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Brussels, Friday 5 October 2012
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Monday 8 – Thursday 11 October: OPEN DAYS 2012 – Europe's regions join the call for a strong Cohesion Policy as Europe's growth fund 2
Tuesday 9 October: Commission announces the winners of the European Union Prize for Literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair 4
Wednesday 10 October: “Industrial Policy Communication Update – A contribution to growth and economic recovery” 5
Wednesday 10 October: The European Commission adopts the 2012 Enlargement Package 6
Monday 15 October: The Commission presents the SME Performance Review 7
Wednesday 17 October: The Commission presents stricter rules for biofuels 8
Wednesday 24 October: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 9
October (date to be confirmed): European Commission adopts “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe” 10
Vague date: Commission proposes a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived 12
Monday 8 – Thursday 11 October: OPEN DAYS 2012 – Europe's regions join the call for a strong Cohesion Policy as Europe's growth fund
The biggest annual event in the world of regional and urban policy marks its 10th anniversary at a crucial time for EU Cohesion Policy. Talks on the EU budget and the future shape of cohesion policy are entering their final and critical phase. Open Days 2012 will bring together some 6000 regional policy practitioners from all over Europe to share best practice and reinforce Regional Policy as the main instrument to realise the growth goals of Europe2020 and supporting the EU's exit from the crisis. Under the banner of 'Europe's regions and cities: Making a difference', over 100 seminars and workshops will focus on the priorities for future funding:
- Smart and green growth for all, promoting innovation/research and development
- Support for SME's
- Territorial cooperation
Delivering and measuring results for a more effective policy. OPEN DAYS 2012 will take stock of achievements so far and define the future shape of policy.
Four days of debate and discussion will be officially opened by Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, Mr José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, at the European Parliament on October 8 at 16:00. EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Mr Johannes Hahn, is co-hosting the event with the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mr Ramon Luis Valcarel. Both will participate in a panel discussion on October 8 at 14.30. The Commissioner for Regional Policy, Mr Johannes Hahn, will address this very issue at an open press roundtable entitled 'Securing Regional Policy as The Investment Arm of the EU Budget' on 9th October from 8:30-9:30 (Schuman room, Berlaymont).
The 2013 RegioStars Awards on October 9 at 16:00 in the Committee of Regions will celebrate the work of 27 projects on the ground. 'Community-led local development' (CLLD) will be centre stage at this year’s 'Meeting Place' hosted at the Committee of the Regions, with an exhibition of 10 artists depicting 10 years of OPEN DAYS.
Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Vice President Joachim Almunia will hold a high level debate on State Aid, Regional Policy and Competition on Thursday 11 October at 10am at the Albert Borschette Centre, Room 0A.
A press release will be available on the day.
A full media programme is available here.
Open Days 2012: www.opendays.europa.eu
Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65 firstname.lastname@example.org
Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10 email@example.com
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.
12:30 Press conference by Vice-President Antonio Tajani in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels
11:30 Technical briefing off-the-record in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels
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
Monday 15 October: The Commission presents the SME Performance Review
On 15 October, the European Commission will publish the SME Performance Review 2012. It is European Commission's main tool to monitor and assess Member States’ performance in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA). Launched in 2008, it represents a comprehensive source of information on the performance of SMEs in Europe. The report features the latest SME trends and this year also contains a specific section on high-tech/knowledge-intensive SMEs. It is accompanied by an overview of SMEs' performance in the 27 member states as well as selected non-EU countries.
The report presents the performance of SMEs in the EU using core indicators (number of enterprises, employment and value added) and particular attention is devoted to high-tech manufacturing and knowledge-intensive sectors. In addition it presents a brief compendium of public policies and support actions to create knowledge and technology intensive SMEs, with a particular focus on university spin-offs.
The report is accompanied by country specific fact-sheets which assess progress in SBA implementation at national level. Their performance is analysed and benchmarked against the EU average using a set of relevant statistical indicators for each of the ten policy principles of the Small Business Act for Europe. This analysis is accompanied by an overview of the main national policy developments in 2012. The country fact sheets cover the 27 EU Member States, as well as Albania, Croatia, FYROM, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Norway, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
The dynamic role of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) - as the backbone of the European economy - seems to have played a crucial role in the recovery from the global crisis since 2008. Adopted in 2008 and revised in 2011, the Small Business Act (SBA) aims to create a level playing field for SMEs throughout the EU and improve the administrative and legal environment so as to allow these enterprises to unleash their full potential to create jobs and growth. The SBA has a strong governance structure, with business organizations and member states governments to the fore.
A press release, memo, the main report and country reports will be available on the day.
Information on the Small Business Act:
Information on SME performance review:
Carlo Corazza +32 2 295 17 52 Carlo.Corazza@ec.europa.eu
Sara Tironi +32 2 299 04 03 Sara.Tironi@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 17 October: The Commission presents stricter rules for biofuels
The Commission will propose stricter rules for biofuels sustainability to ensure that biofuels used in the EU provide substantial greenhouse gas savings when compared to petrol or diesel. The new rules will now also take into account indirect land-use change emissions.
The proposal aims at shifting the use of biofuels from food-based biofuels towards increased use of advanced feedstock, like wastes, algae, straw etc. Furthermore, it will incentivise the production of biofuels with low estimated indirect land-use change emissions.
Biofuels are main alternatives for fossil fuels used in transport. We need biofuels to fight climate change, improve security of energy supply and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) and the Fuel Quality Directive (98/70/EC) put in place mandatory sustainability criteria for biofuels used in the EU. In these directives the methodology to determine the sustainability of biofuels takes into account emissions associated with direct land-use change and emissions coming from the production cycle. However, both directives have foreseen a review of the impact of indirect land-use change on greenhouse gas emissions and measures to minimise this impact.
Joint Press Conference of Commissioners Oettinger (Energy) and Hedegaard (Climate Action), time to be communicated. IP and MEMO will be available on the day. Technical briefing to be confirmed.
For more information on EU biofuels policy see DG energy and DG climate action websites:
Marlene Holzner: +32 (0)2 296 01 96 Marlene.HOLZNER@ec.europa.eu
Isaac Valero Ladron +32 (0)2 296 49 71 Isaac.VALERO-LADRON@ec.europa.eu
Nicole Bockstaller: +32 (0)2 295 25 89 Nicole.BOCKSTALLER@ec.europa.eu
Stephanie Rhomberg +32 (0)2 298 72 78 Stefanie.RHOMBERG@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 24 October: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Wednesday 24 October 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.
A comprehensive Memo on all referrals and reasoned opinions, specific IPs on each referral and a Memo on the procedure will be available on the day on Rapid:
Olivier Bailly +32 2 296 87 17 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 email@example.com
On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.
October (date to be confirmed): European Commission adopts “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe”
The European Commission will adopt the “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe”. The Commission aims to support the automotive sector in dealing with current adverse economic situation in Europe, and ensure the industry’s competitiveness and sustainability by 2020.
The actions should: 1. Enhance business conditions, in the context of the current cost pressure and necessary to maintain manufacturing base in Europe in the long term. 2. Improve competitiveness on global markets, to help the automotive industry strengthen its position in international trade via trade negotiations, bilateral dialogues and international harmonisation. 3. Drive sustainable mobility, by encouraging actions with a comprehensive approach to CO2, pollutant and noise emissions, as well as road safety, alternative fuels and infrastructure. 4. Prepare for the future, by promoting research, development and innovation for a more sustainable and efficient car, as well as investing in future skills.
The automotive industry is of strategic importance to the European economy, representing 12 million jobs, 4% GDP and 90 billion trade surpluses. Moreover, this industry is the biggest private investor in research and innovation. The coming decade is expected to lead to a specular increase in number cars in emerging countries, with high pressure on oil prices, sustainability problems and increasing global competition. Technological leadership will be essential to face these challenges and opportunities.
The Communication concludes the 2-year long work of the CARS 21 High-Level Group which started its work in October 2010. The Group involved seven Commissioners, nine Member States, and a broad, balanced group of stakeholder representatives. At its final meeting on 6 June 2012, the group adopted its Final Report which presents the consensus view of the strategic vision for the automotive sector in 2020 and specific recommendations on a number of policy areas. The Communication also translates the recommendations into commitments of the Commission to be implemented over the next years and calls on Member States and stakeholders to contribute to their implementation. In 2013 a high-level monitoring process called CARS 2020 will be set up in order to monitor the implementation of the CARS 21 strategy.
Vice President Antonio Tajani will present the Action Plan in a press conference, preceded by a technical briefing off the records. Press release and memo will also be available.
Information about CARS 21 process:
CARS 21 Final Report:
Carlo Corazza +32 2 295 17 52 Carlo.Corazza@ec.europa.eu
Sara Tironi +32 2 299 04 03 Sara.Tironi@ec.europa.eu
Vague date: Commission proposes a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived
Out of the 116 million people in the EU who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, about 40 million are suffering from severe material deprivation and roughly the same number cannot afford a meal with meat every second day.
The proposal would establish a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived to complement the existing instruments of the EU (social) cohesion policy. The Fund would help Member States to provide non-financial assistance to the most deprived persons addressing food deprivation, the consequences of homelessness and the material deprivation of children. In addition, it would help Member States to support basic activation measures and enable an exchange of best-practice at EU level thus helping to improve national policies in this area.
The EU's "Food Distribution programme for the Most Deprived Persons of the Community" (MDP) has been in place since December 1987, when the Council adopted the rules for releasing public intervention stocks of agricultural products to Member States wishing to use them as food aid for the most deprived persons of the Community. Successive reforms of the CAP have led to a much more market-oriented system, resulting in far lower or no intervention stocks. Recognizing that this could become a problem for the scheme, in 2008 the Commission published a proposal that included measures to make it easier to access products from the open market. A further, revised proposal (also taking into account the Treaty of Lisbon) followed in September 2010. However, both proposals became deadlocked in the Council, with opposition from 6 Member States. Finally, a continuation of the scheme in 2012 and 2013 was agreed on the basis of a second amended proposal tabled in October 2011.
In its proposal for the next multiannual financial framework the Commission has proposed to allocate a budget of 2.5 billion euro under Heading 1 for a successor instrument to the food support programme aimed at fighting the worst forms of poverty and social exclusion in synergy with the European Social Fund.
Commissioner Andor's website:
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 Jonathan.Todd@ec.europa.eu
Nadège Defrère +32 2 296 45 44 Nadege.Defrere@ec.europa.eu