Other available languages: FR
Brussels, Friday 8 November 2013
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Monday 11 November: 4th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region launches review of governance 2
13-15 November 2013: First EU-Myanmar Task Force meeting in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw 4
Thursday 14 November: Commission adopts a new Communication on state aid for cinema 5
Wednesday 20 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 6
Tuesday to Wednesday 26 – 27 November: European Development Days - Building a new vision on development post-2015 7
European Semester 2014 - Commission publishes annual economic priorities for the EU and views on euro area draft budgets 9
Monday 11 November: 4th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region launches review of governance
Representatives of the eight countries making up the Baltic Sea Region, which is the first EU "macro region", will gather in Vilnius on 11 November to hold their 4th Annual Forum. Co-hosted by EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, the participants will discuss how the environmental challenges faced by Baltic Sea Region, one of the world's environmentally most sensitive maritime regions, can be turned into opportunities for economic growth. This year's Annual Forum comes after the recent endorsement by Member States of the European Commission's evaluation report which stresses the added value of macro-regional strategies. The forum will also launch a review on governance and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Strategy in view of the forthcoming EU programming period.
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, approved by the European Council in 2009, provides an integrated framework to find common solutions for the specific challenges of the region. Eight countries (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) have joined forces to work together to tackle the challenges.
The debate also comes at a crucial stage of the negotiations for the future programmes 2014-2020. "The Baltic Strategy is the first of Europe's macro-regional strategies. It has pioneered a unique kind of co-operation to tackle common challenges that cannot be effectively dealt with at national and local level alone. By taking more leadership to steer the strategy, the countries and regions involved will ensure even more results in the future to the benefit of the citizens in the region".
The fourth Annual Forum is hosted jointly by the European Commission, the Lithuanian Presidency in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and INTERACT Point Turku. It brings together over 600 people from all the countries around the Baltic Sea, covering the governmental sector, business, civil society and regional organisations.
Monday 11 November
9.00 – 13.30 am: Fourth Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region
12.30 p.m.: Key Note Speeches (Commissioner Johannes Hahn, President Dalia Grybauskaite, Danuta Hübner, Chair of EP Committee on Regional Development)
Workshops at the event cover such themes as: green and blue growth in the Baltic Sea region, increased use of renewables, sustainable agriculture and clean and safe shipping.
13.30 p.m.: Press Conference
A press release (IP) will be published on Monday, 11 November, via RAPID
European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region:
4th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR – programme & webstreaming:
Evaluation Report concerning the added value of macro-regional strategies:
Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65 mobile: +32460766565 Shirin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10 mobile: +32460793310 Annemarie.Huber@ec.europa.eu
13-15 November 2013: First EU-Myanmar Task Force meeting in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw
The first EU-Myanmar Task Force will take place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, 13-15 November 2013. Its purpose is to provide comprehensive support to the transition in Myanmar/Burma by bringing together all of the tools and mechanisms – both political and economic (development aid, peace process support, investments) – available to the EU.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton will co-chair the Task Force alongside U Soe Thane, Minister in the President of Myanmar’s Office.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani (Industry and Entrepreneurship) and European Commissioners Andris Piebalgs (Development and Cooperation) and Dacian Cioloş (Agriculture and Rural Development) will also participate in the Task Force. The Commission will be accompanied by a delegation of 100 enterprises and businesses associations to boost business cooperation EU-Myanmar.
The Task Force was announced in a joint statement by President Van Rompuy, President Barroso and President U Thein Sein, during the visit of President U Thein Sein to Brussels in March, 2013. Since then, the EU has lifted its all its sanctions with the exception of the arms embargo, re-opened trade benefits under the General System of Preferences and adopted a Comprehensive Framework on EU policies and support to Myanmar/Burma.
The meeting takes place over two days. A press conference with the Co-Chairs will follow the end of the Task Force 15 November in Nay Pyi Taw.
EU-Myanmar relations: http://eeas.europa.eu/myanmar
Press materials will be available via RAPID next week.
(HRVP Ashton) email@example.com +32 498 984 425
firstname.lastname@example.org +32 460 753 293
(VP Tajani) email@example.com +32 498 992 862
(Commissioner Cioloş) firstname.lastname@example.org +32 498 961 404
(Commissioner Piebalgs) email@example.com +32460790 677
Thursday 14 November: Commission adopts a new Communication on state aid for cinema
On 14 November, the European Commission will adopt a new Communication on state aid for films and other audiovisual works.
The Communication contains detailed criteria which define how Member States may financially support the production and distribution of films in line with EU state aid rules. It replaces the criteria which have been applied since 2001 and amends them.
The aim of the Communication is to encourage creation and cultural diversity everywhere in the European Union and to set the conditions for a successful European audiovisual sector, where cross-border productions can be set up easily.
EU Member States provide an estimated €3 billion per year in film support: €2 billion in grants and soft loans, as well as €1 billion in tax incentives. Around 80% of this is for film production.
Financial support is important to ensure a continued and meaningful European film production. In 2001, the Commission published for the first time rules on the application of the state aid rules to aid for film production (the "Cinema Communication"). These rules expired at the end of 2012.
Therefore, the Commission started a review process in 2011, which led to three public consultations of Member States and stakeholders.
Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the Commission in charge of competition policy, will present the new Cinema Communication at 11:30 CET in the Commission's press room.
A press release and Memo will be available on the day.
Vice-President Almunia's website:
Maria Madrid Pina +32 2 295 45 30
Wednesday 20 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Wednesday 20 November 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.
Tuesday to Wednesday 26 – 27 November: European Development Days - Building a new vision on development post-2015
This year's European Development Days (EDD13) will focus on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and on the global framework which will succeed them by 2015. High level speakers, representatives from civil society, private sector and academia from all continents will come together to debate the content of the next agenda which should address global poverty and sustainable development. The topic is very timely as 2015 (the MDGs target date) is fast approaching. Remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against poverty thanks to the MDGs, but a lot remains to be done. Discussions on the post-2015 development agenda have started and negotiations will take place next year at the United Nations level. EDD13 will provide a unique opportunity to come together to contribute to the EU vision for development until and beyond 2015. During the event, new survey on EU citizens' view on Development aid will also be announced.
The European Development Days, organised by the European Commission, will bring together many of the relevant actors in the field. This year's high-level event will host among others, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf President of Liberia; Joyce Banda, President of Malawi; or Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. The European Commission will be represented by President Barroso, President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, Vice President Catherine Ashton, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs as well as other EU Commissioners. Updated list of VIP confirmations available here.
EDD13 will take place in Brussels (Tour & Taxi) on 26 – 27 November
Full programme with many panels, side events and special addresses:
Press conference – 26 November (exact time TBC) – with participation of Commissioner Piebalgs
Registration for journalists only – please send an email with your contact details to
Webstreaming will be available on European Development Days' website
Website of the European Development Days:
During the event, a wide range of facilities and services will be available to journalists. You can find out more at:
Alexandre Polack +32 (0) 2 299 06 77 Alexandre.Polack@ec.europa.eu
Maria Sanchez Aponte+32 (0) 2 298 10 35 Maria.Sanchez-Aponte@ec.europa.eu
European Semester 2014 - Commission publishes annual economic priorities for the EU and views on euro area draft budgets
Next week, the European Commission will publish a number of important documents to kick off the fourth European Semester, the EU's economic policy-making calendar:
The European Semester was introduced in 2010 to help member states work towards the same goals, as set out in the EU's long-term growth strategy, Europe 2020. The Semester sets out a clear timetable for budgetary and economic policy-making, ensuring that member states talk to each other before adopting reforms that could have impacts on their neighbours.
Europe 2020 website
Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen +32 2 295 30 70 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Collins +32 2 296 80 76 email@example.com
Simon O'Connor +32 2 296 73 59 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 email@example.com
Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50 email@example.com