Top News from the European Commission 15 November – 15 December 2014

Background notes from the Spokesperson’s service for journalists
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

The EU at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia – Supporting global recovery

European Commission improves access to rail travel for passengers with reduced mobility

The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 November: The EU at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia – Supporting global recovery

The news:

At the G20 summit in Brisbane (Australia) the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, will push for the adoption of a strong Brisbane Action Plan on Growth and Jobs to put the G20 collectively on a higher growth trajectory.

This and the European Union’s views on other key issues on the summit agenda (financial regulation, tax avoidance/tax evasion, development, anticorruption and energy matters) are reflected in the joint letter to EU Heads of State and Government of 21 October 2014.

The background:

The G20 leaders’ process has been co-initiated in 2008 by the European Union. The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The European Union thus is a full member of the G20 and is usually represented at G20 summits by the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council.

The Brisbane Summit is the 9th edition of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit of the world’s major advanced and emerging economies. Together, the G20 members represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population. This year, Australia welcomes Spain as a permanent invitee; Mauritania as the 2014 chair of the African Union; Myanmar as the 2014 Chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN); Senegal, representing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; New Zealand; and Singapore. The 10th edition of the G20 Summit will be hosted by Turkey in 2015.

The event:

Pre-Summit Press Conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in the G20 International Media Centre, Brisbane, Australia, on Friday 14 November at 23:30 Brussels time (Brisbane time: Saturday 15 November at 08:30).

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The sources:

Useful background information on the EU and G20 issues can be found in the brochure Did you know…? Facts and figures about the European Union and the G20:

Joint letter from the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council ahead of the Brisbane G20 Summit:

G20 website of the Australian Presidency:

The contacts:

Margaritis Schinas, +32 2 296 05 24, [email protected]

Mina Andreeva, +32 2 299 13 82, [email protected]

Natasha Bertaud, +32 2 296 74 56, [email protected]


Tuesday 18 November: European Commission improves access to rail travel for passengers with reduced mobility

The news:

On 18 November, the European Commission will adopt 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.

The Commission will adopt at the same time a full set of revised TSIs. These new rules will simplify the technical requirements for railway and extend them to the whole railway system in the EU. This will have other benefits, including facilitating the circulation of trains across the EU and simplifying the legislation for industry and administration.

The background:

Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) are adopted in accordance with the Interoperability rules (Directive 2008/57/EC), and they define the technical and operational standards which must be met in order to ensure that trains can run throughout Europe without technical problems and meet the essential requirements (safety, reliability and availability, health, environmental protection, technical compatibility and accessibility). TSIs cover all aspects of the rail systems, such as infrastructure, energy, rolling stock, traffic operation and telematics applications for passengers and freight services. These improvements to accessibility are also in line with the objectives of Regulation (EC) 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations and notably its provisions on the rights of persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility to access and assistance when travelling by rail.

The sources:

Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport website:

The contacts:

Jakub Adamowicz, +32 229 50595, [email protected]

Joshua Salsby, +32 229 72459, [email protected]

Wednesday 26 November: The Commission adopts its monthly infringements package

The news:

On Wednesday 26 November 2014, the European Commission will adopt its monthly infringements package. These decisions cover all Member States and most EU policy areas and seek to enforce EU law across Europe in the interest of both citizens and businesses.

The background:

Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Commission the power to take legal action against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations under EU law.

There are three successive stages: Letter of formal notice, reasoned opinion and referral to the Court of Justice.

If, despite the ruling, a Member State still fails to act, the Commission may open a further infringement case under Article 260 of the TFEU. After only one written warning, Commission may refer a Member State back to the Court and it can propose that the Court imposes financial penalties based on the duration and severity on the infringement and the size of the Member State.

The event:

A comprehensive Memo on all referrals and reasoned opinions, specific IPs on each referral and a Memo on the procedure will be available on the day in the Press Release Database:

The sources:

For more information on infringements:

On the general infringement procedure: MEMO/12/12

The contacts:

Overall coordination:

Mina Andreeva, +32 229 91382, [email protected]

Natasha Bertaud, +32 229 67456, [email protected]

On specific infringements, please contact the spokesperson in charge.