18 Nov 2014
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 18 NOVEMBERBrussels Daily
Avian Influenza in The Netherlands and the UK: Commission backs emergency safeguard measures
On 17 November, the Commission adopted two emergency safeguard Decisions addressed to The Netherlands and the UK that define the areas that have been placed under stringent veterinary restrictions by those Member States, and where measures according to EU legislation are applied. The measures aim at quickly bringing the disease under control and at preventing the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza within the affected Member States, to other Member States and to third countries while minimising the disturbance to trade. See fact sheet with further information and both Decisions)
Statement by Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva on the end of the EU budget conciliation without agreement:
“During challenging times for Europe, negotiations on the EU budget have proven difficult to close. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have worked very hard, and a lot of progress had been made, but there are still some issues to resolve. The Commission in the coming days will put forward a new budget proposal, and will work with the European Parliament and the Member States to get an agreement before the end of the year. We owe this to European citizens.”
The European Union’s response to Ebola emergency
West Africa is facing the largest, most complex Ebola epidemic on record. The EU has mobilised its resources against the emergency, and Commissioners Andriukaitis and Stylianides will present new political, financial and scientific resources in the Commission’s today. Their intervention will be live broadcast via EBS. See press release and MEMO
European Commission improves access to rail travel for passengers with reduced mobility
The European Commission today adopted a regulation to improve the access to rail travel for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility. These new technical requirements (Technical Specifications for Interoperability-TSI) will among others make tactile walking surface indicators mandatory in stations and increase the door opening width. Also, in trains there will be a requirement for a minimum lighting in all train areas as well as flatter ramps in wheelchair areas. The new rules will be applicable as of January 2015 across the whole European railway network. More citizens with disabilities and reduced mobility will thus be able to take the train under improved conditions. More information is available online on the European Commission’s DG Transport website.
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) 2014: Sustainable increase for Bluefin tuna quota sustained by solid scientific advice
The European Union has welcomed the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) decision on 17 November to increase the quota for Eastern and Mediterranean Bluefin tuna by just under 20% a year over the next three years. This moderate increase is fully in line with scientific advice and comes after several years of prudent management following the near collapse of the stock. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella stressed the importance of a sustainable increase: “Tough decisions and sacrifices had to be made to ensure that Bluefin tuna didn’t collapse altogether. Today’s gradual increase is testament to that work and we made sure that scientific advice was respected and that the stock’s future was not jeopardised.” See full press release
Eurostat: Acquisition of citizenship in the EU
In 2012, 818 000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU28 Member State, up by 4% compared with 2011 and by 6% compared with 2009. In 2012, the highest naturalisation rates were registered in Hungary (12.8 citizenships granted per 100 resident foreigners), Sweden (7.8) and Poland (6.6), and the lowest in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (both 0.4), Estonia (0.6) and Austria (0.7). On average, 2.4 citizenships were granted per 100 resident foreigners in the EU28. See press release
Joint statement by Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen on the meetings with European social partners
“This Commission is committed to re-launching and strengthening the dialogue with our social partners. Social dialogue at all levels is a prerequisite for the functioning of Europe’s social market economy and crucial to promote both competitiveness and fairness. Today’s two constructive meetings with European trade unions and employers marked the beginning of a new way of working. We want a more substantial involvement of social partners in EU governance, in line with the deepening of the EMU and the development of its social dimension. We are therefore listening to the social partners’ views before launching the 2015 European Semester. We need the expertise and strong engagement of the social partners to address the challenges Europe is facing. We look forward to their increased role in structural reforms, alongside their formal role in the EU legislative process, with full respect for their autonomy. As a key step in taking this forward, we have today agreed to organise a high-level event in spring 2015, gathering leading representatives of the social partners. This event will take place 30 years after the cooperation with European social partners was launched at Val Duchesse in 1985. We will work together to make it a success.”
Launch of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) – Statements by Commissioner Creţu and Commissioner Vella
On occasion of the launch of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region in the Square Conference Centre in Brussels on 18 November, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “The Strategy aims at revitalizing the Adriatic and Ionian Region. It will enhance its economic development through four priorities: first, seize the opportunities offered by the “Blue Growth”, i.e. by the assets of this large maritime area. Second, connect the Region and facilitate exchanges by land and by sea. Third, protect the biodiversity and safeguard the natural areas of great values. Fourth, promote sustainable tourism. In order to address these priorities, there is a need for appropriate governance; this is why the Commission, with its national partners, is setting up a framework for effective governance and management. But I want to stress that this Strategy is far from being only about socio-economic development, or governance. It is about reinforcing the process of European integration. It is about strengthening the ties between the Member States and also about bringing the participating candidate and potential candidate countries closer to the EU. The European Structural and Investment Funds in general, and Cohesion Policy in particular, are ready for supporting the Strategy.” Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said on the same occasion: “This is a key moment for the prosperity of the Adriatic-Ionian region. A clean and innovative use of the Adriatic Sea will allow both the people and the environment to thrive. The potential for coastal cooperation in the region could become an example across the EU. A coordinated strategy will ensure ‘blue growth’ built on a commitment to good environmental standards. Our action plan would include measures such as reducing marine litter, promotion of the ‘guardians of the sea’ initiative, and allow the pooling of cutting-edge ocean research.”
Vice-President Šefčovič at the High Level Conference “Building a Euro Mediterranean bridge: the strategic importance of gas and electricity networks in the context of energy security” in Rome
Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič holds a speech (available after 19:00) at a High Level Conference organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy in Rome at the Gala Dinner on Tuesday 18 November.
Turning around the telescope – consumers at the centre of financial services policies
Opening a conference on emerging challenges in retail finance and consumer policy in Brussels this morning, Commissioner Jonathan Hill outlined his views on a subject that he sees as a priority for his term of office: …”how to make sure that financial markets bring real benefits to the general public”. He underlined the importance of competition, transparency and standards of behaviour in this area. He concluded that “our rules should allow a market to develop that delivers what consumers really want – access to the best products and services on the market for their specific needs; clear and understandable products; ease of use through digital devices; and solutions when things go wrong”. See full speech
Johannes Hahn visits Serbia and Montenegro to push reforms and negotiations
On 20 and 21 November 2014, Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will pay official visits to Serbia and Montenegro. The visits at the very beginning of Mr Hahn’s mandate are a clear sign that enlargement negotiations have the same priority as before and it shows a clear commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkan. As Commissioner Hahn stressed when taking office on 1 November: “The EU is stronger with close partners.” Commissioner Hahn believes that the EU and accession negotiations and structural reforms in our partner countries are not just a technical process. Their progress must have a tangible impact on citizens’ daily lives. In this respect, the Commissioner considers that, in addition to the alignment of national legislation of candidate countries with the acquis communautaire, strengthening the rule of law and carrying out deep economic reforms to attract investment are equally important. During his visit to Serbia on 20 November and Montenegro on 21 November, the Commissioner will meet the governments’ officials and other key partners to encourage them to speed up their reform processes through the enlargement negotiations.