Archive pour la catégorie ‘Information’

From Warsow with love

Lundi 2 janvier 2012

The calendar year ended. As usual, the rotating presidency of the EU Council has changed hands. While the Poles say goodbye, the Danes took place for the first half of 2012.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Everything good must eventually have its finale, and the six months of the first Polish Presidency of the European Union Council is finally coming to an end. For 184 days we have tried to serve the European Union and its citizens. Our holding of the Presidency came at a difficult time and one full of challenges, and we hope that we have been able to fulfil this task.

We would like to thank you sincerely for the interest and trust that you have bestowed on us by visiting the official website of the Presidency www.pl2011.eu and the good will you have shown. We express our gratitude for your support and commitment, as well as for your criticism and activity.

The year that is now coming to an end has been important for Europe. In the New Year wish all of you optimism and solidarity, and also what is expressed in the motto of our Presidency: ‘More Europe in Europe’.

Now the presidency of the EU Council passes to our friends from Denmark. And we guarantee - you can count on us. Good luck! I kan regne med os. Held og lykke!

Thank you and best regards,

The team of the Polish Presidency

And the European Capitals of Culture for 2012 are …

Lundi 2 janvier 2012

Two European Capitals of Culture were designated in 2012: Guimarães and Maribor. Discover these two cities, respectively Portuguese and Slovenian!

Guimarães (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia) take over the title of European Capitals of Culture 2012 on 1 January. Both cities have a busy calendar of events planned for the year, with the aim of showcasing themselves to the world and building a lasting legacy for their citizens. The official programme of events begins on 13 January in Maribor and 21 January in Guimarães.

The official launch of Maribor 2012 will take place over the weekend of 13-15 January, with music, theatre and dance performances. Numerous and varied cultural events, combining traditional and innovative approaches, from carnival to contemporary dance, are planned throughout the year. Young audiences will be a particular focus of the events.

Guimarães will open its festivities on Saturday 21 January with a theatre and multimedia open-air show. Its programme for the year focuses on four themes: City, Community, Thought and Arts.

Representatives from Tallinn (Estonia) and Turku (Finland), the 2011 European Capitals of Culture, will attend the launch events in both cities to pass over the baton to the 2012 Capitals.

Background

Organisation and funding of the European Capitals of Culture are principally the responsibility of the cities and Member States concerned.

The European Commission has contributed with a €1.5 million grant to each city. Known as the Melina Mercouri Prize after the Greek Culture Minister who inspired the initiative, the grant is awarded on the basis that the city’s cultural programme meets three criteria: it highlights the European dimension, fosters the participation of the public, and is an integral part of the long-term cultural and social development of the city.

The European Capital of Culture title is an excellent opportunity for cities to improve or even transform their image, to put themselves on the world map, and rethink their development through culture. The title has a long-term impact, not only on culture but also in social and economic terms, both for the city and for the surrounding region. For example, a study has shown that the number of tourists staying for at least one night increased by 12% on average compared with the year before the city held the title; this figure was as high as 25% for Liverpool in 2008 and Sibiu (Romania) in 2007.

The current rules and conditions for hosting the title are set out in a 2006 decision (1622/2006/EC) of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers.

Following Guimarães and Maribor in 2012, the future European Capitals of Culture will be Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) in 2013, Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) in 2014, and Mons (Belgium) and Plzeň (Czech Republic) in 2015.

The “roaming” on the radar of the European Parliament

Mercredi 21 décembre 2011

The goal is for Parliament to reduce prices and promote competition for communications made ​​abroad.

Ms Niebler backs the two-track approach proposed by the European Commission in July 2011, i.e. to set new caps on retail prices (charged to clients) and wholesale prices (split between operators) as of 1 July 2012 on one hand, and to introduce structural measures to boost competition on the other..
One proposed “structural” solution would be to require operators to offer clients domestic and international roaming services separately, so that they are able to choose a different supplier of roaming services if they so wish, with effect from July 2014.
The new retail and wholesale price caps proposed by Mrs Niebler go beyond those proposed by the European Commission.

Reducing roaming prices
According to Tony Shortall, Director at Telage, a telecoms consultancy, the structural problem is at the wholesale level: wholesale costs are extremely high and must drop significantly.

Boosting competition
Emmanuel Forest, of Bouygues Telecom, argued that the “structural” solution, i.e. enabling clients to buy roaming services separately, would be complex and probably inefficient in terms of competition, because the costs of doing so would be higher for smaller operators.
He suggested that an alternative solution would be to oblige operators to offer customers a genuine European tariff, close to domestic prices.
However, Jacques Bonifay, of Transatel, warned that setting roaming price caps too low would reduce competition.

Transparency and consumer protection
Industry Committee rapporteur Angelika Niebler also backed an amendment proposed by Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee rapporteur Eija-Riita Korhola (EPP, FI), that would require operators to notify customers when they approach a €50 “safety cap” on roaming charges.

The European Commission announces the resources allocated to Eurostat for the next 5 years.

Mercredi 21 décembre 2011

Good statistical studies are essential for European democracy.

In order to ensure reliable, comparable and cost-effective statistics in the years ahead, the Commission today adopted a proposal for the European Statistical Programme 2013-17. With a budget of €299.4 million, the programme will run for 5 years from 1 January 2013. European Statistical System (Eurostat and national statistical institutes) will be responsible for implementing the multiannual programme, in accordance with the European Statistics Code of Practice and respecting the principles of independence, integrity and accountability. A large proportion of the budget will be allocated to the Member States in order to support the implementation of the Programme at national level.

The European Statistical Programme sets out 3 overriding objectives for 2013-17, namely:

- To provide high quality statistics to better design, monitor and evaluate EU policies.

- To implement more efficient methods of producing European statistics-

- To strengthen the leading role of the European Statistical System in official statistics worldwide

The Programme breaks these general objectives down into more specific headings, with details on how they will be implemented. An annual work programme will be drawn up each year with concrete actions to meet these objectives. The need for information must be weighed against the resources available and the burden placed on businesses and citizens in responding to the necessary questionnaires and surveys to compile statistics. Therefore, the European Statistical Programme highlights certain areas which will be given priority focus. These follow the EU’s broader priorities, such as Europe 2020, strengthened economic governance, climate change, growth and social cohesion, people’s Europe and globalisation.

While EU policy-making will largely influence the work of the European Statistical System in the coming years, any statistics produced under the new Programme will also be available to other decision-makers, researchers, businesses and European citizens on an equal basis.

Background
The European Statistical System (ESS) has been faced with a number of challenges in recent years. The demand for high-quality, timely, and ever more complex statistics is increasing, while the resources available to produce and disseminate these statistics have become more limited. Increased efficiency and flexibility are required of the ESS, to respond to these challenges and contribute to the successful development and implementation of EU policies. These challenges were addressed in the Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics and the ESS strategy for its implementation. Implementation of the Communication and strategy are the core of the European Statistical Programme.

The European Statistical Programme starts already in 2013 because it will follow up the current programme which will finish in 2012. Under the current rules, the European statistical programme can not exceed a period of five years and will therefore end in 2018.

Next Steps
The draft Regulation will now be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament, with a view to adoption by the end of 2012, so that the new programme can start on 1 January 2013. Negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework for the whole EU budget will continue in parallel.

The European Commission proposes to enhance public administrations’ computer data

Lundi 12 décembre 2011

The European Commission proposes a new digital strategy to support the economy of the Union

Europe’s public administrations are sitting on a goldmine of unrealised economic potential: the large volumes of information collected by numerous public authorities and services. Member States such as the United Kingdom and France are already demonstrating this value. The strategy to lift performance EU-wide is three-fold: firstly the Commission will lead by example, opening its vaults of information to the public for free through a new data portal. Secondly, a level playing field for open data across the EU will be established. Finally, these new measures are backed by the €100 million which will be granted in 2011-2013 to fund research into improved data-handling technologies.

These actions position the EU as the global leader in the re-use of public sector information. They will boost the thriving industry that turns raw data into the material that hundreds of millions of ICT users depend on, for example smart phone apps, such as maps, real-time traffic and weather information, price comparison tools and more. Other leading beneficiaries will include journalists and academics.

The Commission proposes to update the 2003 Directive on the re-use of public sector information by:

- Making it a general rule that all documents made accessible by public sector bodies can be re-used for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by third party copyright;
- Establishing the principle that public bodies should not be allowed to charge more than costs triggered by the individual request for data (marginal costs); in practice this means most data will be offered for free or virtually for free, unless duly justified.
- Making it compulsory to provide data in commonly-used, machine-readable formats, to ensure data can be effectively re-used.
Introducing regulatory oversight to enforce these principles;
- Massively expanding the reach of the Directive to include libraries, museums and archives for the first time; the existing 2003 rules will apply to data from such institutions.

In addition, the Commission will make its own data public through a new “data portal”, for which the Commission has already agreed the contract. This portal is currently in ‘beta version’ (development and testing phase) with an expected launch in spring 2012. In time this will serve as a single-access point for re-usable data from all EU institutions, bodies and agencies and national authorities.

Background
Open Data is general information that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - either free or at marginal cost.

The Commission’s proposal today would operate in full respect of rules on the treatment of personal data.

Studies conducted on behalf of the European Commission show that industry and citizens still face difficulties in finding and re-using public sector information. That is to say, open data is largely undeveloped in Europe.

In the important sector of geographical information, almost 80% of the respondents to Commission surveys say that they are prevented from making full use of information held by public bodies. Reasons include high fees, non-transparent rules and practices regarding re-use, a lack of transparency on what type of data is held and by whom, and exclusive licensing agreements which may have the effect of undermining competition.

In its ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’ the Commission identified the re-use of public sector information, alongside fast and ultra fast internet access, as key to delivering a Digital Single Market.

Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information introduced a first set of measures to make it easier for businesses to obtain access and permission to re-use government-held information. It also brought about a process whereby governmental agencies lowered the fees charged for obtaining the information. Today’s proposal extends access and widens the coverage of the Directive.

The European Commission requires citizens to choose the best system of electric journey planning

Lundi 5 décembre 2011

As part of a competition, European citizens are asked to choose the electronic journey planner they prefer.

The idea behind the challenge was to raise awareness about and stimulate development of all-in-one journey planners, going beyond national borders and offering alternative transport modes. Now it is time for the public to have their say on the submitted planners.

The challenge for a truly European travel planner was open to everyone, companies and organisations or anyone with an interest in travelling. 28 examples of journey planners were submitted and 22 new innovative ideas. Unfortunately not all submitted planners – innovative and easy to use as they may be – could satisfy the strict cross-border and multimodal requirements.

Now it is time for the public to cast its vote, between 5 December 2011 and 13 January 2012, on the 12 short-listed planners. In parallel, an expert jury will meet to deliberate on the submitted ideas. The best entries in each category will be announced by Vice-President Kallas at an event in Brussels in February 2012. As a prize, the winners in each category will be invited to next year’s ITS World Congress in Vienna (22-26 October 2012) to present their ideas and solutions at the Commission’s stand.

The big challenges faced by the transport sector today, such as increasing congestion, fuel costs and climate change require that we look for and find smarter ways to travel. More multimodal travel – using different types of transport as part of one door-to-door journey – is part of the answer. It is not only better for the environment, but it is also likely to be easier on our wallets and offer personalised travel solutions. Although more than 100 journey planners already exist, there is not even one yet that would allow European citizens to find information or book a ticket for the entire journey within Europe regardless of the number of countries or transport modes involved.

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.

The EU welcomes Russia’s arrival in the WTO

Jeudi 10 novembre 2011

The WTO accession of Russia comes after many years of discussions.

The EU has today welcomed the conclusion of negotiations for Russia’s accession to the WTO. Today’s unanimous approval by the Members of the Working Party on Russia’s WTO accession brings an end to this 18 year long process and paves the way to formalising the results of these negotiations by the entire Membership of the WTO. The EU now looks forward to a unanimous political endorsement of Russia’s WTO accession at the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference on 15-17 December this year.

European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, welcomed the news saying, “I am delighted that Russia is now set to join the WTO. This is an important step for Russia’s economic development and for the multilateral trading system. I’m also very pleased at this achievement today because Europe has played a critical role to ensure this long-standing goal has finally been reached. I now look forward to the upcoming WTO Ministerial in December to formally endorse Russia’s accession to the WTO Membership.”

The EU acknowledges the major efforts of the Russian Federation as well as its negotiating partners in finding solutions for the most difficult issues, which were resolved in the last weeks and days. The EU is also appreciative of the determination of Georgia and Russia to reach a timely resolution of their sensitive bilateral issues, and we very much welcome the efforts of the Government of Switzerland for their instrumental role in this respect.

The accession of Russia to the WTO is significant from both a multilateral and bilateral perspective. Russia as well as its trading partners will benefit from Russia’s integration into the global, rules-based system of trade relations. Russia’s accession to the WTO is especially important for the EU, Russia’s largest trading partner. We are convinced that this step will give a major boost to further development of our economic relationship. Russia’s membership in the WTO will also prove an important stepping stone for deepening the bilateral economic integration, including through the conclusion of the ongoing negotiation on the New Agreement.

Background

Benefits for the EU of having Russia in the WTO:

It would open up opportunities in the Russian market for EU investors and exporters alike. Russia’s import tariffs would come down and there would be a limit on export duty levels for a list of essential raw materials.

WTO accession would improve the overall business and investment climate. Russia would adopt international product standards and WTO rules in a number of areas such as customs procedures, licensing and intellectual property.

Accession and the ensuing economic reforms would help to make Russia’s economy more transparent and predictable. This would create a strong incentive for foreign companies to boost their investments in the Russian economy – in all sectors.

Russia’s entry in the WTO will have an estimated value for the European Union of €3 900 million.

EU-Russia trade in facts and figures

Russia is the EU’s third largest trading partner after the US and China with an 8.6% share of EU trade in 2010.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner with a 45.8% share of its overall trade in 2010. Total trade with Russia amounted to €244 billion in 2010, compared to €183 billion in 2009. Imports from Russia increased by 31.4% in 2010, and exports from the EU to Russia went up by 38.2%.

The EU is by far the most important investor in Russia. It is estimated that more than 75% of the investment stock comes from the EU.

Back to the last EURES session

Jeudi 10 novembre 2011

The past three days, a meeting of the working group associated with the EURES informal forum of EURES managers was held in Warsaw. Discover the content of this session.

During the meeting, Member States belonging to the EURES Network received information on the EURES guidelines on the development of the EURES network and work programme to be implemented by the European Commission and Member States. The meeting was a platform for exchanging experiences between countries, as well as an opportunity to obtain information and to talk directly with the European Commission.

During the meeting, new tools were presented for work carried out as part of the EURES network, as well as the initial results of the study commissioned by the European Commission: Assessment of indicator measurement systems used by Public Employment Services and relevant recommendations on indicators of geographical mobility in the labour market. The meeting also summed up actions taken within the EURES network. The meeting participants had an opportunity to find out about a pilot project of virtual workshops and training for EURES staff, prepared by the European Commission, as well as proposals to promote mobility within the EURES network.

In addition, a Ministry of Labour and Social Policy representative familiarised participants with details about how the EURES network works in Poland’s decentralised system of public employment services.

During the workshop, EURES managers attempted to develop a proposal for a EURES services directory, which will be incorporated into EURES service offerings in 2020. The EURES Working Group Meeting was also an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and share best practices in the field of cooperation within the EURES network.

The conference was attended by EURES Managers from the EU/EEA countries, social partners, representatives of the European Commission and representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

The agriculture and fisheries of the EU in figures

Mercredi 9 novembre 2011

The paperback book on statistics of agriculture and fishing is available.

Which Member States are the main producers of cereals? Which Member State produces the most drinking milk and the most cheese and where is the most beef, pork and poultry meat produced?

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 edition of the Pocketbook on Agriculture and fishery statistics1 issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The pocketbook presents selected tables and graphs providing a statistical overview of the agricultural sector in the European Union. The most recent data are presented for the 27 Member States as well as the EFTA countries when available. This pocketbook, intended for both generalists and specialists, is divided into seven chapters: milk and milk products, agricultural accounts and prices, main agricultural products, agriculture and the environment, land cover and land use, rural regions and fishery statistics.

This News Release presents a small selection of the information found in the pocketbook.

Almost half of total harvested EU cereal production came from France, Germany and Poland

Cereals are the main crops grown on arable land in the EU27. After a large cereal production in 2008, favoured by good weather conditions during the year and high cereal prices the previous year, production fell in 2009 and 2010, due to a decrease in the total area under cereals and less favourable weather conditions. On average, the EU27 produced around 300 million tonnes of cereals per year over the period 2008-2010.

Based on the average production for 2008-2010, France (23% of the EU27 total) was the largest producer of cereals, followed by Germany (16%), Poland (10%), the United Kingdom (8%), Spain (7%) and Italy (6%). For all three of the main cereals harvested in the EU (wheat, barley and grain maize), France was the main producer.

Germany, France and Italy the largest cheese producers in the EU27

Cow’s milk collection2 in the EU27 reached 136.4 million (mn) tonnes in 2010. From this milk, 31.5 mn tonnes of drinking milk and 9.0 mn tonnes of cheese, among other products, were produced.

The United Kingdom (6.9 mn tonnes or 22% of the EU27 total) was the largest producer of drinking milk, followed by Germany (5.3 mn tonnes or 17%), France (3.7 mn tonnes or 12%) and Spain (3.5 mn tonnes or 11%).

Germany (2.1 mn tonnes or 23% of the EU27 total), France (1.9 mn tonnes or 21%), Italy (1.2 mn tonnes or 13%), the Netherlands (0.8 mn tonnes or 8%) and Poland (0.7 mn tonnes or 7%) were the main producers of cheese.

Germany, Spain and France the largest producers of pig meat in the EU27

In 2010, 22.0 mn tonnes of pig meat, 12.2 mn tonnes of poultry meat and 7.9 mn tonnes of cattle meat were produced in the EU27.

For pig meat, Germany (5.4 mn tonnes or 25% of the EU27 total), Spain (3.4 mn tonnes or 15%), France (2.0 mn tonnes or 9%), Poland and Denmark (both 1.7 mn tonnes or 8%) and Italy (1.6 mn tonnes or 7%) were the largest producers.

France (1.7 mn tonnes or 14% of the EU27 total), the United Kingdom (1.6 mn tonnes or 13%), Germany (1.4 mn tonnes or 11%), Spain and Poland (both 1.3 mn tonnes or 11%) were the largest producers of poultry meat.

For cattle meat, France (1.5 mn tonnes or 19% of the EU27 total), Germany (1.2 mn or 15%), Italy (1.1 mn or 14%) and the United Kingdom (0.9 mn tonnes or 12%) were the largest producers.