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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 22 November 2013

Top News from the European Commission
23 November – 20 December 2013

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

Monday 25 November: Tackling Tax Avoidance: Commission proposes tightening key EU corporate tax legislation 2

Tuesday to Wednesday 26 – 27 November: European Development Days - Building a new vision on development post-2015 4

Wednesday 27 November (tbc): Commission to adopt proposals on protection of trade secrets 6

Wednesday 27 November: European Commission proposes to strengthen fair trial rights for citizens, wherever they are in the EU 8

Monday 2 December: EUROSUR enters into force 10

Wednesday 4 December: Commission to propose a Quality Framework for Traineeships 12

Monday 25 November: Tackling Tax Avoidance: Commission proposes tightening key EU corporate tax legislation

The news:

On 25 November, the European Commission will adopt a proposal to amend the Parent Subsidiary Directive (2011/96/EU) in order to close off opportunities for corporate tax avoidance. The Parent Subsidiary Directive was originally conceived to prevent the double taxation of same-group companies based in different Member States. However, loopholes in the Directive have been exploited by some companies to avoid paying any taxes at all. The proposal aims to close these loopholes. First, it will introduce a common anti-abuse rule into the Directive. This will allow Member States to ignore artificial arrangements used for tax avoidance purposes and to tax on the basis of real economic substance. Second, it will ensure that the Directive is tightened up so that specific tax planning arrangements are no longer eligible for the tax exemptions provided under the Directive.

The background:

The issue of corporate tax avoidance is very high in the political agenda of many EU and non-EU countries, and the need for action to combat it has been highlighted at recent G20 and G8 meetings.

One of the key problems to be addressed is that of double non-taxation i.e. where loopholes in national tax systems are exploited by companies to pay no tax at all. Double non-taxation deprives Member States of significant revenues and creates unfair competition between businesses in the Single Market. Tackling this problem requires urgent and coordinated action at EU level.

On 6 December 2012 the Commission presented an Action Plan for a more effective EU response to tax evasion and avoidance. This action set out a comprehensive set of measures, to help Member States protect their tax bases and recapture billions of euros legitimately due (IP/12/1325). The revision of the Parent Subsidiary Directive is one of the measures announced in the action plan.

The event:

Algirdas Šemeta, the European Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud, Statistics and Audit will present the proposal at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room. Press materials will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on fight against tax fraud and evasion:

Information on Commissioner Šemeta:

The contacts:

Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48

Franck Arrii +32 2 297 22 21

Tuesday to Wednesday 26 – 27 November: European Development Days - Building a new vision on development post-2015

The news:

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 background:

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; and Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. The European Commission will be represented by President Barroso, Vice President Catherine Ashton, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs as well as other EU Commissioners. Updated list of VIP confirmations available here.

The event:

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 at 16.30 – 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

The sources:

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:

The contacts:

Alexandre Polack +32 (0) 2 299 06 77

Maria Sanchez Aponte+32 (0) 2 298 10 35

Wednesday 27 November (tbc): Commission to adopt proposals on protection of trade secrets

The news:

On 27 November (date tbc) the European Commission will adopt a proposal for a directive on the protection of trade secrets and confidential business information from misappropriation and misuse by third parties

The aim of the proposal is to harmonise national laws on protecting against misappropriation of trade secrets by establishing a common definition and ensuring that in cases of unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of a trade secret, a sufficient and comparable level of redress across the EU is provided.

The background:

Under the flagship initiative "Innovation Union", one of the pillars of the “EU 2020 strategy”, the Commission undertook to create an innovation-friendly environment. Within this framework, the Commission has adopted a comprehensive strategy to ensure a smooth functioning of the Internal Market for intellectual property, which also reaches areas complementary to intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as trade secrets.

Every company, large or small, in any sector uses confidentiality to gain a competitive advantage, in particular when based on knowledge and innovation. Trade secrets are the source of any first mover advantage. Valuable information that cannot be protected by exclusive rights, such as patents, will only confer its creator with an advantage over competitors if and to the extent that it is not generally known and it is kept confidential. However, companies are increasingly exposed to dishonest practices (such as economic espionage, theft, unauthorised use and disclosure of confidential information), which impact their knowledge capital and competitiveness. Furthermore, there are important differences between the levels of protection offered across the EU for defending trade secrets against unfair practices.

The event:

Press details to be announced.

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information:

Commissioner Michel Barnier's website:

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 16 07

Wednesday 27 November: European Commission proposes to strengthen fair trial rights for citizens, wherever they are in the EU

The news:

The Commission will present a package of proposals to strengthen fair trial rights of citizens in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union.

The package will contain five proposals:

  • A Directive to strengthen aspects of the presumption of innocence and ensure that no trials are conducted in absentia

  • A Directive to increase the procedural safeguards for children

  • A Directive to ensure that suspects have access to legal aid at the early stages of criminal proceedings, including for people subject to a European Arrest Warrant

  • A Recommendation on general aspects of legal aid

  • A Recommendation on procedural safeguards for vulnerable people (for example people with physical or mental disabilities)

Mutual recognition instruments, such as the European Arrest Warrant, cannot function without mutual trust in each other's justice systems. Mutual trust can best be fostered by building robust procedural safeguards for citizens throughout the entire European Union.

The background:

There are over 8 million criminal proceedings in the European Union every year. In 2010, the European Commission made the first step in a series of measures to set common EU standards in all criminal proceedings. The Commission proposed rules that would oblige EU countries to provide full interpretation and translation services to suspects, which were adopted as legislation the same year.

The law was followed by a second Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings, adopted in 2012, and then by a third Directive on the right to access to a lawyer, adopted in 2013. The Commission is now set to continue with its roadmap in this area of criminal justice with proposals for another set of fair trial rights for citizens.

The event:

Vice-President Viviane Reding will give a press conference at 12:30.

IP and MEMO will be available on the day.

The sources:

Justice Newsroom:

Vice-President Reding's website:

The contacts:

Mina Andreeva +32 2 299-1382

Natasha Bertaud +32 2 296-7456

Monday 2 December: EUROSUR enters into force

The news:

The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) will become operational on 2 December 2013.

EUROSUR will address the challenges of cross border crime, the loss of lives of migrants at sea and irregular migration by focusing on the following issues:

  • Protecting and saving lives at the external borders by considerably diminishing the unacceptable death toll of migrants at sea;

  • Contributing to the management of migration flows in full respect of EU and international obligations on human rights, including the principle of non-refoulement;

  • Increasing the internal security of the European Union by preventing serious crime at the external borders of the Schengen area.

The background:

The recent tragedies in the Mediterranean reinforce the need for better coordination within and between Member States in managing migration flows and the need for enhanced life-saving capacities and EUROSUR is a part of these efforts.

On 12 December 2011, the Commission proposed to establish a coordination system for border surveillance in order to tackle serious crime and to diminish the death toll of migrants at sea. The EUROSUR regulation was adopted by the European Parliament on the 9th of October 2013.

After testing and implementation phases, EUROSUR will gradually enter into force from the 2 December and will be fully operational from the 1st of December 2014. It will initially include Member States with southern sea and eastern land external borders (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain), as well as Norway. The remaining Member States with external borders (Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden) will join from the 1st of December 2014.

The event:

IP and MEMO will be available on the day

DG HOME experts will give a technical briefing

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs

Homepage DG Home Affairs:

The contacts:

Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963

Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764

Wednesday 4 December: Commission to propose a Quality Framework for Traineeships

The news:

On 4 December the Commission will present a proposal for a Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships. The Recommendation would set out guidelines to enable trainees to acquire high-quality work experience under safe conditions. The Recommendation would call on Member States to ensure national law or practice respects the principles set out in the guidelines, and to adapt their legislation where necessary. The Quality Framework would aim to increase transparency with regard to traineeship conditions, for example on remuneration/compensation and the prospects for possible longer term hiring by the company employing the trainee. The Framework would not cover traineeships that form part of an education course.

The idea of the Framework is to facilitate education-to-work transitions and to increase the employability of young people whilst ensuring that young people are not exploited. Traineeships are therefore a key element of the Youth Guarantee. The Quality Framework for Traineeships will also be key for facilitating mobility of young people through EURES.

The background:

The Quality Framework for Traineeships is one of the initiatives announced in the December 2012 Youth Employment Package (see IP/12/1311, MEMO/12/938).

The Youth Guarantee seeks to ensure that Member States offer all young people up to age 25 a good quality job offer, a traineeship, an apprenticeship or continued education, within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The Quality Framework will be an important reference point for determining a good quality offer of traineeships. The Youth Guarantee is one of the most crucial and urgent structural reforms that Member States must introduce to address youth unemployment and to improve school to work transitions (see MEMO/13/968 and MEMO/13/984).

A study on traineeships in all EU Member States was published by the Commission in July 2012. It recommended that traineeships offer more guarantees in terms of quality and perspectives for young people, and should be more responsive to labour market requirements (see IP/12/731).

The event:

László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion will present the proposal in the Commission's press room.

Press materials will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

For more information on measures to tackle youth unemployment: MEMO/13/968

The contacts:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 1883

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