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European Commission - Top news

Top News from the European Commission 9 March – 3 April 2015

Brussels, 06 March 2015

Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists

The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

9/3: The Commission releases the 2015 edition of the Justice Scoreboard

14-18/3: Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

18/3: Commission to adopt a first package to promote tax transparency

26/3: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package



Monday 9 March: The Commission releases the 2015 edition of the Justice Scoreboard

The news:

The European Commission will release the third edition of the Justice Scoreboard on 9 March. Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality will present the main findings of the 2015 edition.

The 2015 Scoreboard includes more fine-tuned data and new indicators, including use of IT, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) efficiency of courts in public procurement, and gender balance among judges. For the first time, it will identify possible trends in the three key sections: efficiency, quality, and independence of justice.

The background:

The EU Justice Scoreboard is an information tool aiming to assist the EU and Member States to achieve more effective justice by providing objective, reliable and comparable data on the quality, independence and efficiency of justice systems in all Member States. It covers civil, commercial and administrative justice.

Effective justice systems are important structural components of economic growth and play a key role in restoring confidence throughout the entire business cycle. In Member States with sound and reliable justice systems, creditors are more likely to invest, and firms are discouraged from opportunistic behaviour. More effective courts promote the entry of entrepreneurs into the market and foster competition.

The Scoreboard contributes to identifying good practices, improvements and aims to present trends on the functioning of the national justice systems over time. It does not present an overall single ranking but an overview of the functioning of all justice systems based on various indicators which are of common interest for all Member States.

The Justice scoreboard contributes to the European Semester, the EU’s annual economic policy coordination process that aims to boost Member States' economic performance and competitiveness. The Scoreboard indicators may eventually lead the Commission to propose to the Council country-specific recommendations on the need to improve the justice systems. In 2014, 12 Member States received country specific recommendations relating to the justice system.

The event:

Commissioner Jourová will present the 2015 Justice scoreboard on Monday 9 March at 12:00 in the press room.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

Press releases, a Q&A and a fact sheet will be available.

The contacts:

Christian Wigand, +32 229 62253,

Melanie Voin, +32 229 58659,


14-18 March: Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The news:

Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission and Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, will lead the European Union's delegation to the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, taking place in Sendai, Japan. The conference in Sendai will review the Hyogo Framework for Action and aims to conclude the international negotiations on a new framework for disaster risk reduction.

The background:

Disaster risk has increased significantly and cost the EU alone around €100 billion during the last decade. On average, natural disasters cause the death of more than 100,000 people every year worldwide. Risk reduction, prevention and management policies are essential to reduce the impact of disasters thereby saving lives and underpinning economic development.

The Hyogo Framework for Action ‘Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters’ is a 10-year plan adopted by 168 United Nations Member States that committed to make the world safer from natural hazards and building disaster resilience.

Adopted in 2005, the Hyogo Framework for Action is due to expire in 2015 and a wide negotiation process has taken place on shaping the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction that is foreseen to be finalised at the upcoming World Conference.

The EU has taken a leading role in building a robust and ambitious post-2015 framework, which is to place disaster risk reduction as a key element of sustainable development efforts, to define further steps to reduce risks and foster resilience. In April 2014, the European Commission adopted a Communication on The Post 2015 Hyogo Framework for Action: Managing Risks to achieve Resilience. This document has served as basis for discussions between the Member States, the European Parliament and other stakeholders for the common EU position for the global negotiations in Sendai.

The event:

The third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in Sendai, Japan from 14 to 18 March 2015. EbS will cover the event.

The sources:

Memo on 'Boosting global efforts to reduce the impact of disasters: Commission charts the course for EU action':

World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray, +32 229 69921,

Jakub Adamowicz, +32 229 50595,

Irina Novakova, +32 229 57517,

Andreana Stankova, +32 229 57857,


Wednesday 18 March: Commission to adopt a first package to promote tax transparency

The news:

On 18 March, the Commission is due to adopt a first set of tax transparency measures, as part of its ambitious agenda to tackle corporate tax avoidance and harmful tax competition in the EU.

A key element of this Tax Transparency Package is a proposal to introduce the automatic exchange of information between Member States on their tax rulings. It will enable Member States to detect certain abusive tax practices by companies and take the necessary action in response.

An overarching communication will outline the different elements of the package, which will also include some other initiatives to advance the tax transparency agenda in the EU.


On 18 February, the College of Commissioners held a first orientation debate on possible key actions to ensure a fairer and more transparent approach to taxation in the EU and announced that legislation to extend the automatic exchange of information on tax rulings would be proposed shortly.

The Commission is rapidly making good on the pledges it made in its Work Programme to clamp down on tax avoidance and to ensure that taxes are paid in the country where profits are generated.

In his Political Guidelines presented to the European Parliament on 15 July 2014, President Juncker stated: "We need more fairness in our internal market. While recognising the competence of Member States for their taxation systems, we should step up our efforts to combat tax evasion and tax fraud, so that all contribute their fair share."

The event:

The Tax Transparency package will be presented at a press conference on 18 March. An off-the-record technical briefing will be held ahead of the press conference. The exact timing of both briefings will be confirmed in due course.

Press material will be available on that day.

The sources:

The contacts:

Vanessa Mock, +32 229 56194,

Audrey Augier, +32 229 71607,

Johannes Bahrke, +32 2958615,


Thursday 26 March: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Thursday 26 March, 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 press release 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:

Ricardo Cardoso, +32 229 80100,

Justyna Milanowska, +32 229 94246,

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.



General public inquiries:

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