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Brussels, Friday 10 June 2011
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokespersons' service for journalists.
Monday 13 June: European Commission announces €10 million to provide life-saving vaccines 2
Tuesday 14 June: High-level international conference on Commodities and Raw materials: Challenges and Policy responses 3
Thursday 16 June: Commission adopts the infringement package 5
Thursday 16 June: Annual report on quality of bathing water in European waters 6
Monday 20 June: EU Prize for contemporary architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award 7
Wednesday 22 June (date to be confirmed): Commission adopts a new Anti-Fraud Strategy 9
Friday 1 July: The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement enters into force 11
Monday 13 June: European Commission announces €10 million to provide life-saving vaccines
Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will represent the European Commission at 'Saving Children's Lives - the GAVI Alliance Pledging Conference for Immunisation' on 13 June in London. The Commissioner will announce the pledge of €10 million to help immunize millions of people against preventable diseases.
Donors from across the world will come together to make firm commitments to fund new vaccines in the world's poorest countries. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is seeking pledges of US$ 3.7 billion in total to help it meet its ambition to vaccinate nearly 250 million children over the next five years, saving close to 4 million lives.
The European Commission recently pledged €20 million euros for GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) between 2011 and 2013. This builds on our previous commitment of €220 million to support immunization programmes; €53.4 million of which was spent through the alliance.
On average, The European Commission spends more than half a billion Euro on health in developing countries every year. Much of this is direct support to effective health systems (medicines and vaccines) at country level, but this also includes the Commission's support to the Global Health Initiatives like GAVI or the Global Fund.
The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children's lives through the use of vaccines. By the end of 2010, it is estimated that 300 million children across 72 countries will have been vaccinated thanks to GAVI support.
13 June, Saving Children's Lives - the GAVI Alliance Pledging Conference for Immunisation
IP and MEMO will be available on Friday, 10 June.
Overview of pledging conference http://www.gavialliance.org/resources/Doc_1_Overview_of_pledging_conference.pdf
Commissioner Piebalgs' website
European Commission's work on health
Catherine Ray: +32 2 296 99 21 Catherine.Ray@ec.europa.eu
Wojtek Talko: +32 2 297 85 51 Wojtek.Talko@ec.europa.eu
Tuesday 14 June: High-level international conference on Commodities and Raw materials: Challenges and Policy responses
On Tuesday 14 June, the Commission will stage a high-level conference on "Commodities and Raw materials: Challenges and Policy responses". Key note speeches will be delivered by the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the French Republic, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy at 11h00/11h30. The conference will discuss the causes of price volatility as well as the role of markets. It will look at the best way for countries and the EU to guarantee secure supplies. It will also shed light on what kind of policy responses might be needed in G-20 as well as WTO and other international organisations.
Among the speakers are representatives of governments, industry, the financial sector as well as influential opinion formers from Australia, Africa, Brazil, China, India, Russia, United States and other countries. Various international organisations and institutions will take part, too: the World Bank, the OECD, the International Energy Agency and the Commission of the African Union. The following members of the European Commission will contribute to the different thematic panel discussions: Vice President Tajani, and Commissioners Cioloş, Oettinger, Barnier, Rehn and de Gucht.
The conference takes place in the context of the ongoing discussions in the G-20, under the French Presidency, and four months after the adoption by the Commission of the Communication ‘Tackling challenges on commodity markets and raw materials’ (IP/11/122). The G20 summit will take place from 3-4 November in Cannes.
The conference will take place in the Charlemagne building in 14 June from 9h45-18h15.
The online registration is already closed, but journalists are welcome to attend the event and will be able to register on the spot as of 8h30 subject to the availability of places.
The speech delivered by President Barroso will be published on the day of the conference.
The conference is organised by the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) which operates directly under the President’s authority
Website of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso:
Website of BEPA
Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen +32 2 295 3070 email@example.com
Cezary Lewanowicz +32 2 29 93 050 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jens Mester +32 2 296 3973 email@example.com
Thursday 16 June: Commission adopts the infringement package
On Thursday 16 June, the European Commission will adopt its monthly infringement package. These decisions cover all Member States and most of EU policies and seek to enforce EU law across Europe in the interest of both citizens and businesses.
Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Commission the power to take legal action against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations under EU law. There are three successive stages: Letter of formal notice, Reasoned opinion and referral to the Court of Justice. If, despite the ruling, a Member State still fails to act, the Commission may open a further infringement case under Article 260 of the TFEU. After only one written warning, Commission may refer a Member State back to the Court and it can propose that the Court imposes financial penalties based on the duration and severity on the infringement and the size of the Member State.
Several IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
The IPs and MEMO will be made available on the day on Rapid:
Olivier Bailly: +32 2 296 87 17 firstname.lastname@example.org,eu
Jonathan Todd: +32 2 299 41 07 email@example.com
Thursday 16 June: Annual report on quality of bathing water in European waters
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.
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.
11h30 Press conference with Commissioner Janez Potočnik and European Environment Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade in the Berlaymont press room.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Commissioner Potočnik's website:
European Commission's website on bathing water quality:
Joe Hennon +32-2-295.35.93 firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Westeren +32-2-299.18.30 email@example.com
Monday 20 June: EU Prize for contemporary architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award
Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the 2011 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award to UK architect Sir David Chipperfield for the Neues Museum (Berlin) during a ceremony at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. Commissioner Vassiliou will also present the 'Emerging Architect Special Mention' award to Ramon Bosch and Bet Capdeferro for the Collage House in Girona, Spain.
The biennial European Union prize for contemporary architecture is open to works which are less than two years old and highlights excellence in architectural creativity. It underlines that modern architecture is socially and culturally rooted in European cities and is important in people's everyday life. The 36 countries participating in the EU Culture Programme (27 Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina) can nominate projects for the award. The winner receives €60,000 and the 'Emerging Architect Special Mention' gets €20,000. The European Commission manages the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in cooperation with the Mies van der Rohe Foundation.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion (Avinguda Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia 7, Montjuïc) in Barcelona. The programme is as follows:
Vassiliou and the winners
On 21 June, from 18:00 to 20:00, Sir David Chipperfield and Bet Capdeferro will give a lecture at the Casa Milà auditorium (La Pedrera, Provenca, 261-265)
Commissioner Vassiliou's website:
European Commission: Culture: European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture:
European Commission: Culture: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/index_en.htm
The Fundació Mies van der Rohe : http://miesarch.com/
Dennis Abbott +32.2.295.92.58 Dennis.Abbott@ec.europa.eu
Dina Avraam +32.2. 295 96 67 Dina.Avraam@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 22 June (date to be confirmed): Commission adopts a new Anti-Fraud Strategy
On 22 June, the Commission will adopt a new Anti-Fraud Strategy to combat fraud against the EU budget. The Commission will make prevention and detection of fraud a priority in its Strategy and will ensure that its services are fully equipped to tackle fraud at all levels and in all sectors. The Anti-Fraud Strategy will also deal with other important elements such as the efficiency of investigations, the use of penalties and the recovery of EU funds unduly perceived.
Among the first examples of regional strategies that the Strategy will promote is the Action Plan to fight against smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol along the EU Eastern border, which will be presented in parallel. This Plan will propose specific actions to combat smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol which proves to be a prevalent phenomenon at the EU Eastern border.
The objective of the Anti-Fraud Strategy is to ensure that taxpayers' money is correctly spent. In 2009, Member States reported around € 280 million worth of suspected fraud cases involving EU money. The Strategy therefore fits into a comprehensive approach to tackle fraud and corruption, by complementing recent initiatives launched by the Commission such as the reform of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF (IP/11/321, MEMO/11/176), the Communication on the Protection of EU financial interests by criminal law and administrative investigations (IP/11/644 and MEMO/11/343) and the Communication on Fighting Corruption in the EU (IP/11/678 and MEMO/11/376).
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
The Commission's Anti-Fraud Strategy will be available on: URL
The Commission's Action Plan against cigarette smuggling will be available on: URL
Commissioner Algirdas Semeta's website:
The Commission's website on fight against fraud:
The website of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF):
David Boublil: +32 2 296 55 73 David.Boublil@ec.europa.eu
Maud Scelo: +32 2 298 15 21 Maud.Scelo@ec.europa.eu
Friday 1 July: The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement enters into force
1 July 2011 marks a significant milestone in EU-South Korea trade relations with the entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two parties. This is the most ambitious trade deal ever negotiated by the EU and its first with an Asian country. The FTA is expected to create new trade in goods and services for the EU worth €19.1 billion, and to more than double EU-South Korea bilateral trade in the next 20 years compared to a scenario without the agreement.
This has been the first time that the European Parliament has endorsed a trade agreement and adopted accompanying trade legislation under the Lisbon Treaty procedures.
South Korea is the EU's fourth most important trading partner outside Europe (after the US, Japan and China). EU-South Korea trade in goods was worth €66.6 billion in 2010. The negotiations for an EU-South Korea FTA were launched in May 2007 in Seoul. After eight rounds of talks, the FTA was initialled by both sides on 15 October 2009. The Agreement was officially signed on 6 October 2010 in the margins of the EU-South Korea Summit in Brussels.
The FTA will eliminate the majority of customs duties on goods as of 1 July, allowing EU exporters to already save €850 million in duties on day one. During the following 5 years, 98.7% of duties in trade value of industrial and agricultural goods will be eliminated, creating significant new opportunities for EU exporters who will save €1.6 billion annually from not paying import duties once the agreement is up and running. The FTA will also improve Korean market access for EU service suppliers, notably in the telecommunications, environmental, shipping, financial and legal sectors. Electronics, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors will benefit from the removal of non-tariff barriers. European car producers will benefit both from tariff elimination and from the removal of non-tariff barriers and will be protected by a safeguard clause should they be threatened by an injurious surge of imports from South Korea.
The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement enters into force
Ten key benefits of the EU-South Korea FTA:
Key elements of the agreement: "EU-South Korea FTA quick reading guide":
EU Trade relations with Korea:
John Clancy +32 (0)2 295 37 73 firstname.lastname@example.org
Helene Banner +32 (0)2 295 24 07 email@example.com