Brussels, Friday 11 May 2012
Top News from the European Commission
12 May – 9 June 2012
Background notes from the Spokespersons' service for journalists.
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes.
Saturday 12 May: Open Door Day of the European Institutions - Growing Stronger together 2
Tuesday 15 May: Adoption of the 2012 European Neighbourhood Policy Package 3
Wednesday 16 May: The Commission adopts its first biannual report on the functioning of the Schengen area 5
Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May: The EU at the G8 summit in Camp David – "Acting together" 6
Sunday 20 – Monday 21 May: 'European Rendezvous', Cannes International Film Festival 8
Monday 21 May: Commission presents annual Taxation Trends report 10
Wednesday 23 May (tbc): Report on EU's bathing water quality 11
Wednesday 30 May: Commission presents its 2012 Country-Specific Recommendations and conclusions of in-depth reviews 12
Thursday 31 May: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 14
Date to be confirmed: Commission adopts proposed Regulation on eID and eSignature 15
Date to be confirmed: European Commission to present first report on national Roma integration strategies 16
Saturday 12 May: Open Door Day of the European Institutions - Growing Stronger together
On May 12, 2012, the Berlaymont building – the heart of the European Commission – opens its doors from 10 am until 6 pm.
You will discover in a concrete, interactive and entertaining manner, the main achievements of the European Union during the past months: from the European growth strategy to measures to ensure stability in the euro area; from support to farmers to the importance of food security; from the prohibition of inflammable toys to the fight against counterfeit cigarettes; from the importance of multilingualism to the constant need for new translators, from the means available for job creation to investments which improve our quality of life; and from research in health areas to the fight against cybercrime.
There will also be guided visits of the room where the Commissioners hold their meetings on the 13th floor of the Berlaymont.
A whole range of activities for adults and children will be organised by the Commission throughout the day on the esplanade in front of the Berlaymont: an exhibition on "the cost of non-Europe – Growing stronger together", a photo's exhibition "1 to 100 years", shows by young Flemish flag throwers…
All day long, a podium will schedule musical groups and singers: Swing à Jo, Foreign Affairs, Bossa Flor, Indecision, Xamanek, and a "Suarez and Friends" musical show will closed the festivities at 17.30.
Festival of Europe: European Institutions Open Day
Festival of Europe website:
Mina Andreeva +32 2 299 1382 Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu
Natasha Bertaud +32 2 296 7456 Natasha.Bertaud@ec.europa.eu
Tuesday 15 May: Adoption of the 2012 European Neighbourhood Policy Package
On 15 May the 2012 European Neighbourhood Policy Package will be adopted. This year's Package consists of a Joint Communication of the Commission and the High Representative and twelve Country Progress Reports assessing the implementation of the ENP in 2011 in the twelve neighbouring countries with which an ENP Action Plan or an equivalent document has been agreed; two regional progress reports reviewing the progress made in 2011 in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership and the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity; and a Statistical Annex.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours, aiming instead to increase the prosperity, stability and security of all.
In May 2011 the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission put forward a new policy response to a changing EU neighbourhood based on "more for more", mutual accountability and a shared commitment to the universal values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and involving a much higher level of differentiation. In this way the EU responded to the Arab Spring and sent a clear message of solidarity and support to the peoples of the Southern Mediterranean It also responded to EU Eastern Neighbours’ efforts towards closer political association and deeper economic integration. A year on, the High Representative and the Commission will present an assessment of the first year of implementation of the new approach.
The ENP framework is proposed to 16 of the EU's closest neighbours – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Press Conference by High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Stefan Füle (time to be confirmed).
Available on EbS
1 IP, 16 MEMOS and the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and Council will be available on the day.
For information ENP please see:
The document of the Communication will be made available on:
European External Action Service website:
Commissioner Štefan Füle's website:
I-065430 European Neighbourhood Policy: South 2010
I-065429 European Neighbourhood Policy: East 2010
Peter Stano +32 2 295 74 84 Peter.Stano@ec.europa.eu
Michael Mann +32 2 299 97 80 Michael.Mann@ec.europa.eu
Maja Kocijancic +32 2 298 65 70 Maja.Kocijancic@ec.europa.eu
Anca Paduraru +32 229 66430 Anca.Paduraru@ec.europa.eu
Sebastien Brabant +32 229 86433 Sebastien.Brabant@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 16 May: The Commission adopts its first biannual report on the functioning of the Schengen area
The Commission adopts its first biannual report on the functioning of the Schengen area.
The right to travel within the Schengen area without being subjected to border controls is one of the most valued achievements of the European Union. In September 2011, the Commission proposed to strengthen the Schengen area to guarantee free movement for the hundreds of thousands of EU citizens and third countries' nationals travelling within this territory every day.
On this occasion, the Commission announced its intention to present a biannual overview on the functioning of Schengen. The purpose of these reports is to provide a basis for a regular debate in the European Parliament and in the Council on the strengthening of political guidance and cooperation in the Schengen area. This first report covers the period from 1 November 2011 until 30 April 2012 and complements the measures proposed in the Commission legislative proposals on Schengen governance, which are currently being discussed with the European Parliament and the Council. The Council is expected to discuss the matter in its meeting on 7-8 June.
IP will be available on the day.
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
Homepage DG Home Affairs:
I-070758 Schengen governance
Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu
Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu
Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May: The EU at the G8 summit in Camp David – "Acting together"
The G8 summit will take place from 18 to 19 May in Camp David (U.S.). The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
The G8 summit continues to play an important role in shaping global responses to global challenges. This year, G8 Leaders will address the following main topics:
regional and political developments and security issues
the global economy
energy and climate issues
There will be an outreach working lunch on 19 May to discuss food security with the following African leaders: President John Mills (Ghana), President Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia), and the current Chairman of the African Union, President Yayi Boni from Benin. Leaders will also be joined by representatives of international organisations and the private sector involved in the global work on food security.
The European Union is, together with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, a full member of the G8. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso participates for the 8th time in the G8. President Barroso has attended his first G8 summit in Gleneagles (2005). Last year's G8 summit was held in Deauville (France) and the 2013 edition will be hosted by the UK. The G8 summit in Camp David will be the first major international event for the new French President Hollande.
Participation of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in the G8 summit in Camp David (U.S.)
Pre-G8 summit briefing on Wednesday 16 May, 11.15 (OFF the record). Council premises (info: email@example.com).
Press events at the G8 summit in Camp David: to be confirmed.
G8 media accreditation has been closed. Please note that the G20 media accreditation deadline is Sunday 13 May. All media interested in covering the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico, on 18 and 19 June are invited to fill out the online press accreditation form at http://www.g20.org/en/acreditaciones.
Press material on the 2012 G8 summit (forthcoming)
G8/G20 section on President Barroso's website:
Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen +32 2 295 3070/+32 498 953 070 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jens Mester +32 2 296 3973/+32 498 963 973 email@example.com
Sunday 20 – Monday 21 May: 'European Rendezvous', Cannes International Film Festival
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will award the first 'Prix MEDIA' to the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (IP/12/353) at the Cannes Film Festival on 20 May during the traditional Cannes 'European Rendezvous', which highlights the impact of the EU's MEDIA programme on European film-making.
Since 1991, MEDIA has invested more than €1.5 billion in support of film development, distribution, training and innovation, with the aim of increasing diversity and the international competitiveness of Europe's cinema and audiovisual industry. This year, MEDIA is supporting 18 films at Cannes by both new and well-known directors including Michael Haneke, Ken Loach, Léos Carax and Cristian Mungiu.
On 20 May, Commissioner Vassiliou will climb the famous red carpet and stairs to attend the screening of one of the European films selected in the official competition for the Palme d'Or.
On 21 May, the Commissioner and Festival President Gilles Jacob will host a public conference on the Commission's proposed 'Creative Europe' programme, which envisages a significant increase in EU funding for cinema and culture in 2014-2020. Investment in the cultural and creative sectors is seen as key in overcoming the crisis because of their economic weight and potential – the sectors currently contribute up to 4.5% of EU GDP and employ 8.5 million people in Europe. .
On 22 May, the Commission will also organise an event with representatives of national and regional film funds from inside and outside the EU to discuss new financial instruments to support the film industry.
European films supported by the MEDIA Programme are frequently selected for the Cannes Film Festival's official competition and several have won prizes including the Palme d'Or.
Every year, the European Commission supports more than a hundred festivals across Europe through the MEDIA programme. The Commission will have a MEDIA stand at Cannes, which enables smaller independent companies to have access to the international market.
The MEDIA programme is providing €755 million in support to Europe's film industry in 2007-2013. Under 'Creative Europe', the Commission has proposed that support for MEDIA should be increased to more than € 900 million in 2014-2020.
65th Cannes International Film Festival, 16-27 May
Sunday 20th May:
11h30: Presentation of 'Prix MEDIA' at "Café des Palmes"
Monday 21st May:
10h30-12h00: Commissioner Vassiliou meets European film directors for discussions on 'Creative Europe' (closed event);
15:30-17:30: Public Conference on 'Creative Europe' in the Press room of the Palais des Festivals.
European Commission's website on the MEDIA Programme:
Cannes Film festival:
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
Monday 21 May: Commission presents annual Taxation Trends report
On 21 May, the European Commission will present the 2012 edition of its Taxation trends report. This report takes stock of the tax systems in the Member States, including extensive and comparable data on their tax structures and rates. The report will include for the first time key data on property taxes in all 27 Member States.
The Taxation trends report compiles tax indicators that allow comparison of the tax systems and tax policies between EU Member States. It offers a breakdown of tax revenues raised either from consumption, labour or capital. It also contains data on energy taxation and on the top rates for personal and corporate income taxes. Its country chapters give an overview of each of the 27 EU countries covered, their revenue trends and recent tax policy changes. The data published in the Taxation trends report will also feed into the Country Specific Recommendations which will be published by the Commission at the end of May.
A technical briefing on the main results of the Report will be organised on Monday 21 May 2012 in the press room of Berlaymont Building at 11:00 by experts from the European Commission.
Available on EbS
Taxation trends in the European Union:
Emer Traynor: +32 2 292 15 48 - Emer.Traynor@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 23 May (tbc): Report on EU's bathing water quality
On 23 May, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and European Commission will publish their annual report on bathing water. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of bathing water in EU Member States throughout the 2011 bathing season, so swimmers can find areas where water quality is expected to be good during 2012.
Bathing water in Europe needs to comply with standards set in the EU's 2006 Bathing Water Directive. This report brings together water quality data from more than 22,000 designated bathing waters across Europe, approximately 70 % of them coastal sites and the remainder inland. Sites are classified as compliant with mandatory EU values, compliant with the more stringent guide values, or non-compliant.
A report on bathing water quality in all 27 EU Member States will be released, with printed versions in English, French and German. Individual Member State reports will also be available in English, on the Internet.
IP and report will be available on the day.
For more information on EU Bathing water policy:
The report will be made available at:
Joe Hennon: +32 2 292 15 48 Joseph.Hennon@ec.europa.eu
Monica Westeren: +32 2 295 06 68 Monica.Westeren@ext.ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 30 May: Commission presents its 2012 Country-Specific Recommendations and conclusions of in-depth reviews
On 30 May, the European Commission will adopt its second annual set of policy recommendations to the 27 Member States, and to the euro area as a whole. The recommendations are based on a detailed assessment of the economic, employment and budgetary situation and policies in each country. Where required, the Commission will spell out further budgetary steps, structural reforms and growth-enhancing measures which Member States should adopt over the following 12 months. The recommendations are to be endorsed by the European Council on 28-29 June and formally adopted by the Council in July.
At the same time, the Commission will present the results of the in-depth reviews of 12 Member States which it has been carrying out in the context of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure.
The presentation of the Country-Specific Recommendations is a key moment in the 'European Semester' of economic policy coordination., Taking the EU's growth strategy (called Europe 2020) as a starting point, the Commission sets out every year Europe's economic policy priorities (in the so-called "Annual Growth Survey"). The priorities presented in the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, adopted on 23 November 2011, were endorsed by the European Council on 1 March 2012. On that basis, the Member States submitted in April their medium-term budgetary plans (called Stability Programmes for euro area countries, Convergence Programmes for other Member States) and the structural reform measures planned for the following 12 months (National Reform Programmes). The Country-Specific Recommendations are the Commission's response to these.
The presentation of the results of the in-depth reviews of 12 Member States is the next step in the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure, following the Alert Mechanism report on 14 February. The Alert Mechanism Report concluded that the macroeconomic situation in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK merited further investigation with a view to assessing the presence of specific imbalances. Where necessary, the Commission will also issue recommendations to take appropriate preventive or corrective action to address these.
The Commission will adopt 28 sets of proposed recommendations at its meeting on 30 May, as well as the results of 12 in-depth reviews and potential associated recommendations. The key messages will be presented at a press conference the same day.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day, along with the text of the Communication adopted by the Commission, the 28 sets of recommendations and 28 Commission staff working documents containing the detailed analysis for each Member State and for the euro area as a whole, plus the outcomes of the 12 in-depth reviews.
Available on EbS
Europe 2020 website:
2011 country-specific recommendations and staff working documents:
2012 National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes:
2011 Alert Mechanism Report:
Olivier Bailly: +32 2 296 87 17 Olivier.Bailly@ec.europa.eu
Simon O'Connor: +32 2 296 73 59 Simon.O'Connor@ec.europa.eu
Amadeu Altafaj Tardio +32 2 295 26 58 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vandna Kalia +32 2 299 58 24 email@example.com
Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 31 May: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Thursday 31 May 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.
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:
Olivier Bailly +32 2 296 87 17 email@example.com
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.
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 email@example.com
Linda Cain: +32 2 299 90 19 firstname.lastname@example.org
Date to be confirmed: European Commission to present first report on national Roma integration strategies
The European Commission will present its first report on Member States' actions to improve the situation of the EU's largest ethnic minority under the EU Framework for national strategies for Roma integration.
The report will assess the national strategies submitted by all EU countries and the way in which they address the common goals agreed at EU level on education, employment, healthcare and housing. It will also highlight the main elements and remaining gaps identified in the strategies.
In June 2011, European leaders agreed an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (IP/11/789). Under the EU Framework, all Member States committed to submitting a strategy to address the challenges of Roma inclusion more effectively and to tangibly improve the situation of Roma by 2020. It addressed the issue of Roma inclusion at EU level and clearly linked it with the Europe 2020 strategy.
The persistent economic and social marginalisation of the Roma is the focus of the strategy: Roma – Europe’s largest minority of about 10 to 12 million people – are very often the victims of discrimination and social exclusion and live in deep poverty. The EU Framework sets out a series of common goals in the key areas for Roma integration of education, employment, healthcare and housing.
Vice-President Reding and Commissioner Andor will present the report at a joint press conference.
An IP will be available on the day.
EU and Roma:
Vice-President Reding's website:
The European Social Fund and Roma
Commissioner Andor's website
Mina Andreeva +32 2 299-1382 Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu
Natasha Bertaud +21 2 296 7456 Natasha.Bertaud@ec.europa.eu
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 4107 Jonathan.Todd@ec.europa.eu
Nadège Defrère +32 2 296 4544 Nadege.Defrere@ec.europa.eu