Brussels Daily
10 Nov 2014


Brussels Daily

The EU at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, Brisbane (15-16 November)

On 15 and 16 November 2014, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will participate in the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane, Australia. A new brochure published today by the European Commission provides facts and figures ahead of the meeting. The brochure is available online.

Antitrust: Commission welcomes Council adoption of Directive on antitrust damages actions

The European Commission welcomes today’s formal adoption by the EU Council of Ministers of a Commission proposal for a Directive on antitrust damages actions. The Directive will help citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of EU antitrust rules, such as cartels or abuses of dominant market positions. Among other things, it will give victims easier access to evidence they need to prove the damage suffered and more time to make their claims.EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said, “We need a more robust competition culture in Europe. So I am very glad that the Council has now also formally approved the Directive on antitrust damages actions. I am very pleased that it will be easier for European citizens and companies to receive effective compensation for harm caused by antitrust violations.” A press release is available online.


Statement by European Commission President Juncker on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

On this fateful day 25 years ago, a wall was torn down and the world was forever changed. Germany was reunited. And German unity in turn became a catalyst for European unity. The fall of the Berlin wall enabled new bridges to be built between people. Today, as President of the European Commission, I see it as my task to repair the cracks in these bridges that appeared after the worst financial and economic crisis since World War II. Europe must once again become a thing of the heart. It was with passion and courage that the people tore down that which divided them, in search of peace, freedom, unity, democracy and prosperity. Two decades later, we must not forget that peace is not a given in Europe. More than ever, Europe must live up to its responsibility to safeguard freedom and peace. Europe makes nation states collectively stronger but we can only win the future by playing together. We are the Europe of the last chance. We have to seize that chance and give Europe’s citizens the new start they are expecting of us.

Remarks by Commissioner Moscovici at the ECOFIN meeting on Friday 7 November

During the ECOFIN press conference, Commissioner Moscovici presented his priorities in the field of taxation. Fight against tax evasion, tax erosion and tax fraud rank high on his agenda. He said in particular: “there is no time to waste in reducing any opportunities for abusive practices and aggressive tax planning. Also I observed a new spirit, in order to fight these practices of tax fraud, tax evasion, tax base erosion and to go on fighting bank secrecy and to move towards an automatic exchange of information as a global standard as by 2016. The European Union and the Commission want Europe to be in the lead, to become an example for these matters. In this context I want to highlight the important work of the G20 on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), which will be taken forward at the Summit in Brisbane next week, to which I will accompany President Juncker. We need to work hard to finalise this work in 2015.”

Opening Remarks by European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva at the ECOFIN press conference

Vice-President Georgieva announced a Commission proposal amending the rules regarding additional payments based on adjustments of the gross national income (GNI) figures. She said: “One, it would define exceptional circumstances – when is it that we are way above the average thresholds of corrections. Two, to propose a staged payment when we have these exceptional circumstances so Member States can pay their contributions – those hat have to pay more – and then of course we would do our job which is to pay those who have to be compensated as a result of these adjustments. Three, as the Minister said, to do it in a fair manner. In other words, when we have unusual adjustments then we apply to all Member States, we give all Member States equal treatment, and in this particular case we also look very carefully at how this staged process would affect each and every one of our Member States to be sure that we provide fair treatment. And four, we are taking on board the necessity to draw lessons from this case for the future. And that means not only to put the legislative proposal that I have described – with a very very high level of exceptionality – but also to look at timing of delivery of information, how this information can be made more easily accessible, how to encourage more transparency when it comes to data related to GNI. But doing so being mindful of the necessity of the independence of our statistical offices and more broadly to protect the financial viability and stability of the European Union.” The full statement is available online. The press conference can be watched online via EBS. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: + 32 229 50595)

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the latest developments in Ukraine

“The most recent reports by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine about convoys in separatist held areas with substantial amounts of heavy weapons, tanks and troops without insignia moving westwards represent a very worrying development. This comes in addition to reported heavy outgoing shelling overnight from the Donetsk area and reports over the last week of increased movements of troops and equipment.It is imperative to avoid any re-escalation of hostilities. All parties must now show utmost restraint, strictly abide by their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, and reengage in view of finding a peaceful sustainable solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. I call on the Russian Federation to fully assume its responsibilities in this regard, including by preventing any further movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine, and withdrawing any troops, weapons and equipment under its control from Ukraine, as well as by exercising its influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk.”

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