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Brussels, Friday 6 December 2013
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Wednesday 11 December: First calls under Horizon 2020 2
Wednesday 11 - Thursday 12 December: Commissioner Hahn in Crete and Athens to help focus Regional investments on Greece's recovery for 2014-2020 4
Friday 13 December: Commission to propose a Quality Framework for Restructuring 6
Wednesday 18 December (date to be confirmed): The Commission presents air quality package 7
January (date to be confirmed): Commission to propose a Regulation to strengthen EURES, the network of European employment services 9
Wednesday 11 December: First calls under Horizon 2020
On December 11, the European Commission will announce the areas of research and innovation that it proposes to fund in the first two years of Horizon 2020, the biggest ever EU research framework programme with a seven year budget worth nearly €80 billion. Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will present an overview of the funding opportunities for researchers, universities and industry at a news conference in Brussels.
With a focus on delivering both economic and societal impacts, Horizon 2020 will tackle issues that matter most to people: stimulating growth, creating new and better jobs and finding answers to societal challenges. Funding will be available for cross-border collaborative research projects, also open to international partners; for public-private and public-public partnerships with specific goals, such as developing new medicines or hydrogen-powered cars; to support frontier research by world class scientists, or young researchers starting out on their careers; and small companies, through grants or indirect finance like loans and risk capital. The bulk of EU research funding is offered via competitive calls published on a dedicated website (the Participant Portal). The calls are evaluated by independent experts, ranked and then selected for funding. The aim of Horizon 2020 is to support the whole innovation chain – from bright idea to lab to market, thereby contributing to Europe's long term competitiveness. Horizon 2020 will also fund projects that aim to stimulate debate about the role of science within society and provide incentives to help less performing EU regions strengthen their science base.
Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will launch the first calls in a press conference. A technical, off-the-record briefing will take place for Brussels-based correspondents beforehand. Briefings will also take place at EC representations in a number of Member States.
A press release, MEMO and other background information will be available.
Michael Jennings +32 2 296 33 88 firstname.lastname@example.org
Inma Martinez Garcia +32 2 298 73 03 email@example.com
Wednesday 11 - Thursday 12 December: Commissioner Hahn in Crete and Athens to help focus Regional investments on Greece's recovery for 2014-2020
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, will continue his visit to Greece's 13 regions next week (December 11-12) when he goes to Crete where he will meet political representatives and businesses on how to make sure investments under Regional Policy deliver tangible results for citizens. He will then go on to Athens to discuss with Prime Minister Samaras and Minister for Development Hatzidakis the priorities of the next programming period. Greece will be allocated more than € 14 bn of European Structural and Investment Funds to accelerate Greece's recovery and strengthen the country's competitiveness.
Greece has made good progress under the framework set by the EU's assistance programme as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding. In terms of absorption of structural funds, Greece now ranks fourth in the EU. Important structural reforms have been achieved and the efforts of budget consolidation show initial positive results. Greece and its regions are now in the process of finalising their plans and strategies for how to use EU investments for the next budget period. This is in dialogue with the European Commission, as part of the so called Partnership Agreement. This will set down the strategy according to the Reformed Cohesion Policy and the particular strengths of the regions with a clear focus on the real economy.
Wednesday, 11 December
Commissioner Hahn will pay a visit to Crete where he will meet the regional Governor as well as representatives of local authorities and stakeholders. He will also pay a visit to innovative regional projects co-funded by the EU such as the Foundation of Research and Technology (FORTH).
Thursday, 12 December: Athens
08:45 Meeting with the Minister of Development, Mr Costis Hatzidakis
10:00 Meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
11:30 Opening Speech of Commissioner Hahn at the Conference "European Policy of Urban Development in practice"
13:45 Press Conference
15:15 Meeting with the Minister of Interior, Ioannis Michelakis
A press release (speech) will be published on Thursday 12 December via RAPID:
Information on Structural Funds for Greece: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.cfm
Friday 13 December: Commission to propose a Quality Framework for Restructuring
On 13 December the European Commission will present a Communication establishing an EU Quality Framework for anticipation of change and restructuring (QFR). This document will feature guidance for companies, workers, trade unions, employers' organisations and public administrations in order to facilitate business adaptation and labour market transitions via better anticipation and investment in human capital, while minimising the social impact of any restructuring processes. Based on real experiences, good practices of anticipating skills and training needs are highlighted in the document, also with a view to increasing the coherence of actions taken by those involved in restructuring. The Quality Framework also frames the current EU legislation and actions in this field, including financial assistance.
The Commission intends to call on Member States to support and promote the implementation of the QFR, including in the public sector, and on all stakeholders to cooperate on the basis of these principles. The Commission will monitor its application with view of a possible revision by 2016.
The Quality Framework for anticipation of change and restructuring is the next step after the Green Paper 'Restructuring and anticipation of change: what lessons from recent experience', published in January 2012 (IP/12/23). It also follows the request made by the European Parliament on 15 January 2013 in its Resolution on information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring (known as the Cercas Report).
The European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC) has registered more than 16.000 restructuring operations since 2002, with a net job loss of over 2 million. Restructuring affects every country in Europe and is a major source of concern in the context of the recession, making human capital investments and adequate management of restructuring activities all the more necessary.
Press materials will be available on the day.
For more information on restructuring:
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 1883 email@example.com
Wednesday 18 December (date to be confirmed): The Commission presents air quality package
On 18 December (tbc), the European Commission will set out a review of the air quality legislation and a strategy confirming the 2020 objectives through the implementation of the Gothenburg Protocol and setting out new objectives to reduce a number of impacts on health and environment beyond 2020, by 2025 and 2030. It will include:
Air pollution is the number one environmental cause of death in the EU. Each year, 400,000 people in Europe die prematurely due to the diseases caused by air pollution. It creates a huge cost to citizen's health, the economy and environment. The European Commission has developed an air quality package which aims to get all the polluted zones in compliance by 2020 and to set Europe on the pathway towards achieving the WHO guidelines beyond 2030.
12:30 (tbc) Press conference with Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for Environment, in the Berlaymont press room: Commissioner will present the main elements of the air quality review. More specific details will be provided during a technical briefing (timing tbc).
A press release will be available on the day.
Review of the EU Air policy:
Joe Hennon +32 2 295 35 93 firstname.lastname@example.org
Julija Perlova +32 2 291 37 63 email@example.com
January (date to be confirmed): Commission to propose a Regulation to strengthen EURES, the network of European employment services
On 16 December the Commission is due to present a proposal for a Regulation to modernise EURES, the pan-European job search network, in order to strengthen its service to job seekers and employers. The revamped EURES would:
In particular, the Regulation would open up the network to a variety of new actors including social partners and private employment services. It would also spell out the minimum level of services to be available for all job seekers willing to work in another Member State. The new Regulation will also open up EURES to apprenticeships and traineeships.
Labour mobility can help to reduce the wide differences in youth unemployment rates across Europe and fill labour shortages that exist in some sectors. The Commission is working to help those who are willing to move to another country to find a job abroad. The proposed new EURES Regulation is one of the measures that would facilitate free movement of workers, together with the Commission's April 2013 proposal to improve the application of workers' rights to free movement (IP/13/372, MEMO/13/384), and the recent Communication on free movement of people (IP/13/1151, MEMO/13/1041).
The EURES network of European employment services was first established in 1993. On 3 December 2013 EURES featured 2 185 278 job vacancies, 1 234 922 CVs and 32 335 employers registered in 32 European countries.
Press materials will be available on the day.
More information on EURES.
Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 18 83 email@example.com