- Europe english
The EU in brief
EU Agenda from the euro to growth
The EU Council adopted its “guidelines” for the multi-annual 2014-2020 financial framework (although the Commission made known its concerns). Commission President Barroso went to Athens to urge Greece to fulfill its budgetary and reform commitments while the ECB President reiterated the European body’s intention to “save the euro currency”. While the summer holidays draw near, in Brussels the guard on single currency stability remains high, focusing on speculation-risk and on the need to act on the growth strategy agreed by Heads of State and Government at end of June, which requires adequate budgetary planning covering a multi-annual period. Various urgent items are on the agenda. The first concern is to prevent financial markets from targeting the public debt of Member States, especially those with unstable public finances. While the anti-spread fund - namely, “the only euro-area supervisory mechanism” enabling banks recapitalization - divides Member States, Frankfurt’s Central Bank said it would be prepared to intervene, also because the European Stability Mechanism’s (ESM) operative capacities need the green light of the German Constitutional Court, while the response capacity of the provisional mechanism (EFSF) is currently limited, ensuing measures taken in different countries, ultimately Spain. The second - still hanging - question is the implementation of measures for Europe’s economic recovery, decided in the Summit of 28 and 29 June which allocates € 120 billion, comprising among others a better use and re-orientation of the structural funds, the launching of project bonds for targeted investments (infrastructure, energy, networks, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, research) and increased crediting capacities of the European Investment Bank. The third element is the definition of the multiannual 2014-2020 financial framework. The Commission has put forward a proposal a year ago, and the Council released its decision on July 24, but it scheduled three more meetings of the Council in late August and mid-October to further discuss this issue. Meanwhile the Commission is working on a legislative proposal for a “banking union”: an outcome of the last EU27 Summit, while European Council President, Herman van Rompuy, was given the mandate to define the details of the renewed “economic and Monetary Union” which will be discussed in the summit on 18 and 19 October.
Citizens’ rights: online consultation
Until September 9 EU citizens can access the online public consultation on citizens’ rights launched by the European Commission “to identify possible obstacles citizens still face when traveling in Europe or when shopping online”. The decision comes ahead of the 2013 “European Year of Citizens”. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the input received by the Commission “will feed directly into the 2013 EU Citizenship Report to be presented next May 9”. EU citizenship - which does not replace national citizenship but complements it - was created by the Maastricht Treaty twenty years ago, in 1992. “The European Union is there because of and to serve its citizens. The European Union exists thanks to its citizens. People expect concrete results from Europe, and with cheaper roaming charges and better rights for crime victims”, Reding explained. Citizens’ rights regard health, personal dignity, individual and social freedoms, family, jobs, freedom of movement in EU countries, consumers’ rights. “There still are strong limitations to citizens’ rights”, the Commission stated. The EU’s multi-language website with the executives’ remarks, suggestions and criticism to this regard is http://ec.europa.eu/your-rights-your-future[>>]. The Commission also wants to hear what kind of European Union citizens would like to see by 2020. The first EU Citizenship Report published by the EU Commission in 2010 provided a list of 25 concrete actions to address problems faced by EU citizens when exercising their rights, provided for by the treaties and by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, annexed to the Lisbon Treaty. The 2013 European Year of Citizens was established in the same Report. The Commission will publish a second EU citizenship report, which “will serve as an action plan for the removal of the remaining obstacles that hinder citizens from fully enjoying their rights as EU citizens”.