21 Oct 2014
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 21 OCTOBERBrussels Daily
President Barroso to hold valedictory speech in Strasbourg
Today at 15:00 CET, President Barroso will give a Valedictory speech in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, as his second Commission prepares to leave office. The President will share his experience after ten years and two mandates as President of the European Commission. He will set out the key role the institution has played during the 2004-2014 decade to keep Europe united and open and make it stronger.
Trilateral gas talks with Vice President Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Prodan
Today, a trilateral gas meeting between Commission Vice-President Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Prodan is taking place in Brussels.
The meeting will be followed by a press point as of 14:00 CET (tbc, depends on duration of the meeting) in the main press room of the Commission’s Berlaymont building. This press point will be live broadcast via EBS .
In a joint letter to EU Heads of State and Government ahead of this week’s European Council meeting, European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy inform about the key issues coming up for discussion at the G20 summit in Brisbane (Australia) on 15-16 November 2014. The two Presidents qualify the Brisbane Summit as “the first G20 summit that focuses on the transition from fighting the global crisis to supporting the recovery”.
In the light of persisting challenges, they call on the G20 to “agree a consistent set of G20 growth strategies which help to put the G20 collectively on a higher growth trajectory”. They announce that they will push for the adoption of a strong Brisbane Action Plan on Growth and Jobs and say that “G20 members should commit to fully implement the measures set out in their G20 growth strategies, and add new reforms where necessary. (…) We will also make sure that G20 members continue their efforts to improve their fiscal strategies, so as to support growth and jobs, while putting debt as a share of GDP on a sustainable path, as agreed in St. Petersburg. Going forward, the EU will support work by the G20 to strengthen the focus on budgetary composition as regards both expenditure and revenues to make budgets more growth-friendly.” The letter explains the EU’s contribution to the G20 Action Plan and underlines that fostering overall investment is a top priority for the EU.”
Transport: Open up access to transport data, says the Commission
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, has called for further action in making transport data, such as real-time information about traffic jams and transport timetables or delays, more easily accessible. This is a crucial step in building a connected transport system spanning all modes of transport, where people, vehicles and transport infrastructure are continuously connected and interact. The European Commission has released today a report on the implementation of European legislation supporting the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (or ITS) in the field of road transport, and for interfaces with other modes of transport. This report is accompanied by a working document on the progress and review of the ITS Action Plan . Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas said: “It is time to put the user at the centre of our transport policies. This goes not only through new and modernised infrastructure, but also through better information on the mobility choices and better integration of the different transport modes”. These reports show the progress achieved in the implementation of the directive and action plan, with in particular several pieces of European legislation (e.g. eCall ( IP/14/438), road safety-related traffic information, information on truck parking ( IP/13/430)) already adopted in the areas of optimal use of transport data and road safety applications. They also underline the need for further action at EU level, in particular as regards transport data and connectivity. Measures are needed especially to open up access to data for all transport modes and to facilitate their effective re-use. For example, there are already many multimodal journey planners available in many European countries, regions or cities. However, the existing services remain very fragmented in geographical scope and coverage of transport means, often because of lack of access to good quality data. As regards connectivity, ‘cooperative systems’ which make it possible for vehicles to ‘talk’ to other vehicles and to the infrastructure or even other road users, have undeniable benefits in terms of safety and efficiency, they need now to be rolled out, and this requires the coordinated involvement of stakeholders from different industries and public sector actors.
For the first time today, Eurostat publishes deficit and debt figures for 2010 to 2013 based on the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010) methodology. The data include revisions due both to the implementation of ESA2010 and to the incorporation of other statistical adjustments.
In 2013, the government deficit of both the euro area (EA18) and the EU28 decreased in absolute terms compared with 2012, while the government debt rose in both zones. In the euro area the government deficit to GDP ratio decreased from 3.6% in 2012 to 2.9% in 2013 and in the EU28 from 4.2% to 3.2%. In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio increased from 89.0% at the end of 2012 to 90.9% at the end of 2013 and in the EU28 from 83.5% to 85.4%.
For figures per Member states and more information, see our press material ( STAT/14/158 and MEMO/14/594) and watch the technical briefing on EbS .
Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. of Japan and Siemens AG of Germany. The joint venture will be active in the field of mechanical and electrical metal plant building. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns as the companies’ market shares are modest and a number of notable competitors remain on all markets concerned. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7330 .
The European Commission has invited interested third parties to comment on commitments proposed by Air France/KLM, Alitalia and Delta to address concerns that their transatlantic cooperation may harm competition for premium passengers on the Paris-New York route and for all passengers on the Amsterdam-New York and Rome-New York routes, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The three airlines have offered to make landing and take-off slots available at both ends of the Amsterdam-New York and Rome-New York routes to facilitate the market entry of competitors. They are also prepared to enter into agreements which would enable competitors to offer tickets on their flights and facilitate access to connecting traffic, as well as to provide access to their frequent flyer programmes on all three routes. If the market test confirms that the proposed commitments remedy the competition concerns, the Commission may make them legally binding on the companies.
The European Commission has today adopted the German federal Operational Programme for the implementation of the European Social Fund (ESF) in the period 2014-2020. This programme outlines the priorities and objectives to spend over €4.8 billion (of which over €2.6 billion from the ESF), contributing to creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion across Germany. This national programme will be supplemented by 16 regional programmes that will address specific challenges in the Länder.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: “I am happy to see that Germany is placing particular emphasis on facilitating the transition from school to work for disadvantaged young people, helping the long-term unemployed get back to work and supporting social inclusion. The actions in this programme will make a major contribution to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Germany.”
Your chance to win a trip to the European Border Breaker Awards show
On January 14, the Dutch city of Groningen will be the place to be if you’re a fan of the latest pop, rock and dance sounds. The winners of the 2015 European Border Breakers Awards (see IP/14/1135) will perform in a televised show hosted by Jools Holland – and you could be in the audience. All you have to do is vote at www.europeanborderbreakersawards.eu for your favourite among the EBBA winners: Klangkarussell , Melanie De Biasio , MØ , Indila , Milky Chance , Hozier , The Common Linnets , Todd Terje , Tove Lo and John Newman . The act receiving the most votes will win the Public Choice Award. Fifteen lucky voters, chosen at random from different countries, will be invited to the award show: each will be able to bring a friend and the prize includes their flight and hotel costs. The vote is open from 21 October-19 December. For more information, Contact: email@example.com; Marije Jansen, firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Commission has today proposed the ratification, on behalf of the European Union, of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled. The Treaty will ensure that books in formats such as Braille, large print, e-books and audio books with special navigation tools, produced under copyright exceptions, can be exchanged across borders, not only within the EU but also between the EU and third countries. Michel Barnier, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Internal Market and Services, said “The Marrakesh Treaty will simplify the lives of millions of visually impaired people around the world. The EU can help to improve access to books with equal conditions for all and contribute to the fight against the book famine. The Commission’s proposal is a signal that Europe is ready to support the rapid entry into force of this important Treaty. I count on the Council and the European Parliament to authorise the ratification as soon as possible.”
What Commissioners said
Speaking at the European Parliament debate on the results of the 8 October European employment summit in Milan, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said:
“The Youth Guarantee is a key structural reform of our time. Its implementation is at the core of the EU coordination of employment policies and it is therefore central to the European Semester and the country-specific recommendations (…) The Milan summit delivered one important message: if we want to have more employment in Europe, we need to combine structural reforms with support to aggregate demand. The Youth Guarantee is a structural reform and it also helps boosting demand for young workers. Successful delivery of the Youth Guarantee supported in a timely way by the relevant EU funds remains a priority for the Commission.”
The European Commissioner responsible for sport, Androulla Vassiliou, has welcomed the objective of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, aimed at ensuring clubs operate within their means. Addressing EU Sport Ministers in Rome today, she said: “Financial Fair Play … is part of an overall policy to preserve the real values of football, its roots and what makes it a success. While money in sport is certainly welcome to help its development, it must not be at the expense of the very nature of sport.”