Brussels Daily
02 Oct 2014


Brussels Daily

Letter from President Barroso to the Italian Presidency of the EU Council on the EU budget payment shortages

President Barroso has sent a letter to the Italian Presidency of the EU Council , urging Member States to take their responsibilities to solve the current payment shortages in the EU budget. Last year, €26bn worth of legitimate bills could not be paid by the 2013 EU budget and was rolled over onto 2014, thus weakening even further the already low EU budget. In his letter, President Barroso calls on the Council to adopt the Commission’s proposal for the 2015 EU budget without cuts as well as a string of proposed amending budgets for 2014. With our proposal for 2015 adopted as well as the amending budgets for 2014, says Jose Manuel Barroso, we will be able to stabilise the annual amount of unpaid bills. The bulk of those invoices come from Member States as they consist of projects selected, managed and completed by Member States themselves.

For further information please also refer to MEMO/14/550

Other news

Visit by President Hernández Alvarado of Honduras

This Thursday, President Barroso welcomes the President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado of Honduras. Leaders will discuss Central American regional integration including cross-border projects, Honduran development plans, special zones for economic development and the UN post- 2015 agenda. The relations between the EU and Honduras have grown stronger with the entry into force of the trade part of the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America in 2013. Trade has increased and significant development cooperation will continue during the 2014-2020 cycle.

The Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 will be signed by Commissioner Piebalgs and the Minister Coordinator Hernández Alcerro. President Barroso and President Hernández will also sign as witnesses. For these next seven years, the EU will increase the allocation for the country, for the areas of food security, employment and the rule of law.

August 2014 compared with July 2014: Industrial producer prices down by 0.1% in both euro area and EU28

In August 2014, compared with July 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 July prices decreased by 0.2% in both zones.

In August 2014, compared with August 2013, industrial producer prices decreased by 1.4% in the euro area and by 1.5% in the EU28.

EU provides new support to help migrants and victims of human trafficking

The EU has today announced a new project to promote and protect the rights of migrants moving between developing countries, worth over €10 million. The project focuses on two types of migrants: those who carry out domestic work in the recipient country (e.g. house-cleaning) and those who fall victim of human trafficking. Concrete actions undertaken through this project include providing social assistance to the migrants and their families (access to healthcare, legal assistance and interpretation services, for instance) and supporting the civil society in the promotion of well-managed migration, labour and anti-trafficking policies and legislation. EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said: “This project proposes an innovative approach focusing on migration between developing countries. It shows the EU’s genuine and firm commitment to address human trafficking and forced labour, some of the worst forms of modern slavery, and our will to improve migrants’ rights more generally. And it’s clear for us that we need to work with civil society to make sure that migrants’ dignity is respected”.

Horizon Report urges schools to tackle ‘wicked’ digital skills challenge

Low digital skills and competences among school pupils and the need to integrate effective use of information and communication technologies into teacher training are among the most pressing challenges faced by European school education today, according to a report published by the European Commission and the New Media Consortium, a US-based not-for-profit body bringing together experts in education technology. The first-ever Horizon Report Europe: 2014 Schools edition outlines the trends and technological developments that are likely to have an impact on education over the next five years. It grades the challenges faced by European schools in three categories: ‘Solvable’, ‘Difficult’ and ‘Wicked’. The report echoes the objectives of the Commission’s Opening up Education initiative and is based on input from more than 50 experts from 22 European countries, the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). See MEMO/14/548 .

Europe’s cultural treasures online: opportunities ahead

The European Commission today publishes two reports to coincide with an international conference that is part of the Italian Presidency of the EU, urging cultural institutions in Europe put more cultural heritage online with government support:

One report looks at how to digitise, make accessible and preserve culture online, the second report explains how our film heritage can be rescued from rotting cans. Digitised cultural material is a great common and free resource for developing cultural and educational content, documentaries, tourism applications, games, animations and design tools. This can help creative industries to grow beyond their current share of 4% of EU’s GDP. @DigicultEU @EUFilmHeritage

Competition: Commission publishes results of retail food study

The European Commission has unveiled the results of a comprehensive study about the evolution of choice and innovation in food products in Europe during the last decade. The results show that the entry of new competitors always increases choice and innovation. In many Member States, retail markets are not overly concentrated, and the retailers’ bargaining power does not seem to have a negative impact on choice and innovation. Finally, while choice for European citizens has continuously increased in shops since 2004, the number of innovations reaching the consumer each year has decreased since 2008 largely due to the economic crisis. The Commission is inviting stakeholders to submit their comments on the study results.

New Commission can build on solid achievements in education, youth, culture and sport, says Vassiliou

The impact of the Commission’s policies and new programmes on education, youth, culture and sport are the focus of a booklet which will be launched by Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou in Cyprus tomorrow (3 October). Preparing for Life, also available in e-book form, sets out how the Commission has supported the areas under the Commissioner’s responsibility during the past five years. The improvements and additional resources for Erasmus+ , the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, and Creative Europe , supporting the cultural and creative sectors, are particularly singled out in the document. With a seven-year budget of almost €15 billion (40% more than previous levels), Erasmus+ will give four million people the opportunity to study, work, train or volunteer abroad. Creative Europe (€1.46 billion, 9% higher) will provide funding for 250 000 artists and cultural professionals, 2 000 cinemas, 800 films and 4 500 book translations. The brochure also highlights the additional support secured by Commissioner Vassiliou for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (€2.7 billion for 2014-20) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (more than €6 billion, funding 65 000 researchers). “We are giving people the tools that allow them to find their own path to employment, well-being and a place in society,” said Commissioner Vassiliou. “I am confident that the future Commission can build on these solid achievements.” The launch event will take place at the European Commission Representation in Nicosia at 11.00 local time.

New pan-European pension fund to boost researcher mobility

Mobility of researchers in Europe received a boost today with the launch of a consortium that aims to establish a new pan-European pension arrangement. Once put in place, the RESAVER initiative would mean that researchers could move freely without having to worry about preserving their supplementary pension benefits. The consortium plans to set up the pension arrangement in 2015. It will enable researchers to remain affiliated to the same pension fund, even when changing jobs and moving between different countries. The European Commission will cover the initial set up costs through a four-year framework contract that will be awarded before the end of 2014Headline 3

Commissioner Andor meets local authorities to discuss first results of ROMACT programme in favour of Roma inclusion

Mayors from cities in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow to take stock of progress and lessons learned in integrating Roma at the local level, in particular with the support of ROMACT , a joint programme of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: “Roma inclusion can only be achieved through national efforts combined with action at local level. This is why the EU supports local authorities in designing and implementing Roma integration projects and in applying for EU funding, through programmes such as ROMACT“.

President Barroso takes part in the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs Summit

This Friday, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, will address the opening session of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs in Portugal, an initiative launched by CIONET – the largest European community of IT executives – and key Portuguese stakeholders. This summit intends to generate synergies and steer joint efforts to revolutionise the employment and investment in the Information and Communication Technology sector in Portugal.

The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs is a European wide initiative launched by the European Commission in March 2013. The Commission is leading a partnership with multiple stakeholders to address the lack of skills in Europe and 900.000 unfilled vacancies in ICT. The European Commission has supported the initiative from the start, given its impact in promoting job creation in particular youth employment. Throughout the European Union several business leaders have joined the Grand Coalition and defended the Davos Declaration for the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.

This Summit will recommend action plans in four areas, considering three main lines of action: retaining talent the technology sector, re-skilling and updating skills among the Portuguese talent, and attracting digital job “generators” for Portugal. Ultimately, CIONET intends to update the national institutions to digital initiatives needs for employment and to develop and share best practice in re-skilling and retaining talent, establishing short and medium-term goals for concrete results.

Energy: High-level Round Table on Ukraine’s gas market reforms and investment opportunities – Bilateral meeting VP Oettinger and Ukrainian Energy Minister Prodan

This Friday 3 October 2014, Vice-President Günther H. Oettinger and Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan will attend the high-level round table “Investment opportunities in Ukraine’s Gas Infrastructure Systems” in Brussels. European and international gas companies and financial institutions will discuss the currently on-going legal and regulatory reforms as well as investment opportunities into Ukraine’s gas sector. Ahead of the conference VP Oettinger and Energy Minister Prodan will meet bilaterally today. The bilateral meeting aims at preparing the next trilateral gas talks for which a date and place have not been scheduled yet. The gas market round table won’t be open to media representatives; no further media arrangements are foreseen.


What Commissioners said

Commissioner Hahn announces end of EU Urban Agenda public consultation at Rome meeting of EU capital mayors 

Addressing the mayors at yesterday’s meeting Commissioner Johannes Hahn in charge of Regional and Urban policy said: “I believe we can do more to put cities at the heart of EU policy making. Without the cities we can never come closer to reaching our ambitious Europe 2020 targets. Without the cities there is no sustainable exit from the crisis. Without the cities there will be no ownership of the European agenda. We need you to reach our common objectives.That is why I decided to hold a public consultation on the EU urban agenda.” He added  that a full summary of the public consultation should be completed by the end of the year, “But we can see already that a broad agreement on the need of an EU urban agenda is emerging. Whether to improve coordination of policies; to establish stronger links with citizens and improve their lives; to improve implementation of agreed strategies; to solve pressing societal challenges, such as the carbon neutral economy; there is a clear demand for a European approach to urban development.”

Commissioner Cecilia Malmström commemorates the Lampedusa tragedy

“One year ago, I visited Lampedusa together with Italy’s Prime Minister Letta, Interior Minister Alfano and Commission President Barroso. We were standing in front of rows of coffins containing the bodies of the victims of the Lampedusa shipwreck, which happened on 3 October 2013. These images are still in my mind as a terrible reminder of how we must strive to keep Europe open to those who seek protection. […]

Today it is virtually impossible to come to Europe in a legal and safe way. Migrants are forced to put their lives in the hands of traffickers and smugglers who are making huge profits by exploiting their misery and despair. […]

Let me be very clear – when it comes to accepting refugees, solidarity between EU member states is still largely non-existent. This is quite possibly our biggest challenge for the future. While some EU members are taking responsibility, providing refuge for thousands of refugees, several EU countries are accepting almost no-one.”

An Overview of European Commission actions in the fields of migration, asylum and borders follows Commissioner Malmstrom’s statement. The full document is available here .

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