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EXME 13 / 22.10
22 / 10 / 13
The Commission work programme 2014
Today, the European Commission will adopt its work programme for 2014. The Work Programme for 2014 will set out the key new initiatives for 2014 and will also highlight the priority items for adoption by the co-legislators before the European Parliament elections in May 2014. The work programme also identifies the further steps to be taken to implement the regulatory fitness programme of work adopted on the 2nd October .
There were fewer infringements open at the end of 2012 than in previous years. This reflects the determination of the European Commission to work with the Member States to solve problems and improve compliance, in line with the Commission's regulatory fitness programme (REFIT). With around 1300 infringements opened in 2012, the overall situation has dramatically improved compared to 2009 (2900 infringements).
Still, situation varies enormously between Member States with Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta and Denmark having less than 30 pending cases in 2012, while Greece, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy had between 80 and 99 infringements each. Environment policy represents 20% of all cases. Discover the facts and figures in the 30th Report on the application of EU Law published today.
"Today's tax systems were conceived in a pre-computer age. So it is no surprise that they often clash with the modern, digital economy. Taxation must not be an obstacle to all that is good about the digital revolution. Yet, we must also ensure that the digital sector plays fair and pays fair. The challenges linked to taxing the digital economy are immense and there are no ready-made answers. Therefore, we need deep, informed and focused reflection on this issue within the EU, to ensure that the next steps we take are the right ones," said Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Anti-fraud and Audit.
On Friday 25 October, the Directive on Patients' Rights in Cross-border Healthcare enters into force. This is a very important piece of EU legislation since it enshrines citizens' right to go to another EU country for treatment and get reimbursed for it. An "off the record" technical briefing is organised today after the "Midday", in the press room of Berlaymont.
Today, the Task Force for Greece (TFGR) published its Fifth Activity Report on technical assistance provided to the Greek authorities since the last report in April. TFGR supports Greece in implementing reforms linked to its financial assistance programme, as well as in making the best use of EU Structural and Cohesion funding, which has seen one of the most striking improvements: of the €20 billion available to Greece from the EU budget, 67.5% was disbursed by the end of September, up from 49% at the end of 2012. The TFGR also assisted in setting up new structures for public financial management and public revenue administration. There are signs of increased efficiency in the tax administration and vastly more completed audits of large taxpayers at the beginning of this year compared to 2012. The TFGR supported a national anti-corruption strategy and contributed to progress in unlocking infrastructure investments such as moving forward work on the construction of four motorways. Well-targeted and appropriately resourced technical assistance plays an important role in supporting the necessary reforms of the Greek economy, as does the continued commitment and determination of the Greek authorities.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the planned acquisition of the German company Cemex West by its Swiss rival Holcim is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. Both companies are global suppliers of cement and other building materials. The Commission has concerns that the transaction may reduce competition in parts of Germany and Belgium where Cemex West is an actual or potential competitor of Holcim. The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 10 March 2014, to take a decision.
Mergers: Commission clears joint venture for logistics services between Japanese companies Nippon Express and NEC Corporation
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of NEC Logistics by NEC Corporation and Nippon Express Co., all of Japan. NEC Corporation currently solely controls NEC logistics. NEC Corporation provides IT products to private and public operators while NEC Logistics supplies logistic services worldwide, in particular freight forwarding and freight transport services as well as warehousing and storage services. Nippon Express is a global logistics supplier, including domestic and international relocation and transportation of specialized goods by rail, sea and air. The joint venture will be renamed Nittsu NEC Logistics. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the joint ventures' actual and foreseen activities in the European Economic Area (EEA) will be negligible and its market shares will be very low. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition in the public case register under the case number M.7033
23 October Single Market Month closing debate: Participants present their ideas to change Europe!
On 23 October at 13.00 Brussels time, five participants in the debates of the Single Market Month will present their ideas to improve the Single Market in a live debate to Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services. Anyone has the opportunity to ask questions in advance to Commissioner Barnier, or tweet one during the show using the hashtags #AskBarnier and #Ideas4Europe , on the themes of the Single Market Month, i.e. jobs, social rights, banks and e-commerce. The debate will conclude a month of online debates during which over 780 policy proposals were put forward. They can be read on www.yourideasforeurope.eu . The transmission will take place live on the Euronews website, and on www.yourideasforeurope.eu
New support to Nigerian women's engagement in peace and security
The EU will support for Nigerian women with a €10 million project that will help to emphasize their importance for development and stability. Activities will include forums for dialogue, radio programmes on the role of women in peace building, early warning systems and rapid response mechanisms for conflict resolution as well as conflict prevention trainings for women. The EU support also aims to ensure that girls and women subject to gender-based violence in four States of Northern Nigeria have access to protection services and reporting mechanisms. This project will contribute to the fight against discrimination towards women and girls in Nigeria, which is unfortunately a widespread problem in the country. More info: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/documents/aap/2013/pr_aap-spe_2013_nga.pdf
The European Commission's data protection reform proposals were backed by an overwhelming majority (49 votes in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions) in the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament. Vice-President Reding spoke at a press point today on Data Protection in Strasbourg: Yesterday's late vote by the LIBE committee is an important moment for European democracy. The European Parliament has decided to give its full backing for a strong European data protection law that will cut costs for business and strengthen the protection of our citizens: one continent, one law. The vote is a strong signal: as of today data protection is made in Europe. This is important. We see on a daily basis, why we need the data protection reform swiftly. Look at what happened yesterday: the NSA spying on French citizens. The European Union has responded not though a declaration but through action." More information: MEMO/13/923