Articles taggés avec ‘European Council’

EU Funding: Third maritime safety package

Mardi 26 août 2008

In its work programme for the second half of 2008, the French Presidency has set itself the objective of making progress on the third maritime safety package (”Erika III”)

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

Erika III consists of seven legislative proposals presented by the European Commission in November 2005. On the basis of five of these proposals, the EU Transport Council meeting on 6 June in Luxemburg adopted six common positions, which were subsequently transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading in the framework of the co-decision procedure. The Council seeks a swift agreement with the Parliament on the six dossiers.

The Erika III package intends to amend the existing European legislation on maritime safety and complete it by new measures. The texts agreed upon in the Council would strengthen the present provisions concerning the inspections carried out at ports on vessels flying foreign flags (port state controls) as well as the monitoring system set up in 2002 to enhance the safety and efficiency of maritime traffic in Community waters. They would also reinforce the control of the organisations which inspect ships and issue the relevant safety certificates on behalf of the flag states (so called classification societies). In addition, they foresee EU-wide rules governing the investigation of accidents at sea as well as compensation for passengers involved in maritime accidents.

Following the accidental oil spill of the tanker “Erika” in December 1999 off the French coast, the EU member states adopted in 2001 a set of measures (”Erika I” package) to improve safety at sea. Erika I, which entered into force on 22 July 2003, provided for stricter port state controls and the accelerated withdrawal of all single-hull oil tankers. Simultaneously, the requirements for classification societies were raised. These measures were supplemented in 2002 by the “Erika II” package, which included the creation of the Community vessel traffic monitoring system as well the establishment of the European Maritime Safety Agency to ensure the effective implementation of the EU’s maritime safety rules.

EU Council

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EU Funding: Environment: Policy Review shows achievements, and challenges ahead

Mercredi 2 juillet 2008

The European Commission has adopted its 2007 Environment Policy Review, which reports on EU policy developments from last year, focuses on the key challenges ahead and looks in detail at EU and Member States’ environmental trends and policy performance

EU environment policy framework is in place

The Commission has delivered almost all its main commitments under the 6th Environment Action Programme. The energy and climate change package endorsed by the European Council in 2007, and translated into concrete policy proposals by the Commission in 2008, will firmly set Europe on the path to a low-carbon economy. All seven of the thematic strategies have been presented to the co-legislator and accompanying legislative proposals have been adopted or are being examined by Council and Parliament. The long awaited chemicals legislation REACH, reforming the way we deal with chemicals, was adopted and the European Chemicals Agency started operating. The Environmental Liability Directive came into force and the Commission presented a proposal for a new Industrial Emissions Directive which extends the scope of the previous legislation and tightens emission limits. Important financial instruments for environment policy became operational, e.g. LIFE+ with a budget of € 2 143 million for the period 2007-13.

Further efforts needed for improving implementation

But while the policy framework is in place, implementation of EU environment legislation by Member States is often slow or incomplete. A majority of the open infringement cases concern bad application of EU environment law, but there are also cases concerning lack of, or improper transposition of directives. In 2008 and 2009 the Commission will step up its efforts to support Member States and their authorities on implementation, including through better information exchange, guidance and training. The Commission also decided to set out criteria for identifying infringement cases which need most immediate and intensive Commission legal action.

New impetus necessary to face global environmental challenges ahead

Three major challenges require urgent attention.


The current world economy is not sustainable. With growing populations and consumption demands, the global economy of the future will have to be cleaner, leaner and smarter. As an important step in this process, the Commission will shortly present an Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy. Its overall objective is to identify and overcome barriers to sustainable production and consumption that have either not been addressed yet or can be overcome by strengthening and better co-ordinating existing policies.

Climate change adaptation

Policy-makers have to address two distinct issues on climate change. The first is to limit temperature increases, and the EU is addressing this. But even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, the climate would still continue to change for many decades. So we need to adapt too in order to manage the unavoidable. Adaptation means e.g. finding ways to use water more efficiently, to develop crops that can tolerate drought and to strengthen coastal flood defences. In 2008, the Commission will present a White Paper on Adaptation which will examine ways to integrate adaptation principles into common policies.

Protection of biodiversity

Biodiversity loss presents a global threat, just as serious as climate change. In one way it is more worrying since there is no way to reverse extinction. Recent reports show that the EU target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 will not be achieved without additional efforts. In 2008, the Commission will therefore boost efforts for the full implementation of its Biodiversity Action Plan, for extending the Natura 2000 conservation network both in terrestrial and marine areas and will also further explore the value of biodiversity services within the process of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity launched at COP-9 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


The Environment Policy Review is accompanied by an Annex that contains more detailed analysis of the main developments in EU environment policy. It also includes recent findings, detailed statistical information and highlights from Member States´ environmental policy actions in 2007 and to come in the near future.

Press room - European Commission

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EU funding: Boosting Small and Medium Enterprises’ investment in research

Mercredi 25 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.
 EUREKA-EU research and development support programme for high-tech SMEs, financed by the Article 169 under FP 7 Capacities

European Commission welcomes the Council agreement on the “Eurostars” Programme

On Monday 23rd of June, the Council of Ministers agreed to provide EUR 100 million from the EU’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7) budget to Eurostars, a Research and Development (R&D) programme jointly set up by 31 countries to boost research capacities of Small and Medium-Sized companies (SMEs) in Europe. The EUR 100 million from FP7 will leverage at least EUR 300 million in public funding from the participating countries, resulting in a package of EUR 400 million for financing trans-national research partnerships driven research-performing SMEs in Europe.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik said: “Research-performing SMEs are the entrepreneurial stars of Europe. We have to join our efforts to support them in this task. The “Eurostars” programme is an excellent example of how Member States and the Commission can contribute to economic growth by reinforcing cooperation between their respective research programmes. Making it possible for SMEs to collaborate with the best European research teams, Eurostars will help them turn new ideas into successful businesses, and reinforce their competitive edge in knowledge and innovation – the cornerstones of our prosperity.”

Research-performing SMEs (i.e. companies capable to perform their own R&D) are crucial to the economic success of Europe in the global knowledge economy. With their flexible organisation, resolutely forward-looking strategies, and strong commitment to R&D, these SMEs are uniquely positioned to compete successfully in the global knowledge economy, seizing market opportunities and generating new jobs.

Eurostars provides a new, flexible and efficient tool specifically tailored to the needs of R&D- intensive SMEs. Based on Article 169 of the Treaty, the Commission has proposed to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament that the European Community participates in Eurostars with up to EUR 100 million from the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) budget. Following the approval of the European Parliament in April, this proposal was adopted by the Council today.

The integration of the national research and development programmes of the participating countries into a joint programme for research-performing SMEs further contributes to the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). This initiative adds to, and fully complements, existing actions in favour of SMEs in FP7. It also reinforces the cooperation between EUREKA[3] who will be managing the Eurostars programme, and the Community’s FP7.

The EUREKA Secretariat issues calls, receives project proposals, organises evaluation by independent experts, manages the Community contribution to the Joint Programme, and monitors progress of projects. The first such call (closed in February 2008) generated over 200 applications, demonstrating the high level of interest of the SME community.

Press Room - European Commission

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EU funding: Europe-wide truck tour brings anti-discrimination message to 20 cities

Vendredi 20 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for transnational projects, awareness raising and development of anti-discrimination strategies and policies

Commissioner Vladimír Špidla will tomorrow launch the 2008 ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination.’truck tour as part of the EU’s Europe-wide anti-discrimination information campaign.

The tour will kick off at the United Islands of Prague music festival (Czech Republic), where 20,000 visitors are expected – before going on to visit 20 cities in 10 different EU countries over the next four months. The initiative – now in its fifth year – aims to raise awareness of the right to a life free of discrimination and has so far reached half a million people.

The truck tour is one of the most popular activities under the ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination.’ campaign: an EU-wide information campaign launched in 2003 to raise awareness of discrimination and the legislation which exists to combat it, as well as to promote the benefits of diversity across the EU. By the end of the 2008 tour, the truck tour will have visited all Member States since it first set out in 2004 – details of routes. The Czech Republic has had three previous visits from the truck: Prague in 2004 and 2006 and Ostrava in 2004. This year Kacov (Sazavafest) will also host the truck.

The campaign aims in 2008 to build on the success of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, to which its activities last year were closely linked.

The 2008 truck tour will visit Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. Stopping in two cities per country, the truck will visit music, youth and film festivals, sporting events, universities and employment fairs, and bring together business, NGOs, musicians, artists and the general public to explore discrimination and diversity issues.

Other activities under the campaign in 2008 include the Journalist Award which will be launched in August. This award recognises the work of online and print journalists in the EU who, through their work, contribute to a better public understanding of the benefits of diversity and the fight against discrimination.

Press Room - European Commission

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EU reaches out to promote flexicurity approach in the Member States

Lundi 19 mai 2008

The European Commission today launched an initiative to help put the EU’s flexicurity approach – balancing flexibility in the job market with employment security for workers – into practice at national level

This ‘Mission for Flexicurity’ aims to reach out to workers, employers and others through a series of country visits over the next two months. The initiative follows a decision by Member States at the Informal Employment Council in Brdo in January 2008. It will kick off in France today, followed by events in Sweden, Finland, Poland and Spain. Results will be presented in December 2008.

The Mission for Flexicurity aims to raise awareness and understanding of the common principles of flexicurity agreed on at the EU Summit in December 2007 following a Commission Communication in June 2007, so as to aid their implementation in the Member States. The Mission will be led by Commissioner Špidla and Gérard Larcher, former French labour minister. It consists of seven members, including workers’ and employers’ representatives; the Slovene EU presidency; the forthcoming French presidency; and the Commission.

The team will visit five countries to discuss the state of play in implementing the flexicurity principles with all relevant stakeholders. The following Member States have volunteered to receive the Mission between May and July 2008: France (19 May); Sweden (2 June); Finland (6 June); Poland (23 June); Spain (date to be confirmed).

As part of a mutual learning perspective, these visits will also give the opportunity to other Member States, as well as to other relevant participants, to take part in the discussions. The timetable and progress reports following the country visits will appear on a dedicated Commission website.

The work of the Mission should help Member States to report as part of their National Reform Programmes in Autumn 2008 on national implementation of the flexicurity principles (so-called national ‘pathways’). To that end, the Mission will present a draft report in October 2008 to Employment Ministers followed by a final Report in December 2008, after having consulted the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the social partners and other stakeholders. This report will highlight the various policy approaches in the Member States and aim at proposing concrete suggestions to encourage the successful implementation of flexicurity policies.

What is flexicurity?

Flexicurity is a comprehensive approach to labour market policy which combines sufficient flexibility in contractual arrangements – to allow firms and employees to cope with change - with the provision of security for workers to stay in their job, or be able to find a new one quickly with the assurance of an adequate income in between jobs. This is possible through lifelong learning, active labour market policies and high levels of social protection.

In today’s labour markets, traditional kinds of job security are not always sustainable and do not always constitute the right solution; people change jobs more often, sometimes because they want to and sometimes because they have to. In this context, new kinds of security are needed, so that workers can change from one job to another job in a safe and successful way, and acquire new skills. Similarly, the different national contractual arrangements should ensure that companies can adapt to changing market circumstances, and that they are not inhibited from offering permanent employment because of the difficulties they might face should circumstances change and a workforce reduction be considered.

Press room - European Commission
  More information:
Mission for flexicurity website

Hübner welcomes Lombardy’s flair for innovation

Vendredi 16 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support for investment of economic public and private actors in order to reinforce competitiveness, attractivity of regions and employment

Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, visits Milan today to attend a launch event for Lombardy’s new 2007-2013 regional programme, which strongly features research and innovation

ombardy has an excellent research infrastructure, with a network of about 500 research centres. It includes many leading universities and institutes working at the cutting edge of new technologies. .

New regional programme

Lombardy will benefit from EU investment worth €211 million for its 2007-2013 programme. Half of this will be for research and innovation. The programme will also contribute to reducing carbon emissions by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. The region plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 000 tons per year by 2013. It will also encourage sustainable mobility reducing the environmental impact of transport, for instance, through car pooling, car sharing and road pricing. Disparities within the region will be addressed by improving the attractiveness of the more remote areas by developing their tourist, environmental and cultural potential. The programme also aims to secure access to broadband networks for the 8% of inhabitants and 50 000 firms in areas without it.

Project visits

The region benefited under the previous URBAN community initiative of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Commissioner Hübner will visit Villa Scheibler, in a deprived suburb of Milan. The country house and its surrounding park have been restored to their 18th century splendour and will start operating at the end of this month as a venue for exhibitions, an employment agency and an urban development agency (ERDF contribution of € 3.5 million).

Milan was recently chosen as the location for World Expo 2015, to be held in October of that year, with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. Commissioner Hübner will meet the city’s mayor Mrs Letizia Moratti, who will explain the impact of the event on the region’s development strategy. The city’s infrastructure will be improved with an extension to its subway network, and the Expo is expected to contribute to creating 70 000 new jobs, boosting sectors such as hotel, catering, taxi and commercial services. EU investment can support this development in line with the region’s new programme.

Note for editors

With its central location, the region will also play an important role in territorial cooperation programmes. It has been appointed as the Managing Authority for the cross-border programme between Italy and Switzerland, involving an EU contribution of €69 million. In the previous programming period, the two countries cooperated on the “Insubrinet” project, which consisted of an optical fibre network connection among the universities and research centres in the Insubric Region. In 2007-13, Lombardy will also take part in four transnational programmes: “Med”, “Central Europe”, “South East Europe” and “Alpine Space”.


EU listens to people experiencing poverty to help improve their lives

Vendredi 16 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the overall Community programme for employment and social solidarity actions
 Grants for transnational projects focusing a better understanding of social exclusion, poverty and social protection
 Grants supporting the operating costs of European NGOs primarily active in the fight against discrimination, social exclusion, poverty, racism, promoting of gender equality and integration of disabled people and Roma people

Around 200 Europeans on the front line of the battle against social exclusion will today meet EU and national policy makers in Brussels for a direct dialogue

They will discuss issues ranging from minimum income to housing, social services and services of general interest. The annual event aims to include marginal groups in the process of seeking solutions and building policies to improve their lives.

Poverty and exclusion remain significant challenges in the European Union, with 16% of the population at risk of poverty. The EU’s latest Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion emphasised that social protection reforms and active inclusion policies have contributed to higher growth and more jobs in Europe over the past year. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that the benefits of an improved economic framework reach those at the margins of society and improve social cohesion.

The EU’s Open Method of Coordination provides a framework for action by Member States by promoting the development of national strategies and policy coordination between Member States on poverty and social exclusion issues. Participation by actors such as NGOs, social partners and local and regional authorities is an important part of this process.

Today’s event will welcome over 200 participants, including delegations of people experiencing poverty from 27 countries, together with representatives of national governments, EU institutions and European NGOs. The event, which will continue tomorrow, is jointly organised together with the Slovene Presidency of the EU and the European Anti-Poverty Network.

  More information:
DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities