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European Commission

Latest news and information from the European Commission.

European Commission 2014 – 2019 - portfolios and supporting services
The European Commission's president-elect Jean Claude Juncker announced on 10 September the allocation of responsibilities in his team and the way work will be organised in the Commission once it takes office.

Macro-Financial Assistance to non-EU countries
Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) is a form of financial aid extended by the EU to partner countries experiencing a balance of payments crisis. It takes the form of medium/long-term loans or grants, or a combination of these, and is only available to countries benefiting from a disbursing International Monetary Fund programme. MFA is designed for countries geographically, economically and politically close to the EU. These include candidate and potential candidate countries, countries bordering the EU covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and, in certain circumstances, other third countries.

S&P downgrades EU debt, Commission hits back
The Standard and Poor’s ratings agency downgraded the European Union’s credit-worthiness by one notch on Friday, blaming threats to cohesion including Britain’s role in curtailing budgets and holding a membership referendum.

Reform of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences
The EU has issued a revised import preference scheme - known as the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) - for developing countries most in need which will take effect from 1 January 2014. Following agreement with the Council and European Parliament, today's publication contains the specific tariff preferences granted under the GSP in the form of reduced or zero tariff rates and the final criteria for which developing countries will benefit. The new scheme will be focused on fewer beneficiaries (89 countries) to ensure more impact on countries most in need. At the same time, more support is to be provided to countries which the EU sees as serious about implementing international human rights, labour rights and environment and good governance conventions.

New package for banking supervision in the Eurozone
The European Commission sees its proposals for a single supervisory mechanism (SSM) for banks in the euro area as an important step in strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In the new single mechanism, ultimate responsibility for specific supervisory tasks related to the financial stability of all Euro area banks will lie with the European Central Bank (ECB). National supervisors will continue to play an important role in day-to-day supervision and in preparing and implementing ECB decisions. The Commission is also proposing that the European Banking Authority (EBA) develop a Single Supervisory Handbook to preserve the integrity of the single market and ensure coherence in banking supervision for all 27 EU Member States. The Commission is calling on the Council and European Parliament to adopt the proposed regulations by the end of 2012, together with the other three components of an integrated "banking union" – the single rulebook in the form of capital requirements, harmonised deposit protection schemes, and a single European recovery and resolution framework.

Proposal to protect financial interests of the EU
Misuse of EU funds for criminal purposes puts the EU's objectives of generating jobs and growth and improving living conditions at stake. With public finances under pressure throughout the EU, every euro counts. The European Commission, has therefore proposed new rules today to fight fraud against the EU budget by means of criminal law to better safeguard taxpayers' money. The Directive creates a more harmonised framework for prosecuting and punishing crimes involving the EU budget so that criminals no longer exploit differences between national legal systems. The Directive provides for common definitions of offences against the EU budget and for minimum sanctions, including imprisonment in serious cases, and for a common level playing field for periods within which it is possible to investigate and prosecute offences (ie. statutes of limitation). This, says the Commission, will help to deter fraudsters, provide for more effective legal action at national level and make it easier to recover lost funds.

Commission 2012 Work Programme for European Renewal
The European Commission has adopted a Work Programme for the coming year, "Delivering European renewal". The Programme sets out how the Commission will respond to the economic crisis with further measures next year. It translates the political priorities identified by President Barroso in the State of the Union address into concrete actions for the next year. The Programme underlines that significant attention will have to be given next year to taking forward proposals already adopted or in the pipeline for the coming weeks. These include measures on the economy, the Single Market, and the wide range of proposals now coming forward on spending programmes to drive reform and renewal. New proposals will build on this programme to reinforce the drive to job-creating growth.

Commission staff reform - guide
The European Commission has today backed a series of proposed changes to staff rules in a continuing drive for greater efficiency and economy.

New European Neighbourhood Policy - guide
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, today launched a new and ambitious European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) -- confirming the EU’s determined and reinforced engagement with its neighbours.

Cooperation - EuropeAid
Europe Aid Development and Cooperation. Grants are direct financial contributions from the EU budget or from the European Development Fund.

Financial Transparency System
EU grant recipients and contractors - find out who the European Commission has awarded grants to, and who has won Commission contracts through public procurement procedures.

EU seeks high privacy standards in EU-US data protection agreement
The European Commission has adopted a draft mandate to negotiate a personal data protection agreement between the European Union and the United States when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime. The agreement would give citizens more rights to manage their data.

EU-US data protection agreement negotiations - briefing
The European Commission today adopted a draft mandate to negotiate a personal data protection agreement between the European Union and the United States when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime. The aim is to ensure a high level of protection of personal information like passenger data or financial information that is transferred as part of transatlantic cooperation in criminal matters. The agreement would enhance the right of citizens to access, rectify or delete data, where appropriate.

Country by country breakdown of 15th Progress Report on European Telecoms Market 2009
The European Commission's latest (15th) annual report on the Single European Electronic Communications Market shows that consumers, businesses and the EU economy as a whole are denied the full economic benefits of a truly single and competitive EU-wide telecoms market because of inconsistent application of EU telecoms rules. The report indicates that most Member States' markets have become more competitive, but remain national in dimension and that the level of competitiveness varies strongly between Member States. This is why the Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe calls for swift and consistent enforcement of existing telecoms rules and indicates that the Commission intends to propose appropriate steps to reduce the cost of the absence of a Single Market in telecoms services.

Commissioner offers preview of Research and Innovation Strategy
The EU's forthcoming Research and Innovation Strategy for Europe will focus on the major societal challenges, have a broad definition of 'innovation' and seek to remove bottlenecks to the flow of knowledge, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced.

EC greenlights aid for UK farmers
The European Commission has authorised a temporary scheme granting aid of up to EUR 15,000 to British farmers.

EU energy rules still not being implemented: report
EU Member States are lagging behind in the implementation of the internal energy market rules, reveals the Commission’s 2009 Benchmarking Report published today.

EU Delegation to Kosovo
Contacts of the European Commission Liaison Office in Kosovo

EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Contacts of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Delegation of the European Commission to FYR of Macedonia
Contacts of the European Commission delegation in Skopje.

European Commission DG Health and Consumers Contacts
Contacts of the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.

Contacts for Research
Contacts of the European Commission Directorate-General for Research.

European Parliament Hearings of the Commissioners-designate
Between 11 and 19 January, the European Parliament held a series of public hearings with the 26 candidate Commissioners put forward by the Council and Commission President José-Manuel Barroso. The candidates were invited to public hearings by the appropriate parliamentary committee(s). They answered questions from MEPs to assess their abilities, particularly to deal with the issues in their portfolios. The committees' evaluations were then examined by Parliament's President and political group leaders.

EU Court declares EDF compatible with common market
The General Court has annulled the Commission’s decision declaring certain fiscal measures implemented by France for EDF (Eléctricité de France) to be incompatible with the common market. on grounds that the Commission did not conduct a private investor test to back its findings.

EU court orders France Télécom to pay overdue taxes of 1140 million EUR
The European Court of Appeals has confirmed a Commission decision to order the recovery of aid granted to France Télécom in the form of tax breaks. Over a 12-year period, France Télécom benefited from state aid amounting to a potential sum of EUR 1,140 million.