Brussels, Friday 19 October 2012
Top News from the European Commission
20 October – 16 November 2012
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes
Tuesday 23 October: Commission adopts strategic priorities for 2013 2
Tuesday 23 October (to be confirmed): Action plan for online gambling 3
Wednesday 24 October: Commission proposes a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived 4
Wednesday 24 October: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 5
Wednesday 7 November: European Economic Forecast 6
Thursday 8 November (to be confirmed): European Commission adopts “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe” 7
Wednesday 14 November (date to be confirmed): Boosting gender balance on corporate boards 10
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.
Available on EbS
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 email@example.com
Mark Gray +32 2 298 8644 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 23 October (to be confirmed): Action plan for online gambling
On 23 October (date to be confirmed) 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.
Commissioner Barnier will give a press-conference in Strasbourg. A technical briefing off-the-record will be organized in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels (details to be announced).
Press release and MEMO available on the day.
Available on EbS
For more information on online gambling:
Commissioner Barnier's website:
72981 Online Gambling
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: 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 will give a press conference at 12:30 in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels.
Available on EbS
Commissioner Andor's website:
80601 Distribution of food to deprived persons
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 Jonathan.Todd@ec.europa.eu
Nadège Defrère +32 2 296 45 44 Nadege.Defrere@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 email@example.com
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.
Wednesday 7 November: European Economic Forecast
The Commission will publish its autumn economic forecast for 2012-2014 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment and public finances, amongst other indicators, for all 27 European Union countries, plus the EU and euro area aggregates.
In reaction to the economic and financial crisis, economic surveillance of Member States has been enhanced in several steps. The new elements and annual schedule of surveillance has also required an adaptation of the scope and frequency of European Economic Forecasts. Therefore, the autumn forecast will be part of a new schedule of three forecasts, comprising the usual spring and autumn editions and - in addition - a winter forecast to be published at the beginning of February.
All three forecasts will be comprehensive exercises for all EU countries and cover a variety of indicators from growth, inflation and employment to public budget deficits and debts.
13:00 Press Conference by Vice-President Rehn in the Berlaymont Press Room in Brussels.
Press release and the economic forecasts themselves will be available on the day.
Available on EbS
IP/12/466 – Spring EU Economic Forecast (11 May 2012):
European Commission websites:
Simon O'Connor + 32 2 296 7359 email@example.com
Vandna Kalia + 32 2 299 5824 firstname.lastname@example.org
Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 1607 email@example.com
Thursday 8 November (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 record. Press release and memo will also be available.
Available on EbS
Information about CARS 21 process:
CARS 21 Final Report:
I-074294 EU: Automotive Industry 2012
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 14 November (date to be confirmed): Boosting gender balance on corporate boards
The Commission will present a legal instrument aimed at increasing gender balance on company boards in the EU.
Across the EU, company boards are currently dominated by one gender: 86.5% of board members are men while women represent just 13.5% (8.9% of executive members and 15% of non-executive members). 97.5% of the chairpersons are men and only 2.5% are women.
Promoting more equality in decision-making is one of the goals in the Women's Charter (see IP/10/237), which was initiated by President José Manuel Barroso and Vice-President Reding in March 2010. The Commission then followed these commitments by adopting a Gender Equality Strategy in September 2010 for the next five years (see IP/10/1149 and MEMO/10/430), which includes exploring targeted initiatives to get more women into top jobs in economic decision-making.
Vice-President Viviane Reding will give a press conference in Strasbourg. Details to be announced.
IP, MEMO and Factsheets will be available on the day.
Available on EbS
Vice-President Reding's website:
Mina Andreeva +32 2 299-1382 Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu
Natasha Bertaud +32 2 296-7456 Natasha.Bertaud@ec.europa.eu