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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 26 October 2012

Top News from the European Commission
27 October – 23 November 2012

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

Wednesday 7 November: European Economic Forecast 2

Thursday 8 November: European Commission adopts “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe” 3

Wednesday 14 November (date to be confirmed): Boosting gender balance on corporate boards 6

Wednesday 15 November: The Commission presents its Communication on the internal energy market 7

Wednesday 21 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 8

Wednesday 7 November: European Economic Forecast

The news:

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.

The background:

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.

The event:

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

The sources:

IP/12/466 – Spring EU Economic Forecast (11 May 2012):

European Commission websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu/forecasts/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/2012/ee1upd_en.htm

The contacts:

Simon O'Connor + 32 2 296 7359 simon.o'connor@ec.europa.eu

Vandna Kalia + 32 2 299 5824 vandna.kalia@ec.europa.eu

Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 1607 audrey.augier@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 8 November: European Commission adopts “CARS 2020: Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe”

The news:

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 background:

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.

The event

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

The sources:

Information about CARS 21 process:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/automotive/competitiveness-cars21/cars21/index_en.htm

CARS 21 Final Report:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/automotive/files/cars-21-final-report-2012_en.pdf

The contacts:

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 news:

The Commission will present a legal instrument aimed at increasing gender balance on company boards in the EU.

The background:

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.

The event:

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

The sources:

Justice Newsroom:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/index_en.htm

Vice-President Reding's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/reding

The contacts:

Mina Andreeva +32 2 299-1382 Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu

Natasha Bertaud +32 2 296-7456 Natasha.Bertaud@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 15 November: The Commission presents its Communication on the internal energy market

The news:

On 15 November the Commission will present a Communication on the Internal Energy Market to take stock of progress made towards the completion of the internal energy market by 2014, identify the main challenges ahead and propose actions to improve the effective application of the third energy package.

It will encourage Member States to step up efforts where implementation is lagging behind.

The Communication is accompanied by documents that provide a thorough insight into the European electricity and gas market, key statistical data and a country-specific analysis on each of the 27 Member States and an overview of Member States' investments in energy infrastructure.

The background:

In February 2011, the EU Heads of State or Government declared the need to complete the internal energy market by 2014.

Ensuring that the EU has a well-functioning energy market is vital for providing a safe, secure and competitive energy supply, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The event:

14:30 Press conference with EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger in the BERL press room. Technical Briefing at 13:30. IP available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Further infromati0on on the internal energy market here:

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Marlene Holzner +32 (0)2 296 01 96 Marlene.Holzner@ec.europa.eu

Nicole Bockstaller +32 (0)2 295 25 89 Nicole.Bockstaller@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 21 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Wednesday 21 November 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.

The background:

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.

The event:

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:

http://europa.eu/rapid/

The contacts:

Overall coordination:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 jonathan.todd@ec.europa.eu

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.


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