Archive pour novembre 2008

Young european translators: grab your pens!

Mercredi 26 novembre 2008

Tomorrow, students would be able to test their translator skill in the framework of the Juvenes Translatores (”young translators” in Latin) contest organised by the European Commission for upper secondary schools in all European Union Member States.

This second contest for young translators was launched in September, when all interested upper secondary schools in the EU were free to register for participation. Over a thousand schools expressed their interest, and 618 schools covering all EU Member States were selected to participate. The total number of pupils putting their translation skills to the test will be close to 2 500, if all four pupils from each selected school participate.

The participants in the selected schools will receive a one-page text on a general subject by e-mail. They will have two hours to translate the text from and into any language among the EU’s 23 official languages.. The contest will be run from 10 to 12 Brussels time (GMT+1) under the participating schools’ supervision.

The translations will be sent to the Commission, where in-house translators of the Directorate-General for Translation will evaluate and mark them. The names of the winners will be published on the contest website by the end of January 2009.

Children’s drawings to fight against violence towards women

Mercredi 26 novembre 2008

On 8 March 2008, the European Commission has launched a drawing competition on the theme of gender equality. Almost 30 000 children from 8 to 10 years old from whole wide world have participated. The drawings of the finalists are exhibited in Brussels from 26 November to 18 December 2008.

Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. These statistics paint a horrifying picture on woman’s condition, and the social and health consequences of this situation. This is the reason why the United Nations proclaimed 25 November International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The exhibition will be opened on 26 November 2008 at 17h30 in EuropeAid Co-operation Office in Brussels (Rue de la Loi, 41) by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy. The exhibition will be open to the press.

European Jean Monnet Prize 2008, and the winner is…

Mardi 25 novembre 2008

Professor Dai Bingran of Fudan University, Shanghai was delivered the Jean Monnet Prize 2008 for his commitment to teaching about European integration.

The award ceremony took place in the presence of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, during the Jean Monnet/ECSA-World conference on ‘A Europe of achievements in a changing world’. The conference, which opened at the European Parliament on 24 November 2008, is again aiming to intensify the debate on the role of the European Union, focusing this time more particularly on innovation and international competitiveness.

Under the supervision of Professor José-Maria Gil-Robles, President of the European University Council for the Jean Monnet Programme, and Professor Manuel Porto, President of ECSA-World, the award winner was selected from 20 eminent professors whose activities have provided examples of best practice in the field of European integration.

Professor Dai Bingran, winner of the Jean Monnet Prize 2008, holds the Jean Monnet Chair at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. He is also the coordinator of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the same university. The establishing of courses of study on European integration in China owes much to Professor Dai Bingran. In particular, he produced the first Chinese translation of the European Community treaties, the very basis for studying the EU.

The Jean Monnet Programme consists of a network of high-level university professors in 61 countries on the five continents. It has not only facilitated dialogue at world level but has also on several occasions in the past provided European decision-makers with ideas for political action. For its part, ECSA is the world association of university professors specialising in European integration. Several European Commission initiatives on subjects such as the Euro-Med dialogue and neighbourhood policy were first developed at Jean Monnet and ECSA-World conferences.

This year the conference is bringing together more than 400 participants and will focus more particularly on innovation and international competitiveness, Europe’s social agenda, European citizenship, migration and intercultural dialogue, and EU commitment to achieving the millennium development objectives.

‘The European Union and the Arctic Region’

Mardi 25 novembre 2008

Such a title for the communication adopted by the European Commission on the stakes of Arctic

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on ‘The European Union and the Arctic Region’ outlining the EU’s interests and policy objectives, which include energy resources, fisheries and new shipping routes. The region has increasingly been in the spotlight as a result of its rich resources that could help ease Europe’s headaches about energy security.

For their part, environmental groups have repeatedly issued warnings on how global warming and climate change, as well as human activities, are affecting the Arctic.

This paper, says the Commission, is the first step towards an EU Arctic Policy and will be instrumental in shaping and implementing the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy.

The Communication outlines three main policy objectives:
- Improving Arctic multilateral governance
- Safeguarding the Arctic in unison with its population
- Supporting the sustainable use of resources.

The Commission believes these objectives will be achieved through the implementation of several proposals. This includes the Commission contributing more to the Arctic Council by becoming a permanent observer, making sure Arctic issues are placed higher on the international agenda, as well as promoting the implementation of existing rules and improving environmental and safety standards of the International Maritime Organisation.

The Commission asserts that an EU Arctic policy will work well with the Integrated Maritime Policy, particularly as the latter targets the coordination of all maritime-related EU policies.

Western Balkans: A Public Administration School, principally financed by the European Union

Mardi 25 novembre 2008

This regional School of Public Administration promotes cooperation in Western Balkans.

Western Balkans have moved a step closer to a Regional School of Public Administration (RESPA) in Danilovgrad, Montenegro. In the presence of the European Commission, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, acting on behalf of Kosovo pursuant to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99, started on 21 November the signature process of the international agreement which provides for the establishment of the school. The future activities of the school will strengthen the administrative capacities of the parties involved and promote regional co-operation.

From now on, Bosnia and Herzegovina participates to the 7th European Framework research programme

Mardi 25 novembre 2008

Bosnia and Herzegovina has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission which allows it the status of associated country under FP7

This “associated status” will allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to participate in all calls for proposals and compete on an equal footing with the EU Member States and the other associated countries for research co-operation and support actions funded under FP7, as of 1 January 2009. This agreement is an important step in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into the European Research Area and in the pre-accession process for European Union membership. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the 12th country associated to FP7.

The status of FP7 associated country will provide all scientific entities from Bosnia and Herzegovina – researchers, universities, associations or companies – with the possibility of participating in research cooperation with their counterparts across Europe and the world in order to build up their scientific excellence, including in scientific fields crucial to facilitate the implementation of EU legislation and standards. With Bosnia and Herzegovina, all Western Balkan countries are now associated to FP7 which will increase the research opportunities in the Region and support the regional competitiveness.


Association to FP7 means that these countries compete in FP7 on the same basis as EU Member States and the other associated countries. It opens up research opportunities for the European scientific community. Traditionally the Balkan countries have a solid scientific base, and more research cooperation with the EU will allow for a greater flow of ideas, people and transfer of technology. The signing of the MoU is the last step in a long procedure starting with: the request to become associated; discussing the terms and conditions of the association to FP7 and completing the respective internal adoption procedure.

The FP7 supports scientific research in the EU and the broader European Research Area with a budget of almost 55 billion Euros over a time span of 7 years (2007-2013). It allows for funding of collaborative research in strategic areas such as health; energy; climate change, information technologies, nanotechnology or transport. FP7 also stimulates the mobility of researchers through Marie-Curie grants and has special programmes to support capacity building such as research infrastructure, research for small and medium sized enterprises and Science in Society.

The associated countries to date are Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Israel, Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia, FYRoM, Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania.

Your photographies online on the European Parliament’s website

Lundi 24 novembre 2008

The European parliament organises a photography competition on the theme “Resolutions for 2009″. The best one will be published with an article.

This project allows you to be our “guest photographer” and have your work published on each of the 22 separate language pages of the site.

The entries should have a European theme and the deadline for photos and entry forms is 14 December. The winner will be announced on 19 December.

One photographer will be invited, with their camera, to the July session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This will be the first sitting of the newly elected chamber after the European elections in June.

For more details on the rules, photo requirements and copyright conditions please read the rules below.

Please send your photo and application form to the following address.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and get snapping!

The FEMIP hepls to the development of human capital projects in the Mediterranean

Lundi 24 novembre 2008

The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) brings together the whole range of services provided by the EIB to assist the economic development of the Mediterranean partner countries since 2002.

Between 2002 and 2007 the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) dedicated Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP).provided EUR 250 million in loans to support human capital projects. Some EUR 70 million was earmarked for education and training-related projects, according to a FEMIP summary sheet titled “FEMIP for the Mediterranean: Financing education and training”.

Given the utmost importance of education in order to promote sustainable and long-lasting economic growth, human capital investments have become one of FEMIP’s priorities in the Mediterranean region, with the aim of contributing to employment and the development of the private sector in the Mediterranean region, it says.

The summary sheet gives concrete examples of its work in Mediterranean Partner Countries, including Morocco and Jordan, and refers to the Internship Programme, launched in 2006 and open to students in partner countries, thus contributing to capacity building efforts.

In the framework of its Internship Programme, the EIB is holding a seminar on the human resources and labour market challenges in the Mediterranean, “a theme in line with the priorities of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”, as it notes in a press release.

Towards more ressources for european region in the field of education?

Lundi 24 novembre 2008

In order to favour a better socialization and integration, and improve competitiveness in Europe, education shoul become a higher priority

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) agrees with the European Commission’s educational objectives, but wants to see sufficient funding to enable regions and local authorities to implement European or national plans.

On 26/27 November 2008, the CoR will decide on its position on the European Commission’s Communication on Improving competences for the 21st century. The communication sets out EU proposals to improve literacy, extend access to pre-school provision and strengthen teacher education.

Not only schools but also the Commission’s proposed strategies to promote literacy in the school environment – for example through promotion of family literacy and improvements in literacy infrastructure – are relevant to the typical responsibilities of local and regional authorities. The CoR offers the European Commission its support in achieving more effective cooperation on direct pooling of experience between bodies responsible for education policy in the Member States and the regions.

In this context, the regions and local authorities wholeheartedly welcome and support the EU Comenius Regio programme, the launch of which was announced by Commissioner Figel at the CoR on 3 November. Comenius Regio will promote European cooperation on schools at regional and municipal level.

The programme will enable regional networks of educational authorities, administrations, teacher training colleges, schools and other institutions to set up partnerships with counterparts in other European regions. The deadline for the first round of applications for grants from the Comenius Regio Partnerships fund is 20 February 2009. Projects which are selected for grants will be able to start in August 2009. The Committee of the Regions hopes that “the new Comenius Regio programme will give local and regional authorities greater scope to decide for themselves the priorities they would like to set in the support for projects”.

The learning of foreign languages earlier and earlier in Europe

Vendredi 21 novembre 2008

A new study on the teaching of languages at schools in Europe by the Eurydice Network gives a comprehensive picture of language teaching, from primary to secondary general education, in the 31 countries involved in the EU’s Lifelong Learning programme.

Containing around 40 indicators, it shows growing support for language learning in general education, with more learning of a foreign language at an early age. These findings suggest that the participating countries are in tune with today’s Council Resolution on a European strategy for multilingualism.

The data relates to the school year 2006-2007 and covers public sector as well as grant-aided private schools.

Main findings:

1) Teaching of foreign languages starts earlier but the time taught is limited in primary education

Over the past three decades there has been an increase in early learning of a foreign language as a compulsory subject. In almost all European countries, compulsory learning of a foreign language now begins in primary education. While in most cases, children learn a foreign language from the age of 8 to 10 years of age, in some cases, there is even an earlier start: in all autonomous communities of Spain, and in Belgium’s German speaking community, children learn a foreign language from the age of 3.

However, the time devoted to foreign language teaching in primary schools remains limited (in general less than 10% of the total taught time) and varies considerably between countries. The amount of time spent on language learning is generally greater in lower secondary education than in primary schools.

2) More countries teach two foreign languages at school

When it comes to teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age, not all countries have achieved this yet, but the study demonstrates that in most countries it is already possible for pupils in general secondary education.

In 2006-2007, teaching of a foreign language at school for at least one year was compulsory in all the countries involved, except in Ireland and Scotland. In the majority of countries, around half of the pupils in primary education learn at least one foreign language.

3) English is taught to 90% of pupils across Europe

In 13 European countries, English is the mandatory first foreign language. Even when a choice is provided, pupils and their parents tend to favour English, which is now the most widely taught language in primary education. English is learnt by 90% of all European pupils at some stage of their compulsory education. When a second foreign language is taught, French and German are favoured.

4) Few countries recommend mobility as part of teacher education

Language learning is often provided in primary education by general teachers. In secondary education, the degree of specialisation of teachers varies greatly from country to country. The majority of countries covered recommend that teachers’ education enables future teachers to teach foreign languages but mobility is the exception rather than the rule.

What is Eurydice?

Eurydice ( is the information network on education in Europe. It provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. It consists of 35 national units based in all 31 countries participating in the EU’s Lifelong Learning programme (EU Member States, EEA countries and Turkey) and a central coordinating unit in the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels.