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EXME 14 / 04.03
04 / 03 / 14
Yesterday, EU ministers for foreign affairs gathered in Brussels for an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on Ukraine. The Council condemned "the clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces as well as the authorisation given by the Federation Council of Russia on 1 March for the use of the Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine." Following the meeting, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said: "I call on all sides to decrease the tensions immediately through dialogue, in full respect of Ukrainian and international law."
EU ministers also stated that "the EU is ready to further pursue its efforts with the international community and international financial institutions, especially the IMF, to assist Ukraine."
HRVP Catherine Ashton will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Madrid today.
An extraordinary meeting of EU Heads of State or Government will be held on 6 March 2014 to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and how to facilitate the de-escalation of the situation.
Europe is closing its innovation gap with the United States and Japan but differences in performance between EU Member States are still high and diminishing only slowly. At a regional level, the innovation gap is widening, with the innovation performance having worsened in almost one fifth of EU regions. These are the main results of the European Commission's Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014 and the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014. The overall ranking within the EU remains relatively stable, with Sweden at the top, followed by Denmark, Germany and Finland – the four countries that invest most in research and innovation. The countries whose position has improved the most are Portugal, Estonia and Latvia. Overall progress has been driven by the openness and attractiveness of the EU research system as well as business innovation collaboration and the commercialisation of knowledge as measured by licence and patent revenues from abroad. However, growth in public R&D expenditure was offset by a decline in venture capital investment and non-R&D innovation investment in companies. For more information please also refer to MEMO/14/140 .
The Commission has adopted its Final Simplification Scoreboard: over 120 measures to simplify the EU funding rules for Europe's businesses, towns, regions, scientists and NGOs. Together with the adoption of the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and of the sectoral funding programmes, much has been achieved in terms of making access to EU funds simpler for would-be beneficiaries. However, the EU institutions and Member States must continue to deliver on simplification through the adoption of the necessary implementing and technical measures.
The European Commission has today adopted Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on criteria to identify categories of staff whose professional activities have a material impact on an institution's risk profile (so-called ‘material risk takers’). These standards identify risk takers in banks and investment firms. This matters because the risk takers are the people who have to comply with EU rules on variable remuneration (including bonuses). These standards supplement the requirements of the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV) which entered into force on 17 July 2013 (see MEMO/13/690) and which strengthened the rules regarding the relationship between the variable (or bonus) component of total remuneration and the fixed component (or salary). Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "Some banks are doing their utmost to circumvent remuneration rules. The adoption of these technical standards is an important step towards ensuring that the capital requirement rules on remuneration are applied consistently across the EU. These standards will provide clarity on who new EU rules on bonuses actually apply to, which is key to preventing circumvention."
In January 2014, compared with December 2013, industrial producer prices fell by 0.3% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.4% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In December 2013 prices increased by 0.2% in both zones. In January 2014, compared with January 2013, industrial producer prices decreased by 1.4% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU28.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will announce €620 million of new EU support to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and €460 million for Rwanda for the period 2014-2020, during a visit to both countries together with the Belgian Minister for International Cooperation, Jean-Pascal Labille. Ahead of his arrival Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The Great Lakes region and its citizens have faced some exceptional challenges in recent years – these challenges are not over, but we should recognize that we are at a moment of opportunity". EU funding in the DRC will be used to fight poverty by promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, to strengthen democracy and human rights and contribute to peace and stability. In Rwanda the overall objective is to reduce poverty, support the already significant progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and to strengthen democratic governance with safeguards for human rights.
What Commissioners said
Président Barroso reçoit "Médaille du Centenaire" par la Fondation internationale Raoul Wallenberg
Le 4 mars 2014, à Bruxelles, le Président José Manuel Barroso se verra décerner la "médaille du centenaire" par la fondation internationale Raoul Wallenberg (IRWF). Cette médaille, créée pour commémorer le centième anniversaire de la naissance de l'homme d'affaires et diplomate suédois Raoul Wallenberg, qui s'est glorieusement illustré pendant la seconde guerre mondiale par son action ayant permis de sauver la vie de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de juifs de Hongrie, vise à honorer d'éminentes personnalités de par le monde pour leur engagement en faveur des principes qui ont guidé R. Wallenberg : l'esprit de solidarité et le courage civique. Lors d'une brève cérémonie à 12.30 au siège de la Commission européenne, Eduardo Eurnekian, président de l'IRWF, prendra la parole avant l'attribution de la médaille du centenaire au Président Barroso.
Dans son message de remerciement, le Président Barroso déclarera que "l'une des principales leçons de notre histoire récente était de nous permettre de garder une trace du courage et de l'espoir qui ont inspiré suffisamment de ceux qui nous ont précédés pour que finisse par s'imposer et par triompher l'idée d'une paix durable en Europe." Il évoquera également le citant en exemple emblématique et en motif de fierté pour son pays, le diplomate portugais Aristides de Sousa Mendes qui, en 1940, a mis ses fonctions de consul à Bordeaux au service de la cause des persécutés et a en quelques jours délivré des milliers de visas ayant permis de sauver autant de vies. La cérémonie sera disponible sur EBS à 13:00.