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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 27 June 2014

Top News from the European Commission
28 June – 27 July 2014

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

Tuesday, 1 July: Commission to adopt two communications on better enforcement of intellectual property rights in the EU and in third countries

The news:

On Tuesday 1 July the European Commission is set to adopt a package comprising two communications:

  • the first, an EU Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights;

  • the second, a Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries.

The EU Action Plan will set out ten specific actions providing for new enforcement policy tools to address in particular commercial scale IP-infringing activity. These actitivies are considered as the most harmful and represent a key challenge for the EU as they undermine investment in innovation and sustainable job creation. These new (non-legislative) tools include the so-called “follow the money” approach seeking to deprive commercial scale infringers of their revenue flows.

The Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries will review the Commission's approach on IPRs towards third countries in the light of current challenges in the international IP environment. Its aim will be to enhance cooperation between authorities, including customs authorities, in the EU and third countries in the fight against the trade of IP-infringing goods, and goes hand-in-hand with the EU Customs Action Plan.

Their common objective is to (i) use all means to efficiently dissuade and impede the entry and diffusion of IP-infringing products into the EU and externally; and (ii) stimulate investment, growth and employment in IP-reliant sectors that are key to our respective economies. Making consumers and producers more aware of the wider consequences of IPR infringements through debates and awareness-raising is also an important part of the strategy.

The background:

Europe has a competitive edge in its capacity to innovate. Today’s globalised economy relies increasingly on knowledge-based industries, which have grown strongly and survived the crisis better than other sectors. But, the increasing numbers of commercial-scale infringing activities are likely to harm this positive trend. The OECD estimates that the annual loss from IPR infringements to the world economy is around €200 billion. Furthermore, given that 90% of EU exports are accounted for by IPR-intensive industries, it is important to ensure that third countries provide sufficient protection for innovative products.

The event:

Press material will be available on the day.

The sources:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/iprenforcement/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/accessing-markets/intellectual-property/

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/barnier/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/degucht/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50

John Clancy +32 2 295 37 73

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94

Maria Lyra Traversa +32 2 295 63 68

Tuesday 1 July: Towards a Circular Economy: A zero waste programme for Europe

The news:

The package to be adopted on 1 July will include non-legislative policy communications on circular economy, sustainable food and buildings. It will also review the existing waste legislation and propose new targets for various waste streams.

The package will have at its core a push for higher recycling targets, and a push for elimination of landfill in waste legislation. Some regions in Member States are already achieving 70% recycling rates and virtually zero landfill, the objective is to get all EU countries up to the level of the best performers by 2030.

Special attention will be devoted to sustainable buildings and sustainable food; The Commission's communication will in both cases directly address the waste phase as part of the whole life cycle.

In the EU, that means as much as 100 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. The Commission will make a proposal on how to reduce food waste and to make sure food waste is systematically and properly measured by all Member States so we can track progress.

The building sector generates a third of our total waste. A large majority of construction and demolition waste is recyclable, but the average recovery in EU is below 50%. The objective of Commission's proposal is to have more transparent and compatible information on the environmental performance of buildings which can be taken into account when designing, building, buying or investing in buildings.

The background:

The best way to improve our resource efficiency and make Europe competitive for the future is via a circular economy where products are re-used, repaired and recycled. Europe is heavily import dependent and good waste management can create permanent local jobs, increase revenue and reduce the use of scarce virgin resources.

With this new proposal waste legislation will be simplified, and cooperation between the Commission and Member States will be stepped up to ensure better implementation. A common and coherent EU framework for promoting the circular economy will be established with a key role for product policy, research and innovation, financing and investment, as well as business and consumer action.

The event:

Press material will be available on the day.

The sources:

Information on circular economy:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/index_en.htm

Information on waste:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/index.htm

Information on Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/potocnik/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Joe Hennon +32 2 295 35 93

Andreja Skerl +32 2 295 14 45

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:

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=822&langId=en&featuresId=130&furtherFeatures=yes

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

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I061713

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

Monday 7 July: Commission to propose a Directive on working time of inland waterway workers

The news:

On 7 July, the Commission will propose a Directive on working time for inland waterway workers. The proposed Directive would implement an agreement reached by EU-level representatives of employers and employees in this sector, which is adapted to the distinctive working conditions on inland waterways. It would facilitate the application of the maximum working time rules on passenger and cargo transport ships and barges on inland waterways throughout the EU. These rules would therefore contribute to improving the working conditions of 31,000 shipboard personnel and to fairer competitive conditions for the 9,645 enterprises active in this sector. The proposed Directive would complement the general working time Directive (2003/88/EC), which does not cover inland waterway workers.

The proposal will be forwarded to the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for adoption.

The background:

Workers on inland waterway transport have specific irregular work patterns compared to workers on land. They often work long hours in a short period of time, live at their workplace, and usually take longer rest periods at the end of the season.

Since over 75% of the inland waterway transport in the EU takes place across more than one Member State, companies and workers would benefit from EU level coordination of rules on maximum working time.

EU-level representatives of employers and employees concluded this agreement on 15 February 2012 and asked the Commission to submit it to the Council for implementation as a Directive, in accordance with Article 155 of the Treaty. The Commission has examined closely the content and impact of this agreement from the angles of legality, representativeness and economic and social effects.

The event:

A press release will be available on the day.

The sources:

Link to the agreement (all language versions)

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=480&langId=en&intPageId=1840

Link to other sectoral working time rules:

http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=706&langId=en&intPageId=206

The contacts:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07 jonathan.todd@ec.europa.eu

Cécile Dubois +32 2 295 1883 cecile.dubois@ec.europa.eu

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 €23 billion, where the EU's contribution of €9 billion will unlock a €10 billion 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.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Horizon 2020 website

Horizon magazine

Participant Portal

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

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I075812

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

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I077412

The contacts:

Michael Jennings +32 2 296 33 88

Monika Wcislo +32 2 298 65 95

Wednesday, 9 July: Commission to adopt Recommendation on online gambling

The news:

On Wednesday, 9 July, the European Commission will adopt a Recommendation to help Member States deliver a high level of protection to their citizens in the area of online gambling services.

The main features of this Commission Recommendation are:

(i) to ensure that citizens in the EU, especially minors, are aware of the inherent risks associated with gambling; and that operators have a set of common principles to abide by for responsible commercial communication;

(ii) to provide greater clarity and assurance for consumers that the authorised sites they choose to play on have adequate safeguard measures in place, for example effective age verification, registration and identification controls;

(iii) to provide for appropriate measures to prevent the risks associated with gambling, such as addiction or excessive gambling.

The background:

Online gambling services are widely offered, advertised, and used across Europe, with the EU representing around 45% of the global online gambling market. More than 12% of all gambling in the EU is done online, making online gambling services worth in excess of €10 billion (Gross Gambling Revenue) in 2012. They cover a range of games of chance, such as sports betting, poker, casino games and lotteries, with around 6.8 million consumers participating in one or more games. However, there are thousands of unregulated gambling websites, often from outside the EU, to which consumers are exposed and which carry significant risks such as fraud and money laundering.

There is no sector-specific EU legislation regulating gambling services. At the same time, an increasing number of Member States are seeking to address the challenges they face and are reviewing their national regulations and practices. As a result of the wide-ranging public consultation exercise led by the Commission since 2010, there have been requests from the European Parliament, Member States and from stakeholders for EU guidance in relation to the protection of citizens, consumers and vulnerable groups – in particular minors.

The initiative was announced in the Communication 'Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling' adopted on 23 October 2012 (IP/12/1135 and MEMO/12/798).

The event:

A press release will be issued.

The sources:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/gambling/news/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50 Chantal.Hughes@ec.europa.eu

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 Carmel.Dunne@ec.europa.eu


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