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European Commission

Top News

Brussels, Friday 19 September 2014

Top News from the European Commission
20 September – 17 October 2014

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

Monday 22 – Friday 26 September: General Assembly of the United Nations

The news:

Next week, President Barroso and Commissioners will travel to New York for the plenary week of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and to attend the UN Secretary General's Climate Leaders' Summit on 23 September - the first occasion of world leaders meeting on climate since Copenhagen in 2009. The Summit is bringing together an expected 120 world leaders with CEOs of business and leaders of civil society and it shall give added momentum for reaching a new global climate agreement in Paris next year.

Following the invitation of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon President Barroso will also address the High-level meeting on Response to the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak on the 25 September.

The background:

The UN Secretary General's Climate Leaders' Summit on 23 September will be the first occasion of world leaders to meet on climate since Copenhagen in 2009.  Whilst the Summit is not part of the formal process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it should, by bringing together an expected 120 world leaders with CEOs of business and leaders of civil society, give added momentum in the 'race to the top' for ambition ahead of the Paris Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC in December 2015, where a new agreement on climate change should be adopted. US President Obama is expected to attend the Summit.

The General Debate of the 69th UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) opens on 24 September. This year the UN General Assembly week will be marked by the Leader's Summit on Climate Change, the follow-up to the International Conference on Population and Development and the World Conference on Indigenous People. The situation in the Middle East and Ukraine will also feature high on the agenda. The Ebola crisis will draw attention as the situation deteriorates on the ground in West Africa. Delivering on the Millennium Development Goals, the follow up to Rio+20 and the post-2015 discussions will be a key UN priority this year.

On the margins of the UNGA, President Barroso will have several bilaterals. He will meet the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He will also meet the new President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa of Uganda, as well as the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the Malian President Keita.

Four EU Commissioners will be present during UNGA Ministerial Week. Commissioners Connie Hedegaard and Andris Piebalgs will largely focus on the Climate Summit and sustainable energy and development events. Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva will notably focus on the humanitarian situations in Syria and CAR, while Commissioner Štefan Füle will participate in the regular Western Balkans Foreign Ministers meeting.

During the UNGA Ministerial week the main attention of the High Representative/Vice President Ashton will focus on making progress in the talks with Iran on its nuclear programme, which she leads. Intensive talks have been planned for the period between at least 16 and 26 September. High Representative/Vice President Ashton will also host the EU28 foreign ministers' meeting; attend the EU–US reception and the Transatlantic dinner, and participate in a series of other high-level meetings.

The sources:

Official website of the General Assembly of the United Nations

President Barroso's official website

Follow on twitter: #UNGA, @BarrosoEU

  1. Available on EbS

The contacts:

Leonor Ribeiro da Silva +32 (0) 2 298 81 55

Raquel Patrício Gomes+32 (0) 2 297 48 14

Monday 22 September: Commission publishes findings from the Erasmus Impact Study

The news:

The Commission will present the main findings from the Erasmus Impact Study on 22 September. This study, compiled by independent experts, measures the impact of the Erasmus exchange programme on the employability and skills of students. It also examines the extent to which an Erasmus experience makes it more likely that a student will work abroad in their future career.

The background:

The Erasmus programme (2007-2013) has enabled more than three million students to study or train abroad since its launch 27 years ago. Numerous testimonies from students on how Erasmus changed their lives and opened their minds already exist. The Erasmus Impact Study goes further by providing detailed evidence of how Erasmus students fare better on the job market after graduation. They are more confident after their Erasmus experience, more tolerant towards other cultures, more curious, quicker to solve problems, better equipped to adapt to new situations and have improved their organisational skills.

A record 268,000 students received Erasmus grants in the 2012-2013 academic year. Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, will enable a further 2 million higher education students and 300 000 higher education staff to study or train abroad between 2014 and 2020.

The event:

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the main findings from the Erasmus Impact Study at a press conference to be held in the Berlaymont Commission's building. A press release will be available on the day.

The sources:

Information on Erasmus+:

Information on Commissioner Vassiliou:

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 295 92 58

Dina Avraam +32 2 295 96 67

Thursday 25 September: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Thursday 25 September 2014, the European Commission will adopt its monthly infringements package. These decisions cover all Member States and most of EU policies and seek to enforce EU law across Europe in the interest of both citizens and businesses.

The background:

Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Commission the power to take legal action against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations under EU law.

There are three successive stages: Letter of formal notice, reasoned opinion and referral to the Court of Justice.

If, despite the ruling, a Member State still fails to act, the Commission may open a further infringement case under Article 260 of the TFEU. After only one written warning, Commission may refer a Member State back to the Court and it can propose that the Court imposes financial penalties based on the duration and severity on the infringement and the size of the Member State.

The event:

A comprehensive Memo on all referrals and reasoned opinions, specific IPs on each referral and a Memo on the procedure will be available on the day on Rapid:

The sources:

For more information on infringements:

On the general infringement procedure: MEMO/12/12

The contacts:

Overall coordination:

Jonathan Todd +32 2 299 41 07

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.

Tuesday 14 October: "Smart Regulation in the EU – Building on a Strong Foundation"– conference and Final Report on Administrative Burden Reduction

The news:

On 14 October 2014 the Commission invites stakeholders and experts to look at achievements and persisting challenges in the field of smart regulation, administrative burden reduction and better implementation of EU legislation across Europe. To this end a major conference will be organised with the participation of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and the Chairman of the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens, Dr. Edmund Stoiber and other members of the High-Level Group. The Final Report of the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens will be presented during the event.

The background:

Smart regulation is important for economic growth and jobs in Europe. The Commission wants to facilitate the lives of citizens and businesses by focusing EU law on those issues that are best dealt with at European level, while making it lighter, simpler and less costly. Administrative burden reduction is an important pillar of the smart regulation agenda, alongside with simplification, impact assessments and evaluation.

The Commission's REFIT programme for Regulatory Fitness and Performance is the focal point of all smart regulation efforts.

The High-Level Group on Administrative burden will continue its work until 31 October 2014 (i.e. end of the mandate of the current Commission). Until now, two High Level Groups on Better Regulation and Administrative Burdens have supported the Commission in implementing its smart regulation agenda. On 14 June 2014 the Commission suggested that, in the future, this support and expertise could most usefully be combined in one single group, with a revised mandate to assess the impact of EU regulation on the ground in Member States.

The event:

The conference will take place from 10.00 – 13.00h in the Charlemagne building, 170 Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, Brussels.

A press point of President Barroso and Dr Stoiber will conclude the conference. Time: 12.45h, venue: Charlemagne building ground floor).

Journalists are invited to register on the following website: Deadline for registration: 26 September 2014.

  1. EbS will be covering the event A live stream will also be available on the conference website.

The sources:

The programme, Final Report and participants' list will be published on the conference website when available.

The REFIT programme.

Website of the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens and Questions and Answers.

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen +32 2 295 30 70

Jens Mester +32 2 296 39 73

Stephanie Rhomberg +32 2 298 42 18

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 November: The EU at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia – media accreditation open

The news:

The President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council will represent the EU at this year’s G20 Summit, which will take place on 15 and 16 November in Brisbane, Australia. Leaders are expected, amongst others, to adopt the Brisbane Action Plan, putting in place concrete short and medium-term actions to develop comprehensive strategies to stimulate growth. These will include infrastructure investments, trade barrier reductions, employment and development measures. Furthermore, G20 leaders will discuss measures to make the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks.

The Australian Presidency has now opened the procedure for media accreditation. Journalists can apply for official accreditation until 21 October 2014, 9:00 Brussels time, at As the Australian government points out, it is important that media register for accreditation via the online accreditation portal as early as possible and then apply for their visa. Accreditation will only be confirmed once the applicant has an approved visa.

The background:

The Brisbane Summit is the 9th edition of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit of the world’s major advanced and emerging economies. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Together, they represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population. This year, Australia welcomes Spain as a permanent invitee; Mauritania as the 2014 chair of the African Union; Myanmar as the 2014 Chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN); Senegal, representing the New Partnership for Africa's Development; New Zealand; and Singapore. The 10th edition of the G20 Summit will be hosted by Turkey in 2015.

The event:

15 and 16 November 2014: 9th edition of the G20 Summit in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia, with the participation of the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.

Press events ahead of and during the G20 Summit are to be confirmed. Press material about the EU at the G20 will be made available in the week before and during the Summit.

  1. Available on EbS

The sources:

G20 2014 Media accreditation:

G20 website of the Australian Presidency:

G20 section on President Barroso's website:

The contacts:

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen +32 (0)2 295 30 70

Jens Mester +32 (0)2 296 39 73

Dirk Volckaerts +32 (0)2 299 39 44

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