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Daily News of 2014-06-04

European Commission - MEX/14/0604   04/06/2014

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EXME 14 / 04.06

DAILY NEWS

04 / 06 / 14

G7 summit  

Today and tomorrow, the G7 summit is taking place in Brussels. The summit is hosted by the European Union, represented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. They will hold a joint pre-summit press briefing today at 3 p.m. in the press room of the Justus Lipsius building ( watch it live on EBS).

The situation in Ukraine and the relations with Russia are on the agenda of the meeting as well as other foreign policy topics, the global economy, trade, energy security, climate change and development. This morning both Presidents had a joint meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe. At 6.45 p.m. today, President Barroso will meet the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A closing press conference of Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy is planned for tomorrow afternoon (exact time to be confirmed).

A press release with quotes of both Presidents and a fact sheet are available online.

More information on the G7 summit website .

Commission assesses eight EU countries’ readiness to join the euro area; proposes that Lithuania join in 2015            

The European Commission has today released its 2014 Convergence Report, which assesses eight Member States' readiness to join the single currency. These countries have made uneven progress on the road to euro adoption, but Lithuania stands out from this group as it has achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence with the euro area. It now fulfils all convergence criteria. Vice-President Olli Rehn will present the conclusions of the report in the press room. He will underline that “The Economic and Monetary Union remains an attractive community to be in,” and that “Lithuania’s readiness to adopt the euro reflects its long-standing support for prudent fiscal policies and economic reforms. That reform momentum, driven in part by Lithuania's EU accession ten years ago, has led to a striking increase in Lithuanians’ prosperity.”

See also MEMO/14/391 . VP Rehn's speaking's will be available later on this link SPEECH/14/425


Other news

EU will overachieve its 2020 emissions reduction target to reach a 24.5% reduction

This announcement is Europe's contribution to the UN climate change negotiations starting today in Bonn, Germany. It also shows that as a result of decades of successful climate action, Europe is now set to deliver more than its original 2020 target and commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. This success will also significantly contribute to bridging the gap between what the world needs to do and what countries have pledged to do to keep global warming below 2°C. And by showing that bold climate action is possible, it also gives a positive signal for stepping up international action up to 2030 and for reaching a global climate agreement in 2015.

A press conference with Commissioner Connie Hedegaard will take place on 6th June at 14.30 CET and can be followed here .

Transport Council in Luxembourg – 5 June 2014

The EU Council of Transport Ministers will meet in Luxembourg tomorrow Thursday 5 June under the Greek Presidency of the EU. Ministers will focus their discussion on the fourth railway package, safer and greener lorries, ports and air passenger rights. Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, will represent the European Commission.

Launch of the 2017 European Green Capital Award

The Commission has launched today its search for the 2017 European Green Capital. The award is given to a European city that has demonstrated a well-established record of achieving high environmental standards and is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for future sustainable development. Cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants can apply for the title at www.europeangreencapital.eu . The competition is open to EU Member States and Candidate Countries (FYROM, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey); Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The deadline for applications is 20 October 2014. The competition is adjudicated by a European jury supported by a panel of renowned experts in different environmental fields. The winners will be announced in June 2015.  Join us on Facebook and on Twitter or tweet us @EU_GreenCapital  

Taxation: New guidelines on transfer pricing

Today the Commission adopted a Communication which includes guidelines on three aspects of the treatment of transfer pricing transactions: risk management in dealing with transfer pricing, the application of secondary adjustments and the use of compensating adjustments. These guidelines are very relevant in the context of the ongoing OECD work on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project (BEPS). They are drawn from the work of the EU Joint Transfer Pricing Forum (JTPF), which was established by the Commission to improve the smooth functioning of the Single Market and ensure better corporate tax coordination. Today's Communication also provides an update on the implementation of the JTPF work programme, which runs until March 2015.

For further information on the Communication and the JTPF, see MEMO/14/394 and http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/company_tax/transfer_pricing/forum/index_en.htm

EU steps up its efforts to provide access to sustainable energy in poor, rural areas

European Commission Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will today reveal the 16 energy projects which will receive €95 million of funding through to the EU’s new rural electrification programme. The projects include hydro, wind, solar and biomass projects across nine African countries such as Burkina Faso or Tanzania. The Commissioner will announce the results at an event in New York today, coinciding with the second anniversary Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), an initiative that set the ambitious goal of helping developing countries provide access to sustainable energy services to 500 million people by 2030. This rural electrification programme is only part of the overall EU efforts towards the SE4ALL goal. The EU aims to allocate more than 3 billion euro worth of grants in the 2014-2020 financial period to support sustainable energy projects in about 30 countries. This will leverage between 15 and 30 billion euro in loans and equity investment, thus enabling to plug the gaps in energy infrastructure projects and power businesses, schools, homes and hospitals.

Second estimate for the first quarter of 2014: Euro area GDP up by 0.2%, EU28 up by 0.3%, +0.9% and +1.4% respectively compared with the first quarter of 2013

Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.2% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.3% in the EU28 during the first quarter of 2014, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the fourth quarter of 2013, GDP grew by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.9% in the euro area and by 1.4% in the EU28 in the first quarter of 2014, after +0.5% and +1.0% respectively in the previous quarter.

Industrial producer prices, domestic market - April

In April 2014, compared with March 2014, industrial producer prices fell by 0.1% in both the euro area (EA18) and the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March prices decreased by 0.2% in both zones. In April 2014, compared with April 2013, industrial producer prices decreased by 1.2% in the euro area and by 1.1% in the EU28.

Turkey joins Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Turkey will get full access to the European Union's new seven year research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, under an agreement signed today in Istanbul. The agreement granting association status to research entities from Turkey was signed by European Commission Director-General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, and Ahmet Yücel, Acting Undersecretary of Turkey's Ministry for EU Affairs. Turkey is the third EU partner country to become associated to Horizon 2020.

Justice and Home Affairs Council 5-6 June 2014 in Luxembourg

Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner and Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs will represent the European Commission at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 5-6 June in Luxembourg. The main agenda items for the Justice Council include: the EU data protection reform, cross-border insolvency law and special safeguards for children in criminal proceedings. The main agenda items for the Home Affairs Council include: a revised EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism, foreign fighters and returnees from a counter-terrorism perspective and the task force for the Mediterranean.


What Commissioners said

President Barroso ahead of the G7 summit

Ahead of the G7 summit, starting today in Brussels, President Barroso said: "This will be a special summit, firstly because it will take place in a G7 format, secondly because we will in particular address the situation in Ukraine and finally because the summit will for the first time take place in Brussels. Recent events have once again demonstrated the importance of close cooperation between like-minded partners that share the values of freedom and democracy. We expect this summit to contribute decisively to promote these values and to reinforce a rules-based international community."

From Words to Action - Commissioner Hahn on the EU's Baltic Strategy 

Johannes Hahn the Commissioner for Regional Policy has been addressing leaders, senior business figures and key players at the 5th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. On the second day of the high-level gathering in the Finnish City of Turku, Commissioner Hahn called for greater focus and ownership from the region itself in particular to tackle key issues like transport and energy. He said the Commission's recent "governance report " on macro-regional strategies "is a call to every one of you – from individuals to cities and regions right up to ministerial level - to play your part in moving from words to action – and ensure that the Baltic continues to be a model for others as a Macro-Region. At the heart of this is ownership. The strategy achieves its potential when we work on priorities where member states have made a clear choice to co-operate together. The recent election results of the European Parliament demonstrate how much work is still to be done to make clear the connection between the everyday life of EU citizens and European Policy. I believe that the macro-regional approach can help us to bring Europe closer to the regions and the people who live in them. Take energy. You don't need me to tell you how important it is to develop our energy security. And, as the Commission's Energy Security Strategy published last week says, a regional approach will be decisive for the integration of the European energy market and for our security of supply. The Macro-Regional Strategies can provide a framework to identify coherent solutions. But we need more strategic political thinking and decision-making. The Macro-Region is not an obligation. It is a choice."

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