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AGENDA/12/13

Brussels, Friday 30 March 2012

Top News from the European Commission
31 March – 28 April 2012

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

Tuesday 3 April: Portugal – Third Review Report 2

Wednesday 4 April: Proposal to facilitate cross-border motor vehicle registration 3

Monday 16 April: EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit 4

Wednesday 18 April: Commission adopts Communication on Growth and Jobs for Greece 6

Thursday 19 April: Commission to adopt an employment package "Towards a job-rich recovery" 7

Friday 20 April: Commission organizes Conference on Local Agriculture and Short Food Supply Chain 8

Wednesday 25 April: Commission presents its proposal for the 2013 EU Budget 9

Thursday 26 April: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 10

April (date to be confirmed): Commission adopts stronger rules on EU statistics 11

Tuesday 3 April: Portugal – Third Review Report

The news:

The Commission will publish the report on the third review of the Economic Adjustment Programme for Portugal on 3 April.

This report provides an assessment of compliance with the terms and conditions of the programme and summarises the findings of the joint European Commission (EC)/European Central Bank (ECB)/International monetary fund (IMF) mission. This mission met with the Portuguese authorities in Lisbon during 15-27 February to carry out this assessment. The objectives of the programme are to restore sound public finances, improve competitiveness, and to put Portugal’s economy back on the path of sustainable growth and job creation.

The background:

Against the background of deteriorating financing conditions Portugal requested financial assistance on 7 April 2011. An agreement has been adopted on 17 May at the Eurogroup/ECOFIN meeting. The Economic Adjustment Programme covers the period 2011 to 2014 and provides total financial support of € 52 billion from the side of the EU (European Financial Stability Facility - EFSF/ European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism -EFSM) and about € 26 billion from the IMF. The financial assistance allows Portugal a gradual adjustment of its economy over three years. There are quarterly joint EC/ECB/IMF missions in order to assess compliance with the terms of the programme.

The event:

The report will be presented to the press in the framework of an "on the record" Technical Briefing. This briefing will be given by Peter Weiss, Head of Unit in the DG Economic and Monetary affairs (DG ECFIN) and Deputy Mission Chief for Portugal, at 11.00 CET in the Berlaymont press room.

Copies of the report will be distributed in the press room on the day. The report will also be available on the webpage of DG ECFIN as from 11:00 on 3 April.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

MEMO/12/142 Statement by the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund on the Third Review Mission to Portugal – Document published on 28 February 2012.

The contacts:

Amadeu Altafaj + 32 2 295 2648 amadeu.altafaj-tardio@ec.europa.eu

Vandna Kalia + 32 2 299 5824 vandna.kalia@ec.europa.eu

Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 1607 audrey.augier@ec.europa.eu

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:

12:30 Press conference to be held by Vice-President Antonio Tajani in the Berlaymont Press Room

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 carlo.corazza@ec.europa.eu

Sara Tironi: +32 (0)2 29 90 403 sara.tironi@ec.europa.eu

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 11.30 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.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray: +32 2 296 99 21 Catherine.ray@ec.europa.eu

Wojtek Talko: +32 2 297 85 51 Wojtek.talko@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 18 April: Commission adopts Communication on Growth and Jobs for Greece

The news:

On the initiative of President Barroso, the European Commission will adopt a Communication highlighting the priority measures to get Greece growing again. These measures, to be taken in Greece during 2012 as part of its second economic adjustment programme, will help to create the conditions for sustainable growth and job creation and begin to reverse the negative trends of recent years. The Communication confirms the desire of the Commission to help Greece to move from a vicious to a virtuous cycle – where implementing reforms leads to renewal of confidence and growth, creating incentives for further progress. It stresses that the way to achieve this is through the full implementation of the second programme and makes clear that the Commission is committed to strong support for Greece in this task.

The background:

A second economic adjustment programme for Greece was agreed between the EU and the IMF and the Greek authorities earlier in March. The programme is designed to overhaul the functioning of the Greek state, ending restrictive and opaque practices that have hampered economic growth and efficiency. As well as specifying the policy conditionality for the disbursement of financial assistance for Greece over the coming three years, the programme will drive a transformation of the business environment and the Greek administration. The Commission's Task Force for Greece is stepping up the provision of technical assistance to help the country make the sweeping legal and administrative changes that will help it return to growth (for example in the areas of taxation, customs and export formalities, healthcare) and for swifter, more effective use of EU cohesion funding.

The event:

The Commission will adopt the Communication.

IP will be available on the day.

The sources:

Web page on the second Greek economic adjustment programme:

Web page of the Task Force for Greece:

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen: +32 (0)2 295 30 70 pia.ahrenkilde-hansen@ec.europa.eu

Olivier Bailly: +32 (0)2 296 87 17 olivier.bailly@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 19 April: Commission to adopt an employment package "Towards a job-rich recovery"

The news:

On 19 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 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 (time to be confirmed).

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

For information on European Employment Strategy please see:

The contacts:

Cristina Arigho +32 2 298 53 99 Cristina.Arigho@ec.europa.eu

Nadège Defrère +32 2 296 45 44 Nadege.Defrere@ec.europa.eu

Friday 20 April: Commission organizes Conference on Local Agriculture and Short Food Supply Chain

The news:

On 20 April, the European Commission will organize a conference on local agriculture and short food supply chain, in a joint initiative by Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. The aim is to see how to better address the needs of small farms structures and how to target support schemes for them, in the context of the CAP reform.

The background:

The post 2013 CAP reform proposals adopted by the Commission on 12 October 2011 envisage new possibilities for the economic development of small-scale farming with a local market orientation. In addition, other CAP policies and EU legislation on food hygiene are important for the growth of this sector.

The event:

The conference will bring together producers, national administrations and European institutions to reflect on how to use policy instruments to facilitate access to markets, reinforce links between farmers and consumers and improve the implementation of hygiene legislation in short food supply chains. The afternoon will conclude with a Panel discussion with the two Commissioners and Carlo Petrini (Slow Food) and Reinhold Messner (mountaineer).

The event will thus aim at answering the following questions: do CAP proposals provide the necessary tools to unlock small scale farming potential? Why does a specific scheme need to be developed for local products? What should it look like at EU level and why do consumers appreciate buying food from local farmers? How to promote the use of flexible provisions among competent authorities? Are there practical examples of flexible approaches satisfying legal obligations?

Participation to the conference is on invitation only. Everybody will, however, be able to follow it via webstreaming.

The sources:

For information on the conference:

Commissioner Dacian Çiolos' website:

Commissioner John Dalli's website

The contacts:

Roger Waite: +32 2 296 1404 roger.waite@ec.europa.eu

Fanny Dabertrand: +32 2 299 06 25 fanny.dabertrand@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 25 April: Commission presents its proposal for the 2013 EU Budget

The news:

On 25 April 2012, the European Commission will adopt the draft EU budget for the year 2013. It will be the last annual budget of the present Multiannual Financial Framework 2007-2013.

Aware of the current economic situation, the Commission will present a budget fully geared to use its funding potential for growth and jobs in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.

The annual budget is equivalent to around 1% of the Union’s national wealth. Though relatively small in size it is an important tool in furthering the goals of European integration. Directly or indirectly, all European citizens benefit from some activity funded from the EU budget, be it in the form of safer food on our plates, better roads or the guaranteeing of our fundamental rights.

The background:

According to Treaty (on the Functioning of the European Union) all EU institutions and bodies draw up their estimates for the draft budget according to their internal procedures before 1 July. The Commission consolidates these estimates and establishes the annual ‘draft budget’ which must respect the spending ceilings (limits) imposed by the seven year long multiannual financial framework in total and in each of its parts (headings). The proposal shall contain estimates both of revenue and of expenditure. The draft budget is to be submitted to the Council and the European Parliament not later than by 1 September.

In practice there is the so called "pragmatic" calendar which takes into account the time for negotiations within the Council and the European Parliament as well as the conciliation procedure between these institutions if necessary. The Commission thus endeavours to present the draft budget before the end of April/beginning of May each year.

The event:

The Commission's draft budget will be adopted by the College, forwarded to the Council and to the European Parliament, presented by Commissioner Lewandowski to the Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament and to the media on the same day.

The proposal will be then discussed by the both "arms" of the budgetary authority (Council and the European Parliament) and is to be approved by them before 31 December 2012 according to the special legislative procedure set by the Treaty.

IP and Presentation will be available on the day.

The sources:

For information on the EU budget documents please see:

Homepage DG Financial Programming and Budget:

Homepage of Janusz Lewandowski, Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget

The contacts:

Patrizio Fiorilli: +32 2 295 81 32 Patrizio.Fiorilli@ec.europa.eu

Monika Sikorska: +32 2 295 23 92 Monika-Sandra.Sikorska@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 26 April: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Thursday 26 April 2012, 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.

The background:

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.

The event:

Several IPs and MEMOs will be available on the day.

The sources:

The IP and MEMO will be made available on the day on Rapid:

The contacts:

Overall coordination:

Olivier Bailly +32 2 296 87 17 olivier.bailly@ec.europa.eu

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.

April (date to be confirmed): Commission adopts stronger rules on EU statistics

The news:

In April, the European Commission will update the existing rules on EU statistics. The aim is to reinforce the independence, reliability and high standard of statistics coming from Member States and compiled by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The background:

The economic and social policy debate in the EU in recent years has been driven by the very intense debate about how to enhance the economic governance of the EU. The implementation of EU policies requires comparable and reliable statistical information about the economic, social and environmental situation in the EU. It is therefore of strategic importance for the Commission to produce high quality European statistics in order to provide a comprehensive response to the financial and economic crisis. This is in line with what is foreseen in the EU's Economic Strategy (MEMO/11/627).

The event:

Press material will be available on the day. Statement by Commissioner Algirdas Semeta at daily midday press briefing (to be confirmed).

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Commissioner Algirdas Semeta's website:

Eurostat website:

The contacts:

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

Natasja Bohez Rubiano: +32 2 296 64 70 Natasja.Bohez-Rubiano@ext.ec.europa.eu


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