Archive pour août 2010

Clothing industries in Spain supported by European Globalisation Fund

Jeudi 26 août 2010

The Spanish application for assistance from the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF)has been approved by the European Commission. The amount requested is € 1 844 700 and is destinded to help 500 redundant workers back into employment. The workers lost their jobs in the clothing industry after the economic slowdown exacerbated an already difficult situation, leading to an increase in payment defaults and eventually resulting in bankruptcies. The application will now go to the European Parliament and EU Ministers for agreement.

László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion said Galicia (Spain) has been severely hit by the industrial crisis. The manufacturing industry lost 32 700 jobs during the period 2007 – 2009, of which 4 414 in textiles, 3 940 in the automotive industry, and 2 098 in the maritime industry. It is also very hard for the redundant workers to reach new opportunities. The EGF training and support will help cushion the transition to a new job.

The application relates to 703 redundancies in 82 small and medium sized enterprises in Galicia. The dismissals were a consequence of the new economic context resulting from the financial and economic crisis, which has severely affected the textiles and clothing industry since Q3/2008. The conditions governing access to credits with a view to financing the operations of the sector were made much more severe, whilst the decrease in consumer demand simultaneously put pressure on the producers. All this resulted in bankruptcies in the textiles industry.

The impact of these redundancies at local level is huge, as they aggravate the existing problem of unemployment in the region. In relation to the number of workers employed in manufacture of wearing apparel, they represent the following shares in the cities most affected: 9.68 % in Pontevedra, 5 % in Lugo, 4.4 % in A Coruña and 2.23 % in Ourense.

The package of EGF assistance for the former workers of the clothing industry will help 500 of the most disadvantaged back into employment by offering them: careers guidance; training and re-training; mobility and training vouchers; and also support for a better work-life balance. The total estimated cost of the package is almost € 2.8 million, of which the European Union has been asked to provide EGF assistance of € 1.8 million.

Background

There have been 66 applications to the EGF since the start of its operations in January 2007, for a total amount of about €373.6 million, helping more than 70,000 workers. EGF applications relate to the following sectors: automotive (France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Sweden); textiles (Italy, Malta, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Belgium); mobile phones (Finland and Germany); domestic appliances (Italy); computers and electronic products (Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands); mechanical/electronic (Denmark); repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft (Ireland); crystal glass (Ireland); ceramics and natural stone (Spain); construction (Netherlands, Ireland and Lithuania); carpentry and joinery (Spain); electrical equipment (Lithuania) publishing and printing industry (Netherlands and Germany), furniture (Lithuania), retail trade (Czech Republic and Spain) and wholesale trade (Netherlands). Final reports from the earlier cases supported by the EGF show strong results in helping workers stay in the labour market and find new jobs..

The EGF, an initiative first proposed by President Barroso to provide help for people who lose their jobs due to the impact of globalisation, was established by the European Parliament and the Council at the end of 2006. In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument. It forms part

Evidence sharing : Commission issues opinion on Member States’ proposals

Jeudi 26 août 2010

In order to research for evidence in another EU country, an investigator relies on a 50-year-old patchwork of rules. This implies long administrative procedures to obtain different evidence. The authorities across the border can ignore the request, or set their own deadline. The European Commission adopted an opinion on a proposal by seven EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) for a European Investigation Order – a system facilitating justice authorities’ work in obtaining evidence for transnational criminal proceedings (or investigations).

The proposal would allow authorities to request their counterparts to investigate, share and gather evidence. If a Swedish investigator, for example, is tracking criminals holed up in Spain, they can ask their colleagues to carry out a house search. The opinion published today by the Commission recognises the added value of replacing the current fragmented system for investigative measures with a single legal framework. It also notes the need for clear and detailed rules, which would be fully compliant with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These measures would include minimum standards for gathering evidence so that its admissibility in court is beyond doubt, as well as high data protection standards for sensitive information.

The Commission adopted an analysis of a proposal for evidence sharing –without admissibility standards – put forward by seven EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) on 21 May 2010. The United Kingdom has also notified its wish to participate in the proposed Directive.

The Commission noted the advantage that the EU Member States’ proposal for a simpler, unified system could have – if backed by the appropriate procedural and fundamental rights standards. Investigators could use one standard form to directly request all kinds of evidence from their counterparts: from sharing witnesses’ submissions to triggering house searches. It would also help victims avoid repeating their ordeal several times or travelling to a jurisdiction by giving evidence via video link.

Authorities would only be able to refuse to recognise or carry out orders in a limited number of circumstances, such as national security concerns.

However, the Commission noted that authorities will be reluctant to use shared evidence such as bank data, phone records or DNA without first having mutual trust in the way it is obtained. It therefore needs to be accompanied by common minimum standards for gathering evidence across the EU, to ensure their admissibility in court as well as respect for fundamental and fair trial rights. Any exchanges of data would have to comply with EU data protection rules.

All 27 EU Member States will now negotiate a final proposal, which would then be voted by the European Parliament under the co-decision procedure. The Commission will then decide whether it needs to make separate proposals, particularly on the obtaining/admissibility of evidence. Any proposals for EU rules have to comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Background

The European Evidence Warrant, agreed in December 2008, allows certain investigators to ask each other to share existing, but not to gather new evidence. However, none have ever been issued, compared to 14,000 European Arrest Warrants in 2008, because it is only in force in one Member State (Denmark).

Last December European leaders endorsed the Stockholm Programme. The Commission turned these political objectives into an action plan for 2010-2014.

Existing agreements only lay the basis for justice authorities to assist, but not to recognise, each others’ decisions. The Council of Europe in 1959 adopted the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Under the European Conventions on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 29 May 2000, the EU Council of Ministers aimed to encourage spontaneous cooperation between judicial, police and customs authorities.

Captive breeding of Bluefin tuna: another EU successful project

Jeudi 26 août 2010

EU scientists working under the SELFDOTT project, funded by the European Union, to the tune of € 2.98 million and co-ordinated by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), have succeeded in obtaining viable mass eggs from Atlantic bluefin tuna in captivity, using natural means and without any hormonal induction. If breeding can be developed on a commercial scale, pressure on endangered wild stocks could be significantly relieved. The results of the project that is now in his third year of work have been filmed and will be broadcast on 26th August on “Futuris”, the science programme of TV channel Euronews.

Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said the EU funded research project SELFDOTT is a new proof on how European research can contribute to tackling the most important global challenges facing us today. If the results of this research can ultimately be commercialised, it can improve food supplies and contribute to economic growth and employment while also helping to ensure a sustainable management of bluefin tuna.

According to the IEO researchers, these results show the tuna’s ability to adapt after more than three years of domestication. A total of 10 million eggs were produced in a single day.

Getting naturally spawned eggs from captive individuals represents an important step forward in research on Atlantic bluefin tuna aquaculture, bringing commercial breeding of this species closer. That could contribute to a sustainable management of bluefin tuna.

The SELFDOTT team will now study the embryonic and larval development of these eggs and seek to improve the survival and growth of the juveniles. The project aims also to develop sustainable feeds for bluefin tuna juveniles and to produce a protocol for commercial-scale larval rearing.

Background

SELFDOTT is a consortium representing 13 government bodies, research institutes and industry organisations from France (IFREMER, CNRS, University of Montpellier 2), Germany (University of Düsseldorf), Greece (HCMR), Israel (NCM-IOLR), Italy (University of Bari), Malta (MCFS, Malta FishFarming), Norway (Skretting) and Spain (University of Cádiz, Ricardo Fuentes Group and the co-ordinating IEO) .

Last year they succeeded in controlling the reproduction of the Atlantic bluefin tuna in captivity after hormonal stimulation and began larval rearing work.

Aquaculture represents one of society’s most promising solutions to dwindling food sources caused by population growth, over-fishing, pollution and environmental damage, among other causes. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 63 million tonnes of aquatic product was produced by the world’s aquaculture sector in 2006 (at a value of almost € 65 billion). The FAO also estimates that one quarter of the roughly 41 million people that work in fisheries are employed as fish farmers. According to predictions, world aquaculture production would have to double by 2045 to cater for the increasing population’s demand for seafood.

Bonn: new perspectives for the climate challenge

Mercredi 25 août 2010

The cycle of climate negotiations that just ended in Bonn led to constructive results. In fact, the advances that have been made will serve as a basis for the negotiations during the Cancun Conference. This Accord is meant to contain a package of concrete, balanced measures. Nonetheless it will be necessary to speed up the pace of the negotiations in order to achieve them.

Concrete measures 2010

The Cancun Conference will be held in Mexico from 29 November to 10 December 2010. The results of this conference should make it possible to establish a number of concrete, balanced measures concerning, in particular, the following themes:

-the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation = attenuation),
-a system of ‘measurement, reporting and verification’,
-adaptation to the consequences of climate change,
-the architecture for support to countries in development in adapting to the consequences of climate change and making the transition to low-intensity carbon use (funds, technologies, capacity strengthening),
-the promotion of technologies for mitigation and adaptation
-the reduction of emissions from the forestry sector and protection of the forests (REDD+ programme),
-market mechanisms that are meant to make it possible to reduce the costs of the fight against global warming, to give a pricing signal to innovation and to promote the transfer of technology and financial flows to developing countries

Global Accord in 2011

The Cancun Conference is also meant to establish a road map stipulating the steps toward the finalisation of negotiations on a global accord that is ambitious, is legally restrictive and limits warming to 2°C.

This limit of 2°C is widely recognised by the scientific community as making it possible to avoid the most extreme effects of global warming. This global accord should be completed in the course of the year 2011.

Negotiations

The negotiations under way are following two parallel tracks. On the one hand there are negotiations on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, and especially the commitments to be made by the developed countries after 2012 and the conditions that have to be fulfilled. From this point of view, the negotiations are progressing at a good pace and are leading to concrete options.

On the other hand, negotiations are also distinguished that are intended to establish a global accord into which all the members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change would enter. The negotiations on this track have not yet arrived at the stage of the identification of compromise options that would make it possible to lead to an ambitious and legally restrictive global accord.

The role of the EU and of the Belgian Presidency

For the European Union it is essential to re-establish the balance between these two negotiation tracks. This implies in particular that the States that are major emitters of greenhouse gases that are not yet being forced to limit their emissions must firmly commit themselves to this path, while respecting the different circumstances of the developed countries and the countries in development.

The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which is taking on the coordination of the position of the Member States of the EU within the Council, hopes to work in a constructive way in order to maximise the results of the Cancun Conference.

According to Minister Schauvliege Cancun must produce a balanced, ambitious and realistic package of substantive decisions that responds to the urgent desire of many countries to step up their action. This needs to build on the progress made in Copenhagen, reflect the interests and priorities of the different parties and provide a solid basis for reaching a global agreement.

To maintain the European Social Fund

Mercredi 25 août 2010

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, calling for the maintenance of the ESF in the political cohesion of the EU.

This article is only available in French.

Romania is calling for an integration program “European

Lundi 23 août 2010

What happens in Paris proves that we must have a program-level integration of European citizens of Roma ethnicity, “he said Thursday, Aug. 20 Romanian President Traian Basescu told reporters, while 93 Romanian Roma are repatriated their country by the French authorities.

This article is only available in French.

Report confirms new procedures make EU funding in education, youth and culture more efficient

Lundi 23 août 2010

According to a report recently adopted by the Commission, new, simplified procedures have substantially reduced the waiting period for the beneficiaries of grants under the Lifelong Learning, Youth in Action, Culture, Citizenship and Erasmus Mundus programmes.

The advisory procedure - and the lengthy right of scrutiny it entailed - originally envisaged in the rules of the programmes has been replaced since December 2008 by a simpler and quicker information procedure whereby the Commission informs the Parliament and Council of the selection decisions that have been taken within the programmes.

The Commission’s report to the European Parliament and the Council is a review of the new procedures to make sure that they work effectively. It shows that the implementation of the new procedure has been successful from all angles. The information required was transmitted to the Parliament and the Council in all cases as scheduled.

Substantially shorter delays under the new procedure have increased the efficiency of the programmes and have had positive effects on the sustainability of funding partnerships, resulting in a very positive impact on the quality of the projects themselves.

Security of Humanitarian aid workers: A concern at the heart of the EU’s humanitarian action

Lundi 23 août 2010

Security represents one of the most challenging issues for the humanitarian community. The conditions in which humanitarian workers operate have become increasingly dangerous. Humanitarian emblems and flags which traditionally provided a shield for humanitarian workers have now unfortunately often become targets.

As one of the world’s main donors of humanitarian assistance, the European Commission bears a key responsibility in ensuring that its staff and partners work in the safest possible environment to be able to fulfil their tasks. To this end, the European Commission’s Humanitarian and Civil Protection department (ECHO) continuously takes concrete steps both at the operational and political levels. In the context of the “Don’t shoot, I’m a humanitarian worker!” campaign, the Commission highlights the various actions already taken.

Advocating for the security of humanitarian aid workers and actively promoting International Humanitarian Law

The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid

The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid was adopted at the end of 2007 by the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission. This landmark document underscores the need to preserve humanitarian space to ensure access to vulnerable populations and the safety and security of humanitarian personnel. It reaffirms the EU’s commitment to upholding and promoting the fundamental humanitarian principles. It also commits the EU to advocating strongly and consistently for the respect of International Law, including International Humanitarian Law. This year, in consultation with its partners, the Commission will prepare a mid-term review of the implementation of the European Consensus and its Action Plan.

European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with International Humanitarian Law

On 23 December 2005, the European Union issued its Guidelines on promoting compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) (Official Journal 2005/C 327/04) emphasising the value it placed on promoting humanitarian law. These Guidelines set out operational tools for the EU to promote compliance with IHL and to underline the EU’s commitment to promoting such compliance in a visible and consistent manner. When the Guidelines were updated by the Council in December 2009, the Council also adopted conclusions reaffirming its strong support for the promotion and respect of IHL.

A resolution to be adopted by United Nations General Assembly

This autumn, the European Union will facilitate this year’s resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the Safety and Security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations’ personnel. The General Assembly has considered this question annually for over a decade. It has consistently called on States to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel in particular by ensuring effective implementation of the relevant provisions of international law.

ECHO partnerships with mandated international partners

Defending the humanitarian space and the security of aid workers is of major concern to both the EU and its partners. It is for this reason that ECHO supports the activities of a number of humanitarian actors in reinforcing safety and security measures and promoting the fundamental humanitarian principles and IHL. In this context, ECHO’s support to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for coordination, advocacy activities and dissemination of security information, and to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for promoting and disseminating IHL are noteworthy.

Standards and practices for the security of humanitarian personnel and advocacy for humanitarian space

ECHO has contributed to several research studies regarding security for humanitarian organisations produced by the Humanitarian Policy Group.1

ECHO has also initiated a review of “Standards and practices for the security of humanitarian personnel and advocacy for humanitarian space”. The review produced three documents, which have been made available to ECHO partners and to other NGOs:

*The Security Report examines the ways in which humanitarian organisations manage security.
*The Generic Security Guide is a manual to help organisations to improve management of their security by providing guidance and suggesting tools and resources.
*The Security Training Directory provides information about relevant training courses on security matters, including contingency planning, evacuation plans and procedures, mine-awareness training, hostage survival, and stress management. It is intended to assist managers in humanitarian organisations to find suitable security training courses.

ECHO Guidelines on “Safety and Security in the Field”

ECHO has around 400 persons deployed in the field in various humanitarian spots around the world. An ECHO Guide on “Safety and Security in the Field” has been produced to familiarize the EU staff with the best safety and security practices and procedures.

The Guide outlines the roles and responsibilities of the various actors in the ECHO security management system and advocates for a better exchange of information and collaboration between headquarters and the field. It is based on the simple but essential principle for any security situation: security is not a scheme or a model but a process, and the essence of that process is communication. These guidelines are at the disposal of the Commission’s partners and are used extensively by many NGOs as a reference tool for their staff.

ECHO’s Head Quarters and Field Security team

ECHO has a specific Security Sector devoted to advise, develop and implement safety and security procedures for ECHO staff. The security Sector in Brussels is complemented by a network of security officers in the field. Their role is to monitor the different environments in which the Commission is operating and to provide tailor-made advice and briefings, contributing to a strong organisational culture of safety and security within ECHO. They also support ECHO Technical Assistants who advise partners on how to deal with volatile security environments.

The European Union’s support towards its partners through specific projects

Countries such as Somalia and Sudan face a two-fold difficulty: they are facing the greatest humanitarian challenges but at same time are among the most dangerous places to deliver humanitarian assistance. To address the security and safety challenges, the EU funds specific projects with security components or entirely focusing on security. Such projects are for example currently ongoing in Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Afghanistan and Gaza.

Afghanistan and Gaza

ECHO is financing “safety and security NGOs” in Afghanistan and Gaza: the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) and the Gaza NGO Safety Office (GANSO) in the Gaza Strip. These projects provide safety information and advice to the NGO community, collect data on security incidents, and produce analysis reports on the general and local security situation at different locations.

In Afghanistan, the work of ANSO is considered by ECHO as a pre-condition for NGOs to be able to work in such a volatile and dangerous environment. Humanitarian flights are also funded to enable access to remote locations for which the use of land routes would be an additional security risk.

Chad

In Chad, aid agencies and civilians are increasingly victims of armed attacks. Since 2006, more than 164 vehicles from the UN or NGOs have been hijacked by armed groups and, since 2009, the number of abductions is worryingly on the rise. This poor security situation justified the setting-up of a safe air transport service for humanitarian NGOs, especially in the east of the country. This essential task is carried out, among others, by Aviation without borders (ASF-B) and by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), both funded by the European Commission.

In order to strengthen coordination, advocacy activities and a meaningful dialogue between the Civil and Military sectors, the Commission supports OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) in Chad. In addition, the Commission provides financial support to the NGO Coordination Committee in Chad (CCO) to organise dedicated Security Trainings for security instructors.

Somalia

In Somalia, the EU is currently starting a substantive NGO Safety Programme. This programme will benefit 350 local and international organisations providing humanitarian aid in Somalia. The aim is to enable the beneficiaries to reduce the risks and to apply appropriate safety measures. The programme includes training, information sharing procedures and technical assistance.

Sudan

The large humanitarian aid community working in Sudan is confronted with a precarious security situation which allows only extremely limited road travel. This demands a continuous and expanding humanitarian air transport capacity, particularly for the Darfur region where certain remote areas are no longer accessible by road.

The EU is therefore supporting UNHAS for the whole of Sudan and the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS)-dedicated aircraft in South Sudan. The Commission is also funding UNDSS to implement a comprehensive security programme in South Sudan. This includes offering training to humanitarian staff, induction briefings, and the ongoing dissemination of security information and advice.

In Darfur, ECHO is considering supporting initiatives such as Saving Lives Together. This is designed to enhance quality dialogue among the multitude of different actors including UNAMID (African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur).

The Commission also supports OCHA whose role has become increasingly important in addressing the difficulties faced by the humanitarian community in Sudan, particularly in North Sudan and Darfur.

In addition to its coordination mandate, OCHA’s role has become key in advocating for security or access for the humanitarian community and for liaising with the authorities and the armed forces of the integrated missions. An example is in south Sudan where OCHA has deployed a civil-military liaison officer who conducts Civil-Military co-ordination workshops.

June 2010 compared with May 2010 Industrial production down by 0.1% in euro area Stable in EU27

Samedi 14 août 2010

STAT/10/118 12 August 2010 In June 2010 compared with May 2010, seasonally adjusted industrial production1 decreased by 0.1% in the euro area2 (EA16) and remained stable in the EU272. In May3 production increased by 1….

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Flash estimates for the second quarter of 2010 Euro area and EU27 GDP up by 1.0% +1.7% in both zones compared with the second quarter of 2009

Samedi 14 août 2010

STAT/10/120 13 August 2010 Flash estimates for the second quarter of 2010 Euro area and EU27 GDP up by 1.0% +1.7% in both zones compared with the second quarter of 2009 GDP increased by 1.0% in both the euro area1 (EA16) and the EU271 during the second …

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