Articles taggés avec ‘funding’

Eu funding : Agriculture Ministers Discuss Pesticides Regulation and High Food Prices

Mardi 20 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for research projects about climate change, pressure from growing human activity and prevention of risks on environment and health
 Grants for research projects concerning sustainable management, production and use of biological resources, through life sciences and biotechnology

At the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, chaired by Slovenian Agriculture Minister Iztok Jarc, EU Ministers discussed the proposal for a Regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market

Mr Jarc gave a report on the progress achieved by the Slovenian Presidency on this dossier, and returned the dossier to the working level. The Ministers also discussed high agricultural product and food prices and the possibility of adopting additional measures to stabilise agricultural markets.

The compromise proposal for a Regulation prepared by the Presidency includes a number of provisions protecting the health of humans, animals and the environment. The Regulation encourages the replacement of the most hazardous plant protection products by safer alternatives; in the event of specific national environmental protection or agro-technological circumstances, Member States will be able to reject the registration of certain products or restrict their use; professional users and producers of plant protection products will be required to keep records of the use of these products; the Regulation will also prevent the duplication of tests on vertebrates.

Mr Jarc also stressed the importance of defining the criteria for the approval of active substances, in which their impact on the long-term food supply in the European Union should be considered.

Due to the fact that the Regulation has been discussed in the Council and in the European Parliament almost two years it is necessary to ensure an early implementation of the reform in the pesticide field. The Presidency will return the dossier for discussion at the Council working level, so that appropriate solutions to unresolved issues may be found.

Debate on high food prices

On the basis of the Presidency report, the Agriculture Ministers discussed the high prices of agricultural products and food. In its discussion paper, the Presidency points to the reasons for the high food prices, such as climatic change, with frequent extreme weather phenomena, the increasing demand for food in developing countries, the growing world population, the production of biofuels and rising energy product prices.

Last year, under the common agricultural policy (CAP), the EU adopted specific short-term measures to reduce prices in the EU, such as increasing the volume of arable land by abolishing mandatory set-aside, increasing milk production quotas for 2008, reducing buffer stocks and export refunds and suspending import duties on almost all cereals.

In the current ‘health check’ of the common agricultural policy, the options being considered are: permanently abolishing the set-aside requirement, gradually abolishing milk quotas by 2015, adjusting market price aid in the cereal sector, and making the transition from support for energy plants to more effective solutions to bolster the bio-energy sector – without, however, adversely impacting on the production of foodstuffs and feedingstuffs – including the production of second-generation biofuels.

Climate change research

At their working lunch, the ministers discussed the contribution of research towards adapting the agricultural sector to climate change. The meeting was also attended by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel, and the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik. The Presidency has drawn up a discussion paper, pointing up questions relating to the need for this kind of research and additional funding, exchanges of experience between Member States and transfers of knowledge to farmers, as well as the suitability of proposed solutions in the context of the review of the common agricultural policy.

 
  Source:
EU Slovenian Presidency

EU funding : The 37 partner countries participating in the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue Night – May 22

Mardi 20 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support to projects bringing people and organizations from both shores of the Mediterranean closer to each other and to help bridging the gap between them

Groups and individuals in 37 countries (EU member states and Mediterranean Partner Countries), will unite in a unique, common event for the promotion of dialogue and coexistence on Thursday May 22nd

The Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue Night is developed by the Anna Lindh Foundation, its Network and partners including Ministries of Culture, the European Commission and COPPEM network of regional and local authorities. The event will take place exactly one week before the first Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Culture meeting, to be held in Greece, where its results will be presented.

Activities planned include public debates, music concerts, theatre performances with local artists and food festivals where different communities come together. The main objective is to offer the public a cultural and pleasant experience to understand their neighbour better and develop a sense of curiosity towards the other.

Dialogue Night is one of the key events organized in the framework of the ‘1001 Actions’ campaign initiated by the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation and its network of over one thousand civil society organizations. The campaign aims at the mobilization of people and actions dedicated to the promotion of mutual knowledge and respect in the region, and runs throughout 2008, which has been designated Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

The Anna Lindh Foundation, for the dialogue between cultures, is resourced by and reporting to the governments of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and acting as a network of civil society organizations working for dialogue in the region.

 
  Source:
EuroMed Info Centre
 
  More information:
Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue Night website

EU funding : Young People and Tobacco – Show and Share Your Idea!

Lundi 19 mai 2008
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants awarded via the programme of Community action of public health

This competition was launched by the European Commission’s Health & Consumer Protection Directorate (DG SANCO) in partnership with the European Youth Forum (YFJ) to involve young Europeans (aged 15 to 35) on matters affecting their health and well-being

Create a video, photo or comic strip to reduce smoking across Europe and to encourage a life without tobacco. The materials produced will support the positive aspect of a life without tobacco. Young people´s empowerment and involvement in issues affecting their health and well-being should be underlined. There are four categories: best video, best “candid camera”, best photo, best comic strip.

Deadline: 30 June 2008.

 
  Source:
European Youth Portal
 
  More information:
‘Young People and Tobacco’ contest website

Good headway being made on entrepreneurship key competence

Lundi 19 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Assistance to the Candidate countries to support their progressive compliance with EU rules and policies, including the acquis communautaire if necessary, in preparation for their accession

The ETF has just completed an interim assessment of the EU’s pre-accession countries’ performance on the human resource dimensions of the European Charter for Small Enterprise. Three countries in particular stand out for their efforts in promoting entrepreneurship as a key competence

Firstly, Montenegro has elaborated a national entrepreneurial learning strategy which is expected to go for Government approval in late spring 2008. The strategy covers all parts of the education system and is intended to provide a comprehensive framework for lifelong entrepreneurial learning development with a particular emphasis given to key competence development. While the strategy awaits adoption, however, the education authorities have already moved on introducing the key competence within some 38% of secondary schools with where teachers have been trained and new pedagogic-didactic materials introduced. Lola Radulović of the SME authority underlines the wider value of the entrepreneurship key competence, ‘employers need enterprising workers, people who are spot opportunities and who are not frightened of taking an initiative’, she says.

Serbia is also forging ahead with key competence development but specifically in the vocational training areas e.g. agriculture, mechanical engineering and health care with additional occupational areas to be included in 2008 (e.g. electrical engineering, tourism). These developments follow the adoption of the national vocational training strategy adopted in late 2006 and demonstrate a commitment by the Belgrade authorities to see through the reforms outlined in the strategy.

For its part, Kosovo has elaborated an entrepreneurial learning strategy which covers all parts of the education system, where the entrepreneurship key competence is a primary pillar to envisaged reforms. Kosovo has additionally defined a series of standards for entrepreneurial learning to ensure appropriateness of the teaching and learning processes.

Meanwhile, two neighbouring countries have taken important steps to address the key competence policy concerns. Croatia is revisiting its national curriculum strategy with a view to incorporating the key competence provisions within pre-school, primary and secondary education. And fYR of Macedonia has signalled intentions to move forward strategically on key competence developments with a specific request for support from the European Union through its IPA Programme. This will build upon harder entrepreneurship knowledge and skills promotion which is now mandatory for all secondary level schooling.

Reflecting on the key competence developments of the four countries, Anthony Gribben points to good policy motivation by the countries to accommodate the education guidelines within the SME Policy Index.

The ETF works with the European Commission (Directorate General for Enterprise & Industry), OECD and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is supporting the EU pre-accession region in meeting the policy requirements of the European Charter for Small Enterprise.

 
  Source:
Education and Training Agency (ETF)

ICT to the rescue of Europe’s carbon footprint

Vendredi 16 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for research projects to develop products, service and process innovation and creativity through the use of ICT for citizens, businesses, industry and governments
 Grants for the development of an inclusive information society and more efficient and effective services in areas of public interest, and improvement of quality of life

The European Commission has adopted a communication outlining the role that information and communication technologies (ICT) should play in improving energy efficiency and reducing Europe’s carbon footprint

Much of the focus is on the need for reinforced ICT research to improve the efficiency of computer components, as well as Europe’s power grids, homes, buildings and lighting systems.

This latest communication, entitled ‘Addressing the challenge of energy efficiency through Information and Communication Technologies’, fits into the overall goal of the European Union to transform itself into a low-carbon, high energy-efficiency economy. To do so requires decoupling continued economic growth with energy consumption. It is estimated that if nothing changes, EU energy consumption will rise by 25% by 2012, resulting in a substantial increase in greenhouse gases.

To kick start this process, the Commission calls for research into improving the energy efficiency of several specific areas, starting with ICT itself. Research should therefore focus on new ICT technologies and applications that have a high potential for energy efficiency, as well as on reducing the energy intensity of current ICT technologies and components, including computer displays and power electronics.

Putting ICT to work to better manage Europe’s power grid is also highlighted in the Commission document. The energy transformation sector, dominated by electricity generation, uses around one-third of all primary energy. To make energy savings, research actions will concentrate on cross-cutting disciplines, such as hardware components, monitoring and control, the management of complex power systems, intelligent metering and distributing generation. These actions could be further supported, suggests the Commission, by an exchange of good practices and large-scale pilots on ICT-enabled distributed generation systems.

More than 40% of Europe’s energy consumption is building-related. Given that the greatest savings are to be made in residential and commercial buildings, the Commission suggests that research should focus on energy management systems for both new and old buildings. These energy management systems, which include smart metering and advanced visualisation, can continuously gather data on what is taking place in a building and how its equipment is operating, feeding it into a cognitive control system to optimise energy performance. By heightening energy consumption awareness, the Commission expects that these systems will stimulate behavioural changes both in households and businesses.

It is estimated that about one fifth of the world’s electricity consumption is for lighting, presenting a major potential for savings. Research into smarter indoor, outdoor and street lighting will therefore also be encouraged by the Commission. A promising area already under development is organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which can be used for large scale lighting. These have the advantage of possessing a uniformly diffuse-emitting surface, while remaining very energy-efficient and environmentally safe.

Playing a central role in meeting these research goals will be the Seventh Framework Programme, as well as national research programmes, says the Commission. Furthermore, support should be given for the deployment of the results of this research through national and regional programmes, the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and other relevant operational programmes.

 
  Source:
Cordis
 
  More information:
IP/08/733 Commission communication

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”.

 
  Source:

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

Sport - MEPs back a fair playing field

Jeudi 15 mai 2008

Tougher rules on doping and fairer distribution of TV rights are among the measures backed by MEPs in response to a White Paper on sport drafted by the European Commission

They don’t want quotas for foreign footballers playing in Europe’s domestic leagues, but they do want home grown local talent to be encouraged. The importance of local sports clubs, the economic impact of sport and the employment of an estimated 15 million people in that field are also recognised.
The report, drawn up by Greek MEP Manolis Mavrommatis of the centre-right EPP-ED bloc, notes that 60% of people in the European Union take part regularly in some form of sporting activity. Given this it says the health and educational aspects should be encouraged. The report also says sport should be supported in next year’s budget, especially as the new Lisbon Treaty specifically recognises its importance.

Free-to-air principle supported

TV rights are the biggest source of revenue for all professional sports and MEPs are keen to ensure that the money is not concentrated in the hands of a few. In particular they support the drawing up of a list of major sporting events that should always be on free to air television in the belief that people have a right to watch them. Also in terms of funding, MEPs want national lottery funds given to a variety of sports.

The report calls for the rules of international sporting bodies like the FIFA - the governing body of football - to be respected. This includes a ban on the transfer of players aged under 16 within the EU and the principle that players should sign their first professional contract with the club that has trained them.

Finally, the report says professional sport should never lead to a “muscle drain” from poorer countries to wealthier ones.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Parliament

Europeans unlock puzzle of centuries-old methane question

Jeudi 15 mai 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.
 Grants for research projects about climate change, pressure from growing human activity and prevention of risks on environment and health

Ice cores play a major role in climate research because they act as a historical point of reference, enabling researchers to take direct measurements of the atmospheric composition and greenhouse gas concentrations of the past

From its drilling, the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), has obtained for the first time key information on changes in methane levels. The EU provided € 8.5 million in funding for the work, the findings of which were recently published in the journal Nature.

Under the programme, the EPICA researchers drilled and assessed the ice core, located at Dronning Maud Land in the Atlantic sector of Antarctica. Their analyses were then compared with those taken from an ice core in North Greenland.

The data obtained gave the team the information they needed to identify the most significant processes responsible for changes in natural methane concentrations during the transition from the last ice age to our warm period. The findings show that wetland regions emitted less methane during glacial times, while forest fire activity remained constant from glacial to interglacial times.

The work conducted by EPICA provides insight into natural changes in the atmospheric concentrations of CH4 - otherwise known as the greenhouse gas methane. This is the first glacial/interglacial record of the carbon isotopic composition of methane, thus providing key information on the sources that triggered the CH4 concentration changes.

The data showed that glacial concentrations totalled on average 350 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) and increased to some 700 ppbv during the last glacial/interglacial transition. Human methane emissions also artificially boosted CH4 concentrations to around 1,750 ppbv over the last few centuries.

The researchers developed an analytical method enabling changes in the isotopic ratio of 12CH4 and 13CH4 in ice core samples to be quantified. This ratio gave the researchers insight into the methane sources responsible for the changes.

Temperatures in continental Antarctica are much lower than those found in Greenland, the largest island in the world, located between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. A challenge for the EPICA team was working in unexplored regions that called for extensive meteorological and geophysical work to pick drill sites.

EPICA was one of this year’s winners of the Descartes Prize for Research for its work in retrieving past climate records. Thanks to this research, temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations up to the last 800,000 years could be measured.

 
  Source:
Cordis
 
  More information:
European Science Foundation website

20 May: European Maritime Day set up by European institutions

Jeudi 15 mai 2008

The European Union has decided to celebrate the achievements and potential of Europe’s ocean and seas by declaring 20 May as a dedicated “European Maritime Day”

The official launch ceremony will be held in Strasbourg, where Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Janez Janša and the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering will sign a Joint Tripartite Declaration. European Maritime Day will provide an occasion to highlight the crucial role that oceans and seas play in the everyday life not only of coastal communities, but of all EU citizens, and for Europe’s sustainable growth and jobs at large. Based on a proposal from the Commission, this dedicated Maritime Day will also encourage better stewardship of coastal zones, seas and oceans by all citizens and actors concerned.

The Commission hopes that citizens and stakeholders living and working in Europe’s maritime regions will seize this occasion to showcase their contribution to the EU as a whole, and to stimulate broad debate around the challenges they face

The first ever European Maritime Day on 20th May 2008 will see the European Parliament vote on a report on the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy. The report highlights, inter alia, the exceptional maritime dimension conferred on the EU by its extensive coastline, islands and outermost regions. It also underlines the unique opportunities offered by the maritime sector as regards innovation, research, environment and biodiversity, calling for these to be fully taken into account in the emerging Integrated Maritime Policy. Furthermore, the report stresses how the involvement of regional and local partners is essential to making a success of the maritime policy and advocates closer cooperation between Europe’s coastal regions.

In parallel, the European Commission will hold a Stakeholder Conference in Brussels on 19 and 20 May, open to the press. The programme includes keynote interventions by European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Joe Borg, Member of the European Parliament and Integrated Maritime Policy Rapporteur Willi Piecyk, and 1st Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions and Mayor and MP of Dunkirk Michel Delebarre. There will be a Ministerial Panel headed by the Slovenian Presidency in which members of the Governments of France, Germany, Portugal and Norway will participate. Discussions will focus on how to promote continued stakeholder dialogue in support of the development of an Integrated Maritime Policy and ensure that the new policy is fully adapted to the regional dimension of maritime affairs.

Since the proposal of an Integrated Maritime Policy by the European Commission on October 2007 and its subsequent endorsement by Heads of State and Government at the European Council of 14 December 2007, real progress has been made towards building a coherent framework to promote synergies and resolves potential conflicts between different sea-related policy areas. In line with the detailed Action Plan published in October, the Commission itself has already come forward with proposals to combat illegal fishing, boost development of EU ports and port cities, re-assess the social framework regulating seafaring jobs, and promote a better fit between energy policy and maritime policy. It has also carried out a stock-taking exercise looking at maritime surveillance systems, and the offshore activities and competences of the Member States.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission
 
  More information:
European Maritime Day website