Articles taggés avec ‘France’

EU Funding: EU doing its share to ensure a successful Olympics

Lundi 28 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Technical assistance to develop cooperation networks between China and Europe in the field of environmental and energy management

In the run up to the Olympics, China’s authorities now have the resources to monitor air pollution and overall help in the battle to keep it under control; all thanks to the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA)

Working on behalf of the ESA, the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) installed a High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB). The system, now operational, allows authorities to finally monitor the levels of pollution in Beijing and ensure that measures to improve air quality in the city are being followed.

Air quality is a serious concern for both the hosts and visitors as poor quality could hamper athletes’ performance, especially of those competing in outdoors endurance events such as cycling and marathons.

The main source of air pollution in Beijing is emissions from automobiles. In order to reduce emissions from this source, authorities announced certain restrictions on car use, such as banning cars with high emissions and allowing privately owned cars to be driven on alternate days. The impact of these regulations will hopefully lead to a decrease of 50% of Beijing’s 3.5 million vehicles on the roads.

The High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System is one way that authorities can check to see if these regulations are being implemented and whether they are having the desired impact.

The Vice Director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, Li Kunsheng, went on the record to say that he welcomed the installation of the new system. He also added that he looked forward to it becoming an important tool for forecasting air quality in Beijing taking account of the effects of air pollution management measures including those being implemented for the Olympic Games.

The system works by combining information from weather forecasts, regional air quality forecasts and detailed local pollution source data and then inputting this raw data into a complex mathematical model. From this model, air quality forecasts are able to be made twice a day at 7am and 7pm. These forecasts are then made available on the Beijing Air Quality website. For those who want to be updated no matter where they are, they can also subscribe to email alerts and selected individuals will also be able to receive text message bulletins.

Forecasts are made for three days ahead. Users can choose to view maps of different pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, or ozone, separately or to view the total health index with all pollutants combined.

These forecasts are made available thanks to DRAGON 2 programme. DRAGON is a joint undertaking between ESA and the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC), an organisation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China. Its aim is to encourage increased exploitation of ESA and Chinese Earth Observation (EO) satellite data within China.


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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.

European Parliament

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EU funding: Young People - Agents of Intercultural Dialogue

Lundi 7 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for actions promoting intercultural dialogue and a citizenship citizenship respectful of cultural diversity

Meeting of youth representative groups from the European Union in Marseilles from 5 to 9 July.

This European youth event aims to foster dialogue between young people and policy makers on all levels. It highlights the importance placed by public authorities on involving young people in the decisions affecting them and achieving their full participation in society.

As part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 (EYID), this youth event takes place during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and revolves around intercultural dialogue and “young people’s role as agents of intercultural dialogue”.

The event will take place in Marseilles from 5 to 9 July 2008.
Some 150 national youth delegates will attend from 50 different countries including Member States of the European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and countries around the Mediterranean. They will be joined by representatives of European associations, a delegation from the European Youth Forum and a number of experts.

Five issues will be addressed:
1) Intercultural dialogue on a daily level,
2) Youth involvement in intercultural dialogue,
3) Measures accompanying as part of the intercultural dialogue process,
4) Challenges and opportunities for intercultural dialogue: focus on mobility,
5) Tools and communication in the different fields of intercultural dialogue.

The conclusions from discussions between young people will be recorded and presented to policy makers in a plenary session on 9 July. The 27 Directors-General, the European Commissioner for Youth, the French Minister for Health, Youth, Sport and the Voluntary Sector and the Secretary of State for Sport, Youth and theVoluntary Sector will attend the presentation in the Palais du Pharo. This event is intended to provide political leaders with food for thought and help them draft domestic and European youth policies.

French Presidency

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EU Funding: Emin Gjiku Cultural Complex of the Museum of Kosovo

Vendredi 13 juin 2008

The European Agency for Reconstruction has provided EC funds for the recently completed rehabilitation works which have restored one 18th century guesthouse building back to its original state

The Emin-Gjiku complex of houses is one of the best examples of 18th century Kosovo architecture left in Pristina. Emin-Gjiku is an ancillary ethnographic and cultural centre of the Museum of Kosovo. The European Agency for Reconstruction has provided EC funds for the recently completed rehabilitation works which have restored one 18th century guesthouse building back to its original state. It is intended to give local and international visitors an idea of domestic lifestyle in Kosovo over two centuries ago.

The general objective of the rehabilitation programme was to revive and draw attention to Kosovo’s cultural heritage as a way to promote interest in culture and building heritage and promote links between Kosovo’s cultural institutions and European cultural networks.

This project benefited from the EU support provided through the European Agency for Reconstruction and by the French NGO “Patrimone Sans Frontières” (PSF). The EAR funded rehabilitation, while PSF provided professional supervision.

The European Union, through the European Agency for Reconstruction, has contributed substantially to the restoration of historical buildings in Kosovo. It has already managed the completed restoration of five kullas (Albanian castle-houses), in the municipalities of Deçan/Decane and Pejë/Pec, and historical Ottoman house known as Gospodarska Kuca-Saraj in the Serb village of Hoca e Madhe/Velika Hoca, an important part of Kosovo’s cultural heritage, the Konak and dormitory in Deçan/Decane monastery and the ongoing reconstruction of the seminary and archbishop’s residence in Prizren/Prizren.

European Agency for Reconstruction

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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