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EXME 13 / 12.06


12 / 06 / 13

Fighting tax evasion: Commission proposes widest scope of automatic exchange of information within the EU

Today, the Commission has proposed extending the automatic exchange of information between EU tax administrations, as part of the intensified fight against tax evasion. Under the proposal, dividends, capital gains, all other forms of financial income and account balances, would be added to the list of categories which are subject to automatic information exchange within the EU. This paves the way for the EU to have the most comprehensive system of automatic information exchange in the world. With this initiative, the EU also maintains its leadership in international developments towards automatic exchange of information as a global standard which will be discussed at the upcoming G8 and G20 summits.

President Barroso calls for a European consensus to restore confidence

Speaking at the European Parliament President Barroso said that the forthcoming European Council is an opportunity to build a European consensus around the immediate priorities for the economic agenda: employment and financing of the economy. In his view this must be a consensus built on practical steps to resolve the crisis. A consensus not just on the need for growth and jobs, but on the means to achieve this. Such a consensus would provide a clarity of vision and most importantly instil confidence. Confidence that is necessary to stimulate much needed investment for growth and Jobs. Youth unemployment remains a real challenge the Commission is working hard but the Member States must do more.

Other news

Digital Agenda Scoreboard: Annual progress rankings

The European Commission's annual Digital Agenda Scoreboard published today shows that Europeans have basic digital networks and services but are missing out on the main current and future benefits of the digital revolution. Key findings show that basic broadband is now virtually everywhere in Europe, fast broadband now reaches half the population and internet access is increasingly going mobile. But there are still some problem areas, with only 2% of homes having ultrafast broadband subscriptions (above 100 Mbps), far from the EU's 2020 target of 50%, and half of EU citizens having no or low computer skills. The Commission's aim is to create a regulatory and business climate that will foster competition and investment in Europe’s digital technology markets. The Scoreboard assesses progress at both EU and national level in achieving this goal ( IP/13/528).

New Schengen rules to better protect citizens' free movement

The European Parliament will vote today in Strasbourg on the legislative proposals on the Schengen governance. These new rules will better protect Schengen as an area without controls at internal borders  and remove unjustified obstacles to free movement and also prevent Member States from unilaterally deciding to reintroduce unnecessary controls at the internal borders without any European verification. The Commission will be given a central role when it comes to monitoring and evaluation and, in close cooperation with experts from the Member States, will have the competence to ensure that the Schengen rules will be respected. The role of the European Parliament will be reinforced. For more information: MEMO/13/536

A new Common European Asylum System

The European Parliament will vote today on the Common European Asylum System in Strasbourg. This new system will provide better access to the asylum procedure for those who seek protection; will lead to fairer, quicker and better quality asylum decisions; will ensure that people in fear of persecution will not be returned to danger; and will provide dignified and decent conditions both for those who apply for asylum and those who are granted international protection within the EU. For more information: MEMO/13/532

April 2013 compared with March 2013 - Industrial production up by 0.4% in euro area - Up by 0.3% in EU27

In April 2013 compared with March 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.4% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.3% in the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March production rose by 0.9% in both zones. In April 2013 compared with April 2012, industrial production fell by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU27.

Commissioner Vassiliou visits Greece (13-17 June)

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will be in Greece from 12-17 June to attend high-level meetings and events related to the programmes and policies under her responsibility. During the visit, she will meet Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Government Ministers and President Karolos Papoulias. Among the issues likely to be discussed is this week's announcement about the future of the state broadcaster and its possible impact on cultural diversity and media pluralism. The main focus of the Commissioner's visit will be the ceremony to honour the laureates of the 2013 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards (see IP/13/279).

Commissioner Hedegaard to visit Norway

EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard will visit Trondheim, Norway, from 12-13 June. During her stay she will visit a carbon capture and storage laboratory in Tiller and will address the International Student Energy Summit at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Commissioner Hedegaard will also participate in a roundtable debate on Norway's role in a renewable Europe with the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Ola Borten Moe, and Professor Asgeir Tomasgard, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies. She will also meet with high-level representatives from research, industry and governmental agencies and visit national energy agency Enova SF, which promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy in Norway.

Commission appoints three new Directors

The College has decided to appoint Mr Bernard MAGENHANN as Director “Resources and Logistics" in the Informatics Directorate-General, from 16 June 2013. Mr Magenhann, who has French nationality, is currently a Head of Unit in the Human Resources and Security Directorate-General, where his role is Head of the Internal Audit Capability. Also appointed is fellow Frenchman Mr Christian LEVASSEUR, who becomes Director “HR Core Processes 1: Career” in the Human Resources and Security Directorate-General. Mr Levasseur is currently a Head of Unit in that DG, responsible for Planning and Policy Steering. The decision takes effect on 16 July 2013. Finally, Mr Matthias WILL has been appointed Director “Shared Resource Services” in the Human Resources and Security Directorate-General. Mr Will is German, and currently Head of Unit 'Workforce Planning, Organisational Structures and Metrics' in that DG. He will take up his new duties on 1 September 2013.

Conference on Animal, Plant and Control Package: Smart Rules for Safer Food

The Health and Consumers Directorate General of the European Commission is organising a conference on the “Animal, Plant and Control Package: Smarter rules for safer food”. This will take place in Brussels on 13 June 2013. The Commission recently adopted a legislative package which provides a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools. Red-tape on processes and procedures will be reduced for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession. Businesses will benefit from simpler, science and risk-based rules in terms of reduced administrative burden, more efficient processes and measures to finance and strengthen the control and eradication of animal diseases and plant pests. Consumers will benefit from safer products and a more effective and more transparent system of controls along the chain. The purpose of this conference is to provide an opportunity for the Commission to formally present these proposals to stakeholders and journalists; and, to encourage an open and transparent debate before the European Parliament and Council formally begin their deliberations. For more information: conference ; webstreaming

What Commissioners said

Commissioner A; Tajani: Ensuring a future for steel in Europe

The European Commission yesterday put forward an action plan for the European Steel Industry to help this sector confront today’s challenges and lay the foundations for future competitiveness by fostering innovation, creating growth and jobs. The Commission proposes to support demand for EU-produced steel both at home and abroad, by acting to ensure EU steel producers have access to third country markets through fair trade practices. The European Commission is also committed to cutting costs for the industry, including those arising from EU regulation. Innovation, energy efficiency and sustainable production processes are vital for the next generation steel products essential for other key European industries. The Action Plan also foresees targeted measures to support employment in the sector and accompany the restructuring to ensure that highly skilled labour is retained in Europe. European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "The steel industry has a promising future in Europe. By continuing to lead in innovative products, its traditional strength, it can achieve a globally competitive edge. With today’s blueprint for the revival of the steel sector, we send a clear signal to the industry that it is a strategically important sector for Europe and a motor for growth. The EU needs its real economy more than ever to underpin the economic recovery and we aim for industry to deliver 20% of GDP by 2020". For more information: IP/13/527 , MEMO/13/523 , SPEECH/13/520 .

Summary of Steel Action Plan:

Damanaki at EP debate on illegal fishing

Speaking at the European Parliament last night, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, announced the follow-up to the Commission's 'yellow card' letters of November 2012 to 8 third countries for non-cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing. The countries got 6 months to respond. This deadline has now expired. The Commissioner explained to the Plenary the follow-up for each of the 8 countries. Link to full speech on Rapid: SPEECH/13/519

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