08 Jun 2018


Brussels, Brussels Daily


EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing measures to make tax and customs cooperation between Member States better and more efficient. The new Customs Programme will help put in place a modern Customs Union which puts the interests of EU business and citizens at its heart, while the Fiscalis Programme will support cooperation between Member States’ tax administrations and better contribute to the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Continued funding of these programmes will help the EU to progress in offering businesses unfettered and easy access to the EU’s Single Market so that trade can flourish, protect citizens from dangerous goods entering the Union at our external borders and ensure that Member States are equipped to fight tax avoidance and tax evasion. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Protecting the European Union’s customs territory and implementing our common rules on taxation require strong cooperation between the relevant national authorities. Our new Customs and Fiscalis programmes will help to make that happen. At minimal cost, they provide a true European added value, offering unprecedented advantages to Member States’ tax and customs authorities as they work together in the interests of our citizens and businesses.” The Commission is proposing a continued financial commitment of €950 million for the EU’s customs programme and €270 million for the EU’s Fiscalis programme, representing just 0.07% and 0.02% of the next EU budget respectively for programmes with a big added value for the EU. A full press release and MEMO are available online, while the legislative proposals and factsheets are available here.


Commissioners Hogan and Moedas participate in a citizens’ dialogue in Portugal on the future of Europe and the European agricultural sector

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan is visiting Santarém, Portugal, where he is participating in a citizen dialogue alongside the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas. The dialogue will focus on debates on the future of Europe and more specifically the challenges facing European farmers. Last week the Commission presented its legislative proposals for the future common agricultural policy. The event is organized as part of a more general conference on European agriculture and will be followed by an intervention by the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Luis Capoulas. Santos. Following the conference, Commissioners Hogan and Moedas will visit the Santarém Agricultural Fair with Prime Minister Costa. Commissioner Hogan will also have a meeting with Mr Capoulas Santos.

Future of EU finances – Commissioner Oettinger at the Conference on Cohesion Policy beyond 2020 in Sofia

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, is participating to the Conference on Cohesion Policy beyond 2020, “Perspectives for Convergence and Sustainable Regions”, organised by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council. Decision-makers and key cohesion stakeholders from across Europe will meet in the Bulgarian capital to share their visions of the future of the policy, following the Commission’s proposal for Regional Development and Cohesion Policy beyond 2020 presented on 29 May. Commissioner Oettinger will deliver a speech on challenges and opportunities for the new EU budget and Cohesion Policy after 2020. “The Commission’s proposal for the next Cohesion Policy is both rational and ambitious,” said Commissioner Oettinger, “Rational, because the cost of non-cohesion between EU regions and Member States will be far greater than the effort of solidarity we ask for. And ambitious, because a strong Cohesion Policy with an investment power of €373 billion can help reach EU-wide goals of growth, jobs and innovation in every corner of Europe.” In Sofia, Commissioner Oettinger met Pedro Marques, Minister of Planning and Infrastructures of Portugal, Jerzy Kwieciński, Minister of Investment and Economic Development of Poland, Gabrijela Žalac, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds of the Republic of Croatia and László Palkovics Minister for Innovation and Technology of Hungary


Telecommunication Council reached a general approach on the Cybersecurity Act

The Telecommunications Council reached today a general approach on the Cybersecurity Act, which was presented by President Jean-Claude Juncker in his annual State of the Union Address in 2017. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel welcomed the political agreement from the Council in a joint statement: “Today’s agreement opens the door to transform and strengthen the mandate of European Union Agency for Network and Information and Security (ENISA) into the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, which will support Member States with tackling cybersecurity threats and attacks. […] Strengthening Europe’s cybersecurity is the only way to assure a strong and viable Digital Single Market for the benefit of all. It is vital for Member States to work together in building a more cyber secure European Union and avoid the complication of different national laws.” The full statement is available here. The cybersecurity package was proposed by the Commission in September 2017 as a part of a wide-ranging set of measures to deal with cyber-attacks and to build strong cybersecurity in the EU. This included the Cybersecurity Act: a proposal for strengthening the EU Agency forCybersecurity as well as creating a new European certification framework, ensuring that products and services in the digital world are cyber secure. More details on cybersecurity are available here and in the factsheet.


Transport Council: Ministers support 3 initiatives of the Commission for clean and competitive mobility

Meeting yesterday in Luxembourg, the European transport ministers agreed on three proposals put forward by this Commission to support the competitiveness and sustainability of the mobility sector. This will allow for the opening of interinstitutional negotiations with the European Parliament (‘trilogue’) in view of a swift adoption. Speaking after the meeting, Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said “We have reached an agreement within the Council on three important files, and I am confident that we can complete their adoption by the end of the year. Progress has also been achieved on other files that are still under negotiation, and I look forward to work closely with the incoming Austrian Presidency.” More specifically, ministers firstly agreed on new rules aiming to safeguard competition in air transport. This was the flagship initiative of the ‘Open and Connected Aviation’ tabled by the Commission a year ago. It will allow the EU to take appropriate action, should European airlines be subject to unfair practices affecting competition with third country carriers. Secondly, ministers agreed on European rules providing incentives for ships to dispose of their waste on land, rather than dumping it at sea. This agreement was reached only five months after the Commission put forward this proposal as parts of its ongoing efforts to tackle plastic waste. Ministers also agreed on common specifications for a European electronic toll service. They will establish interoperable road tolling services throughout the EU and improve cross-border cooperation on enforcement. In addition, ministers discussed progress made on other important dossiers, such as the market and social aspects of Europe on the Move or the Commission’s proposal to update rail passenger rights. More information is available here and on the Council website.


2018 Skills Forecast: EU agency for the Development of Vocational Training publishes insights in tomorrow’s trends in skills demand and supply

Today, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)has released its 2018 skills forecast, which shows future trends in skills needed on the labour market for the period up to 2030 across Europe. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion Marianne Thyssen said: “Cedefop’s work on the skills forecast is an important contribution to employment and skills policies, including the implementation of the Skills Agenda for Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar puts emphasis on person’s right to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market. Knowledge of tomorrow’s trends in skills demand and supply is necessary to design growth, employment and education policies today.” The 2018 Skills Forecast projections suggest that four in five new jobs will require a high level of skills. The Forecast also projects fast growth of high-skills occupations, with some growth in certain less-skilled jobs (for example, sales, security, cleaning, catering and caring occupations). In contrast, the number of jobs in medium-skill occupations, such as skilled manual workers and clerks, is projected to see a very slow growth or even to decline over time. At the same time, the need to replace the existing workforce (e.g. due to retirement) will generate numerous job openings, including for occupations that are otherwise in declining demand (e.g. metal and machinery trades workers or agricultural workers). On the supply side, there may be an even larger pool of high-qualified workers from which workers can be drawn, which means that some highly trained workers may therefore end up in jobs below their qualification level. The 2018 skills forecast launch is taking place today at the Residence Palace in Brussels. More information on the event can be found here. The 2018 skills forecast can be found here.


Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the styrene monomer purchasing sector

The European Commission can confirm that on 5 June 2018 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of companies active in styrene monomer purchasing. The Commission has concerns that the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities. Styrene monomer is a chemical product used as a base material for a number of chemical products such as plastics, resins, rubbers and latexes. A full statement is available online.





World Oceans Day 2018: Statement by Commissioner Karmenu Vella

On the occasion of World Oceans Day, taking place every year on 8 June, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella stated: “Today, on World Oceans Day, I want to join the global celebration of our oceans. I want to highlight their importance for our wellbeing and for the wellbeing of future generations: as an abundant supplier of food, energy and other natural resources; as a regulator for our climate and many of our natural cycles; and as source of inspiration, imagination and humility. On this day, I also want to recall the urgent need to address the immense challenges that our oceans are faced with: climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and unsustainable management of their resources […] The theme of this year’s World Oceans Day is “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean […] The European Union is playing its part, we are taking care of our future; standing up for our oceans.” Full statement available here.





High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini travels to Jordan on 9-10 June

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini will travel to Jordan on 9-10 June. She will reiterate the EU’s strong longstanding partnership with Jordan and the continued EU support to the country and the Jordanians. During her visit, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini will be received by H.E. King Abdullah II and will hold a number of other meetings in Amman. The meetings will provide an opportunity for the EU and Jordan to discuss the latest events and exchange views on the concrete progress on socio-economic cooperation, which is one of the top priorities of the EU-Jordan partnership to increase growth as well as job opportunities for Jordanians, in particular in the context of the Syria crisis and its regional impact. The regional situation, including the Syria crisis and the Middle East Peace Process, will also be part of the discussions. While in Jordan, the High Representative/Vice-President will also deliver a speech at the German Jordanian University in Madaba on the occasion of the graduation ceremony of Jordanian and Syrian students supported under EU programmes. The visit will be covered on EbS.


Commissioner Stylianides in Rome to open exhibition on EU emergency response for natural disasters

Today, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides will open the EU SAVES LIVES virtual reality exhibition in Rome in the presence of Ms Elisabetta Gardini, Member of European Parliament and Mr Fabrizio Curcio, Coordinator of Civil Protection, the Council Presidency. Speaking at the opening ceremony in Rome, Commissioner Stylianides said: “This campaign is about bringing Europe closer to its citizens. We want to showcase the added value of the EU in situations when natural disasters hit. The EU, through its emergency response, saves lives and protects European citizens in Europe and worldwide.” This campaign comes just a few months after the European Commission launched an ambitious proposal to further support Member States by upgrading the current collective European Civil Protection Mechanism via rescEU. The European Commission’s virtual reality exhibition EU SAVES LIVESis travelling to several countries to explain in an interactive way how Europe helps coordinate emergency response to natural disasters and other crises in Europe and worldwide. The traveling exhibition has already been in Berlin, Bucharest and Vilnius attracting more than 160,000 visitors so far. Following a ten-day stop in Rome, the roadshow will travel to Marseille and Madrid.


Commissioner Gabriel travelling to Hanover for CeBIT 2018 digital business fair

Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel will participate on Monday and Tuesday in the digital business fair CEBIT. On Monday evening she will hold a keynote speech at the official opening ceremony of CEBIT 2018. The Commissioner will meet on the sidelines of the event German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier. On Tuesday morning she will meet Minister-President of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil as well as Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economic, Labor, Transport and Digitalisation of Lower Saxony. In the afternoon the Commissioner will deliver a keynote speech on the benefits of the Digital Single Market at the CEBIT Digital Transformation Forum and participate in the following panel discussion. She will additionally make a tour through the exhibition halls and meet, among others, German Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek.


Commissioner Thyssen visits European Social Fund project in Germany

On Monday 11 June Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen will travel to Mannheim, Germany, where she will visit a European Social Fund project in presence of Member of European Parliament Ms Ingeborg Grässle. The project concerns the Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Katholische Jugendsozialarbeit (LAG KJS) of Baden-Württemberg, an association specialised in youth care aid, youth homes, help with school work, part-time education for single parents and more. It will be an opportunity for the Commissioner to learn more about the association and exchange views on how EU funding can be used.

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