Articles taggés avec ‘Government’

EU Funding: 24 new family homes for displaced Kosovo Roma

Mercredi 30 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support to participation of South-Eastern European countries in the stabilisation and association process (”Closed programme”)

A new social housing scheme comprising 24 family homes was handed over to the Municipality of Berane by representatives of the European Agency for Reconstruction, the European Commission, UNHCR and the German NGO HELP

The event was attended by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, the Bureau for the Care of Refugees, CARITAS of Luxemburg and members of the Roma community in Berane.

Vuko Golubovic, the mayor of Berane municipality, announced that the local authorities will continue their support for refugees and displaced persons by creating employment opportunities for them in the municipality. He added that his intention is to ensure that the investment in the “New Riverside” Social Housing Scheme will become sustainable. According to Mr Golubovic, this will only be possible if the already significant integration of the Roma displaced persons in the local labour market will be further enhanced.

The “New Riverside Social Housing Scheme” is the first of its kind in Montenegro, established with assistance largely provided by the European Union’s CARDS Programme at the request of the Montenegrin Bureau for the Care of Refugees and the municipality of Berane.

It is part of a wider CARDS project, with a starting budget of € 2.5 million, designed to help the Montenegrin Government implement the integration component of its “National Strategy for Resolving the Issues of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons”. It comprises not only housing solutions but other social infrastructure such as a home for the elderly as well as income generating activities for displaced persons, refugees and socially vulnerable Montenegrins.

The programme is implemented by the German NGO HELP and co-funded by HELP and UNHCR. Other EU member state charities such as the Dutch Grabovac have added funds to individual programme components. The Berane component of the programme has, in addition, benefited from financial contributions from CARITAS Luxemburg and the Municipality of Berane. Thanks to the catalytic effect of CARDS and the dynamism of the civil society organization in charge, the total value of the program, and thus its benefits, have grown to near €4 million.

There are approximately 25,000 refugees and displaced persons in Montenegro, or 4% of the total population.

 
  Source:
European Reconstruction Agency

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EU Funding: Le développement de l’énergie éolienne a le vent en poupe en Europe

Mercredi 30 juillet 2008

 Fonds Européens

Aide(s) européenne(s) concernée(s) :
 Subventions pour des projets de démonstration de technologies innovantes de diversification énergétique et leur introduction effective sur le marché.
 Subventions pour projets de recherche sur le développement de technologies rentables pour rendre l’économie énergétique de l’Europe plus durable

La plateforme européenne de technologie pour l’énergie éolienne (European Technology Platform for Wind Energy ou TPWind) a révélé dans son dernier agenda stratégique de recherche (ASR) que l’énergie éolienne avait le potentiel de satisfaire 28% de la demande en électricité des consommateurs européens d’ici 2030

Le secrétariat du TPWind rappelle cependant que, pour atteindre cet objectif, les décideurs politiques et les acteurs du secteur doivent élaborer et mettre en place des actions stratégiques pour la recherche dans le domaine de la politique et des technologies.

TPWind souligne dans son agenda que le développement de l’énergie éolienne se fera en trois étapes. D’ici 2020 (la phase 1), au sein de l’UE, l’énergie éolienne pourra satisfaire environ 15% des besoins des consommateurs, au moyen d’une capacité installée s’élevant à 180 gigawatt/heure. Cette puissance pourrait atteindre les 300 gigawatts/heure entre 2020 et 2030 (la phase 2). Enfin, la phase 3 visera à renforcer la position de l’énergie éolienne dans les exportations européennes.

L’ASR fait remarquer que la mobilisation de la recherche industrielle et des ressources publiques européennes, qui doit être sécurisée par la coordination des investissements aux niveaux régional et national, pourrait aider l’Europe à faire face aux difficultés technologiques et industrielles. Cet ASR offre aux européens un guide sur les priorités et les actions de recherche à entreprendre et à établir en vue de garantir le développement du secteur de l’énergie éolienne.

Une section de l’ASR se concentre sur une stratégie de déploiement sur le marché permettant d’évaluer les mesures à prendre en vue de supprimer les obstacles à l’exploitation et l’usage intensifs de l’énergie éolienne. Diverses méthodes proposées préconisaient la réduction drastique des coûts d’investissements, l’accès amélioré aux grilles d’énergie et la réduction de la bureaucratie.

En tant que médiateur, TPWind offre son soutien au développement d’une politique nationale et européenne efficace en visant le renforcement des marchés et la coopération pour le développement de la technologie à travers l’innovation ainsi que les projets de R&D (recherche et développement) actuels et nouveaux. Le travail investi devrait ainsi mener à des prix plus compétitifs pour les technologies de production d’énergie alternative. Lancé en 2006 et coordonné par l’association européenne de l’énergie éolienne (EWEA), TPWind cherche activement à identifier des projets de recherche et à réduire les coûts de l’énergie éolienne.

L’énergie éolienne est en tête de liste des alternatives aux technologies d’énergies renouvelables pour l’Europe, notamment en raison des inquiétudes croissantes concernant le devenir de notre planète. Le fait que l’industrie européenne tienne les rênes du marché international est également important. La diminution des ressources pétrolières et gazières et l’impact du changement climatique sur la planète ne sont que quelques-uns des problèmes à résoudre, qui incombent non seulement au monde de l’industrie et aux marchés mais également à la population en général. Des données récentes montrent que la consommation d’énergie éolienne et son développement industriel permettraient à l’Europe de réduire ses émissions de dioxyde de carbone de quelque 600 tonnes chaque année.

 
  Source:
Cordis

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EU Funding: EU-PRIME okays €7.56 mln work plan for Nigeria

Mardi 29 juillet 2008

The European Commission Delegation to Nigeria has given a thumbs up on the final work plan, the so-called ‘Programme Estimate’, for the European Union-Partnership to Reinforce Immunisation Efficiency (EU-PRIME) project, valued at €7.56 million against the first instalment of €2.3 million

The work plan is scheduled to run until 30 June 2009. The initial funds were earmarked for 23 Nigerian states, such as Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kwara, Sokoto and Zamfara. The six focal states of PRIME (i.e. Abia, Cross River, Gombe, Kebbi, Osun and Plateau) would receive €86 665 each. PRIME’s headquarters in Nigeria is in Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking to the Nigerian publication Leadership, the EC Delegation said the first instalment would be used to cover a series of actions, including bolstering the training of health workers to provide effective and better quality immunisation services in the 23 states, as well as overhauling health centres that are badly in need of repair. With respect to the workers’ training, five government-approved modules will be used that are within the Basic Guide for Routine Immunisation Service Providers (BGRISP).

It should be noted that not only has the EU-PRIME project succeeded in securing immunisation equipment worth €11.38 million in the last 6 years, but it has also built a 47 000-strong workforce. The new equipment includes vaccine storage tools, like Cold Chain, vehicles and IT instruments.

The upshot of EU-PRIME is that Nigerians in selected communities will be given the opportunity to get safely and efficiently vaccinated against various diseases that affect the country, especially polio. Moreover, expertise offered from local and foreign groups, as well as technical support and project management, are key elements of EU-PRIME.

At the end of the day, raising awareness, strengthening communication and improving visibility will prove effective in improving the immunisation service delivery in Nigeria.

The EC has said that the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in this African country is one of the highest in the region. Citing figures released in 2003, the EC pointed out that the national average for fully immunised children is almost 13%, while Diptheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) coverage is more than 24%. A number of factors have contributed to this low rate, including the collapse of the primary healthcare system and the verticalisation of immunisation programmes, the EC noted.

Besides targeting immunisation in Nigeria’s 6 focal states, the EU has also granted €20.4 million to the Nigerian Government through the National Programme on Immunisation, with an objective of eradicating polio. Another €12.9 million was also given to the World Health Organization for the same goal.

 
  Source:
Cordis

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EU Funding:European Pact on Immigration and Asylum

Lundi 28 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Thematic programme for external aid and development in order to better manage the migratory flows with a view to reducing the migratory pressure on the EU

At their meeting on 24 July, the EU Home Affairs Ministers noted the stage reached in the proceedings for the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum

Noting that international migration is a factor of human and economic exchange which contributes to the economic growth of the European Union, the draft Pact provides for the establishment of a common immigration policy. Its aim is to manage migration flows into the European Union in a way which complies with the norms of international law, takes account of Europe’s reception capacity in terms of its labour market, housing, education and social services and protects migrants from the risks of various types of exploitation.

A common immigration and asylum policy requires increased cooperation and information exchange in a spirit of mutual responsibility and solidarity between Member States and of partnership with third countries.

The Pact is based on five principles:
- Organising legal immigration to take account of the priorities, needs and reception capacities determined by each Member State, and encouraging integration
Legal immigration must benefit both the migrant and the host country: it must respond to the labour market needs of the host country, but must not aggravate the brain drain. It must encourage the harmonious integration of immigrants, based on a balance between their rights and duties. Language-learning and access to employment are essential factors for integration.
- Controlling illegal immigration by ensuring that illegal immigrants return to their countries of origin or to a transit country
Readmission agreements should be concluded so that illegal immigrants can be expelled, and each Member State must recognise and apply the return decisions taken by another Member State. Only case-by-case regularisation will be used, rather than generalised regularisation.
- Making border controls more effective
Given the wide range of geographical situations in the EU, Member States which are exposed to larger influxes of immigrants should be able to count on the solidarity of the European Union. To strengthen border controls, the issue of biometric visas must be generalised and electronic recording of entry and exit must be established.
- Constructing a Europe of asylum
The common European asylum system must be completed with the establishment of a European support office to facilitate the exchange of information, analyses and experience among Member States. There are proposals to establish a single asylum procedure and to adopt a uniform status for refugees.
- Creating a comprehensive partnership with the countries of origin and of transit to encourage the synergy between migration and development
Such a partnership will be established in agreements with the countries of origin and of transit containing clauses on the opportunities for legal migration, which will enable immigrants to acquire training or professional experience which they can use for the benefit of their home countries. Migration and development policies must be integrated more effectively by means of solidarity development projects that raise the living standards of citizens and enable migrants to take part in the development of their home countries.

At the informal ministerial meeting which took place in Cannes on 7 July 2008, the French Presidency had already noted broad agreement on the draft Pact. The aim is for the Pact to be adopted at the European Council meeting on 15 October 2008.

 
  Source:
EU Council

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EU Funding: European Commission and EU Presidency launch European Development Days 2008

Vendredi 25 juillet 2008

The European Commission and the French Presidency of the European Union have officially announced that the European Development Days (EDD) 2008 event will be held from 15 to 17 November in Strasbourg

EDD 2008 is one of the major events in the international development calendar, falling at a unique strategic time for Europe and its partners, two months after the United Nations General Assembly and a few weeks before the Doha Conference.

Following the EDD events in 2006 (on governance) and 2007 (on climate change), this third edition of the event will focus on the role of local authorities and the local dimension to development. Media and development, which will be the subject of a Forum in Burkina Faso in September (http://media-dev.eu), will also be on the EDD agenda.

The European Development Days provide a unique opportunity for debating, exchanging new ideas, creating synergies and launching practical initiatives. The event demonstrates Europe’s commitment to addressing issues in the development field.

Background:

The EDD have become a regular high-level event in the European and international calendar. Every year since 2006 the event has hosted more than 3 000 participants from all continents, representing some 1 200 organisations from the development sector.

A natural platform for discussing the major issues in development cooperation and launching new initiatives, the event gives everyone a say: public administrations, parliaments, local authorities, civil society, international organisations, academics, development agencies, the private sector and the media.

The EDD are more than a not-to-be-missed institutional gathering; they also aim to raise public awareness of development cooperation issues. To this end, a number of events will be organised for the general public, including exhibitions, festivals, concerts, workshops and fairs.

The European Union is the leading development aid donor, accounting for 56% of the worldwide total, worth € 47.6 billion in 2007. EU aid will rise to €66 billion in 2010 and €90 billion in 2015. The European Union is also the developing countries’ main trading partner.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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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: Practical preparations for the euro: final countdown for Slovakia

Vendredi 18 juillet 2008

With only 5½ months to go before the adoption of the euro, Slovakia’s preparations are quite advanced but further efforts are necessary.

Slovakia last week received the final and formal approval for adopting the euro on 1 January 2009 and the conversion rate was set. It must now concentrate on ensuring that the population and businesses are well prepared and the changeover takes place smoothly.

The Commission today adopted the seventh regular ‘Report on the practical preparations for the enlargement of the euro area’. The report focuses on Slovakia, which will adopt the euro on 1 January 2009. The conversion rate has been set at 30.1260 Slovak crowns to the euro.

The practical preparations have been entrusted to the National Coordination Committee and the Government Plenipotentiary for the Introduction of the Euro. The Commission suggests that Slovakia reinforces the coordination structures to ensure that they work efficiently and are able to solve any problems diligently.

Preparations of the financial and banking sectors are well advanced. The euro coins - a total of 500 million pieces has been foreseen - will be minted by the national Mint at Kremnica, a town in the centre of Slovakia whose minting traditions go back many centuries. The designs of the national sides that were selected by a popular vote can be seen at:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/the_euro/coins12768_en.htm

The amounts of banknotes ordered by commercial banks so far are relatively low: only 27% of a total of 188 million estimated to be needed by the NBS, compared to 92.5% in Malta and an average of 67% for the first group of euro area countries at a similar point in time. To ensure a smooth introduction of euro cash, it is absolutely essential that banks and businesses should be supplied with banknotes and coins before €-day. Businesses themselves appear to be late in planning for the quantities of cash they will need to be able to give change in euro from day one and avoid queues at banks. Additional efforts with a view to increasing the frontloading volumes to banks and sub-frontloading to businesses should, therefore, be made.

Regarding €-day itself, the banks plan for extra opening hours in the first days of January 2009, including, in some branches, special counters for businesses. The NBS and the commercial banks also plan to distribute mainly small denomination banknotes (€10 and 20) at automated cash points and over-the-counter to ease the changeover.

In order to get familiar with their new currency, Slovak citizens will have the possibility to buy mini-kits as of December. A total of 1.2 million such kits have been ordered, but this may prove insufficient. The experience from the previous changeovers showed that each household buys approximately one mini-kit. Slovakia has some 2 million households and a total population of 5.4 million.

The Commission strongly believes businesses should be encouraged to sign the ‘Ethical Code’ of conduct devised by the Government Plenipotentiary together with the Association of Slovak Entrepreneurs, undertaking to respect the conversion rules. This is to address consumers’ fears of price increases during the changeover.

The Slovak Trade Inspection (SOI) will be in charge of controlling that the rounding rules are respected and prices correctly converted and displayed in both currencies until end 2009 as planned by the government. The SOI has the power to deliver warnings and charge penalties of up to € 60,000 in case of breaches. It is important that it has sufficient resources to carry out these tasks. However, administrative price regulation or equivalent market distortive measures would better be avoided as such practices would only delay the normal price adjustments arising from the evolution of world markets that would inevitably occur in one shot at the end of the freezing period.

The euro information campaign has intensified in recent months and is already wielding results with some 64% of Slovaks saying they feel very, or rather well, informed about the changeover, according to a Flash Eurobarometer survey carried out in May, compared to 51% in September 2007. This is important to ensure the citizens embrace their new currency with full confidence. But although they are more familiar with the euro and with Economic and Monetary Union there is still a growing demand for information.

A separate survey that explored the state of preparations among Slovak enterprises, mostly SMEs, indicates that the majority are rather well informed and feel they are advanced in the preparations.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU funding: Commission’s help in front of the global food price rise

Vendredi 18 juillet 2008
 
 

Commission proposes special financing facility worth €1 billion to help developing country farmers

The European Commission today proposed to establish a special “facility for rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries”. The fund would be worth €1 billion and would operate for two years, 2008 and 2009. This money would be in addition to existing development funds and would be taken from unused money from the European Union’s agricultural budget. It would be provided to developing countries which are most in need, based on a set of objective criteria. The facility would give priority to supply-side measures, improving access to farm inputs such as fertilisers and seed, possibly through credit, and to safety net measures aimed at improving productive capacity in agriculture. The support would be paid via international organisations, including regional organisations. The proposal falls under the co-decision procedure and the Commission hopes that Council and Parliament can reach agreement by November in order not to lose the unused 2008 money.

Rising food prices in 2007 and 2008 have had negative effects on many developing countries and their populations. Poverty has deepened for hundreds of millions of people and recent progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals has been put at risk. Rising food prices have resulted in riots, unrest and instability in several countries, risking the gains of years of political, developmental and peacekeeping investments.

However, the new situation could also provide a window of opportunity to stimulate a supply response from farmers in developing countries. It offers new income-generating opportunities to bring rural communities out of poverty by providing incentives for investments and productivity improvements.

At the same time, high agricultural prices have contributed to a reduction of market expenditure in the 2008 EU budget and to lower estimates for the 2009 budget within heading 2 of the financial framework. The Commission believes this provides an exceptional opportunity to provide a temporary facility to help stimulate farming in developing countries.

The Commission expects the positive results of this assistance to include an increase in agricultural production and food security in assisted countries, reduced malnutrition rates and reduced food price inflation.

Eligible countries and the share they should receive will be selected on the basis of transparent criteria. Information provided by the UN Task Force and international organisations (mainly UN agencies like FAO, WFP, World Bank and IMF) will be used, and this may be supplemented by country-specific information obtained from EC Delegations.

While all developing countries are potentially eligible for support, assistance will be provided to those that are severely affected by the food price crisis in socio-economic and political terms, have a need for measures to be taken and which do not have the means or capacity to respond unassisted.

Indicative criteria in selecting countries include reliance on food imports, food price inflation, and social and fiscal vulnerability. Other financing available to the country from the donor community will be taken into account, as well as the country’s potential to increase agricultural production. The Facility also allows for regional-level programmes, covering all developing countries of that region. Global initiatives may also be financed when implemented through a regional or international organization.

Assistance channelled through International Organisations could for instance apply to FAO (emergency input delivery programme), IFAD (e.g. rural finance), UNICEF (child nutrition, nutritional safety nets), WFP (humanitarian food assistance, transitional safety nets), the ICRC (food assistance) and the World Bank (market-based risk management, safety nets).

The Commission hopes the co-decision procedure can be completed by November, to allow commitment of funds in 2008 and implementation in early 2009.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU funding:EU project offering bright lights for bright future

Jeudi 17 juillet 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.

The EU-supported project OLLA (’Organic LEDs for ICT and lighting applications’), backed with EUR 12 million in financing, may have come to an end, but the consortium has announced an extended collaboration via the OLED100.eu project.

The partnership forged between leading European companies will tackle OLED (organic light-emitting diode) lighting technology. The project’s aim is to improve the efficiency, lifetime and size of the light-emitting diodes.

Coordinated by Patrick Keur, OLED100.eu kicks off on 1 September 2008 and ends in 2011. The project partners seek to secure a power efficiency of 100 lumens per watt; lengthen the lifetime by more than 100 000 hours; expand the area to one metre by one metre, and reduce production costs to or under €100 per square metre.

For nearly two decades scientists have sought ways to convert electrical energy into visible light by using means other than incandescent sources. They have also looked to offer the market highly efficient and fully customised light in form, colour and appearance. However, they have focused their energies on display applications only. Sources now say that the potential of OLED technology is great, particularly as OLEDs can provide a myriad of products which offer high efficiencies at high brightness, different appearances, as well as shape and colour combinations.

OLED100.eu’s contribution to the lighting technology will prove positive, sources say. The research team adds that OLEDs have the potential to become the number one light source choice for various applications, including liquid crystal display (LCD)-backlighting, emergency lighting, signalling and advertising.

By 2023, these specific diodes will have succeeded in replacing the currently used lights - incandescent and fluorescent - and OLLA helped kick-start this phenomenon successfully. OLLA recently presented the basic technology for a highly efficient white OLED light source based on the Novaled PIN OLEDTM technology.

The results achieved in OLLA also include the delivery of large indium tin oxide (ITO)-free OLEDs, the first large-area printed OLEDs and a number of information and communication technology (ICT) demonstrators.

The researchers say all key players involved in the OLLA and OLED100.eu projects have strengthened their cooperation and fuelled their expertise to get the innovative technology off the ground as quickly as possible, particularly for the international markets.

 
  Source:
CORDIS
 
  More information:
Hitech projects

EU funding: What future for the training of magistrates and judicial personnel in the European Union ?

Jeudi 17 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for judicial cooperation and training for legal practitioners in the field of criminal justice
 Grants for judicial cooperation projects between practitioners in civil matters

The conference organised in Bordeaux on July, 21th, 2008 will deal with the training of magistrates and judicial personnel

The aim of the conference is to take stock of existing training courses and review training needs, with a view to establishing some guidelines for the future.

The discussions will focus on issues concerning common knowledge and values and also on the specific needs of judicial personnel.

The French Presidency hopes that this conference will be an opportunity to further the discussions begun during the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council on 7th and 8th of July on the training of magistrates and judicial staff within the EU with the aim of getting the Council of Ministers to adopt a resolution on training before the end of the Presidency.

Since the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Tampere, Finland, in 1999, judgements on civil and criminal matters handed down by the magistrates of the European Union must be implemented in other Member States; this is known as the application of the mutual recognition principle. According to this principle, judges in one Member State of the Union must recognise legal decisions handed down in other Member States as though they were decisions handed down in their own country and must give them the same legal effect.

For example, a European arrest warrant issued by a Romanian judicial authority must, if necessary, be enforced in France. In these circumstances, the French judge must apply the ruling of the Romanian judge.

The implementation of this principle presupposes great mutual trust between the magistrates and judicial personnel within the EU. However, this type of mutual trust cannot be imposed from above but must be based on a sense of belonging to the same judicial culture; one of its foundations is the conviction that the magistrates and judicial personnel of other countries receive sufficient training.

To improve the application of mutual recognition, it is therefore important to develop a common judicial culture and bring the Member States’ knowledge closer together in this area.

Although considerable efforts have been made to achieve this target, gaps still remain in the area of training, particularly with regard to:

* knowledge of European Union law;
* the use of different networks and bodies created to facilitate European judicial cooperation;
* command of languages;
* knowledge of the legal and judicial systems of other Member States or exchanges between legal professionals on their working practices and the difficulties they encounter.

 
  Source:
French Presidency