Archive pour décembre 2008

The Cohesion Policy helps the European economy

Lundi 22 décembre 2008

The European Commission has adopted a Communication which dovetails with the European Economic Recovery Plan and shows how Cohesion Policy may help in rejuvenating the real economy in Europe.

It recommends a series of actions to the Member States so they may make the most expedient use of Cohesion Policy and all the advantages it has to offer. It also outlines new measures which mean implementation of the Operational Programmes can be accelerated. With its budget of €347 billion of European investments, available until 2013, the Policy will stimulate the economy in the short term while allowing the foundations for more long-term growth to be laid down.

One of the keys to re-launch lies in the fact that €230 billion are available for the four priority domains of the renewed Lisbon Strategy: jobs, businesses, infrastructure, energy, research and innovation. Cohesion Policy provides stable investments at local and regional levels, where the effects of the current crisis are most keenly felt.

The Cohesion Policy helps the European economy

Lundi 22 décembre 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Loans for the less wealthy countries of the European Union

The European Commission has adopted a Communication which dovetails with the European Economic Recovery Plan and shows how Cohesion Policy may help in rejuvenating the real economy in Europe.

It recommends a series of actions to the Member States so they may make the most expedient use of Cohesion Policy and all the advantages it has to offer. It also outlines new measures which mean implementation of the Operational Programmes can be accelerated. With its budget of €347 billion of European investments, available until 2013, the Policy will stimulate the economy in the short term while allowing the foundations for more long-term growth to be laid down.

One of the keys to re-launch lies in the fact that €230 billion are available for the four priority domains of the renewed Lisbon Strategy: jobs, businesses, infrastructure, energy, research and innovation. Cohesion Policy provides stable investments at local and regional levels, where the effects of the current crisis are most keenly felt.

Adoption of the climate change package by the European Parliament

Lundi 22 décembre 2008

With a strong majority, MEP has adopted the EU climate change package in Strasbourg.

MEPs voted on six proposals which together should enable the EU to meet its ambitious goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, improving energy efficiency by 20%, and increasing the share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix to 20%, all by 2020. The package also sets out the EU’s plan to commit to a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions if a satisfactory international agreement is reached.

The legislation agreed by the parliamentarians establishes a more ambitious Emissions Trading System (ETS), imposes emissions targets for new cars of 120g CO2 per kilometre and sets out a framework for the construction and operation of up to 12 demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. They also set binding national targets for each Member State to reduce emissions from sources not covered by the ETS (such as road and sea transport, services, buildings and agriculture) and revised the fuel quality directive to reduce the environmental impacts arising from the extraction, processing and combustion of transport fuels.

Many MEPs also hailed the agreement as ‘historic’.

However, many thought the legislation did not go far enough and others maintain that getting the package through the legislative process was a major achievement.

Green groups also thought the legislation could have gone further, with Greenpeace urging the EU to cut emissions by at least 30%.

On the research front, EuropaBio welcomed the vote, saying it gave the biotech industry a predictable business environment to develop advanced biofuels. ‘Setting a two-step approach for the greenhouse gas emission savings threshold, together with incentives for second generation biofuels will drive public support and increase private sector investment in research and development to speed up the development and commercialisation of second generation or advanced biofuels,’ said the Chair of EuropaBio’s Biofuels Task Force, Kirsten Birkegaard.

Meanwhile the car industry called for support to help it meet the targets set out in the climate package. ‘The legislation requires the industry to continue to invest heavily in R&D [research and development] and new product programmes in order to reach the short-term target,’ reads a statement from auto industry group ACEA.

Education and training: new tools for mobility and quality

Vendredi 19 décembre 2008

The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) will help learners gain recognition of what they have achieved in different countries or learning environments

The new credit system, ECVET, will make it easier to transfer credits for learning outcomes from one training system to another, from one qualifications system to another, or from one learning pathway to another. It will support the possibility for learners – such as young people in initial training, apprentices or adults in continuing training – to choose their own path towards a particular qualification. The credit system will be compatible and complementary with the existing and successful European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) used in higher education and with the different national qualification systems existing in Europe.

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF) is a new reference instrument to help authorities in the Member States promote and monitor the improvement of their systems of vocational education and training. Quality assurance can be used as a systematic approach to modernising education systems by, notably, improving the effectiveness of training. It should therefore underpin every policy initiative in vocational education and training.

European parliament and local communities interregional forums, let’s dialogue!

Vendredi 19 décembre 2008

In the framework of the elections in the European Parliament on the next 7th June, the French Association of the council of the European Cities and Regions organize from the beginning of the year 2009, 7 interregional forums

Article only available in French

Slovakia: welcome to the euro area!

Vendredi 19 décembre 2008

On 1 January 2009 the euro area will have two reasons to celebrate: Slovakia will become the 16th country to use the single currency on the same day that the euro marks its 10th anniversary

From New Year’s Day 328.6 million people including 5.4 million Slovaks will now share the same currency.

The euro was created in 1999 when 11 countries irrevocably locked the bilateral exchange rates of their currencies and equipped themselves with a single monetary and exchange rate policy managed by the European Central Bank created six months earlier. Greece joined them in 2001 and in 2002 euro banknotes and coins were introduced. Slovenia was the first of the accession countries that joined the EU in 2004 to adopt the common currency (1 January 2007). Cyprus and Malta followed suit on 1 January 2008.
Thus, 2009 will see the third enlargement of the euro area to Slovakia, which will adopt the euro at a rate of 30.1260 Slovak koruna to one euro.

The imminent changeover has fostered macroeconomic stability in Slovakia and provided it with an anchor in a time of generalised crisis. It will also create greater trade opportunities for Slovakia in the global economy and help attract foreign investment.

EU Budget 2009: gearing up for economic recovery

Jeudi 18 décembre 2008

In order to face the current economic crisis, in 2009,45% will go to research, innovation, employment and regional development programmes

An 11% increase in research and a 22% increase in the EU’s innovation programme will help boost competitiveness in difficult times as well as EU efforts to move to a low-carbon economy. Funds for agriculture remain stable, taking over 40% of EU cash, while spending on the environment and rural development will rise by 2.9%. Europe’s role in the world will also see spending grow in 2009, including €0.6 billion for the €1 billion food facility to help developing countries respond to rising food prices.

Getting Europe on the road to economic recovery:

In 2009, almost €12 billion of the EU budget in 2009 will go on projects to boost Europe’s competitiveness, 6.2% more than in 2008. The €12 billion includes funds for research which will rise by 11% for the second year running. A record investment of €0.5 billion will also be set aside for the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation programme (CIP) to finance ground-breaking sustainable technologies - an increase of 22% on 2008. More than €1 billion will go to programmes to improve Europeans’ skills, mainly through the Lifelong Learning Programme - a 6.5% rise on 2008.

Faster funding for Europe’s regions:

Funding for cohesion will continue to grow in 2009 with nearly €48.5 billion for Europe’s regions (a 2.5% rise on 2008). This will also be strengthened by the recent agreement to accelerate Structural Funds financing in 2009, providing Member States with cash fast to support people hit by the crisis and increase financing for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Efforts to integrate new Member States into common EU policies are also bearing fruit with 50% of all Cohesion and Structural Funds now going to the EU-12.

Responding to global challenges, and Europe’s security and justice

The recent surge in food prices has hit the most vulnerable in the world worst and the EU is stepping up its support by providing a Food Facility package of €1 billion over 2008, 2009, 2010. The largest share - up to €568 million - will come from the 2009 EU budget. Maintaining its role as a global player, the EU will also channel over €8 billion into external policies –a 7% rise on 2008. Support for the peace process in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and ensuring stability in Kosovo will be key investments in 2009 – €361m for Palestine and €231m for Afghanistan and €261m for projects in Kosovo.

Terrorism, crime as well as immigration are still big concerns for Europeans and support for these specific areas will see one of the biggest increases in spending in 2009 at €864 million - up 18% from 2008..

Environment and rural development – moving to a low-carbon economy:

Spending on agriculture will remain stable in 2009, absorbing more than €40 billion. The shift within this policy area towards development in rural areas also means more spending on the environment the fight against climate change. Over 40% of rural development funding ( €13.6 billion) will be for environmental goals. On top of that, the LIFE+ environmental protection programme will grow by 19%, reaching €317 million. The 22% increase in the EU’s innovation programme will also help EU efforts to move to a low-carbon economy by financing sustainable technologies.

EU Budget 2009: gearing up for economic recovery

Jeudi 18 décembre 2008

In order to face the current economic crisis, in 2009,45% will go to research, innovation, employment and regional development programmes

An 11% increase in research and a 22% increase in the EU’s innovation programme will help boost competitiveness in difficult times as well as EU efforts to move to a low-carbon economy. Funds for agriculture remain stable, taking over 40% of EU cash, while spending on the environment and rural development will rise by 2.9%. Europe’s role in the world will also see spending grow in 2009, including €0.6 billion for the €1 billion food facility to help developing countries respond to rising food prices.

Getting Europe on the road to economic recovery:

In 2009, almost €12 billion of the EU budget in 2009 will go on projects to boost Europe’s competitiveness, 6.2% more than in 2008. The €12 billion includes funds for research which will rise by 11% for the second year running. A record investment of €0.5 billion will also be set aside for the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation programme (CIP) to finance ground-breaking sustainable technologies - an increase of 22% on 2008. More than €1 billion will go to programmes to improve Europeans’ skills, mainly through the Lifelong Learning Programme - a 6.5% rise on 2008.

Faster funding for Europe’s regions:

Funding for cohesion will continue to grow in 2009 with nearly €48.5 billion for Europe’s regions (a 2.5% rise on 2008). This will also be strengthened by the recent agreement to accelerate Structural Funds financing in 2009, providing Member States with cash fast to support people hit by the crisis and increase financing for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Efforts to integrate new Member States into common EU policies are also bearing fruit with 50% of all Cohesion and Structural Funds now going to the EU-12.

Responding to global challenges, and Europe’s security and justice

The recent surge in food prices has hit the most vulnerable in the world worst and the EU is stepping up its support by providing a Food Facility package of €1 billion over 2008, 2009, 2010. The largest share - up to €568 million - will come from the 2009 EU budget. Maintaining its role as a global player, the EU will also channel over €8 billion into external policies –a 7% rise on 2008. Support for the peace process in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and ensuring stability in Kosovo will be key investments in 2009 – €361m for Palestine and €231m for Afghanistan and €261m for projects in Kosovo.

Terrorism, crime as well as immigration are still big concerns for Europeans and support for these specific areas will see one of the biggest increases in spending in 2009 at €864 million - up 18% from 2008..

Environment and rural development – moving to a low-carbon economy:

Spending on agriculture will remain stable in 2009, absorbing more than €40 billion. The shift within this policy area towards development in rural areas also means more spending on the environment the fight against climate change. Over 40% of rural development funding ( €13.6 billion) will be for environmental goals. On top of that, the LIFE+ environmental protection programme will grow by 19%, reaching €317 million. The 22% increase in the EU’s innovation programme will also help EU efforts to move to a low-carbon economy by financing sustainable technologies.

Social integration - needed more than ever

Jeudi 18 décembre 2008

The European Council on 11 and 12 December noted once again that “Member States’ policies on social protection and inclusion … have a vital part to play”

On the 17 December the EPSCO Council adopted conclusions on active inclusion with a view to combating poverty more effectively.

The conclusions address inter alia persons excluded from the labour market for a variety of reasons: lack of skills or qualifications, or of the abilities needed to find and keep a job. Unemployment often goes hand in hand with an insecure situation in society, involving poverty, health problems and being unable to find satisfactory accommodation.

Around 16 % of Europeans are faced with a risk of finding themselves in a disadvantaged situation. The present economic crisis makes it all the more urgent for Member States to provide citizens with the resources to live decently. Although strategies will be decided nationally, three principles will guide Member States in their policies for excluded people: a guaranteed minimum wage, help in finding employment and access to good‑quality services.

In particular, financial incentives must be created to motivate and encourage active job-seeking; likewise there must be good working conditions to guarantee decent jobs. In addition, individual attention regarding vocational training, social support and accommodation will focus on the specific needs of the most vulnerable.

For information: 2010 will be the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

Martinique and Guadeloupe will receive a financial aid from the Fund for solidarity

Mercredi 17 décembre 2008

Following the damage due to the hurricane Dean, the Commission has allocated 13 million euro to Martinique and Guadeloupe. It is the Fund for Solidarity that has allowed this financial aid for the French Antilles

ARTICLE AVAILABLE ONLY IN FRENCH