Brussels, Friday 27 April 2012
Top News from the European Commission
28 April – 26 May 2012
Background notes from the Spokespersons' service for journalists.
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes.
Monday 7 May to Tuesday 8 May: Informal Roundtable – Follow-up to the Durban climate negotiations with representatives of small island states, least developed countries and countries from Latin America 2
Tuesday 8 May: Product safety – Presentation of the annual report on Rapex, the rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products 3
Tuesday 8 May: Commission launches State Aid Modernisation 5
Friday 11 May: Spring 2012 Economic Forecast 6
Date to be confirmed: Commission adopts proposed Regulation on eID and eSignature 7
Monday 7 May to Tuesday 8 May: Informal Roundtable – Follow-up to the Durban climate negotiations with representatives of small island states, least developed countries and countries from Latin America
With the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard has invited ministers from AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), LDCs (Least Developed Countries) and a number of Latin American countries to Brussels on 7-8 May. This Informal Roundtable will build on the outcome of the 2011 Durban climate negotiations and explore further steps for cooperation. The ministers will also meet with EU Commissioners for Environment, Janez Potočnik and for Development, Andris Piebalgs to identify potential common priorities and goals for Rio+20.
The UNFCCC climate negotiations in Durban in November/December 2011 provided an important breakthrough in the international climate talks. This success was only possible through the determined efforts by an important group of countries, including the European Union, AOSIS, LDCs and a number of Latin American countries.
The continued cooperation of this group will be essential to ensure success in international talks, ranging from UNFCCC climate talks to the upcoming Rio+20 conference on 20-22 June.
This is why the European Commission has invited a group of countries, including LDCs, AOSIS and countries from Latin America to discuss potential 'next steps', and how the existing cooperation can be strengthened.
Informal Roundtable with AOSIS countries, LDCs as well as like-minded countries from Latin America on climate negotiations and Rio+20, which will aim to establish a roadmap towards a global inclusive green economy and the institutional framework to achieve this.
Press details will be announced at a later stage.
Website of Commissioner Hedegaard:
Twitter of Commissioner Hedegaard:
Isaac Valero-Ladron +32 2 296 4971 email@example.com
Stephanie Rhomberg +32 2 298 7278 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 8 May: Product safety – Presentation of the annual report on Rapex, the rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products
On 08 May, Commissioner John Dalli will present the key findings of the 2011 annual report published on that day concerning Rapex, the EU-wide rapid alert system for dangerous products. The findings of the report will include the trends in the number of products notified thanks to the system, the top product categories, the most active member states notifying unsafe products, and the countries of origin.
What: Press Conference with John Dalli, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy
Directly following the press conference, the Commissioner will visit the exhibition on product safety outside the press room, and will be able to answer further questions. The Commissioner will be joined at the exhibition by Commission experts as well as representatives of national authorities to show products and explain the work on the ground. This year there will be a particular focus on the work done at point of entry and two national experts will be present to answer questions including Mr J Nieminen, Head of the Finnish Customs laboratory.
When: Tuesday 08 May, (time to be confirmed)
Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels
IP and MEMO will be available on the day
Available on EbS
RAPEX is a Community rapid alert system for dangerous products. It ensures that information about dangerous products withdrawn from the EU market and/or recalled from consumers is quickly circulated between Member States and the European Commission, with the aim of preventing or restricting the selling of these products on the market. 30 countries currently participate in the system. The participating countries are all the European Union countries and the EFTA/EEA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Both preventive and restrictive measures ordered by national authorities and measures taken voluntarily by producers and distributors are covered by RAPEX. The most common measures are a ban/stop on sales, withdrawal of a dangerous product from the market, providing information to consumers about the risks related to the use of the product, or recall of a dangerous product from consumers.
On 1 January 2010, the scope of RAPEX was extended to cover also 'non-consumer' products and risks to other public interests than 'health and safety of consumers'. RAPEX applies now to both 'consumer' and 'non-consumer' products (for instance, a power drill, a lamp, a cosmetic or a toy). The RAPEX system covers the majority of products, but certain categories of products are excluded from its scope. For example, for food and feed, a specific alert system (RASFF), similar to RAPEX, is in place. Specific systems are in place also for medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
Commissioner John Dalli's website:
Frédéric Vincent: +32 2 298 71 66 Frederic.Vincent@ec.europa.eu
Aikaterini Apostola: +32 2 298 76 24 Aikaterini.Apostola@ec.europa.eu
Tuesday 8 May: Commission launches State Aid Modernisation
On 8 May, the European Commission will adopt a Communication on State Aid Modernisation. The aim is to inform about the objectives of this integrated strategy, its key components - a variety of state aid instruments which are closely interlinked - and the adoption timetable. The main objectives are fostering growth in the internal market by supporting targeted and non-distortive state aid, focusing enforcement on aid cases with the biggest impact on the internal market, as well as streamlined rules and faster decisions.
The Commission believes that a more focused state aid framework will allow Member States to better contribute both to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth, as well as to budgetary consolidation.
On 8 May, the Commission will adopt a Communication "State Aid Modernisation" and organize a press conference at 12.30 at the Berlaymont press room in Brussels.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Available on EbS
The Communication will be made available on:
Commissioner Joaquin Almunia's website:
Antoine Colombani: +32 2 297 4513 email@example.com
Maria Madrid: +32 2 295 4530 firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 11 May: Spring 2012 Economic Forecast
The Commission publishes its spring economic forecast for 2012-2013 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment and public finances, amongst other indicators, for all 27 European Union countries, plus the EU and euro area aggregates.
The Commission publishes economic forecasts four times a year: two comprehensive exercises in spring and autumn, plus two other exercises in between – the interim forecasts – on GDP growth and inflation.
In the last exercise, the EU interim forecast of 23 February, the Commission announced that the euro area was in mild recession with signs of stabilisation. It also announced that the unexpected stalling of the recovery in late 2011 was set to extend into the first two quarters of 2012. However, modest growth was predicted to return in the second half of the year.
Press Conference with Vice-President Olli Rehn in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels at 11h00 hrs.
IP and economic forecast available on the day.
Available on EbS
IP/12/163 – February 2012 EU Interim Forecast
European Commission websites:
Amadeu Altafaj Tardio + 32 2 295 2658 email@example.com
Vandna Kalia + 32 2 299 5824 firstname.lastname@example.org
Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 1607 email@example.com
Date to be confirmed: Commission adopts proposed Regulation on eID and eSignature
The European Commission will adopt a draft Regulation aimed at ensuring cross-border legal recognition of electronic IDs, eSignatures and other electronic Authentication services in Europe (eIAS), as foreseen in the Digital Agenda for Europe. The measures will enhance trust in pan-European electronic transactions and enable electronic identification, authentication, signature and related trust services, as well as a high level of data protection and user empowerment in the Single Market.
The draft Regulation will contain a review of the existing eSignature Directive to ensure harmonised application and simplification, in order to facilitate cross-border electronic transactions. The scope of the current Directive will be widened and will include mutual recognition of eIDs, so that all Member States recognise and accept all formally notified eIDs from other EU Member States.
Revising the current directive was one of the twelve key actions to unlock growth set out by the Commission in the Single Market Act (see IP/11/469) one year ago. Eleven of those proposals are already with the Council and the European Parliament and the set will be completed on adoption of this proposal.
Technical briefing in Berlaymont press room.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Available on EbS
Current eSignature directive
Neelie Kroes' website
Ryan Heath: +32 2 296 17 16 firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Cain: +32 2 299 90 19 email@example.com