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Brussels, Friday 23 March 2012

Top News from the European Commission
24 March – 21 April 2012

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

Wednesday 28 March: Establishment of a European Cybercrime Centre 2

Friday 30 March: European Citizens' Initiative enters into force 3

Wednesday 4 April: Proposal to facilitate cross-border motor vehicle registration 4

Monday 16 April: EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit 5

Wednesday 18 April: Commission to adopt an employment package "Towards a job-rich recovery" 7

Wednesday 28 March: Establishment of a European Cybercrime Centre

The news:

The Commission will propose to establish a European Cybercrime Centre as the focal point in the fight against cybercrime in the EU. One of the main purposes of the centre will be to help Member States' investigations and to map organised crime online, particularly as regards lucrative online fraud schemes.

The Internet has become an integral and indispensable part of our society and economy. But as more and more of our everyday lives and business transactions happen online, so too does criminal activity - more than one million people worldwide become victims of cybercrime every day. The total cost of cybercrime to society is significant: A recent report suggests that cybercrime is more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.

The background:

The Commission announced its intention to establish the European Cybercrime Centre in the 2010 Internal Security Strategy.

The European Union has developed various initiatives to tackle cybercrime. These include the 2011 Directive on combating the sexual exploitation of children online and child pornography, and a Directive on attacks against information systems, focusing on penalising the exploitation of cybercrime tools, especially bot-nets, which should be adopted in 2012.

The event:

11:15 Press conference by Commissioner Malmström at the Berlaymont press room.

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

The sources:

IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598: Internal Security Strategy

IP/11/1255: Directive on combating the sexual exploitation of children online and child pornography

IP/10/1239 and MEMO/10/463: Directive on attacks against information systems

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs

Homepage DG Home Affairs:

The contacts:

Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963

Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764

Friday 30 March: European Citizens' Initiative enters into force

The news:

On 1 April, the rules governing the use of European Citizens' Initiatives start to apply. From that date, the Commission can accept requests for the registration of proposed initiatives – an essential first step before citizens begin to collect signatures. This means that, for the first time, citizens will be allowed to directly ask the Commission to bring forward new EU legislation on matters where it is competent to act. A citizens' initiative has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least seven Member States.

The background:

The ECI was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. Implementing legislation was adopted on 16 February 2011, although the Member States asked for a delay in application until 1 April 2012, to give them time to make the necessary administrative preparations at national level.

The organisers of an ECI, a citizens' committee composed of at least seven EU citizens who are resident in at least seven different Member States, will have one year to collect the necessary statements of support after registering their initiative. The number of statements of support has to be certified by the competent authorities in the Member States. The Commission will then have three months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it.

The Commission will give serious consideration to requests made by citizens and, before taking any decision, it will receive the organisers to allow them to explain in detail the matters raised by the citizens' initiative. The organisers will also have the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing organised at the European Parliament. If ultimately the Commission decides not to act, it will clearly explain its reasons in an official Communication.

The event:

European Citizens' Initiative enters into force.

IP and MEMO will be available on 30 March.

The sources:

Link to ECI website:

Link to ECI Regulation:

The contacts:

Antony Gravili: +32 2 295 4317

Marilyn Carruthers +32 2 299 9451

Wednesday 4 April: Proposal to facilitate cross-border motor vehicle registration

The news:

On 4 April the European Commission will present a legislative proposal to facilitate the registration of cars, vans, buses and trucks that were previously registered in another EU country.

The main benefits of this proposal will be:

  • People who work in another EU country than the one they reside in and who use a car registered by their employer will not need to re-register it.

  • Improvement for persons who spend a part of the year in another EU country who are often requested to re-register their vehicle.

  • Considerable simplification of the administrative formalities for the re-registration within the EU of cars, vans, buses and trucks (for example greatly reducing the formalities when moving residence from one EU country to another and when purchasing a second hand car from another EU country).

The background:

Motor vehicle registration problems were identified in the first EU Citizenship Report as one of the main obstacles faced by citizens when moving to or working in another EU country. They were also highlighted as one of the 20 main concerns with the Single Market.

The event:

Press conference to be held by Vice-President Antonio Tajani in the Berlaymont Press Room (time to be confirmed)

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission website on this proposal:

The contacts:

Carlo Corazza: +32 (0)2 29 51 752

Sara Tironi: +32 (0)2 29 90 403

Monday 16 April: EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit

The news:

On 16 April, the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the EU Council will host the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit. This event will bring together high-level representatives from the EU, United Nations, developing countries, industry and civil society organisations committed to achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030. This ambitious goal was set up by a High Level Group led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, of which Commissioner Piebalgs is a Member.

The Summit will be opened by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Other high profile guests are expected to include Michelle Bachelet (Executive Director, UN Women), Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group, Werner Hoyer, President of European Investment Bank and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. Commissioner Piebalgs will co-chair the event and give the closing speech together with Christian Friis Bach Danish Minister for Development Cooperation.

As the largest provider of development assistance in the world, the EU plays a crucial role in efforts to end energy poverty around the globe. However, providing universal access to sustainable energy will require the combined action of a large coalition of actors from the public and private sectors alike.

The conference aims to mobilise the efforts of all concerned in order to promote growth in developing countries through access to sustainable energy. It will also put a special focus on gender and access to sustainable energy for women. This summit will be important; both in preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June 2012 and in helping to define the way forward for the EU's contribution to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

The background:

Around 1.3 billion people in the world are deprived of access to electricity and the opportunities it provides for working, learning or operating a business.

Some 2.7 billion people use wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook their meals and heat their homes, exposing themselves and their families to smoke and fumes that damage their health and kill nearly 2 million people every year.

Without access to energy we cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals – nor can we promote economic development. It is this unacceptable situation which prompted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to launch his "Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All)" initiative September 2011.

The EU offers expertise as well as development funding to provide access to secure, affordable, clean and sustainable energy services. This UN initiative therefore presents a significant opportunity for the EU and developing countries to further cooperate with public institutions, businesses, research institutions and civil society in order to help make sure that energy is accessible for everyone.

The event:

The event will take place at the Charlemagne Building in Brussels on 16 April, from 9 30am - 6.00pm.

A press conference with high profile attendees will take place at 11.30am in the Press Room at Berlaymont.

Registration will open over the next few days. Please contact us for further information in the meantime on the emails below.

The sources:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray: +32 2 296 99 21

Wojtek Talko: +32 2 297 85 51

Wednesday 18 April: Commission to adopt an employment package "Towards a job-rich recovery"

The news:

On 18 April, the European Commission will present an employment package to identify opportunities that will help job creation (for example green jobs, white jobs, ICT sector) and set out how EU funds can be used to make long-term investments in human capital. The aim of the package is to lay the ground to move towards to a genuine European labour market where workers can move confidently between and within jobs across the EU and progress in their career. The package also aims to reinforce employment policy's role in EU governance and to look at how to involve further the social partners in key steps of EU decision-making.

The background:

Today 23 million people are unemployed in Europe. The crisis has shown that "skills mismatches" and the "geographic mismatch" in the EU persist and the negative outlook for 2012 is prolonging the employment challenge beyond the crisis. The European Council in March 2012 called for resolute action in this area in this area particularly on youth unemployment and the elaboration of Member States' National Job Plans. It looks forward to the Commission's "employment package.

The event:

The Commission will adopt an employment package "Towards a job-rich recovery".

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor will present the policy package at a press conference on 18 April in Strasbourg (time to be confirmed).

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

The sources:

For information on European Employment Strategy please see:

The contacts:

Cristina Arigho +32 2 298 53 99

Nadège Defrère +32 2 296 45 44

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