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Brussels, Friday 30 August 2013
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Wednesday 4 September: The European Commission to adopt communication on shadow banking and proposes draft regulation on money market funds 2
Thursday 5 September– Friday 6 September: The EU at the G20 summit: Improving global confidence and supporting the global recovery 4
Friday 6 September: ITER Ministerial Meeting at ITER headquarter in Saint Paul lez Durance 6
Wednesday 11 September: President Barroso will deliver the State of the Union Address 2013 and answer citizens' questions afterwards 7
Wednesday 11 September: The European Commission adopts a legislative package on for a Connected Continent: Building A Telecoms Single Market 9
Wednesday, 18 September: European Commission to propose draft legislation on benchmarks 11
Thursday 26 September: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 12
Wednesday 4 September: The European Commission to adopt communication on shadow banking and proposes draft regulation on money market funds
On Wednesday 4 September, the Commission will adopt a communication on shadow banking. On the same day, the Commission will also present its proposal for a Regulation on Money Market Funds (MFF) – one of the areas for action outlined in the communication.
Shadow banking is the system of credit intermediation that involves entities and activities that are outside the regular banking system. Shadow banks are not regulated like banks; they operate outside the regular banking system and yet engage in bank-like activities. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has roughly estimated the size of the global shadow banking system at around €51 trillion in 2011, up from €21 trillion in 2002. This represents 25-30% of the total financial system and half the size of bank assets. Shadow banking is therefore of systemic importance for Europe's financial system.
Learning all the lessons from the financial crisis, the EU has been implementing regulatory reforms in the financial sector in general and in the banking sector in particular. However, the entire shadow bank sector is not yet properly regulated. We must ensure that risks are not accumulating in the unregulated shadow banking sector, in part because new banking rules could be pushing certain banking activities towards this non-regulated shadow banking sector. The Commission's communication is a follow-up to last year's Green Paper on Shadow Banking (see IP/12/253 and MEMO/12/191). It summarises the work undertaken so far and sets out possible further actions in this important area.
Money Market Funds (MMFs) are an important source of short-term financing for financial institutions, businesses and government. In Europe, around 22% of short-term debt securities issued by governments or by the corporate sector are held by MMFs. MMFs hold 38% of short-term debt issued by the banking sector. Because of the systemic interconnectedness of MMFs with the banking sector, and with corporate and government finance, the operation of MMFs has been at the core of the international work on shadow banking. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) and other institutions such as the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) have analysed the financial sector and concluded that MMFs, while of systemic importance, had not been addressed to a sufficient degree. The draft regulation will respond to the various recommendations that have been made.
Press conference by Commissioner Michel Barnier (12:30) preceded by a technical briefing (11:30).
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Commissioner Michel Barnier's website:
Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50
Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94
Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07
Thursday 5 September– Friday 6 September: The EU at the G20 summit: Improving global confidence and supporting the global recovery
The G20 summit will take place from 5 to 6 September in Saint Petersburg under the Russian Presidency. The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
On 23 July, in a joint letter to the 28 EU Heads of State and Government, Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy set out the key issues that will be up for discussion at the G20 summit.
They call on fellow G20 leaders to improve global confidence and remain vigilant and proactive to support the global recovery and find the way to strong, balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth. On the main priorities of the summit they stress that: 1) growth and employment need to be at the top of the G20 agenda; 2) financial reform needs to be completed; 3) the work on tax avoidance and evasion need to be pushed forward and 4) the reform of the international financial architecture needs to be completed and progress made on development, anti-corruption and energy.
This 8th edition of the G20 leaders' meeting will be held in Russia. Last year's G20 Summit took place in Los Cabos (Mexico). The 2014 edition will take place in Brisbane under the Australian presidency, from 15 to 16 November 2014.
The G20 brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies. It has 19 member countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States) and the European Union. Together, they represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.
The G20 is considered as the world's premier forum for global economic cooperation. The G20 leaders' process was established in 2008 after a joint EU-US initiative
Participation of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg (Russia) on 5-6 September 2013.
Friday 30 August 2013, 11:00: Pre-summit briefing (off the record) by the EU's G20 Sherpa in the Berlaymont press room.
Thursday 5 September, 14:30 (Saint Petersburg time): Joint pre-summit press conference by Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy in Saint Petersburg.
Joint letter of Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy of 23 July 2013
Update of the brochure "The EU and the G20 – Did you know…?"
Further press material on the 2013 G20 summit (Wednesday 4 September – date to be confirmed)
G20/G8 section on President Barroso's website
President Barroso on Twitter @BarrosoEU
Website of the Russian presidency of the G20 2013
Media accreditation has been extended until 1 August
Dirk Volckaerts +32 2 299 39 44 +32 460 793 944
Friday 6 September: ITER Ministerial Meeting at ITER headquarter in Saint Paul lez Durance
Ministerial representatives of the seven ITER Members will convene at ITER Headquarters on 6 September 2013 to discuss the progress, state of play and challenges of the ITER project. This special meeting of the ITER Council was called by Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner in charge of Energy and representative of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). As representative of the host-state, Geneviève Fioraso, France’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, will give a welcome address to participants.
ITER is a first-of-a-kind, large-scale scientific experiment that aims at demonstrating that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. The project is an international enterprise gathering China, EU, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States. It is steered by an international ITER Council and hosted in the south of France, at Saint Paul lez Durance.
On this occasion, the media are welcome to the ITER site visit at 9:15, followed by a press conference held at ITER Headquarters at 12:45.
More information on the ITER project is available on: http://www.iter.org/
Head of Communication of ITER Organisation
Wednesday 11 September: President Barroso will deliver the State of the Union Address 2013 and answer citizens' questions afterwards
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, will deliver the fourth "State of the Union Address" on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 at the European Parliament at 9:00. The speech will be followed by a debate in plenary with the leaders of the political groups and other members of the European Parliament.
Following his State of the Union Address, President Barroso will answer questions from citizens in a live Euronews interview and Google+ Hangout on Thursday 12th September starting at 20:30 CET.
Starting today (Friday 30/8 noon CET), people can join the conversation about the State of the European Union on the European Commission's Google+ page and also on Commission's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Questions for the President (written or posted as a video) can be submitted on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #askbarroso. Social media posts, pre-recorded video and text questions will be incorporated in the TV interview with the President, and authors of the best questions - as chosen by Euronews - will be invited to interview the President in person, live, via Google+ Hangout, on Thursday 12th September from 20:50 CET.
At the beginning of his second mandate, the President has agreed with the European Parliament to give a yearly address on the State of the Union in which he assesses where the Union stands and charting the way ahead.
11 September, 9h00: President Barroso will deliver the "State of the Union Address 2013" at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
12 September, 20h30: Live interview (Euronews and Google+ Hangout) with citizens on the State of the Union.
President Barroso's website:
Commission's Google+: https://plus.google.com/+EuropeanCommission
Commission's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCommission
Commission's Twitter account: https://twitter.com/EU_commission
President Barroso's Twitter account: www.twitter.com/BarrosoEU
Twitter hashtag: #SOTEU and #askBarroso
Pia Ahrenkilde +32 2 295 3070 email@example.com
Mark Gray +32 2 298 8644 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jens Mester +32 2 296 3973 email@example.com
Wednesday 11 September: The European Commission adopts a legislative package on for a Connected Continent: Building A Telecoms Single Market
The Commission will adopt a legislative package aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries. The impacts will be to make life better by ensuring consumers can enjoy the digital devices and services they love; and making it easier for European businesses & entrepreneurs to create the jobs of the future. Key changes for citizens will include the end of mobile roaming premiums and a guarantee of "net neutrality."
Telecoms networks are the foundation of the wider digital economy, and the key input for Europe’s future industry, and they are in a bad state. While there is a massive growth in demand for telecoms services (especially data) revenues are down, market capitalization is suffering, net investments of some operators are sluggish, and some operators struggle with high levels of debt.
Telecoms poor performance hurts the whole digital eco-system (including Europe’s equipment manufacturers and internet entrepreneurs). It also harms industries like connected cars, smart objects, wholesale, retail and logistics, health cares which increasingly depend on connectivity. When enabled, the digital ecosystem grows fast and creates jobs; it stimulates innovation and business activity across the economy, through heightened productivity, efficiency and revenue.
The missing cornerstone in this ecosystem is a Telecoms Single Market, which would permanently increase GDP (basis: 2010) by nearly 1% if delivered. Only a telecoms single market will allow Europe's whole digital ecosystem to be more dynamic and recapture a leading global role.
More than 4 out of 10 companies are dissatisfied with the connectivity they are getting. They find services poor and speeds too low. This is a drag on their competitiveness. Consumers are also sick of unfair and unjustifiable charges, confusing information, and non-functioning devices
The 2013 Spring European Council conclusions called for the Commission to present "concrete measures to achieve the single market in ICT as early as possible" in time for the October European Council.
The Commission will adopt a proposal which will make a reality of two key EU Treaty Principles: the freedom to provide and freedom to consume (digital) services wherever you are in the EU. The package will build one the 2009 Telecoms Framework Directive by removing bottlenecks and barriers so Europe’s 28 national telecoms markets become a single market while keeping a balance that ensures all stakeholder groups are net beneficiaries.
IP, MEMO and plain language guide will be available on the day. #ConnectedContinent
Press conference and technical briefing (date to be confirmed)
SPEECH/13/622 Neelie Kroes speech at ITRE Committee Meeting in the European Parliament / Brussels " A Telecoms Single Market: Building a Connected Continent"
EU telecoms rules and policies
State of the telecoms services sector
Vice President Neelie Kroes' website:
Wednesday, 18 September: European Commission to propose draft legislation on benchmarks
On 18 September, the European Commission will adopt a draft regulation on benchmarks. The Commission’s aim is to address the issues raised by the alleged manipulation of LIBOR and EURIBOR, and of other benchmarks for commodities and exchange rates. The proposal will set out new rules for the production and use of benchmarks referenced in financial instruments and financial contracts, in order to ensure their integrity by guaranteeing that they are not subject to conflicts of interest, reflect the economic reality that they are intended to measure and are used appropriately.
Benchmarks affect the value of trillions of euro worth of financial instruments globally, and millions of residential mortgages use benchmarks for reference. They determine the amounts of money to be paid out under financial contracts, affect the value of assets held by investors, and are used to assess the performance of investment managers. Doubts about the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks can undermine market confidence, cause significant losses to consumers and investors, and distort the real economy.
The new Market Abuse Regulation (see MEMO/13/595) will ensure that those who manipulate or try to manipulate benchmarks can be punished. This will have a deterrent effect, but deterrence is not enough. Benchmarks need to be calculated and supervised in an appropriate way.
Press conference by Commissioner Barnier preceded by a technical briefing (details to be announced).
Press release and MEMOs will be available on the day.
Commissioner Michel Barnier's website:
Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50 Chantal.Hughes@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
Thursday 26 September: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Thursday 26 September 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.
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.
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:
For more information on infringements:
On the general infringement procedure: MEMO/12/12
Olivier Bailly +32 2 296 87 17 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 email@example.com
On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.