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Brussels, Friday 4 October 2013
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Monday 7 – Thursday 10 October, OPEN DAYS: Europe’s Regions and Cities Taking Off for 2020 and investing in growth 2
Tuesday 8 October: The Commission presents together with the OECD results of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) 5
Wednesday 16 October 2013: The European Commission adopts the 2013 Enlargement Package 7
Thursday 17 October: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 8
Wednesday 23 October: Commission proposes standard VAT declaration for 20 million European companies 9
Monday 7 – Thursday 10 October, OPEN DAYS: Europe’s Regions and Cities Taking Off for 2020 and investing in growth
The 11th annual ‘OPEN DAYS – European week of regions and cities’ will be held from 7-10 October 2013, gathering together policymakers, politicians and experts to debate the key issues facing EU Regional Policy today. More than 5,500 regional and urban representatives from across Europe will be sharing views and approaches on how the next generation of investments under EU regional policy can get Europe back on the path to growth, creating jobs and boosting competitiveness. Under the banner of 'Europe's regions and cities taking off for 2020' this year, with 100 workshops addressing the following themes:
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission will open the four day event with a keynote speech on the achievements and objectives of EU Regional Policy, before a high-level debate hosted by Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Ramón Luis Valcárcel, President of the Committee of the Regions. President Valcárcel and Commissioner Hahn will kick start the event with a press roundtable on October 7th at 13:30 in the Committee of the Regions.
Other highlights include:
A full-day workshop on October 8th in the Chalemagne building, Brussels, showcasing the 19 finalists competing in four categories for the 2014 RegioStars Awards:
Presentation of ‘Quality of life in European Cities’ - Perception Survey - 41.000 citizens, interviewed in 79 cities, were asked for their views on various aspects of urban life: Tuesday 8th October, 16:30 – 17:15 in the Berlaymont, Schuman room:
‘100 EUrban solutions’ outdoor exhibition inaugurated by Commissioner Hahn and Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region at 17:00 on Tuesday 8th at Place Jean Rey, Brussels and several networking events taking place in the evening of 8 October in other 12 venues across the exhibition route: and
The winners of the 2014 “Europe in my region” photo competition, hailing from Greece, Hungary and Malta will be presented with their prizes by Commissioner Hahn on Wednesday 9th at 11:15 in the Charlemagne building.
A press release is available here.
A full media programme is available here.
Open Days 2012: www.opendays.europa.eu
Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65 email@example.com
Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 8 October: The Commission presents together with the OECD results of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)
On 8 October the Commission will release jointly with the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) the results of the Survey of Adult Skills.
The Survey will for the first time provide comparable data on literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills for the adult population in 24 countries. The results highlight striking differences in skills levels between countries.
The findings confirm that a high proportion of the European workforce has a low level of skills, which is likely to present major challenges for European countries as the labour market demand for skills increases in the future. Furthermore the results suggest that many European adults cannot use ICT effectively.
The survey results are expected to become a landmark for assessing adult skills, just as the well-known PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) for 15 years old pupils.
The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), administrated by the OECD, assesses literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills of the participating countries' population in the age group 16-65. The first survey (2008-2013) covered 24 countries, including 17 EU countries.
The Survey of Adult Skills is the result of a close cooperation between the OECD, the European Commission and participating countries.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, together with Angel Gurría, the Secretary-General of the OECD, will present the main findings of the Survey and elaborate on their importance for education and training policies in Europe. Press releases, country notes, reports and executive summaries will be available on the day.
Information on the Survey of Adult Skills:
The European Commission’s website on education and training:
Commissioner Vassiliou’s webpage:
Information on Secretary-General Gurría:
Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58 email@example.com
Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 16 October 2013: The European Commission adopts the 2013 Enlargement Package
On 16 October, the 2013 Enlargement Package will be on the agenda of the Commission meeting. It will comprise a Strategy Paper and eight Progress Reports on the candidate countries and potential candidates.
Every autumn the Commission adopts an annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement. The document includes also a summary of the progress made over the last twelve months by each candidate and potential candidate.
The current enlargement agenda covers the Western Balkans and Turkey, with negotiations with Iceland put on hold by the Icelandic government.
14:30 Press Conference by Commissioner Füle
IP, 8 MEMOs, 8 Reports, a Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: ''Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-2014''.
Website of DG:
Website of Commissioner Füle:
Peter Stano +32 2 295 74 84 Peter.Stano@ec.europa.eu
Anca Paduraru +32 2 296 64 30 Anca.Paduraru@ec.europa.eu
Thursday 17 October: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Thursday 17 October 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 email@example.com
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.
Wednesday 23 October: Commission proposes standard VAT declaration for 20 million European companies
In October, the European Commission will propose a standard VAT return form for businesses. Every year 150 million VAT returns are submitted to EU tax administrations. However, the reporting obligations vary in all 28 Member States making it very difficult for companies that do business in more than one Member State to comply with so many different rules. The Commission's proposal to standardize VAT reporting obligations across all 28 EU Member States will lift one of the biggest obstacles for companies to expand their business opportunities in the single market, especially small European businesses.
On 6 December 2011, the European Commission set out a strategy for the future of VAT in Europe (see IP/11/1508). It sets out a number of actions to create a simpler, more efficient and more robust VAT system in the EU tailored to the single market, including a standard VAT reform. Today's proposal also responds to SME's indications that VAT rules are one of the top ten difficulties and costs they face when setting up business and expanding across borders within Europe (see IP/13/388).
Algirdas Šemeta, Commission for Taxation, will present this proposal at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room (to be confirmed). Press materials will be available on the day.
Information on Commissioner Šemeta:
Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 email@example.com
Franck Arrii: +32 2 297 22 21 firstname.lastname@example.org