College meeting: European Fiscal Board presents first Annual Report
During today’s College meeting, Niels Thygesen, Chairman of the European Fiscal Board, presented the board’s first annual report, before officially publishing it on Wednesday. The European Fiscal Board is an independent advisory body to the Commission, set up following the Five Presidents’ Report on Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, to advise it on fiscal matters. As part of its mandate, the board publishes an annual report of its findings. The report will be published online tomorrow, Wednesday 15 November, at 13:00 CET. For more information on the European Fiscal Board, please see the factsheet here.
Aid for Trade: Helping developing countries to achieve prosperity through trade and investment
Yesterday the Commission has set out a renewed vision on how to help developing countries fight poverty and create more and better jobs through trade and investment. The updated “Aid for Trade” Strategy 2017 builds on 10 years of EU Aid for Trade assistance and aims to strengthen and modernise EU support to partner countries. The new Communication adopted today sets out ways the Commission can improve and better target its aid for trade. It puts a strong focus on Least Developed Countries, and countries in situations of fragility. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “Together the European Union and its Member States are already the biggest supporters of aid for trade worldwide. We are setting out a new strategy to better respond to the complex challenges of today and increase the impact of our actions – to reduce poverty, boost sustainable economic growth and most importantly to ensure that it leaves no one behind.” Globally, the EU and its Member States are the biggest provider of Aid for Trade. In 2015 alone, EU commitments amounted to a record €13.16 billion per year. You can find more information in the press release here.
Improving cooperation between national consumer authorities to improve consumer protection across the EU
Today the European Parliament approved the new framework ensuring Consumer Protection Cooperation. Proposed by the Commission in May 2016, the Regulation aims at improving the EU-wide cooperation mechanism for consumer protection. This legislation is part of the Commission’s efforts to update consumer rules. The Commission will present its New deal for Consumers next spring. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Recent affairs that have damaged consumer trust, such as ‘Dieselgate’ or discussions about the dual quality of food, have revealed the need for better consumer law enforcement. With this new cooperation framework, when there is a widespread breach of consumer law, the Commission and national authorities will be able to swiftly respond in order to protect consumers across the EU.”Once in force, the new framework will give public authorities stronger powers to investigate and stop illegal practices. These new rules will introduce a quick and more efficient cross-border cooperation mechanism between national enforcers. When the Commission becomes aware of an issue affecting at least two thirds of Member States and two thirds of the EU population, it will be able to call on national authorities to investigate the case. If the conclusion of such an investigation reveals that EU laws are being breached, the Commission will coordinate the cross-border follow-up actions the authorities should take. The rules also address the need to better enforce EU consumer law, especially online. Once the new Regulation is published in the Official Journal, Member States will have up to 24 months to make sure their consumer authorities are ready to meet the new standards. Further details are available in the factsheet.
College meeting: Future of Europe: Towards a European Education Area by 2025
With the debate on the future of Europe in full swing, the European Commission is today setting out its vision for how we can create a European Education Area by 2025. The ideas formulated are intended as a contribution to the EU Leaders’ meeting on 17 November 2017 in Gothenburg, where they will discuss the future of education and culture. Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen said: “A collective effort would enable Europe as a whole to shape its future, deal better with the challenges it is facing and to become more resilient. One of Europe’s greatest achievements was to build bridges across our continent with the creation of an area of free movement for workers and citizens. But there are still obstacles to mobility in the area of education. By 2025 we should live in a Europe in which learning, studying and doing research is not hampered by borders but where spending time in another Member State to study, learn or work is the norm.” Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, added: “As we look to Europe’s future education is key, because it is education that equips us with the skills we need to become active members of our increasingly complex societies. It is education that helps us adapt to a rapidly changing world, to develop a European identity, to understand other cultures and to gain the new skills one needs in a society that is mobile, multicultural and increasingly digital.” The full press release and factsheets with detailed information on the European Education Area are available online.
College meeting: European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Slovakia, extends mandates of Heads of Representations in Belgium, UK
The European Commission has today decided to appoint Mr Ladislav Miko as the Head of the Commission’s Representation in Bratislava, as of 1 January 2018. He brings to his new role excellent knowledge of the EU institutions gained over his ten years at the European Commission in high-level positions; nearly 20 years of experience in the Slovak and Czech public administration and academia, much of it in management jobs, as well as a wide network of contacts with stakeholders in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Mr Miko is currently a Deputy Director-General in the Commission’s health directorate, dealing with the food chain. A press release with details is available here (also in FR, DE and SK). The Commission has also decided to extend the mandates of Mr Joseph Jamar, Head of its Representation in Belgium, and of Ms Christine Dalby, Deputy Head of Representation in the United Kingdom. They will remain on their positions until 28 February 2019 and 29 March 2019, respectively.Mr Jamar has been heading the Commission’s Belgian office since 2012, while Ms Dalby took over the management of the Commission’s office in London in March 2017. The Heads of the European Commission’s representations in the Member States report directly to President Juncker.
College meeting: European Environment Agency’s Executive Director – European Commission proposes an extension of the term of office [added on 14/11/17 at 15:23]
The European Commission has today decided to propose to the Administrative Board of the European Environment Agency (EEA) to extend the term of office of its current Executive Director, Mr Hans Bruyninckx, for a period of five years as of 1 June 2018. The final decision rests entirely with the Administrative Board. Mr Bruyninckx, a Belgian national, joined EEA as Executive Director in 2013. He brought to the role some 25 years of research, teaching and management experience in the academic sector in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States. Before joining the EEA, he was head of the HIVA Research Institute in Leuven, Belgium, a policy-oriented research institute associated with Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he headed the Political Science department between 2007 and 2010. Over the years, he has conducted and managed policy-oriented research in the areas of environmental politics, climate change, and sustainable development.
Investment Plan backs regional sustainability projects in the Netherlands
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €30 million loan with Limburgs Energie Fonds (LEF), a fund established by the Province of Limburg in the Netherlands which invests in small to medium sized projects in the areas of reduction of CO2 emissions, removal of asbestos in buildings and circular economy initiatives. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Investments in energy-efficiency projects and the circular economy are at the core of the Investment Plan for Europe’s objectives. In EFSI 2.0, 40% of investments should go to projects that are helping to reach the COP 21 climate goals. The fund set up by the Province of Limburg will lead to a greater number of sustainable investments and jobs in the region. With COP 23 still underway, this project is showing the way for climate-friendly growth.” For more information see the Investment Plan website
President Juncker at Citizens’ Dialogue on the future of Europe with Oliver Paasch, Karl-Heinz Lambertz and Pascal Arimont in St. Vith
On Wednesday, 15 November at 17:00 CET, on the occasion of the Day of the German-speaking Community, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker together with Oliver Paasch, Minister-President of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and Pascal Arimont, Member of the European Parliament, will take part in a Citizens’ Dialogue in the Eastern Belgian town of St. Vith. Citizens will get the chance to make their voice heard and discuss about the European Union. The Citizens’ Dialogues, which are a regular feature of the daily work of the Juncker Commission, have been central to the ‘Future of Europe debates’. Members of the Commission, including the President regularly travel to regions and cities across Europe to engage in dialogue with citizens and listen to their views and expectations concerning the future of the Union. The Citizens’ Dialogue in St Vith is the 400th Citizens’ Dialogue since January 2015. It is the 19th Dialogue in Belgium since the beginning of the Juncker Commission. This event is organised by the European Commission, the government of the German-speaking Community in Belgium (Ostbelgien). Simultaneous interpretation available in FR, NL, DE and EN. #EUdialogues #FutureOfEurope. For more practical information and registration here.
Commissioner Hahn visits Ukraine
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will visit Ukraine on 15 November ahead ofthe Eastern Partnership Summit that will take place on 24 November in Brussels. Commissioner Hahn will meet with President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, and the Chair of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy to discuss EU – Ukraine relations and the reform agenda. Commissioner Hahn will also meet with media actors of the country to discuss about the EU support to independent media and public broadcasters. Images of the visit will be available on EbS.
Defence Union and Single Market top agenda of Commissioner Bieńkowska’s visit to Poland
Today and tomorrow, Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska is in Poland for a visit dedicated to discussions with the public. One day after 23 Member Statesnotified High Representative Federica Mogherini of their wish to join a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on defence, Commissioner Bieńkowska participated this morning together with Member of Polish Parliament Włodzimierz Karpiński in a Citizens’ Dialogue titled “Safer Poland, Safer Europe, Safer Citizens” atMarie Skłodowska-Curie University in Lublin. The dialogue focused on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and on the European Defence Fund launched in June 2017, which will boost collaborative projects in the area of defence research, prototype development and join acquisition of capabilities. Tomorrow, Commissioner Bieńkowska delivers a keynote speech on jobs creation and the future of the EU Single Market at the Opening Eyes Economy Summit in Kraków. Further to the Single Market Strategy of October 2015, the Commission is taking a number of actions to improve the overall functioning of the market so that consumers as well as businesses, in particular SMEs, can take full advantage of its opportunities.