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Brussels, Thursday 8 May 2014
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
On 13th May, the European Commission will adopt a Communication on the role of the private sector in development in which it will define the future direction of EU policy and support to private sector development in its partner countries. The Communication will outline a new framework to ensure the highest development dividend from private sector operations in developing countries, for the benefit all members of society – particularly women and young people. It will include actions and tools to improve regulatory business environments, to accelerate the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that are essential to create decent jobs, and will advocate a ‘differentiated’ approach to the private sector – providing different incentives for businesses to contribute to development. It will also define principles for working in partnership with the private sector for boosting development; for example in sectors like agriculture, energy, and infrastructure, where inclusive and sustainable growth could be stimulated through blending.
This communication comes in response to the European Commission’s 2011’s Agenda for Change (its blueprint to refocus its development policy to prioritise those countries and sectors most in need and where it can have the biggest impact), which recognised the private sector as a main partner in EU development cooperation. It follows extensive consultations with the EU and partner country stakeholders, including European and local private sector representatives. The private sector accounts for some 90 percent of jobs in developing countries, making it an essential partner in the fight against poverty. The European Commission has been a very active partner in supporting the creation of an enabling business environment and local enterprise development in partner countries and with the creation of regional blending facilities has been a leader in developing new tools for implementing private sector development.
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
On 4 June, the European Commission will publish its 2014 Convergence Report, which will examine whether any Member State with a derogation from adopting the euro satisfies the conditions for switching to the single currency.
The 2014 Convergence Report will cover eight Member States: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. In particular, the report will indicate whether Lithuania, which aims to adopt the euro in 2015, fulfils the criteria.
Convergence reports are issued by the European Commission and the European Central Bank every two years, or more often if a country intending to join the euro requests it. These reports assess whether Member States with a derogation have achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence and whether their relevant legal provisions are fully compatible with the Treaty. The reports form the basis for the Council decision on whether a Member State may join the euro area.
All EU Member States, except the UK and Denmark, are committed by the Treaty to adopt the euro once they fulfil the necessary conditions. Eighteen countries already share the single currency. This leaves eight EU members which still remain outside the euro area (i.e. ‘Member States with a derogation’).
The latest Commission and European Central Bank (ECB) Convergence Reports relating to all Member States with a derogation were adopted in May 2012.
The 2014 Convergence Report will contain the Report from the Commission and the accompanying Staff Working Document with a more detailed analysis of the fulfilment of the conditions.
Olli Rehn, European Commission Vice President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, is due to present the main findings of the Convergence Report at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room (to be confirmed). A press release, a memo and the report itself will be available on the day.
Simon O'Connor +32 2 296 73 59 firstname.lastname@example.org
Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07 email@example.com
Vandna Kalia +32 2 299 58 24 firstname.lastname@example.org