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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 24 August 2012

Top News from the European Commission

25 August – 21 September 2012

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

Thursday 6 September: EU High Level Group presents recommendations to increase level of literacy in Europe 2

Tuesday 11 September: OECD and European Commission present 2012 Education at a Glance report 3

Tuesday 11 September (date to be confirmed): Banking union - Commission to propose a single banking supervision mechanism 5

Thursday 6 September: EU High Level Group presents recommendations to increase level of literacy in Europe

The news:

The EU high level group of experts on literacy will present recommendations on how to tackle low literacy levels in Europe. H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, who chaired the group, will hand over its final report to Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou at a Presidency conference on literacy in Cyprus.

The background:

73 million adults in the EU are low-skilled, and the results of the most recent PISA (programme for international student assessment) survey show that one in five 15 year olds in the EU has poor reading skills. EU countries therefore need to step up their efforts significantly if they are to reach their joint target for reducing the ratio of low performers in reading, maths and science to less than 15% by 2020.

Launched in February 2011, the high level group has examined research, gathered evidence and analysed the most successful literacy programmes and policy initiatives in Europe. The report's recommendations reflect discussions within the group as well as the input received through their consultations with a wide variety of other experts, organisations and stakeholders.

The members of the group are experts on literacy from academia, politics and business. They met eight times over the past 18 months.

The event:

Press Conference with Commissioner Vassiliou and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Nicosia, Cyprus, 6 September, 13.00 local time.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/11/115: Commission launches high-level expert group on literacy chaired by Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands

European Commission's website on literacy

Commissioner Vassiliou's website

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott: +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam: +32 2 295 96 67

Tuesday 11 September: OECD and European Commission present 2012 Education at a Glance report

The news:

Education at a Glance 2012 provides up-to-date statistical data on education and training in 34 OECD countries and key partner countries, including 21 European Union countries. This annual publication enables policy-makers in European and non-European countries to compare how they deliver education and training, and to draw conclusions for future policy.

The background:

The report provides key information on the state of play in education across Europe, including the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education as well as data on the learning environment and organisation of schools.

New indicators focus on the effect of the global economic crisis on education expenditure and the impact of education on macroeconomic outcomes, such as GDP. The report also covers topics such as early childhood education systems, intergenerational mobility in higher education, factors that influence education spending, career expectations among 15-year-olds, the makeup of the teaching force and the impact of examinations on access to secondary and higher education.

The report features data on education from the 34 OECD member countries. These include 21 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), 4 other European countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey), and 9 non-European countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, United States). Furthermore, data is presented for Brazil, the Russian Federation, and – in some cases – Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

The 6 EU Member States that are not OECD member countries and therefore not covered in the report are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania.

The report will be presented by Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director General at the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture.

The event:

11h00: On-the-record technical briefing in the Jenkins room, Charlemagne Building, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission: Education and training:

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

OECD: Education:

OECD: Education at a Glance 2011:

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67

Tuesday 11 September (date to be confirmed): Banking union - Commission to propose a single banking supervision mechanism

The news:

The Commission will present proposals to design a single banking supervision mechanism in the euro area, further strengthening our response to the current crisis while fully preserving the integrity of the single market. A single supervision mechanism, built around the European Central Bank (ECB), will be a major step forward. It will send a strong political signal of credibility to our partners and to global investors. It will show once again the irreversibility of the euro. The Commission expects these proposals to be adopted by the end of the year, in order for the new system to enter into force early in 2013, as a key component of a "banking union".

These proposals will address the key questions of the concrete functioning of the new supervisory role for the ECB; the relationship between national supervisors and the ECB; bridging the interface between euro area countries and those not participating in the euro and clarifying the role of the European Banking Authority in this context.

The background:

At the European Council of 28/29 June, EU leaders agreed to deepen economic and monetary union as one of the remedies of the current crisis. At that meeting, the leaders discussed the report entitled 'Towards a Genuine Economic and Monetary Union'1, prepared by the President of the European Council in close collaboration with the President of the European Commission, the Chair of the Eurogroup and the President of the European Central Bank. This report set out the main building blocks towards deeper economic and monetary integration including banking union and fiscal union.

The banking union will build on recent major proposals to strengthen the regulation of the banking sector, notably regarding more harmonised capital requirements for banks, deposit guarantees and bank resolution. The aim of this additional integration is to break the link between Member States and their banks; restore the credibility of the financial sector; preserve tax payers' money and to ensure that banks serve society and the real economy.

Common and more integrated supervision is the first step. Once this is in place, the intention is to build on existing proposals for deposit guarantee schemes and bank recovery and resolution, moving towards a more integrated approach also in these areas in order to achieve a complete EU single rule book for banks.

Once common supervision is established, the way will be open for the European Stability Mechanism to take a decision enabling it to directly recapitalize banks.

The event:

Press conference and technical briefing (details to be confirmed).

Press material available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

More information on financial supervision:

Commissioner Barnier's website:

  • I-068615 Financial Sector and EU Regulatory Bodies - 2011

  • 86075 EU Economic and Financial Affairs (2012)

The contacts:

Stefaan De Rynck +32 2 296 34 21

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 16 07

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