Economic policy coordination: Commission sets out guidance to help tackle the energy crisis and make Europe greener and more digital


Today, the Commission has launched the 2023 European Semester cycle of economic policy coordination. The package draws upon the Autumn 2022 Economic Forecast which showed that after a strong first half of the year, the EU economy has now entered a much more challenging phase. While swift and well-coordinated policy action during the COVID-19 pandemic is paying off, the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine confronts the EU with multiple and complex challenges. Historically high energy prices, high inflation rates, supply shortages, increased debt levels and rising borrowing costs are affecting business activity and eroding households’ purchasing power.


These challenges call for coordinated action to secure adequate and affordable energy supply, safeguard economic and financial stability, and protect vulnerable households and companies while preserving the sustainability of public finances. At the same time, rapid action is needed to boost potential growth and quality job creation and deliver on the green and digital transitions. Economic policy coordination through the European Semester will help Member States achieve these objectives by setting priorities and providing clear and well-coordinated policy guidance for the year to come.


Annual Sustainable Growth Survey


This year’s Annual Sustainable Growth Survey puts forward an ambitious agenda to further strengthen coordinated EU policy responses to mitigate the negative impacts of energy shocks in the short term. At the same time, it is crucial to continue increasing social and economic resilience and fostering sustainable and inclusive growth in the medium term, while maintaining flexibility to tackle new challenges. This approach is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are an integral part of the European Semester.


The four priorities under the European Semester remain: promoting environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness and macroeconomic stability, with a view to fostering competitive sustainability.


The Recovery and Resilience Facility, with a budget of €723.8 billion in grants and loans, is continuing to provide a steady stream of investments in European businesses, infrastructure, and skills, and is supporting an ambitious reform agenda until 2026. As of today, the Commission has endorsed 26 national Recovery and Resilience Plans, all of which have been approved by the Council. So far, payments disbursed under the Facility amount to over €135 billion.


REPowerEU, the EU’s plan to rapidly phase out the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, will mobilise additional resources to increase the resilience of EU energy systems and prevent energy poverty through targeted investments and reforms.


Opinions on the draft budgetary plans of euro area Member States


The Commission assessed the consistency of the draft budgetary plans for 2023 with the Council Recommendations of July 2022. They take into account the continued application in 2023 of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact.


Under the fiscal recommendations for 2023, low and medium-debt Member States should ensure that the growth of nationally financed primary current expenditure is in line with an overall neutral policy stance. High-debt Member States were recommended to ensure prudent fiscal policy, in particular by limiting the growth of nationally financed primary current expenditure below medium-term potential output growth.


The Commission invites Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Lithuania, Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Slovakia to take the necessary measures within the national budgetary process to ensure that their 2023 budgets are fully in line with the Council’s Recommendations.


Given that Croatia will join the euro area on 1 January 2023, the Commission welcomes its decision to present a draft budgetary plan for the first time.


Euro area recommendation


This recommendation presents tailored advice to euro area Member States for the period 2023–2024 on those topics that affect the functioning of the euro area as a whole.


Euro area Member States should:


Continue to coordinate fiscal policies to support the timely return of inflation to the European Central Bank’s 2% medium-term target;


Sustain a high level of public investment to foster social and economic resilience and support the green and digital transitions;


Ensure that support provided to households and companies that come under financial stress because of the energy crisis is cost-effective, temporary, and targeted to vulnerable ones, in particular SMEs. In that respect, the recommendation suggests setting up a two-tier energy pricing system that ensures incentives for energy savings, replacing broad-based price measures. Under this system, vulnerable consumers could benefit from regulated prices.


Foster wage developments that protect wage earners’ purchasing power, while limiting second-round effects on inflation. Develop and adapt social support system as needed.


Further improve active labour market policies and address skills shortages.


Ensure the effective involvement of social partners in policy-making and strengthen social dialogue.


Further improve the business environment and preserve macro-financial stability.


Alert Mechanism Report


The Alert Mechanism Report is a screening exercise to detect risks of potential macroeconomic imbalances. It identifies Member States for which in-depth reviews are needed to assess whether they are affected by imbalances requiring policy action.


This year’s Alert Mechanism Report concludes that in-depth reviews are warranted for 17 Member States: Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden (which were subject to an in-depth review in the previous annual cycle of Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure surveillance), as well as Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Slovakia (which were not subject to an in-depth review in 2021/2022).


Proposal for a Joint Employment Report


The proposal for the Joint Employment Report (JER) confirms that the EU labour market has fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, showing a strong performance and surpassing pre-pandemic employment levels since the third quarter of 2021. Despite strong growth, young people, women, and vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities or with a migrant background, need further support to join the job market. Policies to help workers get in-demand skills need to be strengthened to mitigate the risks of high labour and skills shortages and to support job-to-job transitions in changing labour markets, especially against the background of the green and digital transitions. Promoting just labour market transitions is important to reach the 2030 EU headline targets on employment and skills, which are integrated into the JER.


Price increases since 2021, accelerated by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, have put pressure on both the EU economy and households. Real GDP growth slowed down in the spring of 2022 and household income in real terms decreased for the first time since the COVID‑19 pandemic. In this context, collective bargaining and fair and adequate minimum wages are powerful tools to preserve the purchasing power of wages while promoting employment. To complement this, action should be taken to improve the coverage and adequacy of minimum income protection. This will also contribute to the 2030 EU headline targets on employment and poverty reduction.


Post-programme surveillance reports


Post-programme surveillance assesses the repayment capacity of Member States that have benefited from financial assistance programmes. The post-programme surveillance reports for Ireland, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal conclude that all five Member States retain the capacity to repay their debt.


Today’s post-programme surveillance report for Greece is the first one prepared for the country, following the end of the enhanced surveillance framework in August 2022. The report finds that Greece has taken the necessary actions to fulfil its commitments, despite the challenging circumstances due to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This report could serve as a basis for the Eurogroup to decide on the release of a final tranche of policy-contingent debt measures agreed in June 2018.


Next steps


The Commission invites the Eurogroup and the Council to discuss the documents presented today and to endorse the guidance offered. The Commission also looks forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the European Parliament on the contents of this package and as well as on each of the subsequent steps in the European Semester cycle.




The European Semester provides a framework for coordinating Member States’ economic and employment policies. Since its introduction in 2011, it has become a well-established forum for discussing EU countries’ fiscal, economic and employment policy challenges under a common annual timeline. It continues to play this role in the recovery phase and in advancing the green and digital transition.


The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU, with €723.8 billion in loans and grants to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries. Its aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.


For more information


Questions and answers on the 2023 European Semester: Autumn Package


European Semester Autumn package – Documents


The European Semester


Autumn 2022 Economic Forecast


The REPowerEU Plan






Europe today faces some stark economic and social challenges thanks to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. As we make clear in today’s European Semester, it is vital that we coordinate our policies across the EU so we can better overcome immediate difficulties and strengthen our long-term economic prospects. Our priorities are clear: securing affordable energy supplies and shielding vulnerable households and companies from high energy prices. Our future prosperity depends on stimulating innovation and creating competitive companies with a highly-skilled workforce that is fit for the green and digital future. As we seek to fight inflation, we must make sure that fiscal policy does not contradict monetary policy, so we should avoid a broad-based fiscal stimulus. Member States should make full use of the RRF and REPowerEU funding to make major investments, while pursuing structural reforms.


Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People –


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Economic policy coordination


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Commission increases support for journalism partnerships


The Commission published today a €10 million call for journalism partnerships – an increase of €3 million compared to 2021 and 2022 – to be financed through Creative Europe.


Half of the grants will follow the logic of previous calls and support cross-border collaboration among news media professionals in Europe, helping the wider European news media sector become more sustainable and resilient. For the first time, the other half will be dedicated to organisations that offer grants for public interest journalism and sectors that are of special relevance to democracy. In doing so, the Commission wishes to strengthen sectors such as local and regional media, community media and investigative journalism, which face particularly adverse economic conditions.


Together with other policy initiatives such as the European Media Freedom Act, this should help boost media pluralism and nurture public debate across Europe. Organisations active in media can apply to this call until 27 April 2023.


Examples of ongoing journalism partnerships projects are accessible here, and information on EU support to media is available here.


(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Charles Manoury – Tel.: +32 229 13391)


Digital Services Act: Commission is setting up new European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency


Following the entry into force of the Digital Services Act (DSA), the EU’s new landmark rules for or a safer and more accountable online environment, the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is setting up a European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT). It will support the enforcement of the new rules with top-level technical and scientific expertise.


The ECAT will have its main seat at the JRC’s Seville site, with staff also located in Brussels and Ispra. It is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2023 and aims at becoming a centre of gravity for the international research in the field, acting as a knowledge hub for vetted researchers analysing data provided under the DSA.


The DSA calls for increased oversight of the algorithmic systems used by very large online platforms and search engines. This includes how they moderate content and propose information to their users. The new Centre will support the Commission in assessing whether the functioning of such algorithms is in line with the risk management obligations under the DSA.


To ensure the Commission is equipped with the best talent in the field, the JRC has launched a recruitment campaign for experts in data science, algorithmic design, algorithmic auditing and other closely linked fields. Applications are open until 9 January 2023. In addition to the recruitment at the JRC, the Commission is also currently recruiting for the DSA team in the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT).


(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Flore Boutier – Tel.: + 32 229 66043; Charles Manoury – Tel.: +32 229 13391)


Commission disburses further €2.5 billion in exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine


The Commission has today disbursed the second instalment of €2.5 billion under the €5 billion exceptional macro-financial assistance (MFA) operation for Ukraine. This is part of an MFA package, announced by the Commission in its 18 May Communication and endorsed by the European Council of 23-24 June 2022.


With today’s payment, total MFA support disbursed to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s war has reached €6.7 billion. The funds have been made available to Ukraine in the form of highly concessional loans, with longer-term maturities than under regular MFAs. In a further expression of solidarity, the EU budget will cover the interest costs on these exceptional MFA loans, at least for the current multiannual financial framework. The third and last instalment of €0.5 billion under this exceptional MFA operation is expected to be disbursed in December of this year.


Today’s disbursement comes after a favourable assessment by the Commission of the progress made by Ukraine towards the implementation of the seven structural policy measures agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed on 3 October. These measures aim at strengthening the resilience and economic stability of the country, improving the business climate, reinforcing the rule of law and governance and ensuring the energy security of Ukraine. Ukraine has also complied successfully with the enhanced reporting requirements linked to this exceptional MFA.


The Commission disbursed the first €600 million already in March and another €600 million in May this year, followed by €1 billion in August and €2 billion in October.


In order to continue supporting Ukraine, on 9 November 2022, the Commission proposed the MFA+ support package for Ukraine of up to €18 billion, with stable, regular and predictable financial assistance – averaging €1.5 billion per month – which would help cover a significant part of Ukraine’s short-term funding needs for 2023.


(For more information: Veerle Nuyts – Tel.: +32 229 96302; Yuliya Matsyk – Tel.: +32 229 13173)


RÉUNION DU COLLÈGE : Initiative citoyenne européenne – la Commission décide d’enregistrer une nouvelle initiative intitulée «Journée européenne du “Quoi qu’il en coûte”»


La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd’hui d’enregistrer une initiative citoyenne européenne (ICE) intitulée « Journée européenne du “Quoi qu’il en coûte” ».


L’initiative appelle à l’institutionnalisation de la Journée européenne du « Quoi qu’il en coûte » en tant qu’«acte symbolique de paneuropéanisme», en référence à la déclaration faite le 26 juillet 2012 par Mario Draghi, alors président de la Banque centrale européenne.


Les organisateurs visent à marquer un chapitre de grande résilience de l’UE à une époque où il a fallu gérer des crises multiples.


Cette initiative citoyenne européenne remplissant les conditions formelles, la Commission considère qu’elle est recevable sur le plan juridique. À ce stade, la Commission n’a pas analysé la proposition sur le fond.


Un communiqué de presse avec plus d’informations est disponible en ligne.


(Pour plus d’informations: Christian Wigand — Tél.: +32 229 62253 ; Katarzyna Kolanko — Tél.: +32 229 63444 ; Cristina Torres Castillo — Tél.: +32 229 90679).




Technical Support Instrument: Commission helps Greece to tackle natural and environmental disasters


A new project financed by the Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI) will improve Greece’s resilience to tackle natural and environmental disasters. Greece is suffering from an increasing number of incidents due to extreme weather causing wildfires and floods, like the unprecedented wildfires that occurred in August 2021.


The project, which is launched today, will assist the Greek Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection for a period of 30 months. It will help the Ministry in coordinating emergency preparedness, response and climate change adaptation actions.


The project will entail the development of a strategy to manage risks and emergencies in the area of civil protection, an action plan with concrete actions on emergency management and a single coordination mechanism for different stakeholders and civil protection organisations at all administrative levels.


The TSI offers expertise to all Member States for the implementation of growth-enhancing reforms. This support which is offered by the Commission is demand driven and offers tailor-made assistance to the Member States. Since 2017, the Structural Reform Support Programme and the TSI have supported over 1,400 reform projects in all Member States.


Last year, the TSI supported a project of the Greek Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency to help Greece tackle the natural disaster of the wildfires in the northern part of the Greek island of Evia, recovering and halting the potential biodiversity loss.


More details here.


(For more information: Stefan de Keersmaecker +32 229-84680; Veronica Favalli +32 229-87269)


European Research Council awards €636m in grants for emerging science talent across Europe


408 researchers have won this year’s European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants. The funding worth in total €636 million and part of the Horizon Europe programme will help excellent young scientists, with two to seven years’ experience after PhD, to launch their own projects, form their teams and pursue their most promising ideas.


Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “We are proud to empower younger researchers to follow their curiosity. These new ERC laureates bring a remarkable wealth of scientific ideas, they will further our knowledge and some already have practical applications in sight. I wish them all the best of luck with their explorations.”


The grants will be invested in scientific projects spanning all disciplines of research from engineering to life sciences to humanities. For example, a cryptography engineer in Paris will be looking for better ways to secure digital resources; a professor in vaccinology in Netherlands will be developing effective vaccines for parasitic diseases like malaria; and a legal scholar in Czechia will study the role of courts in the international refugee law.


The laureates of this grant competition proposed to carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 26 countries across Europe. The grants will create more than 2,000 jobs for postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and other staff at the host institutions.


More information is available in this ERC press release.


(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Charles Manoury – Tel.: +32 229 13391)


Commission reports on progress in Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism


Today the European Commission adopted the latest report on steps taken by Romania to meet its commitments on judicial reform and the fight against corruption under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).


The report takes stock of progress made on the outstanding recommendations and the fulfilment of the CVM benchmarks since the June 2021 CVM report. The report positively notes Romania’s significant efforts to implement all these recommendations through new legislation, policies, and tools to strengthen the judiciary and combat corruption.


The Commission concludes that the progress made by Romania is sufficient to meet the CVM commitments made at the time of its accession to the EU and that all benchmarks can be satisfactorily closed. The assessment also takes account of the developing landscape for the rule of law in the EU, and in particular Romania’s full engagement in the rule of law report cycle.


From now on, the Commission will no longer monitor or report on Romania under the CVM, but monitoring will continue within the annual rule of law cycle. Reporting will be consolidated in the Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report, as for all Member States.


Progress on judicial reform and fight against corruption


Important reforms include the recently adopted Justice Laws and a new strategy for the development of the judiciary. The Commission also notes Romania’s commitment to take utmost account of the opinion of the Venice Commission, on the Justice Laws and more generally, if further actions are necessary.


On the fight against corruption, state institutions are joining forces to implement a new national anti-corruption strategy, and a positive track record in the effectiveness of the investigation and sanctioning of high-level corruption has continued through 2021 and 2022. The Parliament has improved the procedure around lifting political immunities and Romanian institutions responsible for applying rules on integrity and conflicts of interest, and for managing and recovering criminal assets, have been working effectively.


Finally, Romania is making swift progress in revising its Criminal Codes, as well as consolidating its integrity framework. The completion of these important reforms are also milestones under Romania’s Recovery and Resilience Plan and the Commission will continue to cooperate with Romania for their successful delivery, in line with EU law and international anti-corruption standards.


It is important that Romania continues to work consistently on translating the remaining commitments specified in the report into concrete legislation and on continued implementation, within the annual Rule of Law Report cycle and with the support of other parts of the EU rule of law toolbox.


Next Steps


The effective implementation of Romania’s commitments and the continuation of the positive pace of reforms will ensure that progress made is sustainable and irreversible, allowing for the CVM to be successfully closed. Before reaching a final decision, the Commission will consider the observations of the Council, as well as of the European Parliament. The Commission will revert to this issue in the case of both Bulgaria and Romania in the coming months.


The annual rule of law report cycle will enable the Commission to monitor the implementation of many of the agreed reforms, such as the new regime following the dismantling of the Section for the Investigation of Offences in the Judiciary; the functioning of the Judicial Inspection; human resources in the judiciary; the implementation of court decisions by public administration; the impact of the upcoming revision of criminal legislation on the effectiveness of the fight against corruption, and the evolution of the integrity framework and its application, including by Parliament.


This will be part of the monitoring of the justice system and anti-corruption, two of the core pillars of the reports. Some of these issues have already been subject to recommendations in the last Rule of Law Report and, as with all Member States, will be part of the monitoring process undertaken by the Commission following the recommendations.


Romania’s objectives under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and further opportunities for assistance under other relevant EU programmes, in particular the Technical Support Instrument, will also help ensure that ongoing reforms, such as on the Criminal Codes, bridge existing gaps in the legislation and strengthen the effectiveness of the fight against corruption.




The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) was established at the accession of Romania to the European Union in 2007 as a transitional measure to facilitate Romania’s continued efforts to reform its judiciary and step up the fight against corruption. It represents a joint commitment of Romania and the EU. In line with the decision setting up the mechanism and as underlined by the Council and the Court of Justice of the EU, the CVM ends when all the benchmarks applying to Romania are satisfactorily met.


Work under the CVM has been ongoing since 2007 to encourage and follow the reform process, based on the benchmarks. In January 2017, the Commission undertook a comprehensive assessment of progress over the ten years of the mechanism, which gave a clear picture of the significant progress made. The Commission set out twelve specific recommendations which, when met in an irreversible manner, would suffice to end the CVM process.


Since then, the Commission has carried out a further four assessments of progress on the implementation of the recommendations. Reports from 2017 to 2019 were characterised by a waning reform momentum, and eight additional recommendations had to be made. In the June 2021 report, the Commission was able to mark substantial progress across all the CVM benchmarks. The Commission noted a strong renewed impetus to reform and repair the backtracking of the 2017-2019 period, with many recommendations on the path to being fulfilled if progress remained steady. Since then, further positive steps have been taken, as detailed in the 2022 Report, which concluded that Romania has made sufficient progress in meeting its commitments at the time of its accession to the EU and that all benchmarks can be satisfactorily closed.


A CVM was also established at the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union in 2007 to monitor progress in the fields of judicial reform, corruption and organised crime. The October 2019 CVM report concluded that Bulgaria had fulfilled the remaining CVM recommendations satisfactorily, that Bulgaria has made sufficient progress in meeting its commitments at the time of its accession to the EU and that all benchmarks can be satisfactorily closed. Since then, Bulgaria is no longer monitored or reported upon under the CVM and it is monitored within the annual rule of law cycle, and more concretely, in the Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report.


For More Information


CVM Report Romania: Questions and Answers


Report on steps taken by Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM)


All CVM Reports


Rule of Law Reports


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Commission proposes a new EU instrument to limit excessive gas price spikes


Today, the Commission has continued its response to the ongoing energy crisis by proposing a Market Correction Mechanism to protect EU businesses and households from episodes of excessively high gas prices in the EU. This complements measures to reduce gas demand and ensure security of supply through diversification of energy supplies. The new mechanism aims to reduce the volatility on European gas markets while safeguarding the security of gas supply.


Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy supplies, natural gas prices have seen unprecedented price peaks across the EU, reaching all-time highs in the second half of August this year. The extreme price spike over almost two weeks in August was highly damaging for the European economy, with contagion effects on electricity prices and an increase in overall inflation. The Commission is proposing to prevent the repetition of such episodes with a temporary and well-targeted instrument to automatically intervene on the gas markets in case of extreme gas price hikes.


A safety ceiling on gas prices


The proposed instrument consists of a safety price ceiling of €275 on the month-ahead TTF derivatives. The Title Transfer Facility (TTF), which is the EU’s most commonly used gas price benchmark, plays a key role in the European wholesale gas market. The mechanism would be triggered automatically when both of the following conditions are met:


the front-month TTF derivate settlement price exceeds €275 for two weeks;


TTF prices are €58 higher than the LNG reference price for 10 consecutive trading days within the two weeks.


When these conditions are met, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) will immediately publish a market correction notice in the Official Journal of the European Union and inform the Commission, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The following day, the price correction mechanism will enter into force and orders for front-month TTF derivatives exceeding the safety price ceiling will not be accepted. The mechanism can be activated as of 1 January 2023.


Safeguards to ensure security of supply and market stability


The proposed Council Regulation contains safeguards to avoid disruption to the energy and financial markets. To help avoid security of supply problems, the price ceiling is limited to only one futures product (TTF month-ahead products) so that market operators will still be able to meet demand requests and procure gas on the spot market and over-the-counter. To ensure gas demand does not increase, the proposal requires Member States to notify within two weeks from the activation of the Market Correction Mechanism which measures they have taken to reduce gas and electricity consumption. Once today’s proposal for a Market Correction Mechanism is adopted in Council, the Commission will also propose to declare an EU-alert under the Save Gas for a Safe Winter regulation that was adopted in July, triggering mandatory gas savings to ensure demand reduction. In addition, there will be constant monitoring by ESMA, ECB, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), the Gas Coordination Group and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSO-G).


To react to possible unintended negative consequences of the price limit, the proposal foresees that the mechanism can be suspended immediately at any time. This can happen:


Automatically, with a deactivation, when its operation is no longer justified by the situation on the natural gas market, namely when the gap between the TTF price and the LNG price is no longer met during 10 consecutive trading days.


By a Commission suspension decision when risks to the Union’s security of supply, to demand reduction efforts, to intra-EU flows of gas, or financial stability are identified.


There is also a possibility for the Commission to prevent the activation of the mechanism in case relevant authorities, including the ECB, warn of such risks materialising.




Today’s proposal builds on a wide range of actions the Commission has been taking to tackle the issue of high energy prices over the past year. In Spring 2022, it expanded its Energy Prices Toolbox from October 2021 with the Communication on short-term market interventions and long-term improvements to the electricity market design and the REPowerEU Plan. It also proposed new minimum gas storage obligations and gas demand reduction targets to ease the balance between supply and demand in Europe, and Member States swiftly adopted these proposals before the summer.


Prices increased further over the summer months, which were also marked by extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. In September, the Commission swiftly responded by proposing additional emergency measures to reduce electricity demand and capture unexpected energy sector profits to distribute more revenues to citizens and industry.


On 18 October, the Commission proposed additional measures to address high gas prices specifically and strengthen security of gas supply via joint purchasing, default solidarity to apply in case of emergency, a new pricing reference benchmark for LNG and a temporary collar to prevent extreme spikes in derivatives markets. It also proposed the legal basis for a market correction mechanism to address exceptionally high gas prices in the short term.


Today’s proposal builds upon Article 23 and 24 of the Commission’s 18 October proposal. It responds to the call from the EU Leaders on 20 and 21 October, and follows extensive consultations with the Member States. The Commission was tasked to urgently submit concrete decisions on additional measures to tackle high energy prices, including a temporary dynamic price corridor on natural gas transactions to immediately limit episodes of excessive gas prices, with the necessary safeguards. The proposal for a Market Correction Mechanism contains elements to preserve financial stability, which the Commission considers essential. Today’s proposal for a Council Regulation is based on Article 122 of the Treaty, to be adopted by a Qualified Majority of Member States. It is designed to be in force for one year but it can be prolonged following a review due by November 2023.


For More Information


Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a Market Correction Mechanism to protect citizens and the economy against excessively high prices


Questions and Answers


Commission makes additional proposals to fight high energy prices and ensure security of supply


EU action to address high energy prices




Gas prices in the EU have fallen since August thanks to demand reduction, mandatory storage filling, diversification of supplies and other measures proposed by the Commission in recent months. But we have been missing in our toolkit a way to prevent and address episodes of excessively high prices. Today, we propose to put a ceiling on the TTF gas price to protect our people and businesses from extreme price hikes. The mechanism is carefully designed to be effective, while not jeopardising our security of supply, the functioning of EU energy markets and financial stability.


Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy – 22/11/2022


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European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission decides to register a new initiative on “Whatever it Takes” European day


Today, the European Commission decided to register a European Ctizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘European Day of “Whatever it Takes”’.


In reference to the statement made by the former President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, on 26 July 2012, the Initiative calls for the institutionalisation of the European Day of “Whatever it Takes” as a ‘symbolic act of pan Europeanism’. The organisers aim to mark a chapter of EU’s functional resiliency and core capabilities for institutions, nations and societies to drive progress while sailing times of multiple-crisis management.


As this European Citizens’ Initiative fulfils the formal conditions, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposal at this stage.


Next Steps


Following today’s registration, the organisers have six months to open the signature collection. If a European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react. The Commission could decide to take the request forward or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.




The European Citizens’ Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012. Once formally registered, a European Citizens’ Initiative allows one million citizens from at least seven EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where it has the power to act. The conditions for admissibility are: (1) the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, (2) it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and (3) it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.


Since the beginning of the ECI, the Commission has received 120 requests to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative, 96 of which were admissible and thus qualified to be registered. Today’s decision brings the number of initiatives registered this year to 10.


For More Information


European Day of “Whatever it Takes”


ECIs currently collecting signatures


European Citizens’ Initiative Forum


#EUTakeTheInitiative campaign


“Whatever it Takes” European day


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Gender Equality: The EU is breaking the glass ceiling thanks to new gender balance targets on company boards


Today, the European Parliament has formally adopted the new EU law on gender balance on corporate boards. By 2026, companies will need to have 40% of the underrepresented sex among non-executive directors or 33% among all directors.


On this occasion, President von der Leyen together with Vice-President Jourová and Commissioner Dalli issued the following statement:


“This is a long-awaited moment, a moment to be celebrated as a breakthrough in gender equality.


After ten years since its proposal by the European Commission, we will now have an EU law to break the glass ceiling of listed companies boards.


There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs and with our new European law, we will make sure that they have a real chance to get them.”


Next steps


Once published in the Official Journal, the Directive will enter into force 20 days after publication and Member States will have two years to transpose its provisions into national law. They will have to ensure that companies strive to meet the 40% target for non-executive boards, or 33% for all board members, by 30 June 2026.




The Commission tabled the proposal on gender balance in company boards in November 2012. While the European Parliament adopted its position in 2013, the Council could not reach an agreement with some Member States considering that binding measures at the EU level were not the best way forward.


In her political guidelines, President von der Leyen committed to building a majority to unblock the Directive on women on boards. Finally, on 14 March 2022, the Council adopted its general approach, unblocking the file. On 23 March 2022, the European Parliament reconfirmed its position, allowing to start the negotiations with the Council of the EU. On 7 June 2022, the European Parliament and the Council reached the political agreement, paving the way for the final adoption of the file.


The adopted Directive aims to ensure that gender balance in corporate boards of large listed EU companies is established across the EU and appointments to board positions are transparent and that candidates to board positions are assessed objectively based on their individual merits, irrespective of gender.


For More Information


EU action to promote gender balance in decision making


EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025


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New gender balance targets on company boards


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COLLEGE MEETING: The European Commission appoints a new Deputy Director-General for its Joint Research Centre


The European Commission has decided today to appoint Salla Saastamoinen as Deputy Director-General for the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The Joint Research Centre is the Commission’s science and knowledge service. The JRC employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy. The date of effect of her appointment is to be determined later.


Salla Saastamoinen, a Finnish national, will benefit from her extensive policy-design experience to identify how the JRC’s scientific and technological work can support best EU policy making. She is also equipped with strong leadership, coordination and communication skills along with a significant amount of experience in legislative and international negotiations.


Salla Saastamoinen has 25 years of outstanding career in the Commission, including 21 years in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST). She was acting Director General in DG JUST during the challenging pandemic period. In this capacity, she was leading the EU policies on justice, rule of law, fundamental rights, equality, and consumers. In addition, and currently, she is Director for Civil and Commercial Justice in charge of the development of the European area of civil justice, including contract law and company law. Prior to that, she was Director for Equality. Previously, she also served as Head of several units in the same Directorate-General. Before joining the Commission in 1996, she was a partner in a business law firm, a researcher in law and author of several books on environmental law and EU law.


(For more information: Balazs Ujvari – Tel.: +32 229 54578; Claire Joawn – Tel.: +32 229 56859)


COLLEGE MEETING: The European Commission appoints a new Deputy Director-General for its European Anti-Fraud Office


The European Commission has decided today to appoint Andreas Schwarz as Deputy Director-General for its European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). OLAF investigates fraud against the EU budget, corruption and serious misconduct within the European Union institutions, and develops anti-fraud policy for the European Commission. The date of effect of his appointment is to be determined later.


Andreas Schwarz, a German national, has a considerable amount of experience in managing Commission departments and representing the Commission in complex negotiations. Building on his excellent analytical skills, he is particularly knowledgeable of budgetary and financial matters and has a thorough understanding of the investigative process in anti-fraud cases.


Andreas Schwarz is currently Director for Revenue and Multiannual financial framework in the Directorate-General for Budget (DG BUDG), where since 2018 he is in charge of the strategic management and oversight of the EU budget 2021 – 2027 and NextGenerationEU. He is also responsible for the control of the EU budget revenue sources.


Prior to that, he was Deputy Head of Cabinet of EU Budget Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva and Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski. Earlier in his career, he was also Member of Cabinet of Vice-President for enterprise and industry Günter Verheugen. He also gained valuable professional experience at various Commission departments, including the Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE), the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and the Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP). Before joining the Commission in 2003, he was an economist for the public sector in Germany.


(For more information: Balazs Ujvari – Tel.: +32 229 54578; Claire Joawn – Tel.: +32 229 56859)


COLLEGE MEETING: The European Commission appoints a new Director in its department for informatics


The European Commission has decided today to appoint Grzegorz Minczakiewicz as Director ‘IT Security’ at the Directorate-General for Informatics (DG DIGIT). DG DIGIT is the Commission department responsible for providing digital services that support other Commission services and EU institutions in their daily work and that help public administrations across the EU harmonise their work. The date of effect of this appointment is to be determined later.


In his new position, Grzegorz Minczakiewicz will build on his outstanding experience of 12 years at DG DIGIT, his strong leadership skills as well as his proven experience in addressing the challenges ushered in by new ways of working, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also obtained robust and valuable knowledge in the field of securing corporate information systems and networks against cyber-attacks.


Grzegorz Minczakiewicz, a Polish national, has been Deputy to the Director ‘IT security’ and Head of Unit ‘IT Security Policy’ in DG DIGIT since 2014. In this capacity, he has been in charge of corporate cybersecurity policy, strategy, governance and IT security operations in the European Commission. Prior to that, he headed the ‘Information and Training Services’ unit in the same Directorate-General. Before joining the Commission in 2010, he worked as a Technology Manager for the European Defence Agency for five years, and as Product or Sales Manager in different companies in the telecommunication sector in France and Poland for almost a decade.


(For more information: Balazs Ujvari – Tel.: +32 229 54578; Claire Joawn – Tel.: +32 229 56859)


The European Commission is committed to personal data protection. Any personal data is processed in line with Regulation (EC) 2018/1725. All personal information processed by the Directorate-General for Communication / European Commission Representations is treated accordingly.


Source: Cyprus News Agency