Archive pour la catégorie ‘Culture - Media’

A young translators’ contest

Jeudi 24 novembre 2011

3000 European teenagers have participated in this contest

The 17-year old pupils put their command of foreign languages to the test while trying their hand at being a professional translator.

The Juvenes Translatores contest is an excellent way for us to promote language learning and translation as a fulfilling career for young people, said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Since most of those taking part are translating into their native language, the contest also underlines our commitment to linguistic diversity, one of Europe’s biggest assets.

The pupils translate d a one-page text based on their choice of any of the 506 language combinations possible among the EU’s 23 official languages. This year the theme of the texts was volunteering, to mark the European Year of Volunteering.

European Commission translators will mark the texts and select one winner per country. In March 2012 the winners will be invited to Brussels to receive their prize from Commissioner Vassiliou.

The contest, now in its fifth year, was for the first time extended to schools located on islands which are part of EU Member States: New Caledonia, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

The contest has inspired similar initiatives in the United States and Turkey. The US version, organised by the University of Illinois, requires participants to translate into English from any of the official EU languages The Turkish contest, Genç Çevirmenler Yarışması (Young Translators’ Contest) is open to university students translating from English, French or German into Turkish.

It is open to pupils born in 1994 and takes place at the same time in all selected schools (10 am to 12 noon).

The number of schools taking part from each country is based on how many MEPs each will have in 2014. Each school has enrolled up to five pupils to sit the contest.

The European Commission unveils its cultural program

Mercredi 23 novembre 2011

The new program Creative Europe could benefit many cultural professionals

With a proposed budget of €1.8 billion for the period 2014-2020, it would be a much-needed boost for the cultural and creative industries, which are a major source of jobs and growth in Europe. The new programme would allocate more than €900 million in support of the cinema and audiovisual sector (area covered by current MEDIA programme) and almost € 500 million for culture. The Commission is also proposing to allocate more than €210 million for a new financial guarantee facility, which would enable small operators to access up to €1 billion in bank loans, as well as around €60 million in support of policy cooperation and fostering innovative approaches to audience building and new business models.

The Commission’s Creative Europe proposal would enable:

300 000 artists and cultural professionals and their work to receive funding to reach new audiences beyond their home countries;
More than 1 000 European films would receive distribution support, enabling them to be seen by audiences throughout Europe and the world;
At least 2 500 European cinemas would receive funding enabling them to ensure that at least 50% of the films they screen are European;
More than 5 500 books and other literary works would receive support for translation, allowing readers to enjoy them in their mother tongue;
Thousands of cultural organisations and professionals would benefit from training to gain new skills and to strengthen their capacity to work internationally;
At least 100 million people would be reached through the projects financed by the programme.

Creative Europe will build on the experience and success of the Culture and MEDIA programmes which have supported the cultural and audiovisual sectors for more than 20 years.

The proposed €1.8 billion budget for Creative Europe represents a 37% increase on current spending levels. In 2007-13, the MEDIA programme received €755 million, with an additional €15 million for MEDIA Mundus which supports international cooperation in the audiovisual sector. The Culture programme was allocated €400 million in the current financial framework.

The European cultural and creative sectors represent around 4.5% of European GDP and account for some 3.8% of the EU workforce (8.5 million people).

EU support will help them make the most of the opportunities created by globalisation and the digital shift. It will also enable them to overcome challenges such as market fragmentation and difficulties in accessing financing, as well as contributing to better policy-making by making it easier to share know-how and experience.

Next steps
The Creative Europe proposal is now under discussion by the Council (27 Member States) and the European Parliament who will take the final decision on the budgetary framework for 2014-2020.

The Vice-President of the European Commission launches the start of activities of the European Institute of Law

Jeudi 17 novembre 2011

One year after the idea of its creation, the institute opened its first working meeting attended by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice

It will hold its first working meeting to discuss the Commission’s proposal for an optional Common European Sales Law ( IP/11/1175 ). Founded in June, with its seat in Vienna ( IP/11/666 ), the Institute aims to improve legal consistency in Europe by providing practical advice to policymakers and authorities and to further develop EU law. It is an independent non-profit organisation bringing together legal practitioners and academics from all over Europe. The Institute will make an important contribution to the EU’s wider goal of building a European area of law and justice.

According to Vivian Reding, the European Law Institute will help build a European legal culture. More consistency between Europe’s different legal systems will help strengthen mutual trust and our citizens’ confidence in the EU’s legal system, strengthening confidence in the European rule of law, which is the cement binding the European Union together. It will make the European area of justice concrete and real so that people can exercise their rights and take advantage of the Single Market’s opportunities. The Institute will also bring added value to research on how EU law is implemented across the Union. It will engage in projects that will have concrete results for the daily lives of European citizens and legal practitioners.

European law has a profound impact on the daily lives of European citizens, businesses and national political and legal structures. Academic research and judicial training is needed to further develop and strengthen all areas of European law – whether civil, criminal or administrative.

The Institute will help analyse the difficulties faced by legal professionals, identify possible solutions to help improve the application of EU law, and develop suggestions for reforms of EU legislation in all areas. It will also be a forum for exchange and discussion for lawyers, academics and professionals.

The initiative to create a European Law Institute – promoted by the Commission in its action plan for delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe’s citizens ( IP/10/447 ) – draws inspiration from the American Law Institute, a non-governmental body that played a crucial role in developing the Uniform Commercial Code, which facilitates sales and other commercial transactions across the United States’ 50 states. The Institute decided to organise its first working meeting to discuss the Common European Sales Law, which could be freely chosen by businesses and consumers for selling and shopping online in the EU.

The creation of the European Law Institute was part of the Commission’s 2010 Action Plan to implement the Stockholm Programme. Vice-President Reding spoke about the importance of its creation in April 2010 in Florence ( SPEECH/10/154 ). On 1 June 2011, the Institute’s first inaugural congress was held in Paris ( IP/11/666 ) before the University of Vienna won the right to host the seat of the Institute for an initial four-year period.

The aims of the European Law Institute are to :

- evaluate and stimulate the development of EU law, legal policy, and practice;
- make proposals for the further development of the body of EU law and for the enhancement of Member States’ implementation of EU law;
- identify and analyse legal developments in areas within the competence of Member States that are relevant at the EU level;
- study EU approaches regarding international law and enhance the role EU law could play globally, such as in drafting international instruments or model rules;
- conduct and facilitate pan-European research, such as drafting, evaluating and improving principles and rules that are common to the European legal systems;
- provide a forum for jurists – academics, judges, lawyers and other legal professionals – from different legal traditions to hold discussions

A European label for the symbolic sites of European integration

Mercredi 16 novembre 2011

Following a decision of the European Parliament, a European heritage label could emerge in 2013 for the symbolic sites of European integration.

Particular attention will go to “transnational” sites, given their special symbolism for Europe’s common history.

Every two years from 2013, Member States will be able to propose up to two candidate sites, from which the jury of 13 independent experts will chose a maximum of one.

The label will guarantee the quality of selected sites such as monuments, natural, submerged, archaeological, industrial or urban sites, cultural landscapes, places of remembrance, cultural goods and objects or intangible heritage associated with a place. It may also be granted to contemporary heritage, for relevance to Europe’s common history and heritage, rather than its architectural or aesthetic merits.

Candidate sites

Particular attention will go to “transnational” sites, given their special symbolism for Europe’s history. These sites must nonetheless meet the conditions for granting a label and designate a co-ordinating site to be sole interlocutor with the European Commission.

Member States may also apply for a “thematic” label for several national sites linked by a common theme.

Towards uniform heritage labels

The European heritage label scheme builds on an intergovernmental one of the same name, started in 2006. Sites that have been awarded labels since 2006 under the old scheme may apply for labels under the new one. Within six years of the new scheme’s entry into effect, a decision should be taken on whether European third countries may also take part.

Managing, protecting and promoting the sites will remain the responsibility of Member States. The European Commission will run communication and awareness-raising work such as creating a specific internet site for the label and encouraging promotional activities that network labelled sites.

Support of the MEDIA program for independent theaters to deal with the digital revolution

Mercredi 16 novembre 2011

Small independent cinemas have difficulty following the transition to digital

Digital equipment is too dear for small independent cinemas to be able to keep up with the digital revolution, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. The text calls for specific EU subsidies to help them to invest in production, archiving 3D projection, HDTV or Blue-Ray technology.

Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee chair Doris PACK (EPP, DE) said “The costs of digitization are acceptable for the multiplexes, but small independent cinema owners cannot afford them. Yet it is precisely these small cinemas that are important for cultural diversity”.

Investing in European identity

European and national subsidies for European cinema should foster diversity in Europe’s film production and cinema network, as a way of promoting the expression of European cultural identities. MEPs call for a one-off increase in state aids and money to be made available from the EU Structural Funds and the new MEDIA programme MEDIA to support the digitisation of European cinema’s production and distribution chain.

Promoting cinematographic heritage

The key challenge facing European cinema today is to boost audiences at small independent cinemas in small towns and rural areas, which are particularly vulnerable financially and should be helped to keep up with technological progress, say MEPs.

The resolution also stresses the importance of digital archiving in conserving and showing this national and European heritage. MEPs call on EU Member States to take the necessary legislative measures, whilst ensuring that author copyrights are respected.

European subsidies enhance the digital strategy of the EU

Lundi 7 novembre 2011

The Commission has allocated 600 000 euros here destination of the new Centre for pluralism and media freedom in the digital strategy of the EU.

The European Commission is establishing a Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom in Florence with a €600 000 grant to the European University Institute’s (EUI) Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Starting in December 2011, and headed by Professor Pier Luigi Parcu, the Centre will develop new ideas on how to ensure a highly diverse and free media, and work to enhance the quality of the reflection on media pluralism in Europe.

The Centre will carry out four specific activities: theoretical and applied research (working paper series, policy studies, observatory on media pluralism), debates, education and training activities (academic seminars, summer school) and dissemination of results and outcomes.

The EUI has been chosen to host the centre because of the Institute’s long experience in the area of European governance.

This initiative is a further step in the Commission’s ongoing commitment to improve the protection of media pluralism and media freedom in Europe and establish whether further action needs to be taken at European or national and regional level. It recently established a high-level group on this subject, chaired by Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga. The Commission is also in the process of establishing a multi-stakeholder group on the future of the media which will become operational in the near future.


The right to freedom of expression and information is enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, which establishes that the freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected. They constitute the foundation stone for every free and democratic society and are essential to the EU’s underlying democratic and societal values. The effective exercise of these rights may be detrimentally affected by both governmental and private actors and remain a source of concern.

It is also important to note that developments in information and communications technologies have permitted significant reductions in distribution costs and the lowering of barriers to entry for new media sources, they have also given rise to concern among policymakers about media diversity, for instance by challenging the established business model of the written press.

Both the European Commission and European Parliament have taken an active concern in maintain media freedom and media pluralism. The Commission has undertaken several actions in 2011 to ensure compatibility of national law with EU law. In particular, in January 2011, Vice-President Kroes addressed some of the most pertinent issues regarding the Hungarian Media Law and its compatibility with EU law in general and with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) in particular. The Hungarian government committed to change the Hungarian Media law on four points: i) obligation of balanced coverage, ii) country of origin principle, iii) registration requirements and iv) offensive content. The agreed amendments were adopted by the Hungarian Government on 7 March 2011.

The funding for the Centre is is drawn from funds originally earmarked for an “Erasmus for Journalists” programme proposed by Mr Paul Rübig MEP.

The EU emphasizes the Arab spring through the Sakharov Prize 2011

Vendredi 4 novembre 2011

The winner of the Sakharov Prize is now known.

EP President Jerzy Buzek announced 27 October that five Arab Spring activists will be awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for their contribution to historic changes in the Arab world and as a “symbol for all those working for dignity, democracy and fundamental rights in the Arab world and beyond”. The prize will be awarded on 14 December during a formal sitting in Strasbourg.

Read on to find out more about the eventual winners and the nominees for this year’s award.

Nominees were chosen by political groups and a short list of three were chosen by the Foreign Affairs, Development and Human Rights Committees. The winner was chosen by the political group leaders.

Last year’s winner Guillermo Fariñas was prevented by Cuban authorities from attending the award ceremony in Strasbourg.

The prize is named after Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov, who was internally exiled in the Soviet Union for his opposition to the USSR’s nuclear programme and repressive policies. He became a member of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reformed Soviet Parliament in spring 1989 and founded Memorial, a human rights organisation that keeps his fight alive even after his death in 1989.

2011 Lux award, the selected movies are now released

Jeudi 3 novembre 2011

Since 2007, the LUX Award clearly represents the European Parliament struggle for European cinematography. The 2011 nominees were revealed.

MEPs began viewing the three nominees for the 2011 LUX prize 11 October: “Attenberg”, by Athina Rachel Tsangari, ” Les neiges du Kilimandjaro” by Robert Guédiguian, and “Play” by Ruben Östlund. Votes must be cast by 10 November and the prize will be awarded in a ceremony during the November plenary session of Parliament in Strasbourg.

Since 2007, the LUX Prize has been a tangible expression of Parliament’s belief in the creativity and talent in Europe’s film industry, in its ability to reflect the wealth and diversity of European culture, and its capacity to stimulate reflection and debate on Europe, its values ​​and its future. Each year three films are shortlisted for the award.

The prize is in the form of funding the cost of subtitling the winning film into the 23 official languages of the EU and of its adaptation for the visually or hearing impaired. It also includes the production of a 35 mm print for each country.

News and updates about the prize and the films in the competition can be found on the official LUX Prize website.

The EU is on tracks regarding the legislation on GMOs

Vendredi 28 octobre 2011

The EU wants strict legislation in terms of GMOs in the production and consumption in Europe.

Two independent reports evaluating the European Union’s legislation on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) conclude that there is broad support for the legislation’s objectives and show that recent legislative Commission initiatives are heading in the right direction.

The documents, published today, also note that some adjustments are necessary if we are to meet the objectives of the legislation -the protection of health and the environment and the creation of an internal market- and to ensure that the legislation is properly implemented.

The reports

The two reports were carried out by independent consultants on the Commission’s behalf1. The first, a 238-page document, evaluates the EU’s legislative framework in the field of GM food and feed. The second, a 137-page document, focuses on the legislative framework in the area of GMOs cultivation. The main goal of the exercise was to collect facts and opinions, particularly from stakeholders and competent authorities. The evaluations assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the legislative processes and formulated options for the improvement and adjustment of the system.

The Commission, after the completion of both documents, carried out the necessary internal policy analysis on their findings. This process has just been completed, thus the Commission proceeds today with their publication.

The main findings

The two reports register broad support, from stakeholders and competent authorities alike, for the main objectives of the legislation, such as the protection of health and the environment and the creation of an internal market, as these objectives are consistent with the needs of society. Nevertheless, there’s room for further improvement, according to the reports.

For instance, the reports note that the authorisation system could be more efficient, GMO cultivation would benefit from more flexibility and the risk assessment process from further harmonisation.. Good news is that only limited changes to address specific issues are sufficient rather than an overall change to the system.

On the right track – already delivered

The evaluation reports confirm that many actions the European Commission has launched in recent months are on the right track.

First, the Commission’s package on GMO cultivation adopted in July 2010, and responding to the need for more flexibility on GMO cultivation, is identified as one such action. The package includes a recommendation on the co-existence of GM and non-GM plants that allows more flexibility to Member States to take into account their local, regional and national conditions when preparing their relevant legislation. The key proposal, currently under discussion in the Council and Parliament, is allowing Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.

The more flexible approach on GM cultivation preserves the strict EU-wide authorisation system already in place, which is based on science, safety and consumer choice, the relevant report notes adding that the system could be made more efficient.

Second, the Commission also advanced on tackling the technical problem of low level presence (LLP) of unauthorised GMOs in imported feed products. A harmonising regulation addressing LLP in feed imports entered into force in July and was well-received by Member States and business operators

Third, the Commission published in April 2011 a report on socio-economic implications of GM crops, based on contributions from the Member States as requested by the 2008 Environment Council Conclusions. The Commission followed up by launching on 18 October 2011 a process to assist Member States in the collection and sharing of information

In the pipeline

In addition, the Commission will propose in the coming weeks more precise requirements for the submission of authorisation applications for imported products for food and feed use.

It is also revising the guidelines on environmental risk assessment to make them more detailed and precise and is already discussing them with Member States and stakeholders. The final document will have legal status and be endorsed by Member States. This is an important step towards a better implementation of the strict environmental risk assessment requirements of the GMO legislation.

Another priority aspect is the reinforcement of the monitoring of environmental effects by companies and by Member States. EFSA and Member States’ experts are closely collaborating with the Commission to have more detailed guidelines.

Productivity growth and superfast internet investment key to long-term growth in Europe

Mercredi 26 octobre 2011

Greater investment is expected in terms of high-speed internet in the EU. EU subsidies are planned to increase the productivity of this key tool.

Leading academics, policy makers and business people are expected to call for greater investment and economic dynamism to ensure higher productivity and long-term growth at a conference on Thursday hosted by the European Investment Bank (EIB), at their Luxembourg headquarters.

European Investment Bank research to be presented at the conference suggests the switch to next-generation superfast networks could require EUR 200bn of dedicated infrastructure investment. The conference will also review empirical evidence on productivity, with a focus on industrial flexibility to promote growth in Europe.

John Haltiwanger, University of Maryland Professor of Economics said that healthy market economies constantly reinvent themselves as businesses adjust to changing economic conditions. Part of this reinvention involves new firms exploring new products and unprecedented opportunities of doing business over the internet. Financing start-ups and high-growth businesses is essential to fostering innovation, job growth and productivity.

The internet revolution is far from complete and new innovation to stimulate growth will depend importantly on connection speed. The European Commission recently published an ambitious EUR 50 billion plan for development of superfast broadband in Europe. This acknowledged the high level of public sector financial support needed. EIB research to be presented at the conference suggests the switch to next-generation superfast networks could require EUR 200bn of dedicated infrastructure investment. The conference will further examine the details of projected implementation costs of superfast internet to achieve targets set out in the Digital Agenda. The magnitude of public sector support required will be questioned alongside outlining economic benefits from superfast internet deployment.

Factors essential to stimulating European productivity will also be examined by academics from around the world. Europe’s impressive record in creating jobs prior to the crisis will be highlighted in light of challenges facing productivity and services. How to boost long-term growth productivity in Europe is even more important to ensuring global competitiveness for future generations. The conference will emphasize the complimentary roles of economic dynamism and IT investment in boosting European productivity.

Notes for Editors

- The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958. Its task is to contribute towards the integration and balanced development as well as the economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States by making long-term finance available for sound investment. Besides supporting projects in the EU, the EIB’s main lending priorities include financing investments in future Member States and EU partner countries.

- The European Investment Bank is one the largest multilateral financing institutions, lending well over EUR 70 billion in 2010, both within the EU Member States and in third countries. The Bank operates in keeping with banking practice and in collaboration with the wider banking community.