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Brussels, Friday 21 September 2012
Top News from the European Commission
22 September – 19 October 2012
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Monday 24 – Friday 28 September: EU participation in UNGA Ministerial Week 3
Wednesday 26 September: The Commission presents report on boosting the contribution of cultural and creative sectors to growth and jobs 5
Wednesday 26 September: Commission to adopt a new legal framework for medical devices, more robust, transparent and better adapted to scientific and technological progress 6
Thursday 27 September: Commission communication on the future of EU external aviation policy 8
Thursday 27 September: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 9
Thursday 27 September: Commission adopts its Cloud Computing Strategy 10
Friday 28 September: Report on unaccompanied minors 12
Tuesday 2 October: 'Connecting Europe'- Conference on the Connecting Europe Facility 14
Wednesday 3 October: Single Market Act II: Together for new growth 16
Tuesday 9 October: Commission announces the winners of the European Union Prize for Literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair 19
Wednesday 10 October: “Industrial Policy Communication Update – A contribution to growth and economic recovery” 20
Wednesday 10 October: The European Commission adopts the 2012 Enlargement Package 21
Monday 24 – Friday 28 September: EU participation in UNGA Ministerial Week
The 67th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations opens in New York on 18 September, with Ministerial week beginning the following Monday, 24 September. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Catherine Ashton and Commissioners Kristalina Georgieva (International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response), Connie Hedegaard (Climate Action) and Andris Piebalgs (Development), together with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, will travel to New York to represent the EU in discussions on peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and strengthening the role of the United Nations.
The EU will be represented in the General Debate on Wednesday, 26 September by President Van Rompuy. The EU's priorities for the 67th UNGA session were adopted by the Council in July.
President Barroso will address the High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law at the UN General Assembly on Monday 24 September, will participate in a number of high-level bilateral meetings and together with President Van Rompuy and High Representative/Vice-President Ashton, will inaugurate the new offices of the EU Delegation in New York on Wednesday 26 September, in the presence of EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, President Barroso will deliver a public lecture titled "European Union: An Indispensable Partner" at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, on Thursday 27 September.
High Representative/Vice-President Ashton will be in New York from 23 to 28 September. On her agenda will be priority issues relating to Syria, Iran, the Middle East peace process, Libya, European Neighbourhood Policy, the Belgrade/Pristina dialogue, Somalia and the Sahel. Notably, she will meet with a number of Foreign Affairs Ministers and will discuss the crisis in Syria with United Nations/League of Arab States Special Envoy Brahimi and League of Arab States Secretary-General Nabil El Araby.
Commissioner Georgieva will participate in the event "Ensuring Resilient Livelihoods", organised by USAID, on September 25. Together with other high-level figures from the world of humanitarian and development aid, she will discuss the Sahel and Horn of Africa crises at the "Resilience Champions" meeting on September 26, as well as the humanitarian situation in Syria, Yemen and Sudan/South Sudan.
Commissioner for Climate Action Hedegaard will meet with representatives of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) to advance negotiations in the run-up to the next round of international climate negotiations. Besides a series of bilateral meetings, Commissioner Hedegaard hosts an Informal High-level Climate change Roundtable for the Durban Platform on 28 September. She will also take part in the Major Economies Forum on 27 September.
Commissioner for Development Piebalgs will highlight the leading role of the EU in development. He will participate notably in the Sustainable Energy for All high-level meeting and will present his ideas on addressing food security challenges to the G8 Global Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. He will participate in a meeting on natural resources and transparency, and at the Scaling-Up Nutrition meeting he will reiterate the EU's commitment to reach at least seven million malnourished children with its development programmes by 2025.
EU's priorities for the 67th UNGA session:
EU at UNGA – Storify by European External Action Service:
Press and audio-visual material will be available on the Europa and EEAS websites as well as via EbS.
Leonor RIBEIRO DA SILVA +32 (0)2 298 81 55 Leonor.RIBEIRO-DA-SILVA@ec.europa.eu
Maja KOCIJANCIC +32 (0)2 298 65 70 email@example.com
Catherine RAY +32 (0)2 296 99 21 Catherine.RAY@ec.europa.eu
David SHARROCK +32 (0)2 296 89 09 David.SHARROCK@ec.europa.eu
Isaac VALERO LADRON +32 (0)2 296 49 71 Isaac.VALERO-LADRON@ec.europa.eu
Eamonn PRENDERGAST +32 (0)2 299 88 51 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 26 September: The Commission presents report on boosting the contribution of cultural and creative sectors to growth and jobs
The European Commission will adopt a report which will highlight the contribution that the cultural and creative sectors make to growth and jobs – and how to boost this in future. The report will highlight five main areas that Member States should focus on to better exploit the potential of these sectors:
The Commission will announce EU initiatives to unlock the potential of these sectors, by promoting a favourable environment for these sectors to develop, to increase their competiveness and export potential, and to maximise the spill over effects in other areas.
According to the 2010 European Competitiveness Report and other sources, the cultural and creative sectors account for between 3.3% and 4.5% of GDP and employ up to 8.5 million people. Evidence collected at European, national, regional and local levels confirms the economic importance of the sectors, which have shown above average rates of growth and shown, notably in terms of employment, a relative resilience in the current economic downturn. The capacity of these sectors to trigger innovation as well as their role in global competition for influence and attractiveness are also increasingly recognised. However, the sectors face major challenges stemming from the digital shift and globalisation as well as from a high degree of fragmentation of markets along cultural and linguistic lines.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the proposals at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room.
Information on Culture:
Information on Commissioner Vassiliou:
Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58 email@example.com
Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 26 September: Commission to adopt a new legal framework for medical devices, more robust, transparent and better adapted to scientific and technological progress
On 26 September, the European Commission will propose new legislative rules so that every EU citizen can be assured of the safety and performance of the medical devices on which they rely every day. There is a twofold rationale behind this new set of rules. On the one hand, the objective is to improve the health, safety and quality of life of millions of people and to help to restore patient confidence in the regulatory system. On the other hand, the reform is necessary in order to keep pace with scientific and technological progress.
The EU rules on active implantable medical devices (AIMDD), on medical devices (MDD) and on in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDD), were adopted during the 1990ies and have been providing a relatively stable regulatory framework for medical devices until now. They cover a huge spectrum of products: from sticking plasters to X-ray machines, scanners, pacemakers, drug-eluting stents or blood tests.
The medical devices sector is hugely innovative and much of the innovation takes place in Europe. The EU market for medical devices amounts to around €95bn (2009) with growth rates even during the economic and financial crisis.
The medical devices Directives are based on what was called at that time the "New Approach". This means that the Directives set out the essential requirements for the safety and performance of medical devices while more detailed product specifications are laid down in harmonized standards.
Nevertheless, the current Directives need to keep pace with regulatory and technological development. Moreover, the enforcement of the legal requirements is differing significantly between the Member States. And last but not least, obstacles concerning the free movement of medical devices, and thus impair the functioning of the internal market in this sector, need to be tackledl. This new framework is geared to addressing all these issues in an effective way.
What: Press Conference of Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli
When: Wednesday 26/09/2012, after the Midday Briefing
Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels
More information can be found at:
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
Thursday 27 September: Commission communication on the future of EU external aviation policy
Global aviation is changing dramatically and Europe has been harder hit by the recession than many other regions. Next Thursday 27th September, the European Commission will set out an ambitious package of proposals to boost the international competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry.
Aviation supports 5.1 million jobs and contributes €365 billion or 2.4% to European GDP. It makes a vital contribution to economic growth, employment, tourism, people-to-people contacts as well as the regional and social cohesion of the Union. Connectivity is key to competitiveness. The European aviation industry as a whole is still a world leader, but European carriers have been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis. IATA predicts that net profits of European commercial airlines will fall from $0.5 billion in 2011 to a net loss of $1.1 billion in 2012.
On 27th September, Vice-President Siim Kallas will give a statement at the beginning of the midday briefing presenting the proposals. A technical briefing will be organised after midday. An IP and Memo on the EU External Aviation Policy Package will be available on the day.
DG MOVE website / External Aviation Policy:
Vice President Siim Kallas website:
Helen Kearns +32 2 298 7638 email@example.com
Dale Kidd +32 2 295 7461 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 27 September: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Thursday 27 September 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.
Thursday 27 September: Commission adopts its Cloud Computing Strategy
On 27 September, the Commission will adopt a Communication "Towards an Integrated Cloud Computing Strategy for the European Union". Cloud computing is promising a revolution in technology of a similar scale to expansion of the World Wide Web. But without EU-level intervention, we may miss the full scale of the benefits, which includes the potential for 2 million new jobs by 2015, and efficiencies of €500 per citizen per year. The cloud can deliver such benefits because it allows people, businesses and governments to rent services and data storage for much cheaper than buying new equipment and software themselves. It can also allow the development of new services, the public sector, business and consumers, in fields ranging from health care to music. Anyone who uses webmail, a social network or an online music service is de facto using the cloud.
A legal environment that is friendly to cloud innovation is essential for our economic growth. That requires rapid adoption of common standards so the cloud lives up to its borderless promise, harnessing public spending to grow the economies of scale that are possible and supporting research and innovation so that we stay at the cutting edge of cloud development.
Many of the goals of the strategy will be achieved by the establishment of a European Cloud Partnership later in 2012 to join the forces of private industry and public sector users to shape demand for Cloud services in the EU. This will fast-track governments towards greener and cost efficient IT services, where different government services better interoperate.
Cloud computing is expected to grow rapidly worldwide. But Europe and Europeans will not see the full benefits of the Cloud unless steps are taken at European level to deal with the remaining barriers to Cloud adoption and use, including uncertainty on the legal jurisdiction over Cloud data & services, security and data protection issues and uncertainty over moving data and applications between different vendors of Cloud services. The current patchwork of different rules at Member State, regional or EU level does not allow the flexibility which the Cloud needs in order to realise its potential. Pooling public requirements could bring higher efficiency and common sectoral requirements (for example for eHealth, social care or eGovernment services), reduce costs and enable interoperability.
The Cloud economy will change industry structures and spawn a wealth of completely new products and services. By 2014, it is estimated that the EU public Cloud services market will reach €11 billion in revenues or 3.6% of the total IT market. All actors involved stand to benefit from an integrated EU strategy on the Cloud: the ICT industry and SMEs in particular, the public sector and individual citizens. Solving these problems, by ensuring EU rules exist and are well understood, will therefore aid growth.
11.00 Press conference by Vice President Kroes in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels, followed by a technical briefing off-the record.
Information on Cloud computing:
Information on the European Cloud Partnership:
Neelie Kroes' website:
Ryan Heath +32 2 296 17 16 Ryan.Heath@ec.europa.eu
Linda Cain +32 2 299 90 19 Linda.Cain@ec.europa.eu
Friday 28 September: Report on unaccompanied minors
The Commission will present a report on the implementation of the Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (2010-2014). The report highlights the main progress and future developments in addressing the situation of unaccompanied minors following the adoption of the Action Plan in 2010. The report takes stock of the progress made in four areas identified by the 2010 Action Plan and makes recommendations for further improvements in each of those:
• Data collection continues to be one of the key challenges to analysing current policy and developing a comprehensive approach.
• Prevention of unsafe migration and trafficking
• Reception measures and access to procedural guarantees in the EU
• Durable solutions in the best interests of the child
The Commission now calls for continued efforts at both national and European level to continue to respond effectively and in full respect of the rights of the child to this complex transnational challenge.
Every year thousands of unaccompanied minors from third countries travel to Europe seeking for a new life. The majority has fled from wars, conflicts or other difficult and dramatic living conditions and some have even experienced the loss of family along the way.
In 2010 the EU adopted an Action Plan that helped bringing into focus the issue of unaccompanied minors who arrive in Europe: each decision affecting a minor's future must be taken with the best interests of the child at heart, regardless of his migratory status.
The arrival of unaccompanied minors is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term feature of migration into the EU. In 2011, there were 12,225 asylum applications by unaccompanied minors across the EU27 – a number comparable to previous years and unlikely to change in the coming ones.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs, will give a statement at the beginning of the midday briefing.
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
Homepage DG Home Affairs:
Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu
Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu
Tuesday 2 October: 'Connecting Europe'- Conference on the Connecting Europe Facility
Top business leaders and representatives from the EU institutions and Member States will discuss the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – a new instrument proposed by the European Commission under the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.
Targeted investment of 50 billion euros from the EU budget would boost transport, energy and digital networks and consequently remove bottlenecks and fill missing links in the EU's Single Market. This would generate growth and jobs in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy and make work and travel easier for millions of European citizens and businesses. EU project bonds, whose pilot phase was endorsed by the June European Council, could complement the financing of this infrastructure from private sector funding.
After the opening of the event by European Commission President Barroso and Leif Johansson, Chairman of Ericsson and Chairman of the European Round Table, participants will debate the achievements and challenges of European funded infrastructure projects, the added value of the Connecting Europe Facility, and the increased efficiency and leverage of private sector funding through it.
Other speakers and participants include:
Mr Andrus Ansip, Prime Minister of Estonia
Mr Rene Obermann, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Telekom
Ms Amalia Sartori MEP, Chair EP Industry, Research and Energy Committee
Mr Maciej Witucki, President, Polish Telekom
Mr Marc Hamy, Chief Operating Officer, AirbusProSky
Apart from President Barroso the following members of the European Commission will participate: Ms Neelie Kroes, Mr Siim Kallas, Mr Johannes Hahn and Mr Gunther Oettinger.
The Commission presented its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework on 29 June 2011. The proposal for the CEF followed on 19 October 2011. Negotiations on the future EU budget are entering into their final phase now. On 22-23 November 2012 a special European Council is dedicated to the Multiannual Financial Framework. The Connecting Europe Facility, being an instrument of true and exclusive European added value, has few supporters so far.
2 October 2012, 10:00-16:30: Connecting Europe Facility – conference in Brussels, Berlaymont building, Schuman room.
Journalists can register online at email@example.com (limited number of places available)
Website of the conference with updated programme: http://ec.europa.eu/bepa/expertise/conferences/index_en.htm
MFF website: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/reform
Pia Ahrenkilde +32 2 295 3070 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jens Mester +32 2 296 3973 email@example.com
Wednesday 3 October: Single Market Act II: Together for new growth
On 3 October the European Commission will present the Single Market Act II: Together for new growth outlining new steps to deepen the Single Market in the service of growth, employment and cohesion.
The Commission has identified 12 priorities to boost growth, employment and social cohesion in the Single Market, under four main drivers:
- Developing fully integrated networks in the Single Market
- Fostering mobility of citizens and businesses across borders
- Supporting the digital economy across Europe
- Strengthening social entrepreneurship, social cohesion, and consumer confidence/non-discrimination.
The Commission is committed to delivering all key legislative proposals by spring 2013 and all non-legislative actions by the end of 2013 at the latest.
Thanks to the European Single Market, EU citizens can live, work, retire, study and shop in any EU country. EU businesses are free to sell their goods and services to 500 million consumers anywhere in the EU. This freedom means more choice and lower prices for consumers, more opportunities for businesses and more growth and jobs.
The Single Market is a main contributor to growth and employment in the EU. From 1992 to 2008 it generated an extra 2.77 million jobs and an additional 2.13% in GDP. Despite these benefits, the Single Market is not complete. It must respond to a constantly changing world where social, demographic and technological developments must be incorporated in policy thinking for the Single Market to continue to deliver growth, jobs and social cohesion.
On 13 April 2011, the European Commission presented the Single Market Act (IP/11/469) that outlined the Commission's commitment for re-launching the Single Market. The Communication included a list of key priority initiatives needed to unlock the Single Market's potential for European growth and to restore the confidence of the citizens and businesses in its benefits, as a key pillar under the EU 2020 Strategy. The Commission has presented the proposals for all 12 key actions.
Press conference and technical briefing (details to be announced).
Press release and MEMO available on the day.
For more information on the Single Market Act:
Commissioner Barnier's website:
Stefaan De Rynck +32 2 296 34 21 Stefaan.De-Rynck@ec.europa.eu
Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 Carmel.Dunne@ec.europa.eu
Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 16 07 Audrey.Augier@ec.europa.eu
Tuesday 9 October: Commission announces the winners of the European Union Prize for Literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair
0n 9 October, European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will announce the winners of the 2012 European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The 12 winners this year come from Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.
Supported by the Culture programme, the European Union Prize for Literature recognizes the best emerging authors in Europe. The prize is organised by the European Commission, with the European Booksellers' Federation, European Writers' Council and the Federation of European Publishers.
The competition is open to authors in the 37 countries involved in the EU Culture Programme: the 27 EU Member States, as well as Croatia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, Iceland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania. Each year, national juries in a third of these countries nominate the winning authors, so that all countries are represented over a three-year period.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will announce the winners during a press conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 9 October at 1.30 pm (Room Consens, Hall 4.C). A press release will be available on the day.
Information on the Culture programme:
Information on the EUPL:
Information on Commissioner Vassiliou:
Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67 email@example.com
Wednesday 10 October: “Industrial Policy Communication Update – A contribution to growth and economic recovery”
With this communication, the Commission intends to create the conditions to maintain a strong industrial basis in Europe. It aims at strengthening industrial competitiveness to underpin growth and jobs and to enable the transition to an innovative and resource-efficient economy. The Commission identifies four priority areas, which need urgent attention as a result of the economic crisis: 1. Stimulate investments for promising target sectors such as clean products and vehicles, bio based products, key enabling technologies and smart grids. 2. Allow EU companies to derive maximum benefit from the international markets and the Internal Market, the last one by improving market surveillance, intellectual property rights, and by undertaking fitness checks to assess the overall legislative framework in a particular policy area and competitiveness proofing. 3. Concrete proposals to improve access to finance, particularly for SMEs. 4. Ensure that skills meet industry’s needs. The aim is to converge towards the on-going new industrial revolution.
The communication responds to the important challenges the European industry faces as a result of the current economic crisis making proposals that should have impacts on the short and medium term. It will review the situation of the EU industry since the Commission’s Industrial Policy "An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era" (COM(2010)614) adopted in October 2010, in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. The economic and financial crisis has badly affected EU industry. Industrial production at the end of June 2012 is still 10% lower than pre-crisis. In addition, since the onset of the crisis, over three million industrial jobs have been lost, some 10% of the sector's employment. Total investment in the economy has fallen from 21.25% of GDP before the crisis (2007) to 18.6% (2011). It is critical for Europe to foster investment in new technologies that have reached the stage of industrial scale production, the stage where technological leadership translates into competitiveness, growth and jobs.
Press conference to be held by Vice-President Antonio Tajani in the Berlaymont Press Room on Wednesday 10th October.
In addition to the press release of the Communication, individual Memos will be produced for the accompanying reports.
"An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era":
Carlo Corazza: +32 (0)2 29 51 752 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Tironi: +32 (0)2 29 90 403 email@example.com
Wednesday 10 October: The European Commission adopts the 2012 Enlargement Package
On 10 October, the 2012 Enlargement package will be on the agenda of the Commission meeting. It will comprise three Communications: a Strategy Paper, a Feasibility Study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo, and the Main Findings of the Comprehensive monitoring report on Croatia's accession preparations; as well as seven Progress Reports on the other candidate countries and potential candidates and a Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Croatia.
The Commission adopts its annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement. The document includes also a summary of the progress made over the last twelve months by each candidate and potential candidate. The current enlargement agenda covers the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland.
13:30 Press Conference by Commissioner Füle
IP, 9 MEMOs, 7 Progress reports, a Comprehensive monitoring report on Croatia's accession preparations, a Feasibility Study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo, a Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: ''Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2012-2013'' and a Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Main Findings of the Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Croatia's state of preparedness for EU membership.
Website of DG Enlargement:
Website of Commissioner Füle:
Peter Stano +32229 57484 Peter.Stano@ec.europa.eu
Anca Paduraru +32229 66430 Anca.Paduraru@ec.europa.eu