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Brussels, Friday 12 October 2012
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Monday 15 October: The Commission presents the SME Performance Review 2
Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 17 October: European Development Days: Commission to announce new findings on EU citizens' views on giving aid 3
Wednesday 17 October: The Commission presents stricter rules for biofuels 4
Tuesday 23 October: Commission adopts strategic priorities for 2013 6
Wednesday 24 October: Action plan for online gambling 7
Wednesday 24 October: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 8
Date to be confirmed: Commission proposes a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived 9
November (date to be confirmed): European Commission adopts “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe” 10
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
Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 17 October: European Development Days: Commission to announce new findings on EU citizens' views on giving aid
Results of a new survey which will show what people across the EU think about development and where EU aid should go in the future to will be revealed at this year's European Development Days by Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. This year's European Development Days will focus on key themes on the development agenda - agriculture, food security and resilience, social protection and inequality and the role of the private sector. The list of high-profile attendees includes heads of State from across Africa, such as Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon, Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique, Dr Thomas Boni Yayi, President of Benin, Joyce Banda, President of Malawi and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Also, two new financing agreements with Malawi on agriculture and irrigation and social cash transfers will also be signed at the event, between Commissioner Piebalgs and President of Malawi, Joyce Banda.
The European Development Days, organised by the European Commission, will bring together high-profile political figures from the European Union and its partner countries, private sector actors and leaders of international organisations, as well as representatives of civil society and academia. The European Commission will be represented by President Barroso, Vice President Catherine Ashton, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs and Humanitarian aid and Crisis Response Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva.
Press conference – 16 Oct - 10.20-10.50 – with participation of Commissioner Piebalgs
The full programme with many panels, side events and special addresses:
Registration for journalists only – please send an email with your contacts to
Website of the European Development Days and webstreaming of the event:
During the event, a wide range of facilities and services will be available to journalists. You can find out more at:
Catherine Ray +32 2 296 9921 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wojtek Talko +32 2 297 8551 email@example.com
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.
13.00 Joint Press Conference of Commissioners Oettinger (Energy) and Hedegaard (Climate Action). IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
11.00 Technical briefing.
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
Tuesday 23 October: Commission adopts strategic priorities for 2013
On 23 October, the European Commission will adopt its work programme for 2013. It will set out the concrete agenda for its work in 2013 and beyond. The Work Programme for 2013 will set out the key priorities for the Commission's work, including a focused list of the headline proposals to be made, as well as a list of simplifications and withdrawals.
The 2013 Work Programme will be adopted under the new cycle agreed between the European Commission and the European Parliament in their Framework agreement from 2010.
The process was initiated on 12 September with President Barroso’s State of the Union address and the letter he sent to the President of the European Parliament outlining the main elements of the future Work Programme. This has been followed by exchanges of views between the European Commission and the European Parliament on the priorities of the Union and how these should translate into concrete action.
President Barroso will present the European Commission Work Programme 2013 during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
IP and Work programme will be available on the day.
IP/11/1344 - Commission adopts 2012 Work Programme for European Renewal
IP/10/1399 – Commission adopts strategic priorities for 2011
IP/10/402 - Commission adopts strategic priorities for 2010
European Commission's website:
Website of President Barroso:
Pia Ahrenkilde +32 2 295 3070 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Gray +32 2 298 8644 email@example.com
Wednesday 24 October: Action plan for online gambling
On 24 October the European Commission will unveil a series of initiatives and actions that it plans to carry out in the area of online gambling, with the overall aim of building a better framework for online gambling services in the EU. It follows up on last year's Green Paper consultation (see IP/11/358).
One of the main aims of the Green Paper consultation was to get a facts-based picture of the existing situation in the EU online gambling market and of the different national regulatory models. The consultation revealed that Member States essentially have the same objectives: protecting consumers, ensuring a fair and transparent offer, preventing fraud and protecting the integrity of sports. The consultation also showed that in an online environment it is virtually impossible for Member States to address these objectives individually.
More and more Member States are reviewing their national gambling legislation. Consequently, it is possible to capitalise on the existing good practices in the EU primarily by fostering administrative cooperation. In a rapidly developing market, it is essential for regulators to understand the business and the technology, as well as having up-to-date information. Better cooperation between Member States is also needed to tackle the international dimension of online gambling more effectively. The European Parliament and the Member States have called for cooperation among national regulatory bodies.
Press conference and technical briefing (details to be announced).
Press release and MEMO available on the day.
For more information on online gambling:
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
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.
Date to be confirmed: 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
November (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