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Top News from the European Commission 22 December 2012 – 25 January 2013

European Commission - AGENDA/12/44   21/12/2012

Other available languages: FR

European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 21 December 2012

Top News from the European Commission
22 December 2012 – 25 January 2013

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

Tuesday 8 January: Commission presents the 2012 'Employment and Social Developments in Europe' Review 2

Wednesday 9 January: Entrepreneurship 2020 Act 4

Wednesday 9 January: The Commission presents the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) 6

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

Sunday 20 January: Commissioner Vassiliou attends the opening ceremony of Košice - 2013 European Capital of Culture 9

Wednesday 24 January: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 11

Tuesday 8 January: Commission presents the 2012 'Employment and Social Developments in Europe' Review

The news:

On 8 January, Commissioner Andor will present the 2012 review of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) covering such important issues as long-term unemployment, wage polarisation and functioning of social protection systems.

After five years of economic crisis, recession has returned, unemployment has reached levels not experienced in nearly two decades and the social situation is also deteriorating. Groups already at a heightened risk of poverty, such as young adults, children and to some extent migrants, are now experiencing an even worse situation. The ESDE 2012 review analyses both the risks of entering into poverty and the prospects of escaping it, with striking differences between Member States.

Wage developments have also been subject of increasing attention throughout the crisis because of their importance for competitiveness, domestic demand and employment as well as social inequalities. ESDE 2012 also analyses the functioning of Europe’s social protection systems over recent years. At the same time, recognising the importance of the revenue side of the welfare state, the review presents evidence on recent developments in taxation systems, shifts in the tax base and their employment and distributional implications.

The background:

The analysis in the 2012 ESDE underpins the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey 2013 as well as a number of new Commission initiatives. In 2012 the Commission adopted two policy packages supporting Member States’ efforts to make progress towards the Europe 2020 targets despite a worsening economic environment. First, in April 2012 the Commission adopted the Employment Package, setting out a reinforced agenda for job creation and dynamic labour markets. Second, the Commission responded to the fact that young people are particularly hard-hit by the crisis in many different ways, as can be seen throughout this report. Then in December 2012 adopted a Youth Employment Package, including a proposal for development of Youth Guarantee schemes across the Union. The Commission is due to adopt the third policy package in this series, a Social Investment Package, in early 2013. This final package is will aim to help to reconcile the need for effective and activating social policies with the fiscal crisis in many Member States.

The event:

12h30: Press conference by Commissioner László Andor in the Berlaymont press room.

13h00: Technical briefing off-the-record

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

The text of the report will be available online.

Commissioner Andor's website:

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

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 9 January: 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 (time to be confirmed). A press release, reports and executive summaries 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

Wednesday 9 January: The Commission presents the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3)

The news:

On 9 January the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will be presented to media by the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström and the Head of the Centre, Troels Oerting, ahead of the official inauguration that will take place at the Europol premises in The Hague on January 11.

The background:

The Internet has become an integral part of our society and economy and approximately eighty per cent of young Europeans connect through online social networks. But as more and more of our everyday transactions happen online, so too does criminal activity. Online criminal activity ranges from selling stolen credit cards for as little as one euro, identity-theft and child sexual abuse online, to serious cyber-attacks against institutions. Unfortunately only a few of these crimes are reported to the police; even fewer are actually solved. The risk of getting caught is low, while rewards are sky-high.

This is why the European Commission has established a European Cybercrime Centre. The centre, based at Europol, focusses on cybercrimes committed by organised crime groups, particularly those generating large criminal profits such as online fraud and cybercrimes which cause serious harm to their victims, such as online child sexual exploitation. The EC3 will help identify the most dangerous cybercrime threats; tracking key cybercriminal groups at EU level and support Member States' cybercrime investigations.

The event:

Cecilia Malmstrom and the Head of the Centre, Troels Oerting will present the EC3 at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room. A press release and a MEMO will be available on 9 January. Footage of the EC3 premises and interviews with experts and the Head of the EC3, Troels Oerting, will be available on EBS from 7 January.

  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

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

Sunday 20 January: Commissioner Vassiliou attends the opening ceremony of Košice - 2013 European Capital of Culture

The news:

On 20 January European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will participate in the opening ceremony of "Košice 2013 – European Capital of Culture" at the historic State Theatre.

The opening events will take place on 19 and 20 January and will kick off a year-long cultural programme which will profile Košice as the crossing of old routes between East and West. The launch events will take place at various locations in the city, including the State Theatre, the Steel Arena, the Podium as well various clubs, restaurants and cultural venues.

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.

This is the first time that a Slovak city has held the title. It is an opportunity for Košice, its region and Slovakia as a whole to be in the international limelight for what promises to be the largest cultural project in the history of the country.

Since 1985, more than 40 cities have been designated European Capitals of Culture.

The event:

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will give a speech at the opening ceremony at the State Theatre of Košice together with Richard Raši, Mayor of Košice, Marek Maďarič, Slovakia's Minister of Culture and Zdenko Trebuľa, President of the Košice Region.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on Culture:

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

Information on Košice 2013 – European capital of culture:

http://www.kosice2013.sk/en/

Information on Commissioner Vassiliou:

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

Wednesday 24 January: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Wednesday 24 January 2013, 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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