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Brussels, Friday 1 February 2013
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Tuesday 5 February: Commission will propose changes to Anti-money laundering and fund transfer legislation 2
Tuesday 5 February: Commission to propose Directive reinforcing the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law 3
Thursday 7 February: Adoption of a joint Communication by the High Representative and the European Commission on Cyber Security Strategy 4
Wednesday 13 February: Strengthening market surveillance for safer products and growth 6
Thursday 14 February: Directive implementing enhanced cooperation on the Financial Transactions Tax 7
Thursday 21 February: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package 8
Friday 22 February: European Economic Forecast 9
February (date to be confirmed): Innovation Union Scoreboard reveals Member States' innovation performance in a global context 10
Tuesday 5 February: Commission will propose changes to Anti-money laundering and fund transfer legislation
The Commission will present two proposals for legislation to further strengthen the EU’s defences against money laundering and terrorist financing, helping to ensure the soundness, integrity and stability of the financial system. The proposals will update and improve the EU’s existing Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the Fund Transfers Regulation, and will be sent to the European Parliament and the Council for adoption.
The existing EU Anti-money laundering Directive dates back to 2005. In light of the changes to international standards adopted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the world anti-money laundering body - in February 2012 (see MEMO/12/113), existing EU rules need to be updated and strengthened. The Commission conducted its own assessment of the existing rules and published an application report in April 2012 (see IP/12/357).
The Fund Transfer regulation dates back to 2006, and implements into EU law the FATF's Special Recommendation VII (SRVII) – aimed at ensuring full traceability of transfers of funds with the objective of combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In February 2012, FATF updated its standards – including SRVII. At the end of 2011, the Commission conducted a review of the Fund Transfer Regulation, the results of which have been taken into account in preparing the legislative proposal.
A technical briefing off the record under embargo will be given at 11.30 in the press room.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
For more information on financial crime:
Commissioner Michel Barnier's website:
Stefaan De Rynck +32 2 296 34 21 Stefaan.De-Rynck@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
Tuesday 5 February: Commission to propose Directive reinforcing the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law
The European Commission will present a proposal for a Directive on the protection of the euro against counterfeiting through criminal law. The aim of the proposed Directive will be to increase the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by requiring Member states to put in place stronger, more harmonised investigative, judicial and research measures to this end.
Data from the European Central Bank, Europol and others show that euro counterfeiting remains a matter of concern. In 2012 alone 531,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation. The €20 and €50 denominations are the most counterfeited.
Press release will be available on the day.
Vice President Reding's website:
Commissioner Algirdas Semeta's website:
Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 Emer.Traynor@ec.europa.eu
Mina Andreeva +32 2 299 13 82 Mina.Andreeva@ec.europa.eu
Thursday 7 February: Adoption of a joint Communication by the High Representative and the European Commission on Cyber Security Strategy
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will adopt a Communication on Cyber Security and a complementary proposal for a Directive on measures to ensure a high common level of cyber security across the EU. As network and information systems are globally interconnected, cyber security does not stop at borders. Lack of intervention at EU level would lead to a situation where each Member State would act alone disregarding the interdependences amongst network and information systems. Action at EU level will aim to ensure that an appropriate degree of coordination takes place among the Member States so that governments' measures are consistent with each other, and risks are well managed in the cross-border context in which they arise.
The Communication will outline the EU's vision of how security can be enhanced in cyberspace from a wide perspective and set out the actions required, including that of drastically reducing cybercrime through a strong legal framework, improving the capability of Member States and coordination at EU level to fight it. It will also outline major principles of the EU international cyberspace policy, which seeks to promote freedom and openness of the Internet, to protect fundamental rights online worldwide as well as to increase engagement with EU international partners in strengthening cyber security.
The magnitude and frequency of deliberate or accidental incidents on networks and information systems is increasing and can impede the pursuit of economic activities, generate substantial financial losses, undermine user confidence and cause major damage to the economy of the EU. The Commission’s 2012 online public consultation found that 57% of respondents had experienced cyber security incidents in 2011 that had a serious impact on their activities. The opportunities for cybercrime increase as our lives assume more and more a digital dimension. There is evidence that cybercrime is growing, cybercriminal networks are becoming increasingly sophisticated while law enforcement lacks the right operational tools and capabilities to tackle them. A coordinated approach to respond to this threat is therefore indispensable.
11.30 Joint press conference in the Berlaymont pressroom with High Representative Catherine Ashton, Vice-President Neelie Kroes and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.
Cyber Security: an Open, Free and Secure Internet:
Ryan Heath: +32 2 296 17 16 Ryan.Heath@ec.europa.eu
Linda Cain: +32 2 299 90 19 Linda.Cain@ec.europa.eu
Sebastien Brabant: +32 2 298 64 33 Sebastien.Brabant@ec.europa.eu
Eamonn Prendergast:+32 2 299 88 51 Eamonn.Prendergast@ec.europa.eu
Michele Cercone +32 2 298 09 63 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu
Tove Ernst +32 2 298 67 64 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu
Wednesday 13 February: Strengthening market surveillance for safer products and growth
On 13 February 2013 the European Commission will present the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package, which aims at the improvement of the Market Surveillance systems in the EU Member States. The package will be composed of new enforcement rules for the internal market for goods, which will enable national market surveillance authorities to enforce the law and to provide better and more means to ensure consumer protection. In particular, authorities will be able to better track down unsafe products while at the same time the new rules on consumer product safety will simplify the safety rules for consumer products, and merge them into one single piece of legislation.
The three most important parts of the package will be:
1) A proposal for a new Regulation on Consumer Product Safety (CPSR).
2) A proposal for a single Regulation on Market Surveillance for Products - unifying and simplifying existing fragmented legislation.
3) A multi-annual plan for market surveillance of 20 individual actions that the Commission will undertake over the next three years.
The EU's single market for goods ensures it is possible to buy and sell products in 27 EU Member States with a total population of more than 490 million. Safe products move freely. So, product safety rules and the market surveillance that underpins them are key for the function of the single market for goods. This proposal addresses fragmented EU legislation on product safety and market surveillance.
What: Press Conference of European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg
When: Wednesday 13/02/2013, after the Midday Briefing
Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels
IP and MEMO will be available on the day
Commissioner Tonio Borg's website:
Carlo Corazza +32 (0)2 295 17 52 Carlo.Corazza@ec.europa.eu
Sara Tironi +32 (0)2 299 04 03 Sara.Tironi@ec.europa.eu
Frédéric Vincent +32 (0)2 298 71 66 Frederic.Vincent@ec.europa.eu
Aikaterini Apostola +32 (0) 2 298 76 24 Aikaterini.Apostola@ec.europa.eu
Thursday 14 February: Directive implementing enhanced cooperation on the Financial Transactions Tax
On 14 February, the European Commission will adopt the substantive proposal for a Directive on the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) to be implemented under enhanced cooperation.
In September 2011, the Commission tabled a proposal for a common system of financial transactions tax (IP/11/1085). The objectives were to deliver important new revenues, ensure a fair contribution from the financial sector to public finances, contribute to more responsible trading and enable a coherent approach to taxing this sector in the Single Market. Despite intense discussions on this proposal, there was no unanimity amongst the 27 Member States. However, eleven Member States (Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) sent letters to the Commission requesting enhanced cooperation on an FTT, based on the Commission's original proposal. The Commission presented a Decision to this effect, after carefully analysing the requests to ensure this would be compliant with the Treaties. This Decision to allow a FTT based on enhanced cooperation between the 11 Member States was adopted by the EU's Council of Finance Ministers in January 2013.
More details to follow on press arrangements.
A press release will be available on the day.
Commissioner Algirdas Semeta's website:
DG Taxation and Customs Union website:
Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48 Emer.Traynor@ec.europa.eu
Natasha Bohez +32 2 296 64 70 Natasja.Bohez-Rubiano@ec.europa.eu
Thursday 21 February: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package
On Thursday 21 February 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:
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.
Friday 22 February: European Economic Forecast
On 22nd February, the Commission will publish its winter economic forecast for 2013-2014 covering Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment and public budget deficits and debt, amongst others. These forecasts focus on all 27 EU Member States, plus the candidate countries as well as some non-EU countries.
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Monetary Affairs produces short-term macroeconomic forecasts three times year: in the spring, autumn and in the winter. They serve as a basis for various economic surveillance procedures, such as in the context of the European Semester.
Each forecast has at least a two-year time horizon (with an additional year added each autumn) covering the current year and the next.
11.00 Press Conference by Vice-President Rehn in the Berlaymont Press Room in Brussels. Press release with a link to the report will be available on the day.
IP/12/1178 – Autumn EU Economic Forecast (7 November 2012)
European Commission websites:
Simon O'Connor + 32 2 296 7359 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vandna Kalia + 32 2 299 5824 email@example.com
Audrey Augier + 32 2 297 1607 firstname.lastname@example.org
February (date to be confirmed): Innovation Union Scoreboard reveals Member States' innovation performance in a global context
The European Commission will present the latest Innovation Union Scoreboard report (IUS) that benchmarks EU Member States' innovation performance and potential. The IUS 2012 will rank the EU Member States according to their innovation performance – indicating who the leaders, followers, moderate and modest innovators are. It will give the growth rate of EU's innovation performance as well as those of the individual Member States, over a period of five years and also since the launch of the EU2020 Innovation Union flagship strategy in 2010. The report will also look at the impact of the economic crisis on the EU's research and innovation landscape.
The Innovation Union Scoreboard contributes to the better implementation of the Europe 2020 flagship "Innovation Union" action. For more than 10 years this tool has examined the EU's and the Member States' innovation policy performance, using statistical analysis to track progress towards a more innovative European economy - a vital element of Europe 2020's smart growth objective.
It monitors innovation progress and performance based on twenty five indicators grouped in eight key dimensions relevant to European and national research and innovation systems, such as: human resources, open, excellent and attractive research systems, finance and support, investment by companies, linkages and entrepreneurship, intellectual assets, innovating enterprises and economic effects. The report covers the EU Member States, candidate and associated countries, and to a limited extent the EU's key economic global partners such as the US, Japan, South Korea and the BRICS countries.
A press conference by European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani and European Commissioner Máire Geoghan Quinn is foreseen. IP and Memo will be available on the day.
For more information:
Carlo Corazza +32 (0)2 295 17 52 email@example.com
Sara Tironi +32 (0)2 299 04 03 firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Jennings +32 (0)2 296 33 88 email@example.com
Monika Wcislo +32 (0)2 295 56 04 firstname.lastname@example.org