Brussels Daily
28 Nov 2014


Brussels Daily

Economic governance package – Setting the course for 2015

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen have presented today the Autumn 2014 Economic Governance package to kick off the new European Semester.

The Annual Growth Survey sets out general economic and social priorities for the EU for the coming year. It is part of the European Commission’s overall approach to support job creation and get Europe growing. In the survey, the Commission recommends pursuing an economic and social policy based on three main pillars: (1) a boost to investment, (2) a renewed commitment to structural reforms, and (3) the pursuit of fiscal responsibility. A press release presents these social and economic priorities in more detail.

The Alert Mechanism Report provides a screening of all 28 EU economies for potential economic risks, providing an early warning on imbalances such as housing booms or banking crises. It indicates which countries warrant an in-depth review of their economies. A comprehensive MEMO is available here.

The Joint Employment Report analyses employment and social trends, and challenges, as well as the policy responses deployed by Member States. It serves as a basis for further analysis, surveillance, and coordination throughout the European Semester. A MEMO is available here.

The Commission also publishes a review of various pieces of legislation that make up the “Six Pack” and the “Two Pack”. While the legislation has significantly strengthened the EU’s economic governance framework, the review reveals areas for further improvement on transparency and complexity of policy making, and their impact on growth, imbalances and convergence.

Finally, the Commission publishes its opinions on euro area countries’ Draft Budgetary Plans for 2015, which give an early signal on whether the underlying national budgets are in line with the obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact. All the relevant press material and documents are available here.

The speaking points of Vice President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen will be available on Rapid shortly after their delivery


European Social Fund: More than 2 billion euros for employment and social inclusion in Bulgaria and Flanders

The European Commission has today adopted the Flemish Operational Programme for the implementation of the European Social Fund for the period 2014-2020. In Flanders, this programme outlines the priorities and objectives on which over one billion euros (of which 394 million from the EU budget) will be spent to contribute to creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion in Flanders. The programme aims to complement the existing Flemish employment and social inclusion initiatives and encourage innovative social measures and transnational cooperation. It will also support a number of focused actions that target entrepreneurship, the social economy, poorly-skilled young people and Roma. See full press release for Flanders. More information will be available at 13h30 on the Bulgarian Operational Programme.

Poverty: Commission adopts Romanian and Austrian programme to use over €459 million from the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived

The European Commission has approved the Romanian and Austrian Operational Programme to use the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived. Romania will receive over €441 million euros in the period 2014-2020 to provide food to those most in need, as well as school supplies to children in difficulty. EU funding will be complemented with over €75 million from national resources. Austria will receive €18,03 million euros in the period 2014-2020 to provide basic material assistance to those most in need in the country (complemented with €3,18 million from national resources). Launched in January 2014, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived is a potent symbol of European solidarity. Its main aim is to break the vicious circle of poverty and deprivation, by providing non-financial assistance to some of the EU’s most vulnerable citizens. The FEAD is worth €3.8 billion in real terms in the 2014 to 2020 period. See full press release for Romania and full press release for Austria.

EU supports Decentralisation and Regional Policy reforms in Ukraine with €55 millions

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, and Valery Pyatnitsky, Acting Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, signed on Thursday a Financing Agreement to launch a new programme “Support to Ukraine’s Regional Policy”. The programme will support Ukraine’s Decentralisation and Regional Policy reforms with 55 million euros. The EU funds will support the implementation of the State Regional Development Strategy 2020, which was approved by the Government of Ukraine on 6th August this year. Commissioner Hahn pointed out: “By good chance, my first financing agreement with Ukraine is on a subject very close to my heart. As a former Commissioner for EU Regional Policy, I know how crucial this area is to the competitiveness and prosperity of any country. With this agreement, the EU commits to support Ukraine’s Decentralisation and Regional Policy reforms. The EU funds will support all three objectives of the Ukrainian State Regional Development Strategy 2020, namely competitiveness of regions; territorial socio-economic cohesion and effective State Governance of Regional Development.” Support to Ukraine’s Regional Policy will result in improved Regional Policy legislation, the provision of stable and predictable financing for regions and municipalities, a strengthened financial autonomy of local authorities, higher competitiveness of regions and improved territorial socio-economic cohesion. The funds will be paid in four tranches to the Ukrainian State Budget between 2015-2018. See press release

Climate Action: Lima climate talks crucial stepping stone towards 2015 agreement

The European Union expects the UN climate change conference on 1-12 December in Lima, Peru, to pave the way for the adoption of a new, legally binding, global climate agreement in Paris next year. The 40% greenhouse gas reduction target agreed by EU leaders in October, together with the announcement by the US and China on their future targets that followed, are clear evidence of global resolve. The EU will be represented in Lima by Gian Luca Galletti, Minister of Environment for Italy, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, and Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, said: “Lima gives us a message of hope. It shows that it’s not too late to secure our chances to meet the internationally agreed 2 degrees limit. With our new 2030 climate and energy package we have reconfirmed our confidence in a more energy-efficient, low-carbon economy, which is a cornerstone of the energy union. If we scale-up domestic policies and international cooperation, we can achieve it: it is a matter of political will.” Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, added: “Lima is a crucial stepping stone to Paris, where we have an historic opportunity to tackle the greatest challenge facing our planet today. The final deal in Paris must mirror today’s economic realities. That means we need every major economy to play its part. Europe was the first to act by announcing our own target. China and the US were quick to respond. Now we’re looking to the other big emitters to join us. The clock is ticking; it’s time for action”. See IP/14/2232 and MEMO/14/2230.

October 2014: Euro area unemployment rate at 11.5%, EU28 at 10.0%

The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5% in October 2014, stable compared with September 2014, but down from 11.9% in October 2013. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.0% in October 2014, also stable compared with September 2014 and down from 10.7% in October 2013. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 24.413 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.395 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in October 2014. Compared with September 2014, the number of persons unemployed increased by 42 000 in the EU28 and by 60 000 in the euro area. Compared with October 2013, unemployment fell by 1.549 million in the EU28 and by 547 000 in the euro area. Full press release available here.

Flash estimate – November 2014: Euro area annual inflation down to 0.3%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.3% in November 2014, down from 0.4% in October, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services is expected to have the highest annual rate in November (1.1%, compared with 1.2% in October), followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (0.5%, stable compared with October), non-energy industrial goods (0.0%, compared with -0.1% in October) and energy (-2.5%, compared with -2.0% in October).

Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure Scoreboard: Eurostat publishes latest indicators for early detection of macroeconomic imbalances

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes today the indicators of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP) Scoreboard. The MIP is part of the Six-Pack regulation on economic governance adopted by the European Parliament and Council in November 2011. The MIP Scoreboard provides the statistical support to the annual Alert Mechanism Report released by the European Commission at the start of the European Semester 2015. The Alert Mechanism Report identifies those Member States for which in-depth analyses are required on the basis of an economic reading of the scoreboard indicators. The MIP Scoreboard consists of eleven indicators relevant for the early detection of existing or emerging macroeconomic imbalances at Member State level. Full press release available here.

Competition: Commission welcomes entry into force of Cooperation Agreement with Switzerland

The European Commission welcomes the entry into force of the cooperation agreement in competition matters with Switzerland on 1 December 2014. The agreement will strengthen co-operation between the Commission and the Swiss Competition Commission. This is the first time the EU concludes an agreement with a third country that will enable the two competition authorities to exchange evidence they have obtained in their respective investigations (a so-called “second generation” agreement). See press release

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Covidien by Medtronic, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Covidien, an Ireland-based manufacturer of medical devices with worldwide activities, by Medtronic, a US-based company active in medical technologies and therapies. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of Covidien’s Stellarex, a promising drug coated balloon currently in development, which, once launched, would compete with Medtronic’s leading drug coated balloon device In.Pact. The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as initially notified, would have removed a credible future competitor of Medtronic and reduced innovation in this area. The commitments offered by Medtronic address these concerns. 


Commissioner Mimica takes part in the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Strasbourg

On Monday 1 December, the European Commissioner for Development, Neven Mimica will address the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) of the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, in Strasbourg. This consultative body for parliamentary debates was established by the Cotonou Agreement, which defines the framework for the EU’s relations with the 78 ACP countries. The assembly comprises equal numbers of parliamentarians from both sides (78 each) and meets twice a year. It is presided by MEP Louis Michel and Fitz A. Jackson Minister of Finance from Jamaica. Two important topics of debate during the Commissioner’s participation in the plenary session will be a global development agenda for the time after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals have expired, and the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa and its consequences on the affected countries.

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