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TABLE OF CONTENTS EU / FINANCIAL SERVICES ..................................................................................... 2
Progress in harmonising consumer financial products ................................................... 2 Parliament gears up for fight on financial regulation....................................................... 2 Life expectancy reduces PfZW indexation ..................................................................... 3

EU / INTERNAL MARKET ......................................................................................... 4
Financial stability, intellectual property and single market as Barnier's priorities ............ 4

EU / HEALTH ............................................................................................................. 6
Consultation on European health work force published.................................................. 6

EU / SOCIAL .............................................................................................................. 6
Barroso pledges 'to fight' for EU social agenda.............................................................. 6 Enhancing social dialogue at heart of Laszlo Andor mandate ........................................ 7

ECONOMY ................................................................................................................. 8
Economic recovery in the euro area is gathering momentum......................................... 8 Special EU summit to focus on economy, jobs .............................................................. 9

OTHER NEWS AND EVENTS ................................................................................. 10
Spain vows to take backstage role as EU President .................................................... 10 9 things 2009 will be remembered for .......................................................................... 10 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion .............................. 11

THE ANALYSIS IN DEPTH...................................................................................... 12
Parliament gears up for fight on financial regulation..................................................... 12 Special EU summit to focus on economy, jobs ............................................................ 14

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_____________________________________________________________________________________ EU / FINANCIAL SERVICES ______________________________________________________________________________________

Progress in harmonising consumer financial products
On Wednesday 16 December 2009, the European Commission published a progress report on its draft legislation to harmonise the sale of financial services to consumers, examining three areas - the scope of the new rules, information to be provided before contacts are entered into and sales practices.

Whether consumer financial products are covered by the new regulation will be decided by whether their purpose is to accumulate capital. The European Commission argues that this approach is necessary and most stakeholders agree. The report does not examine whether pensions and insurance products should be covered, but it says that investment in commodities and real estate will not be included. The rules on information to be provided before contracts are entered into is based on a factsheet produced for the sale of harmonised 'UCITS' funds and include

information to make it easier to shop around among products of a similar type and more detailed rules to distinguish between different consumer financial products. Further work is required to decide who will be responsible for preparing the pre-sale consumer information document (the body providing the product or the agent selling the product). There will be EU rules on sales practices based on the rules set out in Directive 2004/39/EC on financial products and conflicts of interest, and ensuring customers are not missold products. (Ed Agence Europe, 19/12/2009)

Parliament gears up for fight on financial regulation
EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso has appealed on the European Parliament to tighten up draft EU rules on financial regulation which MEPs say have been "watered down" by Britain. (Euractiv.com, 18/12/2009)

IN DEPTH ANALYSIS BELOW (page 12)

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Life expectancy reduces PfZW indexation
PfZW, the €84bn Dutch industry-wide pension scheme for healthcare workers, has granted its two million participants part indexation of 0.72% - lower than in previous years as officials at the pension fund anticipate life expectancy will rise in the future.

For the same reason, members of the Netherlands’ second-largest pension fund also face a 0.6% rise in contributions to 23.1% of pensionable salary in 2010. “Not only external demographic predictions, but also our own data, show a fast rise in life expectancy,” commented Peter Borgdorff, director of PfZW. “We therefore think it is sensible to take this risk into account for both indexation and the contribution levels for 2010,” he explained. According to PfZW, the decision to only part compensate for inflation follows its recovery plan, which is prescribed to pay a maximum indexation of 50% of the salary inflation of 2.85% until such time as the scheme meets its target cover ratio. However, the pressure of rising life expectancy means the indexation payment

has been limited to just 0.72%. Recent figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) indicated life expectancy is increasing faster than as listed on longevity tables used by pension funds – for the period between 20022007 – and provided by the Actuarial Society (AG). For example, the assumed average yearly rise of 2.3% for men between 60 and 69 during the next 45 years could in fact be over 3%, according to consultancy firm Hewitt Associates, after looking into the impact of the CBS data. At present, the AG is working on an update of its forecasts – including an extension of its prognosis horizon by 10 years until 2060 - which it expects to publish later this year. (IPE.com, 04/01/10)

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______________________________________________________________________________________ EU / INTERNAL MARKET ______________________________________________________________________________________

Financial stability, intellectual property and single market as Barnier's priorities
Michel Barnier, the commissioner-delegate for the internal market has set out three major priorities for his mandate if the European Parliament confirms it after his hearing programmed for Wednesday 13 January. In the line of orientations set out by the G20, the French politician indicated in his response to the preliminary questionnaire submitted to him from the internal market committee, that these priorities consist of financial stability for restoring the confidence of investors and citizens, the adaptation of the European strategy on intellectual property rights (IPR) and bringing the single market closer to citizens. According to the former French minister for foreign affairs, this will mean “paying more attention to the social dimension in the measures envisaged”.

“I am in favour of a dynamic and intelligently regulated and efficiently monitored European financial sector. This is vital if we want to restore the confidence of savers and

framework to the Commission for managing and resolving crises and enhancing the supervision of groups that have great systemic importance. Other areas in which to build action are: the creation of European deposit guarantee and bank resolution funds, fostering quality and the level of own banking funds, as well as revising rules regulating professional pensions institutions. According to Mr Barnier, “much remains to be done” in the domain of financial market infrastructure. A European framework will therefore be proposed for derivatives, intermediate shares and retail financial designate services. also The appealed commissionerfor global

investors”, affirmed Mr Barnier. He identified five objectives for financial services policy: - a sector that is at the service of sustainable growth; - consumers, savers and SMEs that are “appropriately protected”; a better

disciplined sector, with greater supervision of the financial institutions and more coordination at a European level; - providing the system with tools for managing crises; - “being at the avant-garde in the search for common

solutions at a global level”. He provided a list of precise initiatives, some of which have already been put on the table and are being prepared by the Commission. Mr Barnier is seeking to finalise negotiations on reform of the European financial supervisory system and will propose a

convergence in accounting standards and improved IASB governance in charge of drawing up international standards for financial information in force in the EU (IFRS). In the domain of intellectual property, Mr Barnier

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would like the EU to have a coherent legal framework in order to respond to legal challenges facing the development of a virtual economy. This naturally would include the creation of a Community patent and the setting up of a pan-European system for litigation resolution, on the condition that the linguistic question is resolved. Modernisation of the Community system of trademarks and

to enjoy their rights in full within the internal market by way of tools such as SOLVIT and the future internal market assistance portal. According to Mr Barnier, the launch of studies will help identify sectors of activity where the market is not reaching its full potential, “with the goal of re-establishing growth at the service of citizens and SMEs”. In 2010 the process for mutual evaluation of legislation is included in the services directive will take place. In the perspective of consumer

deployment by the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy under the aegis of the European Commission are also envisaged. “I consider that the EP is a solid partner for working together towards greater appropriation (of the internal market) by citizens”, explained the commissioner-designate, who is aware that it is impossible to simply “fall in love with the single market” as explained in the famous quotation attributed to Jacques Delors. He is convinced regarding that increased decisions transparency will bring

protection, the development of online crossborder services will also mobilise Commission services. In the area of corporate law, Mr Barnier is seeking to provide greater detail on the issue of cross-border transfers of corporate centres. He is determined to finalise the ongoing impact assessment on opportunities for providing a framework to European level concessions and says that he is convinced of the need to examine how “public procurement access can be further facilitated, particularly for SMEs”. (Ed Agence Europe, 22/12/2009)

European

Europe closer to citizens. He also announced that one of his advisers would be specifically in charge of cooperation with the EP. Other measures aimed to enable citizens and SMEs

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_______________________________________________________________________________________

EU / HEALTH _______________________________________________________________________________________

Consultation on European health work force published
The European Commission has published the results of the consultation on the future of the European health work force. The consultation revealed concerns over the recruitment and training of sufficient numbers of qualified staff in the future. The results of this consultation will inform the work of the Commission on the EU strategy for 2020. The report can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_systems/docs/workforce_report.pdf (Ed Agence Europe, 21/12/2009)

_______________________________________________________________________________________ EU / SOCIAL _______________________________________________________________________________________

Barroso pledges 'to fight' for EU social agenda
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso this week (16 December) faced accusations from MEPs that his draft EU 2020 strategy for economic and environmental renewal lacked a sufficient social dimension.

Barroso, responding to a barrage of questions from MEPs during a one-hour 'question time' in Strasbourg, was repeatedly challenged over the lack of social aspects in the strategy. UK Socialist MEP Stephen Hughes cited claims by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) that the 2020 strategy was "a step backwards

from the commitments of successive European Councils to strengthen the social dimension" of EU policies. In response, Barroso claimed his goal was a "strengthened mechanism of governance" for the social elements of the strategy. He added that the strategy is as yet only a consultation document and that the

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social

elements may

differ in the final

that newly-appointed EU Council President Hermann Van Rompuy has called for an informal exchange of views among EU leaders on this topic in early February 2010. "We need the support of member states," Barroso concluded. Regarding the timeline for

draft. Barroso blames member states for social inaction: Barroso appeared to be talking up his own social credentials, telling MEPs that he has pushed in the past for stronger social cooperation in EU policy only to be told 'no' by member states, who jealously guard their sovereignty over social issues. "This isn't new," he said, adding that on several occasions, his Commission had made "very specific

finalising the strategy, Barroso explained that he hopes to have a formal communication ready for the spring EU summit next March, but would delay presenting formal conclusions to EU leaders until their June meeting. "I think this is better," he noted, as it will ensure that there is enough time for the Parliament to "take full ownership" of the strategy. Barroso has been widely criticised for scheduling the consultation for the strategy over the busy December holiday period. (Euractiv.com, 18/12/2009)

proposals" to enhance social cooperation only to receive a "very loud 'no'" from the member states. However, the Commission president claimed that things may be different this time. "After this crisis, there is much more awareness among member states of the need to have a real co-ordination of social aspects, and I'm going to fight for it," he said, indicating

Enhancing social dialogue at heart of Laszlo Andor mandate
On 13 January, Commissioner designate for Social Policy and Inclusion Laszlo Andor will set out for MEPs the main thrust of his mandate. His firm intention is to make a significant contribution to the new EU 2020 strategy and, thus, to enhance social dialogue. This will be no easy matter, the challenge being to find a balanced policy mix that will require political compromises be made by stakeholders. According to a Parliament document, Andor states that it is not a matter of having a “shopping list”, but shared understanding and agreement on what is necessary to drive things forward.

Andor would also consider carrying out a comprehensive re-assessment of the working time directive and, should he consider it necessary, would bring forward a proposal for adoption by the Commission. In line with the

specific provisions of the Treaty, he would, however, seek the views of the European social partners and ask them if they wished to initiate social dialogue on the issue. Andor would also take the necessary initiatives so that the posting

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of workers directive can be implemented and would seek to bring clarification on what is expected of national authorities, companies and workers. He would also propose appropriate amendments to the acquis communautaire in the area of health and safety at work, in order to bring an immediate response to any emerging risk. A further issue of importance for Andor is preventing musculoskeletal disorders and

time to the social and employment market aspects of immigration. He would also launch a green paper on developing a European

framework for sufficient, sustainable pensions systems, and a period of reflection on public social services, thereby acknowledging the importance of the European social model. Working in close cooperation with the justice, fundamental commissioner rights (Viviane and Reding citizenship is the

improving the protection of

workers from

exposure to electromagnetic fields. He intends to launch periods of reflection on the modern services sector, affairs effective social protection

commissioner designate), Andor would strive to promote fundamental rights, in particular those contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Last but not least, Andor would ensure that the new generation of financial instruments responded more effectively to the challenges of the medium to long term. (Ed Agence Europe, 06/01/10)

systems, and, working closely with the internal commissioner (the commissioner designate is Cecilia Malmström), active policies for the integration of immigrants. Still in relation with the EU 2020 strategy, Andor would devote

______________________________________________________________________________________ ECONOMY _______________________________________________________________________________________

Economic recovery in the euro area is gathering momentum
The worst recession in the euro area’s short history seems to have come to an end. After five consecutive negative quarters, the euro-area economy expanded again by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter. The rebound in activity reflects improvements in the external environment, the unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy actions that were taken worldwide and the improvements in financial conditions.

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The outlook for the euro-area economy as it emerges from recession is, however, still uncertain. A particular source of concern is the impact of the crisis on labour markets, an issue which is analysed in this report. The report also discusses the driving forces of exchange rate movements during the crisis. Looking forward, the December issue of the QREA looks into structural reforms, first by shedding some light on the impact of the crisis on public perceptions of the need for reforms and second by quantifying the impact on growth of reforms aimed at stimulating research and innovation, competition and human capital. The report's first focus section looks at how long-term trends in the euro-area banking sector may be affected by the financial crisis. The analysis suggests that pre-crisis trends relating to size,

banking sector to restructure. Banks' financing strategies are likely to shift towards a stronger equity component, while their business models are likely to concentrate more on core markets. Overall, the euro-area financial system may ultimately be less dominated by banks relative to the activity of market financing and of other financial intermediaries. The crisis-related fiscal expansions and the ageing population raise questions about the sustainability of public finances in the euro area. The second focus section takes up this issue in depth. With the share of the working-age people falling and the share of the old increasing, economies are faced with lower economic growth and higher costs associated with providing services for the ageing population. This results in pressure on public finances. Ensuring fiscal sustainability in the euro area requires time-consistent policies with a broad approach, consisting of fiscal consolidation, efforts to increase employment and enhance productivity, and structural reforms that prepare the euro area’s social security systems to face the future challenges. (Ec.europa.eu, 22/12/2009)

concentration and integration are likely to persist with banks becoming larger, fewer and more international in the years to come. The EU Financial market is also bound to become more integrated as the underlying driving forces remain in place in terms of risk diversification. But the crisis has also put pressure on the

( Special EU summit to focus on economy, jobs
On his first day as president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy called a special summit to seek a way out of the current crisis and start mapping the EU's economic and social agenda for the next decade. (Euractiv.com, 05/01/10) IN DEPTH ANALYSIS BELOW (page 14)

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_______________________________________________________________________________________ OTHER NEWS AND EVENTS _______________________________________________________________________________________

Spain vows to take backstage role as EU President
Spain vowed to take a backstage role during its stint as holder of the six-month rotating EU Presidency, saying the frontmen will be Herman Van Rompuy, the EU's first permanent President, and Catherine Ashton, the new High Representative for foreign affairs.

Miguel

Angel

Moratinos,

Spanish foreign

speaking in Spanish. "Spain will not abandon its responsibility […] but we will do it with modesty, with discretion, through our work and our support. This is what we have decided and what we have agreed with the Permanent President, with the High representative, and I can say that there will be no competition, there will be complementarity, there will be support to these new institutions and personalities," he stated. Moratinos presented his country’s priorities, which largely repeated a recent presentation by Spain’s Secretary of State for EU Affairs Diego López Garrido. (Euractiv.com, 18/12/2009)

minister, said Spain will only play a supporting role to the EU's new leaders. Meeting the Brussels press for the first time in his new EU capacity on 18 December, Moratinos made it clear that with the Lisbon Treaty now in force, Spain will take a step back on the EU scene and will provide full support to Europe’s new leaders and institutions. "I would like to state it very clearly. The engagement of the Prime minister of Spain and of the entire Spanish government is that we have new European representatives who will lead, give momentum and will steer [the Union] through the first semester of 2010," said Moratinos, who was

9 things 2009 will be remembered for
For many 2009 will be a historic year with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the outcome of the Copenhagen summit and the inauguration of the first black US president. It was also a year when we celebrated some significant anniversaries, notably the events of 1989 which caused the Communist bloc in Central and Eastern Europe to unravel.

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World leaders met in Copenhagen in December to try and come up with a plan to save the world from the perils of climate change. After many trials and tribulations the Lisbon Treaty finally came into force on 1 December, changing the way the EU is run and giving Parliament many new powers. After 2 years of wrangling over the telecoms package, the EP and EU ministers finally reached an agreement, which includes

EU

citizens

elected

their

7th

European

Parliament in June. The EP got onto social media in a big way - you can now follow your favourite EU institution on Facebook, Myspace, twitter and Flickr, to mention just a few. North America's first black President, Barack Obama, took office on 20 January. It was a cold start to the year as the RussiaUkraine gas dispute hit 17 EU countries leaving homes and hospitals without heating and leading to the closure of schools and factories. (Europarl.europa.eu, 04/01/10)

protection for internet users in line with MEPs' demands. This year we marked the anniversary of the 1989 uprising and the massive changes that has wrought in Europe. MEPs elected the first EP president from Eastern Europe, former Polish Prime Minister and Solidarity activist Jerzy Buzek.

2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
On the occasion of a high-level conference in Madrid on 21 January, the European Commission and the Spanish EU Council Presidency will launch the European Year 2010 for combating poverty and social exclusion. The programme will aim to draw attention to this issue which the European institutions and the EU member states consider of prime importance. It will be implemented in all 27 EU member states as well as in Iceland and Norway. A total of €17 million will be allocated to the programme (completed by national funding) for the organisation of activities and events at European and national level.

Throughout the year 2010, there will be events organised between participant states, the EU and civil society as well as NGOs and social partners. At national level, awareness

campaigns, information sessions in schools, round tables and training sessions aimed at the media and political decision-makers will be organised. At European level, the following

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activities are planned: two thematic weeks, a competition for journalists, an art exhibition and two major conferences in January and December 2010, a Commission press release points out. The Commission stresses that poverty and exclusion are not only detrimental to the wellbeing of individuals and their ability to play a role in society, but also jeopardise economic development. Given these

EU intends to stress the importance and collective responsibility for combating poverty by, among other things, recommending the mobilisation of decision-makers and private and public players. Above all, however, the European Year 2010 for combating poverty and social exclusion will give a voice to all those who live in poverty on a daily basis, the Commission concludes. (Ed Agence Europe, 05/01/10)

parameters, the Commission continues, the

_______________________________________________________________________________________ THE ANALYSIS IN DEPTH _______________________________________________________________________________________

Parliament gears up for fight on financial regulation

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso has appealed on the European Parliament to tighten up draft EU rules on financial regulation which MEPs say have been "watered down" by Britain.

After a long year of negotiations between member states on how to insulate the EU against another crash in financial markets, the onus is now on Parliament to scrutinise draft financial regulation. On the whole, MEPs agree they either want to preserve or strengthen the European Commission’s proposals and reject their dilution by the EU Council of Ministers, which represents the EU’s 27 member states. MEPs also predict fractious 'trialogue'

meetings to take place in May 2010 when all three EU institutions will convene to hash out compromise agreements. MEPs have and will continue to voice their most vocal opposition to the Council’s amendments to new bodies intended to beef up EU powers on financial supervision. A European Systemic Risk Board, which will hold a "moral power" over unruly financial institutions, and three European Supervisory Authorities – for banking,

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securities and pensions - have according to MEPs, been considerably diluted by member states. The UK stalled negotiations on the supervisors as the country’s Treasury argued it would lose fiscal sovereignty. Specifically, Britain managed to obtain the deletion of two articles which would allow the EU to directly supervise certain financial institutions". The second most contentious proposal is the hotly debated law to regulate hedge funds, private equity houses and venture capital

that get their value from underlying assets, have also been castigated for allowing

companies to trade bad debt and inflate asset bubbles. Instead of being exchanged privately ('over the counter'), a commission proposal wants to establish central clearing houses to act as an intermediary. MEPs say derivatives are not part of a live proposal yet. The Commission is expected to produce a draft law in July. This is one of the least contentious proposals as on the whole, Parliament, Council and the Commission agree that derivatives should be traded publicly. On the subject of a financial appears transactions tax, to be ahead of the Parliament its executive

associations, funds that have been barely scraped by EU regulation in the past. The Swedish Presidency, which has been actively redrafting the Commission’s April draft, also stands accused of capitulating to a Londonbased lobby of investment managers and conservative politicians. The Presidency has handed its successors, the incoming Spanish Presidency, a largely unfinished version with question marks hanging over depositaries, valuation, remuneration and non-EU funds. The Parliament’s Economic and Monetary affairs committee will probably produce a radically different text to the Commission and the Council Presidency, say Parliament

Commission by hosting hearings on how such a levy could move from idea to

policy. Policymakers warn caution though as the US is firmly against a so-called Tobin tax despite European bigwigs France and

Germany being firmly in favour and Britain only loosely following behind. Without Area (the the US treasury on side, a Tobin tax in the EU or the European Economic EU plus

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) would push investment away from the EU at a time when GDP has already fallen a record 4%, say its opponents. The future of the tax is

insiders, suggesting MEPs will push for stricter borrowing limits and pay restrictions. The only proposal to get a swift agreement from all parties was the supervision of credit rating agencies, whose over-valuation of toxic assets is believed to have inflated asset bubbles. Rating agencies, like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, will now have to register with the EU and will be closely watched by an EU regulator. The regulation of derivatives, assets

uncertain as the Commission is in the very early stages of examining its benefits and will await a report from the International Monetary Fund due in mid-2010 on measures to rescue public finances, including a Tobin tax. Dominic Strauss Kahn, the head of the IMF, recently said he could support a one-off tax on a small share of financial transactions. To round off a

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year of talks, parliamentarians also met with an old hand who raised an age-old single market paradigm likely to asked divide opinion. In Italian

an example to the rest of Europe that cooperation is possible, said Monti. Lowering tax competition between EU countries, would allow governments to pay for social policies endangered by dwindling public finances. This could mean agreed minimum tax rates, he suggested, notably on capital and corporate profits.But opposition from the low corporatetax dependant Anglo-Saxon and Central

October, Barroso

former

Competition Commissioner Mario Monti to suggest a way forward to address the Union’s

protectionism

and complete

internal market. The former commissioner’s report is intended to inform policy in next year’s internal market portfolio led by French

Eastern European countries of the EU renders tax-coordination impossible, argue observers. The European Parliament is split into two camps on tax – those that want co-ordination, a minority, and those that want competition, the majority. (Euractiv.com, 18/12/2009)

politician Michel Barnier. At a meeting with the European Parliament’s committee on internal market and consumer protection last week, Monti echoed earlier sentiments that the single market depended on lowering tax rates and doing so in a co-ordinated way. France and Britain’s new tax on banker’s bonuses has set

Special EU summit to focus on economy, jobs
On his first day as president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy called a special summit to seek a way out of the current crisis and start mapping the EU's economic and social agenda for the next decade.

On Van Rompuy's initiative, EU leaders will meet in Brussels on 11 February to tackle the economic and social crisis. "This is my first official working day," Van Rompuy said in a video address on Monday (4 January). "I'm already preparing the next European Council on 11 February," he said, insisting: "I took the initiative to convene this Council." "We need more economic growth in order to finance on a sound basis our social model [and] to preserve

our European way of life," he explained. Unemployment is expected to soar in 2010, with Eurostat predicting a peak of

approximately 10.3% for the EU-27 towards the end of the year. The Baltic countries, Ireland and Spain are the EU member states that have been hit hardest, with unemployment rates doubling or worse since the economic crisis began. Youth unemployment in particular has reached new historical highs in recent

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months, according to a recent EU report. The state of public finances in some European countries has also started to raise concerns. Deficits in Greece are expected to run at over 120% of GDP in 2010, surpassing Italy's for the first time in years. This prompted agency Fitch to downgrade Greece's debt to a 'B' rating for the first time in ten years. "I believe the economic issues – how best to

green growth and a new 'digital Europe' agenda. Other issues on the summit's table will include the aftermath of the Copenhagen conference challenges on and climate Europe's change, energy for

"aspirations

greater security and justice," Van Rompuy said. The February summit will also be Van Rompuy's first test as EU president, a job created by the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force late last year. Some analysts have warned that the creation of the new role, which comes in addition to existing senior EU positions, will only create confusion and lead to "institutional chaos". But Van Rompuy suggested he could bring greater political focus to the European Council, which gathers the 27 heads of state and government. "We must form a group, a circle, that agrees with itself and works for the same cause, the European Union. We must also lay more emphasis on the political decisions that go beyond our traditional conclusions. We must send the public a clear and visible message. We have already worked on that, and we will continue to do so." (Euractiv.com, 05/01/10)

coordinate to counter the adverse impact of the crisis on jobs and on public finances, how to plan strategies for the next stage once recovery is secured – will top the agenda of the heads of state or government for the months to come," Van Rompuy said. Last November, the European Commission launched a consultation on the EU's new economic and social strategy for the next decade. The new strategy will replace the EU's flagship Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, adopted in the Portuguese capital in 2000 and which expires this year. In its consultation document, the Commission invites member states to lead Europe towards a green, knowledge-based economy by 2020, placing the emphasis on four key priorities: innovation and knowledge, fighting exclusion,

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