stamp out illegal fishing 3

Saturday 9, Sunday 10 and Saturday 16 January 2010: Essen/Ruhr, Pécs and Istanbul kick off as European Capitals of Culture 2010 5

Thursday 14 January 2010: Launch of the new sectoral social dialogue committee on Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries 6

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

Friday 1 st January 2010: Entry into force of new, stronger system to control fisheries and stamp out illegal fishing

The news:

A streamlined, more efficient control system under the EU's Common Fisheries Policy will enter into force on 1 January 2010. The new rules will step up controls to stamp out illegal fishing, and show that the EU is determined to lead the way towards responsible and sustainable fishing both inside and outside the EU.

The new system has three pillars: the first pillar is a Regulation against illegal fishing worldwide (the IUU Regulation). From now on, all marine fishery products traded with the EU, wherever they come from in the world, will have to be certified and their origin will be traceable. A comprehensive catch certification scheme will make sure that the fish caught, landed, brought to market and sold can be tracked at any stage of the process – in an effort to close the EU market to illegally caught fish.

The second pillar is a Regulation on control that brings in a targeted, more effective and less costly fisheries control system. It will apply inside the EU and to EU vessels wherever in the world they are operating. It introduces harmonised rules for inspection, monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement throughout the chain from net to plate. Like the IUU Regulation above, it contains strong measures to sanction law-breakers. The Control Regulation notably introduces a point system for serious infringements, which can ultimately result in wrongdoers losing their licence to fish.

The third pillar is a Regulation on fishing authorisations for the EU fleet operating outside EU waters, which is in force since October 2008.

The background:

The effectiveness of any policy depends to a large extent on the way it is enforced. In the case of the Common Fisheries Policy, the enforcement system has so far been inefficient, complex and ineffectual. Lack of compliance with the rules have undermined efforts to achieve sustainable exploitation and long-term management of fish stocks. That is why the Commission launched a root and branch reform of the EU fisheries control system. The result is the new Control Regulation to enter into force on 1 January.

At the same time, at global level illegal fishing practices are worth approximately 10 billion euros a year, making IUU fishing the second largest source of fishery products in the world. As the largest importer of fishery products and one of the biggest producers and exporters worldwide, with trading partners on every continent, the European Union is an attractive market for IUU operators, where demand for upscale products is high and IUU catches can be easily laundered, for example through processing, because of a conspicuous lack of mechanisms to track products and identify fishing vessels. To remedy this situation, the Commission proposed the new IUU Regulation, which was adopted in 2008 and enters into force on 1 January.

The event:

Entry into force on 1 January 2010 of 'Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing', and 'Council Regulation establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy'.

The sources:

Illegal fishing: Taking the fight to the rule-breakers

A control reform for a better managed fish stocks

Combating illegal fishing

  • I-054466 Video stockshots: Fisheries: operation Shark – 2007

  • I-058783 Memo-clip: Fisheries

  • I-061258 VNR: Towards a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (long version)

The contacts:

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

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

Saturday 9, Sunday 10 and Saturday 16 January 2010: Essen/Ruhr, Pécs and Istanbul kick off as European Capitals of Culture 2010

The news:

As we enter the year 2010, the new European Capitals of Culture – Essen for the Ruhr in Germany, Pécs in Hungary and Istanbul in Turkey – will officially start a year of music, theatre, dance, film and literature events for local residents and visitors . Essen/Ruhr will hold its opening ceremony for the European Capital of Culture 2010 on the 9 and 10 January, Pécs on the 10th, and Istanbul on the 16th.

In the city of Essen and the Ruhr region a huge cultural festival for all residents of the Ruhr metropolis will start on the evening of 9 January, at the Zollverein World Cultural Heritage site in Essen. This follows the official opening ceremony, which will be broadcast live on German TV.

In Pécs, the official opening of the European Capital of Culture 2010 will offer 24 hours of ongoing attractions in public spaces of the city, including carnival and theatrical programs, interactive walls, projections at several different places in the city, painting by light in the evening etc.

In Istanbul, the official opening ceremony will be on the 16th of January and numerous events are already taking place in January, as visual arts, animation, educative activities, symposium, literature and music events.

The background:

The Council of Ministers of the EU nominates two European Capitals of Culture every year. Exceptionally, there will be three in 2010. The choice follows a selection process based on strict criteria relating to the European dimension of the event and the participation of its local citizens.

The European Capital of Culture nominations are a golden opportunity to show off Europe's cultural richness and diversity, and all the ties which link us together as Europeans. The event is so attractive that Europe's cities vie fiercely with each other for the honour of bearing the title.

The events:

Kick off the new European Capitals of Culture 2010:

  • Saturday 9th January: Essen/Ruhr

  • Sunday 10th January: Pécs

  • Saturday16th January: Istanbul

The sources:

IP/06/489 : Essen/Ruhr, Istanbul, and Pécs, European Capitals of Culture 2010 nomination:

Culture web site of the Directorate General for education and culture:

Pécs, European Capital of Culture 2010 web site:

Essen/Ruhr, European Capital of Culture 2010 web site:

Istanbul, European Capital of Culture 2010 web site:

The contacts:

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

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

Thursday 14 January 2010: Launch of the new sectoral social dialogue committee on Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries

The news:

On 14 January, a new sectoral social dialogue committee on Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries will be launched. The EU sectoral social partners: the Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-Based Industries (CEEMET) and The European Metalworkers Federation (EMF) will from that moment be able to sign contractual agreements at EU level.

Within the framework of the globalisation of the markets and more particularly in periods of crisis and restructuring, close co-operation at European level between workers and employers in a sector is essential. The Commission is, therefore, pleased to support the creation of a sectoral social dialogue committee in the metal sector.

This new social dialogue committee will help an industry, which is being hit hard by the crisis, to face challenges such as globalisation, management change and the restructuring process. It is the largest industrial sector in Europe in terms of employment, and is one of Europe’s principal exporters with a wide range of engineering products and services which are at the leading edge of technology.

The background:

The Commission is committed to promoting European social dialogue, both at cross-industry and sectoral level, in accordance with Article 138 of the Treaty. European social dialogue is part of our social model and is recognised as a tool of good governance and of social subsidiarity. In times of crisis, it has also demonstrated its ability to be an instrument of social resilience.

European social dialogue refers to discussions, consultations, negotiations and joint actions involving organisations representing the two sides of industry (employers and workers).

Since 1998, the Commission has created 37 sectoral social dialogue committees. These committees have adopted more than 300 texts such as autonomous agreements, codes of conduct, guidelines, framework of action, common websites, etc.

The event:

Inaugural meeting of the new sectoral social dialogue committee on Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Rue Gineste 3, 1210 Brussels on 14 January 2010 from 10.00-17.30h.

The sources:

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

More info on social dialogue:

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


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