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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 01 / 06 / 2015

Brussels, 01 June 2015

Commissioner Thyssen comments on Eurostat quality of life flagship report

Traditionally official statistics describe economic and social developments by using indicators such as GDP. However, today it is widely accepted that GDP alone is not enough to show how well or badly people are doing. Quality of life is indeed a broader concept which includes a full range of factors which people value in life and their subjective assessments of these factors. The new Eurostat flagship publication 'Quality of life in Europe – facts and views' presents these different aspects of personal well-being by combining for the first time objective indicators with subjective evaluations of individuals’ situations in EU Member States. On this occasion, Commissioner Thyssen said: "The new statistics on material living conditions, employment, education, health, leisure, safety, rights, the environment and life satisfaction will complement traditional economic indicators such as GDP to measure social progress in society. Citizens care about their quality of life so there is a clear added-value to complementing GDP data with statistics that can give a better picture of what people value in their daily lives. I believe this comprehensive set of new data can help us deliver better tailored policies to improve the overall life satisfaction of Europeans." As Walter Radermacher, Director-General of Eurostat, states in the foreword of the publication: “The objective is to shed light on what could impact upon the quality of life, ranging from the educational level, the activity and health status to the family and financial situation”. A Eurostat press release can be found here and Commissioner Thyssen's statement here. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)

Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina enters into force today

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) enters into force today. The SAA establishes a close partnership between the EU and BiH and deepens the political, economic and trade ties between the two parties. It is from now on the main framework for the relations between the EU and BiH, further preparing the country for future EU membership. "Today's full entry into force of the SAA is a milestone on BiH-EU path. New chapter begins. Political clarity, decisive action and a real, coordinated effort by institutions at all levels are now needed to develop and implement the reform agenda." said HRVP Federica Mogherini. The SAA also brings new responsibilities stemming from its implementation and for BiH authorities to deliver upon. The Commission will spare no effort assisting the country’s authorities in the implementation of the necessary reform agenda" said Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic - Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430)

Agriculture: New transparency rules on CAP beneficiaries enter into force

Member States have to publish the list of beneficiaries of CAP payments as of today.The Common Agricultural Policy reform from 2013 introduced new rules on transparency on beneficiaries of the CAP. Each Member State's Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of publishing the required information, including the name of the beneficiary, amount and nature of the measure.  This fits in with the broader objective of the European Commission to improve and maintain a high level of transparency on how the EU budget is managed. Transparency needs to be balanced with respect for the private lives of beneficiaries and protection of personal data. The new rules enhance transparency regarding the use of Union funds in the Common Agricultural Policy and improve the sound financial management of these funds by reinforcing public control of the money used. Commenting on the enforcement of these transparency rules, EU Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "It is important that taxpayers appreciate the important work that farmers do in providing steady supplies of safe, high quality food produced respecting environmental, animal welfare and social standards that are stricter than those faced by their competitors outside the EU. I hope that these new transparency rules will help the wider public better understand how the CAP is helping to address society's concerns – whether through the Direct Payments system, or via individual investment projects, such as to help young farmers to set up, to modernise farm machinery, to apply additional environmental measures, or for projects benefitting the wider rural economy." The European Commission has today activated a page with links to all the Member State websites. Further information about CAP transparency is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52 509)

Trade supports over 31 million jobs across Europe – Commission presents study
Today, the Commission presented its latest study on trade and jobs titled ‘EU Exports to the World: Effects on employment and income’. The study, which lists data per EU Member State shows that one in seven jobs in the EU depends on exports while these jobs tend to be higher paid. Between 1995 and 2011 EU employment supported by EU exports increased by 12.5 million jobs (+67%) to reach a total of 31.1 million jobs. This in-depth publication was jointly prepared by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the Directorate General, and will be presented at an event hosted by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. The publication uses the latest available data to provide a comprehensive and detailed set of indicators that shed light on the complex relationship between exports, employment, and income. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Vice-President Šefčovič takes Energy Union tour to Riga

On Monday 1 June, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič in charge of Energy Union travels to Latvia as part of the Energy Union Tour. The Vice-President will meet with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma to discuss the European Commission's preliminary analysis of the opportunities the Energy Union will bring for Latvia. Later that day, Vice-President Šefčovič will also meet with the Minister of Economics Dana Reizniece Ozola, who currently chairs the Energy Council. The Vice-President visits Riga Technical university to discuss with students. There will also be a meeting with the Chairman of the Riga City Council to discuss issues related to the smart cities agenda, such as energy efficiency in buildings. Riga is one of the first European capitals that signed the Covenant of Mayors. Vice-President Šefčovič will also participate the COSAC plenary meeting. Together with Jerzy Buzek, Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of the European Parliament and Petr Hlobil, Chair of the Green 10, he will give a state of play of European Union Energy Policy. "Latvia is a strong supporter of a European energy policy that is based on solidarity, trust and security. It has also been very active on regional cooperation, for instance in the framework of BEMIP. I am therefore looking forward to bringing the Energy Union to Latvia". Follow the Tour in detail on Twitter and Facebook. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Investment Plan for Europe: Vice-President Katainen takes roadshow to Latvia and Estonia

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, travels to Latvia and Estonia on Monday and Tuesday as part his roadshow to promote the Investment Plan for Europe. In Latvia President Katainen will meet with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Finance Minister Jānis Reirs, Minister of Economy Dana Reizniece-Ozola, President of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimševičs and the private sector. He will also host a citizens' dialogue entitled Investment Plan for Europe: Financing and Benefits for the Real Economy. In Estonia, Vice-President Katainen will meet with will meet Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, Minister of Finance Sven Sester, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal, Minister of Entrepreneurship Urve Palo, commercial bankers and venture capitalists. Vice-President Katainen will also speak at the National Parliament, he will visit Skype Technologies OÜ and meet its CEO Andrus Järg, and he will participate in a public debate entitled European economy today with Prime Minister Rõivas. Vice-President Katainen said: "Following the successful conclusion of negotiations on the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) last week I am looking forward to discussing the Investment Plan for Europe and its next steps in Riga and Tallinn." (Follow the roadshow in detail on Twitter. For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Bright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

Energy Union Diplomacy: Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Arias Cañete on energy cooperation visit to Norway

Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, will visit Norway on 1 and 2 June to discuss energy and climate cooperation. On the first day of the visit, he will address the Norwegian Parliament's Committee on Energy and Environment and will meet Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, and Kristine Sundtoft, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment. Together with the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tord Lien, Commissioner Cañete will hold the EU-Norway Energy Dialogue Ministerial meeting. On the second day, Commissioner Cañete will be visiting the Troll gas field and offshore facility as well as the Sima hydro power plant. The EU-Norway energy dialogue was launched in 2002 consisting of regular high level meetings, followed up since 2013 by an annual joint energy conference. Norway is a key supplier of gas and oil to the EU: in 2014, Norway supplied more than 30% of EU gas imports and more than 10% of crude oil imports. In the fourth quarter of 2014 gas imports from Norway clearly outperformed those coming from Russia, Norwegian flows increased to record levels 31.3 bcm. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Commissioner Avramopoulos is in Moritzburg (1-2 June) for the G6 meeting with Interior Ministers

On 1-2 June, Commissioner Avramopoulos is attending the G6 meeting with Interior Ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, and the US Attorney General and US Homeland Security Deputy Secretary. Participants will discuss the fight against organised crime, migration challenges, the fight against terrorism and cybercrime. Commissioner Avramopoulos will give a press statement on 2 June at 11:15am. A recorded video will be available on EbS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020)

Commissioner Thyssen participates in "Alliance for Youth" conference on youth unemployment

Commissioner for Employment & Social Affairs Marianne Thyssen will participate on Tuesday 2 June in the "Alliance for Youth" conference in the European Parliament. In 2014 more than 200 companies teamed up under the 'Alliance for Youth' initiative and pledged to the European Commission's European Alliance for Apprenticeships to create more than 100,000 jobs and training opportunities for young people in Europe. The conference will focus on the 'Alliance for Youth' achievements one year after their pledge and the importance of business-driven initiatives that can provide better vocational education and training which can improve young people's chances of finding a job and reduce youth unemployment in Europe. The conference will be webstreamed and a press conference will take place from 12:15pm until 12:45pm with Commissioner Thyssen (Anna Politkovskaya Press Room (European Parliament); PHS 0A50).  (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)

Commissioner Jourová participates in the European Consumer Summit

The European Consumer Summit, taking place 1-2 June in the Commission's Charlemagne Building, is an annual forum which will gather over 500 key European and international policy-makers and stakeholders, including representatives from the European Parliament, governments and national authorities, consumer organisations, academia and business. To mark the occasion, the European Commission announces the results of a coordinated effort with national consumer enforcers, who were tasked with screening how websites selling electronic devices apply EU legislation on product guarantees. The summit is also an occasion to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the European Consumer Centres Network, which serve as a way to inform EU consumers about their rights and help them deal with issues relating to cross border purchases. Speaking at the event, Commissioner Jourová stressed the importance of the Digital Single Market: "This initiative should bring the best possible deal for consumers in a more and more digital society. They should be able to make choices whilst benefiting from protection. They should be empowered to engage confidently in the Digital Single Market." (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


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