Articles taggés avec ‘Multilateral’

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: 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: 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: 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

EU funding: EU clampdown on ring-tone scams

Jeudi 17 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the programme of Community action in the field of consumer protection policy

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today announced the results of an EU-wide investigation into websites offering mobile phone services such as ring-tones and wallpapers

The enquiry, which was carried out on more than 500 websites across the 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland, found that 80% of the sites checked need to be further investigated for suspected breaches of EU consumer rules. Many of the websites target children and young people. Problems found included: unclear price information where prices are incomplete did not include taxes or customers are unaware that they are signing up to a subscription. Large numbers of websites do not provide some of the required contact information about the trader. Other problems relate to misleading information where key information is hidden in very small print or hard to find on a website or the word “free” is used to mislead consumers into a long-term contracts. The breaches vary in the degree of seriousness. More than 495 million mobile phones are owned by Europeans. Ring-tones alone were estimated to make up 29% of the overall “mobile content” market in Europe in 2007 (about 10% higher than 2006). The value of European ring-tone sales in 2007 was estimated at €691 million. Seven countries Norway, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Iceland, Romania, Greece) are publishing the names of the websites which they found to have irregularities.

The Sweep

The “Sweep” is a new kind of EU investigation and enforcement action. Member States carry out simultaneous, coordinated checks of webpages for breaches in consumer law in a particular sector. They contact operators with alleged irregularities and ask them to clarify their position and/or taken corrective action.

The mobile services Sweep took place between 2-6 June. Enforcement authorities across Europe checked mobile service websites for suspected violations of EU consumer law - Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC); Distance Selling Directive (1997/7/EC), E-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC).

The results

The Sweep focused on 3 types of practices in the mobile services sector which compromise consumer rights (unclear information about the offer’s price, trader information, misleading advertising).

* 80% of websites checked are being further investigated. The total number of websites checked was 558, the total number of websites that need further investigation is 466. The number of cases potentially requiring cross border co-operation between different national authorities, CPC cases (Consumer Protection Co-operation Network) is 76.
* 50% of websites checked targeted children (279 websites out of 558). These websites used children’s cartoon characters, well known TV characters or required parental consent. The same high level of irregularities (80%) also applied to these sites.
* Many websites indicated multiple irregularities. The figures are as follows
* Almost 50% of all the sites checked had some irregularity related to the information about the offer’s price (268 websites out of 558). On many websites prices and related charges and fees are not clearly indicated or not referred to at all - until the consumer is invoiced via their phone bill. Prices did not include all taxes, in the case of a subscription, the word subscription is not clearly mentioned or the period of a subscription is not clear.
* Over 70% of all the websites checked lacked some of the information required to contact the trader - the trader name, geographic address or the contact details were incomplete (399 websites out of 558). This is against EU law -the eCommerce Directive 2000/31/EC requires details of the service provider, including an email address, to be displayed.
* Over 60% of websites checked presented the information in a misleading way (344 out of 558). Information on the contract is available on the site but hidden in small print or hard to find. Goods and services advertised as “free”, but the customer is misled and later finds that there are charges or that they are tied into a contract.

What happens next?

Companies will be contacted by the national authorities and asked to clarify or correct problems identified. Failure to do so can result in legal action leading to fines or closure of their websites. For cross border cases, national authorities will work with colleagues from other EU authorities. Authorities are asked to report back on their progress in the first half of 2009.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

EU funding: Climate package: are we sharing the cuts in emissions?

Jeudi 17 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for strengthening Community environment policy and legislation, with a view to promoting sustainable development in the EU

Last year EU leaders agreed to cut CO2 emissions by a fifth by 2020 in a bid to tackle climate change.

Emerging global agreements could up that figure to a 30% cut. Earlier this year the European Commission unveiled legislation that would allow these steps to be taken. The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme is at the heart of these efforts although keys areas like transport and buildings are not covered. Deals based on solidarity between States will be how CO2 cuts are agreed for these areas.
Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi is vice-chair of the Environment Committee and parliament’s rapporteur for the “Effort Sharing Decision” to reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. “Effort Sharing” covers areas not covered by the EU’s emission trading scheme such as transport, buildings, services, agriculture and waste. Between 2013 and 2020 they will make up about half of all emissions.

Ms Hassi wants emissions in these sectors capped - and that includes transport by ship which is not covered by the Kyoto agreement. At their last plenary session in Strasbourg MEPs voted to include aircraft in the trading scheme in 2012.

“Falls short of what is needed”

Ms Hassi believes that the proposals put forward by the Commission are not ambitious enough. She told us they: “fall short of what is needed in order to keep global warming below the 2°C limit. Reductions of 30% compared with 1990 level would be in the range given by the UN’s climate change panel. But the Commission proposes 30% reduction only as a part of an international agreement, and doing part of this via offsetting.”

She would like industrialised countries to aim for targets of 80% reductions by the middle of the century. This is higher than the 25%-40% cuts scientists believe are necessary to contain temperature rises at 2°C.

There is already discord among EU states as to the level that they should be starting at. At present 2005 is given as the reference year so countries would have to make cuts appropriate to their emissions based on 2005. However, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia all believe it does not reflect their efforts to restructure post-Communist economies based on heavy industries. They have put forward a target of an 18% cut in emissions.

How can we reduce emissions?

The “offsetting” of emissions by reducing them outside the EU is one way proposed by the European Commission. It wants 3% of emissions not covered by the trading scheme to be offset. Ms Hassi opposes the use of credits as it would not achieve the 24-40% cuts she believes are necessary.

For countries outside the EU she believes that separate emissions reductions target should be agreed and that Europe should use its technological know-how to help. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change says that developing countries need to reduce their emissions by 15-30% compared to business as usual.

The Commission has proposed that countries can reduce their emissions (those not included in the trading scheme) until 2020. Countries can either borrow or carry over their emissions limit to the next year depending on progress.

The Hassi report will be voted on by the Environment Committee in October, the plenary will consider it in December.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

EU Funding: Montenegro: EU supports the First National Conference on Life – Long Entrepreneurship Learning

Mardi 15 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants aimed at supporting cooperation activities in the fields of lifelong education and training and at promoting bodies active at European level in education and training

The CARDS Project ‘Labour Market Reform and Workforce Development’, an EU-funded project managed by the European Agency for Reconstruction and implemented by WYG International (United Kingdom), in cooperation with the Municipal Authorities of Berane, organised a National Conference on Life-Long Entrepreneurship Learning (LLEL)

This has been the first ever National Conference on Life-Long Entrepreneurship Learning in Montenegro – ‘From Idea to Action’ and took place in Berane on 20 June 2008. The Conference was held in the facilities of the local Gymnasium ‘Panto Malisic’ to promote the results of the pilot ‘National Best Practice Initiative’, which was a package of LLEL measures put in practice by the CARDS Project with the institutions in Berane. The achievements in the municipality of Berane should become a good example for replication throughout Montenegro.

The mayor of Berane who opened the conference emphasized that the municipality had recognised how important it is to invest in human resources and workforce development in these dynamic times of globalisation. He also stressed that entrepreneurship learning is essential for local social and economic development. The Deputy Minister of Education and Science underlined that entrepreneurship learning is one of the eighth key competences for life-long learning and that with the activities in Berane Montenegro is going well in the direction of achieving EU standards in the field of entrepreneurship learning.

The activities in Berane form part of a broader €1,5 million EU project designed to address the need for labour market reform and workforce development. The project activities were started in November 2006 and the project’s completion date is set for 20 September 2008. On 12 September a Final Conference will be held.

With assistance from the EU funded project, several activities related to the introduction of life- long entrepreneurship learning have been conducted over the past year in this municipality, following the latest achievements and recommendations of the European Union in this domain. These activities were supported by all relevant local partners – the municipality, educational institutions and institutions for training and employment, companies and institutions for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises

Promoting entrepreneurship learning at the national level contributes to better understanding of its role and significance for the future of young people. It is also of great significance for the quality of learning during the regular school period and afterwards, for adult learning. From this year on, the National Conference on Life – Long Entrepreneurship Learning will be held in Montenegro on a regular basis. The main aim of the Conference is the promotion of entrepreneurship learning, presenting achievements and offering a forum for exchanging opinions on priorities and opportunities for further policy and practice development, all in the framework of the strategy for LLEL and the action plan that the CARDS Project Team assisted to prepare and that are currently under the governmental adoption procedure.

CARDS Project ‘Labour Market Reform and Workforce Development’

Montenegro signed a financing agreement with the European Commission in 2006 for a programme worth €18.5 million. The agreement has enabled the implementation of the EU’s annual Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation (CARDS) programme – a financial assistance package to help Montenegro improve its governance and institutions, and accelerate economic and social reforms.

EU funds have enhanced the capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in labour market policy formulation and clarified institutional links between the Ministry and the Montenegro Employment Agency. More specifically, support has been provided to:

- Both bodies for development and modernisation of policy and executive responsibilities, reinforcing social dialogue capacity and social partnership in the area of labour market reform and workforce development
- Develop a National Action Plan for Employment, including an implementation plan, operational arrangements and funding implications for an ‘employment fund’ to support active employment measures (training, counselling, self-employment support) for specific target groups that include those made redundant as a consequence of privatisation and plant closures, women, youth, long-term unemployed and minorities
- Develop labour market and employment statistics, information systems, analysis, research capacity, monitoring and reporting systems
- Facilitate a dialogue on life-long learning strategies in Montenegro by establishing a national partnership for innovation in the learning system to meet the needs of the next generation and beyond.

 
  Source:
European Agency for Reconstruction

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