Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: FR

European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 21 June 2013

Top News from the European Commission
22 June – 19 July 2013

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

Monday 24 June to Friday 28 June: EU Sustainable Energy Week 2013 2

Monday 24 June: Joint communication: Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis 3

Tuesday 25 June: Education at a Glance 2013 presented by OECD and the Commission 4

Tuesday 25 June: Europe's Outermost Regions present concrete plans for modernising their economies and ensuring sustainable growth 6

Wednesday 26 June: Progress report on national Roma integration strategies 7

Wednesday 26 June: European Commission proposes new long term investment framework 9

Wednesday 26 June: European Commission to propose e-procurement initiative 10

Thursday 27 June: Political agreement on reform of the CAP 13

Monday 8 July: Commission publishes annual Erasmus statistics 15

Wednesday 10 July: Innovation Investment Package 16

Wednesday 10 July: The Commission adopts Communication on European higher education in the world 17

Monday 24 June to Friday 28 June: EU Sustainable Energy Week 2013

The news:

Sustainable energy is at the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. To underline the importance of moving towards more energy efficiency and renewables, the European Commission (DG Energy and EACI, Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation) organises the eighth edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels.

The background:

This year's main theme is 'Financing and Sustainable Energy'. At the centre of the discussions is the role the private sector can play as an important source of financing and how public funds available at national and European level can be used in the most efficient way. The agenda will include presentations of best financing practices and a debate on how to improve regulatory frameworks. Once more, the EU Sustainable Energy Week will be an excellent opportunity to raise awareness, engage in discussions, present and promote the latest and most innovative sustainable energy technologies.

The event:

At the core of the week is a high-level policy conference from 25 to 27 June, with more than 40 different sessions taking place in the European Commission’s Charlemagne building and in the Committee of the Regions.

On 24 June, EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger will open the Week at the prestigious Sustainable Energy Europe and ManagEnergy Awards Ceremony, which will take place at the Viage Theatre in Galerie Anspach. The Commissioner and Member of European Parliament Maria Da Graça Carvalho will award six prizes: five to the winners of the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards (categories: Communicating, Consuming, Learning, Living and Travelling) and one to the winner of the ManagEnergy Award, recognising the best practice in local and regional energy action.

In parallel and during the whole week, hundreds of events and activities related to sustainable energy will take place in around forty countries in Europe and beyond, not only in capitals but also in towns and villages. These will include interesting exhibitions and workshops and will show how small businesses and households can contribute to the collective energy efficiency effort.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

For more details on Energy Days, the Conference programme and how to register, visit the EUSEW website: http://www.eusew.eu/

  1. I-075959 EU: Sustainable Energy 2013

The contacts:

Marlene Holzner +32 2 296 01 96

Nicole Bockstaller +32 2 295 25 89

Monday 24 June: Joint communication: Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis

The news:

The European Commission and the EEAS will adopt on Monday 24 June: Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis. This joint communication outlines the main elements of an EU comprehensive approach in response to the conflict and its consequences both in Syria and its neighbouring countries, including their host communities. It also highlights the actions and initiatives already taken by the High Representative and the European Commission.

The background:

Since the beginning of the conflict, the situation in Syria has deteriorated drastically, with over 80,000 deaths and 1.6 million refugees as of June 2013.

The EU's first priority was always to support a political settlement to the conflict leading to a transition to a democratic process. In this context, the EU has welcomed the joint US-Russian call for a peace conference on Syria to promote a political process based on the principles included in the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012.

In parallel to efforts on the political front, the EU has mobilised all of its instruments in order to contribute to a wider international response. The EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid. To date, the total response to the crisis has already reached over EUR 850 million.

The event:

16.30 Press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council.

  1. Available on EbS

The contacts:

Michael Mann +32 2 299 97 80

Maja Kocijancic +32 2 298 65 70

Nabila Massrali +32 2 296 92 18

Peter Stano +32 2 295 74 84

Anca Paduraru +32 2 296 64 30

Tuesday 25 June: Education at a Glance 2013 presented by OECD and the Commission

The news:

On 25 June, the OECD and the European Commission will present the 2013 'Education at a Glance' report, which provides key information and data on education and training in OECD and partner countries, including 21 EU Member States. The report enables decision-makers to compare education and training systems, and to draw lessons for future policy.

Issued annually, the latest report includes data on how much is spent on education, new indicators on the link between education levels and employment, data on the economic crisis, showing that education is the best protection against unemployment, s well as trend data and analysis.

The background:

The report features data from the 34 OECD countries. These include 21 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), 4 other European countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey), and 9 non-European countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, United States). Furthermore, data is presented for Brazil, the Russian Federation, and – in some cases – Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

6 EU Member States are not covered in the report as they are non-OECD members: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania.

The report will be presented by Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director General at the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture.

The event:

11:00 – 12:30: On-the-record technical briefing in the Schuman room, Berlaymont Building, Brussels.

The event can be followed via webstreaming:

http://scic.ec.europa.eu/streaming/index.php?es=2&sessionno=84f74ce4511e0c9531af1182fb636f0f

  1. EbS will record and transmit later in the day

The sources:

European Commission: Education and training:

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

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

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

OECD: Education:

http://www.oecd.org/edu/

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67

Tuesday 25 June: Europe's Outermost Regions present concrete plans for modernising their economies and ensuring sustainable growth

The news:

On 25th June, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, will meet with the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of Europe's Outermost Regions (OR). The Presidents will unveil their individual Action Plans for the best use of EU structural funds to foster investment, based on their specific territorial characteristics and development priorities.

The background:

The Actions Plans will set out how the islands will diversify and modernise their economies, as requested by the Commission in its communication: "The Outermost Regions of the European Union: towards a partnership for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth". They will be the key tool in developing the strategy for the new funding period 2014-2020, not only with reference to the use of the Structural Funds but also of the EU programmes as a whole.

The Outermost Regions comprise 8 islands: the Azores, the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Madeira, Martinique, La Reunion and St. Martin.

The event:

Tuesday, 25 June, BERLAYMONT/11th floor:

14:15 Opening Remarks of Commissioner Hahn at the meeting with the OR-Presidents

16:00 Press Round Table (same premises)

  1. Available on EbS

A press release and the Commissioner's speech will be published via RAPID.

The sources:

Commissioner Hahn's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/hahn/index_en.cfm

Regional policy and outermost regions:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/activity/outermost/index_en.cfm

Regional policy:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.cfm

The contacts:

Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65

Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10

Wednesday 26 June: Progress report on national Roma integration strategies

The news:

The European Commission will present its latest progress report on Roma integration within the Member States. The report takes stock of how Member States are implementing their national plans to improve the lives of Roma communities in their country under the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.

At the same time, the Commission will give yet another push to Roma integration by presenting a Recommendation to Member States, to be adopted by the Council.

The background:

Roma integration is in the interest of Member States, especially for those with a large Roma minority. Roma represent a significant and growing proportion of the school age population and the future workforce. In countries like Bulgaria and Romania, one in every four to five new labour market entrants are Roma. Efficient labour activation policies and individualised and accessible support services for Roma job seekers are crucial to allow Roma people to live up to their potential and actively and equally participate in society.

In a report on 23 May 2012, the European Commission called on EU Member States to implement their national strategies to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma. Member States developed these plans in response to the Commission's EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies adopted on 5 April 2011 (see IP/11/400, MEMO/11/216) which was endorsed by EU leaders soon afterwards (IP/11/789).

On 15 May 2013, the Commission met with key players from Roma civil society at the Roma Roundtable to help prepare the latest progress report (IP/13/437).

The event:

Vice-President Reding and Commissioner Andor will give a press conference (details to be confirmed).

  1. Available on EbS

IP will be published on the day.

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

Commissioner Andor's website:

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

  1. I-071075 European Territorial Cooperation – Roma employment

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 18 83

Wednesday 26 June: European Commission proposes new long term investment framework

The news:

On 26 June, the European Commission will propose a new framework designed for investors who want to invest money in companies and projects with long-term prospects, such as infrastructure projects. European Long Term Investment Funds (ELTIFs) will place investors' money in businesses that need capital committed to them for long periods of time. They will be available to all types of investors across Europe – with no red tape - provided they meet a minimum set of rules. The objective is to unlock and increase funding for projects which can make a substantial difference to jobs and growth over the long run.

The background:

Increasing the amount of non-bank finance available to businesses across the Union is a key aim of the European Commission. ELTIFs represent an important element of this work as set out in the Single Market Act II communication in October 2012 (see IP/12/1054) and in the Green paper on Long-Term Financing of the European Economy (see IP/13/274). The fragmented nature of the investment fund market can make it hard for would-be investors to identify funds that have long-term investment objectives and thus restricts the capacity of funds to grow. The introduction of ELTIFs would improve this situation. The Commission has carried out extensive discussions with a wide range of organisations and also through a public consultation (see IP/12/853), and has undertaken an Impact Assessment assessing different policy options for increasing long-term investment options whilst ensuring adequate protections are in place for investors.

The event:

Press details to be announced.

Press release and memo will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Further information can be found here:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/finances/financing-growth/long-term/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07

Wednesday 26 June: European Commission to propose e-procurement initiative

The news:

On 26 June, the European Commission will adopt a communication on “end-to-end e-procurement to modernise public administration” (i.e. the process involved between the electronic publication of notices right up to electronic payment) in the EU.

The communication will set out the state of implementation of “end-to-end e-procurement” as announced in the 2012 communication "A Strategy for e-procurement" (see IP/12/389). It sets out the areas in which actions should be taken by the EU and by Member States to achieve the transition towards end-to-end e-procurement:

  • Making e-invoicing the rule rather than the exception in public procurement

  • Standardisation work

  • Devising national strategies for end-to-end e-procurement

  • Sharing best practice.

The initiative intends to maximise the benefits for the EU economy and allow European companies and contracting authorities to fully take advantage of the benefits of the Digital Single Market.

The background:

The management of public procurement is of primary importance in the current context of fiscal consolidation. As public expenditure on goods, works, and services represents 19% of the EU’s GDP, managing it more efficiently can significantly contribute to improving the overall efficiency of public expenditure. An effective public administration is a key element of the competitiveness of the EU economy. The modernisation of public administration was identified as one of the five priorities of the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey in 2012 and in 2013. Reform of public procurement, digitisation of public administration, reduction of administrative burden, and increased transparency are all growth enablers.

The transition to end-to-end e-procurement can generate significant savings, facilitate re-thinking of certain areas of public administration, and constitutes a growth enabler by opening up the Single Market and by fostering innovation and simplification. It can also facilitate SME participation in public procurement by reducing administrative burdens, by increasing transparency over business opportunities, and by lowering participation costs.

In order to reap the benefits of e-procurement, and as part of the modernisation of the public procurement legal framework, at the end of 2011 the Commission proposed to make the e-notification, e-access to procurement documents, and e-submission phases mandatory.

To further enable the use of electronic communications and transaction processing by public sector organisations when buying supplies and services or tendering public works, the Commission is now undertaking a series of actions, to further support the implementation of end-to-end e-procurement by Member States.

The event:

Press details to be announced.

Press release will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Further information:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/publicprocurement/e-procurement/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/einvoicing/index_en.htm

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

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07

Thursday 27 June: Political agreement on reform of the CAP

The news:

In the last week of June, it is hoped that the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament will reach a political agreement on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). Political agreement signifies an end of the political negotiations, and formal adoption as a 1st Reading agreement only comes later once the texts have been translated into all languages, etc and approved both by EP and Council in what is the first reform of the CAP under co-decision.

The main elements of the reform are to move towards a "fairer and greener" CAP, as proposed by Commissioner Cioloș in October 2011 (see IP/11/1181, MEMO/11/685). In 2011, the Commissioner outlined 10 main aims for the reform – and all 10 of them are likely to be part of the final agreement.

One of the most important changes will be the Greening concept, whereby 30% of Direct Payments will be linked to certain sustainable agricultural practices. In other words, the CAP will be paying farmers for the provision of environmental public goods.

There are several different elements to achieving a "fairer" CAP. The key point is to address the question of who gets what in terms of Direct Payments. Here, the reform is expected to agree a fairer distribution of funds for Direct Payments among Member States ("external convergence"), such that the average payment in every Member State is at least 75% of the EU average. (At present, average payments vary from 40% of the EU average to more than 250%.) Then there is the question of a fairer distribution of funds within Member States – in particular in the EU-15, where allocations are usually based on historical production references going back to 2000-2002, moving towards a payment per hectare. On this sensitive question of "internal convergence", the talks are looking at various criteria for redistribution. Further aspects in this debate include moves to reduce the payments going to the largest farms ("capping and degressivity"); simpler system for the smallest farms ("small farmers scheme"); and a higher rate of payment for young farmers, in order to support generational renewal.

On market measures, the reform is likely to agree on the end of the sugar quota regime. Another significant change is to provide a clearer legal basis for a general market crisis instrument to respond to unforeseen situations (e.g. the e-coli /fresh vegetable crisis in 2011).

Under Rural Development – the 2nd pillar of the CAP – the rules will build on the success of recent years with extra flexibility to Member States. Changes include new, more objective definitions of Areas with Natural Constraints; there will be the new European Innovation Partnership, which aims to bring farmers and researchers closer together so that we can accelerate the technological transfer from the laboratory to the field; there are also moves to encourage farmers to work more closely together through producer organisations and interbranch organisations, or by establishing short supply chains; and means to establish risk assurance and other tools.

The event:

Wednesday June 26 (time tbc): Press Conference by Commissioner Dacian Cioloș, Council President Simon Coveney and EP Agriculture Committee Chair Paolo De Castro.

Thursday June 27 (time tbc): Press conference by Commissioner Dacian Cioloș in the Berlaymont press room.

  1. Available on EbS

IP and MEMO will be available on the day that political agreement is reached.

The sources:

DG AGRI website:

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/index_en.htm

  1. I-066721 Agriculture and Rural Development - Summer : 2010

The contacts:

Roger Waite +32 2 296 14 04

Fanny Dabertrand +32 2 299 06 25

Monday 8 July: Commission publishes annual Erasmus statistics

The news:

The latest figures for Erasmus student mobility will be presented by the Commission on 8 July.

The background:

The first Erasmus students - just over 3 000 young people from 11 countries - left to study abroad in 1987. Today more than 250 000 students a year benefit from the hugely popular exchange programme, which covers all EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey.

Erasmus is open to students and staff – most report that their Erasmus experience enriched both their personal and professional life. Well-known Erasmus alumni include Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Jyrki Katainen, the Finnish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish Prime Minister and Jakub Chrenowicz, the first conductor of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonia in Poland.

At institutional level, Erasmus funds also support joint projects, summer schools and networks. Along with individual staff mobility, these are instrumental in improving the quality of education of today's students and opening up universities and colleges to cooperation with the world.

The new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, due for launch in January 2014, will build on the legacy of Erasmus by offering opportunities for 4 million people (most under the age of 25) to study, train, teach or carry out voluntary work abroad by 2020. The international experience and skills they gain increases their employability and career prospects. The new programme is expected to have a budget of around €14.5 billion for 2014-2020 - 40% more than the current programmes.

The event:

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the main Erasmus statistics for the academic year 2011/12. A press release will be available on the day.

The sources:

Information on Erasmus:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/erasmus_en.htm

Information on Commissioner Vassiliou:

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

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67

Wednesday 10 July: Innovation Investment Package

The news:

The Commission will present a multi-billion euro investment package to boost research and innovation in sectors that are crucial to Europe's economy and society. The package will be anchored by public-private partnerships (PPPs) in areas such as innovative medicines and aeronautics.

Funding from the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will leverage additional money from industry and EU Member States. The goal of the partnerships is to provide solutions to major challenges such as reducing carbon emissions or providing the next generation of antibiotics. They will also help increase the competitiveness of EU industry, including SMEs, and create new jobs in fast growing and emerging sectors.

Also included are proposals to pool resources with EU Member States to develop new treatments against poverty related diseases; to development measurement technologies for industrial competitiveness; to support high tech SMEs; and to provide solutions for the elderly and disabled to live safely in their homes. The package also proposes to extend an initiative to pool research investments in air traffic management, in support of the Single European Sky.

The background:

The importance of PPPs has been clearly identified in the Innovation Union and Industry Policy flagship initiatives, and the legislative proposals for Horizon 2020. Some of the public-private partnerships, called Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI), were introduced under the current 7th research Framework Programme. New legislative proposals were needed for these to be established under the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The proposals will now be submitted to EU Member States and the European Parliament in the context of the overall proposals for the Horizon 2020 programme.

The event:

A press conference and a technical briefing will be held on day of adoption. There will also be dedicated roundtable sessions for the public-private partnerships, including CEOs from companies participating in the initiatives. These will be open to the media.

  1. Available on EbS

A press release, a MEMO, Communication and factsheets on each of the partnerships will be available on the day.

The sources:

Horizon 2020:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/index_en.cfm

  1. I-075812 EU - Horizon 2020 - 2013

The contacts:

Michael Jennings +32 2 296 33 88

Inma Martinez Garcia +32 2 298 73 03

Wednesday 10 July: The Commission adopts Communication on European higher education in the world

The news:

Strategic partnerships with higher education institutions outside Europe enhance the quality of European higher education and contribute to innovation and job creation by equipping European graduates with broader skills and by attracting international students, researchers and academics to the EU. European universities have excellent links inside Europe but many lack a clear strategy for strengthening their ties with non-European partners. Therefore, on 10 July, the European Commission will adopt a Communication on 'European higher education in the world' which will provide recommendations on how Europe's 4 000 higher education institutions can work strategically to promote themselves in the rest of the world. More than 400 million per year will be made available for European universities to collaborate with partners worldwide under the EU's new programme for education, training, youth and sport.

The background:

Higher education is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy and universities have a key role in ensuring that Europe becomes a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. Europe's universities have worked and cooperated together for decades, but it is clear that they need to build partnerships beyond the EU's borders so that they continue to attract the most talented students and remain competitive in an increasingly globalised higher education landscape.

Europe currently hosts 45% of the 4 million students who study outside their home countries each year. They are attracted by world-class curricula, teaching excellence and cultural diversity. But if Europe is to maintain this lead against mounting competition from Asia and Latin America, the Member States and the Commission must work together to create the right conditions for international cooperation to flourish.

The event:

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the Communication at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room (time to be confirmed). A press release and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission website on education and training

Information on Commissioner Vassiliou

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67


Side Bar

My account

Manage your searches and email notifications


Help us improve our website