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EXME 14 / 13.05


13 / 05 / 14

Meeting between the European Commission and the Ukrainian Government

The European Commission is determined to help Ukraine, and to make sure that Ukraine has all the support it needs, in the short- and long- term, to undertake the political and economic reforms that are necessary for the country, with the common objective of a democratic, independent and prosperous Ukraine. This will be the main subject of today's meeting between the European Commission and the Ukrainian Government, led by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, in Brussels.

After the meeting, President Barroso and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk will hold a press conference at 15:00 CET, which will be broadcast via EBS . Press material will be available after the press conference.

New international university ranking: Commission welcomes launch of U-Multirank

A new global university ranking, set up with €2 million in funding from the European Union, is launched today. U-Multirank , which assesses the performance of more than 850 higher education institutions worldwide, breaks new ground by producing multi-dimensional listings rating universities on a much wider range of factors than existing international rankings. The idea is to avoid simplistic league tables which can result in misleading comparisons between institutions of very different types or mask significant differences in quality between courses at the same university. Individual users will be able to build a personalised ranking based on their particular needs. This will allow them to obtain information on the universities or specific disciplines which most interest them and to choose criteria according to their own preferences. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said: "I welcome the launch of this exciting new development in higher education. U-Multirank will enable students to make more informed decisions about where to study and give us a more accurate picture of how universities perform."

For further information please also refer to SPEECH/14/370 .

Other news

EU to boost private sector's role on inclusive growth in developing countries

The Commission has today adopted a Communication setting out the role of private sector at the forefront of international development. The private sector provides some 90 per cent of jobs in developing countries, and is thus an essential partner in the fight against poverty. The Communication outlines a new strategic framework to ensure that private sector operations in developing countries have a positive impact on society – and particularly women, young people and the poor.  Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said: "The private sector has a crucial role to play in helping people to lift themselves out of poverty, but we have to make sure that it benefits all of society, not just the few."

Commissioner Šemeta visits China, Hong Kong and Macau to discuss customs cooperation, trade facilitation, and tackling tax evasion

Algirdas Šemeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud, Statistics and Audit, will be in Asia from 14-17 May. The Commissioner's first stop will be in Hong Kong and Macau. He will discuss customs cooperation with his counterparts, particularly the clamp down on counterfeit products, which have become a growing problem in shipments from Hong Kong to the EU. On the tax side, he will meet Hong Kong Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Prof. K C Chan, Financial Secretary John Tsang, and Macao Secretary for the Economy and Finance Francis Tam, to discuss the fight against tax evasion and the international shift towards greater tax transparency. The Commissioner will also meet with business representatives from the Macao–EU Chamber of Commerce. In Beijing, he will open the 7th meeting of the EU-China Joint Customs Cooperation Committee. A number of important agreements will be sealed at this meeting, including EU-China mutual recognition of each other's trusted traders and a new Strategic Framework for EU-China customs cooperation. Commissioner Šemeta will meet with Chinese Minister for Customs Yu Guangzhou, with whom he will discuss customs cooperation issues including the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, endorsed in Bali last year. (See SPEECH/13/1037). Securing the supply chain, tackling smuggling and protecting intellectual property rights will also be high on his agenda.

Ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean hold first meeting on climate, environment

Today, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is holding the first Ministerial meeting on environment and climate. Environment Ministers from across the Mediterranean and the EU are expected to attend the event. The Ministerial meeting will address cooperation on a range of climate and environment issues, which should result in a renewed political commitment on existing initiatives and provide political support to emerging issues in the region. The results of the ministerial meeting will be announced at the press conference held by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and the Jordan Environment Minister Mr T. Al Shakhshir, who will co-chair the meeting. A statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard will be published here after the meeting.

SILC II is a funding opportunity for EU industry to cope with the climate challenge

The European Commission has just launched the Sustainable Industry Low Carbon II (SILC II) initiative with a budget of €20 million. This new initiative, funded under Horizon 2020, aims at contributing to the achievement of the stringent EU climate and energy targets and the decarbonisation of the EU economy in the long run. In particular, in the context of the EU’s decarbonisation ambitions, breakthrough solutions for advanced low-carbon manufacturing and processing are important to maintain the competitiveness of EU industries.

European Account Preservation Order adopted: New EU rules will make it easier for companies to recover millions of cross-border debt

New EU rules making it easier for companies to recover claims across borders have been adopted today by EU Ministers. Member States in the General Affairs Council signed off on the agreement recently reached with the European Parliament to establish a European Account Preservation Order – a Regulation that will be directly applicable in the Member States (except in the UK and Denmark which have an opt-out in this area). The new procedure will help businesses recover millions in cross-border debts, allowing creditors to preserve the amount owed in a debtor's bank account. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice during Vice-President Viviane Reding's electoral leave said:  "Every Euro counts: Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of European economies, making up 99% of businesses in the EU. Around 1 million of them face problems with cross-border debts. In economically challenging times companies need quick solutions to recover outstanding debts. This is exactly what the European Account Preservation Order is about."

Streamlining and simplifying the rules for gas appliances will further improve their safety

The European Commission today proposed to replace the gas appliances directive governing the safety of gas-fired appliances and related safety, regulating and controlling devices by directly applicable regulation. This means that the 28 pieces of national legislation transposing the current directive will be replaced by one single piece of legislation, which will be available in all official languages of the EU. Examples of gas appliances are cookers, stoves, radiant heaters, instantaneous hot water heaters, gas lights and central heating boilers. Consequently, the legislation covers a very wide range of common consumer and commercial products from simple camping type equipment to heating boilers for big building blocks. Only gas appliances used in industrial processes are not covered.

Employment: Commission welcomes Council adoption of Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive

The European Commission has welcomed today's definitive adoption by the EU's Council of Ministers of new measures to better enforce EU rules on the posting of workers. The new Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive will safeguard respect for posted workers' rights in practice and strengthen the legal framework for service providers. Member States have to implement the new Enforcement Directive in their national legislation no later than two years and twenty days after its publication in the EU's Official Journal. "The adoption of the Directive to enforce EU rules on posted workers sends a clear signal on the eve of the European elections that Europe does not accept fraud or abuse at the expense of posted workers or other forms of 'social dumping', said European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor. For furher information please also refer to MEMO/14/344 .

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