Archive pour la catégorie ‘Social Affairs’

Eu funding: Put your pen to paper: launching of a journalism award about the discrimination of the Roma

Lundi 1 septembre 2008

The European Commission has today launched the latest edition of its “For Diversity. Against Discrimination.” Journalist Award

For the fifth successive year, submissions are invited for this European competition which honours journalists from both online and printed media. The award showcases the talents of those media professionals who, through their writing, contribute to a better understanding of the benefits of diversity and the fight against discrimination – on the basis of religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, race or ethnic origin.

Articles published between 1 January and 31 October 2008 in either print or online media within the EU are eligible for the competition and can be submitted online. At the end of the entry period, national juries will gather in all 27 EU Member States to select winning articles. From these 27 national winners, a jury will then choose the best three articles and the overall European Journalist Award winner. The winners will receive prizes worth up to €4 500.

As in previous years, the European Commission is dedicating a Special Award to one specific theme. This year’s Special Award will focus on articles examining discrimination against the Roma community. In many European countries, the Roma – who collectively form the largest ethnic minority in the enlarged EU – suffer from racial violence, hate speech and discrimination in accessing employment, education, healthcare, and public and social services. According to a recent Eurobarometer, 77% of Europeans are of the opinion that being Roma is a disadvantage in society,

The Award has this year received the support of several renowned journalist associations, including the European Youth Press and the Association of European Journalists. The European Commission is determined to eradicate discrimination in all its guises. The Journalist Award is one of several EU initiatives to promote a change of attitudes and forms part of the five-year “For Diversity. Against Discrimination.” information campaign.

Press-room - European Commission

EU Funding: 24 new family homes for displaced Kosovo Roma

Mercredi 30 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support to participation of South-Eastern European countries in the stabilisation and association process (”Closed programme”)

A new social housing scheme comprising 24 family homes was handed over to the Municipality of Berane by representatives of the European Agency for Reconstruction, the European Commission, UNHCR and the German NGO HELP

The event was attended by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, the Bureau for the Care of Refugees, CARITAS of Luxemburg and members of the Roma community in Berane.

Vuko Golubovic, the mayor of Berane municipality, announced that the local authorities will continue their support for refugees and displaced persons by creating employment opportunities for them in the municipality. He added that his intention is to ensure that the investment in the “New Riverside” Social Housing Scheme will become sustainable. According to Mr Golubovic, this will only be possible if the already significant integration of the Roma displaced persons in the local labour market will be further enhanced.

The “New Riverside Social Housing Scheme” is the first of its kind in Montenegro, established with assistance largely provided by the European Union’s CARDS Programme at the request of the Montenegrin Bureau for the Care of Refugees and the municipality of Berane.

It is part of a wider CARDS project, with a starting budget of € 2.5 million, designed to help the Montenegrin Government implement the integration component of its “National Strategy for Resolving the Issues of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons”. It comprises not only housing solutions but other social infrastructure such as a home for the elderly as well as income generating activities for displaced persons, refugees and socially vulnerable Montenegrins.

The programme is implemented by the German NGO HELP and co-funded by HELP and UNHCR. Other EU member state charities such as the Dutch Grabovac have added funds to individual programme components. The Berane component of the programme has, in addition, benefited from financial contributions from CARITAS Luxemburg and the Municipality of Berane. Thanks to the catalytic effect of CARDS and the dynamism of the civil society organization in charge, the total value of the program, and thus its benefits, have grown to near €4 million.

There are approximately 25,000 refugees and displaced persons in Montenegro, or 4% of the total population.

European Reconstruction Agency

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EU Funding: The EU improves access to air transport for people with reduced mobility

Jeudi 24 juillet 2008

The day after tomorrow – 26 July 2008 – sees the entry into force of new rules that will give the disabled and the elderly access to air transport comparable to that enjoyed by all other passengers flying to or from, or passing in transit though, airports in the European Union, with no discrimination and at no additional cost

The Commission believes that the application of these measures will provide an effective response to the needs of a large and – with Europe’s demographic ageing – growing section of the population.

About a third of the EU’s population suffer from reduced mobility. These are mainly disabled persons and the elderly, while others are unable to walk the long distances often required in modern airports. For some years, many airports and airlines have genuinely been trying to help. However, comprehensive assistance, free of charge, is not provided everywhere or by all airlines. This reality constitutes a major obstacle to access to air transport for persons with reduced mobility.

These problems are addressed by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, adopted by the Parliament and the Council on 5 July 2006, which will enable persons with reduced mobility to travel by plane without difficulty. The Regulation’s provisions deal with three areas; those covering the first area have been in force since 26 July 2007. The other provisions complementing these will enter into force the day after tomorrow, 26 July 2008.

Equal treatment of persons with reduced mobility

For flights from airports in the EU and for flights from third countries to an airport in a Member State, if the carrier is European the Regulation prohibits airlines and tour operators from refusing to take bookings from passengers, or to carry them, because of a disability or reduced mobility. The only restrictions allowed are on safety grounds, these having to be duly substantiated by national or international regulations, or if it is technically impossible to carry such passengers, e.g. because of limited space in the aircraft. This should put an end to the – generally unintended – discrimination seen up to now.

Free assistance in all EU airports

As from the day after tomorrow, European airports will have to provide a specific set of services for persons with reduced mobility from the moment they enter the airport to the boarding gate, at both the airport of departure and the airport of arrival. The assistance must be adapted to the mobility of the person benefiting from it. These passengers will be able to use airport infrastructure in the same way as any other passenger. When boarding starts, they will enjoy priority boarding, under the best of conditions and with the necessary equipment.

Assistance on board

On flights from EU airports and from airports in a third country to an EU airport, if the air carrier is European airlines will be obliged to provide certain services, such as carrying wheelchairs and guide dogs, free of charge. These rules will also enter into force the day after tomorrow.

Any person affected by a disability or reduced mobility and wishing to receive assistance is requested to indicate his or her particular requirements to their travel agency or air carrier as soon as possible. It is not compulsory to do this, but it must be done at least 48 hours before departure if the person wishes to be given assistance adapted to their needs.

The EU Member States, for their part, have to set up enforcement bodies responsible for ensuring that the Regulation is applied on their territory. Any person affected by a disability or by reduced mobility who considers that these rights have not been respected can bring the matter to the attention of the management of the airport or the airline in question, as appropriate. If they are not satisfied with the response, a complaint can be made to the national enforcement body designated by the Member State concerned.

Most of the Member States have already sent the Commission a list of the names and address of their enforcement body, while others have indicated their intention to name their body shortly. The Commission will carefully check to make sure that every Member State fulfils its obligations in this area and that it introduces a system of penalties, as it is required to do.

Press room - European Commission

EU Funding: What has social Europe achieved so far?

Mercredi 2 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the overall Community programme for employment and social solidarity actions
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support the improving of employment and social inclusion
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support projects for growth and jobs creation in the least favoured regions of the Member States

More and better jobs
Almost 6.5 million new jobs were created in the EU during the last two years and another 5 million jobs are forecast by 2009. Unemployment is now under 7% – its lowest level since the mid-1980s. This goes to show that the EU’s strategy to boost growth and jobs in Europe is working.

In particular, more and more jobs are being created in services and construction, while more women and older people are entering the labour market – two of the groups for which the EU has set special employment targets. Of the 12 million new jobs created since 2000, 7.5 million – well over half – went to women.

Working abroad

Being a citizen of an EU country entitles you to live and work in any other EU country under the same terms and conditions as that country’s own nationals. EURES – the European jobs portal – helps people find a job in another European country and is supported by a network of over 300 specialist mobility advisers.

The portal welcomes over 1 million visitors every month consulting some 1.7 million job vacancies, and also provides information on labour market developments and living and working conditions in the different countries covered. Around 310,000 jobseekers have registered their CVs and 16,460 employers regularly use the service to recruit.

In addition, every year the European Job Days bring together jobseekers and employers at more than 500 events, such as job fairs, workshops and cultural happenings in over 200 cities all over Europe. These events take place simultaneously in September or October.

Easy access to medical treatment when travelling

The free European Health Insurance Card gives peace of mind to over 160 million people, making sure they get the treatment they have a right to if they fall ill or have an accident when abroad.

It was introduced in 2004 and can now be used in some 30 countries. It helps simplify procedures for getting medical care if disaster strikes when you are in another European country. It is totally free and replaces all the old forms that people used to have to arrange for and carry abroad. Each country’s card shares the same design so that medical staff can easily recognise it. The European Health Insurance Card gives every citizen the right to be treated as a national of the host member states, but it does not replace travel insurance.

The EU investing in people

The European Social Fund (ESF) is the EU’s main tool for investing in people. Set up when the EU was launched, it now represents around 10% of the EU budget and invests around EUR 10 billion in people’s skills every year across the 27 Member States.

Each year, through the ESF, the EU helps some:

* 2 million unemployed or inactive people move into employment, including an estimated 1.2 million women;
* 11% of Europe’s unemployed move directly into employment;
* 200,000 socially excluded or disadvantaged people move into employment; and
* trains 4 million people through lifelong learning to help them adapt to an evolving labour market.

Dealing with globalisation

Globalisation brings new opportunities in terms of economic dynamism, competitiveness and the creation of high-quality jobs. But it can also create difficulties for some sectors or regions. In 2005 the European Union established the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF) to help workers who lose their jobs as a consequence of globalisation. Since 2007 the EU has spent almost EUR 22 million to help 7,224 workers in different Member States. They found other jobs either through retraining, founding start-ups or moving to areas with better job opportunities thanks to money from the EGF.

Social security coverage abroad

The organisation and financing of social protection systems – such as pensions, unemployment benefits and family benefits – is a responsibility of each EU country at national level. But the EU coordinates national social security rules in Europe so that people are still covered when they move between countries. This means someone who moves to work in another European country is also covered by the local unemployment benefit scheme should they then lose their job and will also receive a pension once they retire.

The EU provides comprehensive information on people’s rights to social security cover in other European countries on dedicated websites, like the EUlisses site on how to claim your pension.

Governments in the EU-27 spent an average of 27.3% of GDP on social protection in 2005, with the highest rate in Sweden (32%) and the lowest in Latvia (12.4%).

Equal treatment of women and men

Gender equality has been a key principle of the EU ever since the Treaty of Rome introduced the principle of equal pay for men and women in 1957, when the EU was set up. Since then, the Union has adopted thirteen laws on gender equality to ensure equal treatment in access to work, training, promotions and working conditions, including equal pay and social security benefits, as well as guaranteed rights to parental leave.

7.5 million of the 12 million new jobs created in the EU since 2000 have been taken by women, who now represent 59% of university graduates.

Fight against discrimination

Around 1 in 3 Europeans say they have witnessed a case of discrimination in the past year and around 1 in 7 say they have personally experienced it.

Under EU legislation, everyone has the right to equal treatment in the workplace whatever their race or ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or whether or not they have a disability. This protection against discrimination will now be extended to areas outside employment, such as social protection, healthcare, education and access to commercial goods and services for all of these forms of discrimination.

Social partners improving working conditions

European social dialogue – the dialogue between trades unions and employers at EU level – complements the national practices of social dialogue and industrial relations which exist in all Member States. The social partners help to define European social standards and play a vital role in the governance of the EU, while bringing concrete benefits to workers and employers in Europe.

Over recent years, the social partners at European level have negotiated specific agreements to:

* improve working conditions for seafarers (2008);
* manage problems of bullying, sexual harassment and physical violence at the workplace (2007);
* reduce exposure of workers to crystalline silica dust, which can lead to silicosis, a potentially fatal lung condition (2006);
* manage new forms of work such as telework (2002).

Tackling poverty together

Since the EU launched its system for coordinating national policies to tackle poverty and social exclusion, all 27 Member States have developed multi-annual national action plans. In 2001, only three Member States had such strategies in place.

The EU’s involvement encourages high standards based on commonly agreed objectives, while each country can implement flexible policies that acknowledge the different national contexts. Child poverty is an example of an issue that has taken centre stage in all Member States thanks to EU action.

Healthy workplaces

The number of serious and fatal accidents at work has fallen steadily thanks to EU health and safety laws. Over the period of the EU’s last health and safety strategy at work (2000-2004), the rate of fatal accidents in the EU-15 countries fell by 17% while the rate of workplace accidents leading to absences of more than three days fell by 20%.

The EU has now launched a new five-year strategy aiming for a further 25% reduction in occupational accidents by 2012.

Press room - European Commission

Eu funding: Footballers and employers launch new EU forum for social dialogue

Mardi 1 juillet 2008

Organisations representing players, leagues and clubs from around the EU today sat down together for the first time, in Paris, to discuss and tackle labour issues of common concern in the professional football sector.

The new social dialogue committee – launched by Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and Education, Training, Culture and Youth Commissioner Ján Figeľ – brings together the International Federation of Professional Footballers’ Associations-Division Europe (FIFPro) and the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL). The employers’ side is complemented by the European Club Association (ECA). Given the specificity of sport governance, the social partners have invited UEFA to chair their dialogue.

Minimum requirements for professional players’ contracts is the first issue on the discussion table. The partners – represented by Sir Dave Richards, Chairman of the EPFL and the Premier League, Philippe Piat, President of FIFPro Division Europe, and Jean-Michel Aulas, (ECA and Olympique Lyonnaise) – will discuss and try to reach agreements on minimum standards in fields like health and safety at work, health insurance, education for young players, obligations and rights of players, conflict resolution and image rights.

Within the European Union, FIFPro represents more than 28 000 players in 20 EU Member States. EPFL represents high-level leagues and clubs associations from 17 EU Member States with altogether more than 600 clubs in the EU. In particular, it speaks on behalf of those leagues and the French and Dutch club associations that negotiate collective agreements at national level, which currently exist in eleven Member States. The social partners also want to promote social dialogue and reinforce capacity in the EU Member States. ECA represents 103 top clubs, of which currently 67 are in the EU Member States.

This latest sectoral social dialogue committee is the 36th of its kind set up at EU level and gives the European social partners an opportunity to contribute to governance in employment affairs in an autonomous and participative way. The Commission encouraged social dialogue in the sport sector in its 2007 White Paper on Sport.

Press Room - European Commission
  More information:
European Commission

EU Funding: Research ruled by men, many female scientists agree

Vendredi 13 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for experience and information exchanges on good practices in term of equality opportunities between women and men
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.

Gender equality in scientific research has not been achieved yet, a survey co-funded by the European Commission suggests. The report is published in the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) magazine

The ‘Gender and science’ survey is based on data collected through a multiple choice online questionnaire from the EADGENE Network of Excellence and the SABRE project. 143 subjects participated in the survey.

The data suggest that while the number of women in research has increased in recent years, they are still found more frequently in some fields than others. Moreover, they receive lower salaries and are less likely to obtain a permanent contract or to climb the career ladder to more influential positions: The data show that 83.6% of men were employed on a permanent basis whereas only 56% of women were.

As it turns out, the discrimination women are facing is twofold, horizontal as well as vertical: On the one hand, their numbers are greater in fields such as biology and medicine while being under-represented in other sectors of research. On the other hand, the so-called glass ceiling prevents many female scientists from working their way up beyond a certain level, where most positions are occupied by men. This is despite the fact that the ratio of women to men is fairly balanced at the beginning of their scientific career.

The reasons for the disparity later in professional life are a little less clear, the survey finds. However, male researchers seem to perceive gender inequalities differently from their female colleagues: 76.6% of women agree that ‘research is ruled by men’, but only 47.3% of men judge the situation in the same way.

What is more, 75% of female respondents as opposed to 33% of their male counterparts felt that administrative and subordinate tasks were more readily assigned to women. Meanwhile, 57.4% of women believed that female researchers lacked the competitive behaviour required to reach more important positions. Only 27.3% of male interviewees agreed.

Both EADGENE (’European animal disease genomics network of excellence for animal health and food safety’) network and the SABRE (’Cutting edge genomics for sustainable animal breeding’) project are funded under the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

EADGENE as well as SABRE meet and exceed the 40% target quota of women participants, as recommended by the European Commission. Still, even in those exemplary projects, there are less women among experienced scientists than among early-stage researchers, the survey finds. In order to counterbalance this effect, the two projects have - among other things - introduced a mentoring programme to fit the needs and expectations of female scientists. Moreover, they organised an event to highlight the obstacles that still hamper women’s career progress in science.


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Eu funding: Launch of the European programmes in the French region: Bourgogne

Lundi 9 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support for investment of economic public and private actors in order to reinforce competitiveness, attractivity of regions and employment
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support the improving of employment and social inclusion
 Grants available for projects at local level focusing on the diversification of rural economies and the improvement of the quality of rural life, financed by the EARDF

Participate to the conference on the 2007-2013 new programming on the structural funds and on EAFRD which will occur on June, 24th, 2008. Registrations before 12 June.


French region Bourgogne
  More information:
Registration form

EU Funding: Forced prostitution - counter measures debated by MEPs

Mercredi 4 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the overall Community programme for employment and social solidarity actions
 Grants for experience and information exchanges on good practices in term of equality opportunities between women and men

Building on what they believe to be their success in raising the issue of forced prostitution prior to the 2006 World Cup, the Women’s Rights Committee Wednesday launches a debate on the issue ahead of the European football championships

As MEPs gather for 2 days of debate they will table an oral question to the European Commission asking what steps are being taken. They fear that an influx of fans could tempt people traffickers to force women into prostitution.
The curse of people trafficking continues to affect over 2 million worldwide a year, according to the International Labour Organisation. Over 40% are believed to be exploited in the sex industry. Two years ago, to coincide with International Women’s Day and ahead of the World Cup in Germany the Women’s Rights Committee launched the “Red Card to forced prostitution” campaign.

Austria and Switzerland will jointly host Euro 2008. Austrian Socialist Christa Prets drafted a report on trafficking two years ago.

European Parliament

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EU Funding: European network set to boost women in power

Lundi 2 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the overall Community programme for employment and social solidarity actions
 Grants for experience and information exchanges on good practices in term of equality opportunities between women and men
 Grants for projects contributing to the definition of the European employment strategy : awareness raising and learning actions

Female decision-makers from around Europe will today meet for the launch of a new EU-level network of women in power. The group aims to promote women in decision-making positions in politics and the economy across Europe

The inaugural meeting will be opened by Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and by Zita Gurmai, Vice-Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström and Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaité will join the network for a discussion over lunch.

The ‘Network of women in decision-making in politics and the economy’ aims to provide a platform at EU level for successful strategies to improve gender balance in decision-making positions. Concretely, it will allow for exchange of ideas, information and experience, mutual learning and sharing of good practice. By facilitating partnerships and synergies between existing networks at European level, the group will provide a clear EU added value. The members’ experience and reputation will also help give greater visibility to the issue of gender balance.

The network will present its first results in 2009, highlighting examples of best practice and summarising the exchanges and debates between the members of the network. The group currently consists of 15 existing networks, such as professional organisations, and can be joined by additional European networks. It is one of the key actions foreseen in the Commission’s current Roadmap for gender equality.

At present, women account for only 24% of members of national parliaments and governments in Europe. And in the private sector, men still represent 9 out of 10 board members in European blue-chip companies. The discrepancy is widest at the very top: only 3% of these companies have a woman presiding over the highest decision-making body.

Press room - European Commission
  More information:
Database on women in decision-making

EU Funding: The Third Edition of the Euro-Med Award is now launched

Vendredi 30 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support to projects bringing people and organizations from both shores of the Mediterranean closer to each other and to help bridging the gap between them

Now Network Members Can nominate and Choose Who Wins the Euro-Med Award For Dialogue between Cultures

Now you can choose who will be the next winner of this year’s edition of the Euro-Med Award for the Dialogue between Cultures.

The Anna Lindh Foundation and Fondazione Mediterraneo have the pleasure to announce the launch of the Third Edition of the Euro-Med Award for the Dialogue between Cultures 2008. This year, the members have the chance to not only nominate the candidates, but also to select the winner of the Award through an online voting system.

The theme of the 2008 Award Edition is Dialogue Through Arts. The particular field of art chosen is visual arts, which includes the following disciplines: drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. Why Art? Art can be used as a key tool for building bridges of dialogue. It is an invaluable means for exchange and positive contamination between cultures and nations. People’s creativity transcends in fact geographical and mental frontiers, offering new opportunities to overcome misunderstandings and interpret conflicts.

This Year Members Choose the Winner - How?:

This year, the Heads of National Network will choose the five finalists nominated for the award before 30 June 2008. Then, all National Network members will be invited to choose the winner among the five finalists through an online voting system. The election is expected to take place from 8 – 13 July. The candidate who gets the majority of votes within a National Network, s/he will be considered the candidate of this respective network. This is in order to ensure a balanced and fair electoral process, since the number of members vary from one network to the other.

So, make up your mind now and nominate an artist who has contributed to dialogue between cultures through his/her work of art.

The Deadline for nominations is June 10, 2008

Anna Linfh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation