Archive pour juillet 2008

EU Funding: “The right of the child to protection”: Commission launches competition open to all young people in the European Union

Jeudi 31 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants to support new local initiatives, pilot projects on human rights education

“The right of the child to protection” is the title of a competition launched today, 31 July 2008, by Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for justice, freedom and security

European children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 are invited to design a poster on the right of children to protection in the European Union. The aim of the competition is to ensure that these young European citizens are more aware of their right to protection and are better equipped to defend it.

Those wishing to take part in the competition will have to design a poster illustrating the idea of their right to their own protection in the EU. Participants will be divided into two age categories (10-14 and 15-18) and must work in groups of at least four.

The entries will be judged first at national level, and prizes will be awarded to the three best teams in each age category at ceremonies to be held in each country on 20 November, International Children’s Rights Day.

The winners of the first prize in the national competition will compete in a second round at European level. The three top teams in each age group will be invited to visit Brussels from 7 to 9 December for a tour of the city and the European institutions and to attend a European award ceremony hosted by Vice-President Barrot.

The best posters will be displayed on the websites of the Commission’s representations in the Member States and on the Europa server. They may also be used in future European campaigns on the rights of children, including the right to protection.

This initiative is particularly timely given that it is in keeping with the Commission’s policy to defend all rights and its determination to integrate this into all of its internal and external policies.

Further information may be found on the Internet site, which contains links to the competition site.

This new competition follows two organised earlier, the first one in 2006 on the assertion of children’s rights in general, and the second one in 2007 on the rejection of discrimination. No fewer than 2 000 teams in 2006 and over 6 000 in 2007 from all over the EU took up the challenge under the headings “SPEAK UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!” and “TOGETHER AGAINST DISCRIMINATION!” and submitted designs for a poster on the rights of the child and on non-discrimination. The best of these, which can be found on the site, might also be used in future European campaigns.

Press room - European Commission

EU Funding: Montenegro - Border Crossing with Albania inaugurated at Bozay

Jeudi 31 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”)
 Assistance to the Candidate countries to support their progressive compliance with EU rules and policies, including the acquis communautaire if necessary, in preparation for their accession
 Assistance to support the candidate and potential candidate in cross-border cooperation

The Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Montenegro, Ambassador Leopold Maurer and the Minister of Interior and Public Administration, Jusuf Kalamperovic have opened the new Bozaj border crossing facilities on the border with Albania.The EU-funded project is managed by the European Agency for Reconstruction

At the ceremony Minister Kalamperovic spoke about the Government’s strategy to improve the country’s border crossing facilities.

The Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Montenegro, Ambassador Leopold Maurer, spoke about the local, national and regional aspect of border crossing. The Head of Centre of the European Agency for Reconstruction in Podgorica, Rainer Freund, pointed out that Bozay was a further stepping stone towards completing the network of Class 1 border posts at all of Montenegro’s international land borders – a primary objective of the Government’s Integrated Border Management Strategy.

Bozaj is the only border crossing between Albania and Montenegro which provides a 24 hour service for the processing of both passenger and commercial vehicles. The works have commenced in October 2007 with a total EU investment of €765,000.

The new facility provides reconstructed office accommodation and better working conditions for border police, customs and veterinary and phyto-sanitary personnel, upgraded inspection facilities and extended vehicle parking areas in line with EU standards.

The Government, through the Ministry of Interior, has provided an additional €200,000 for project preparation, supervision and further improvement of works to the main building. This contribution marks a continuation of the excellent cooperation with the Ministry during the past five years, which has seen the Government assume responsibility for project designs, land expropriation, and supervision of construction activities.

Safe borders for trade and movement of people

The Government’s Strategy for Integrated Border Management and its action plan for implementation define medium- and long-term goals for coordination and improvement of cooperation between those services and agencies responsible for the control and monitoring of international borders. It follows broadly the recommendations of the European Commission in its “Guidelines for Integrated Border Management in the Western Balkans”.

An effective and efficient management system will, on the one hand, ensure open but controlled and safe borders for trade and movement of people whilst, on the other hand, reduce the risk of criminal and other activities that may threaten the security of the country and of the region.

Since 2003, the European Union has supported the Government in its commitment to design and implement the IBM Strategy, by providing a total funding package in excess of €10 million from the CARDS assistance program (both regional and national). This investment has targeted the development of the strategy itself and the training of the Customs and Finance Administration (CARDS regional). It has also targeted, under the national action program, three priority areas of the Strategy: namely training of border police personnel, improving internal communications and upgrading border control infrastructure. Debelij Briegg and Scepan Polje, Class I border crossing points at the Croatian and BiH border respectively had been completed previously with EAR assistance.

European Agency for Reconstruction

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

Zemanta Pixie

EU Funding: Le développement de l’énergie éolienne a le vent en poupe en Europe

Mercredi 30 juillet 2008

 Fonds Européens

Aide(s) européenne(s) concernée(s) :
 Subventions pour des projets de démonstration de technologies innovantes de diversification énergétique et leur introduction effective sur le marché.
 Subventions pour projets de recherche sur le développement de technologies rentables pour rendre l’économie énergétique de l’Europe plus durable

La plateforme européenne de technologie pour l’énergie éolienne (European Technology Platform for Wind Energy ou TPWind) a révélé dans son dernier agenda stratégique de recherche (ASR) que l’énergie éolienne avait le potentiel de satisfaire 28% de la demande en électricité des consommateurs européens d’ici 2030

Le secrétariat du TPWind rappelle cependant que, pour atteindre cet objectif, les décideurs politiques et les acteurs du secteur doivent élaborer et mettre en place des actions stratégiques pour la recherche dans le domaine de la politique et des technologies.

TPWind souligne dans son agenda que le développement de l’énergie éolienne se fera en trois étapes. D’ici 2020 (la phase 1), au sein de l’UE, l’énergie éolienne pourra satisfaire environ 15% des besoins des consommateurs, au moyen d’une capacité installée s’élevant à 180 gigawatt/heure. Cette puissance pourrait atteindre les 300 gigawatts/heure entre 2020 et 2030 (la phase 2). Enfin, la phase 3 visera à renforcer la position de l’énergie éolienne dans les exportations européennes.

L’ASR fait remarquer que la mobilisation de la recherche industrielle et des ressources publiques européennes, qui doit être sécurisée par la coordination des investissements aux niveaux régional et national, pourrait aider l’Europe à faire face aux difficultés technologiques et industrielles. Cet ASR offre aux européens un guide sur les priorités et les actions de recherche à entreprendre et à établir en vue de garantir le développement du secteur de l’énergie éolienne.

Une section de l’ASR se concentre sur une stratégie de déploiement sur le marché permettant d’évaluer les mesures à prendre en vue de supprimer les obstacles à l’exploitation et l’usage intensifs de l’énergie éolienne. Diverses méthodes proposées préconisaient la réduction drastique des coûts d’investissements, l’accès amélioré aux grilles d’énergie et la réduction de la bureaucratie.

En tant que médiateur, TPWind offre son soutien au développement d’une politique nationale et européenne efficace en visant le renforcement des marchés et la coopération pour le développement de la technologie à travers l’innovation ainsi que les projets de R&D (recherche et développement) actuels et nouveaux. Le travail investi devrait ainsi mener à des prix plus compétitifs pour les technologies de production d’énergie alternative. Lancé en 2006 et coordonné par l’association européenne de l’énergie éolienne (EWEA), TPWind cherche activement à identifier des projets de recherche et à réduire les coûts de l’énergie éolienne.

L’énergie éolienne est en tête de liste des alternatives aux technologies d’énergies renouvelables pour l’Europe, notamment en raison des inquiétudes croissantes concernant le devenir de notre planète. Le fait que l’industrie européenne tienne les rênes du marché international est également important. La diminution des ressources pétrolières et gazières et l’impact du changement climatique sur la planète ne sont que quelques-uns des problèmes à résoudre, qui incombent non seulement au monde de l’industrie et aux marchés mais également à la population en général. Des données récentes montrent que la consommation d’énergie éolienne et son développement industriel permettraient à l’Europe de réduire ses émissions de dioxyde de carbone de quelque 600 tonnes chaque année.


Zemanta Pixie

EU Funding: EU-PRIME okays €7.56 mln work plan for Nigeria

Mardi 29 juillet 2008

The European Commission Delegation to Nigeria has given a thumbs up on the final work plan, the so-called ‘Programme Estimate’, for the European Union-Partnership to Reinforce Immunisation Efficiency (EU-PRIME) project, valued at €7.56 million against the first instalment of €2.3 million

The work plan is scheduled to run until 30 June 2009. The initial funds were earmarked for 23 Nigerian states, such as Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, Sokoto and Zamfara. The six focal states of PRIME (i.e. Abia, Cross River, Gombe, Kebbi, Osun and Plateau) would receive €86 665 each. PRIME’s headquarters in Nigeria is in Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking to the Nigerian publication Leadership, the EC Delegation said the first instalment would be used to cover a series of actions, including bolstering the training of health workers to provide effective and better quality immunisation services in the 23 states, as well as overhauling health centres that are badly in need of repair. With respect to the workers’ training, five government-approved modules will be used that are within the Basic Guide for Routine Immunisation Service Providers (BGRISP).

It should be noted that not only has the EU-PRIME project succeeded in securing immunisation equipment worth €11.38 million in the last 6 years, but it has also built a 47 000-strong workforce. The new equipment includes vaccine storage tools, like Cold Chain, vehicles and IT instruments.

The upshot of EU-PRIME is that Nigerians in selected communities will be given the opportunity to get safely and efficiently vaccinated against various diseases that affect the country, especially polio. Moreover, expertise offered from local and foreign groups, as well as technical support and project management, are key elements of EU-PRIME.

At the end of the day, raising awareness, strengthening communication and improving visibility will prove effective in improving the immunisation service delivery in Nigeria.

The EC has said that the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in this African country is one of the highest in the region. Citing figures released in 2003, the EC pointed out that the national average for fully immunised children is almost 13%, while Diptheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) coverage is more than 24%. A number of factors have contributed to this low rate, including the collapse of the primary healthcare system and the verticalisation of immunisation programmes, the EC noted.

Besides targeting immunisation in Nigeria’s 6 focal states, the EU has also granted €20.4 million to the Nigerian Government through the National Programme on Immunisation, with an objective of eradicating polio. Another €12.9 million was also given to the World Health Organization for the same goal.


Zemanta Pixie

EU Funding:European Pact on Immigration and Asylum

Lundi 28 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Thematic programme for external aid and development in order to better manage the migratory flows with a view to reducing the migratory pressure on the EU

At their meeting on 24 July, the EU Home Affairs Ministers noted the stage reached in the proceedings for the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum

Noting that international migration is a factor of human and economic exchange which contributes to the economic growth of the European Union, the draft Pact provides for the establishment of a common immigration policy. Its aim is to manage migration flows into the European Union in a way which complies with the norms of international law, takes account of Europe’s reception capacity in terms of its labour market, housing, education and social services and protects migrants from the risks of various types of exploitation.

A common immigration and asylum policy requires increased cooperation and information exchange in a spirit of mutual responsibility and solidarity between Member States and of partnership with third countries.

The Pact is based on five principles:
- Organising legal immigration to take account of the priorities, needs and reception capacities determined by each Member State, and encouraging integration
Legal immigration must benefit both the migrant and the host country: it must respond to the labour market needs of the host country, but must not aggravate the brain drain. It must encourage the harmonious integration of immigrants, based on a balance between their rights and duties. Language-learning and access to employment are essential factors for integration.
- Controlling illegal immigration by ensuring that illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin or to a transit country
Readmission agreements should be concluded so that illegal immigrants can be expelled, and each Member State must recognise and apply the return decisions taken by another Member State. Only case-by-case regularisation will be used, rather than generalised regularisation.
- Making border controls more effective
Given the wide range of geographical situations in the EU, Member States which are exposed to larger influxes of immigrants should be able to count on the solidarity of the European Union. To strengthen border controls, the issue of biometric visas must be generalised and electronic recording of entry and exit must be established.
- Constructing a Europe of asylum
The common European asylum system must be completed with the establishment of a European support office to facilitate the exchange of information, analyses and experience among Member States. There are proposals to establish a single asylum procedure and to adopt a uniform status for refugees.
- Creating a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin and of transit to encourage the synergy between migration and development
Such a partnership will be established in agreements with the countries of origin and of transit containing clauses on the opportunities for legal migration, which will enable immigrants to acquire training or professional experience which they can use for the benefit of their home countries. Migration and development policies must be integrated more effectively by means of solidarity development projects that raise the living standards of citizens and enable migrants to take part in the development of their home countries.

At the informal ministerial meeting which took place in Cannes on 7 July 2008, the French Presidency had already noted broad agreement on the draft Pact. The aim is for the Pact to be adopted at the European Council meeting on 15 October 2008.

EU Council

Zemanta Pixie

EU Funding: EU doing its share to ensure a successful Olympics

Lundi 28 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Technical assistance to develop cooperation networks between China and Europe in the field of environmental and energy management

In the run up to the Olympics, China’s authorities now have the resources to monitor air pollution and overall help in the battle to keep it under control; all thanks to the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA)

Working on behalf of the ESA, the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) installed a High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB). The system, now operational, allows authorities to finally monitor the levels of pollution in Beijing and ensure that measures to improve air quality in the city are being followed.

Air quality is a serious concern for both the hosts and visitors as poor quality could hamper athletes’ performance, especially of those competing in outdoors endurance events such as cycling and marathons.

The main source of air pollution in Beijing is emissions from automobiles. In order to reduce emissions from this source, authorities announced certain restrictions on car use, such as banning cars with high emissions and allowing privately owned cars to be driven on alternate days. The impact of these regulations will hopefully lead to a decrease of 50% of Beijing’s 3.5 million vehicles on the roads.

The High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System is one way that authorities can check to see if these regulations are being implemented and whether they are having the desired impact.

The Vice Director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, Li Kunsheng, went on the record to say that he welcomed the installation of the new system. He also added that he looked forward to it becoming an important tool for forecasting air quality in Beijing taking account of the effects of air pollution management measures including those being implemented for the Olympic Games.

The system works by combining information from weather forecasts, regional air quality forecasts and detailed local pollution source data and then inputting this raw data into a complex mathematical model. From this model, air quality forecasts are able to be made twice a day at 7am and 7pm. These forecasts are then made available on the Beijing Air Quality website. For those who want to be updated no matter where they are, they can also subscribe to email alerts and selected individuals will also be able to receive text message bulletins.

Forecasts are made for three days ahead. Users can choose to view maps of different pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, or ozone, separately or to view the total health index with all pollutants combined.

These forecasts are made available thanks to DRAGON 2 programme. DRAGON is a joint undertaking between ESA and the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC), an organisation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China. Its aim is to encourage increased exploitation of ESA and Chinese Earth Observation (EO) satellite data within China.


Zemanta Pixie

EU Funding: European Union maintains trade preferences for developing countries

Vendredi 25 juillet 2008

The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by EU Member States of a new Regulation applying the EC’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for the period from 1 January 2009 until the end of 2011. .

This decision will allow the EU to maintain
preferential access to its market for 176 developing countries. The renewed preference
system will be updated and improved, ensuring that GSP is targeted at those countries that need it most. GSP provides real economic value to developing countries, with €57 billion worth of trade under the scheme in 2007

As a result of re-calculations to reflect the evolution of trade, preferences for specific product groups will be re-established for six beneficiary countries of GSP (Algeria, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Thailand). Preferences will be suspended for one country, Vietnam, for one product group, namely Section XII products (footwear and some other products). These adjustments are triggered automatically when a country’s performance on the EU market goes above or below a certain threshold. This procedure follows strict rules, and helps to ensure that the benefits of GSP preferences are targeted at the countries that need them most. Suspension of preferences, called “graduation”, reflects the fact that a particular country is competitive in the EU market for the products in question.

Alongside the standard GSP scheme, the EU also offers a special incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, known as GSP+. GSP+ offers additional preferences to support vulnerable developing countries in their ratification and implementation of relevant international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. Interested countries have until 31 October this year to apply in order to benefit for GSP+ preferences from January 2009.


The GSP is an autonomous trade arrangement through which the EU provides non-reciprocal preferential access to the EU market to 176 developing countries and territories. In 2007, developing countries exported €57 billion worth of goods under GSP, with a nominal duty loss for the EU of €2.5 billion. At present, 14 beneficiary countries receive the additional preferences offered under the GSP+ incentive arrangement. These preferences will lapse at the end of the year and both existing and potential new beneficiaries meeting the applicable criteria will need to apply before 31 October 2008 if they wish to receive GSP+ treatment from January 2009. A special arrangement for the 50 least-developed

DG Trade

Zemanta Pixie

EU Funding: European Commission and EU Presidency launch European Development Days 2008

Vendredi 25 juillet 2008

The European Commission and the French Presidency of the European Union have officially announced that the European Development Days (EDD) 2008 event will be held from 15 to 17 November in Strasbourg

EDD 2008 is one of the major events in the international development calendar, falling at a unique strategic time for Europe and its partners, two months after the United Nations General Assembly and a few weeks before the Doha Conference.

Following the EDD events in 2006 (on governance) and 2007 (on climate change), this third edition of the event will focus on the role of local authorities and the local dimension to development. Media and development, which will be the subject of a Forum in Burkina Faso in September (, will also be on the EDD agenda.

The European Development Days provide a unique opportunity for debating, exchanging new ideas, creating synergies and launching practical initiatives. The event demonstrates Europe’s commitment to addressing issues in the development field.


The EDD have become a regular high-level event in the European and international calendar. Every year since 2006 the event has hosted more than 3 000 participants from all continents, representing some 1 200 organisations from the development sector.

A natural platform for discussing the major issues in development cooperation and launching new initiatives, the event gives everyone a say: public administrations, parliaments, local authorities, civil society, international organisations, academics, development agencies, the private sector and the media.

The EDD are more than a not-to-be-missed institutional gathering; they also aim to raise public awareness of development cooperation issues. To this end, a number of events will be organised for the general public, including exhibitions, festivals, concerts, workshops and fairs.

The European Union is the leading development aid donor, accounting for 56% of the worldwide total, worth € 47.6 billion in 2007. EU aid will rise to €66 billion in 2010 and €90 billion in 2015. The European Union is also the developing countries’ main trading partner.

Press room - European Commission

Zemanta Pixie

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