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European Commission - Top news

Top News from the European Commission 9 February – 6 March 2015

Brussels, 06 February 2015

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

16-18/2: Commissioner Stylianides visits Senegal and Mali
18/2: A Capital Markets Union to unlock investments in Europe
25/2: Commission presents Energy Union Strategy
3/3: High-level international conference on Ebola

Monday 16 – Wednesday 18 February: Commissioner Stylianides visits Senegal and Mali

The news:

The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will visit the Sahel region of Africa (Senegal and Mali), where close to 20 million people will face food shortages and more than 5.5 million children will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2015.

The visit puts West Africa firmly among the Commission's humanitarian aid priorities, especially the resilience agenda which aims at strengthening the capacities of the local communities to face recurrent humanitarian crises. The Commissioner will meet with representatives of the Senegalese and Malian governments, the UN and NGOs. During the visit he will also participate in a development donor conference for Mali. In Mali, he will pay particular attention to the deteriorating security situation which further adds to the humanitarian crisis.

The background:

The Sahel region is still reeling from the aftershocks of four consecutive food and nutrition crises (2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012) with many vulnerable households struggling to recover. Food security has worsened further because of the spill-over effect from conflicts in Mali, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, raising dramatically the number of displaced people and refugees in the region.

Since the start of 2014, the European Commission has provided more than €200 million to assist the people affected by the Sahel crisis. The European Union has been instrumental in the creation of AGIR, a global alliance to strengthen the resilience of local communities in West Africa which has set itself a ‘zero hunger’ goal by 2032.

The event:

Commissioner Stylianides will meet President Macky Sall of Senegal on Monday, 16 February. In Mali, he will meet President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and members of the government (17 February). He will attend the Donors Conference, meet with the UN Humanitarian Country Team and other humanitarian partners in Bamako. Press events tbc.

The sources:

Factsheet on Sahel:

Factsheet on Mali:

Factsheet on the EU support for resilience in West Africa:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray, +32 229 69921,

Irina Novakova, +32 229 57517,

Wednesday 18 February: A Capital Markets Union to unlock investments in Europe

The news:

On 18 February, the European Commission will launch a Green Paper consultation on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) for all 28 EU Member States. This consultation follows a first orientation debate at the College of Commissioners which was positive and supportive of the project (see IP/15/3800).

The background:

The CMU is one of the flagship projects of this Commission and ties in with the ambition to boost jobs and growth in the EU. It aims to create a single market for capital for all 28 Member States by removing barriers to cross-border investment and lower costs of funding within the EU. It is designed to help businesses to tap into a greater diversity of sources of capital from anywhere in the EU and offer investors and savers additional opportunities to put their money to work. Well-functioning capital markets will also facilitate the mobilisation of private financing in the context of the Investment Plan for Europe.

In many parts of Europe businesses - especially SMEs - remain heavily reliant on banks for their funding needs. A key objective of the CMU will be to increase sources of funding so that businesses have easier access to credit through capital markets as well as banks, including cross border access.

The Commission aims to make its consultation phase broad and inclusive: it will call for input from the European Parliament, national parliaments, Member States, citizens, SMEs, end users, the non-governmental sector as well from as the financial sector. Based on the feedback it receives, the Commission will unveil an Action Plan on the CMU during third quarter of 2015. 

The event:

Jonathan Hill, EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, will give a press conference at the midday briefing in the Commission's press room (timing TBC). A press release, a MEMO as well as the Green Paper will be issued on the day.

An 'off-the-record' technical briefing will also be organised in the morning in the press room (timing TBC).

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Information on financial services:

Information on Commissioner Jonathan Hill:

Speech on "Capital Markets Union – finance serving the economy"

The contacts:

Vanessa Mock, +32 229 56194,

Maud Scelo, +32 229 81521,

Wednesday 25 February: Commission presents Energy Union Strategy

The news:

The European Commission will adopt a Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy. The Energy Union is one of the key priorities of the new Commission as laid down by President Juncker in his political guidelines.

The Energy Union Strategy will go hand in hand with a Climate Communication "Road to Paris" and a Communication reporting on the electricity interconnection target of 10%.

The background:

Much has been done in the field of energy over the last years. The EU has started to build the most integrated, competitive and sustainable Internal Energy Market in the world. Still the current energy policies are unsustainable in every sense of the term and don't deliver all benefits that citizens and companies can expect.

Some few examples:

The fact that most of the EU's energy comes from outside the EU, notably from a few countries which use their energy supply as a political bargain puts the EU at constant risk for disruptions. Energy systems in Europe are fragmented into 28 national silos and some parts of the EU are still insufficiently integrated in the energy system.

EU companies are facing gas prices which are no less than three times higher than those enjoyed by their American counterparts. This is a huge burden for industry and EU's economy overall.

And when it comes to low-carbon technology: among the top 10 solar energy companies, none is European. Still too much energy is wasted, and the EU has not yet built the low-carbon economy and society.

The event:

Wednesday 25 February: Press conference with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and EU-Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete (details to follow).

Press release and MEMOs available on the day.

The sources:

More information about the Commission's priorities:

The contacts:

Anna-kaisa Itkonen, +32 229 56186,

Nicole Bockstaller, +32 229 52589, nicole.bockstaller@ec.europa

Tuesday 3 March: High-level international conference on Ebola

The news

The European Union and key partners are organizing a high-level international conference on Ebola on 3 March to take stock of the current fight against Ebola, coordinate further action for the total eradication of the disease and discuss the recovery process in the most affected countries.

The event will be co-chaired by the Presidents of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, President of Togo, High Representatives from the United Nations, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). More than 80 delegations have been invited, including Ministers from all West African countries and EU Member States, other countries that are contributing to the fight against Ebola, and other relevant partners, such as UN agencies, the IMF, the World Bank and other international organisations, NGOs, the private sector and research institutes. The European Union will be represented by Vice-President and High Representative Federica Mogherini; the EU Ebola coordinator and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides; the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.

The background:

West Africa is currently facing the largest and most complex Ebola epidemic on record. The outbreak primarily affects three countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. So far, more than 22,000 cases have been confirmed and more than 8,800 victims have died.

The European Union has been monitoring the spread of Ebola and taken collective action at home and abroad. It has mobilised humanitarian, political, financial and scientific resources to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat the virus. The EU and its Member States have pledged over EUR 1.2 billion to fight the epidemic. The EU is contributing EUR 414 million to provide emergency measures and longer-term support as well as the development of vaccines and treatments.

The event:

The one-day event will take place in the Egmont Palace in Brussels. A press working room will be provided. EbS will cover the event. Registration details will be available closer to the event.

The contacts:

Catherine Ray, +32 229 69921,

Irina Novakova, +32 229 57517,

Sharon Zarb, +32 229 92256,


General public inquiries:

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