Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes
On 5 May 2015, the European Commission will publish its Spring European Economic Forecast. It will cover 2014, 2015 and 2016 and will include data on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment, budget deficits and public debt, amongst others. This forecast focuses on all 28 EU Member States, plus the candidate countries as well as major trading partners.
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs produces short-term macroeconomic forecasts three times a 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.
Tuesday 5 May: Press conference on the Spring European Economic Forecast (details to follow). Press release available on the day.
- Available on EBS
Annika Breidthardt, +32 229 56153, firstname.lastname@example.org
Audrey Augier, +32 460 71607, email@example.com
The internet and digital technologies are transforming our environment and our lives. Europe needs to embrace these digital opportunities to create new sources of jobs and growth on our continent. This is why the European Commission has made the creation of a Digital Single Market one of its top priorities: the aim is to help every European, from students to artists, from young entrepreneurs to industry leaders, seize the benefits of digital technologies. On 6 May, the Commission will adopt a Strategy that will lay the groundwork for Europe's digital future. It will detail the key actions to be taken as well as the roadmap for delivering them. Three main areas for action were defined on 25 March (press release) following an orientation debate with all Commissioners: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the Digital Economy.
More and more Europeans are going online to shop, study, work or connect with their public administration; more and more small businesses are looking for opportunities across borders to scale-up and expand their activities. But they are held back by a series of obstacles, from different consumer rules in each Member State to high cross-border parcel delivery costs to unconnected e-services.
The Commission is committed to removing these barriers and has agreed on three main areas to focus on during this mandate:
- Firstly, the EU's single market freedoms need to "go digital". This means making sure that people can access and use online services across borders that businesses can sell more easily to other EU countries.
- Secondly, the right rules and conditions have to be set for those in the market, both traditional and new players.
- Thirdly, issues of data, skills and common standards need to be addressed. All industrial sectors should be able to integrate new technologies, such as big data or cloud computing, and manage the transition to a smart industrial system. At the same time, this will allow Europeans to fully benefit from interoperable e-services, from e-government to e-health, and develop their digital skills to boost their chances of getting a job.
On 6 May, the College of Commissioners will adopt the Digital Single Market Strategy. Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Digital Economy and Society, will be at the Midday briefing to present the Strategy to the press.
Mina Andreeva, +32 229 91382, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie Frenay, +32 229 64532, email@example.com
The 2015 European Civil Protection Forum will take place at the European Commission's Charlemagne Building in Brussels, on 6 and 7 May 2015.
It will feature a conference with high level speakers and an indoor and outdoor exhibition, under the theme of 'Partnership and Innovation'. The event is open to the public.
The European Civil Protection Forum is organised by the European Commission every two years. It is the largest recurring public event on European civil protection cooperation. The event brings together the European and international civil protection community to discuss the present and future of disaster management in Europe.
The Forum will take stock of common achievements in the disaster risk management field, share best practices and ideas on issues of common European and international interest, and discuss ways of addressing new challenges together. The Forum is also an important tool for strengthening cooperation with strategic international partners and partners from European neighbourhood states.
The event will gather high level participants from the political sphere, academia, civil protection authorities, first emergency responders, international organisations, European institutions and others.
The forum will be hosted by the Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. The opening address will be given by the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, will also make a special address.
An indoor and outdoor exhibition will showcase examples of new technologies used in the disaster management field. This includes EU's response to the Ebola outbreak and a demonstration of drones used for disaster management purposes on the Berlaymont Esplanade (TBC).
The event will be web streamed.
Maja Kocijancic, +32 2 298 65 70, Maja.Kocijancic@ec.europa.eu
Irina Novakova, + 32 2 295 75 17, firstname.lastname@example.org
On 13 May, the European Commission is set to adopt the European Agenda on Migration, putting forward the key principles and actions in this area for 2015-2020. Announced from the outset as one of the ten political priorities of President Jean-Claude Juncker, this Agenda will offer an ambitious and comprehensive plan to manage migration better, both in the immediate term as well as in the long run. The four pillars of this common approach will be a strong common asylum policy, the fight against trafficking and the prevention of irregular migration, managing external borders, and a new policy on legal migration.
The European Agenda on Migration will offer a new approach to more than twenty years of asylum and migration policy at the EU level, following the Extraordinary European Council Conclusions of April 2015, the Resolution of the European Parliament of April 2015, the Political Guidelines of President Jean-Claude Juncker of July 2014, and the Strategic Guidelines of the European Council of June 2014.
The European on Migration will be adopted by the College on 13 May, and subsequently presented to the press (specific arrangements tbc). The press conference can be followed on EbS.
Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4813_en.htm
Commission makes progress on a European Agenda on Migration: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4545_en.htm
Towards a Comprehensive European Migration Policy: 20 years of EU Action: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-4544_en.htm
Natasha Bertaud, +32 229 67456, Natasha.Bertaud@ec.europa.eu
Milica Petrovic, +32 229 63020, Milica.Petrovic@ec.europa.eu
On 19 May, the Commission plans to presents its Better Regulation Package, which will outline measures to deliver better results for citizens and businesses through better EU rules. To this end, the package will include a proposal for the revision of the 2003 Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law Making. It will also explain how the Commission intends to further open up policy making and interact better with stakeholders. The measures proposed will focus on greater transparency around decision-making, wider public consultation, improved impact assessments and a new approach to reviewing the existing stock of EU legislation.
The Political Guidelines of President Jean-Claude Juncker of July 2014 stated that "Not every problem that exists in Europe is a problem for the European Union. We must take care of the big issues." Doing this well in a manner that delivers tangible economic, social and environmental benefits for citizens, business and wider society is the basic goal of the Commission's better regulation agenda, which is led by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
The Better Regulation Package will be adopted by the College on 19 May at its meeting in Strasbourg, and subsequently presented to the press (specific arrangements tbc). The press conference can be followed on EbS.
Political Guidelines of President Juncker http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/docs/pg_en.pdf
Natasha Bertaud, +32 229 67456, Natasha.Bertaud@ec.europa.eu
Tim McPhie, +32 229 58602, Tim.McPhie@ec.europa.eu
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica and European Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides will be attending the International Conference on the Central African Republic in Brussels on 26 May 2015.
This conference will focus on the actions taken in response to the humanitarian challenges in the country and those posed by resilience in the medium-term. The first results from the Bêkou European Union Trust Fund will be presented at the conference along with the prospects for the future.
The conference is also intended to provide a forum for exploring the scope for donors to contribute more towards the Central African Republic's short-term humanitarian needs and sustainable recovery.
The Central African Republic has been in the grips of an unprecedented crisis since 2013, with the state, economic and social structures needing to be completely rebuilt. Although the general situation remains alarming, the Central African Republic is nevertheless engaged in a reconciliation process aimed at restoring the authority of the state.
The European Union has a long-standing partnership with the Central African Republic and has mobilised the instruments at its disposal to help the country.
In July 2014 the EU, working with France, Germany and the Netherlands, launched the first European Trust Fund: the Bêkou Trust Fund for the Central African Republic.
The conference will take place on 26 May 2015 at the Borschette Centre in Brussels and is being organised jointly by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica and European Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides.
The event will be attended by many prominent figures, including Interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza, French Secretary of State for Development and the French-speaking World Annick Girardin, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and representatives of international organisations such as the United Nations and the partner NGOs.
A press release will be available on the day.
A press pack will be available at the conference.
Website of High Representative Federica Mogherini: http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/mogherini_en
Website of Commissioner Mimica: http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/mimica_en
Website of Commissioner Stylianides: http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/stylianides_en
Catherine Ray, +32 229 69921, Catherine.Ray@ec.europa.eu
Sharon Zarb, +32 229 92256, Sharon.Zarb@ec.europa.eu