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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 13 June 2014

Top News from the European Commission
14 June – 12 July 2014

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

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

Wednesday 18 June: Commission wants to bring countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Macro-Region closer together

The news:

The Commission has officially launched a new EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region to make sure its 70 million residents reap the benefit of closer cooperation in areas like preserving the marine environment, completing missing transport and energy links and boosting sustainable tourism.

The Strategy will also provide a valuable opportunity for would be members and candidates of the EU to work alongside EU members, thus contributing to their integration into the European Union.

This is the first EU 'macro-regional strategy' with an equal balance of EU members (Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia) and non-EU countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia). The focus will be above all on blue growth, land-sea transport, energy connectivity, protecting the environment and sustainable tourism. Through this, the Strategy will contribute to boosting economic growth and jobs in the region. The Maritime Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, adopted by the Commission on 30 November 2012, forms the starting point and is incorporated in the Strategy.

The background:

The European Council of 13-14 December 2012 requested the Commission to bring forward an EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region before the end of 2014, building on the experiences of the Danube and Baltic Sea Regions. The newly launched Strategy takes into account the outcomes of the on-line public stakeholder consultations conducted between October 2013 and January 2014 as well as the discussions from the closing Stakeholder Conference in Athens on 6-7 February 2014. It is expected that the European Council, under the Italian Presidency, will endorse the Strategy later this year.

The event:

Wednesday 18 June, 13:15 a.m.

Press Round Table with Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Commissioner Maria Damanaki on the launch of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

Please contact if you would like to attend.

The sources:

A press release (IP) and a MEMO will be published via RAPID on Wednesday 18 June

For further information:

Towards an EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region

EU Macro-Regional Strategies

Study on the Adriatic Ionian sea basin cooperation

Brochure on Blue Growth (data by country and sea basin)

Twitter: @EU_Regional @JHahnEU @MariaDamanakiEU @ECSpokesHelene #EUSAIR

The contacts:

Shirin Wheeler +32 2 296 65 65 mobile +32 460 766 565

Helene Banner +32 2 29 5 24 07 mobile +32 460 752 407

Annemarie Huber +32 2 299 33 10 mobile +32 460 793 310

Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 05 67 mobile + 32 498 690 567

Wednesday 18 June: REFIT: further progress in making EU law lighter, simpler and cheaper

The news:

The Commission continues to push its agenda for simplification of EU law.

Just a few days ahead of the European Council, it will present a report on the progress made to implement its Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme, which is at the heart of the Commission's smart regulation efforts. The Commission will also present a number of new initiatives. A scoreboard, published for the first time, will detail the progress made in implementing each individual REFIT initiative.

The background:

With its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) launched in December 2012, the Commission committed to a simple, clear, stable and predictable regulatory framework for business, workers and citizens. Under REFIT, the Commission screened the entire stock of EU legislation for burdens, inconsistencies and ineffective measures and identified corrective action. The aim is to make sure that the policy objectives are achieved and the benefits of EU legislation are enjoyed at lowest cost and with a minimum of administrative burden, in full respect of the Treaties.

In the October 2013 Communication on REFIT , the Commission defined an ambitious agenda with over 100 individual actions including 46 legislative actions to simplify and reduce regulatory burden, 7 initiatives to repeal existing regulation and 9 initiatives to withdraw proposals for new regulation. In addition, the Commission committed to carry-out 47 Fitness Checks and evaluations under REFIT to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of EU regulation and prepare future initiatives for simplification and regulatory burden reduction. The Commission also identified areas where initiatives foreseen would not be taken forward.

The sources:

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen +32 2 295 30 70

Jens Mester +32 2 296 39 73

Tuesday 1 July: Commission to propose Green Employment Initiative to support job creation in the green economy

The news:

On 1 July the Commission is due to present a Communication on a Green Employment Initiative: tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy. This initiative is presented in conjunction with a Communication on circular economy and a Green Action Plan for SMEs (see above/below).

The transition towards a green and resource-efficient economy is needed to increase European global competitiveness and is at the core of the Europe 2020 Strategy. It is an opportunity for creating high quality environmentally-friendly jobs, while securing the sustainable well-being of future generations and contributing to recovery from the economic crisis. It is also a challenge for the European labour market and skills policies, as this transition will bring about fundamental transformations across all sectors: additional employment will be created, some jobs will be replaced and others redefined.

To create the necessary conditions for employment in the green and resource efficient economy to fulfil its potential, better targeting and closer coordination of labour market policies and tools are therefore essential. This Initiative will call for an integrated approach towards supporting employment in the economy by setting out policy actions to be taken at European and national levels, including:

  • Bridging skills and knowledge gaps

  • Anticipating sectoral changes, securing transitions in employment and promoting mobility

  • Supporting job creation through shifting taxation away from labour and promoting, entrepreneurship

  • Increasing transparency and data quality to improve monitoring

  • Promoting social dialogue and engagement of employer representatives and trade unions

  • Strengthening international cooperation.

The background:

The Europe 2020 Strategy identifies the transition towards a green, low carbon and resource efficient economy as one of the key ongoing structural transformations to achieve smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The model for green growth – leading to a low carbon, climate resilient and resource efficient economy - depicts a structural economic change which is mainly driven by scarcity of resources (resource constraints and prices), and supported by public policies, technological change and innovation, new markets and changes in industrial and consumer demand patterns. This structural shift is both a challenge and an opportunity for the labour market and considerable job creation is already taking place in the environmental goods and service sector. There was an increase from 3 to 4.2 million jobs between 2002 and 2011, including by 20% during the recession years (2007-2011).

The 2014 Annual Growth Survey stressed the job creation potential of the green economy and the need to develop strategic frameworks in which labour market and skills policies play an active role in supporting job creation. Nevertheless, integrated policy frameworks linking green growth and employment exist in only a small number of Member States, with the majority showing a disjointed and fragmented approach.

The event:

Press material will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

For more information on Green Jobs:

  1. Creating Green Jobs (Reference: I-061713)

The contacts:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 18 83

Joe Hennon +32 2 295 35 93

Isaac Valero Ladron +32 2 296 49 71

Wednesday 9 July: Horizon 2020: Public-private innovation partnerships launch calls

The news:

Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), public-private partnerships set up under EU's new research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, will launch the first calls for research projects on 9 July 2014. The partnerships work in strategic areas such as medicines, fuel cells, air and rail transport and electronics. They represent an essential investment into Europe's economy and in a better quality of life.

The background:

Through partnerships with industry and Member States, Horizon 2020 pools Europe’s resources to tackle the biggest challenges and to support competitiveness of sectors that deliver high quality jobs.

Eleven partnerships with the industry and Member States are being launched under Horizon 2020. The overall investment over the next seven years is worth more than €22 billion, where the EU's contribution of €9 billion will unlock an equivalent investment from the private sector and €4 billion from Member States.

Most of the funding will go to Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs). These are run as Joint Undertakings that organise their own research agenda and award funding for projects on the basis of open calls. The first round of these calls will be now launched by most of the seven public-private partnerships.

The event:

Stakeholder conference with addresses by President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso (to be confirmed), Vice-Presidents Neelie Kroes and Siim Kallas, and Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn on 9 July.

IP and Memo will be available on the day.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

Horizon 2020 website

Horizon magazine

Participant Portal

  1. EU : Research - Horizon 2020 - 2013 (Part 1) (Reference: I-075812)

  1. EU: Research - Horizon 2020, 2013 (Part 2) (Reference: I-077412)

The contacts:

Michael Jennings +32 2 296 33 88

Monika Wcislo +32 2 298 65 95

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