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European Commission - Top news

Top News from the European Commission 6 December 2014 – 6 January 2015

Brussels, 05 December 2014

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

10/12: President Juncker and Commission Members will be sworn in by the Court of Justice of the EU

17/12: Adoption of the 2015 European Commission Work Programme

1/1/2015: Lithuania becomes the 19th Member State to adopt the euro

1/1/2015: Countdown to the European Year for Development - 2015

Wednesday 10 December: President Juncker and Commission Members will be sworn in by the Court of Justice of the EU

The news:

President Juncker and all Members of the European Commission will give the solemn undertaking, as laid down by the Treaties, before the Court of Justice of the European Union, in a formal sitting on Wednesday 10 December 2014 in Luxembourg.

With this solemn undertaking, the Members of the Commission promise to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, to carry out their responsibilities in complete independence and in the general interest of the Union. This includes the formal pledge not to seek or take instructions from any Government or from any other institution, body, office or entity, to refrain from any action that is incompatible with their duties or the performance of their tasks, and to respect their obligations both during and after their term of office. More in particular, Members of the Commission promise to respect the duty “to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after [they] have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits.”

The background:

The requirement for European Commission Members to ‘give a solemn undertaking’ when entering in office is a long standing tradition. This provision was included for the first time in the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (1957) and has been applied for every single Commission that took office from that date onwards. With every new Treaty, the wording of the solemn undertaking is slightly adapted to the new legal situation. Since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (2009), the text also includes a reference to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The responsibilities and duties of Commission Members are laid down in Art. 17 of the Treaty on European Union and Art. 245 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The event:

Wednesday 10 December 2014 in the afternoon (exact time tbc): Solemn undertaking by President Juncker and the Members of the European Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union, Main Courtroom of the Court of Justice of the EU, Rue du Fort Niedergrünewald, L-2925 Luxembourg. Journalists wishing to attend the ceremony are invited to apply for accreditation to the Court of Justice of the EU at

  • Available on EBS

The contacts:

Margaritis Schinas, +32 229 60524,

Mina Andreeva, +32 229 91382,

Natasha Bertaud, +32 229 67456,

Court of Justice of the European Union: Juan Carlos González Álvarez, +352 4303 2623,

Wednesday 17 December: Adoption of the 2015 European Commission Work Programme

The news:

Every year, the Commission sets out its priorities in the Commission Work Programme (CWP). The first CWP of the Juncker Commission will translate the ten points of the Political Guidelines - the political contract with the European Parliament - and the European Council's Strategic Agenda for the Union in Times of Change, into concrete deliverables.

The background:

The Juncker Commission is committed to restoring citizens' confidence by demonstrating that the EU can deliver for them on the big challenges facing European economies and societies. That starts with setting the right priorities for the 2015 Commission Work Programme.

The Juncker Commission will set out its policy programme for new initiatives planned for 2015 and withdrawals of pending proposals (based on the principle of political discontinuity). This programme will be developed based on the Commission's stated ambition to be "bigger and more ambitious on big things, and smaller and more modest on small things."

The Juncker Commission is committed to a fresh start, with better prioritisation. The first work programme will concentrate on a limited set of concrete initiatives which can make a positive difference for citizens. For the first time, in the preparation of the Work Programme, the Commission is working in dialogue with both the European Parliament and the Member States to build support for its programme. The Commission believes that proposals are only useful if they are adopted, accepted and implemented properly on the ground.

The event:

Wednesday 17 December: Press Conference (more info to follow). Press release and fact sheet will be available on the day.

  • Available on EBS

The contacts:

Natasha Bertaud, +32 229 67456,

Tim McPhie, +32 229 58602,

Thursday 1 January 2015: Lithuania becomes the 19th Member State to adopt the euro

The news:

Lithuania will adopt the euro on 1 January 2015, which is a major achievement for Lithuania and for the euro area as a whole. From the first minute of the New Year, Lithuanians will start withdrawing euro cash and paying for their purchases in euro. This has been made possible thanks to thorough preparations ahead of the changeover. Following the euro adoption in Lithuania, 19 EU Member States and 337 million Europeans will share the same currency.

The background:

In its 2014 Convergence Report released on 4 June, the Commission concluded that Lithuania meets the criteria for adopting the euro (for details of the assessment please see IP/14/627). On 23 July, the EU Finance Ministers took the formal decision opening the way for Lithuania’s adoption of the euro.

Thereafter, Lithuania started preparing the changeover to the euro by implementing its national changeover plan, providing all the details for the organisation of the introduction of the euro and the withdrawal of the litas. This sets, for instance, the timetable for supplies of euro cash to commercial banks and to retailers, the rules for cash exchanges for citizens to be applied before and after its "day one" of the euro, the strategy for adapting bank accounts, electronic payments systems and ATMs to the euro etc.

The preparations for the changeover have been complemented by a comprehensive communication campaign of the Lithuanian authorities. The European Commission and the European Central Bank have contributed to these efforts.

The event:

1 January 2015: Lithuania adopts the euro. More information on media events will follow.

The sources:

The euro explained:

Official website of the Lithuanian government on the adoption of the euro:

The contacts:

Annika Breidthardt, +32 229 56153,

Annikky Lamp, +32 460 756 151, annikky.lamp@ec.europa

Countdown to the European Year for Development - 2015

The news:

The European Year for Development 2015 is set to be a special year, as the deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, which the international community agreed in the year 2000; and for the next set of goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – to be put in place. This year will be a unique opportunity to inform EU citizens how every euro of support helps to make a difference and to showcase our strong commitment to eradicating poverty worldwide, improving the situation of refugees and those in dire need of aid, tackling climate change and helping to protect to world’s natural resources. One of the main objectives of the European Year is to show EU citizens that development aid is also about them; that it also has a positive impact on their lives, considering the increasingly interdependent world we live in, and to foster a sense of joint responsibility, solidarity and opportunity as a result.This is very well reflected in the motto of the year, “Our world, our dignity, our future”.

The background:

This will be the first ever European Year focused on external affairs. The EU is the biggest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the world. Four years after the adoption of the Agenda for Change (the European Commission's blueprint to refocus its development aid to make sure that it reaches those sectors and countries which need it most), 2015 is the ideal time to look at what has been achieved so far and what still needs to be done.

Despite the current economic downturn, support for development remains high across the EU, with some 83% of EU citizens saying that Europe should continue to help developing countries according to a recent Eurobarometer survey.

The events:

The launch event will take place in Riga, Latvia, on 9 January 2015, in the margins of the opening of the presidency of the European Council. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica are expected to attend. A press conference will take place at 12.30 (to be confirmed) and will be broadcast on Europe By Satellite.

The sources:

Capacity4dev website:

Europeaid website:

Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council:

Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Year for Development:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray, +32 229 69921,

Sharon Zarb, +32 229 92256,


General public inquiries:

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