European Council, 27-28 June
The European Council starting in Brussels this afternoon will discuss practical measures to get Europe growing again. The focus will be on youth unemployment, increasing lending and small businesses.
Ahead of the meeting, the Commission has made recommendations in each of these areas, and Commission President Barroso has written to all EU heads of state and government calling for consensus on them.
Combatting youth unemployment is a top priority. The Commission is proposing that € 6 billion of the Youth Employment Initiative should be frontloaded so that this money is committed in 2014 and 2015 rather than over the seven year period of the MFF.
One of the biggest obstacles to recovery at the moment is the lack of normal lending to the real economy, especially SMEs. The Commission will urge the European Council to take an ambitious approach on this issue.
Having a business friendly environment is also an important part of the mix. The Commission has adopted a communication to address the Top ten most burdensome pieces of EU legislation, as identified by SMEs. The communication details the action taken or to be taken to address each of them.
The European Commission has also adopted a progress report on Compact for Growth and Jobs. One year on, there is much that member states can still do to help themselves, for instance by unlocking the potential of the single market in areas like digital, energy and research. The report highlights the need to complete Single Market Act I where only 7 of the 12 proposals tabled by the Commission have been agreed by the co-legislators. The European Commission has presented most of the proposals for the Single Market Act II.