Articles taggés avec ‘United States’

EU Funding: Educating for enterprise in Europe

Jeudi 28 août 2008

If the European Union is to meet the “growth and jobs” objectives of the Lisbon strategy, it must foster a more enterprise-friendly culture



 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for projects that promote entrepreneurship and innovation culture.
 Award aiming at raising awareness of enterprise activities and celebrate entrepreneurial success

The crucial role of education in promoting more entrepreneurial attitudes is now widely recognised and an ongoing EU project is looking in depth at how to foster greater entrepreneurial awareness in higher education curricula.

The ‘entrepreneurial gap’ between Europe and other countries, notably the USA, has been identified as a barrier to economic growth: Whilst in Europe only 45% of the population would like to be entrepreneurs, in the USA the equivalent figure is over 60%. This is largely due to cultural factors, and low awareness of the advantages of starting your own business. Teaching young people about entrepreneurship and equipping them with basic entrepreneurial skills, whatever their area of study, has been identified as a key way of increasing Europe’s enterprise potential.

The wider picture

The Entrepreneurship in Higher Education project was launched in 2006 with the objective of analysing the current state of play in Europe with regard to the teaching of entrepreneurship in higher education, particularly in non-business courses. It consists of two main parts: an expert group(1) report and a Europe-wide survey.

The Expert Group met six times in Brussels over a period of two years and its final report was published in April 2008. It is now being widely disseminated to ministries and educational institutes in all Member States.

The ‘Entrepreneurship in higher education, especially in non-business studies’ report provides a preliminary overview of the teaching of entrepreneurship in higher education institutes in Europe, with particular attention to entrepreneurship training in non-business studies. It attempts to identify obstacles to the provision of teaching in this area and highlight examples of good practice, while examining the potential role of public policy in improving the current situation.

Open for business

The experts’ report finds that the teaching of entrepreneurship is not yet sufficiently integrated in the curricula of higher education institutions and that the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered as part of business and economic studies. Teaching of entrepreneurship is particularly weak in some of the new Member States. This is in part due to a lack of financial and human resources for this type of education, but also to a certain rigidity in institutional structures and educational curricula.

Teaching entrepreneurship requires an inter-disciplinary and action-oriented approach, including, for example, group and team techniques for creating new business ideas, the use of case studies and multi-disciplinary business planning workshops. At present, teaching staff have few incentives to get involved in this type of activity, and links with the business sector need to be cultivated more widely.

A range of solutions

In order for entrepreneurship education to be integrated more widely in non-business studies, action is required at several levels. For public policy, the experts suggest national task forces be set up to examine how best to integrate entrepreneurship into curricula from primary to advanced levels, as well as the adoption of legislation to support relations between private business and universities. It also proposes the development of an accreditation system and the establishment of awards for institutions which lead the way in this field.

At institutional level, they propose a range of initiatives aimed at fostering a more entrepreneurial culture within each institution, and creating incentives for the involvement of students, teaching staff and external organisations. There is also a role for the European Commission, which could support programmes for the training of entrepreneurship teachers and the creation of European networks and cross-border exchange initiatives.

The experts report moreover provides several examples of good practice and suggests a number of possible courses of action which would help to foster better integration of entrepreneurship studies in European education. The report will, however, be supplemented by a more in-depth survey, across all Member States, the results of which are due to be released in autumn 2008.

Enterprise & Industry online magazine

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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.

EU Council

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

Lundi 28 juillet 2008

 European funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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EU Funding: European Union maintains trade preferences for developing countries

Vendredi 25 juillet 2008

The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by EU Member States of a new Regulation applying the EC’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for the period from 1 January 2009 until the end of 2011. .

This decision will allow the EU to maintain
preferential access to its market for 176 developing countries. The renewed preference
system will be updated and improved, ensuring that GSP is targeted at those countries that need it most. GSP provides real economic value to developing countries, with €57 billion worth of trade under the scheme in 2007

As a result of re-calculations to reflect the evolution of trade, preferences for specific product groups will be re-established for six beneficiary countries of GSP (Algeria, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Thailand). Preferences will be suspended for one country, Vietnam, for one product group, namely Section XII products (footwear and some other products). These adjustments are triggered automatically when a country’s performance on the EU market goes above or below a certain threshold. This procedure follows strict rules, and helps to ensure that the benefits of GSP preferences are targeted at the countries that need them most. Suspension of preferences, called “graduation”, reflects the fact that a particular country is competitive in the EU market for the products in question.

Alongside the standard GSP scheme, the EU also offers a special incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, known as GSP+. GSP+ offers additional preferences to support vulnerable developing countries in their ratification and implementation of relevant international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. Interested countries have until 31 October this year to apply in order to benefit for GSP+ preferences from January 2009.


The GSP is an autonomous trade arrangement through which the EU provides non-reciprocal preferential access to the EU market to 176 developing countries and territories. In 2007, developing countries exported €57 billion worth of goods under GSP, with a nominal duty loss for the EU of €2.5 billion. At present, 14 beneficiary countries receive the additional preferences offered under the GSP+ incentive arrangement. These preferences will lapse at the end of the year and both existing and potential new beneficiaries meeting the applicable criteria will need to apply before 31 October 2008 if they wish to receive GSP+ treatment from January 2009. A special arrangement for the 50 least-developed

DG Trade

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

Mercredi 9 juillet 2008

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

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

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

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

Security taxes and charges

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

A wide-ranging regulation

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

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

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

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

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

European Parliament

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EU funding: Young People - Agents of Intercultural Dialogue

Lundi 7 juillet 2008

 European funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

French Presidency

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EU Funding: Young Photographers Competition: INSTINCT

Lundi 30 juin 2008

Photography students from all around the world are invited to take part in this competition

Up to 60 entrants will be selected to have a sequence of work included in the shots Directory 2009, along with their contact and college details. The overall winner will have his or her work featured on the cover. The Directory has a different theme every year. For 2009, the theme is INSTINCT.

shots showcases cutting-edge creativity in global advertising. Launched in 1990, it provides ideas and inspiration for creative people internationally as well as being a source of information for the industry.

Youth portal

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EU funding: EUROCITIES Conference on Climate Change and Mobility

Mardi 24 juin 2008

Environment and transport experts from across Europe attend event in London

Around 100 participants from across Europe attended the EUROCITIES Conference on Climate Change and Mobility, which was jointly organised by EUROCITIES’ Environment and Mobility Forums and hosted by Transport for London. The joint session on 3 June was opened by Kia Andreasson (Vice-Mayor of Gothenburg, Political Chair of the Environment Forum) and Niels Torslov (Copenhagen, Technical Chair of the Mobility Forum).

London’s Climate Change Action Plan was presented by Shirley Rodrigues, Head of Environment at the Greater London Authority. The Plan aims to deliver major reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while also bringing financial benefits in terms of lower energy costs. It includes a series of measures that will drastically improve energy efficiency in buildings, businesses and the transport sector, while also making greater use of renewable energy sources.

A very interesting and fruitful panel discussion included contributions from: Ronan Dantec (Vice Mayor of Nantes), Mario Aymerich (European Investment Bank), Pedro Ballesteros (European Commission - DG Transport and Energy), Ian Hodgson (DG Environment) and Helen Woolston (Transport for London). The speakers analysed how climate change and urban mobility are being addressed at different levels of governance, and how integration can be improved.

More than 65 participants took part in a Projects Fair, starting with an introduction of the European funding opportunities that are available for cities in the mobility and environment sectors, followed by a project brokerage session in which a variety of project proposals were presented by the cities of Düsseldorf, Leeds, Rotterdam, Sheffield and Stockholm, plus the Region of Wallonia (Belgium).

During the afternoon, two parallel workshops dealt with the practical aspects of developing and implementing urban mobility policies that also contribute to tackling climate change. One workshop looked at how to facilitate cooperation among different actors and stakeholders, and the other focused on issues in relation to decision-making procedures.

The Conference was preceded on 2 June by meetings of various EUROCITIES Working Groups that deal with issues related to environment and mobility. Then on 4 June there were separate meetings of the Environment and Mobility Forums during which members discussed their respective ongoing activities and plans for the next two years.


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EU Funding: Commission welcomes further progress towards meeting EU’s Kyoto Protocol target

Mercredi 18 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for innovating environment projects that contribute to strenghtening the EU environment policy

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas today welcomed the progress made by many Member States in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in 2006

The emissions inventory compiled by the European Environment Agency for 2006, the latest year for which complete data is available, shows that EU-15 emissions dropped by 0.8% from 2005, taking emissions to 2.7% below their levels in the base year (1990 in most cases). This puts the EU-15 well on track to meeting its Kyoto Protocol target of keeping average emissions between 2008 and 2012 at least 8% below base year levels.

Further decoupling of emissions from economic growth

The 0.8% drop in EU-15 emissions between 2005 and 2006 contrasted with an increase in GDP of 2.8% over the period, meaning that the EU has succeeded in further decoupling emissions from economic growth. The main reasons for the emissions fall - totaling 34.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent - were warmer weather, lower production of nitric acid, which causes emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and the introduction of new techniques for reducing nitrous oxide emissions from adipic acid production.

EU-27 emissions fell 0.3% in the year to stand 10.8% below levels in the base year, which for some Member States differs from 1990, and 7.7% below levels in 1990 itself. The drop, totaling 14 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, can be attributed to the reduction in nitric acid production, decreases in emissions from chemicals production in France and Hungary and lower overall use of gas and liquid fuels by households.

Transport emissions still growing

In terms of trends, within the EU-15 the 2006 figures confirm a continuing reduction in emissions from the agriculture and waste sectors. Emissions from energy industries have stabilised in the last few years while emissions from manufacturing industries show a slight decline. Transport-related emissions, however, have been constantly increasing and are of particular concern.

EU-27 trends are similar to those in the EU-15 with the exception of industrial processes, where there has been a slight emissions increase.

The data was compiled by the European Environment Agency and has been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Press room - European Commission

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EU Funding: European Awards for Lifelong Learning recognise outstanding mobility projects

Vendredi 13 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Mobility grants: participants in formal and non-formal training and educational staff specialising adult education
 Grants for transnational mobility projects intended for persons following a professionnal training and for trainers
 Individual mobility grants for students and teachers
 Mobility grants: Initial and in-service training for educational staff, pupils’ exchanges
 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 2008 European Awards for Lifelong Learning were given today to fifteen outstanding projects in the field of education and training funded by the European Union; the focus this year was on “quality in mobility”

The prizes were handed over by the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel’, and the Slovenian Minister of Education and Sport, Milan Zver, at a conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

15 winning projects from 13 Member States have demonstrated how mobility can broaden horizons, enhance skills and create opportunities. These European success stories have been awarded with gold, silver and bronze prizes for mobility actions in one of five categories: Comenius for school education, Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training, Erasmus for higher education, Grundtvig for adult education, and ‘Languages’. This year particular attention was given to mobility actions for teaching staff and trainers.

The five gold-winning projects include: a partnership between a Latvian and a Czech school, in which pupils translated songs into their partner’s language and rehearsed together; the Intensive study programmes of the Portuguese Instituto Politécnico de Tomar and its partner universities; a staff exchange scheme between a Danish fire services provider and its UK counterpart; Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training coordinated by the Centre Européen Juif d’Information in Brussels and Lingu@net Europa Plus, a London-based project that guides learners in a choice of over 3,700 online learning resources.

The awards have been handed over at a conference on “Quality in Mobility”, hosted by the Slovenian Presidency of the EU, in Ljubljana today. The conference is organised by the National Agency for the Lifelong Learning Programme in Slovenia – CMEPIUS – in close cooperation with the Ministry for Education and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia and with the support of the European Commission. The conference opens the floor for discussions on future steps to make mobility more accessible and increase the impact of staff mobility as a drive for change.

Mobility will remain at the very centre of the Lifelong Learning Programme, the EU’s flagship funding programme in the field of education and training. New actions are already planned for the coming years:

- “Comenius Regio” is a new action for partnerships between local and regional school authorities, to be launched in 2009
- From 2010, “Comenius Individual Pupil Mobility” will enable secondary pupils to spend from 3 months up to one school year at a Comenius partner school abroad
- In addition, new types of mobility will also be available under the Grundtvig programme for adult education.

Press room - European Commission

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