Top News from the European Commission 19 November – 16 December 2011
European Commission - AGENDA/11/37 18/11/2011
Other available languages: FR
Brussels, Friday 18 November 2011
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokespersons' service for journalists.
Sunday 20 November: Commissioner Piebalgs begins a tour of five countries in West Africa 3
Wednesday 23 November: Adoption of new economic governance package including stability bonds green paper and 2012 Annual Growth Survey 4
Wednesday 23 November (date to be confirmed): Interim report on process of nuclear stress tests 5
Wednesday 23 November (date to be confirmed): EU provides further 500 Mio Euro to support nuclear decommissioning in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia 6
Wednesday 23 November (date to be confirmed): Erasmus for All and Creative Europe 2014-2020 7
Thursday 24 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 8
Thursday 24 November: Upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Durban 9
Thursday 24 November (date to be confirmed): Commission issues recommendations to Member States on performance plans for the Single European Sky 10
Monday 28 November: 2011 European Union Prize for Literature ceremony 11
Wednesday 30 November: HORIZON 2020 - The European Commission will adopt its new proposals covering the period 2014-2020 for funding programmes for Research and Innovation to boost growth and jobs; for Business Competitiveness and SME, and for EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 12
Wednesday 30 November (date to be confirmed): Audit market reform 14
Wednesday 30 November: New financial instrument for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries 15
Wednesday 30 November: Commission extends crisis State aid rules for banks 16
Friday 2 December (to be confirmed): Commission calls for asylum solidarity between member states 17
Wednesday 7 December: Commission presents its strategy on the future of the Value Added Tax system 18
Early December: The European Commission proposes Open Data Strategy 19
Early December: Commission will adopt Proposal for Regulation on the future LIFE Programme 21
In December: Commission adopts proposals on the anti-fraud programmes Hercule III and Pericles 2020 22
Sunday 20 November: Commissioner Piebalgs begins a tour of five countries in West Africa
European Commissioner Piebalgs will begin a tour of five West African countries on Sunday 20 November. His aim is to discuss political issues and the next steps in the ‘Agenda for Change’ ( http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/news/agenda_for_change_en.htm ). So, during his meetings and grassroots contacts at every stage of the tour, the Commissioner will be taking stock of the state of programmes in the agriculture, energy and priority social sectors. He will also be meeting leading figures in the private sector and civil society. His trip will take him first to Togo (20-21 November) where he will attend the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and meet President Gnassingbé. He will then travel to Benin (22 November) where he will meet President Yayi and others. The Commissioner will then travel to three Sahel countries: Mali (23 November), Burkina Faso (24 November) and Niger (25 November). The programme for this tour of the Sahel will feature meetings with the authorities of these countries to assess cooperation, including the Sahel Strategy recently adopted by the EU Council. He will also visit a number of projects related to the Millennium Development Goals in the following areas: agriculture and food security, priority social sectors, water and sanitation. The Commissioner will meet with key people in the private sector and civil society as well as the highest ranking authorities of the countries visited. At every stage, the Commissioner will highlight the regional dimension of development, particularly at a meeting with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) in Ouagadougou. It should be remembered that the EU is the principal development partner of the countries visited, which are among the world’s poorest.
Having been suspended from 1993 to 2006, cooperation with Togo is now fully restored following the general elections of 2007 and the presidential elections of 2010. The holding of the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly thus marks the country’s return to the cooperation stage. Benin is hailed in West Africa as a model and for its democratic tradition. Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are three Sahelian countries suffering from enormous problems of poverty and whose fragile equilibrium is shaken by terrorism and insecurity. To fight these problems the EU has recently developed a strategy for security and development in the Sahel based on an integrated approach to improve the coherence, coordination and effectiveness of EU action in the region.
The IP and MEMO will be published before the visits to Togo, Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Increasing the impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change (communication)
Commissioner Piebalgs’ website:
Catherine Ray +32 2 296 99 21 email@example.com
Wojtek Talko +32 2 297 85 51 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 23 November: Adoption of new economic governance package including stability bonds green paper and 2012 Annual Growth Survey
The Commission will present a new package of measures to deepen European Union and euro area economic governance. These include: two co-decision regulations, on linking EFSF/ESM assistance with country surveillance and on further deepening of fiscal surveillance for euro area Member States with excessive deficits; a green paper on euro stability bonds; and the 2012 Annual Growth Survey.
2011 saw the first European Semester of economic policy coordination as well as the agreement on the 'Six Pack' economic governance package. On 23 November, the Commission will launch the second European Semester with the presentation of the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, setting the broad economic policy priorities for the EU over the coming 12-18 months. At the same time, it will propose further steps forward in economic and budgetary surveillance, building on the 'Six Pack' which will soon enter into force. This is fully in line with what was agreed at the 26 October Euro Summit. Finally, the green paper on stability bonds will put forward different options for the joint issuance of bonds in the euro area.
What: Press conference by President Barroso
When: Wednesday 23/11/2011 at 12.30 (to be confirmed)
Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels
IPs and MEMO will be available on the day
Europe 2020 website:
President Barroso's website:
Wednesday 23 November (date to be confirmed): Interim report on process of nuclear stress tests
The Commission will adopt its interim report on the process of conducting nuclear stress. It looks at the way the tests are carried out and reported as it is the first time, a EU wide common methodology is used. It will not give results on the content of the stress tests. Final results on the outcome of the stress tests will be available in June 2012, once all three stages of stress tests – the assessment by nuclear operators, the national reports by regulators and the peer review by experts from other Member States - have been finalized.
Following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Member States decided to comprehensively check the safety of all nuclear power plants on the basis of commonly agreed EU criteria.
The aim of the stress tests is to learn from what happened in Japan and minimise the risk that a similar accident happens in Europe. The stress tests reassess whether the nuclear power plants can withstand the effects of natural disasters and man-made failures.
The final national reports have to be submitted to the Commission by December 31 2011. The national reports will go through the European peer reviews process starting in January 2012. The Commission will present its final stress test report to the European Council in June.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day. Technical Briefing to be confirmed.
For more information on the nuclear stress test exercise see DG energy website:
Marlene Holzner: +32 2 296 01 96 Marlene.Holzner@ec.europa.eu
Nicole Bockstaller: +32 2 295 25 89 Nicole.Bockstaller@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 23 November (date to be confirmed): EU provides further 500 Mio Euro to support nuclear decommissioning in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia
The Commission will propose to provide additional 500 Mio Euro of financial support to help Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia to decommission the old Soviet type nuclear reactors in the nuclear power plants Kozloduy, Ignalina and Bohunice.
In the context of the negotiations for accession to the EU, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia committed themselves to close and subsequently decommission its old Soviet type nuclear reactors.
Member States are responsible for nuclear safety which also includes safe decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The Commission's proposal to provide additional financial assistance beyond 2014 till 2020 is an expression of European solidarity and contributes to the overall nuclear safety within the EU. Until the end of 2013 the financial assistance from the European Union to the three Member States amounts to 2 800 Mio Euro.
IP will be available on the day.
For more information on decommissioning see DG energy website:
Marlene Holzner: +32 2 296 01 96 Marlene.Holzner@ec.europa.eu
Nicole Bockstaller: +32 2 295 25 89 Nicole.Bockstaller@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 23 November (date to be confirmed): Erasmus for All and Creative Europe 2014-2020
Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will announce the European Commission's proposal for 'Erasmus for All', the new programme for education, training, youth and sport, and 'Creative Europe', the new programme for the cultural and creative sector.
The Commission aims to strengthen investment in education, training and youth and the cultural and creative sector. Both programmes are part of the Commission's proposal for a multi-annual budget for 2014-2020.
The new programme for education, training and youth would allocate €19.5 billion (+ 70%) over seven years; the increase underlines the priority given to investing in knowledge and skills to support job creation and growth in Europe. The programme would ensure that more people benefit from EU grants to study or train abroad; it would also promote cooperation between governments, educational institutions, businesses and other partners, to support the policy reforms needed to modernise education systems and promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.
The 'Creative Europe' programme will support the cultural and creative sectors with a budget of €1.8 billion (+37%). The focus will be on helping culture and audiovisual professionals to make the most of the Single Market and to reach new audiences in Europe and beyond, as well as promoting cultural diversity and the Europe 2020 objectives for jobs and sustainable growth.
Press Conference with Commissioner Vassiliou, Berlaymont Press Room (to be confirmed). A press release and memo will be available the same day.
European Commission's education and culture website:
Commissioner Vassiliou's website:
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 24 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Thursday 24 November, the European Commission will adopt its monthly infringements 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 IPs and MEMOs will be available on the day.
The IP and MEMO will be made available on the day on Rapid:
Overall coordination: Olivier Bailly: +32 2 296 87 17 email@example.com
On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.
Thursday 24 November: Upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Durban
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol, will start on 28th November 2011 in Durban, South Africa.
On 24th November, at 12h30, the European Commission will explain the EU's position and expectations for Durban during a press conference organised in Brussels.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban (28th November – 10th December) will bring together representatives of the world's governments, international organizations and civil society. The discussions will seek to make real progress to combat climate change.
With 195 Parties, the UNFCCC has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will expire in 2012. The European Union is open to a second Kyoto period on condition that the environmental integrity of Kyoto is improved and Durban agrees on a clear roadmap and timeline for finalising a global framework for action within the next few years and applying it no later than 2020.
24th November, 12h30: Press conference by Commissioner Hedegaard in the Berlaymont press room. The Commissioner will present the EU objectives and discuss latest developments on international level as well as critical points of the Durban climate conference with members of the press.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
For information on the Climate Negotiations please see:
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard's website:
For Commissioner Hedegaard's Durban info-page please see (the link will be active on 24 November at 13.00):
Isaac Valero-Ladron: +32 2 296 49 71 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Rhomberg: +32 2 298 72 78 email@example.com
Thursday 24 November (date to be confirmed): Commission issues recommendations to Member States on performance plans for the Single European Sky
The European Commission will publish its recommendations on plans submitted by Member States in view of meeting certain performance targets set out in the Single European Sky's performance regulation.
The aim of the Single European Sky (SES) project is to end the current fragmentation of Europe's skies. Increasing airspace capacity and improving efficiency will mean a reduction in delays and costs, savings that will benefit travellers, airlines and other businesses. In addition, it will help to increase safety and reduce aviation's impact on the environment by making flights shorter and enabling airlines to cut back on fuel. The performance scheme is a crucial part of the SES legislation, as it sets targets for Member States regarding the performance of air navigation services, thus reducing the cost of flights, while improving capacity and better preserving the environment.
The Commission will adopt recommendations to Member States on revising their SES performance targets.
Statement by Vice-President Kallas and technical briefing off the record (to be confirmed)
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Further information on the Single European Sky (SES):
For information on the SES performance scheme please see:
Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for mobility and transport:
Helen Kearns: +32 2 298 76 38 Helen.Kearns@ec.europa.eu
Dale Kidd: +32 2 295 74 61 Dale.Kidd@ec.europa.eu
Monday 28 November: 2011 European Union Prize for Literature ceremony
The 12 winners of the 2011 European Union Prize for Literature will receive their awards on 28 November during a ceremony at the Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels in the presence of Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The event will be also attended by HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Bogdan Zdrojewski, Polish Minister for Culture and Heritage, and Doris Pack, chair of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee.
The European Union Prize for Literature honours the best new or emerging authors in 36 countries involved in the EU Culture Programme (27 Member States, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey). Each year, national juries in 12 of the countries nominate the winning authors, so that all countries participating in the programme are represented over a three-year period.
The 12 winners were announced on the 11 October: IP/11/1176 . This year they come from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Serbia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The event organised by the European Commission, the European Booksellers' Federation, European Writers' Council and the Federation of European Publishers.
The European Union Prize for Literature will take place in the Hotel Le Plaza, in Brussels, Belgium on 28 November 2011, starting at 7 pm.
Website of the European Union Prize for literature: http://www.euprizeliterature.eu
Commissionner Vassiliou's website:
European Commission: Culture: European Union Prize for literature:
European Commission: Culture: http://ec.europa.eu/culture
Dennis Abbott +32.(0)2.295.92.58 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dina Avraam +32 (0)2 295 96 67 email@example.com
Wednesday 30 November: HORIZON 2020 - The European Commission will adopt its new proposals covering the period 2014-2020 for funding programmes for Research and Innovation to boost growth and jobs; for Business Competitiveness and SME, and for EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda
Horizon 2020 is a key component in implementing the Innovation Union flagship under the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Horizon 2020 will be a radical departure from current EU research funding. It will modernise and simplify support for research and innovation around three major objectives: excellent science, competitive industries and better society. It will focus investment more than ever on addressing major concerns shared by all Europeans such as climate change, making renewable energy more affordable, ensuring safe food or coping with the challenges of an aging population. Smart investment in research and innovation provides a direct stimulus to the economy secures our excellent knowledge base and makes our businesses more competitive in a globalised world. The Commission is proposing a budget of €80 billion for Horizon 2020, which will run from 2014 to 2020.
The objective of the new proposal on Business Competitiveness and SME is to strengthen the competitiveness of enterprises and foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Europeans as the main way to overcome the crisis. The priorities will be to facilitate the access to finance for SMEs, support the efforts on who wants to set up their own business and create a better environment for business. The new Business Competitiveness and SMEs Programme will run from 2014 to 2020 and a budget of €2.5 billion.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which focuses on creating Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) across Europe by bringing together excellent academic and business partners around major innovation challenges, complements other European initiatives in the areas of education, research and innovation and will be an integral part of the new Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Marie Curie Actions will play a key role in Horizon 2020 to develop talents in research and innovation and to make Europe attractive for the world's best researchers. By boosting skills and careers of researchers, by fostering excellent training of doctoral candidates, by enhancing intersectoral and international mobility and knowledge-sharing, they will contribute to broadening and developing research competences, while equipping researchers with creative minds, entrepreneurial and innovation skills to better match the needs of the labour market. The programme, open to researchers of any nationality and to organisations located all over the world, has allowed so far the training and career development of researchers from more than 120 nationalities and the transfer of knowledge between organisations located in more than 75 countries
The European Union currently funds the largest single publically-funded research programme on the planet – the Seventh Framework Programme - with a budget of €55 billion for the period 2007-2013. Member States have put research and innovation at the top of the European political agenda, by adopting the Europe 2020 strategy and endorsing the Innovation Union in February this year, making it the cornerstone of plans for investment in sustainable growth and jobs.
Current European research and innovation programmes will be highlighted during the first European Innovation Convention. The Convention is fully open to the media. See link for details:
The Business Competitiveness and SMEs Programme aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises. The new programme should double the resources to facilitate SMEs' access to finance through an equity facility for growth-phase investment which will provide commercially oriented reimbursable equity financing primarily in the form of venture capital (VC) and a loan facility will provide risk sharing arrangements with financial intermediaries to cover loans for SMEs.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was established in 2008 as an autonomous EU body aiming to promote the competitiveness of EU Member States by enabling much needed collaborations between research, education and business around major societal challenges. It provides incentives to universities, research and technology transfer organisations and companies to set up permanent and close partnerships, the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). There are currently three KICs in place, dealing with sustainable energy ('KIC InnoEnergy'), climate change adaptation and mitigation ('ClimateKIC') and future information and communication society ('EIT ICT Labs').
Press arrangements to be confirmed.
IPs and MEMOs will be available on the day.
European Commission's website on Research:
Innovation Union website:
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's website:
Commissioner Vassiliou website:
EIT website: http://eit.europa.eu/
Michael Jennings : +32 2 296 3388 Michael.Jennings@ec.europa.eu
Monika Wcisło : +32 2 295 5604 Monika.Wcislo@ec.europa.eu
Carlo Corazza: +32 2 295 17 52 Carlo.Corazza@ec.europa.eu
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 30 November (date to be confirmed): Audit market reform
As part of its work in creating a sounder and stronger financial system, the Commission will table proposals to reform the European audit market on 30 November (date to be confirmed). In the light of the 2008 financial crisis, important questions and doubts have been raised on the credibility and reliability of audited financial statements, notably those of banks and other financial institutions. Questions have also been raised on the role of auditors, their independence and the general sustainability of the current highly-concentrated audit market that is dominated by four large companies (the "Big Four": Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC).
The Commission proposals will address the weaknesses identified, by ensuring auditor's independence, robust supervision and by facilitating the creation of more capacity at the top end of the market.
Auditors form an integral part of the financial environment. It is their role to contribute to the credibility and reliability of financial statements of banks, other financial institutions and listed companies for example.
But the financial crisis highlighted weaknesses in the system. Although audits of some large financial institutions just before or during the crisis resulted in 'clean' audit reports, there remained serious intrinsic weaknesses in the financial health of the audited institutions. With a view to learning all the lessons from the crisis and in the wider context of the current financial reform, the Commission launched a consultation last year to have a debate on the role of audit. More than 600 responses were received and these were taken in to consideration in the preparation of the proposal to be unveiled on 30 November.
Press conference by Commissioner Michel Barnier, responsible for Internal Market and Services in Berlaymont press room (to be confirmed).
Press material will be available on the day.
Commissioner Barnier's web site:
Commission's web site:
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 30 November: New financial instrument for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
The European Commission will adopt a proposal for a new, single instrument to support the EU's maritime affairs and fisheries policies over the period 2014-2020, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The new fund will replace the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and a number of other instruments, and will be more efficient and simpler to access for potential beneficiaries, including governments, enterprises, fishermen and coastal communities. It will support sustainable growth - sustainable for natural resources and sustainable for local communities.
The EMFF proposal completes the Common Fisheries Policy reform package (adopted by the Commission on July 13th) and reflects the key sustainability objectives of the reform. It focuses on facilitating and incentivising the transition to sustainable fishing and on giving a push to the development of sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture. It also provides targeted support to local communities depending on fishing.
On 29 June 2011 the Commission presented a proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework. This included the budget for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The EMFF will depart from its predecessor, the EFF in many ways: the eligible actions (what will be funded) and the delivery mechanisms (how it will work). Its strategic focus will be strengthened as it will be included into the Common Strategic Framework, a set of common rules covering also the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Cohesion Fund.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy:
Commissioner Maria Damanaki's website:
Oliver Drewes +32 2 299 24 21 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 05 67 email@example.com
Wednesday 30 November: Commission extends crisis State aid rules for banks
On 30 November, the European Commission is expected to extend the special State aid rules for banks during the crisis. The principle of the extension of the crisis regime has already been agreed in view of the continued tensions in the financial markets. But the Commission has, in the words of VP Almunia, to "clarify and update the rules on pricing and other conditions to facilitate the implementation of the package" ( SPEECH/11/748 ) agreed by Member States in October to strengthen the capital of banks and provide guarantees on their liabilities, and to reflect changed market conditions. The Commission will therefore spell out the conditions and modalities of this extension.
The current crisis State aid rules were introduced in autumn 2008 after the fall of Lehman Brothers which triggered a financial crisis. They have been maintained since but with adaptations reflecting the market conditions but also the duration of the crisis itself. In July 2010, the remuneration of the government guarantees on banks' debt was increased and since the beginning of 2011 all banks receiving a capital injection or an impaired asset guarantee need to present a restructuring plan regardless of the size of the support relative to their risk-weighed assets. The Commission's October Communication A Roadmap to stability and growth already announced the intention to extend the regime beyond 2011 and outlines a 5-point strategy to break the vicious circle between doubts over the sustainability of sovereign debt, the stability of the banking system and the EU's growth prospects, including a plan to strengthen the resilience of the banking sector.
Press conference by Vice President Joaquín Almunia in charge of Competition Policy (time to be confirmed).
IP + Memo giving an overview of all State aid decisions and of investigations still going on.
For the temporary rules established in response to the economic and financial crisis go to:
Amelia Torres: +32 2 295 4629 Amelia.Torres@ec.europa.eu
Maria Madrid: +32 2 295 4530 Maria.firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 2 December (to be confirmed): Commission calls for asylum solidarity between member states
Europe needs better cooperation and stronger solidarity between EU states when helping refugees and handling asylum applications. The Commission will propose to reinforce solidarity between member states and EU actors on asylum around four priorities:
Intra-EU solidarity has been a guiding principle of the Common EU asylum policy since the start of its development in 1999. Asylum flows are not constant, nor are they evenly distributed across the EU. They have, for example, varied from a peak of 425 000 applications for EU-27 States in 2001 down to under 260 000 in 2010.
It is the Union's responsibility to assist these Member States and to uphold the Union's common values and fundamental rights. Solidarity has been a guiding principle of the CEAS for more than a decade and is now enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
At the same time Member States must ensure that their systems are able to meet the standards set in international and European law, notably the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
Homepage DG Home Affairs:
Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu
Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 7 December: Commission presents its strategy on the future of the Value Added Tax system
On 7 December, the European Commission will adopt a Communication setting out its strategy on the future of the Value Added Tax (VAT) system.
This Communication has a dual purpose:
On 1st December 2010 the Commission adopted a Green Paper on "The future of VAT – Towards a simpler, more robust and efficient VAT system". This green paper was followed by a six month public consultation in which the Commission received 1700 contributions from businesses, academics, citizens and tax authorities.
The European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Tax Policy Group consisting of the personal representatives of the finance ministers welcomed the Green Paper and confirmed the need to reform the EU VAT system.
In parallel, the Commission carried out an economic evaluation of the VAT system and proposed setting up a new own resource based on VAT to finance the EU budget.
Commissioner Šemeta will give a press conference in the Berlaymont press room, which will be followed by a technical briefing (to be confirmed).
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
For information on the key VAT documents please see:
The documents of the public consultation are made available on:
Emer Traynor: +32 2 292 15 48 Emer.Traynor@ec.europa.eu
Early December: The European Commission proposes Open Data Strategy
The European Commission will adopt an Open Data Strategy - a set of measures aimed at increasing government transparency and creating a €32 billion a year market for public data. The package will consist of:
- regulatory measures, including a modification of the existing Directive on the re-use of public sector information;
- deployment measures such as a creation of open data portals at European level.
The background :
Government organisations across Europe produce and collect large amounts of information. Examples are maps, meteorological, legal, traffic, financial and economic information. This information has a significant – currently untapped – potential for re-use in new products and services, for example mobile applications adapting and linking geographical, legal or statistical data. In 2010 the market for products and services based on public sector information was estimated to be worth around €32 billion across the EU, according to a recent study . The same study indicated that further opening up of public sector information by allowing easier access would generate overall economic gains of around €40 billion a year for the EU. The 2003 Directive ( 2003/98/EC ) on the re-use of public sector information has led to a minimum harmonisation and progress across the EU, but significant differences in national rules, for example on licensing and pricing, as well as different practices still exist. This results in a fragmentation in the Single Market for data based products and services. Moreover, the lack of interoperability between the information resources, and insufficient availability of the information in a machine readable format make it impossible to reap the full benefits from the new opportunities of government data in the digital age.
These considerations have led the Commission to revise and strengthen its public data strategy.
The strategy will be presented in a Commission Communication to the European Parliament and to the Council. The Communication will be accompanied by a proposal for modifying the Directive on the re-use of public sector information (the main element of the regulatory framework for re-use) and a revised Commission decision on the re-use of the Commission's information.
Press conference by Vice President Kroes in the Berlaymont press room (to be confirmed).
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
More detailed information on the EU policy on public sector information and open data strategy, including the study:
Key documents related to public sector information, including the PSI Directive:
Vice President Neelie Kroes' website:
Ryan Heath (+ 32-2) 296 17 16 email@example.com
Linda Cain: (+ 32-2) 299 90 19 firstname.lastname@example.org
Early December: Commission will adopt Proposal for Regulation on the future LIFE Programme
In early December 2011 the Commission will adopt the Proposal for a Regulation on the future LIFE Programme.
The most significant modification is the creation of a sub-programme for Climate Action which upgrades the former thematic strand "climate change" under the LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance component. In addition, new "Integrated" projects will promote the implementation of environment and climate policies and the integration of their specific objectives in other policies.
A budget of EUR 3.2 billion is foreseen for the new programme.
The dedicated funding programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) is part of the Commission proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, setting out the budgetary framework and main orientations for delivering the Europe 2020 strategy.
The new LIFE Programme will build on the success of the present LIFE+ Programme, with a more strategic, simplified and flexible structure to ensure higher added value.
The desired integration of projects will be achieved by ensuring the coordinated mobilisation of other EU, national and private funds for environmental or climate objectives. Grants to finance projects will remain the main financial instrument, but operating grants for NGOs active in the area of environment or climate will remain possible.
A technical briefing is foreseen on the day of adoption.
IP and MEMO will be available.
For information on the consultation process for the Regulation proposal see:
Joe Hennon +32 2 295 35 93 Joseph.Hennon@ec.europa.eu
Monica Westeren +32 2 299 18 30 Monica.Westeren@ext.ec.europa.eu
In December: Commission adopts proposals on the anti-fraud programmes Hercule III and Pericles 2020
The European Commission will adopt two proposals for new programmes in the field of anti-fraud:
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.
Press material will be available on this day.
Commissioner Algirdas Semeta's website:
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