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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 23 May 2014

Top News from the European Commission
24 May – 20 June 2014

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

Wednesday 28 May: Commission presents a European Energy Security Strategy

The news:

On 28 May the European Commission will adopt a European Energy Security Strategy. The main aim of the strategy is to increase the resilience of the EU energy system to withstand possible supply disruptions and, in the long run, to reduce the EU energy dependence on external suppliers.

The strategy is accompanied by an in-depth study of the security of the EU energy system.

The background:

Against the background of the current gas dispute between the Ukraine and Russia, the European Council of March 2014 called the Commission to conduct an in-depth study on European energy security and to present a comprehensive plan on how to reduce EU energy dependence. This plan will be discussed by the Heads of State or Government at the European Council on 26/27 June.

The event:

10:00 Technical briefing off the record

12:30 Press Conference with EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger

An IP and a MEMO will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

For more information on the EU energy system:

The contacts:

Sabine Berger +32 460 792 792 - +32 2 299 27 92

Nicole Bockstaller +32 498 952 589 - +32 2 295 25 89

Wednesday 28 May: From Subsidy to Strategic Investment: What can the EU's new, reformed Regional Policy do for growth and jobs in 2014-20?

The news:

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, will be in London on Wednesday, 28th May to take part in a public debate at the London School of Economics (LSE) on the importance of EU Regional Policy and its investments – this debate is part of the European Institute ‘Perspectives on Europe’ lecture series. The Commissioner will be in conservation with Professor Iain Begg of the LSE to argue the recent reforms on Regional Policy have equipped it to be the EU's main investment tool. 

The background:

With reforms now in place, EU regional policy for 2014-20 focuses more than ever on investment that will improve the quality of life of EU citizens. € 350 billion - the EU's second biggest spending priority - will above all support small and medium-sized enterprises, research and innovation, renewable energies and energy efficiency, education, and fight against unemployment and poverty. During the debate, the Commissioner will be asked to what extent the reforms challenge the traditional convergence role of the policy with its focus on the poorer regions. The discussion will also assess how profound the reforms are and, at a time when the UK is reconsidering its position in the EU, there will be a reflection on whether Regional Policy could be better carried out at national level.

The event:

Date: Wednesday 28 May 2014 

Time: 6.30-8pm 

Venue: New Theatre, East Building, London school of Economics 

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at , telephone +44 (0)207 955 6043

The sources:

  1. Video and photo coverage will be available on Ebs

Twitter: @EU_Regional @JHahnEU

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEHahn

The contacts:

Please contact the Press Office of LSE if you would like to request a press seat or have a media query about this event, email Please note that press seats are usually allocated at least 24 hours before each event.

Commissioner Hahn's spokesperson:

Shirin Wheeler +32 460 766 565

Monday 2 June: Commission presents 2014 Country-Specific Recommendations

The news:

On 2 June, the European Commission will recommend budgetary, employment and other structural reforms that each Member State should carry out over the next 12-18 months to help them boost growth.

The annual country-specific recommendations form part of the European Semester, the EU's calendar for economic policy coordination, which is designed to prevent future crises by catching and remedying problems before they spread. The recommendations also encourage Member States to meet their long-term targets on employment, education, research, climate change and poverty reduction under the Europe 2020 strategy.

Together with the country-specific recommendations, the European Commission will also table several recommendations under the Stability and Growth Pact, the EU's budgetary surveillance mechanism.

The background:

The country-specific recommendations are the culmination of months of careful analysis by the Commission and debate with the other EU institutions. The cycle begins each November with the Annual Growth Survey, which proposes economic priorities for the EU as a whole. EU leaders endorsed these priorities in March 2014 and Member States integrated them in their medium-term budgetary and structural reform plans, which they submitted to the Commission in April.

The Commission's recommendations are based on a detailed assessment of these plans, and of the economic, employment and budgetary situation in each country. The recommendations will be discussed and endorsed by EU leaders in June and formally adopted by finance ministers in July. Member States are expected to take account of them in their 2015 budget and reform plans.

The Commission will also take a number of steps under the Stability and Growth Pact. The Pact, which has a preventive arm and a corrective arm (the Excessive Deficit Procedure), commits Member States to reduce deficits and debt in a timely and lasting way, through recommendations and deadlines proposed by the Commission. The Commission's proposals will be discussed and agreed by EU finance ministers in June.

The event:

A press conference will take place following the Commission's meeting on 2 June to present:

  1. 27 sets of country-specific recommendations, one for every Member State (except Greece and Cyprus, which are implementing economic adjustment programmes) and one for the euro area;

  2. 29 staff working documents, analysing the economic situation, outlook, reforms and challenges in every EU Member State, including Greece and Cyprus;

  3. A communication summarising the key political messages emerging from these recommendations;

  4. A number of recommendations under the Stability and Growth Pact.

Press material will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Member States' budgetary and reform plans, submitted April 2014:

Overview of ongoing excessive deficit procedures:

The contacts:

Sarah Collins +32 2 296 80 76

Simon O'Connor +32 2 296 73 59 simon.o'

Vandna Kalia +32 2 299 58 24

Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07

Tuesday 3 June – Thursday 5 June: Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency & Waste main topics at Green Week 2014

The news:

This year's edition of Green Week, the biggest annual environmental gathering in Europe, will focus on the Circular Economy and Waste. How can we turn waste into resources and jobs? How can we break our reliance on new materials? How can we re-use, re-manufacture and recycle? How can we change the way we produce and consume? These issues will be addressed at Green Week.

In addition to the traditional Green Week sessions, side events and exhibitions, this year will include a New Environmentalism Summit, with a stellar line-up of speakers. The aim is to put the spotlight on the most critical environmental issues currently facing the planet and help generate ideas about how we can make the breakthroughs which are becoming more and more urgent.

Speakers include Janez Potočnik (Commissioner for Environment), Jeffrey Sachs (world-renowned economist and advisor to Ban-Ki Moon), Yann Arthus Bertrand (film director), Mitch Hedlund (Executive Director, Recycle Across America), Achim Steiner (Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme), Dr Marco Lambertini (Director-General, WWF International), Sandra Steingraber (Author and activist), Jacques Perrin (film director) and Ricken Patel (Executive Director, Avaaz).

The background:

The EU is suffering from high unemployment, rising resource prices, risks to security of supply, growing competition and stagnant demand. The current linear economic model, where we produce, consume and throw away, is leading to massive waste that we cannot afford. By 2045 there will be 9 billion people sharing the world's finite resources. Europe, with its high consumption and heavy dependence on imports, will be hit hard unless we adapt.

The event:

Green Week will take place from 3rd to 5th June in Brussels and is open to the public, participation is free of charge. Registration can be done through the webpage of the event. The main sessions of the programme will be broadcast on the website via live web-streaming.

The sources:

Green Week webpage:


Practical information:

Social media:


Twitter: @EU_ENV - hashtag #EUGreenWeek

  1. Stockshots:

Electric waste and electronic equipment (ref. 80105)

Using waste as a resource (long version) (ref. I-069889)

  1. Documentary:

Resource Efficiency (ref. I-069935)

The contacts:

Joe Hennon +32 2 295 35 93

Andreja Skerl +32 2 295 14 45

Wednesday 4 June: Commission reports on countries' readiness to adopt the euro

The news:

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.

The background:

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.

The event:

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.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

  1. Euro 2011 (stockshots - ref. I-069117)

The contacts:

Simon O'Connor +32 2 296 73 59 simon.o'

Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07

Vandna Kalia +32 2 299 58 24

Wednesday 4 June – Thursday 5 June: G7 summit in Brussels

The news:

On 4-5 June 2014, a G7 summit will take place in Brussels, co-hosted by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

On the agenda will be the situation in Ukraine and the relations with Russia as well as other foreign policy topics, the global economy, trade, energy security, climate change and development.

The two-day meeting will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday 4 June and end on Thursday 5 June around 3 p.m.

It is the first time that a G7 summit takes place in Brussels.

The background:

Originally a G8 summit was scheduled to take place in Sochi (Russia) in early June under Russian presidency. At their meeting 24 March in The Hague (Netherlands) the G7 leaders (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission) decided to meet in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014 in the G7 format instead.

The European Union is a full member of the G8 (and the G20) and is jointly represented by the European Commission President and the European Council President.

The event:

A pre-summit press conference by Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy in the afternoon of 4 May (time to be confirmed).

A closing press conference by Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy in the early afternoon of 5 May (time to be confirmed).

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Deadline for media accreditation: Tuesday 27 May, 10 p.m. (CEST)

G7 website including further practical information:

The contacts:

European Council

Dirk De Backer +32 (0)2 281 97 68

Preben Aamann +32 (0)2 281 20 60

Jüri Laas +32 (0)2 281 55 23

European Commission

Pia Ahrenkilde +32 (0)2 295 30 70

Jens Mester +32 (0)2 296 39 73

Dirk Volckaerts +32 (0)2 299 39 44

Friday 6 June: Commission to propose an EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work

The news:

On 6 June, the Commission is due to present a new EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work for the period 2014-2020.

Improving health and safety at work reduces the number of work-related accidents and diseases, improves staff well-being and job satisfaction, and so results in productivity gains for companies and cost savings for social security systems.

The new strategic framework will outline the achievements of EU-level action on health and safety at work and identify the key challenges and strategic objectives for the future.

The key challenges are:

  1. to improve implementation of existing health and safety rules in particular by enhancing the capacity of micro and small enterprises to put in place effective and efficient risk prevention strategies

  2. to improve the prevention of work-related diseases by tackling new and emerging risks without neglecting existing risks

  3. to take account of the ageing of the EU's working population.

The new Strategic Framework is due to address such issues as further consolidating national health and safety strategies, facilitating compliance (particularly in SMEs), improved enforcement, simplification of existing rules, measures to take account of the ageing workforce and new risks, improving data on work-related accidents and diseases and reinforcing coordination with other international organisations and third countries. It also identifies the EU instruments which help implement the Strategic framework such as EU Funds and social dialogue.

The background:

The new Strategic Framework builds on the 2007-2012 EU Health and Safety Strategy, which was successful, in particular, in helping to reduce the number of work accidents leading to absences of more than three days by 27.9% in the EU.

The Framework takes account of views expressed by the EU institutions and representatives of employee and employer organisations, and the results of a public consultation carried in 2013 to gather insights on current and future challenges in the occupational safety and health area (IP/13/491). A large majority of stakeholders, including employee and employer representatives, identified a new Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work as an appropriate tool to improve workplace safety and health.

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 Health and Safety at Work:

  1. Health and safety at work  (ref. I-072988)

The contacts:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 4107

Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 1883

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