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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 6 July 2012

Top News from the European Commission

7 July - 28 July 2012

Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

Monday 9 July: Investing in growth: €8 billion call for research and innovation projects 2

Wednesday 11 July: Commission proposes legislation on collective rights management 4

Wednesday 11 July: European Commission to propose changes to criminal law to improve protection of EU financial interests 6

Thursday 12 July: The Commission, the Council and the Parliament bring together religious leaders to discuss solidarity between generations and demographic challenges across Europe 7

Friday 13 July: Commission organizes Conference on CAP towards 2020 – Taking stock with civil society 9

Tuesday 17 July: Completing a single market for innovation 11

Monday 9 July: Investing in growth: €8 billion call for research and innovation projects

The news:

On 9 July, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, will announce the final and biggest work programme of the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (FP7). The work programme will inject some €8 billion into Europe's research and innovation system, as an investment in competitiveness and Europe's prospects for growth and jobs. The call for projects will give details of the main fields of research and innovation to be covered and where action at EU level is essential to address common challenges such as secure and clean energy, anti-microbial resistance and sustainable water use.

The background:

Member States have put investment in research and innovation at the top of the European political agenda by adopting the Europe 2020 strategy and endorsing the Innovation Union in February last year. When it was launched, FP7 was the largest research funding programme in the world with a budget of €55 billion for 2007-2013. The last call for projects will build a bridge to the future by linking its strategic priorities to the societal challenges identified for Horizon 2020, the next funding programme for EU research from 2014-2020. This challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities. There will be a reinforced focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and closer to the market activities. Particular emphasis is also given to the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises in projects.

The event:

12.30 Press conference by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science, to present the strategic priorities of the calls (Berlaymont press room, Brussels).

11.00 Technical briefing (Berlaymont press room, Brussels).

A press release and a memo will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Thematic orientation papers for 2013 call:

Innovation Union:

Europe 2020:

Horizon 2020:

Information on Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn:

  • I-071701 Research Infrastructures and the Europe 2020 Strategy

The contacts:

Michael Jennings +32 2 296 33 88

Monika Wcislo +32 2 295 56 04

Wednesday 11 July: Commission proposes legislation on collective rights management

The news:

The European Commission will present its proposal for a Directive on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market.

The objective of the proposal is to put in place a better legal framework for the collective management of rights that are administered by collecting societies on behalf of rightholders such as authors, performers, producers etc. It will provide for rules to improve the standards of governance, transparency and financial management of all collecting societies, thus improving the management of revenues collected on behalf of the rightholders (creators) as well as enhancing the co-operation between collecting societies across the EU. It will also set minimum standards, adapted to the digital world, for collecting societies' multi-territorial licensing of authors' rights in musical works used for the provision of online services, which allows for superior and simpler cross-border licensing.

These proposed changes will both satisfy increasing consumer demand for cultural content, including online, and encourage the development of a European Single Market for services that rely on content protected by copyright and related rights.

The background:

Consumer demand for cultural content and innovative online services does not recognise borders or national restrictions. Collecting societies ensure that rights from all over the Union are licensed in all Member States, thus facilitating consumers' access to a wide diversity of cultural content from different origins. However, the functioning of some collecting societies has raised concerns as to their transparency, governance and handling of revenues collected on behalf of rightholders. Some collecting societies struggle to adapt to the increasingly international demand for content and services and are not sufficiently equipped for either online or multi-territorial licensing. This is a hindrance to the European Single Market, as well as to innovation and cross-cultural exchanges.

Difficulty in obtaining multi-territorial licences for authors' rights in musical works is one of the factors that contributes to the fragmentation of the European Single Market for online music services and prevents consumers from enjoying the widest possible access to diverse musical repertoires.

In seeking to solve these problems, the Commission will provide the tools necessary to answer growing consumer demand for entertainment services, including online, while promoting greater innovation and cross-border cultural communication. Ideally, this initiative will also result in faster and increased remuneration for creators.

The event:

Press conference with Commissioner Michel Barnier in the Berlaymont press room at 11.00 followed by a technical briefing at 11.30.

  • Press conference available on EbS

Press release and memo with frequently asked questions available on the day.

The sources:

For more information on rights management:

For more information on cross-border collective management:

The contacts:

Stefaan De Rynck +32 2 296 34 21

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 16 07

Wednesday 11 July: European Commission to propose changes to criminal law to improve protection of EU financial interests

The news:

The European Commission is due to adopt a proposal for a Directive to strengthen Member States' criminal law for crimes concerning money from the EU budget. The aim is to increase the protection of EU taxpayers’ money, deter fraudsters, improve the prosecution and sanctioning of crimes against the EU budget, and facilitate the recovery of misused EU funds.

The background:

The Lisbon Treaty gave the EU the mandate to strengthen its fight against fraud by legislating in the area of criminal law. In May 2011, the Commission adopted a Communication on the protection of the financial interests of the EU by criminal law and administrative investigations (IP/11/644). The policy paper underlined the importance of strengthening criminal law and improving criminal and administrative procedures. The changes to Member States’ criminal law in the proposed Directive would complement a proposal planned for next year on the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor's Office to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against the EU budget.

The event:

13.00 Press conference with Vice-President Viviane Reding and Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta in the Berlaymont press room

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/11/644 European Commission seeks tougher rules to protect taxpayers' money from fraud

The contacts:

Mina Andreeva +32 (0)2 299 13 82

Emer Traynor +32 (0)2 292 15 48

Thursday 12 July: The Commission, the Council and the Parliament bring together religious leaders to discuss solidarity between generations and demographic challenges across Europe

The news:

Discussions on intergenerational solidarity and other important demographic challenges, like tackling unemployment, fostering active ageing, and reconciling work and private life, are on the agenda of the annual high-level meeting of religious leaders on 12 July at the Commission's headquarters in Brussels. The meeting, under the motto 'Intergenerational Solidarity: Setting the Parameters for Tomorrow's Society in Europe', will be hosted by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and co-chaired by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.

More than twenty senior representatives from Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions and from the Hindu and Bahá'í communities from all over Europe will be present; amongst them:

  • His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor André-Joseph Leonard, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels;

  • The Right Reverend Christopher Morgan, Bishop of Colchester;

  • His Excellency Bishop Seppo Häkkinen, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Diocese of Mikkeli;

  • Her Excellency Praeses Annette Kurschus, Praeses of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia;

  • Kristine Jansone, General Secretary of the Ecumenical Youth Council of Europe

  • His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus

  • His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel de France, President of the Conference of European Churches;

  • His Excellency Karol Sidon, Chief Rabbi of Prague and the Czech Republic;

  • His Excellency Harold Weill Chief Rabbi of Toulouse

  • Mr Mohammed Moussaoui, President of the Muslim Council of France;

  • Mrs Aicha Haddou, EU Representative of the European Women of Faith Network

  • Mrs Bharti Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe and Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain;

  • Mrs Sarah Vader, Representative of the Bahá'í International Community to the EU.

The background:

The Europe 2020 strategy aims to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to do so, it focuses also on ambitious goals in the areas of employment, innovation, education, poverty reduction and climate/energy. Moreover, 2012 marks the 'European year for active ageing and solidarity between generations'. It is in this context that the representatives of religious communities have been invited to engage in an open dialogue with the European Union on important demographic challenges.

The European Commission maintains an open, transparent and regular dialogue with churches, religious communities as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations. The Lisbon Treaty enshrines this dialogue into primary law (Art 17 TFEU).Beyond regular seminars with the different interlocutors, there is one annual high-level meeting with religious leaders and one with philosophical and non-confessional representatives.

The event:

The High-level Religious Leaders meeting will take place in the Berlaymont building on Thursday 12 July 2012 from 10h00 to 14h00. A press release and the list of participating religious leaders will be published on the day. A press conference of the three Presidents together with the religious leaders will be held in the European Commission's press room at 12.00.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth:

Information on the European year for active ageing and solidarity between generations:

Information on the European Commission's dialogue with churches, religious communities and philosophical and non-confessional organisations:

Website of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission:

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen +32 22953070

Jens Mester +32 22963973

Dirk Volckaerts +32 2 2993944

Friday 13 July: Commission organizes Conference on CAP towards 2020 – Taking stock with civil society

The news:

On 13 July 2012, the European Commission will organize a conference on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) towards 2020 – Taking stock with civil society. The event comes as a follow-up to the broad consultation on the challenges faced by European agriculture in 2010, which culminated in a similar conference in July 2010. This comes at the initiative of Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development who has always underlined that "the CAP is not just for farmers, it is for all EU citizens – but carried out by farmers".

The conference will provide a forum for civil society to discuss the CAP reform proposals for post-2013 which were published by the Commission in October 2011. The conference will focus on food security; the sustainable management of natural resources and mitigation and adaptation to climate change; and maintaining the territorial balance of rural areas in the EU.

The background:

The Common Agricultural Policy is due to be reformed by 2013. After a wide-ranging public debate held in 2010, the Commission presented a Communication outlining options for the future CAP and launching the debate with the other institutions and stakeholders. This concluded that the 3 main challenges for the future CAP were food security, the sustainable management of natural resources and maintaining the territorial balance. In October 2011 the Commission then presented a set of legal proposals to make the CAP more effective for a more competitive and sustainable agriculture and vibrant rural areas. Under co-decision with the Council and the European Parliament, the aim is to reach a political agreement on CAP reform in early 2013, so that all the different regulations and implementing acts can be completed by the end of 2013, with a view to having the CAP reform in place as from 1 January 2014.

In line with the other Commission policy initiatives for the period after 2013, the reformed CAP will promote jobs and growth, promote innovation, fight against climate change, and enhance both the economic and ecological competitiveness of agriculture.

The event:

The conference will be opened by Dacian Cioloş Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, Sofoclis Aletraris, Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment of the Republic of Cyprus, President in office of the Council, and Czesław Siekierski, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development.

In the course of plenary sessions and workshops, speakers will include senior officials from the Commission's AGRI Directorate General, farmers and food industry organisations, research institutes, think tanks active in environment and agriculture, and international organisations (OECD, FAO) will intervene in the plenary sessions and workshops. The event will end with a press conference.

Participation in the conference is on invitation only. Everybody will, however, have the opportunity to follow the event through live streaming.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

For information on the CAP reform:

For information on the conference:

Commissioner Dacian Çiolos' website:

  • I-067699 Agriculture and Rural Development - Winter: 2011

  • I-066721 Agriculture and Rural Development - Summer : 2010

  • I-066695 Agriculture and Rural Development - Autumn : 2010

  • I-063778 Agriculture and rural development: Spring 2010

  • I-071161 Visit of Dacian Cioloș to a farm in Ophain-Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, Belgium

The contacts:

Roger Waite: +32 2 296 1404

Fanny Dabertrand: +32 2 299 06 25

Tuesday 17 July: Completing a single market for innovation

The news:

The European Commission will set out steps needed to complete the European Research Area (ERA) and present its policy on access to scientific information, including open access to the results of publicly funded research. ERA means a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation in Europe, which will enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to better move, compete and co-operate across borders. The deadline to complete ERA is 2014. Proposals will cover measures to remove barriers to researcher careers and mobility in the EU, to encourage more cross-border cooperation and funding of research into common challenges and to make the results of EU-funded research more widely available.

At the same time, the Commission will unveil a series of measures to improve the access to, and the long term preservation of, research results across the EU. The Commission initiative on scientific information aims at promoting 'open access' to research publications from EU-funded projects, as well as from nationally funded research. That means having these publications freely accessible on the internet. It will also address better availability of raw research data and preservation of digital research publications and data.

The background:

Stakeholders suggest that the main issues holding back cross-border research cooperation are barriers to research careers and mobility and cross-border access to research funding programmes and infrastructures. Stakeholders stress that access to research publications needs to be improved, in order to accelerate research and the take up of research results in new products and services. Currently many researchers, but also SMEs, do not have access to the information they need, a problem that is exacerbated by rising journal prices and declining budgets of academic libraries.

On 17 July, the Commission will set out its strategy and a series of concrete measures in a Communication to the European Parliament and Council on the European Research Area, and a Communication and Commission Recommendation on the access to, and preservation of, scientific information.

The event:

11.15 Press conference with Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, preceded by a technical briefing off the record at 10:45.

IP + MEMO available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

ERA page on DG Research and Innovation website:

Innovation Union:

Digital Agenda:

Open Access:

March 2012 European Council conclusions:

February 2011 European Council conclusions:

  • I-073793 European Research Area 2012

The contacts:

Michael Jennings +32 (0)22963388

Monika Wcislo +32 (0)22955604

Ryan Heath +32 (0)22961716

Linda Cain +32 (0)22999019

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