Articles taggés avec ‘European Parliament’

EU Funding: EU film support programme’s first global steps trigger interest

Mercredi 27 août 2008

Cooperation with the European film industry is in strong demand around the globe

 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support programme for the European audiovisual sector

The results of the first call for projects of a new EU initiative, the MEDIA International Preparatory Action, show a lot of interest from audiovisual professionals around the world in working with Europe’s film and audiovisual sector. The EU will provide nearly €2 million of funding for 18 projects involving partners from Canada, Latin America, India, China, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Bosnia, Turkey and Georgia. The projects include joint training of film professionals, reciprocal promotion of films and cooperation between cinema networks. This could set the stage for a broader EU film cooperation programme called MEDIA MUNDUS, coming in 2011.

Of 33 applications received in the first MEDIA International call for projects, the European Commission has selected 18 proposals to receive funding for continuous training of audiovisual professionals, the promotion and distribution of cinematographic works and the development of cinema networks. 11 projects deal with continuous training through partnerships with Latin America, India, Canada, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia covering films, TV shows, animation, documentaries and videogames. For example, the Cartoon Connection project will organise a joint training on developing and financing international co-produced cartoons for professionals from the EU, Latin America and Canada. Primexchange is a workshop for authors and producers from India and Europe on financing and marketing audiovisual works, with special focus on digital technologies.

The six projects selected by the Commission for promotion of audiovisual works focus on boosting co-production, which can help companies access foreign funding and new markets. For example, the European Producers’ Club will organise co-production workshops in China and India and invite local producers to two major forums in Europe. The DOMLA project will organise a documentary month, releasing 12 European documentaries in Chile and vice versa distributing Latin-American documentaries in Europe. The Paris project is a co-production event for European, Japanese and South-Korean producers.

Finally, MEDIA International will support the first international network of cinemas, coordinated by Europa Cinemas, including 230 cinemas in Europe and 148 cinemas from the rest of the world (10 in Brazil, 7 in South Korea, 6 in Japan and Argentina).

The proposals accepted today are part of a Preparatory Action called MEDIA International, for which the European Parliament voted a budget of €2 million last December. It aims to explore ways of reinforcing cooperation between European and third country professionals from the audiovisual industry. MEDIA International will run for up to three years and is also designed to pave the way for a broader MEDIA MUNDUS programme.

In the context of a public online consultation on this future programme, a public hearing was held in Brussels on 25 June 2008. The French Presidency of the EU held the Cinema, Europe, World colloquium on 8 July to reinforce EU external audiovisual action. On the basis of these contributions, the Commission will decide before the end of 2008 on a proposal for a MEDIA MUNDUS programme.

Background:

The existing MEDIA 2007 programme will provide €755 million to Europe’s audiovisual industry from 2007-2013, helping professionals get training and develop, distribute and promote their works around Europe.

This May, four MEDIA-funded films won prestigious awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Palme d’Or (Entre Les Murs, France) and the Grand Prix du Jury (Gomorra, Italy). They were among 14 films screened at Cannes developed or distributed with the support of over €900 000 from MEDIA. MEDIA-supported films had already triumphed at the Academy Awards, with Oscars for The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher/Austria-Germany) and La Vie en Rose (La Môme/France).

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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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.

 
  Source:
EU Council

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EU Funding: Commission gives Golden Stars to 12 citizenship projects

Mardi 22 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants to support organisations working in the field of active European citizenship and to the promotion civic participation

The European Commission has selected 12 civic participation projects that encourage action and debate on EU issues at the grass-roots level

Later this year, these projects will be awarded the “Golden Stars of active European citizenship” in a prize ceremony in Brussels, hosted by Commissioner Jan Figel. The 2008 Golden Stars are awarded as part of the Europe for Citizens programme, and give official recognition to initiatives that showcase cooperation, effective working methods and tangible results in the area of civic participation. The winning projects involve participants from 22 EU Member States.

The task of identifying this year’s winners was trusted to an external jury, composed of seven members, and chaired by Mr. Hannu Takkula, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chairman of the EP Committee on Culture and Education. Members in the jury included Mrs. Brenda King from the European Economic and Social Committee and Mr. Keith Walters from the Committee of the Regions.

The Golden Stars are awarded each year under the Europe for Citizens programme, which focuses on organised civil society and at a wider, grass-roots audience. This main EU programme in the field of active citizenship is designed to enhance citizen involvement in the construction of Europe; to this end, a budget of some € 27 million is available for the year 2008.

The Golden Stars award ceremony will take place on 13 November 2008, in Brussels. It will be open to the public upon registration.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU funding: All-inclusive air fares just around the corner as MEP back legislation on transparency

Mercredi 9 juillet 2008

Air travellers will soon be able to see at a glance exactly what they have to pay for their tickets, as Parliament approved new EU rules.

Air fares as displayed will have to include all taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket price and known at the time of publication. Parliament approved a deal on this legislation reached with the Council, as it takes on board the EP’s key first-reading amendments.
The price you actually have to pay

Booking via Internet - often the only possibility with low-cost air carriers - is a particular concern. Under the EU regulation, all carriers will in future have to provide the general public with comprehensive information, “including on the Internet,” on their air fares. Air fares that are “addressed directly to the travelling public” will have to include all applicable taxes, non-avoidable charges, surcharges and fees known at the time of publication.

The following information, at least, must be specified: air fare or air rate, taxes, airport charges and other charges, surcharges or fees, such as those related to security or fuel. Optional price supplements must be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of any booking process and their acceptance by the consumer must be on an “opt-in basis”.

Security taxes and charges

With security charges on the rise, MEPs successfully argued that the consumer has a right to know how high these costs are, and what they are used for. Where airport or on-board security costs are included in the price of an air ticket, these costs will have to be shown separately on the ticket or otherwise indicated to the passenger. And, whether levied by the Member States or by air carriers or other entities, security taxes and charges must be transparent and be used exclusively to meet airport or onboard aircraft security costs.

A wide-ranging regulation

The new rules on transparency of air fares are part of a regulation which updates existing EU legislation on a range of matters to do with the operation of air transport services in the Community.

Among other things, it aims to establish a level playing field for leasing aircraft and to clarify who has administrative responsibility for revoking or suspending licences.

In addition, stricter controls on the financial situation of airlines should ensure that, if a carrier is on the verge of going bankrupt, passengers’ rights can be safeguarded.

Moreover, Member States must now ensure the proper application of Community and national employment legislation to employees of any Community carrier operating air services from an operational base outside the Member State where that carrier has its principal place of business. In the past, the use of bases outside the country of origin has made it difficult to determine which territory’s employment laws apply to crews.

The new regulation should enter into force later this year or early next year.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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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.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU funding: MEPs adopt legislation on higher safety standards for road infrastructure

Vendredi 20 juin 2008

MEPs adopted a legislative report on a directive to upgrade road safety management standards.

The aim is to establish EU-wide standards on road infrastructure management. Safety standards for roads, in particular in road design maintenance, differ greatly between the Member States. The Directive requires the establishment and implementation of rules relating to road safety impact assessments, road safety audits, the management of road network safety and safety inspections by the Member States.
To raise standards, the draft directive provides for impact assessments of the effect of road building on safety, safety audits and inspections, and improved safety in the existing road network. This would include the identification of high-risk road sections as well as the use of intelligent road signs and intelligent transport systems and telematics services for emergency and signage purposes.

The EP Transport Committee initially rejected the draft directive outright, on the grounds that it risked creating too much red tape and that this area was best dealt with at national level.

EP negotiators have now reached an agreement reached with the Council, which the House endorsed in Strasbourg. The EP rapporteur is Helmuth Markov (GUE/NGL, DE) and was adopted with 498 votes in favour, 8 against and 6 abstentions.

The substance of the legislation is contained in the annexes to the directive but, under the compromise, these will be non-binding on Member States. Thus, the directive will in effect not lay down any major substantive requirements but rather serve as a set of guidelines for Member States on how to manage road infrastructure safety.

Road signs

MEPs say that Member States must ensure that signs are in place to warn road users of road infrastructure segments that are undergoing repairs and which may thus jeopardise the safety of road users. These signs must also include signs visible during both day and night time and set up at a safe distance.

Roadside parking

Parliament underlines that sufficient roadside parking areas are very important not only for crime prevention but also for road safety. Parking areas enable drivers to take rest breaks in good time and continue their journey with full concentration. The provision of sufficient safe parking areas should therefore form an integral part of road infrastructure safety management.

The rapporteur and on behalf of the EPP-ED, PES, ALDE, EUL/NGL and Greens/EFA tabled a range of amendments on assessments and audits, on sufficient roadside parking areas in order to promote crime prevention, and on the use of uniform signs EU-wide in order to warn road users of road infrastructure segments undergoing repairs.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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Eu funding: Civil society meets for climate change Agora

Mardi 10 juin 2008

If you are worried about climate change, then a conference taking place at the European Parliament this Thursday and Friday may be of interest.

Known as an “Agora” after places of assembly in Greek city-states, the meeting brings together over 500 people - NGOs, climate experts and international experts to join MEPs in debating ways to combat climate change. The issue is a crucial one for the European Parliament as it will be required to legislate on EU-wide measures to reduce CO2 emissions.
The point of the Agora is for the views and proposals of members of civil society to be fully heard as the EU attempts to set out carbon reducing measures. Opened by EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering, Thursday morning will be devoted to setting out the state of play of international negotiations in reaching a post-Kyoto agreement. In December last year the international community agreed a “road map” setting out the way forward when Kyoto expires in 2012.

Debates and workshops to determine way forward

Among the speakers will be European Commission President José Manuel Barroso who will outline the climate change package aiming to reduce Europe’s Greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020. Italian MEP Guido Sacconi (PSE) and Karl-Heinz Florenz (EPP-ED) will present the interim report of the special committee on climate change. Also speaking will be leading American intellectual Jeremy Rifkin who has long advocated policies to reduce climate change.

Thursday afternoon and Friday will see delegates divided into workshops on resources, techniques, solidarity, economics and governance.

* Natural resources and biodiversity
* Research, innovation and technologies
* Ethical questions related to climate change in particular that of solidarity;
* Economics, trade and development.
* Education, political and practical participation of consumers and citizens in relation to climate protection.

On Friday afternoon the results from the working groups will be presented in a plenary of the Agora and final recommendations will be agreed. All of the debates will be available live on the EP website on Thursday and Friday - making it possible to watch the Agora live wherever you are.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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Eu funding : Soaring food prices: investment in agriculture needed in developing countries

Lundi 26 mai 2008

In adopting a resolution on rising food prices in the EU and the developing countries, MEPs say that priority should be given to investment in agriculture, aquaculture, rural development and agribusinesses in developing countries.

Fairer international trade rules and an assessment of the effects of speculation on food prices are also underlined by MEPs. On agro-fuels, the Parliament wants production to be linked to strong sustainability criteria and to see second‑generation bioenergy developed.

Right to food

The EP reaffirms the right to food and the need to improve access for all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Two billion people still live in dire poverty and 850 million human beings are hungry daily. The resolution was adopted with 485 votes in favour 52 against and 7 abstentions.

The Council should step up its commitments to the Millennium Development Goals by adopting an EU MDG Agenda for Action at the June European Council. The House invites the Commission to analyse the effect of speculation on food prices and to come up with appropriate measures.

Sustainable food production

Analysing the discrepancies between farmgate prices and those charged by the major retailers should be done by Commission and the Member States. An impact assessment of the role of retailers in the food chain, as retail food prices is also called by MEPs.

The current EU cereal stocks would last only 30 days, and questions whether our food stocks are at the right level, says the resolution which calls for better forecasting of agricultural output.

Priority needs to be given to food over fuels and biofuel production should be linked to strong sustainability criteria. The House accepts that EU subsidisation of crops intended for biofuel production is no longer justified, but emphasises that only 2-3% of EU agricultural land is currently being used for this kind of production and media reports blaming biofuels for the current food crisis are exaggerated as far as the EU is concerned.

MEPs call on the Commission and the Member States to do more to promote the use and production of second‑generation bio-energy.

The current crisis demands an immediate and thorough discussion among the EU institutions and the Member States on the role that modern biotechnology can play in ensuring the continued production of food at reasonable prices, says the resolution.

Better development policies

The House calls for an urgent and substantial increase in investment in agriculture, aquaculture, rural development and agribusinesses in developing countries, focused on poor farmers and small‑scale farming. 75% of the world’s poor population lives in rural areas, but that only 4% of official development assistance (ODA) is dedicated to agriculture.

Small farmers in poor countries, who are mainly women, need to have access to land, financial services and credit, high-yield seeds, irrigation systems and fertilisers, says the resolution. MEPs call on the EIB to investigate possibilities for the immediate setting up of a guarantee fund in support of national micro-credit and loan schemes and risk-hedging schemes that operate close to the needs of local food producers.

EU Member States and the international community are asked to meet the extraordinary emergency appeal of the World Food Programme to assist it in facing up to the new challenges in the fight against hunger.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

Eu funding : Soaring food prices: investment in agriculture needed in developing countries

Lundi 26 mai 2008

In adopting a resolution on rising food prices in the EU and the developing countries, MEPs say that priority should be given to investment in agriculture, aquaculture, rural development and agribusinesses in developing countries.

Fairer international trade rules and an assessment of the effects of speculation on food prices are also underlined by MEPs. On agro-fuels, the Parliament wants production to be linked to strong sustainability criteria and to see second‑generation bioenergy developed.

Right to food

The EP reaffirms the right to food and the need to improve access for all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Two billion people still live in dire poverty and 850 million human beings are hungry daily. The resolution was adopted with 485 votes in favour 52 against and 7 abstentions.

The Council should step up its commitments to the Millennium Development Goals by adopting an EU MDG Agenda for Action at the June European Council. The House invites the Commission to analyse the effect of speculation on food prices and to come up with appropriate measures.

Sustainable food production

Analysing the discrepancies between farmgate prices and those charged by the major retailers should be done by Commission and the Member States. An impact assessment of the role of retailers in the food chain, as retail food prices is also called by MEPs.

The current EU cereal stocks would last only 30 days, and questions whether our food stocks are at the right level, says the resolution which calls for better forecasting of agricultural output.

Priority needs to be given to food over fuels and biofuel production should be linked to strong sustainability criteria. The House accepts that EU subsidisation of crops intended for biofuel production is no longer justified, but emphasises that only 2-3% of EU agricultural land is currently being used for this kind of production and media reports blaming biofuels for the current food crisis are exaggerated as far as the EU is concerned.

MEPs call on the Commission and the Member States to do more to promote the use and production of second‑generation bio-energy.

The current crisis demands an immediate and thorough discussion among the EU institutions and the Member States on the role that modern biotechnology can play in ensuring the continued production of food at reasonable prices, says the resolution.

Better development policies

The House calls for an urgent and substantial increase in investment in agriculture, aquaculture, rural development and agribusinesses in developing countries, focused on poor farmers and small‑scale farming. 75% of the world’s poor population lives in rural areas, but that only 4% of official development assistance (ODA) is dedicated to agriculture.

Small farmers in poor countries, who are mainly women, need to have access to land, financial services and credit, high-yield seeds, irrigation systems and fertilisers, says the resolution. MEPs call on the EIB to investigate possibilities for the immediate setting up of a guarantee fund in support of national micro-credit and loan schemes and risk-hedging schemes that operate close to the needs of local food producers.

EU Member States and the international community are asked to meet the extraordinary emergency appeal of the World Food Programme to assist it in facing up to the new challenges in the fight against hunger.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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.

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