Archive pour juillet 2011

European Commission to help businesses recover an extra €600 million in cross-border debts

Mardi 26 juillet 2011

A small Italian cheese company supplies mozzarella to a frozen pizza maker in France. After the French company falls behind on its payments, the Italian firm stops the shipments, but it’s stuck with thousands of euros of unpaid bills. How will the Italian company recover the debt? Today there is no easy answer. Fraudsters can easily move money from one Member State to another, stashing funds in several accounts in multiple countries. Citizens also suffer when goods bought online are never delivered or an absent parent fails to pay maintenance from abroad.

At the moment, it’s up to national law to require a bank to pay the money from a client’s bank account to a creditor. The current situation in the 27 Member States is legally complicated, time consuming and expensive. Around 1 million small businesses face problems with cross-border debts and up to €600 million a year in debt is unnecessarily written off because businesses find it too daunting to pursue expensive, confusing lawsuits in foreign countries. The European Commission today proposes a new Europe-wide preservation order to ease the recovery of cross-border debts for both citizens and businesses.

“I want to make recovering cross-border debts as easy as recovering debts domestically,” said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “Companies lose around 2.6% of their turnover a year to bad debts. This is a weakness of our single market which we must remedy swiftly and energetically! Businesses need a simple solution – an account preservation order effective Europe-wide – so that the money stays where it is until a court has taken a decision on the repayment of the funds. In these difficult economic times, companies need quick answers. Every euro counts, especially for small businesses.”

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99% of businesses in the EU. Around 1 million of these face problems with cross-border debts. Procedures for recovering debts from another country’s jurisdiction are complex, multiplying the costs for businesses that wish to trade across EU borders. Typical problems range from differences in national law to the costs of hiring an additional lawyer and translating documents. Individuals face similar difficulties when seeking to get their money back from a rogue trader or maintenance defaulter in another EU country.

Today’s legislative initiative aims to facilitate these cross-border claims and gives creditors more certainty about recovering their debt, thereby increasing confidence in trading within the EU’s single market. It is part of the Commission’s “justice for growth” agenda, which seeks to harness the potential of the EU’s common area of justice for trade and growth.

Background

The Regulation would establish a new European Account Preservation Order that would allow creditors to preserve the amount owed in a debtor’s bank account. This order can be of crucial importance in debt recovery proceedings because it would prevent debtors from removing or dissipating their assets during the time it takes to obtain and enforce a judgment on the merits. This will raise the prospects of successfully recovering cross-border debt.

The new European order will allow creditors to preserve funds in bank accounts under the same conditions in all Member States of the EU. Importantly, there will be no change to the national systems for preserving funds. The Commission is simply adding a European procedure that creditors can chose to use to recover claims abroad in other EU countries. The new procedure is an interim protection procedure. To actually get hold of the money, the creditor will have to obtain a final judgment on the case in accordance with national law or by using one of the simplified European procedures, such as the European Small Claims Procedure.

The European Account Preservation Order will be available to the creditor as an alternative to instruments existing under national law. It will be of a protective nature, meaning it will only block the debtor’s account but not allow money to be paid out to the creditor. The instrument will only apply to cross-border cases. The European Account Preservation Order will be issued in an ex parte procedure. This means that it would be issued without the debtor knowing about it, thus allowing for a “surprise effect”. The instrument provides common rules relating to jurisdiction, conditions and procedure for issuing an order; a disclosure order relating to bank accounts; how it should be enforced by national courts and authorities; and remedies for the debtor and other elements of defendant protection.

The proposed European Account Preservation Order Regulation will now pass to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU for adoption under the ordinary legislative procedure and by qualified majority.

Commissioner Georgieva announces new humanitarian funding for famine and drought victims

Lundi 25 juillet 2011

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response will announce today new aid funding for famine and drought victims on the first day of a visit to Kenya.

The Commission is making an immediate allocation of 27.8 million euros, which comes on top of the 70 million euros already given to the region this year, in response to the worsening humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa.

Kristalina Georgieva will visit the Dadaab refugee camp where she will meet families driven from Somalia by decades of conflict and the worst drought in 60 years.

The drought and the massive displacement of people in the Horn of Africa, in addition to high food prices and dwindling resources, have created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis Some 11 million vulnerable people are now affected.

“This unprecedented crisis in the Horn of Africa calls for an unprecedented response,” said the Commissioner, speaking ahead of the visit. “This is why, on top of today’s announcement of new funding of €27.8 million, I have started the process to mobilise another €60 million to alleviate the suffering of so many people. This will bring our response to nearly €158 million.”

She added: “Europeans have responded generously to this crisis but the situation is getting worse, especially in Somalia. In Dadaab more than 400,000 people are living in refugee camps intended for 90,000. Every day more than 3,000 Somalis are fleeing across their country’s borders to seek food and security in Ethiopia and Kenya.

“So we must all do more to help not just those families who through no fault of their own have been forced to become refugees but also those victims who are still suffering today in Somalia.”

This new aid package will provide food and nutrition to the most vulnerable households. Assistance will also be given to safeguard animal health and protect livestock in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.

The Commissioner will meet with the Kenyan authorities and visit EU-funded projects in drought response and disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects.

Background

The Horn of Africa is suffering from protracted drought. Together with conflict, high food prices and dwindling resources, eleven million people are now affected by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Horn of Africa is facing a double emergency with the drought and the displacement of people: currently 800,000 people are refugees with half of them now concentrated at Dadaab. 1.5 million people have been internally displaced.

Before today’s announcement the Commission had allocated nearly €70 million for the Horn of Africa this year. The new funding envisaged by the Commissioner will bring the total humanitarian assistance allocated by the European Commission to the region to €157.47 million. Currently, the total EU aid (Commission and Member States) stands at more than €207 million, and a number of Member States have made announcements of further funding

Africa’s first microfinance fund for sustainable farmers launched !

Lundi 25 juillet 2011

Africa’s first specialist rural microfinance fund supporting fair trade and organic small business, FEFISOL, the European Solidarity Financing Fund for Africa, was launched earlier today by the European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement and a broad grouping of development bodies, social investors and microfinance service providers.

The EUR 15 million FEFISOL fund will provide much needed microfinance funds for poor rural households across Africa and help finance small scale investment in agricultural activities.

Three social investors with more than 25 years of experience working with microfinance institutions, agricultural cooperatives and small businesses in emerging countries will provide specialist support to the fund. These include French development association Solidarite International pour le Developpement et l’Investissement (SIDI), who will manage of the FEFISOL fund, Belgian development organisation Alterfin and Etimos from Italy. The FEFISOL fund is expected to double in size by 2013 and will assist microfinance institutions that help poor households in rural areas where no formal lending exists. Rural microfinance will support income generating activities and reduce dependence on outside help.

“The European Investment Bank recognises FEFISOL’s dedicated support for organic African farmers and improving access to fair trade markets. We are committed to helping microfinance foster economic development and poverty reduction across Africa.” said European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa, Plutarchos Sakellaris.

“Microfinance is key to enhancing economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The FEFISOL initiative will reach remote rural communities, helping small businesses develop and progressively reduce poverty.” Added Marie-Hélène Loison, Head of the Private Equity Department of PROPARCO, the private sector arm of AFD.

“During our 25 years of activities as a social investor, we noted that the microfinance sector, especially in Africa, had ample room for further progress; that this called for a new stage of development, to respond to new needs for financing the impact – both economic and social – of the sector, particularly in the rural context. These needs translate, among others, in the availability of increased resources, on a stable and longer term basis, and, from a technical point of view, more sophisticated tools and competences, while preserving the dynamics of new initiatives and experimentation that were at the heart of this success” said Christian Schmitz, Managing Director of SIDI.

FEFISOL will fund microfinance institutions and producer organisations across the continent in local currency. African microfinance bodies will benefit from a subsidised loan provided by AFD that absorbs foreign exchange loss on local currencies. Dedicated support for fair trade and organic producer organisations will help improve the quality and development of their activities over the long-term, notably by gaining access to new market sectors. SOS Faim and the African Microfinance Institutions Network will assist in this process, along with specialist fair trade organisations based in Africa.

The support of private and public investors has been crucial in the successful launch of the fund. The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 5m for FEFISOL to help develop microfinance operations and small holder organisations in rural areas across Africa and improve access to fair trade and organic export markets. AFD is providing a subsidised EUR 3m loan to mitigate foreign currency risk and Proparco structured the equity investment of FISEA for a total consideration of EUR 5.4m.The Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) will also make a EUR 1.8m contribution to the Fund along with Crédit Coopératif, Societa Europea Finanza Etica ed Alternativa (SEFEA), Développement International Desjardins (DID) and Fondation Caritas France.

Technical assistance will also be provided to help microfinance institutions develop new products, improve business planning and develop legal and human resources capabilities. This initiative compliments the REGMIFA rural microfinance fund launch earlier this year and supported by the European Investment Bank and European development finance institutions.

Africa’s first microfinance fund for sustainable farmers launched !

Lundi 25 juillet 2011

Africa’s first specialist rural microfinance fund supporting fair trade and organic small business, FEFISOL, the European Solidarity Financing Fund for Africa, was launched earlier today by the European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement and a broad grouping of development bodies, social investors and microfinance service providers.

The EUR 15 million FEFISOL fund will provide much needed microfinance funds for poor rural households across Africa and help finance small scale investment in agricultural activities.

Three social investors with more than 25 years of experience working with microfinance institutions, agricultural cooperatives and small businesses in emerging countries will provide specialist support to the fund. These include French development association Solidarite International pour le Developpement et l’Investissement (SIDI), who will manage of the FEFISOL fund, Belgian development organisation Alterfin and Etimos from Italy. The FEFISOL fund is expected to double in size by 2013 and will assist microfinance institutions that help poor households in rural areas where no formal lending exists. Rural microfinance will support income generating activities and reduce dependence on outside help.

“The European Investment Bank recognises FEFISOL’s dedicated support for organic African farmers and improving access to fair trade markets. We are committed to helping microfinance foster economic development and poverty reduction across Africa.” said European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa, Plutarchos Sakellaris.

“Microfinance is key to enhancing economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The FEFISOL initiative will reach remote rural communities, helping small businesses develop and progressively reduce poverty.” Added Marie-Hélène Loison, Head of the Private Equity Department of PROPARCO, the private sector arm of AFD.

“During our 25 years of activities as a social investor, we noted that the microfinance sector, especially in Africa, had ample room for further progress; that this called for a new stage of development, to respond to new needs for financing the impact – both economic and social – of the sector, particularly in the rural context. These needs translate, among others, in the availability of increased resources, on a stable and longer term basis, and, from a technical point of view, more sophisticated tools and competences, while preserving the dynamics of new initiatives and experimentation that were at the heart of this success” said Christian Schmitz, Managing Director of SIDI.

FEFISOL will fund microfinance institutions and producer organisations across the continent in local currency. African microfinance bodies will benefit from a subsidised loan provided by AFD that absorbs foreign exchange loss on local currencies. Dedicated support for fair trade and organic producer organisations will help improve the quality and development of their activities over the long-term, notably by gaining access to new market sectors. SOS Faim and the African Microfinance Institutions Network will assist in this process, along with specialist fair trade organisations based in Africa.

The support of private and public investors has been crucial in the successful launch of the fund. The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 5m for FEFISOL to help develop microfinance operations and small holder organisations in rural areas across Africa and improve access to fair trade and organic export markets. AFD is providing a subsidised EUR 3m loan to mitigate foreign currency risk and Proparco structured the equity investment of FISEA for a total consideration of EUR 5.4m.The Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) will also make a EUR 1.8m contribution to the Fund along with Crédit Coopératif, Societa Europea Finanza Etica ed Alternativa (SEFEA), Développement International Desjardins (DID) and Fondation Caritas France.

Technical assistance will also be provided to help microfinance institutions develop new products, improve business planning and develop legal and human resources capabilities. This initiative compliments the REGMIFA rural microfinance fund launch earlier this year and supported by the European Investment Bank and European development finance institutions.

New procedures to ease access to justice in cross-border legal disputes

Lundi 25 juillet 2011

The European Union Mediation Directive – which was adopted on 21 May 2008 (IP/08/628) and is in force since 21 May 2011– applies when two parties who are involved in a cross-border dispute voluntarily agree to settle their dispute using an impartial mediator. All EU Member States should now have measures in place to transpose the EU legislation. However, nine countries have not yet notified all national measures needed to fully implement the Directive.

As a result, the European Commission began legal proceedings by sending “letters of formal notice” to the following countries: The Czech Republic, Spain, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. The countries have two months to respond.

“Access to justice is a cornerstone of the European area of justice,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice. “Mediation is an important alternative to going to court in cross-border disputes and can help parties find an amicable settlement. It saves time, money and spares parties involved in already emotional family cases the additional trauma of going to court. I call on the remaining nine Member States to urgently finalise transposition so that citizens and businesses can fully enjoy their rights.”

Member States are to make sure mediated agreements can be enforced. According to an EU-funded study, the time wasted by not using mediation is estimated at an average of between 331 and 446 extra days in the EU, with extra legal costs ranging from €12,471 to €13,738 per case.

Background
Directive 2008/52/EC on mediation in civil and commercial matters was adopted on 23 April 2008 (IP/08/628). The Commission proposed the Directive in October 2004 (IP/04/1288).

Mediation can solve problems between businesses, employers and employees, landlords and tenants, or families, so that they can maintain and even strengthen their relationship in a constructive way – a result that cannot always be achieved through court proceedings. Settling disputes out of court spares justice systems’ resources and can potentially cut legal costs. A crucial element in any mediation is trust in the process, especially when two parties come from different countries. EU rules therefore encourage Member States to provide quality control, establish codes of conduct and offer training to mediators to make sure there is an effective mediation system in place.

As of today, 17 Member States have these EU rules in place, while Denmark has opted not to enforce these rules – a prerogative it has under a protocol annexed to the EU Treaties. So far, nine countries (the Czech Republic, Spain, France, Cyprus, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom) have not informed the Commission that they have put the necessary rules in place to fully transpose the directive.

The Commission can take legal action against Member States that do not correctly transpose EU law or fail to notify that they have passed national measures to implement EU rules. The infringement procedure begins with a request for information (a “Letter of Formal Notice”) to the Member State concerned, which must be answered within a specified period, usually two months.

If the Commission is not satisfied with the information and concludes that the Member State in question is failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law, the Commission may then send a formal request to comply with EU law (a “Reasoned Opinion”), calling on the Member State to inform the Commission of the measures taken to comply within a specified period, usually two months.

If a Member State fails to ensure compliance with EU law, the Commission may then decide to refer the Member State to the Court of Justice of the EU. However, in over 90% of infringement cases, Member States comply with their obligations under EU law before they are referred to the Court. If the Court rules against a Member State, the Member State must then take the necessary measures to comply with the judgment.

Fewer risks from hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment

Jeudi 21 juillet 2011

The ban on heavy metals and other dangerous chemicals in electrical and electronic equipment has now been extended to a much wider range of products, with new rules entering into force tomorrow. The new law will improve the safety of electronic products such as thermostats, medical devices and control panels, and will prevent the release of hazardous substances into the environment. Member States have 18 months to transpose the new rules.

The new law is a revision of the RoHS Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. It will continue to ban lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and the flame retardants Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). The previous RoHS Directive covered several categories of electrical and electronic equipment including household appliances, IT and consumer equipment, but it has now been extended to all electronic equipment, cables and spare parts. Exemptions can still be granted in cases where no satisfactory alternative is available. The list of banned substances will be reviewed on a regular basis.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Where there are alternatives available it is not acceptable to expose people or the planet to dangerous substances. We all come into daily contact with products and these new rules increase further the level of safety we can expect. They improve consumer safety, health and environmental protection, and they also improve the way the rules will work at national level.”

The key elements of the new Directive are as follows:

A gradual extension of the rules to all electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), cables and spare parts, with a view to full compliance by 2019;

A review of the list of banned substances by July 2014, and periodically thereafter;

Clearer and more transparent rules for granting exemptions from the substance ban;

Improved coherence with the REACH Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals;

Clarification of important definitions; and

CE marking denoting compliance with European norms reserved for electronic products that also respect RoHS requirements.

In view of the significant extension of the scope, the new Directive introduces transition periods of up to 8 years for the new products affected by the rules.

Photovoltaic panels are exempted from the new Directive in an effort to help the EU reach its objectives for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Implementation and compliance are important aspects of the new rules, which include a mechanism to make it easier for the Commission to monitor compliance.

Stronger and more responsible banks in Europe

Jeudi 21 juillet 2011

The European Commission, drawing the lessons from the crisis has brought forward today proposals to change the behaviour of the 8000 banks that operate in Europe The overarching goal of this proposal is to strengthen the resilience of the EU banking sector while ensuring that banks continue to finance economic activity and growth.

The Commission’s proposals have three concrete goals.

The proposal will require banks to hold more and better capital to resist future shocks by themselves. Institutions entered the last crisis with capital that was insufficient both in quantity and in quality, leading to unprecedented support from national authorities. With its proposal, the Commission translates in Europe international standards on bank capital agreed at the G20 level (most commonly known as the Basel III agreement). Europe will be leading on this matter, applying these rules to more than 8000 banks, amounting for 53% of global assets.

The Commission also wants to set up a new governance framework giving supervisors new powers to monitor banks more closely and take action through possible sanctions when they spot risks, for example to reduce credit when it looks like it’s growing into a bubble.

By putting together all legislation applicable on this matter, the Commission proposes to have a Single Rule Book for banking regulation. This will improve both transparency and enforcement.

Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said “The financial crisis has hit European families and businesses hard. We cannot let such a crisis occur again and we cannot allow the actions of a few in the financial world to jeopardize our prosperity. That’s why today, we have brought forward proposals to make the more than 8,000 banks that are active in Europe stronger. The banking sector will have to hold more capital and better quality capital every time it is taking risks It is a tremendously important step forward in learning the lessons from the crisis and adopting a new approach to risk. I am pleased to note that Europe continues to take the lead and is the first jurisdiction at a global level to transpose the G20 commitments. Only when all these rules are in place can we really say we’ve fully learnt the lessons of the crisis”.

Five programmes for economic recovery and national reconciliation in Ivory Coast

Mercredi 20 juillet 2011

European Union adopted today five programmes for 125 million euros to Ivory Coast. These programmes are intended to support the areas of vocational training, health, transportation, public finance management and the strengthening of civil society organisations.

“In line with commitments I made to President Ouattara during my visit to Abidjan on 6 May, the EU is and will remain a key partner to support the Ivorian authorities in the country’s economic recovery and national reconciliation . Our support reflects the priorities defined by the Ivorian authorities and are areas where the EU can have a quick added value”, said Mr Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development.

The five projects approved today will be funded by the 10th European Development Fund. They include:

Support to the transport sector (€ 70 million) that will strengthen road maintenance and the rehabilitation of the poor surface of the main road in the country linking the Ivory Coast to Ghana, contributing to the flow of trade at national and regional levels.

Support for generating vocational training and youth integration through the development of employment-oriented training schemes (€ 25 million). Several vocational training centres will be rehabilitated and equipped.

A programme to revitalise the health sector, to improve basic health care and improve access of poor populations to essential drugs (€ 15 million).

A programme to support financial and institutional governance, including actions to improve the statistical system and to reform the Ivorian budget system to be results-orientated(€ 11 million).

A programme to support civil society organisations, especially representing women and young people (€ 4 million). This programme will help to improve citizen involvement in establishing democracy, including at the local level, and in the process of national reconciliation.

Background:

The European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced an aid package of € 180 million on April 12 to support the recovery of the country. During his visit to Abidjan last May, Commissioner Piebalgs signed the first agreements of this package for three projects in the sectors of agriculture and justice reform (€ 44 million). Programmes adopted today are the second part of the package. They are the result of an identification process and dialogue with President Ouattara and his government. This joint and intense work led to the adoption, in tight deadlines, of these programmes constituting more than two thirds of the budget announced in April, and providing as soon as possible assistance to the Ivorian population.

In addition, the EU has re-launched projects that had been interrupted during the crisis. Some projects, particularly those that support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working directly for the population, continued even during the crisis.

A European Agenda for Integration

Mercredi 20 juillet 2011

The Commission adopted a ‘European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals’. It puts the emphasis on migrants’ full participation in all aspects of collective life and highlights the key role of local authorities.

Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: “Successful integration implies that migrants are given the opportunity to participate fully in their new communities. Learning the language of the receiving country, getting access to employment and education and having the socio-economic capacity to support themselves are crucial elements for a successful integration. To date, integration of migrants in Europe has not been very successful. We must all do more – for the sake of the people coming here, but also since well-integrated migrants are an asset for the EU, as they enrich our societies culturally and economically.”

A qualitative Eurobarometer on integration, which was carried out this spring, was also presented today. It enables open exchange of views of both EU citizens and migrants and shows that they share a number of views on integration. There is broad agreement on the importance of interaction at work and in schools and on the positive contribution of migrants to the local culture. Both groups agree on the factors that make integration work: speaking the language, getting a job and understanding the local culture.EU citizens and migrants participating in the survey also agreed that greater efforts are needed from all sides in order to benefit from immigration. The lack of language skills and the segregation of migrants in disadvantaged neighbourhoods are perceived as the main barriers to integration. These issues require determined and consistent action from everyone.

More follows

Background

Diversity brought by migration, if well managed, can be a competitive advantage and a source of dynamism for the European economies. If the EU is to meet its target to bring the level of employment to 75% by 2020, it is vital to remove barriers for migrants’ access to employment – not least since the European workforce is decreasing as a consequence of the demographic challenge that the EU is facing. The European Union’s workforce will decline by approximately 50 million by 2060 compared to 2008 – in 2010 there were 3.5 persons of working age (20-64) for every person aged 65 or over; in 2060 the ratio is expected to be 1.7 to 1. For example, in terms of future demand for carers for the elderly, the Commission’s 2010 Agenda for new skills and jobs estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of about 1 million professionals in the health sector - and up to 2 million if ancillary healthcare professions are taken into account.

Ensuring that migrants enjoy the same rights and have the same responsibilities as EU citizens is at the core of the integration process. Discrimination and the non recognition of education and experience acquired outside the EU are some of the obstacles putting migrants at risk of unemployment, underemployment and exploitation.

Integration must start where people meet every day (work places, schools, public areas, etc). Measures to strengthen democratic participation should include training and mentors, facilitating for migrants to vote in local elections, creating local, regional and national consultative bodies, or encouraging entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

Language skills lead to better job opportunities, support social contact-making and give migrants independence. This is particularly important for migrant women who otherwise may be fairly isolated. The European Agenda for Integration highlights that language training and introduction programmes must be financially and geographically accessible.

The integration process requires close cooperation between the national governments, who remain responsible for defining their integration policies, and local or regional authorities and non-state actors, who are implementing integration measures on the ground. The EU supports such measures through its instruments and future EU funding should focus more on promoting integration at local level.

In order to reinforce coordination and knowledge exchange, the Commission is developing a flexible European toolbox, consisting of integration modules to support policies and practices in Member States. They build on the experiences of what works and what does not work to support integration, for example to organise introductory and language courses, ensure a strong commitment by the receiving society and enhance migrants’ participation. These modules can be adapted to the needs of Member States, regions and cities. Common European indicators have also been identified to monitor results of integration policies.

This Communication responds to a request in the Stockholm Programme, calling on the Commission to enhance coordination and improve tools and structures for knowledge exchange in the area of integration.

It builds on the new legal basis introduced in the Lisbon Treaty for incentives and support to Member States’ actions to promote the integration of legally residing third-country nationals, excluding harmonisation of legislation.

A photo contest !

Mercredi 20 juillet 2011

The Directorate General Employment of the European Commission launched a photo competition on the theme of the European health insurance card. A trip for two in Mallorca is to be won .

Going on holiday this summer to another EU country? Make it a safe and easy one!

Taking your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you on holiday can save you time, hassle and money if you fall ill or suffer an injury while abroad.

Enjoy your holidays and share with us photos featuring European Health Insurance Card in holiday/travel situations. You can win a fantastic trip to Mallorca, where our latest EHIC promotion video clip was shot!

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) photo contest runs from 14 July to 31 August 2011.