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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 9 November 2012

Top News from the European Commission
10 November – 7 December 2012

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

Wednesday 14 November: Boosting gender balance on corporate boards 2

Thursday 15 November: The Commission presents its Communication on the internal energy market 3

Tuesday 20 November: Commission adopts strategy on skills for the future 4

Wednesday 21 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 6

Wednesday 28 November: An integrated parcel delivery market for the growth of e-commerce in the EU 7

Wednesday 5 December: The Commission presents a Communication on a Youth Employment Package 9

Wednesday 14 November: 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:

11.30 Vice-President Viviane Reding will give a press conference in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels.

IP, MEMO and Factsheets will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Justice Newsroom:

Vice-President Reding's website:

The contacts:

Mina Andreeva +32 2 299-1382

Natasha Bertaud +32 2 296-7456

Thursday 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:

The contacts:

Marlene Holzner +32 (0)2 296 01 96

Nicole Bockstaller +32 (0)2 295 25 89

Tuesday 20 November: Commission adopts strategy on skills for the future

The news:

On 20 November, the European Commission will publish its strategy on how to modernise and finance education and training systems in Europe in the future. Part of the package is the first Education and Training Monitor which reports on progress and lingering weaknesses in the fulfilment of the Framework for Cooperation in Education and Training 2020. A Country Analysis will reveal how individual countries are performing in relation to headline targets, benchmarks and indicators.

The background:

One of the key priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy is to boost quality and resource-efficient education and training in a lifelong learning perspective. Too much of the EU's human capital remains undeveloped due to structural barriers and blind spots in learning provision. The strategy addresses some of the main challenges ahead in ways that reinforce and complement the Youth Employment package.

Measures will be proposed to improve the provision of basic skills, to foster key competences in a lifelong learning perspective and to integrate and interlink different sectors of education and training. New initiatives will be announced in areas like ICT and open educational resources, support to teachers and school leaders and rallying education authorities and stakeholders around issues of funding.

The package will contain a wealth of quantitative information and comparative analysis, based on the most recent data provided by Eurydice, GHK, OECD and several other sources. Part of the material has already been used to back up the country-specific assessment during the European Semester and the subsequent recommendations to the Member States.

The event:

16.30 Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the Communication and the accompanying package at a press conference in Strasbourg. A press release, reports and executive summaries will be available on the day.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on education policy:

Information on Eurydice reports on education:

Information on Commissioner Vassiliou:

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67

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:

The contacts:

Overall coordination:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.

Wednesday 28 November: An integrated parcel delivery market for the growth of e-commerce in the EU

The news:

The Commission will adopt a Green Paper consultation on the delivery of parcels, with special emphasis on cross border issues and e-commerce needs.

The background:

E-commerce is widely acknowledged as a key contributor to economic growth and increasing employment levels across the European Union. The Commission's Communication on e-commerce and online services of January this year (see IP/12/10) identifies delivery as one of the top five priorities to boost e-commerce by 2015 and its importance has been reiterated by the European Council and Parliament1. Delivery is indeed critical as it has a substantial impact on facilitating e-commerce and is a key element for building trust between sellers and buyers.

With this Green Paper, the Commission will launch an extensive consultation to collect information on the current state of the delivery markets for products bought online, and to identify any potential hurdles for the creation of an EU-wide integrated parcel delivery market. Furthermore, it will seek stakeholders' views on how best to serve the interests of customers and consumers. On this basis, the Commission will come up with solutions for developing a seamless delivery process in the EU, which in turn would support the growth of e-commerce and ensure that e-commerce benefits are accessible to all citizens and SMEs across all regions of Europe.

The event:

Details to be announced.

Press release and memo with frequently asked questions available on the day.

The sources:

Further information on the postal market:

e-Commerce communication:

Commissioner Barnier's website:

The contacts:

Stefaan De Rynck +32 2 296 34 21

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 16 07

Wednesday 5 December: The Commission presents a Communication on a Youth Employment Package

The news:

On 5 December, the European Commission will present a Communication on a Youth Employment Package with concrete proposals and measures aimed at combating youth unemployment.

The Communication will include a proposal for a Council Recommendation on Youth Guarantees, building on best practice from Member States such as Austria and Finland. The concept of Youth Guarantees is that every young person should receive a quality offer of employment or training or further education within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed. The proposal will include guidelines to ensure the successful and rapid implementation of Youth Guarantees schemes, making full use of EU funding and in particular the European Social Fund.

Last, the Communication will launch a second phase consultation of social partners for the elaboration of a Quality Framework on Traineeships. Such a Framework would include guidelines on the form and content of traineeship agreements that would help ensure that trainees take out valuable knowledge and skills from their traineeship.

The Communication will also provide an update on the most recent trends on youth unemployment, give an overview of the related issues addressed in the first two European Semesters, present targeted initiatives in the area of apprenticeships and mobility and cover the role of the EU funds in fighting youth unemployment.

The background:

Youth unemployment rate is on average twice as high as for the total working age population in Europe. In Italy it has risen to some 35% and in Spain and Greece, it even reaches over 50%. The ability of a whole generation to access the labour market, to progress in life in decent conditions and to contribute to social security systems is at stake.

The Youth Employment Package builds on the endorsement by the European Council on 29 June 2012 of both the Youth Guarantees concept and the usefulness of a quality framework for traineeships.

European enterprises currently offer company training positions for a total of about 9.4 million students. Apprenticeship-type students represent approximately 40.5% of total secondary education students in the 27 Member States.

The sources:

Youth Opportunity Initiative:

Your First EURES Job:

Youth unemployment: studies show apprenticeships and traineeships useful but need to be improved

The contacts:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

Nadège Defrère +32 2 296 45 44

1 :

Council of the EU, Conclusions on the Digital Single Market and Governance of the Single Market, 31 May 2012; Report on completing the internal market for e-commerce (2010/2012(INI)) A7-0226/2010.

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