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Top News from the European Commission 29 October – 25 November 2011

European Commission - AGENDA/11/35   28/10/2011

Other available languages: FR

AGENDA/11/35

Brussels, Friday 28 October 2011

Top News from the European Commission
29 October – 25 November 2011

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

Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November: The EU at the G-20 summit in Cannes – Restoring confidence, supporting growth and jobs and maintaining financial stability 2

Wednesday 9 November: The European Commission supports SMEs to go global 4

Wednesday 9 November: Taxation and customs: Multi-Annual Financial Framework proposals for 2014-2020 5

Wednesday 9 November: Commission to announce the new Health and Consumer Programmes for 2014 - 2020 7

Thursday 10 November: Autumn Economic Forecast 8

Tuesday 15 November: European Commission to propose new programmes for justice, rights and citizenship 9

Tuesday 15 November: Funding for Home Affairs (2014-2020) 10

Tuesday 15 November: Commission proposes substantial changes to rules on credit rating agencies 11

Friday 18 November: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility 13

End November: Commission adopts proposals on the anti-fraud programmes Hercule III and Pericles 2020 14

Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November: The EU at the G-20 summit in Cannes – Restoring confidence, supporting growth and jobs and maintaining financial stability

The news:

The G-20 summit will take place from 3 – 4 November in Cannes, France.

The European Union is a full member of the G-20 and will be represented by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.

Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy shared their views in advance of the summit in a letter sent to the other members of the European Council on 7 October 2011 (see MEMO/11/678). Both Presidents will present the EU's position in Cannes after the European Council on 23 October will have finalised EU preparations of the G-20 summit.

In the letter they call for a "renewed collective G20 spirit" and stress that "the fact that France holds the G20 Presidency this year gives Europe a special responsibility. We need to make the Cannes Summit a G20 Summit that restores confidence, supports sustainable growth and job creation, and maintains financial stability".

Both leaders expect that Europe will be in the focus of the Cannes Summit. "Our G20 partners' perception is that if Europe does not solve its sovereign debt crisis there will be dangerous spillovers on the global economy. We need to show them that the European Union is determined to do whatever necessary to overcome the current difficulties. At the same time, we will also demand from our G20 partners a constructive contribution to face the global economic challenges."

Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy consider the following EU priorities for the G20 summit:

  • restoring growth and tackling global macroeconomic imbalances;

  • making tangible progress on implementing the financial market reform agenda;

  • making the International Monetary System more resilient;

  • boosting trade as the most effective way to support global growth;

  • enhancing the social dimension of globalisation;

  • ensuring Food Security and promoting the G20 Development Agenda and Innovative Financing. In this context they refer to the Commission's proposal for a financial transaction tax for the EU IP/11/1085 and MEMO/11/640 and express their conviction that "a similar approach among G20 partners can help us all meet global challenges. We will therefore strongly support further discussions by the G20 in this field.

  • continue tackling the global climate and energy challenge and the fight against corruption;

  • improving global governance.

A G20 finance ministerial meeting took place on 14-15 October in Paris.

The background:

The EU played a key role in launching the G-20 leaders' process in 2008, and has provided much of the political impetus and substantive thinking that has established it as the premier forum for global economic coordination at the Pittsburgh summit in 2009.

In 2011 France holds the presidency of the G-20.

Mexico will hold the G-20 presidency in 2012.

The event:

Participation of Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in the G20 summit. Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France.

Technical briefing off-the-record with the EU's G-20 Sherpa Antonio José Cabral, Member of Cabinet and senior adviser on economic and monetary affairs to Commission President Barroso, on Friday 28 October in the Berlaymont Press room, Brussels (time to be confirmed).

Joint press conference of President Barroso and President Van Rompuy on Thursday, 3 November at 11.15 a.m. CET at the international media centre in Cannes. It will be transmitted live by EbS.

Media accreditation has started. Accreditation forms for the press are available on the website of the French Presidency of the G20 and G8: www.g8-g20.com. Accreditation badges will be handed over at the Casino Palm Beach Accreditation Centre on presentation of the press card and/or an identity card. The Accreditation Centre opens at 9.00 on 31 October 2011. Further information

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Letter by Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy to the other members of the European Council - MEMO/11/678 IP and MEMO on the G20 summit (forthcoming)

G-20 section on President Barroso's website:

Website of the French Presidency of the G-20 and G-8:

Follow the President's press team on twitter:

The contacts

Koen Doens +32 2 298 1566 koen.doens@ec.europa.eu

Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen +32 2 295 3070 pia.ahrenkilde-hansen@ec.europa.eu

Jens Mester +32 2 296 3973 jens.mester@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 9 November: The European Commission supports SMEs to go global

The news:

The European Commission wishes to see more European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to profit from the fast growing international markets. The new Communication aims at creating a new partnership between SME's and businesses worldwide "Small Business, Big World". The project is based on setting out a coherent and cost-effective EU strategy to make business support services dealing with internationalisation affairs more successful. Thus, that European SMEs take full advantage of new business opportunities worldwide.

The background:

Currently, only 13 % of EU SMEs are internationally active outside the EU through trade, investment, outsourcing or other forms of cooperation with foreign partners. EU businesses in markets outside the EU face many challenges, from access to basic market information to detailed issues such as adjusting to new technical regulations and standards, managing technology transfer and protecting their IPR.

The event:

Press conference by Vice-President Tajani (to be confirmed)

IP will be available on the day.

The sources:

  • I070899 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - Parts 1

  • I070900 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - Parts 2

  • I070901 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - Parts 3

The contacts:

Carlo Corazza: +32 (0)2 295 17 52 Carlo.Corazza@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 9 November: Taxation and customs: Multi-Annual Financial Framework proposals for 2014-2020

The news:

On 9 November 2011 the Commission will present a customs and taxation programme for the European Union.

The new Customs-Fiscalis 2020 programme is designed to create and exchange information, knowledge and expertise between national customs and taxation administrations.

The new programme will

- protect the financial economic interest of the European Union through the fight against fraud,

- strengthen the security and safety of the European Union,

- facilitate trade and reduce compliance cost,

- foster a uniform application of Customs Union law and convergence in tax administration, and

- make national customs and tax administrations more effective and efficient.

In this context, the programme will also sponsor the cooperation with international and other organisations, third countries and economic operators.

The new programme will develop and operate a major trans-European IT system. The programme will in parallel develop a strong network of key national officials from across Europe. The trans-European IT network represents 75% of the programme's budget. It is a key element to support the smooth functioning of the internal market and the supervision of the flow of goods at EU external border by conveying the huge amount of information that national administrations need to exchange to this end. Thanks to the new programme, the trans-European IT networks will also leverage the latest technologies to foster IT consolidation and to drastically reduce the IT costs of the Member States and traders. This is a major asset and underlines the added value of the programme at EU level.

The new Customs-Fiscalis 2020 Programme will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth by strengthening the functioning of the Single Market and its Customs Union. By pushing technical progress and innovation, the new programme will also contribute to the establishment of a digital Single Market.

The background:

On 29 June 2011, the Commission adopted a proposal for the next EU budget for the period 2014-2020 to help deliver the Europe 2020 Strategy (MEMO/11/468). The Customs-Fiscalis 2020 programme has the potential to successfully contribute to this Strategy.

The proposed programme is the successor of both the Customs 2013 and Fiscalis 2013 programmes which end on 31 December 2013. The EU funded programme will support customs and tax cooperation in the EU based on two clusters. The first cluster allows for the exchange of good practices and operational knowledge amongst the Member States and other countries participating in the programme. The second cluster aims to enable funding of cutting-edge IT infrastructure and systems that allow customs and tax administrations in the EU to evolve to fully-fledged digital administrations.

The event:

Press material will be available on the day.

The sources:

European Commission's website:

Commissioner's website:

The contacts:

Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 Emer.Traynor@ec.europa.eu

Natasja Bohez-Rubiano +32 2 298 15 21 Natasja.Bohez-Rubiano@ext.ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 9 November: Commission to announce the new Health and Consumer Programmes for 2014 - 2020

The news:

On 9 November, the European Commission will unveil the new Health for Growth and Consumer Programmes which will run from 2014 to 2020. The Health for Growth Programme focuses on offering clear EU-added value and on further strengthening the link between economic growth and a healthy population. The Consumer Programme will support EU consumer policy in the years to come. It will contribute to the objective of placing consumers at the centre of the Single Market and empowering them to participate actively in the market and make it work for them.

The background:

On 29 June, the proposal for the post 2013 multiannual financial framework was announced by President José Manuel Barroso and European Commissioner for Budget and Financial Programming, Janusz Lewandowski. The current Health and Consumer Programmes run until the end of 2013.

The event:

Commissioner Dalli will make an announcement in the Press Room after the Midday press briefing on Wednesday 9 November (to be confirmed).

A press release and MEMO will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

For information on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 please see:

For information on the 2008-2013 Health Programme "Together for Health"

Commissioner John Dalli's website:

The contacts:

Frédéric Vincent: +32 2 298 71 66 Frederic.Vincent@ec.europa.eu

Aikaterini Apostola: +32 2 298 76 24 Aikaterini.Apostola@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 10 November: Autumn Economic Forecast

The news:

The Commission publishes its autumn economic forecasts for 2011 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.

In the last exercise, the EU interim forecast of 15 September, the Commission announced that economic growth in the EU is slowing down. After growing strongly in the first quarter of 2011, GDP expanded less in the second quarter. GDP growth was expected to remain subdued in the second half of the year. On account of the stronger-than-expected performance in the first quarter, annual growth was projected at 1.6% in the euro area and 1.7% in the EU. However, growth forecasts for the second half of the year were revised down considerably, by ½ percentage point for the euro area as well as the EU compared to the Commission's spring forecast.

The event:

10:30 Press Conference by Commissioner Olli Rehn in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/11/565   Spring economic forecast

IP/11/243 EU interim forecast  

European Commission's website:

Commissioner Rehn's website:

The contacts:

Amadeu Altafaj Tardio +32 2 295 26 58 amadeu.altafaj-tardio@ec.europa.eu

Catherine Bunyan +32 2 299 65 12 catherine.bunyan@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 15 November: European Commission to propose new programmes for justice, rights and citizenship

The news:

The European Commission will put forward proposals for simplified funding programmes to help build an EU area of justice. The proposals will support the EU's actions to promote equality, improve European cooperation on civil and criminal law, and allow people to exercise their rights as EU citizens.

The two new programmes represent a major simplification compared to the six existing ones. They will help to support activities ranging from training for judges and lawyers to the sharing of good practices among European policy makers and tools such as the e-Justice portal.

The background:

In 2007-2013 the EU had six different financial programmes in the justice, fundamental rights and citizenship field, amounting to a total of €711 million. Under the Commission's new proposals, these would be replaced by two programmes covering justice on the one hand, and rights and citizenship on the other.

The event:

The Commission will present its proposals.

An IP will be available on the day.

The sources:

EU funding programmes in the field of Justice

Vice-President Reding's website:

The contacts:

Matthew Newman +32 2 296-2406 Matthew.Newman@ec.europa.eu

Mina Andreeva +32 2 299-1382 Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 15 November: Funding for Home Affairs (2014-2020)

The news:

Within the Multiannual Financial Framework for period 2014 – 2020 the Commission will make proposals to simplify the structure of the home affairs programmes by reducing the number of Funds to two: an Asylum and Migration Fund and an Internal Security Fund.

A reduction of the number of instruments and their implementing rules will simplify procedures and cut the red tape for all stakeholders. It will ensure that a number of activities will be funded quickly and with flexibility, in particular when facing emergency situations.

The package that will be adopted on 15 November will consist of:

  • A Communication on 'Building an open and secure Europe: the Home Affairs budget for 2014-2020'

  • Five legislative proposals establishing the two Funds and underpinning their operation with a common and simple framework.

The background:

Over the next decades, the EU will continue to face important challenges in the area of home affairs. The EU will need to continue to fight organised crime, corruption and terrorism, to properly address irregular migration, to ensure an effective border management system, but also to show solidarity with those in need of international protection.

During a public consultation on the future of home affairs funding (5 January-20 March 2011), stakeholders stressed the need to reduce administrative burdens and simplify the rules.

The Commission further pursued the talks with Member States, international organisations, non-profit organisations, etc. (IP/11/451).

Although the current home affairs financial instruments are generally considered to have achieved their objectives and function effectively, they should be improved to fully address future challenges.

The event:

IP will be available on the day.

The sources:

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs

Homepage DG Home Affairs:

The contacts:

Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu

Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 15 November: Commission proposes substantial changes to rules on credit rating agencies

The news:

As part of its work in creating a sounder and stronger financial system, the Commission will propose major changes to the existing rules on credit rating agencies (CRAs). Whilst credit rating agencies are important actors in the financial markets, developments during the debt crisis in the euro area have shown that there is a need to re-examine certain aspects of the current regulatory framework.

These relate notably to:

  • over-reliance on credit ratings by financial market participants, in part because of the excessive use of credit ratings for regulatory purposes;

  • conflicts of interest inherent to the prevailing issuer-pays-model of remuneration of credit rating agencies and conflicts of interest linked to the shareholder structure of CRAs which means that a shareholder of a CRA can have its own products rated by the same CRA,

  • Specificities of certain categories of ratings, notably related to sovereign debt instruments, that are not sufficiently addressed in the current CRA Regulations. In particular, during the debt crisis, CRAs have been criticised with regard to the timing and transparency of their sovereign debt ratings and the question has been raised whether the EU regulatory framework for CRAs needs to be further strengthened to address this,

  • civil liability of CRAs in cases of gross malpractice or negligence,

  • the lack of choice and diversity in the rating market due to the limited number of rating actors, in particular bigger rating agencies.

The background:

Credit rating agencies (CRAs) are important players in the financial landscape and have a major impact on today's financial markets, with rating actions being closely followed by investors, borrowers, issuers and governments. Credit ratings are also prevalent in the EU and national regulatory frameworks, for example in terms of defining what capital a bank must hold. Whilst recognising the important role played by CRAs in terms of evaluating creditworthiness, the financial crisis and recent developments in the context of the debt crisis have accentuated the need to re-examine certain aspects of rating activities. A number of issues related to credit rating activities and the use of ratings are not addressed in the existing CRA Regulations. Also, there are growing concerns that financial institutions and institutional investors may be relying too much on external ratings and do not carry out sufficient internal credit risk assessments, which may lead to volatile markets and instability of the financial system. In order to address these concerns, the Commission intends to take all the necessary measures to reduce the automatic reliance on credit ratings, notably by eliminating references to ratings in existing EU legislation, where possible.

The event:

Press conference by Commissioner Michel Barnier, responsible for Internal Market and Services (details to be confirmed).

Extensive press material will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Commissioner Barnier's web site:

Commission's web site:

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 18 November: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility

The news:

The Commission will present a Communication on the future development of a comprehensive European approach to migration issues when dealing with third countries.

The aim is to launch a new phase of the 'Global Approach to Migration and Mobility'.

A renewed approach should allow the EU to respond in a more efficient manner to increasing migration and changing migration trends. It is important to better reflect the strategic objectives of the Union and translate them into concrete proposals for structured dialogue and cooperation, notably with the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood, Africa, enlargement countries and with other partners.

The background:

The EU is facing a number of challenges and opportunities in the area of migration and mobility, which require a strategic approach for relations with third countries.

The European Union’s 'Global Approach to Migration' was adopted in 2005. It operates as a framework for dialogue and practical cooperation with the EU's partner countries, bringing together different policy areas, such as development, social affairs and employment, external relations and home affairs.

The Communication to be adopted on 18 November will look at ways of consolidating this process and ensuring that the EU has better targeted tools in the future and that the dialogue with third countries is mutually beneficial.

The event:

Press conference by Commissioner Malmström

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs

Homepage DG Home Affairs:

The contacts:

Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu

Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu

End November: Commission adopts proposals on the anti-fraud programmes Hercule III and Pericles 2020

The news:

The European Commission will adopt two proposals for new programmes in the field of anti-fraud:

  • Hercule III which promotes activities related to the protection of the EU’s financial interests.

  • Pericles 2020 which aims to strengthen the protection of euro banknotes and coins in Europe and worldwide and the fight against counterfeit money.

The background:

These proposals are part of the Commission’s package linked to the next Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 (MEMO/11/468).

The budget for the Hercule III programme is € 15 million per year or € 110 million for the whole period. The current programme includes the following measures: coordination of activities related to the protection of the EU's financial interests such as joint customs operations; training and development and supply of specific IT tools.

The Hercule III will among other things result in savings for the Member States as a result of collective procurement of specialised equipment and databases as well as an increased effectiveness of cross-border operations.

The budget for the Pericles 2020 programme is € 1.1 million per year or € 7.7 million in total. The actions organised under Pericles are addressed primarily to national law enforcement agencies, national central banks and banknote issuing institutions as well as judicial authorities, commercial banks, money exchange offices and the cash-operated industry (e.g. cash-machines). They focus on providing technical, scientific and operational assistance, delivering specialised professional training, improving cooperation between competent authorities and raising awareness on the counterfeiting of the euro.

The event:

Press material will be available on this day.

The sources:

Commissioner Algirdas Semeta's website:

OLAF’s website:

The contacts:

Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 Emer.Traynor@ec.europa.eu

Natasja Bohez-Rubiano +32 2 298 15 21Natasja.Bohez-Rubiano@ext.ec.europa.eu


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