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Top News from the European Commission 1 December 2012 – 4 January 2013

European Commission - AGENDA/12/41   30/11/2012

Other available languages: FR

European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 30 November 2012

Top News from the European Commission
1 December 2012 – 4 January 2013

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

Wednesday 5 December: The Commission presents a Communication on a Youth Employment Package 2

Wednesday 5 December: The Commission presents two proposals for amendments to the Enabling and Procedural Regulations as part of State Aid Modernisation 4

Wednesday 5 December: 45 Countries worldwide join forces to fight Child Sexual Abuse online 5

Thursday 6 December: The Commission presents Package to fight tax evasion and aggressive tax planning 7

Thursday 6 December: Consumer Protection - Get safe on-line when purchasing games, books, videos or music, urges the EU 8

Wednesday 12 December: Commission will present an Action Plan on European company law and corporate governance 9

Wednesday 19 December: The Commission adopts new Broadband Guidelines 10

Wednesday 19 December: European action plan for entrepreneurs 11

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 event:

11.30 Press conference by Commissioner Andor in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels.

The sources:

Youth Opportunity Initiative:

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1006

Your First EURES Job:

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=993&langId=en

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

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-731_en.htm

  1. I-070907 Youth@work

  2. I-069404 Youth (un)employment

  3. I-073435 Youth Opportunities Initiative

  4. I-073047 Your first EURES job

The contacts:

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 5 December: The Commission presents two proposals for amendments to the Enabling and Procedural Regulations as part of State Aid Modernisation

The news:

On 5 December, the European Commission will present two proposals as part of its own initiative on State Aid Modernisation to amend two key state aid instruments: the Enabling Regulation and the Procedural Regulation.

The Enabling Regulation allows the Commission to declare certain categories of aid compatible and exempt them from notification to the Commission. In this context, the amendment would allow to exempt new categories of aid, such as aid for culture, innovation or aid in relation to natural disasters.

The Procedural Regulation sets out the rules governing state aid investigations. As announced in the Communication on State aid Modernisation of 8 May 20121, the reform of the state aid procedure mainly focuses on two areas: improving the handling of complaints and ensuring that the Commission obtains complete and correct information from the market.

The background:

The Commission indicated in its Communication on State aid Modernisation that state aid enforcement should focus on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market and allow faster decision-making.

Both proposals described above would allow faster decision-making and would allow the Commission to focus its enforcement on what matters most at the EU level. They are thus crucial elements of the State Aid Modernisation package.

The event:

On 5 December, the Commission will present the proposals for the Enabling Regulation and the Procedural Regulation as part of State Aid Modernization.

A press release and a memo will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on State Aid Modernisation:

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/modernisation/index_en.html

Information on Commissioner Almunia:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/almunia/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Antoine Colombani +32 2 297 45 13 Antoine.Colombani@ec.europa.eu

Maria Madrid Pina +32 2 295 45 30 Maria.Madrid-Pina@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 5 December: 45 Countries worldwide join forces to fight Child Sexual Abuse online

The news:

On 5 December, Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström together with US Attorney General Eric Holder will launch a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online, with participation of Ministers and other high-level officials from 45 countries. This initiative aims to unite efforts around the world to more effectively combat online sexual crimes against children. The 45 participating countries will make political commitments to pursue a number of key policy targets and goals, notably: enhancing efforts to identify victims and ensuring that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection; enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders; increasing children's awareness of online risks; reducing the availability of child pornography online and the re-victimization of children.

The background:

The EU has made progress on a variety of fronts, not least through ambitious legislation to combat trafficking in Human beings (Directive 2011/36/EU) and the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (Directive 2011/93/EU). These laws cover the prosecution of offenders, protection of victims and prevention of the crime.

Yet much more needs to be done, and it has to be done globally. The Global Alliance will keep the fight against child sexual abuse online high on national agendas. This in turn is likely to improve resources dedicated to combating these crimes, legislation and cooperation of national forces worldwide. 45 countries are joining forces now, and more may come once the Global Alliance has been formally launched.

In addition to the 27 EU Member States, 19 third countries have so far joined the Global Alliance: Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, and Vietnam.

The event:

A one day launching conference will take place in Brussels under the High Patronage of H.M. Queen Paola of Belgium. Experts and practitioners from participating governments, as well as representatives from NGOs or international organisations and academics will examine the state of the problem and discuss the different policy targets of the Global Alliance.

11.00 Press point with Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder (VIP corner, Berlaymont building in Brussels).

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on Commissioner Malmström:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/malmstrom/index_en.htm

Information on DG Home Affairs:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Michele Cercone +32 2 298 09 63 michele.cercone@ec.europa.eu

Tove Ernst +32 2 298 67 64 tove.ernst@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 6 December: The Commission presents Package to fight tax evasion and aggressive tax planning

The news:

On 6 December, the European Commission will adopt a comprehensive package to strengthen the fight against tax evasion and aggressive tax planning in the EU. Tax evasion and avoidance deprive Member States of almost €1 trillion every year. Not only does this result in a serious loss of revenues for public expenditure, it also undermines the fairness of tax systems and creates competitive disadvantages for honest businesses. Given the cross-border nature of tax evasion and avoidance, stronger EU coordination is essential in tackling them.

The background:

On 2nd March 2012, the European Council called on the Council and the Commission to rapidly develop concrete ways to improve the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion, including in relation to third countries and to report by June 2012. In April the European Parliament adopted a resolution echoing the urgent need for action in this area.

As a first response, on 27 June 2012 the Commission adopted a Communication (IP/12/697) which outlined how tax compliance can be improved and fraud and evasion reduced, through better use of existing instruments and the adoption of pending Commission proposals. It also identified areas where further legislative action or coordination would benefit the EU and Member States.

The June Communication announced the preparation, before the end of 2012, of an action plan to enhance administrative cooperation and to support the development of the existing good governance policy, the wider issues of addressing tax havens and of tackling aggressive tax planning.

The event:

There will be a press conference by Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation in the Commission's press room (timing TBC).

IP and Memo will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on Taxation and Customs:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/index_en.htm

Information on Commissioner Šemeta:
http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/semeta/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 emer.traynor@ec.europa.eu

Natasja Bohez-Rubiano +32 2 296 64 70 natasja.bohez-Rubiano@ext-ec.europa.eu

Thursday 6 December: Consumer Protection - Get safe on-line when purchasing games, books, videos or music, urges the EU

The news:

On 6 December, Commissioner Tonio Borg will present the initial findings of the 2012 Sweep, an EU wide screening of websites selling games, books, videos and music, which can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device. The check shows that a huge number of these websites do not appear to comply with consumer protection rules. This is all the more worrying when vulnerable consumers, i.e. children, are targeted. National enforcement authorities will now contact the companies concerned to enable them to clarify their position or correct their website.

The background:

An "EU-sweep" is a joint EU enforcement action to check for compliance with consumer protection laws. It involves a targeted and coordinated check on a particular sector. National enforcement authorities then follow up, contacting the noncompliant business operators asking that they come into line with the relevant requirements. Legal action can be taken against operators who violate EU consumer law. National authorities investigate and take enforcement actions for national cases. For cross-border cases, enforcement authorities request assistance from colleagues in other Member States (e.g. where the trader operates from another country). This is done via the Consumer Protection Co-operation Network of national enforcement authorities.

The event:

11.30 (time to be confirmed) Press conference with Tonio Borg, European Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumers together with Mrs Nathalie Homobono, Director General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Repression of Fraud.

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/enforcement/sweeps_en.htm

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EU_Consumer

The contacts:

Frédéric Vincent: +32 2 298 71 66 Frederic.Vincent@ec.europa.eu

Aikaterini Apostola: +32 2 298 76 24 Aikaterini.Apostola@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 12 December: Commission will present an Action Plan on European company law and corporate governance

The news:

On 12 December, the Commission will present an Action Plan outlining the initiatives that the Commission intends to take in order to modernise European rules on company law and corporate governance.

The background:

A modern and efficient set of rules on company law and corporate governance for European undertakings, investors and employees is a key element in helping build the trust of citizens in the single market and it also contributes to the competitiveness of European business.

In the context of the 2011 Green Paper on the EU corporate governance framework (see IP/11/404), the Commission initiated a reflection process to examine and evaluate the effectiveness of the current corporate governance framework for European companies. It also carried out an on-line public consultation on the future of European company law (see IP/12/149) which generated a large number of responses by a wide variety of stakeholders. On the basis of this reflection and the consultation, the Commission identified several lines of action in the area of company law and corporate governance that are fundamental to putting in place up to date legislation for sustainable and competitive companies.

The event:

Press conference with Commissioner Barnier in Strasbourg (time to be confirmed).

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

For information on company law and corporate governance:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/company/index_en.htm

Commissioner Michel Barnier's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/barnier/index_en.htm

The contacts:

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 19 December: The Commission adopts new Broadband Guidelines

The news:

On 19 December, the European Commission is due to adopt new Broadband Guidelines on state aid to broadband networks, replacing its current Broadband Guidelines of 2009 (see IP/09/1332 and MEMO/09/396).

The Broadband Guidelines set out the criteria under which public funding to the deployment of broadband networks in the EU is compatible with the internal market. In this context, the new Guidelines contribute to the objectives of the EU Digital Agenda (see IP/10/581 and MEMO/10/199) while limiting distortions of competition and disincentives to private investment.

The modernised Guidelines address the new market, technological and regulatory developments regarding, inter alia, the conditions for aid to next generation networks and the necessary wholesale access obligations to subsidised networks. Furthermore they aim at ensuring more transparency regarding aided projects.

The background:

The Commission has to review the current Broadband Guidelines within three years of their entry into force in 2009. The revision process was launched in April 2011 by the first of two rounds of public consultation. Based on the comments received and recommendations from a commissioned study, the Commission services published new draft Guidelines on 1 June 2012. The new Guidelines are part of the State Aid Modernisation package.

The event:

Vice-President Joaquin Almunia, the European Commissioner for Competition, will present the main elements of the proposals at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room (to be confirmed). A press release will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Public consultation on the revision of the Broadband Guidelines:

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2012_broadband_guidelines/index_en.html

Information on State Aid Modernisation:

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/modernisation/index_en.html

Information on Commissioner Almunia:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/almunia/index_en.htm

  1. I-072544 EU: Telecommunications - 2012

The contacts:

Antoine Colombani +32 2 297 45 13 Antoine.Colombani@ec.europa.eu

Maria Madrid Pina +32 2 295 45 30 Maria.Madrid-Pina@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 19 December: European action plan for entrepreneurs

The news:

To bring Europe back to growth, more entrepreneurs are needed. The Commission will propose a blueprint for a new culture of entrepreneurship in Europe, by mobilising Member States and all stakeholders to tap into the potential of millions of Europeans ready to become their own boss.

The Entrepreneurship action plan will highlight the need for a thorough cultural change in Europe, through effective entrepreneurship education. It will contain specific actions/measures to help budding entrepreneurs in specific societal groups, such as youths, women, seniors, migrants and the unemployed. It will also tackle obstacles to entrepreneurship such as the need for better access to finance, less bureaucracy, and second chances for honest bankruptcies.

The background:

Since 2008 Europe has been suffering the effects of the most severe economic crisis it has seen in 50 years: for the first time in Europe there are over 25 million unemployed and in the majority of Member States small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not yet been able to bounce back to their pre-crisis levels.

Entrepreneurship is a powerful driver of economic growth: it creates new companies and jobs, opens up new markets, and nurtures new skills and capabilities. Entrepreneurship makes economies more competitive and innovative. Commercialising new ideas improves productivity and creates wealth. Without the jobs from new firms, average net employment growth in Europe would be negative. New companies, especially SMEs, represent the most important source of new employment: they create more than 4 million new jobs every year in Europe.

Together with the action plan, the Commission will publish the 2012 Eurobarometer on attitudes of Europeans to entrepreneurship (see below).

The event:

Vice President Antonio Tajani, the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, will present the main messages at a press conference the Commission's press room (to be confirmed). A press release, reports and executive summaries will be available on the day preceded by a technical briefing.

IP and Memo will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Eurobarometer: Attitudes of Europeans to entrepreneurship 2009

Promoting entrepreneurship

  1. I-070899 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - Part 1

  2. I-070900 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - Part 2

  3. I-070901 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - Part 3

The contacts:

Carlo Corazza 32 2 29 51 752 Carlo.Corazza@ec.europa.eu

Sara Tironi 32 2 29 90 403 Sara.Tironi@ec.europa.eu

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COM(2012) 209 final


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