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Top News from the European Commission 24 May to 11 June 2010

European Commission - AGENDA/10/18   21/05/2010

Other available languages: FR

AGENDA/10/18

Brussels, Friday 21 May 2010

Top News from the European Commission

24 May to 11 June 2010

Background notes from the Spokesperson's service for journalists.

The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 May 2010: First Visit of Commissioner for Development, Mr Andris Piebalgs, to Asia 2

Tuesday 25 May 2010: European SME Week 2010 – Promoting and supporting entrepreneurship 4

Tuesday 25 May 2010: European Nuclear Energy Forum in Bratislava 5

Tuesday 25 to Wednesday 26 May 2010: The EU after the Lisbon Treaty: high-level conference of academics and policy-makers 6

Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 May 2010: Brussels Economic Forum 7

Wednesday 26 May 2010: European Commission presents a Communication on options for bank resolution funds 9

Wednesday 26 May 2010: Commission proposes negotiations with US on a new data protection agreement 10

Wednesday 26 May 2010: Climate Action: "Communication on unlocking Europe's potential in clean innovation and growth" 12

Thursday 27 May 2010: Commission revises competition rules for motor vehicle distribution and repair 13

Thursday 27 to Friday 28 May 2010: First Forum for Outermost Europe 14

Friday 28 May 2010: Making EU funds more accessible to boost growth and research 15

Friday 28 May 2010: High-level Conference on European Energy Infrastructures in Madrid 16

Tuesday 1 June 2010: Opening of Green Week, the Commission's annual Environment conference 17

Wednesday 2 June 2010: Commission rewards Europe's best green businesses 18

Wednesday 9 June 2010: Commission presents strategy to modernise vocational education and training in Europe 19

Thursday 10 June 2010: Annual report on quality of bathing water in European waters 20

Thursday 10 June 2010: European Union Prizes for Cultural Heritage to be presented in Istanbul 21

Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 May 2010: First Visit of Commissioner for Development, Mr Andris Piebalgs, to Asia

The news:

From 24 to 26 May, the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will be visiting Indonesia to discuss the future of development cooperation at the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Development Conference. Commissioner Piebalgs will make a key-note speech at the conference. This will be the first visit of the Development Commissioner to Asia and the occasion to set out and discuss the European Commission's "Asia Agenda". The Commissioner will sign a major Education programme with the Indonesian Government and visit EU funded projects in the field. He will hold meetings with the Indonesian Ministers for Development and National Education.

The background:

A high level ASEM conference "Towards an Asia-Europe Partnership for Sustainable Development" will take place in Yogyakarta on 26 and 27 May 2010 co-hosted by the European Commission and the Indonesian Government. Some 150 participants from ASEM member countries (27 EU Member States and 16 Asian Countries, the ASEAN secretariat and the European Commission) and think-tanks will address common challenges of development cooperation. There will be a wide-ranging debate on the future of international cooperation for development, as well as more focused debates on social cohesion, low-carbon development, and policy coherence for development. The Conference forms part of a series of meetings that will take place in the lead-up to the ASEM8 Summit of Head of States and Government which will be hosted by Belgium on 4-5 October 2010.

The Commissioner will also participate in high level discussions on EU-Indonesia development cooperation. During his visit, the Commissioner will attend the Signature Ceremony of the Education Sector Support Programme, which is one of the largest (€200 million) budget support operations financed by the EU in Asia. Indonesia, the fourth most populated country in the world, is a middle-income country benefiting from enviable growth rates. In November 2009, the EU and Indonesia have strengthened their relationship with the signature of the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).

The event:

25th May 2010: Visit to School and Signature Ceremony of the Indonesia-EU Education Sector

Support Programme – Jakarta, Indonesia

26th May 2010: Opening of the ASEM Development Conference – Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Site Visit of Projects – Jakarta, Indonesia

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Website of the ASEM Development Conference II:

Website of the EU Delegation in Indonesia:

Commissioner Piebalg's website:

The contact:

Catherine Ray +32 2 296 99 21 or +32 498 96 99 21 catherine.ray@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 25 May 2010: European SME Week 2010 – Promoting and supporting entrepreneurship

The news:

The European SME week 2010 is designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. Events are being organised to help SMEs and micro-firms share experiences and develop their businesses. Fairs, conferences and workshops, among other things, will provide information on European, national and local authority support programmes that are designed to help growing SMEs and those planning to start a business. There is also a special focus on promoting entrepreneurship as a career option, especially for younger people. Some countries will run company open days, which will provide an insight into the challenges and rewards of running a business.

The background:

First held in 2009, European SME Week is now central to the European Commission’s actions to support small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly through the EU’s Small Business Act (SBA). Adopted in 2008, the Act calls on the Union and its Member States to develop an environment “within which entrepreneurs and family businesses can thrive and entrepreneurship is rewarded”.

The event:

Over 2.7 million people are estimated to participate in some 1000 events that are being organised in 37 countries for European SME Week 2010, which will take place between 25 May and 1 June. This initiative will showcase the support available to business at the European, national, regional and local level.

The sources:

MEMO and IP will be available on the day.

European Commission's website on the European SME Week 2010 (in 21 languages):

European Commission's website on SMEs:

European Commission's media library on the European SME Week:

Commissioner Tajani's website:

  • I-063110 : Video News Release: Mission possible: helping small businesses beat the recession

  • I-057996 : Archives: Small business act

  • I-051114 : Stockshots (short): Enterprise: Financing SMEs

The contacts:

Fabio PIROTTA +32 2 2967284 Fabio.Pirotta@ec.europa.eu

Andrea MARESI +32 2 2990403 Andrea.Maresi@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 25 May 2010: European Nuclear Energy Forum in Bratislava

The news:

The European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) in Bratislava will debate solutions for radioactive waste management, transparency issues and the role of nuclear energy in a European low-carbon economy. Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, his Czech counterpart Jan Fischer as well as EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger will attend the high-level conference and deliver keynote addresses.

The background:

The ENEF serves as a platform to promote a broad discussion among all relevant stakeholders on the opportunities and risks of nuclear energy. The Forum replies to the challenge of creating a stronger European energy policy.

The Commission's proposal to create the European Nuclear Energy Forum was endorsed by the European Council in March 2007. The Forum is hosted successively in Bratislava and Prague.

The event:

Press Conference by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger at Hotel Borik, Bratislava, on 25 May 2010 at 15.30. Speech by Commissioner Oettinger at the opening session at 14.00.

The sources:

European Commission's website on the nuclear forum:

Commissioner Oettinger's website:

  • I-058578 : Stockshots (long): Nuclear Security – 2008

  • I-053831 : Stockshots (long): Nuclear energy - 2007

The contacts:

Marlene HOLZNER: 02/296.01.96 marlene.holzner@ec.europa.eu

Nicole BOCKSTALLER: 02/295.25.89 nicole.bockstaller@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 25 to Wednesday 26 May 2010: The EU after the Lisbon Treaty: high-level conference of academics and policy-makers

The news:

Prominent policy-makers, academics and journalists will meet at the European Parliament in Brussels to examine the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon on the European Union.

The background:

The Global Jean Monnet Conference is organised by the European Commission. Every two years, the Commission invites the world-wide network of European Community Studies Associations (ECSA-World) to join the event.

Commission President Barroso will deliver the keynote opening speech and Commissioner Vassiliou will present the 2010 Jean Monnet Prize to an academic for special achievement in European integration studies.

The Jean Monnet Programme constitutes a network of top-level professors at universities in 62 countries across the five continents. It has facilitated global dialogue and provided policy guidance to the European Commission on numerous occasions in the past.

The event:

Global Jean Monnet/ECSA-World Conference: "The European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon", European Parliament, 25-26 May 2010

For security reasons, registration is obligatory (including press). Please contact: Jmc10@teamwork.fr

The sources:

European Commission's website on Jean Monnet conferences:

IP/09/1278: Explaining European integration: 20 years of support to EU studies around the world

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

The contacts:

Dennis ABBOTT +32.2.295.92.58 dennis.abbott@ec.europa.eu

Dina AVRAAM +32.2..295.96.67 dina.avraam@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 May 2010: Brussels Economic Forum

The news:

This year's Brussels Economic Forum will debate and try to find answers to the most pressing questions facing Europe today:

  • Has financial repair worked? Are we in danger of repeating the past?

  • How do we deal with competitiveness divergences?

  • Can a low-carbon economy drive sustainable growth? What are the costs and benefits?

  • Can we defuse the public debt ‘time bomb’?

  • Should policy co-ordination in the euro area be revamped?

  • Can we put Europe back on an upward path of prosperity?

Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn will host the event. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Spanish finance minister Elena Salgado, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will be delivering keynote speeches. In all, close to 50 speakers will participate in 3 sessions and 6 panels, including a special session on climate change and green growth.

On 25 May, the name of the winner of the photo competition for EU school students 'The euro – what does it mean to you?' will be unveiled. Commissioner Rehn will hand out the prizes to the six runner-up teams and the winner.

The background:

The Brussels Economic Forum is the Commission's key annual economic conference, which brings together EU and international policy-makers, business representatives, academics and the media. This year over 1300 participants are expected. The Forum aims to promote creative discussion on economic policy issues and open it to a wider audience.

The event:

Venue : Charlemagne Building (170 rue de la Loi, Brussels)

25 May:

09:30: Opening address by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council

11:00: Keynote address by Elena Salgado, Spanish finance minister (Spanish presidency)

11:30: Award ceremony of the euro photo competition for school students

12:30: Keynote address by José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission

13:00: Press point by Commissioner Olli Rehn

18:00: Keynote address by Commissioner Connie Hedegaard

26 May:

12:30: Closing keynote address by Commissioner Olli Rehn

Video coverage

  • EbS will broadcast 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 27 May 2009:

The sources:

Website of the event (programme, speakers, registration):

Europe 2020 press pack:

Commissioner Rehn's website:

  • REF-70111 (Video): EC Spring 2010 Economic Forecasts: extracts from the press conference by Olli REHN, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs

The contacts:

Amadeu Altafaj Tardio +32 (0)2 2952658 amadeu.altafaj-tardio@ec.europa.eu

Pia Seppala +32 (0)2-2992448 pia.seppala@ec.europa.eu

Irena Novakova +32 (0)2-2999608 irena.novakova@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 26 May 2010: European Commission presents a Communication on options for bank resolution funds

The news:

On 26 May 2010, the European Commission will present a Communication on options for bank resolution funds.

The Commission's Communication will argue in favour of establishing of a harmonised network of ex ante resolution funds, funded by a bank contribution. The resolution funds should be used for the financing of orderly resolution of banks in difficulties and is one tool of a broader set of measures for crisis prevention and management. A second Communication due in October will set out the complete set of tools foreseen in this context. The key objective is to allow banks to fail without destabilising the entire financial system and ensuring that tax payers' money are not the first line of defence.

The Commission wishes to set out its views ahead of the June ECOFIN and G20 Ministerial meetings. It will be important to develop a common approach in order to avoid possible competitive distortions and to enhance cross-border crisis management capacity.

The background:

In the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis massive amounts of taxpayers' money have been used by national governments to support their financial sectors in order to ensure and maintain the necessary financial stability and to protect depositors. As a result, these measures have left governments with heavy debts, much of which will need to be repaid from taxpayers' revenues over the years to come.

Efforts are now being made to ensure that such situations never happen again. The Commission is already actively engaged in reinforcing preventive measures which should reduce the probability of bank failure, but work is also needed to ensure that should bank failures arise in the future, robust mechanisms backed by private money are in place to deal with them. For this to happen the EU needs new effective crisis management arrangements and the Commission believes that the best way to achieve this is by adopting a common approach at EU level which introduces a set of crisis management tools backed by a harmonised network of national funds into which banks are required to pay a contribution. Such funds should be used only to pay for the resolution costs of failed banks, but not to bail them out.

The event:

12h30: Press conference by Commissioner Barnier at the Berlaymont Press room

IP + Memo available on the day

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission Directorate for Internal Market and Services website:

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

Commissioner Barnier's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/barnier/index_en.htm

  • I-062908 : Stockshots (short): EU: Financial market supervision

  • I-061596 : Stockshots (short): New EU Financial Supervision

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

Catherine BUNYAN +32 2 299 6512 catherine.bunyan@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 26 May 2010: Commission proposes negotiations with US on a new data protection agreement

The news:

The protection of personal data is a key priority for the European Commission. Ensuring a high standard of protection has been a recurrent point in negotiations with the US on the transfer of personal data. This issue arose in talks on Passenger Name Records (PNR) and the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP), which are two essential agreements in the joint EU-US endeavour to fight terrorism.

The European Commission will therefore propose a mandate for the negotiation of a new comprehensive data protection agreement covering the transfer and processing of EU and US citizens’ data. This agreement would establish a clear set of rights and obligations for citizens and public authorities in the EU and the US. The Commission proposal would boost the protection of personal data by:

  • clearly limiting any data transfer to the purpose of fighting crime and terrorism;

  • establishing the right to access one's personal data and to seek judicial redress;

  • providing the right to ask for the correction or deletion of one's personal data;

  • giving data protection authorities a stronger role in helping citizens exercise their rights.

Before talks with the US authorities can begin, the Council must approve the Commission’s proposed negotiation mandate. Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Commissioner, would then be responsible for negotiating the agreement on behalf of the Commission.

The background:

The protection of personal data is set out in Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Charter is integrated into the Lisbon Treaty and is legally binding on the European Union and its Member States when they implement EU law. The Lisbon Treaty (Article 16, Treaty of the Functioning of the EU) gives the Commission the possibility to propose legislation in the field of data protection.

In December 2009, the European Council invited the Commission to propose a Recommendation "for the negotiation of a data protection and, where necessary, data sharing agreement for law enforcement purposes with the US." The European Parliament has also called for an EU-US agreement that ensures adequate protection of civil liberties and personal data protection.

The event:

Possibility to set up an interview with Vice-President Reding. If you are interested please contact Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu .Note that interview slots are limited.

The sources:

IP/10/447: Commission acts to bolster citizens' data protection, protect defendants' rights and enhance immigration and asylum cooperation

MEMO/10/139: European Commission plan to deliver justice, freedom and security to citizens (2010 – 2014)

IP/10/152: The European Parliament votes against the EU-US provisional agreement on transfer of bank data for counter-terrorism purposes: Commission reaction

SPEECH/ 10/16: Privacy: the challenges ahead for the European Union

Vice-President Reding's website:

Justice and Home Affairs Newsroom:

  • I-043955 : Stockshots (short): Air Transport: Protection of Personal

The contacts:

Matthew NEWMAN +32 2 2962406 matthew.newman@ec.europa.eu

Mina ANDREEVA +32 2 2991382 mina.andreeva@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 26 May 2010: Climate Action: "Communication on unlocking Europe's potential in clean innovation and growth"

The news:

The European Commission will present an analysis of the implications of increasing the EU's target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 20% to 30% (compared with 1990 levels). The Communication comes against the background of increasing international competition for leadership in the global shift to a low-carbon economy and for the 'green' jobs it will create.

The Communication will examine the benefits and costs of increasing the emissions reduction to 30% as well as practical options for doing so. It will also assess the risk of 'carbon leakage' – relocation by energy-intensive sectors to countries that impose fewer constraints on carbon emissions – in the light of the outcome of last December's UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen.

The background:

The 20% emissions reduction is a unilateral commitment made by the EU in 2007 and implemented through the 2008 climate and energy package. The EU also offered to scale up the reduction to 30% provided that other major emitters commit to contributing their fair share to a global emissions mitigation effort as part of an international climate agreement.

Since then, however, the EU has been put at a competitive disadvantage as the US and major Asian economies have invested much more than Europe in low-carbon growth, including through their economic stimulus packages. This makes it necessary to consider strengthening the emission targets of the climate and energy package.

The event:

13h00: Connnie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, will give a press conference in the Berlaymont press room.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Commissioner Hedegaard's speech to the European Parliament Environment Committee, 26 April 2010:

European Commission's website on Climate Action:

Commissioner Hedegaard's website:

  • I-063650 Stockshots (long): Green economy: products and transport

  • I-063649 Stockshots (long): Green economy: energy saving

  • I-063648 Stockshots (long): Green economy: energy generation

The contacts:

Maria KOKKONEN +32 2 295 42 03 maria.kokkonen@ec.europa.eu

Lena DE VISSCHER +32 2 296 36 94 lena.devisscher@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 27 May 2010: Commission revises competition rules for motor vehicle distribution and repair

The news:

The Commission is due to adopt new competition rules for agreements between vehicle manufacturers and their authorised dealers, repairers and spare parts distributors. The existing Motor Vehicle Block Exemption dates from 2002, and expires at the end of May. Consumers are benefiting from competitive conditions on the car sales markets, and it is therefore proposed that agreements on these markets should no longer be subject to a sector-specific regime, and should be brought within the ambit of the general block exemption for vertical restraints, Regulation n° 330/2010. On the other hand, a tougher approach is proposed for car repair and for spare parts, because these markets are structurally less competitive. The Commission therefore proposes to adopt a sector-specific block exemption and Guidelines that will supplement Regulation n° 330/2010.

Speaking before the European Parliament on May 5th, Commissioner Almunia said: "I strongly believe the new framework will bring tangible benefits for consumers. Our main priority is to increase competition in the after-sales market, in repair and servicing, where it is most lacking, and where European consumers spend a substantial slice of their budget."

The background:

The current Block Exemption Regulation 1400/2002 exempts vertical agreements that comply with its provisions from the EU competition rules' ban on restrictive business practices (Article 101(1) of the EU-Treaty). The Commission published an evaluation report in 2008 that found that many of these sector-specific provisions had been ineffective, or even counter-productive. Last July, the Commission adopted a Communication and an Impact Assessment setting out the basic lines of the new approach. In December 2009, it published a draft of the new Regulation and Guidelines for public consultation. The Economic and Social Committee issued a report that was in favour of the proposed framework, while this week the European Parliament adopted a resolution that called on the Commission to monitor the sector in order to ensure that consumers will continue to benefit from competitive conditions in these rapidly evolving markets.

The event:

Press release + MEMO

Press Conference by Vice President and Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/09/1984: Antitrust: Commission launches public consultation on review of competition rules for motor vehicle sector

  • I-062365 : Archives: Automotive sector

  • I-040291 : Stockshots (short): Competition rules and car sales in the EU

  • I-038704 : Stockshots (short): Car block exemption: new regulation in competition rules

The contacts:

Amelia TORRES +32 2 295 4629 amelia.torres@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 27 to Friday 28 May 2010: First Forum for Outermost Europe

The news:

Brussels will host the first Forum for Outermost Europe on 27 and 28 May 2010. The event will send a strong political signal to reassert that the Outermost Regions are fully part of the EU.. The purpose is to raise awareness within the European institutions and in EU Member States of these regions’ specific characteristics. 2010 is a pivotal year for these regions with the current discussions on the EU budget, the future cohesion policy after 2013 and the new economic strategy for Europe by 2020.

The background:

In 2008, in its communication entitled "The outermost regions: an asset for Europe", the Commission committed to organize such a Forum every two years.

The event will provide a platform for discussions in the context of the revision of the EU strategy for Outermost Regions after 2013, as well as an opportunity for the nine regions to network and exchange good practice. It will showcase local initiatives - often innovative, and with particular specialities in sectors such as renewable energy, biodiversity, agri-food, medical research, preservation of cultural heritage - which are driving development in these regions and for Europe as a whole.

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the number of outermost regions in the European Union has extended to nine: the four French overseas departments of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion and Martinique, two French overseas collectivities, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, the Portuguese autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, and the Spanish autonomous community of the Canary Islands.

The event:

Commissioner Hahn will be available for interviews as of 13.00 on 27 May, European Commission, Charlemagne Building, Brussels (interviews upon request).

The sources:

IP/10/547: Commissioner Hahn attends ministerial conference on outermost regions in Gran Canaria (Spain)

European Commission's website on the First Forum for Outermost Europe:

Commissioner Hahn's website:

The contacts:

Ton van Lierop +32 2 29 66565 Ton.van-Lierop@ec.europa.eu

Friday 28 May 2010: Making EU funds more accessible to boost growth and research

The news:

On Friday 28 May, the Commission is expected to adopt a proposal to simplify and modernise the EU's financial procedures, making EU funding more accessible to businesses, researchers and other beneficiaries. The reviewed Financial Regulation will reduce the costs and workload to the end-users of EU grants, and in the longer term, will shift the emphasis of the grant system from merely reimbursing bills to paying for results.

The Commission also wants to adjust its current financial rules to recent economic challenges, particularly the need to combine different sources of funding, e.g. public-private partnerships, for a bigger investment impact.

The background:

The Financial Regulation is the detailed and legally binding "instructions manual" of how EU funds can be spent. It covers all aspects of the Union's financial management, from who is allowed to pay whom, to who may receive what funds, and under what specific circumstances.

A review of these financial rules is required at least every three years. Since the last review took place three years ago, a new revision was required in 2010.

The event:

IP available on the day

The sources:

European Commission's website on financial programming and budget:

Commissioner Lewandowski's website:

The contacts:

Patrizio FIORILLI +32 498 95 81 32 patrizio.fiorilli@ec.europa.eu

Friday 28 May 2010: High-level Conference on European Energy Infrastructures in Madrid

The news:

The conference will discuss the main issues and solutions for the upcoming Energy Infrastructure Package, which the European Commission will present to the Council and Parliament in November 2010. These critical strategic issues include defining gas, electricity and possibly CO2 infrastructures of European interest, identifying the missing links and designing appropriate EU-level legal and financial instruments to facilitate the development of such infrastructure.

The background:

Development of energy infrastructures will be key to reaching the European Union's goals in terms of renewable energy development and greenhouse gas emission reduction, market integration and security of supply. Based on the lessons of the current Trans-European Networks in Energy (TEN-E) framework, the Commission will in November 2010 table an Energy Infrastructure Package focussing on the priorities for energy infrastructure development for the 2020/2030 horizon.

The event:

The High Level Conference entitled “European energy infrastructures: prospects for a new European Energy Security and Infrastructure Instrument” is organised by the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency of the Council.

EU Energy Commission Günther Oettinger and the Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastián will deliver keynote speeches in the opening session from 9h30 to 10h30. at hotel MELIÁ CASTILLA in Madrid.

The sources:

Commissioner Oettinger's website:

European Commission's website on energy infrastructures:

  • I-062253 : Archives: Security of gas supply

  • I-059264 : Archives: EU energy security and solidarity

The contacts:

Marlene HOLZNER 02/296.01.96 marlene.holzner@ec.europa.eu

Nicole BOCKSTALLER 02/295.25.89 nicole.bockstaller@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 1 June 2010: Opening of Green Week, the Commission's annual Environment conference

The news

On 1 June Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik will open Green Week, the Commission's annual four-day conference on environmental policy to be held in the Charlemagne building in Brussels. This year's theme is biodiversity.

The background:

Green Week, now in its tenth year, is the biggest European conference dedicated to environmental issues.

This year, the conference turns the spotlight on biodiversity. Over some 30 sessions, the conference will address the state of biodiversity and nature in Europe and the world, the benefits they bring, present-day pressures on them, and possible solutions to the current rates of loss. The path to be taken by EU policies on biodiversity and nature policies post-2010, the economic dimension of biodiversity, ecosystem services and Natura 2000 will also be investigated. Speakers include TEEB study leader Pavan Sukhdev and primatologist Emmanuelle Grundmann. The event also includes numerous side events, films, exhibitions and networking opportunities.

The event:

The conference will be held in the Charlemagne building in Brussels between June 1 and June 4.

The sources:

Full details of speakers, programmes and events are available on the conference website:

Commissioner Potočnik's website:

  • I-063392 Video news release: TEEB: Protecting nature is profitable (long version)

  • I-059666 Video news release: Invasive species

  • I-059137 Stockshots (short): Environment: deforestation

  • I-053578 Video news release: Protecting the tree of Life

  • I-051244 Video news release: NATURA 2000: Safeguarding Europe's biodiversity

  • I-051194 Video news release: Halting the loss of Europe's biodiversity by 2010

  • I-044901 Stockshots (long): Environment: nature and biodiversity - 2004

The contacts:

Joe Hennon +32 2 29 53593 Joseph.Hennon@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 2 June 2010: Commission rewards Europe's best green businesses

The news

On 2 June the European Commission will announce the winners of the 2010 European Business Awards for the Environment. The awards ceremony takes place during Green Week, the Commission's biggest annual environmental event in Brussels.

The background:

Every two years the European Commission rewards European companies that have made an outstanding contribution to sustainable development. Prizes are awarded in four categories – management, product, process and international cooperation.

Ten companies have been shortlisted for the European Business Awards for the Environment 2010. The finalists represent companies from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, Turkey and the UK. The 2010 awards attracted 141 applications from the finalists of national competitions. This is the highest number of entries recorded since the scheme was launched in 1987.

The event:

The awards will be presented by EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik at a ceremony in the Bibliothèque Solvay, Brussels, on 2 June 2010 at 18.45.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

For details of the 2010 finalists, see IP/10/275: Ten companies line up for the European Business Awards for the Environment 2010

Further information about the European Business Awards for the Environment is available at:

Commissioner Potočnik's website:

The contacts:

Joe Hennon +32 2 29 53593 Joseph.Hennon@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 9 June 2010: Commission presents strategy to modernise vocational education and training in Europe

The news:

The Commission will present reforms that would help modernise vocational education and training in Europe in order to make it a more attractive and a high quality learning option for young people and an opportunity for adults to update skills throughout their working life.

The background:

In its Communication "A new impetus for European cooperation in vocational education and training to support the Europe 2020 Strategy" the Commission will present a vision for the next decade that will contribute to the modernisation agenda for vocational education and training which European Ministers are set to adopt later this year under the Copenhagen Process.

The Copenhagen Process was launched in 2002 to allow the countries involved to develop innovative policies and actions. The overall aim is to encourage more individuals to make wider use of vocational learning opportunities, whether at school, in higher education, at the workplace, or through private courses.

The process is reviewed every two years by the Ministers from 31 countries, European Social Partners and the European Commission. They will next meet in Bruges in December 2010 to set an ambitious modernisation agenda for the coming ten years. This Communication is the Commission contribution to this process, closely linked to the EU's Europe 2020 reform strategy and its Strategic framework for European co-operation in education and training up to 2020.

The event:

Press Conference by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth in the Berlaymont press room at 12.30pm.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission's website on vocational education and training:

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

  • I-047154: Vocational training, at the heart of the Lisbon Strategy

  • I-050678 Stockshots (short): Employment: Professional Training

  • I-044049 Stockshots (long): Education - 2004

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32.2.295.92.58 dennis.abbott@ec.europa.eu

Dina Avraam +32.2.295.96.67 dina.avraam@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 10 June 2010: Annual report on quality of bathing water in European waters

The news:

The European Commission will publish a report on the quality of bathing areas in Europe to help the millions of Europeans who head for the beach every summer make an informed choice. The report covers coastal and freshwater bathing areas where bathing is explicitly authorised or where bathing is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers.

The background:

Maintaining high quality bathing water is vital for ensuring the well-being and health of millions of people who enjoy swimming in seas, rivers or lakes throughout Europe during the summer months.

During the bathing season Member States are obliged to monitor and report on the quality of bathing waters against minimum standards for a number of physical, chemical and microbiological parameters. This does not cover water intended for therapeutic purposes or swimming pools.

The event:

12h30 Press conference with Commissioner Janez Potočnik and European Environment Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade in the Berlaymont press room.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Commissioner Potočnik's website:

European Commission website

European Environment Agency Website:

  • I-057336 : Stockshots (short): Quality of bathing water: report 2008

  • I-054037 : Stockshots (short): Bathing Water

The contacts:

Maria KOKKONEN +32 2 2954203 Maria.Kokkonen@ec.europa.eu

Lena DE VISSCHER +32 2 2963694 Lena.Devisscher@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 10 June 2010: European Union Prizes for Cultural Heritage to be presented in Istanbul

The news:

The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, will present on 10 June the European Union Prizes for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards to 29 winning projects from 15 countries and will award six of them with the Grand Prix.

The awards highlight some of Europe's best achievements, and showcase outstanding initiatives, conservation projects and research aimed at safeguarding Europe's rich architectural, landscape, archaeological and artistic heritage.

The background:

The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards were jointly launched in 2002 by the European Commission and Europa Nostra to celebrate outstanding initiatives within the European cultural heritage sector.

During the ceremony in the Aya Irini (Topkapi Palace, Istanbul) Commissioner Vassiliou and Europa Nostra's Executive President, Denis de Kergolay, will announce six Grand prix winners, in the categories 'conservation', 'research', 'dedicated service' and 'education, training and awareness raising' in the field of heritage.

The Grand prix will be selected from the 29 winning projects. Each Grand Prix winner will receive a monetary reward of € 10,000.

The selection of this year's award winners was carried out by four Heritage Awards Juries which were composed of independent experts from across Europe. They selected the 29 award winners from 140 submitted projects.

A major aim of the awards scheme is to stimulate trans-border exchanges in the heritage sector and by spreading the power of example the scheme encourages further efforts and projects related to heritage protection in Europe. Over the years, the awards programme has highlighted remarkable examples of the conservation, management and interpretation of Europe's heritage. These range from some of the most well-known sites in Europe, such as La Scala in Milan (2005 Laureate), to less well known treasures, such as the vernacular wooden Kesälahti Church Bell Tower in Finland (2009 Laureate).

The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards are supported by the EU Culture Programme, which is providing €400 million funding in the period 2007-2013 for cross-border mobility of those working in the European cultural sector; for the transnational circulation of cultural and artistic output and expertise, and for the fostering of intercultural dialogue.

The event:

Thursday, 10 June 2010: 18h00-20h00 European Heritage Awards Ceremony

Venue: Aya Irini, (Hagia Eirene), Istanbul, Turkey (invitation only)

Friday, 11 June 09h30-17h30 Europa Nostra Forum, 'Multiple Identities – A common heritage'

Venue: Mimar Sinan University, Tophane-i Amire Cultural Centre, Istanbul, Turkey

The sources:

IP/09/885 - Seven winners of the 2009 European Union Heritage Grand Prizes announced

The 2010 laureates [photos and descriptions of the 29 winning projects from 15 countries]:

European Commission's website on the Culture programme:

European Commission's website on the Culture programme and the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage:

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Dennis ABBOTT +32 (0)2 295 92 58 dennis.abbott@ec.europa.eu

Dina AVRAAM +32 (0)2 295 96 67 dina.avraam@ec.europa.eu


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