Archive pour février 2009

Erasmus: a positive influence on the Education field

Vendredi 27 février 2009

Higher education policies and institutions, here are the two main levels on which Erasmus has acted upon according to a recent study. Reknown among the students for its mobility support, this community programme has enabled also establishments to innovate in several parts of its educational policies.

The study focused on the impact of Erasmus since its inception in 1987. It is based on a survey to which around 750 institutions’ top management and more than 1,800 Erasmus coordinators both at international offices and faculties responded. Its main findings focus on the programme’s impact on two levels: policies and institutions.

Erasmus and higher education policy

The Erasmus programme has played a leading role in the internationalisation of national, European and international higher education. Erasmus was the driving force behind the Bologna Process and many actions have been directly drawn from it, such as easily readable and comparable degrees, the establishment of a credit system, quality assurance and the application of joint and double degrees. The programme continues to have an impact on policy in the field of education, for example, by supporting projects to explore new, more sophisticated ways to enhance the transparency of the missions and performances of higher education institutions.

Erasmus and higher education institutions

In addition to the positive impact on students, such as upgraded skills and enhanced employability, which have already been highlighted in previous studies, the institutional impact of Erasmus is considered to be strong, particularly in larger institutions and in the new EU Member States. Student and staff mobility have stimulated the introduction of international offices and support services for mobile but also home students. Erasmus has also had a positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning as the mobility of international students and teachers has led to the introduction of new teaching methods and exchange of good practices. It has also triggered the modernisation and internationalisation of university curricula as well as the transparency and transferability of qualifications such as the generalised use of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). This is attested to by more than 85 % of the central Erasmus coordinators consulted.

In the area of research, Erasmus has encouraged active participation in international projects, attendance at conferences and tendering for international projects, all of which has strengthened excellence and competition in the field. In addition, benchmarking and quality standards have become common practice.

An unexpected benefit was that, according to 30 % of the participating institutions, results were also achieved in the field of closer cooperation between universities and businesses.

For almost 90 % of the central Erasmus coordinators, regular progress was made on giving their institution a more international profile, and nearly 50 % reported a high or very high impact when it comes to making the management of higher education institutions more professional. 92 % of the higher management agreed that their institution’s participation in Erasmus supported institutional changes and modernisation.

Charlie McCREEVY European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Opening Speech EC Conference on Private Equity & Hedge Funds Brussels, 26 February 2009

Vendredi 27 février 2009

SPEECH/09/80 Charlie McCREEVY European Commissioner for Internal Market and ServicesOpening Speech EC Conference on Private Equity & Hedge FundsBrussels, 26 February 2009 Ladies and gentlemen, The convulsions in our financial markets, and the collateral …

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Preparation Environment Council, 2 March 2009

Vendredi 27 février 2009

MEMO/09/86 Brussels, 26 February 2009 Preparation Environment Council, 2 March 2009 The first Environment Council under the Czech Presidency will take place in Brussels on 2 March. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will represent the European Commission. …

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Accounting requirements: the Commission makes a gesture for very small enterprises

Jeudi 26 février 2009

In a very disturbed economical context, the Commission has wished to help microenterprises by relieving them of providing financial informations. This proposal will be examinated soon and could represent a potential reduction of more than 6 billion euro.

The proposal, which was flagged in the European Economic Recovery Plan in November 2008, now passes to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for consideration.

The purpose of the proposed amendment to the Fourth Council Directive (78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies) is to allow Member States to relieve the EU’s smallest companies (commonly referred to as “micro-entities”) from the requirements of this Directive. Rough estimates show that if Member States implement this exemption, the savings potential for micro entities could amount to as much as EUR 1200 per year on average.

Micro entities would be defined as those companies that on their balance sheet dates do not exceed the limits of two of the three following criteria: balance sheet total of EUR 500.000, net turnover of EUR 1.000.000 and an average number of employees during the financial year of 10.

Micro-entities are mostly engaged in business at local or regional level with no or limited cross-border activity. At the same time, micro entities are often subject to the same reporting rules as larger companies. This creates a disproportionate burden on these companies. They have a key role in creating new jobs and economic activities but they also have limited resources to comply with demanding regulatory requirements.

Now that this proposal has been adopted, the Commission will also launch a stakeholder consultation on what is left of the accounting rules in a drive to identify further areas which are ripe for simplification. Contributors will be asked to provide input for the review of the Fourth and Seventh Council Directives (83/349/EEC on consolidated accounts).

Background

The High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens supported the idea of allowing the Member States to exempt micro-entities from EU-level financial reporting rules.

The European Economic Recovery Plan, issued by the Commission in November 2008 (see IP/08/1771), called on the EU and the Member States to “remove the requirement on micro-enterprises to prepare annual accounts”.

In line with the European Commission’s Better Regulation strategy this proposal, as all major policy initiatives and legislative proposals, is accompanied by an impact assessment. The proposal would be a significant contribution to efforts aimed at reducing overall administrative costs by 25% by 2012.

The EU is involved in the waste management in Asia through the FP7 Environment

Jeudi 26 février 2009

The ISSOWANA («Integrated sustainable solid waste management in Asia») project gathered 22 partners to work on the worrying asian problem of waste management. The European Union took part in the funding of this project through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)up to almost 1 million euro.

A new EU-funded project unites European and Asian experts with the aim of solving Asia’s chronic waste problem. Dubbed ISSOWAMA (’Integrated sustainable solid waste management in Asia’), the three-year project has been allocated just under EUR 1 million from the ‘Environment (including climate change)’ Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project’s 22 partners include researchers, government representatives, waste disposal experts and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Europe and Asia.

In many towns and cities across Asia, rubbish disposal is largely uncontrolled, resulting in serious ground and water pollution and the spread of diseases linked with unhygienic conditions.

By linking up European and Asian experts representing a variety of stakeholders, the ISSOWAMA project aims to develop innovative yet low cost and adaptable solutions to waste management in Asia and communicate these results to local groups; eventually the project hopes to disseminate its findings to over 12,000 waste disposal workers across Asia.

The first task of the project partners will be to analyse and evaluate existing solid waste management strategies in Asia. Case studies will aid the project partners in tracing the main waste flows and developing recommendations on the action to be taken.

‘Obstacles such as gaps in technological knowledge, ecologically negative consequences as well as barriers at socio-economic and political level will be identified and dismantled by means of targeted measures,’ said Project Coordinator Dr Gerhard Schories, Technical Director of the Water, Energy and Land Use Management Department at ttz Bremerhaven in Germany. ‘The ongoing involvement of local bodies and creative forces will increase regional acceptance.’

The main goal of the project is to develop effective waste management strategies for Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. Crucially, these waste management strategies should take into account environmental impacts, economic factors and the socio-economic situation as well as the legal framework in each country. In this way, the project hopes to link waste treatment with poverty reduction and a better quality of life for the local people.

The project team will hold workshops in eight countries and create posters, leaflets and simple guides to waste management that will be translated into nine languages.

Financial reporting: Commission gets rid of accounting requirements for micro enterprises in major burden reduction for the EU’s smallest companies

Jeudi 26 février 2009

IP/09/328 Brussels, 26 February 2009 Financial reporting: Commission gets rid of accounting requirements for micro enterprises in major burden reduction for the EU’s smallest companies (see MEMO/09/84) The European Commission has put forward a new proposal …

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European Commission funds projects to support free and fair parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova

Jeudi 26 février 2009

IP/09/315 Brussels, 26 February 2009 European Commission funds projects to support free and fair parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova In the context of the legislative elections in the Republic of Moldova on 5th of April, the European Commission …

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State aid: Commission issues guidance on state aid enforcement by national courts - frequently asked questions

Jeudi 26 février 2009

MEMO/09/82 Brussels, 25th February 2009 State aid: Commission issues guidance on state aid enforcement by national courts - frequently asked questions (See also IP/09/316) Why issue guidance on State aid enforcement by national courts? National courts …

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State aid: Commission authorises Hungarian temporary schemes to grant aid of up to €500 000 and reduced-interest loans

Jeudi 26 février 2009

IP/09/325 Brussels, 25th February 2009 State aid: Commission authorises Hungarian temporary schemes to grant aid of up to €500000 and reduced-interest loans The European Commission has, under the state aid rules of the EC Treaty, authorised two aid measures …

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State aid: Commission provides guidance for the treatment of impaired assets in the EU banking sector

Jeudi 26 février 2009

IP/09/322 Brussels, 25th February 2009 State aid: Commission provides guidance for the treatment of impaired assets in the EU banking sector The European Commission has provided guidance on the treatment of asset relief measures by Member States….

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