Archive pour mars 2009

A Manifesto for creativity and innovation in Europe will be create

Jeudi 26 mars 2009

The ambassadors of ‘2009 European Year of Creativity and innovation’ are working on developing a manifesto for innovation in order to stimulate future work in Europe

The Ambassadors for the Year are prominent personalities who are committed to the aims of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 and are helping to make it a success by taking part in various events organised throughout the Year. They are not only raising its visibility, but also helping to shape the debate by contributing insights from their respective fields of expertise.

The European Commission has proposed that creativity and innovation should be one of the pillars of future European cooperation on education and training. Building on the Ambassadors’ experiences, the Commission would now like to explore with them how to create an environment in which creativity can flourish.

Mr Jack Martin Händler (Conductor), Miss Damini Kumar (Designer and inventor), Dr Dominique Langevin (Professor, physicist), Prof. Bengt-Åke Lundvall (Professor, researcher on innovation), Mr Radu Mihăileanu (Film director), Mr Leonel Moura (Conceptual artist), Prof. Dr. H.c. Erik Spiekermann (Professor, typography designer), Prof. Dr. Christine Van Broeckhoven (Professor, molecular neuroscientist), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Brandenburg (Professor, researcher in information and communication technology) will participate in the event. A full list of Ambassadors for the Year is available at http://www.create2009.europa.eu/ambassadors.html

During the first meeting of the Ambassadors in Prague on January 7 there was unanimous consensus that investment in education and in the skills and creative capacity of Europe should be the top priority of EU institutions and governments. It would be a fundamental mistake to cut spending on research and development and education in the context of the current crisis. Mr. Esko Aho cited the Finnish example of tackling the economic crisis of the 90s, overcome through increasing R&D spending and preserving spending in education. Individuals and communities should be at the core of strategic approaches to creativity and innovation, as Europe depends on its human capital, stated Mr. Radu Mihaileanu, while a stronger collaboration between business, universities and research centres and the public sector was brought up by several speakers. (Link to the conclusions of the first meeting: http://www.create2009.europa.eu)

Background

This meeting of the Ambassadors for the Year is one of several events organised by the European Commission in the framework of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 (EYCI). Since its European launch conference in Prague in January, the Year is well underway and has succeeded in catching the attention of both the European media and the public. The website www.create2009.europa.eu is the main tool of the information campaign.

The series of “Brussels Debates” is proving a popular forum for sharing ideas on innovation and creativity, especially among the Brussels-based stakeholder and policy-shaping community. The Debates will cover a wide range of topics connected to the Year and will provide a platform for reflection and exchange of ideas which can contribute to policy discussion on Creativity and Innovation. The first one on The knowledge society was held on 16 February and the next - on The Future of education in Europe - will take place on 30 March in the Residence Palace (metro Schuman). The subsequent Debates will shift the spotlight towards other topics, such as creativity and innovation in public services, sustainable development, cultural diversity and creative arts and industries.

Aid for trade with ACP countries

Jeudi 26 mars 2009

The European Parliament approved a reform on the trade agreement with ACP countries (CARIFORUM) for more commercial aid.

The draft resolution tabled in plenary, drafted by David MARTIN (PES, UK) and adopted on Wednesday, states that the economic partnership agreement (EPA) can only be described as “satisfactory” if it offers the Cariforum countries support for their economic development, promotes their participation in world trade and strengthens the regionalisation process.

Of the six groups of ACP countries taking part in such negotiations with the EU, the Caribbean region was the only one to sign, in December 2007, a full EPA covering areas such as investment, competition policy, public procurement, current account balances, the environment, social issues, cultural cooperation and greater protection for intellectual property. Thirteen Cariforum member states signed the agreement on 15 October 2008 and Guyana signed up on 20 October. Haiti has until 2010 to sign.

MEPs call on the Commission to clarify its stance on the stated EU objective of discouraging existing tax havens. Eight out of the 14 CARIFORUM signatory states of the EPA are listed as tax havens by the OECD.

Aid for trade

Regarding measures to accompany the EPA, which will include compensation for the net loss in customs revenue, MEPs ask the Commission to clarify the distribution of funds in the region within the “aid for trade” budget. These funds represent additional resources and are not merely a repackaging of the European Development Fund (EDF) funding). They also call on EU Member States to outline additional funding beyond 2008-2013 budget commitments.

The ACP states are asked to describe what additional EPA-related funds are needed, particularly with regard to regulatory frameworks, safeguard measures, trade facilitation and support in meeting international sanitary and phytosanitary and intellectual property standards. The EU is committed to increasing its trade-related assistance to €2 billion annually by 2010 (€1 billion from the Community, €1 billion from the Member States).

MEPs support the agreed tariff line exclusions focused on agricultural goods and some processed agricultural goods, given that they are based chiefly on the need to protect infant industries or sensitive products in these countries.

Parliament stresses that, if necessary, substantial changes to rules of origin should accompany the duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) initiative to produce a significant increase in goods exports.

Review clause and regional integration

Parliament welcomes the fact that a review of the Agreement will be undertaken no later than five years after the date of signature and at subsequent five-yearly intervals, in order to determine the costs and consequences of implementing the Agreement. It requests that the European Parliament and the Cariforum parliaments be involved in any revision of the EPA. An “independent monitoring mechanism within the Cariforum states endowed with the necessary resources” should also be set up to determine the extent to which the EPA is achieving its objectives.

MEPs stress that the implementation of the Agreement must take into account of the integration processes in CARIFORUM, including the aims and objectives of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as outlined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

To stimulate intra-regional trade, MEPs call for the selective application of most-favoured nation treatment to the European Union by Cariforum and other sub-regional groups.

The interests of the outermost regions have not been sufficiently taken into account. Their short-term inclusion in interregional trade has been neglected, says the resolution. The European Council is asked to consult the regional councils of the outermost regions of the European Union in the Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana) prior to ratification of the EPA.

They also call for further lowering of tariffs between developing countries and regional groups, which today account for 15 to 25 percent of the trade value.

The Financial and Economic Counsil decides to promote a new middle-term financiary aid for Romania

Mercredi 25 mars 2009

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and other multilateral creditors will jointly provide a total of €1 billion over the period to the first quarter of 2011.

The support will be provided in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (€13 billion) and the World Bank (€1 billion) bringing the total to up to € 20 billion.
The financial assistance will be conditional on the implementation of a comprehensive economic policy programme. The financial assistance and the policy programme are designed to enable the economy to withstand short-term liquidity pressures while improving competitiveness and supporting an orderly correction of imbalances in the medium term, hence bringing the economy back on a sound and sustainable footing.

In the financial sector, the programme would seek to ensure adequate capitalisation of banks and to strengthen financial sector supervision, including banking and winding-up laws. The deposit guarantee scheme would be further bolstered.

A sound management of the funds received is expected with a strong role for independent and well functioning auditing and anti-corruption institutions.

A key element of the economic policy package is an immediate and sustained fiscal consolidation to limit the budget deficit to 5.1% of GDP in 2009, falling further to below 3% of GDP in 2011. To support these targets, measures will be taken to improve budgetary policy credibility and predictability, as also requested by the June 2008 Commission Policy Advice to Romania.

The economic policy conditionality will be set in a forthcoming Council decision and further spelled out in a Memorandum of Understanding to be concluded shortly with the Romanian authorities. The agreed measures and targets will also be reflected in the forthcoming Convergence Programme update. The Commission in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Committee will monitor regularly and closely that the economic policy conditions attached to the financial assistance are fully implemented and may request additional measures when and if circumstances so require.

We also urge the financial institutions operating in Romania to continue providing adequate funding of their operations there as well as appropriate financing of the economy. In this context we would very much welcome the confirmation of the long-term commitment of foreign parent banks to Romania and to support their subsidiaries in the country.

EU assistance will take form of a BoP loan

The proposed medium-term financial assistance to Romania will be based on a Council Decision based on a Commission recommendation to grant this assistance. Such support is provided under Council Regulation 332/2002 establishing a facility providing medium-term financial assistance for non-euro area EU Member States’ balance of payments (BoP). The Commission is expected to adopt this recommendation for a Council Decision in the coming weeks. Following the Council Decision, the Memorandum of Understanding, which spells out the precise policy conditions, as well as the loan agreement, will be agreed between the European Commission and the Romanian authorities.

This support comes on top of the increase in advance payments of structural funds from €0.5 billion to €0.8 billion for 2009, as part of the European Economic Recovery Package. Romania is also likely to benefit from the significant increase of the EIB resources.

Background

The EU also agreed to grant a BoP loan to Hungary of €6.5 billion and to Latvia of €3.1 billion and an additional €2.2 billion is committed to Latvia by some individual Member States. On a proposal by the Commission, the Council decided to increase early December 2008 the overall financial assistance ceiling to €25 billion from an original €12 billion (see IP/08/1612). The European Council of 23 March 2009 has welcomed the suggestion by the Commission to double the BoP facility to €50 billion.

Morocco’s challenge: entrepreneurship education

Mercredi 25 mars 2009

At a high-profile meeting on 3 March in Rabat chaired by the National Agency for the Small and Medium-Sized Company (ANPME), representatives from some fifty public and private enterprise-interest organisations heard at first hand from experts from the European Commission, ETF, OECD and EIB of progress and constraints facing Morocco’s enterprise community.

The international partners summed up the main conclusions of a national assessment of some 10 policy areas and where ETF’s Aziz Jaouani provided feedback particularly on those areas dealing with human capital. ‘The Moroccan counterparts were particularly keen to determine how entrepreneurship education could be improved’ says Mr. Jaouani who shared details of better practice from the Southern Mediterranean and Western Balkan regions where ETF has been active in promoting the concept of life-long entrepreneurship education. Closing his presentation, Mr. Jaouani invited Morocco to participate in a pilot project on entrepreneurial learning in higher education which engaged the immediate interest of Professor Barkaoui, President of the Casablanca-based, Hassan II University.

Overall, Morocco shows good progress on the range of areas covered by the Euro-Mediterranean Enterprise Charter with the international partners making specific recommendations for coordination of policies and programmes and a more developed evaluation framework.

To build on Morocco’s sustained commitment to the enterprise Charter, Ms Echihabi of ANPME invited the Charter stakeholders to appoint a deputy coordinator for each of the ten policy areas of the Charter including entrepreneurship education and enterprise skills. Further, ANPME intends to create a virtual platform to encourage exchange of information and networking specifically on the Charter policy areas. ‘The virtual platform is an excellent proposal’, say Aziz Jaouani, underlining the need to better communication of the Charter’s policy messages. ‘A virtual community is a good opportunity for both policy makers and practitioners to share good practice and develop further ideas’, says Jaouani.

The meeting was attended by the European Commission’s Delegation to Rabat. Mr. Deloge of Delegation confirmed further EU support for private sector development in Morocco in 2010.

A Manifesto for creativity and innovation in Europe

Mardi 24 mars 2009

The European Commission has proposed that creativity and innovation should be one of the pillars of future European cooperation on education and training. Building on the Ambassadors’ experiences, the Commission would now like to explore with them how to create an environment in which creativity can flourish.

Creativity and innovation are relevant to a vast range of human activities, and the composition of the group of the Ambassadors for the Year reflects the breadth of this range and the diversity of the issues at stake. An exchange of views with the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Mr Ján Figel,’ will open the meeting. A press point with Commissioner Figel’ and the ambassadors will also be organised at 14.30 in the Berlaymont building.

The Ambassadors for the Year are prominent personalities who are committed to the aims of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 and are helping to make it a success by taking part in various events organised throughout the Year. They are not only raising its visibility, but also helping to shape the debate by contributing insights from their respective fields of expertise.

During the first meeting of the Ambassadors in Prague on January 7 there was unanimous consensus that investment in education and in the skills and creative capacity of Europe should be the top priority of EU institutions and governments. It would be a fundamental mistake to cut spending on research and development and education in the context of the current crisis. Mr Esko Aho cited the Finnish example of tackling the economic crisis of the 90s, overcome through increasing R&D spending and preserving spending in education. Individuals and communities should be at the core of strategic approaches to creativity and innovation, as Europe depends on its human capital, stated Mr Radu Mihăileanu, while a stronger collaboration between business, universities and research centres and the public sector was brought up by several speakers.

Consultation of Regions and Cities on a new strategy for sustainable growth

Mardi 24 mars 2009

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) has launched a broad consultation on the future of the EU growth and jobs strategy after 2010. The consultation, which will last until 20 April, is open to all local and regional authorities. The current “Lisbon strategy” launched in 2000 to increase Europe’s competitiveness runs until 2010.

The local and regional authorities are invited to submit their comments on the future of the Lisbon strategy by answering a questionnaire available in all EU languages.

The results of the consultation will be presented and discussed in Brussels during the Open Days week, and be incorporated into the new opinion on the Future of the Lisbon Strategy by CoR member Christine Chapman (UK/PES). This will then constitute the political message that the CoR will address to the 2010 Spring European Council, where the final decision on the future of the Lisbon strategy will be agreed.

The EU unlocks a 50 million euro aid for new Member States

Mardi 24 mars 2009

The EU Council of Ministers decides the 20th march a new financial aid to the new EU Member States through EIB and DREB Banks investments.

Only french text.

Report on education and awareness-raising progresses of development

Lundi 23 mars 2009

The report evaluates activities implemented with EC support between 1998 and 2007. It looks back at the results of the “Co-financing with European NGOs” programme and considers future perspectives within the “Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development” thematic programme.

The main objectives of the “Co-financing with European Development NGOs” programme regarding the
DE/AR component are to support actions aimed at raising awareness of development issues and promote education for development in the EU and acceding countries. This programme’s aims are specifically to mobilise support for action against poverty and to seek fairer relations between developed and developing countries through anchorage of development policy in European societies.
The evaluation seeks to verify to what extent the funded projects have reached these objectives of raising awareness of development issues, amongst citizens of Member States, that are beneficial to the populations of developing countries (in line with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals). This evaluation has the specific purpose of helping to define the European Commission’s strategy on Development Education and Awareness Raising and making recommendations to improve the overall impact of Development Education (DE) projects. This is particularly important since the current programme “Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development” sits under a new legal framework where Development Cooperation and DE/AR are now further integrated. The stated aim of the new programme is to find a more integrated, decentralised, multi-actor, multi-sector approach to development
co-operation that reflects calls for the programme to be more inclusive. Integration between both DE/AR activities in Europe and Development Cooperation activities in developing countries will help to give greater synergy and coherence to EC policy in these areas and bring about greater inter-dependence in north-south relations as the world becomes increasingly globalised. The evaluation will also provide
lessons aimed at fostering the full and active participation of EU citizens in development issues through DE/AR activities.
1 Under the “Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development” programme, the 2007 Call for Proposals in February called for Concept Notes for projects that have now been selected and approved, and are being elaborated into full project proposals for final approval and selection at the time of writing this report.

New Flash Eurobarometer on Water shows large concern about the water environment among EU citizens.

Lundi 23 mars 2009

The survey shows that as many as 2/3 of EU citizens say that quality and/or quantity of water is a serious problem. As many as 85 % of the population believe that there will be impact on water from climate change, but the feared threats vary across the EU.

Europeans worried about water quality and water quantity

Some 68% of Europeans think the quality of water in their country is a serious problem. The most worried are the Greeks where 90% of people are concerned about water and the least alarmed are the Austrians (26%).

Concern about the quantity of water is greatest in Cyprus where 97% of Cypriots feel water quantity is a serious problem compared to 63% of Europeans on average. Least concerned are the Finns with 23%.

Water quality deteriorating say Europeans

More Europeans (37%) feel the quality of water in their country has deteriorated over the last 5 years against 30% who think it has stayed the same and 27% who say it has improved. Three out of four Cypriots believe the quality of water deteriorated compared to 16% in Austria and 48% of Danes. Only 17% of Greeks think water quality is the same as before while 48% of Dutch and only 5% of Cypriots say it has improved.

Climate change one of main threats to water

Chemical pollution (75%) and climate (50%) are perceived by Europeans as the main threats to water resources in their country. As many as 85% think climate change would have some impact on water resources in Europe. Water shortages are seen as a great threat to water resources in southern European Member States (73% in Cyprus). Flooding is seen as a greater threat in Member States in northern Europe (75% in the United Kingdom).

Europeans are almost evenly divided on their views to what impact climate change will have on water resources. Some 23% feel it will result in changed ecosystems, 22% in rising sea levels, 21% in more floods, and 20% in water shortages and droughts, the four main expected impacts of climate change in the EU. Czechs are the most numerous (37%) in thinking climate change will result in more floods while 44% of Dutch think rising sea levels is the most important impact, 74% of Cypriots believe it is the scarcity of water and 44% of Finns believe it will change the face of eco-systems.

Some 90% of Europeans think industry and agriculture have an impact on water quality and quantity. Eight out of ten Europeans judge that water consumption of individual households and the waste water they produce also have an impact. Some 95% of Portuguese believe so while only 60% of Swedes do.

Europeans take action

A large number of Europeans say they are taking steps to reduce water-related problems. Some 84% of them have reduced their water consumption, with 97% of Cypriots saying they have done so over the past 2 years while 56% of Romanians have. The use of environmentally-friendly household chemicals is another way Europeans are reducing their household’s impact of water. With 78%, Austrians are the most likely to use such chemicals while only 33% of Romanians are.

European citizen participation in water management plan consultations

The Water Framework Directive requires Member States to prepare River Basin Management Plans for all river basin districts by the end of 2009. Consultations open to the public for 6 months must be carried out on draft plans, to be available at least 12 months prior to this date. The process is currently on-going in most Member States, but relatively few European citizens polled have taken part despite widespread interest.

On 2-3 April a conference is taking place in Brussels focusing on the involvement of interested parties in water management. Debates will cover strategic water management issues and what is expected of River Basin Management Plans. On 1 April the Commission will publish a White Paper which outlines what the EU needs to do to adapt to climate change.

Internationally, the European Union and its Member States collectively provide about €1.4 billion annually to water and sanitation projects in developing countries. Between 2004 and 2007 the European Commission also provided €1.6 billion to water projects. African, Caribbean and Pacific States account for 61% of assistance in the field of water and sanitation, Mediterranean countries 26% and Asia 13%.

The fourth report on vocational training research in Europe has been published with the aim of modernise the european vocational and educational training.

Lundi 23 mars 2009

The report provides a thorough review of research into the major aspects of EU VET policy priorities. It forms a valuable body of knowledge to inform European VET policy-making.

Cedefop’s strategic objective is to contribute to achieving the Lisbon goal to modernise VET. To serve its strategic objective, Cedefop supports evidence-based policy-making through research findings and policy analyses.

Research and policy-making often seem to have different agendas. Researchers’ interests may not match those of policy-makers who, in turn, can be too busy to take into account what researchers are saying. Consequently, basing policy decisions on firm research evidence can be difficult to achieve.Cedefop’s fourth research report addresses this issue.

It brings together experts from the world of research to discuss policy matters for VET in the EU. The common VET policy priorities agreed between EU ministers for education in the Copenhagen process constituted the backdrop to select the issues discussed in the report.

The report provides a thorough review of research into the major aspects of EU VET policy priorities. It forms a valuable body of knowledge to inform European VET policy-making.