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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 6 June 2014

Top News from the European Commission
7 June – 5 July 2014

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

Tuesday 10 June: The Commission, the Council and the Parliament bring together religious leaders to exchange ideas on the future of the European Union

The news:

The tenth edition of the annual high-level meeting of religious leaders will take place on Tuesday 10 June at the Commission's headquarters in Brussels, under the motto 'The future of the European Union'. Participants will exchange views on, amongst others, current societal developments in and outside the EU, on Europe's role in the world and in the immediate neighbourhood, and on the part religions can play in this context. The meeting will be hosted by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and co-chaired by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and László Surján, Vice-President of the European Parliament, representing EP President Martin Schulz. The participants will observe a minute's silence in respect of the victims of the tragic attack in the Jewish museum in Brussels on 24 May and will adopt a joint declaration regarding Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian sentenced to death for apostasy.

The following representatives from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Mormon communities will be present:

  • Mr Syed Ali ABBAS, Joint Secretary of Majlis e Ulama e Shi’a Europe

  • Professor Margaret S. ARCHER, President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Science

  • His Excellency Chaim BURSTEIN, Chief Rabbi of Lithuania

  • Imam Hassen CHALGHOUMI, President of the Conference of Imams of France

  • His Eminence Bishop DOROTHEOS II of Syros, Tinos, Andros, Kea, Melos and Mykonos

  • His Eminence Metropolitan EMMANUEL of France, Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the European Institutions

  • His Excellency Chief Rabbi Pinchas GOLDSCHMIDT, President of the Conference of European rabbis

  • His Excellency, Monseigneur Jean-Pierre GRALLET, Archevêque de Strasbourg

  • His Excellency Albert GUIGUI, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative at the Conference of European Rabbis

  • The Right Reverend Christopher HILL, President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC)

  • His Excellency Kari MÄKINEN, Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

  • His Eminence Cardinal Reinhard MARX, Archbishop of Freising and Munich

  • His Excellency Bhai Sahib MOHINDER SINGH, Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Birmingham

  • Imam Yahya PALLAVICINI, Vice-President of the "Comunità religiosa Islamica" in Italy

  • His Grace Bishop PORFYRIOS of Neapolis, Director of the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Institution

  • His Excellency Dr Nikolaus SCHNEIDER, Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)

  • Ms Bharti TAILOR, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe and Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain

  • Elder José A. TEIXEIRA, European President of the Church of the Latter Day Saints

  • Her Excellency Bishop Rosemarie WENNER, Presiding Bishop of the United Methodist Church in Germany

The background:

The open, transparent and regular dialogue between the European Commission and churches, religious communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations, is enshrined into primary law by the Lisbon Treaty (Art 17 TFEU). Beyond regular seminars with the different interlocutors, there is one annual high-level meeting with religious leaders and one with philosophical and non-confessional representatives. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the high-level meeting with religious leaders.

The event:

The High-level Religious Leaders meeting will take place in the Berlaymont building on Tuesday 11 June 2014 from 10h00 to 14h00. A press release and the list of participating religious leaders will be published on the day. A press conference of the two Presidents and Vice President László Surján together with the religious leaders will be held in the European Commission's press room at 12h00.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on the European Commission's dialogue with churches, religious communities and philosophical and non-confessional organisations:

Website of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission:

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen +32 2 295 30 70

Jens Mester +32 2 296 39 73

Dirk Volckaerts +32 2 299 39 44

Monday 16 June: Commission presents annual Taxation Trends report

The news:

On 16 June, the European Commission will present the 2014 edition of its Taxation Trends report. This report takes stock of the tax systems in the Member States, including extensive and comparable data on their tax structures and rates. It also provides an analysis on the evolution of these trends over the medium- to long-term period.

The background:

Taxation is at the heart of citizens' relationship with the State. Government experts, academics, and many individual are interested in comparative tax levels in the EU. This report, published annually, is one way of answering them.

Indeed, the Taxation Trends report compiles tax indicators that allow comparison of the tax systems and tax policies between EU Member States. It offers a breakdown of tax revenues raised either from consumption, labour or capital. It also contains data on energy taxation and on the top rates for personal and corporate income taxes. It gives an overview of each of the 28 EU countries covered, their revenue trends and recent tax policy changes.

The event:

A technical briefing on the main results of the Report will be organised on Monday 16 June in the press room of Berlaymont Building, after the Midday briefing (around 12h30) by experts from the European Commission.

  1. Available on EbS

The report and a press release will be available in front of the press room.

The contacts:

Emer Traynor +32 2 292 15 48

Franck Arrii +32 0 297 22 21

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