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Brussels, Friday 24 January 2014
Top News from the European Commission
Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
Wednesday 29 January: European Commission to propose Structural reform measures on the EU banking sector 2
Thursday 30 January: New Commission proposal for a new food distribution school scheme 4
Date tbc: The European Commission presents its first ever Anti-Corruption Report 6
Over the last 5 years, we have put in place in Europe a large number of financial reforms to learn all the lessons from the financial crisis. The objective of these reforms has been to make the financial sector as a whole more robust and resilient, to reduce the impact of potential bank failures, and ensure the financial sector is at the service of the real economy. We have made enormous progress, including in the last few weeks on banking union. New capital rules for banks apply as of 1 January this year.
As things stand, most banks in the new set up will be resolvable without taxpayers having to step in when things go wrong. However, a few very big, complex and interconnected banks might not be.
That is why; the European Commission will make a proposal in coming weeks which will be the final piece of the puzzle to address "too big to fail" banks. It will include measures on the structure of the EU banking sector, which aim at:
Since the start of the financial crisis, the European Union and its Member States have engaged in a fundamental overhaul of bank regulation and supervision.
In the area of banking, the EU has initiated a number of reforms to reduce the impact of potential bank failures with the objectives of creating a safer, sounder, more transparent and responsible financial system that works for the economy and for society as a whole.
However, the EU banking sector remains large in absolute (EUR42.9 trillion) and relative terms (nearly 350% of EU GDP). The largest banks are also more active in complex cross-border trading activities through a large number of legal entities.
Within the context of national initiatives and an increasing global debate on the merits of bank structural reform, Commissioner Barnier announced in November 2011 the setting up of a High-level Expert Group with a mandate to assess the need for structural reform of the EU banking sector, chaired by Erkki Liikanen, Governor of the Bank of Finland. The Group delivered its report in October 2012 (IP/12/1048) and provided a good basis to draft the proposal.
Several EU Member States (UK, FR, DE, BE, etc.) and international partner countries (US) have already embarked on structural reforms.
The EU proposal aims at providing a common framework to maintain a level-playing field and consistency in the banking union and in the single market. This is important for the overall systemic stability of financial system.
Press conference with Commissioner Michel Barnier preceded by a technical briefing – details to be confirmed.
Press release and MEMO will be available on the day.
The EU Single Market:
Chantal Hughes +32 2 296 44 50 chantal.Hughes@ec.europa.eu
Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 carmel.Dunne@ec.europa.eu
Audrey Augier +32 2 297 16 07 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 30 January: New Commission proposal for a new food distribution school scheme
On 30 January, the European Commission is expected to present a proposal for a new European school scheme for the distribution of food (fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas, and drinking milk) to school children.
The new proposal aims at addressing the current decline in children's consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables and milk, and poor nutrition, as well as to combat persistent obesity.
Under the slogan "Eat well - Feel good", the new From Farm to School scheme will put greater focus on educational measures to improve children's awareness of sustainable healthy eating habits, environmental issues, farming and the variety of farm produce available. It will strengthen the link between the farming community and wider school environment while promoting healthy eating habits.
The proposal brings together two currently separate school distribution schemes (respectively on fruit and vegetable and milk) schemes with a strengthened educational component.
On Thursday 30 January, Dacian Cioloş, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will present the proposal in a press point at the beginning of the midday briefing in the Commission's press room and will be available for a few related questions immediately afterwards.
A press release and a memo will be available on the day. Commissioner Cioloş is also expected to attend a fruit and milk distribution in a school in the surroundings of Brussels during the week (to be confirmed). TV images and photos of Commissioner Cioloş' school visit will also be available on the EbS website in the course of the afternoon.
Information on the School Fruit scheme:
Information on the School Milk scheme
Information on Commissioner Cioloş:
Roger Waite +32 2 296 14 04 email@example.com
Fanny Dabertrand +32 2 299 06 25 firstname.lastname@example.org
Date tbc: The European Commission presents its first ever Anti-Corruption Report
Corruption continues to be one of the biggest challenges in the European Union - a phenomenon that costs the EU economy around 120 billion euros per year.
Despite the legal and policy initiatives undertaken so far by the Member States, the results of anti-corruption efforts across the EU remain rather unsatisfactory overall.
That is why, today, the European Commission is publishing its first EU Anti-Corruption report, which provides a clear state of play in each Member State: what is in place, what are the outstanding issues, what policies are working, what could be improved and how.
The Anti-corruption Report shows that the nature and scope of corruption varies from one Member State to another and that the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies can be quite different.
The EU Anti-Corruption Report covers all 28 EU Member States and includes:
The Report also includes the results of two Eurobarometer surveys on the perception of corruption amongst European citizens on the one hand and companies on the other hand.
IP and MEMO will be available on the day
Press conference with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
Technical Briefing with experts from DG HOME (off the record)
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
Homepage DG Home Affairs:
Michele Cercone: +32 229-80963 Michele.Cercone@ec.europa.eu
Tove Ernst: +32 229-86764 Tove.Ernst@ec.europa.eu