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European Commission - Top news

Top News from the European Commission 26 January – 20 February 2015

Brussels, 23 January 2015

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

28-31/1: Commissioners Stylianides and Hahn visit Jordan and Lebanon

4/2 (tbc): European Commission adopts proposal to increase pre-financing to promote youth employment

5/2: The Commission publishes Winter European Economic Forecast

February: Commission adopts Communication on a Global Partnership to deliver the post-2015 development agenda

Wednesday 28 - Saturday 31 January: Commissioners Stylianides and Hahn visit Jordan and Lebanon

The news:

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will pay a joint visit to Jordan and Lebanon. Currently, Lebanon and Jordan are hosting together the largest number of Syrian refugees in the region. Commissioners Stylianides and Hahn will meet with representatives of the Jordanian and Lebanese governments, the UN and NGOs to discuss the challenges faced by host communities and the worsening situation for refugees. While Commissioner Stylianides plans to also visit refugee camps and humanitarian projects, Commissioner Hahn will have a number of meetings with interlocutors in the context of the broader bi-lateral co-operation between the countries and the European Union.

The background:

Lebanon and Jordan are hosting more than 1.14 million and 620 000 Syrian refugees respectively. The European Union is a leading donor in the response to the Syria crisis with around €3.1 billion of total budget mobilised by the European Commission and EU Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance. The Commission has surpassed the humanitarian pledge and has so far committed €165 million, and an additional €200 million in development funding was committed in 2014 in response to the crisis in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon through the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

As the refugee crisis is impacting heavily on the resources of the two countries, Commissioner Hahn will also discuss the broader political context and the main themes of co-operation from both the political and economic aspects.

The event:

Confirmed media events: Press point Grand Serail (Government Palace), Beirut, Friday 29 January, 11:50 hours.

The sources:

EC Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Website:

NEAR Website:

The contacts:

Irina Novakova, + 32 229 57517,

Anca Paduraru, +32 229 66430,


Wednesday 4 February (tbc): European Commission adopts proposal to increase pre-financing to promote youth employment

The news:

The European Commission will present a proposal to increase the amount of pre-funding made available to Member States to promote youth employment and provide support to young persons not in employment, education or training in the most affected regions. Currently, Member States are facing difficulties to provide the necessary payments for the implementation of operations under the Youth Employment Initiative. The situation is particularly acute in the Member States with the highest levels of youth unemployment since they are also the ones which are facing more budgetary constraints and lack of funding. Increasing the amount of pre-funding will contribute to the integration of young people into the labour market and support the efforts of providing an immediate and quick response to the unacceptably high level of youth unemployment in the EU.

The background:

The Youth Employment Initiative was adopted following a call from the European Council of February 2013 to address the unprecedented levels of youth unemployment in certain regions of the European Union. The purpose of the Youth Employment Initiative is to provide additional funding for promoting youth employment to the regions most affected by youth unemployment.

The event:

Wednesday 4 February (tbc): Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, will give a press conference to present the proposal in the Commission's press room. Press release and memo will be available on the day in the Press Release Database:

  • Available on Ebs

The contacts:

Christian Wigand, + 32 229 62253,

Tove Ernst, +32 229 86764,

Thursday 5 February: The Commission publishes Winter European Economic Forecast

The news:

On 5 February, the European Commission will publish its Winter European Economic Forecast. It will cover 2014, 2015 and 2016 and will include data on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment and public budget deficits and debt, amongst others. These forecasts focus on all 28 EU Member States, plus the candidate countries as well as some non-EU countries.

The background:

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Monetary Affairs produces short-term macroeconomic forecasts three times year: in the spring, autumn and in the winter. They serve as a basis for various economic surveillance procedures, such as in the context of the European Semester.

The event

Thursday 5 February: Press conference on the Winter European Economic Forecast (details to follow). Press release available on the day.

  • Available on EBS

The sources:

The contacts:

Annika Breidthardt, +32 229 56153,

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

February: Commission adopts Communication on a Global Partnership to deliver the post-2015 development agenda

The news

In February the European Commission will present its Communication on a Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015. The post-2015 process has entered a new and decisive phase, with the launch of intergovernmental negotiations in New York in January 2015, which will continue in the coming months, along with the negotiations for the Financing for Development Conference in July 2015 in Addis Ababa. The talks are expected to lead to the adoption of a post-2015 agenda at a UN Summit in September. The Communication will present a vision for the new, universal global partnership, outlining a set of principles and proposing means of implementation (covering both financing and policy measures) to be pursued by all countries, according to their respective capabilities.

The background

The Millennium Development Goals, agreed in 2000, will expire this year. The debate on a post-2015 agenda is converging into a single framework for poverty eradication and sustainable development, which will notably include a new set of Sustainable Development Goals.

As the world's largest donor of development assistance and champion of sustainable development, the EU is committed to play a constructive and influential role in the upcoming negotiations. The EU needs a common approach for its engagement in the upcoming intergovernmental negotiations ahead of the Financing for Development (FfD) Conference and the UN Summit on the post-2015 development agenda, in order to to provide coordinated and timely inputs.

The Communication which will be published in February is expected to lead to Council Conclusions later in spring.

The contacts:

Catherine Ray, +32 229 69921,

Sharon Zarb, +32 229 92256,



General public inquiries:

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