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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 14 December 2012

Top News from the European Commission
15 December 2012 – 18 January 2013

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

Tuesday 18 December: Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy to announce the beneficiaries of the EU Children of Peace initiative financed by the Nobel Peace Prize 3

Tuesday 18 December: Commission sets out its digital priorities for 2013/14 4

Wednesday 19 December: The Commission adopts new Broadband Guidelines 5

Wednesday 19 December: Commission to adopt its proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive 6

Saturday 12 January: Commission President José Manuel Barroso attends the opening ceremony of "Marseille-Provence 2013 - European Capital of Culture" 7

Mid-January (to be confirmed): Entrepreneurship 2020 Act 9

Tuesday 18 December: Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy to announce the beneficiaries of the EU Children of Peace initiative financed by the Nobel Peace Prize

The news:

The European Union has decided to double the Nobel prize money of around EUR 930 000 to make a total of EUR 2 million. The money will be awarded to educational projects for children in war zones and areas of conflict. The names of the successful applicants for the EU Children of Peace initiative, who will share the money, will be announced on Tuesday 18 December by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.

The event:

The ceremony will begin at midday and will take place in the Presidents' gallery in the Berlaymont building in Brussels. The two presidents will open the ceremony with a speech. The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Kristalina Georgieva, will also attend.

At the same time, the Nobel Prize medal and diploma will be shown to the public. Pictures by the children who won the online competition entitled ‘Peace, Europe, Future: What does peace in Europe mean to you?’ will also be exhibited.

And finally, an exhibition of 32 portraits of winners of the Nobel Peace Prize will be officially opened during the ceremony. This collection of photographs by Peter Badge was offered to the Commission by the German foundation 'The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at Lake Constance'.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Nobel Peace Prize 2012 awarded to European Union – Press pack:

http://europa.eu/newsroom/highlights/eunobel/index_en.htm

Web page dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize:

http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/eu-nobel/index_en.htm

Peace, Europe, Future: What does peace in European mean to you?:

http://www.loveyouthfuture.eu/peace4eu

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen +32 2 295 30 70 Pia.Ahrenkilde-Hansen@ec.europa.eu

Dirk De Backer +32 2 281 97 68 dirk.debacker@european-council.europa.eu

Tuesday 18 December: Commission sets out its digital priorities for 2013/14

The news:

On 18th December the Commission is due to adopt a Communication entitled "The Digital Agenda for Europe – Driving European growth digitally". This will set seven new priorities for the digital economy and society. The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a patchy pan-European policy framework. The priorities follow a comprehensive policy review and will place new emphasis on the most transformative elements of the original 2010 Digital Agenda FOR Europe.

The seven key areas to address are: stable broadband regulatory environment, financing public digital service infrastructures through Connecting Europe Facility loans, digital skills and jobs, cyber-security, copyright, pilot actions through the European Cloud Partnership and industrial strategy for micro- and nano-electronics.

The background:

Full implementation of an updated Digital Agenda would increase European GDP by 5%, or 1500 euro per person, over the next eight years, by increasing investment in ICT, improving eSkills levels in the labour force and reforming the framework conditions for the internet economy. In terms of concrete new jobs, 1.2 million jobs could be achieved in infrastructure construction in the short term, rising to 3.8 million jobs throughout the economy in the long term.

The event:

Press Conference by Vice-President Neelie Kroes in Berlaymont pressroom at 11.30. Press release and background MEMO will be issued on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Digital Agenda website: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/

The contacts:

Ryan Heath +32 2 296 17 16 Ryan.Heath@ec.europa.eu Twitter: @RyanHeathEU

Linda Cain +32 2 299 90 19 Linda.Cain@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:

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: Commission to adopt its proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive

The news:

On 19 December, the European Commission will adopt its proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive. The proposed legislation consists in new and strengthened rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented, and sold. The proposal is a substantial revision of the current EU law and proposes new and strengthened rules on tobacco products.

The background:

Every year, smoking kills almost 700,000 people in Europe, making tobacco consumption the largest avoidable health risk.

The current Tobacco Products Directive, adopted in 2001, replacing the original Directive of 1989, foresees measures on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. Nevertheless, since the adoption of the Tobacco Products Directive in 2001, several market, scientific and international developments have taken place. The new proposal is responding to these developments and to requests from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The main objective of the revision is to improve the functioning of the internal market, whilst assuring a high level of public health.

As a next step, the proposal will be discussed in the European Parliament and in the Council of Ministers.

The event:

What: - Press Conference of Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg

- Technical Briefing OFF the record

When: Wednesday 19/12/2012, after the Midday Briefing

Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

More information can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/policy/index_en.htm

Commissioner Tonio Borg's website:

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

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

Saturday 12 January: Commission President José Manuel Barroso attends the opening ceremony of "Marseille-Provence 2013 - European Capital of Culture"

The news:

On 12 January Commission President José Manuel Barroso will participate in the opening ceremony of "Marseille-Provence 2013 – European Capital of Culture" at the Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et de Méditerranée" (MUCEM).

The opening events will take place on 12 and 13 January and will kick-off a year-long cultural programme, which is expected to attract visitors from across Europe and beyond to experience the city and its surrounding region. The launch will include four main highlights: the opening of a contemporary art exhibition in Aix-en-Provence, a public celebration in Marseille, a treasure hunt in Marseille-Provence and a fireworks display in Arles to close the opening week-end.

The background:

The European Capitals of Culture is the one of the EU's best known cultural initiatives. Its aim is to promote and celebrate Europe's rich cultural diversity and heritage, as well as to promote mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. The European Capitals of Culture are also an opportunity for cities to boost tourism, jobs and growth, and to transform their image.

A successful Capital which embeds culture as part of a long-term development strategy can bring significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits. On average it leads to a 12% increase in tourism and millions of visits to cultural events, with strong benefits for the retail, hotel and catering sectors. The initiative can also be a catalyst for regeneration and new cultural infrastructure, as well as promoting new skills for cultural operators and strengthening a city's cultural vibrancy and international outlook.

Since 2010, each European Capital of Culture meeting the commitments it made at the selection stage receives the Melina Mercouri Prize, worth €1.5 million. In addition, many Capitals benefit from additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Lille was the last French city to host the title in 2004. Lille 2004 created a very positive legacy for the city, the region and local culture. Other previous French European Capitals of Culture include Paris in 1989 and Avignon in 2000. Košice in Slovakia will also share the title of European Capital of Culture in 2013.

The event:

Commission President José Manuel Barroso will give a speech at the opening ceremony of "Marseille-Provence 2013 – European Capital of Culture" at the Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et de Méditerranée (MUCEM).

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on Culture:

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

Information on Marseille-Provence 2013 – European capital of culture:

http://www.mp2013.fr/

Information on Commission President José Manuel Barroso:

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

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58 dennis.abbott@ec.europa.eu

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67 dina.avraam@ec.europa.eu

Mid-January (to be confirmed): Entrepreneurship 2020 Act

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 2020 Act 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 Entrepreneurship 2020 Act, 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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