On the 8th of March, PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted a debate on what could be the features of the Pan-European Personal Pensions (PEPPs) initiative with Ms Sultana Sandrell, Trade, Economic and Financial Affairs Unit, Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, Mr Philippe Setbon, Member of the AFG Strategic Committee, Ms Nathalie Berger, Head of Unit, Insurance and Pension, European Commission, Mr Heinz K. Becker, MEP (EPP/AU), Mr Bernard Delbecque, Senior Director, Economics & Research, EFAMA and Mr Guillaume Prache, Managing Director, Better Finance. The event was moderated by Mr Pierre Bollon, Chief executive of AFG.
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On the 28th of February, PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted the debate ‘Will the year 2017 be a defining moment for the EU’ with Mr Reinhard Butikofer, MEP (Greens/DE), Mr Pawel Swieboda, Deputy Head of the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), Mr Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies. The event was moderated by Chris Burns, longtime journalist and moderator.
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We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion about the possible features of the Pan-European Personal Pensions initiative (PEPP) with our distinguished speakers Ms Nathalie Berger, Head of Unit, Insurance and Pension, European Commission, DG FISMA, Mr Heinz K. Becker MEP (EPP/AU), Mr Bernard Delbecque, Senior Director, Economics & Research, EFAMA and Mr Guillaume Prache, Managing Director, Better Finance.
Ms Sultana Sandrell, Trade, Economic and Financial Affairs Unit, Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU and Mr Philippe Setbon, Member of the AFG Strategic Committee, will respectively hold an introductory speech.
The debate will be moderated by Mr Pierre Bollon, Chief Executive, AFG (French Asset Management Association).
This event was kindly sponsored by
About the debate
The European Commission has recently announced that it will propose a legislative initiative to launch a framework for Pan-European Personal Pensions (PEPP) by the summer 2017, with the objective of enhancing the resources of future pensioners. European pension systems are indeed facing the dual challenge of remaining financially sustainable while being able to provide Europeans with adequate resources when retiring. Along with occupational retirement schemes such as pension funds, PEPPs are be seen as a complement to state-run pension systems. The future PEPPs could also be a useful tool for the growing category of self-employed workers who cannot access an employee retirement scheme, and the increasing mobility of workers. Lastly they could fit appropriately into the Capital Market Union project as they could provide long-term financing for the European economy.
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With the humanitarian situation drastically deteriorating in a number of countries and regions, the EU is releasing urgent assistance to prevent critical consequences. A total of additional €28.7 million have been allocated to respond swiftly to the most urgent humanitarian needs. “Humanitarian needs worldwide reached record levels last year. We are mobilising the last reserves of the Commission’s 2016 budget to help cover the most urgent needs, in particular in countries where the humanitarian response is underfunded. We will continue to support the most vulnerable people worldwide with EU aid in 2017,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The biggest part of the package, €10 million, will go to humanitarian assistance in Somalia, a country that is currently facing a severe and worsening drought that has left additional hundreds of thousands of people short of food and water. Another €8 million will address the needs of the increasing numbers of displaced people and recent returnees in Afghanistan, who have been particularly hard hit by the sub-zero winter – as well as vulnerable Afghan refugees in Iran. Other humanitarian assistance will go to populations affected by conflict in Myanmar, to Egypt where the influx of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from Syria, Iraq and sub-Saharan Africa continues, and to vulnerable people in Libya, where the humanitarian situation remains very fragile. The EU will allocate further assistance to address humanitarian needs worldwide from its 2017 humanitarian budget.
As we enter the New Year, the European Commission will devote all its efforts to implementing its 2017 Work Programme, which focuses squarely on delivery of the 10 priorities outlined in the Juncker Commission’s Political Guidelines in order to address the biggest challenges Europeans face today. Moreover, this year’s Work Programme proposes 21 key initiatives, as well as a further 18 REFIT proposals to improve the quality of existing EU legislation and ensure our rules are fit for purpose. To ensure a focus on delivery, the Commission Work Programme also identifies 34 priority pending proposals we have made in the past two years where swift adoption by the Parliament and Council can make a tangible impact on the ground. This is in line with the first ever Joint Declaration signed in December by the Presidents of the Parliament, Council and Commission committing to ensure swift legislative progress on priority initiatives in six specific areas and, where possible, delivery before the end of 2017.
Today, the European Commission has adopted a package of measures to strengthen the EU’s capacity to fight the financing of terrorism and organised crime, delivering on the commitments made in the Action Plan against terrorist financing from February 2016. The proposals will complete and reinforce the EU’s legal framework in the areas of money laundering, illicit cash flows and the freezing and confiscation of assets. Presented alongside the third Progress Report on the Security Union, today’s proposals will ensure a strong and coordinated European response in the fight against terrorism financing and organised crime, bringing the EU one step closer towards an effective and genuine Security Union. The proposals aim to make it harder for terrorists and criminals to finance their activities whilst making it easier for the authorities to detect and stop their financial movements. They consist of three new legislations. First, a Directive to criminalise money laundering will set common minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of money launderingwhich will make it easier and more effective for judicial and law enforcement authorities to pursue complex money laundering cases. Secondly, the current ruleson cash entering and leaving the EU will be updated to make them more robust and to give customs authorities more scope to act when there are indications that cash is related to criminal activity.Finally, the Regulation on the mutual recognition of criminal asset freezing and confiscation orders making it possible to prevent criminals and terrorists from using their funds. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans stated: “With today’s proposals we strengthen our legal means to disrupt and cut off financial sourcesof criminals and terrorists. We must ensure we have the right tools in place to detect and stop suspicious financial flows and to support better cooperation between law enforcement authorities so that we can better protect the security of European citizens.” Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “Terrorism remains a major threat to our safety. We must stay a step ahead to stop terrorists in their tracks and the fight against terrorism financing is part of it. That’s why today we are proposing that money laundering be subject to effective criminal sanctions right across the EU. We are proposing cross-border freezing and confiscation of criminal assets within the EU, and putting an end to criminals circumventing cash controls at the EU’s external borders.” Security is one of the priorities of the Juncker Commission. After adopting the European Agenda on Security in 2015, , the Commission identified the cutting of terrorists’ access to funds as one of the priority actions to be taken to complete an efficient and sustainable EU Security Union in April 2016.
The Commission is today reporting on progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and on the EU’s relocation and resettlement schemes. The Commission also adopted a fourth Recommendation today that takes stock of the progress achieved by Greece to put in place a fully functioning asylum system and sets out a process for the gradual resumption of Dublin transfers to Greece. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Our comprehensive European approach on migration is showing positive results. We can see this in the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the dramatic decrease in the number of irregular migrants arriving in Greece. We also see it in the progress made by the Greek authorities in rectifying deficiencies in the country’s asylum system, which has allowed us to recommend the gradual resumption of Dublin transfers to Greece as of 15 March 2017. This will provide further disincentives against irregular entry and secondary movements, and is an important step for the return to a normally functionally Dublin and Schengen system.” Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Both Italy and Greece have made herculean efforts in recent months in managing the refugee crisis. The fact that today we close the infringement cases on the fingerprinting and registration of migrants is proof of that. This November was a record month for relocation with over 1,400 persons transferred, and Member States must build on this progress by further intensifying and sustaining their efforts. Our aim is to relocate all those in Italy and Greece who are eligible for relocation within the next year. These efforts, together with a lasting reduction in arrivals from Turkey thanks to the EU-Turkey Statement, are necessary building blocks for a gradual return to the Dublin system for Greece.“
Today, the European Commission publishes the first evaluation of how IT companies applied the code of conduct to combat illegal online hate speech. The code was agreed with the IT companies (Facebook, Google (YouTube), Twitter and Microsoft) on 31 May 2016. Initial results show that 28 % of all notifications of alleged illegal online hate speech lead to the removal of the flagged content. However, only 40 % of all notifications are currently reviewed under 24 hours, while the aim of the code of conduct is to review the majority within 24 hours. Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová said:” It is our duty to protect people in Europe from incitement to hatred and violence online. This is the common goal of the code of conduct. The last weeks and months have shown that social media companies need to live up to their important role and take up their share of responsibility when it comes to phenomena like online radicalisation, illegal hate speech or fake news. While IT Companies are moving in the right direction, the first results show that the IT companies will need to do more to make it a success.“ As part of the code of conduct IT companies pledged to review valid removal notifications against their community guidelines and where necessary national laws transposing the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia in less than 24 hours and to remove or disable access to content, if necessary. 12 NGOs based in9 EU countries have analysed the responses to notifications over a period of six weeks. The findings indicate that among the 600 notifications made in total, 28% lead to a removal, 40% of all responses were received within 24 hours while another 43% arrived after 48 hours. The results will be discussed at the High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance on 7 December 2016, by justice ministers at the Justice Council on 8 December as well as at the EU Internet forum. A second monitoring exercise will take place in 2017 to assess progress and decide on next steps.