14th November 2017
Paris named European Capital of Innovation for 2017
Paris has been named the 2017 European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) winner. The million-euro prize, granted under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, went to the French capital for its inclusive innovation strategy.
Over the last decade, Paris has built more than 100,000 square meters of incubators, and hosts now the world’s largest start-up campus. In addition, the city spends 5% of its budget on projects proposed and implemented by citizens. Thanks to this strategy, citizens and innovators from the private, non-profit and academic sectors have made Paris become a truly innovative city (video).
The competition received entries from 32 cities, ten of which were shortlisted as finalists. The winners were announced in early November 2017 at the Lisbon Web Summit. Tel Aviv (video) and Tallinn (video), selected as runners-up, were both awarded €100,000. Tallinn was awarded for its initiative to act as a testing ground for potential breakthrough technologies. The municipality fostered the use of self-driving cars, parcel delivery robots and ride-sharing. Tallinn has also implemented an innovative e-Residency system, which enables local citizens and businesses to work closely together with foreign entrepreneurs.
Tel Aviv has set up a Smart City Urban Lab that links up innovative start-ups with leading technology companies in order to facilitate breakthrough innovations for solving urban challenges.
For further details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team
13th November 2017
Work programme for Horizon 2020 announced
The European Commission has announced how it will spend €30 billion of the EU research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020 during 2018-2020, including €2.7 billion to kickstart a European Innovation Council (see factsheet).
Horizon 2020, the EU’s €77 billion research and innovation funding programme, supports scientific excellence in Europe and has contributed to high-profile scientific breakthroughs such as the discovery of exoplanets and gravitational waves. Over the next three years, the Commission will seek greater impact of its research funding by focusing on fewer, but critical topics such as migration, security, climate, clean energy and digital economy. Horizon 2020 will also be more geared towards boosting breakthrough, market-creating innovation.
The 2018-2020 Work Programme will focus efforts on fewer topics with bigger budgets, directly supporting the Commission’s political priorities:
€2.2 billion will be earmarked for clean energy projects in four interrelated areas: renewables, energy efficient buildings, electro-mobility and storage solutions, including €200 million to support the development and production in Europe of the next generation of electric batteries.
Country factsheets (English only), showing research-related data and recent success stories, are also available.
For further details email email@example.com or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team
9th November 2017
European Vocational Skills Week, 20-24 November 2017
Building on last year’s event, the week continues with the theme of “Discover Your Talent” and hopes to inspire people to galvanise their abilities through quality VET, at all stages of their lives and while on the move, equipping themselves with labour market‑relevant skills so that they can lead fulfilling personal and professional lives.
Before and during the main week, activities and events to showcase excellence in vocational education and training will be rolled out across Europe. During the main week, a series of events/activities will also take place in Brussels (press conference, conference, workshops and closing event with award-giving). A programme for the week as well as a set of communication materials, including guidelines, a leaflet and visual identity elements, are also available, much of it in all 24 EU languages.
For further details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team
8th November 2017
EU at 2017 UN Climate Change Conference
At this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23), the nations of the world will meet to advance the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement and to develop guidelines on how its provisions will be implemented across a wide range of issues, including transparency, adaptation, emission reductions, provision of finance, capacity-building, and technology. The event, which takes place in the Germany city of Bonn on 6–11 November 2017, will be hosted by the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and presided over by Fiji.
A European Parliament delegation will also attend COP 23.
7th November 2017
European Equal Pay Day
Gender equality, including equal pay for men and women, is one of the EU’s founding values. But it is still far from a reality. For the past years, the gender pay gap has basically refused to budge. The average hourly pay of women in Europe is 16.3% lower than that of men. European Equal Pay Day, which falls on 3 November this year, marks the moment when women effectively stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues, with almost two months of the year remaining. This means that women work for two months a year for free in comparison to their male colleagues.
The magnitude and impact factors of the gender pay gap in EU countries are described in this report (all EU languages except Irish). Gender pay factsheets are also available (in English and the official languages of each Member State, expect in Irish). Twitter twibbons and Facebook frames in support of equal pay are also available.
The European Commission wants to lead the way to fight this injustice. In a few weeks, it will present an Action Plan to Tackle the Gender Pay Gap, which will step up ongoing actions and present new measures.
3rd November 2017
European Week for Waste Reduction, 18-26 November 2017
The 2017 edition of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) runs from 18–26 November 2017. Supported by the European Commission, the EWWR seeks to promote awareness-raising activities about sustainable resource and waste management. This year’s edition is focused on reusing and repairing. Behind this topic is the need to shift from a throw-away attitude towards more appreciation for products and the resources used to make them.
The EWWR hopes to show people how easy it is to find value in something they thought had become useless. Organisers are encouraging a wide range of audiences (public authorities, private companies, civil society as well as citizens themselves) to get involved. The 2016 edition of the event is reviewed in this video. Interested parties can register their event online.
1st November 2017
European Commission launches Work Programme for 2018
Every year, the European Commission adopts a plan of action for the next twelve months. The Commission Work Programme informs citizens, its institutional partners and its staff how it will turn its political priorities into concrete action. Generally, the Work Programme is adopted in October. The 2018 Work Programme is the fourth to be presented by the Juncker Commission since it took office in 2014. The to-do list for 2018 includes 26 key initiatives to complete the Commission’s 10 priority areas before the end of its mandate (factsheet, in English only).
The Commission also identifies 66 priority pending proposals presented in the past two years where swift adoption by the Parliament and Council is needed (factsheet, in English only). The Work Programme includes an initiative on Fair taxation in the digital economy, a Social fairness package, and a proposal to improve the EU food supply chain. The Commission will also table a proposal for the future Multi-annual Financial Framework and will also propose more efficient Single Market law-making and more efficiency and consistency in implementing the Common Foreign Policy. Key documents relating to the 2018 Work Programme are also available (in English, French and German).
31st October 2017
EU Publications office newsletter casts spotlight on Brexit
In a 2016 referendum, the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, which is now preparing to reduce itself to 27 Member States. Brexit negotiations started in June 2017, addressing the legal issues that should be resolved before the UK leaves the Union in March 2019. Agreements need to be made on a number of legal and economic issues. Negotiations are headed by the European Commission and are evaluated by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. The European Council assessed the progress of negotiations at its recent meeting on 19-20 October. Building on this progress, the European Council calls for work to continue with a view to consolidating the convergence achieved and pursuing negotiations in order to be able to move to the second phase of the negotiations as soon as possible.
How will Brexit affect the EU of the remaining 27 Member States? What will it mean for policies such as trade? What will Brexit mean for EU citizens in the UK, and for British citizens in the EU? To provide more background information for this important discussion, the October 2017 newsletter from the EU’s Publications Office presents a selection of titles on various aspects of Brexit.
27th October 2017
The importance of agriculture: a resource pack for teachers
Recent studies have shown that the EU’s urban populations, and in particular young people, feel disconnected from farming as the source of their food. They are also unaware of the wider role played by farmers – in our society and economy – not just in providing food, but also in protecting the environment and natural resources, and in safeguarding the vitality of the countryside and rural areas.
In response to this missing connection, the Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development has developed a resource pack.
The pack is a collection of ready-to-use teaching and learning resources which aims to raise awareness among Europeans aged 11-15 of the importance of food and farming for Europe.
Through a selection of diverse and complementary tools and activities, teachers can help students explore three relevant themes: food, the environment and the countryside. It is not intended to provide tools for teaching policy per se to students, but to show how agriculture benefits all citizens.
The pack, which also includes a teacher’s guide, can be downloaded in individual parts or in one go.
26th October 2017
European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018
2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which will be marked by an unparalleled series of events celebrating Europe’s rich and diverse heritage.
The aim of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to encourage more people to discover and explore Europe’s cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European family.
During the year, the emphasis will be on:
During 2018, thousands of activities and celebrations will take place all across Europe. Ten major European initiatives will make sure the Year has an impact beyond 2018. These initiatives will be implemented by the European Commission in collaboration with key partners (Council of Europe, UNESCO and other European organisations) The ten initiatives will maximise support for four objectives: engagement, sustainability, protection and innovation.
The Year will also feature prominently in existing initiatives dedicated to cultural heritage such as:
The deadline for the call for “Support for cooperation projects related to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018” (Category 3) is 22 November 2017 and for “Support for European cooperation projects 2018” (Category 1: Smaller scale cooperation projects and Category 2: Larger scale cooperation projects) is 18 January 2018.
24th October 2017
Faces2Hearts: a worldwide blogging competition
Faces2Hearts is a worldwide competition to select four young bloggers from different continents – including one from the EU – and give them the chance to spend up to five months (in early 2018) in Asia-Pacific, Africa or Latin America, where they will visit and report on EU-funded development projects.
There are four Faces2Hearts stages: The first stage, the competition, which will run until 31 October 2017, will select four diverse young people to undertake the journeys.
One winner will be selected from each of four global regions (Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America). All four bloggers will receive training in Brussels in late 2017 and be provided with audio-visual equipment, which they can keep after the project.
Their journeys will take place during the first half of 2018 and each of the bloggers will travel and discover stories within their own region, except for the European blogger who will be travelling in Eastern and Southern Africa. It is envisaged that each Faces2Hearts journey will include time in six to eight countries in the region.
The Faces2Hearts bloggers will discover EU-supported projects that change people’s lives for the better. And they will reveal the often unreported stories of the fascinating people they meet – stories of positive change and hope. They will record their experiences, interactions and feelings in regular blog postings (including videos and photos) and through a variety of social media channels.
The project will culminate at the European Development Days in June, where the four bloggers will share their stories and confront their views with development professionals.
The competition is aimed at people aged 21–31 years old who are free to travel in the first half of 2018. The region which candidates can apply to depends on their nationality and the language requirements vary according to the region: for Asia-Pacific and English-speaking Africa, a high level of English is required; applicants to Latin America and French-speaking Africa will additionally need a high level of Spanish and French respectively.
A shortlist of applicants will be selected in early November. The final selection of our 4 winners will be made by mid-November 2017.
The competition is organised by EuropeAid, the EU’s International Cooperation and Development department.
23rd October 2017
Quiz: how much do you know about your EU rights?
What rights do EU consumers have when shopping online? How would a businessperson go about expanding their business to another EU country? Do motorists have to re-register their car if they take it abroad? In this Your Europe Facebook quiz, entrants can test their knowledge of EU rights. Contestants who answer five questions correctly can enter a competition to win two Interrail train passes to travel across Europe. The quiz runs until 18:00 CET on 5 November 2017. Entrants must be 18 or over.
19th October 2017
YourCareerMove: EURES launches new campaign
EURES is much more than the European Job Mobility Portal. It’s a network provides information, advice and recruitment/placement services to workers, employers and citizens of the 28 Member States, as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. To raise awareness of the full suite of services it offers, EURES has launched a new Facebook game (in English, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese) and six animated videos as part of the #YourCareerMove campaign. The quiz, which runs to 17 December 2017, aims to challenge perceptions of mobility and job cultures in a simple and fun manner.
In addition to the game, a series of animated stop-motion videos promote the EURES services. Everyday objects (plant pots, lamps, maps, pins) bring different aspects of EURES to life: mobility, the EURES network and advisers, European (Online) Job Days, the job mobility portal, job matching, and information on living and working in another country. The videos are available on EURES’ Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
17th October 2017
Publication: Digital Competences
Digital Competences is a publication that presents a selection of products developed within the context of projects funded under Erasmus+ and its predecessor, the Lifelong Learning Programme, in the field of school education, vocational education training and adult learning. The publication promotes interesting and innovative ideas from EU-funded projects to help inspire teachers, non-governmental organisations, project applicants and policymakers across Europe to develop their professional practice. It offers a number of useful resources including teaching materials and resources, as well as creative approaches to embedding digital technologies in education and training.
16th October 2017
7th Cohesion Report published
This year’s European Week of Regions and Cities, which was held in Brussels, saw the launch of the 7th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion (in English). The report was published at a key moment, as Europe’s economy is picking up and ahead of the European Commission’s proposal for the next funding round. The Cohesion Report clearly shows that cohesion policy was a lifeline for many EU cities and regions throughout the recent crisis. It provided long-term, stable investment, which was especially needed at a time when national governments were cutting investment to reduce public deficits. The report also shows that the crisis widened disparities between regions, and highlights the need for a development policy that not only bridges these disparities, but also enables any region, city or individual to fully enjoy the opportunities linked to the largest internal market in the world. The report also underlines the importance of making sure that Europe’s many benefits are visible in its villages, cities and regions. Short versions of the report are also available in 23 EU languages.
Over 5,700 representatives of Europe’s cities and regions took part in the European Week of Regions and Cities, which remains the biggest EU event with a local and regional flavour. The event featured 130 workshops and the audience ranged from representatives of EU regions and cities, civil society, businesses and academia, to regional journalists, bloggers and students in journalism. Last but not least, 30 young Interreg Volunteers serving under the European Solidarity Corps attended.
13th October 2017
EYE2018: registrations are open!
If you want to find solutions for the future of Europe together with 8,000 young people from all over the continent register for the EYE2018 and come to Strasbourg on 1-2 June 2018.
Groups of minimum 10 people can register to the event until 31 December 2017. You can find all information in the “take part!” section of the EYE website.
Check the first draft of the programme, which is a work in progress. To enrich the programme, the European Youth Forum will organise its dynamic, youth-led festival – the YO!Fest - at the EYE, unleashing young people's creativity by combining politics, culture, education and fun in a multicultural environment.
Many exciting news will be announced soon, so you better stay tuned on our social media channels and website to get the freshest updates!
12th October 2017
Europe Code Week: 7 to 22 October
Europe Code Week is a grassroots initiative which aims to bring coding and digital literacy to everybody in a fun and engaging way. The idea is to make programming more visible, to show young, adults and elderly how you bring ideas to life with code, to demystify these skills and bring motivated people together to learn.
The initiative was launched in 2013 by the Young Advisors for the Digital Agenda Europe. In 2016, nearly a million people in more than 50 countries around the world took part in EU Code Week. Now in its fifth consecutive year, it takes place from 7 to 22 October 2017. Hundreds of events have been organised in Europe and beyond.
10th October 2017
2017 European Week for Safety and Health at Work (23-27 October)
Awareness-raising events and activities to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing will take place all over Europe during the 2017 European Week for Safety and Health at Work, which runs from 23 to 27 October.
Under the umbrella of the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages Campaign (all EU languages except Irish), the week is an ideal opportunity for public authorities, private companies as well as citizens to get involved. Versions of the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards 2016–2017 booklet have been made available in 20 EU languages and two non-EU languages. The publication showcases 18 case studies of European companies and organisations that have implemented innovative methods of occupational safety and health management to promote healthy ageing at work.
9th October 2017
Consumers: Tips for buying safe products on-line
Products from all over the world, delivered to one’s door in a few clicks – that’s the advantage of online shopping. But what about the safety of the products consumers buy? Consumers have the right to expect that the products delivered to them will cause no harm. For this reason, there are safety rules and mechanisms in place that have to be respected before making a product available to consumers. And national authorities across the EU are taking action to ensure that products sold to consumers are safe. But there are also a number of things consumers can do themselves. In order to make the best of online shopping and to buy safe products online, it’s wise for consumers to consider these eight tips, published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General of Justice and Consumers:
Stay informed about unsafe products.
6th October 2017
Invisible City: a cultural app
The Invisible City app (Android/iOS) helps users discover hidden cultural gems next door and around the world. Created with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission and the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), Invisible City is a non-profit, free app that does not require a log in. All venues and events are selected independently on the basis of their cultural merit. Culture lovers around the world can use Invisible City:
5th October 2017
Campaign launched for safe and healthy work for temporary jobs
Employment in temporary work agencies in Europe has increased rapidly during the last decade. Temporary agency workers may be particularly vulnerable, with studies showing they experience a higher incidence of occupational accidents than other groups of employees.
The “Safe and healthy work for temporary jobs” campaign seeks to promote occupational safety and health (OSH) of temporary agency workers and cross-border workers. Launched by the EU’s Senior Labour Inspectors Committee (SLIC), the campaign runs from October 2017 to May 2019. As part of the campaign, inspections both in the temporary work agencies and in the user undertakings will be carried out.
The campaign includes information and awareness-raising activities, and a pilot experience on cross-border enforcement. The SLIC is composed of the European Commission and one representative of the labour inspection services of each Member State.
4th October 2017
Video: VAT Fraud with Commissioner Moscovici
A new video was produced, featuring Commissioner Moscovici explaining how €50 billion is stolen from the Member States' treasuries every year, instead of being used to boost economic growth, build schools, hospitals or invest in Small and Medium-sized enterprises.
When the borders were abolished for goods 24 years ago to create the internal market, the Member States did not want to adopt a European VAT regime. This explains how - even today - a sale between different European countries is exempt from VAT. This is absurd and has allowed fraud of a shocking and unprecedented scale to take place. Therefore, European Commission is proposing to ensure that VAT is also charged on cross-border transactions, as is the case for domestic sales. There is no need to have a different VAT regime when goods cross borders. Together, let's put an end to VAT fraud.
The video was recorded in two original language versions- English and French. Subtitles are available in all official EU languages.
3rd October 2017
Dual quality food products: tackling unfair practices
Consumers in a number of Member States have complained that the quality of some products is lower in their home country when compared to products by the same producer sold under the same brand across the border. The “dual quality” issue concerns food marketed under the same brand and packaging across several Member States and which presents differences in composition that are likely to matter for a consumer’s decision to buy a product (see factsheet).
In an effort to help national authorities to determine whether a company is breaking EU laws when selling products of dual quality in different countries, the European Commission has issued a set of guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer laws (see factsheet).
Based on this legislation, the guidance establishes a step-by-step approach for the national consumer and food authorities to identify whether the producers are in breach of these laws. In case there is a cross-border aspect to a breach, the consumer authorities can address it through the Consumer Protection Cooperation network at the European level.
In addition to these guidelines, the Commission is working on a methodology to improve food product comparative tests so that Member States can discuss this issue on a sound and shared scientific basis that is the same for all. The Commission has made €1 million available to its Joint Research Centre to develop this methodology.
GDPR is coming: Are you ready?
29th September 2017
Our host Forbes Solicitors presented this Masterclass on the 22nd of September 2017.
This business masterclass has proved to be very popular. It attracted 60 delegates from a wide range of businesses across the County.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a reality for all Lancashire organisations across all sectors and sizes and Brexit won’t stop it. Rules on collecting and using information on customers and staff will get tighter especially around marketing. If these rules are overlooked, organisations run the risk of significant fines of up to €20m or 4% of group global turnover.
The aim of this event was to help companies to prepare for the upcoming changes in the Data Protection Regulation which will be enforced from the 25th of May 2018.
Attendees left the event feeling more confident about the compliance processes.
29th September 2017
The "Your first EURES Job programme": What’s in it for young people?
Originally established in 2012 as a pilot programme, Your first EURES Job (YfEJ) is a targeted job mobility scheme that helps talented young EU job seekers to access opportunities being offered by businesses and organisations across Europe.
The YfEJ scheme is ideal for young people who are struggling to find work in their home country and are looking for a new opportunity abroad. Covering all 28 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, the scheme is open to candidates with different levels of education and/or work experience. The opportunities on offer include jobs and apprenticeships lasting at least six months, as well as traineeships (for at least three months).
The benefits of the programme are:
In order to take part in the YfEJ scheme, candidates must be:
YfEJ is implemented by Public Employment Services (PES) in each country that is member of the EURES network. To join the scheme, applicants need to register with one of these PES (usually by completing an application form, submitting their details through a website or emailing a contact address).
If a country doesn’t specifically provide YfEJ services yet, then applicants can contact any of the organisations on the list.
Further information is available on https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/ea6e3617-2597-11e7-ab65-01aa75ed71a1
28th September 2017
Eurobarometer: European citizens are seriously concerned about climate change
Europeans are very concerned about climate change and a large majority believe that taking action will boost the EU economy and jobs, according to a new Eurobarometer survey. Some 92% of EU citizens now see climate change as a serious problem and 74% see it as a very serious problem, the results show. The vast majority (79%) of EU citizens also believe that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently will bring economic benefits. Nearly nine in ten believe it is important for their national government to set targets to increase renewable energy use by 2030 and provide support for improving energy efficiency. Country-specific factsheets in English and most of the national language of the Member States are available.
26th September 2017
Eurostat regional yearbook 2017: region in numbers
National figures alone cannot reveal the full and sometimes complex picture of what is happening at a more detailed level within the EU. Member States are often compared with each other, but in reality it is very difficult to compare a small country like Malta or Luxembourg with Germany, the most populous Member State. Comparing data at a regional or subnational level is therefore often more meaningful and such an analysis may also highlight potential disparities within countries. As such, subnational data help to increase the understanding of the diversity that exists within Member States and across the EU as a whole.
The 2017 edition of the Eurostat regional yearbook (English) provides a taste of the wide range of regional statistics available for the 276 NUTS level 2 regions (or even 1,342 NUTS level 3 regions for some indicators) of the 28 Member States as well as, where available, in EFTA and candidate countries.
Each chapter presents statistical information in maps, tables and figures, accompanied by a description of the policy context, main findings and data sources. These regional indicators are presented for the following 12 subjects: regional policies and European Commission priorities, population, health, education and training, the labour market, the economy, structural business statistics, research and innovation, the digital economy and society, tourism, transport, and agriculture. In addition, two special chapters are included in this edition: a focus on European cities and a focus on rural areas.
Eurostat also offers several applications for visualising and analysing subnational data: the two interactive website applications Regions and Cities Illustrated and the Statistical Atlas (both sites are available in English, French and German), as well as the mobile phone application My Region (Android/iOS).
Currently available in an electronic format and as a set of Statistics Explained articles, the paper version of the Eurostat regional yearbook 2017 will be available by mid-October.
22nd September 2017
To unlock the full economic potential of EU border regions, home to 150 million citizens, the Commission launches today the "Border Focal Point". It provides tailored support to regions to help them break down barriers to jobs and investments.
For businesses, workers and students, navigating between different administrative and legal systems remains complex and costly. In line with President Juncker's call to ensure fairness in our single market in his 2017 State of the Union speech, the Border Focal Point will help border regions cooperate better with a set of concrete actions.
20th September 2017
European Day of Languages 2017
The European Day of Languages is a yearly event held on 26 September. It celebrates the linguistic diversity of a continent with
The European Day of Languages was established in 2001 by the European Commission and the Council of Europe, which represents 800 million Europeans from 47 countries. Many language and cultural institutes, associations, universities and, in particular, schools take part, organising language classes, games, talks, conferences, radio shows, contests on the day itself or in the weeks before and after 26 September.
Details of this year’s events are available in this European Commission list and on the website of the European Day of Languages hosted by the Council of Europe’s Centre for Modern Languages. In addition, every day during the month, the European Commission’s Directorate-General Translation is publishing an interesting or surprising fact about a different official EU language on its Facebook page.
15h September 2017
e-Certis: a tool for mapping certificates necessary for public procurement
e-Certis is a free online tool for mapping documents requested in cross-border public procurement procedures. As this infographic explains, the system identifies and links the certificates that are necessary to prove compliance with tender criteria in various areas of administrative verification (for example, tax, social security obligations, criminal records, etc). This helps to bring clarity to the cross-border bidding process. Information provided by e-Certis is inserted by national public entities in charge and regularly updated. The e-Certis service is linked with the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), which is a single self-declaration form for a bidder’s eligibility in public procurement. e-Certis and the ESPD significantly reduce the effort needed for submission of a tender offer and facilitate bidding across borders.
14h September 2017
Winners of its 2017 Europol law enforcement photo competition announced
Europol has announced the winners of its annual international law enforcement photo competition. First prize went to Fabrice Balsamo from France’s National Gendarmerie, whose striking image was taken from a Gendarmerie EC145 helicopter during a security mission over Mont St Michel at the start of the Tour de France.
Diego Jesus Lopez Cantos, from the Spanish Guardia Civil in Madrid took second prize, with a hot shot of forces carrying out a training exercise in Toledo, Spain.
Alfred Effenberger, a police officer with Austria’s Landespolizeikommando Niederösterreich, clinched third prize with his image of police motorcyclists passing on patrol.
The competition is open to law enforcement photographers from the EU and also from countries with Europol cooperation agreements. This year’s entries came from a wide range of law enforcement agencies, from police and Gendarmerie, to customs and border guards. Higher resolution versions of the winning images are available from Europol.
13h September 2017
New and improved car emissions tests become mandatory
New car models must pass new and more reliable emissions tests in real driving conditions (“Real Driving Emissions” or RDE) as well as an improved laboratory test (“World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure” or WLTP) before they can be driven on EU roads.
The new emissions tests will ensure more reliable results and help to rebuild confidence in the performance of new cars. As this factsheet explains, the tests represent one of several important steps in the European Commission’s work for a clean, sustainable and competitive car industry.
12th September 2017
Applications open for Juvenes Translatores 2017 translation competition
Juvenes Translatores, organised the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation (DG Translation), is an annual translation contest for schools in the EU. The main stages of the contest are:
Schools wishing to participate must respond by registering electronically on the competition website between 1 September and 20 October 2017. Registration runs until 20 October at noon, and the application form is available online in all official languages of the EU.
At a second phase, a total of 751 schools are selected to provide the names of the students who will take part in the competition. The young translators – two to five per school – can be of any nationality and should be born in 2000. They will have the chance to test their skills on 23 November 2017, the date of the competition. The contest will take place at the same time in all schools selected to participate. During the competition, students will translate a one-page text from one official EU language into another. This makes a total of 552 language combinations of the EU’s 24 official languages.
Last year, students used 152 language combinations, including translating from Greek into Latvian, and from Bulgarian into Portuguese. European Commission translators receive all translations, mark them and select one winner per country. This year’s winners will be invited to Brussels in April 2018, to receive their prizes.
11th September 2017
E-survey: the future of Europe
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is conducting an e-survey (available in all EU languages) in order to hear from citizens on what they think the future of Europe should be. The e-survey is the main component of the “Reflecting on Europe” campaign, which was launched at the request of the European Council President. The aim is to go local, listen to and collect citizens’ and regional and local authorities’ proposals about how the EU should evolve in the next decade.
The survey is composed by a set of closed and open questions on the future of Europe. It allows for the automatic generation of results and feedback, which is sent to respondents so that they can stay informed about the CoR’s effort to represent their views. Over 3,000 responses to the survey, which is available in all the EU languages, have already been registered and the results are available online (in English only). In addition to the e-survey, the CoR is supporting the organisation of local events across Europe, mainly in the form of “citizens’ debates”, upon the initiative of its members, regions, provinces, cities and their national associations and in partnership with other EU institutions in the Member States.
In addition, political debates could also be initiated by regional parliaments or local councils on the topic “Reflecting on Europe”. The conclusions of these debates or possible declarations or resolutions adopted could feed in the CoR opinion on “Reflecting on Europe: the voice of regional and local authorities to rebuild trust in the European Union”, to be adopted in late 2017/early 2018, ahead of the launch of the campaign for the European Parliament elections of 2019.
8th September 2017
Who are the EU auditors?
The Who checks that EU taxpayers’ money is spent well? How do the EU auditors help improve Europe’s financial management? Who are the EU auditors? How do the auditors make sure we get value for money from the EU? For answers to these questions, see the European Court of Auditors’ new corporate video and leaflet, both of which are available in all 24 EU languages.
6th September 2017
Entries for the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards now open
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards are granted annually to identify and promote best practices in the conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, to stimulate the trans-frontier exchanges of knowledge and experience throughout Europe, to enhance public awareness and appreciation of Europe’s cultural heritage, and to encourage further excellent initiatives through the power of example. Every year the Prize honours up to 30 outstanding heritage achievements from all parts of Europe. Up to seven are selected as Grand Prix laureates and one receives the Public Choice Award, chosen in an online poll. All the winners receive a certificate as well as a plaque or trophy. The Grand Prix laureates also receive €10,000 each. Outstanding heritage achievements will be awarded in the following categories:
2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. On this occasion, the jury of each category will give special attention to any European dimension in a project. Among such dimensions that may be taken into account are:
The closing date for applications is 1 October 2017.
5th September 2017
Sharing gets you further: European Mobility week 2017
This year’s European Mobility Week (English only), which runs from 16-22 September 2017, will be held under the theme of clean, shared and intelligent mobility, as encapsulated by the slogan “Sharing gets you further”. By using shared forms of transport, citizens can reduce their expenses and lower their carbon footprint. Best of all, they can meet new people and make their journey more sociable. For cities, European Mobility Week offers a perfect opportunity to test out new forms of clean mobility, take stock of current transport challenges and progress towards more sustainable mobility for Europe. Businesses, NGOs, schools and other actors who want to get involved in the campaign are encouraged to register their mobility action, which can be organised and registered online at any time of the year. European Mobility Week resources (campaign flyer, thematic guidelines, handbook and two posters) are available in all official EU languages except Irish.
4th September 2017
GDPR is coming: Are you ready?
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a reality for all Lancashire organisations across all sectors and sizes and Brexit won’t stop it. Rules on collecting and using information on customers and staff will get tighter especially around marketing. If these rules are overlooked, organisations run the risk of significant fines of up to €20m or 4% of group global turnover.
To help our members and the entire Lancashire business community, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Forbes Solicitors are partnering to present a Masterclass which will ensure that the new regulations will not take us by surprise.
30th August 2017
August EDIC newsletter out now
August Lancashire EDIc newsketter is out now. Access your copy by simply clicking on the link in the right hand column. To receive copies of future newsletters directly into your inbox please e-mail email@example.com.
30th August 2017
Large gap remains in working times between 28 Member States
The difference in working time between workers in the 28 Member States remains significant and is especially marked between the older 15 Member States and the 13 new Member States that have joined the EU since 2004, according to new research from Eurofound. This is particularly apparent when comparing annual leave entitlements for workers: a gap of 2.5 working weeks is evident between the most generous and the least generous. The report also finds that while collective bargaining plays an important role in determining the duration of working time in many of the Member States, it plays a lesser or sometimes negligible role in some of the 13 new Member States. The report also looks at working time across selected sectors, including chemicals, metalworking, banking, retail, and public administration. It finds that across all selected sectors, the 13 newer Member States work significantly more hours compared to the older 15.
30th August 2017
New flyer explains European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)
Since the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) was founded in 1994, its mission has been to make workplaces in Europe safer and healthier – and, as a result, more productive. EU-OSHA raises awareness of occupational safety and health, and of the importance, for employers, employees and society, of good management of workplace risks. It works with partners across Europe to disseminate up-to-date information, good practices and practical tools. This new flyer contains more information on EU-OSHA’s activities.
28th August 2017
Discover your talent: European Vocational Skills Week 2017
The second European Vocational Skills Week (English) will take place from 20-24 November 2017. Building on last year’s event, the week continues with the theme of “Discover Your Talent” and hopes to inspire people to galvanise their abilities through quality European Vocational Skills (VET), at all stages of their lives and while on the move, equipping themselves with labour market‑relevant skills so that they can lead fulfilling personal and professional lives. All VET stakeholders are encouraged to get involved: learners, parents, companies, business organisations, social partners, education and training providers, adult learning organisations, chambers and other professional organisations, researchers, career counsellors, public authorities and society at large. Before and during the main week, activities and events to showcase excellence in vocational education and training will be rolled out across Europe. During the main week, a series of events/activities will also take place in Brussels (press conference, conference, workshops and closing event with award-giving). A set of communication materials, including guidelines, a leaflet and visual identity elements, is also available, most of it in all 24 EU languages. In this video, Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, invites all stakeholders to the event (subtitles available in all EU languages).
23rd August 2017
Applications for the 2020 European Green Capital award open
The title of European Green Capital is awarded every year to a European city for its commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability. The first city was awarded the title in 2010. To mark the 10th anniversary of the award, the European Commission has launched a competition to identify the winner of the European Green Capital 2020 title. For the first time, the winner of this title will be also receiving a financial incentive of €350,000 to kick-start their environmental programme for the year. This short video examines the benefits of being a European Green Capital. Entries must be submitted by 18 October 2017 via the online application form.
22nd August 2017
Harmonised European driving licence reinforces security and safety
European roads are the safest in the world, and the introduction of the new harmonised European driving licence is helping to consolidate this trend. As this briefing from the European Parliamentary Research Service explains, in addition to ensuring freedom of movement for the EU’s 300 million drivers – given that the new licences are recognised throughout Europe – they also reinforce their security and safety. The introduction of minimum requirements to obtain and keep a licence contributes to keeping unsafe drivers off the road. And thanks to the standardised credit-card style format, the risk of counterfeiting has been significantly reduced.
21st August 2017
Article 50 negotiations with the UK
In its Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom, transparency is key for the European Commission. All the Commission’s negotiating documents are available on this dedicated website, as this infographic illustrates.
18th August 2017
Euro Video Challenge
Can economic topics be explained in an entertaining way through the medium of video? The European Central Bank (ECB) is inviting people aged between 18 and 30 to tell their story and demonstrate their talent by submitting an original video, no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds, on an economic topic related to the ECB’s activities. Possible topics for the competition, entitled Euro Video Challenge, include:
The deadline for submitting entries is 24 September 2017. The individuals or teams that produce the best videos will be invited to attend the award ceremony at the 10th anniversary of the economics conference “Les Journées de l’économie” (Jéco) in Lyon, France, on 9 November 2017. First prize for the winning video is €4,000. A second and third prize of €3,000 and €2,000, respectively, may also be awarded subject to the jury’s decision on the quality of the videos. The best videos might also feature on the social media of the European Central Bank and the Jéco.
17th August 2017
Infographic: Contaminants in the food chain
Contaminants are chemical substances that have not been intentionally added to food or feed. These substances may be present in food as a result of the various stages of its production, processing or transport. They also might result from environmental contamination. Contaminant levels in food and feed are usually too low to harm consumers and animals but they can cause effects such as food poisoning and their presence or accumulation over time might affect animal and human health. Produced by the European Food Safety Authority, this infographic explains what kind of food contaminants are in food and feed and how consumers and animals are protected.
17th August 2017
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has just published three reports which are all available in the bulk order catalogue of OP.
Fundamental Rights Report 2017 - Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection. This report reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern.
Fundamental Rights Report 2017 – Opinions - Available in 24 languages. This year’s focus section takes stock of 10 years of fundamental rights developments in the EU. The remaining chapters discuss the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and its use by Member States; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma integration; asylum and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice including rights of crime victims; and developments in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Fundamental rights in Europe - the last 10 years - Available in English and French. Across the EU, the fundamental rights system is increasingly under attack – dismissed as benefitting only select individuals or as hampering swift responses to urgent challenges. This year’s focus section further explores these challenges, providing a thorough review of the past decade’s highlights and shortfalls.
16th August 2017
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other participating countries. As this video explains, the exchange of experience takes place during a 1-6 month stay with the experienced entrepreneur, which helps the new entrepreneur acquire the skills needed to run a small firm.
The host benefits from fresh perspectives on their business and gets the opportunities to cooperate with foreign partners or learn about new markets. Most host entrepreneurs enjoy the experience so much that they decide to host other new entrepreneurs afterwards. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is financed by the European Commission and operates across the participating countries with the help of local contact points competent in business support (e.g. Chambers of Commerce, start-up centres, etc.). Details on how to participate are available in English, French and German.
15th August 2017
Video: Travelling with a pet in Europe
At The EU wants to make it easy for holidaymakers to take their pets when they travel. As this EuroparlTV video shows, pets need EU pet passports, microchips for identification and anti-rabies vaccinations to travel within the EU. The adoption of harmonised rules on travelling with pets has made it easier for EU citizens and their pets to enjoy freedom of movement within the Union. This significant step was made possible by dramatic advances made in the fight against rabies.
14th August 2017
View of EU positive in world's most populous countries
At least three quarters of respondents in China, India and the USA have a positive view of the EU, a European Commission survey has found. In the first such poll, Eurobarometer assessed the image of the EU in eleven non-EU countries. These countries represent 49% of the world population and 61% of global GDP. Respondents in most of the countries covered by the survey have a positive view of the EU: 94% in Brazil, 84% in China, 83% in India, 76% in Japan, 79% in Canada, 75% in the USA, 67% in Australia and 54% in Turkey. At the same time respondents in countries closer to the EU (Russia, Norway and Switzerland) tend to have mixed feelings (between 43% and 46% have a positive view of the EU).
The survey also shows that the EU is globally perceived as “a place of stability in a troubled world” in the countries polled – with important differences, from 82% in India thinking that way to 49% in Turkey - but this is not the case in Russia where only 33% share this view and 61% the opposite. The Flash Eurobarometer 450 “Future of Europe: Views from outside the EU” was conducted through telephone interviews with 11,035 people between 20 and 25 February 2017.
11th August 2017
Statistics: Tourism in the EU, 2015
Where did EU residents go on holidays outside their own country in 2015? Eurostat’s latest data visualisation provides a colourful overview of tourism in the EU Member States and EFTA countries in that year. Just over 58 percent of EU residents remained in the EU, with the top destinations being Spain, Italy and France.
10th August 2017
Visuals available for EESC Civil Society Prize 2017
Visuals which can be used to promote the forthcoming European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Civil Society Prize 2017 are now available in 23 official EU languages (zip file). The prize seeks to reward civil society organisations and/or individuals that are involved in the labour market integration of newcomers and people who are removed from the labour market and require specific support. The criteria and requirements for entry (in 21 official EU languages), as well as the application form, are available on the 2017 EESC Civil Society Prize webpage. The prize, which has a total value of €50,000 to be shared by five winners, will be awarded on 7 December 2017. It is open to civil society organisations officially registered within the EU and acting at European, national, regional or local level. It is also open to individuals. The deadline for applications is 8 September 2017. When tweeting about the prize, use the hashtag #CivSocPrize.
10th August 2017
EU school children to receive milk, fruit and vegetables
The new EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme was introduced on 1 August, in time for implementation across the EU as of the first day of the 2017/2018 school year. Aimed at promoting healthy eating habits among children, the scheme will include the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk products, as well as dedicated educational programmes to teach pupils about the importance of good nutrition and to explain how food is produced. This single scheme merges and optimises the existing projects that last year reached over 20 million children. Although participation is optional, all 28 Member States indicated they will take part in the initiative in the new school year. Fresh fruit, vegetables and drinking milk will be given as a priority to school children. Last year, around 20 million children benefited from the milk scheme and around 11.7 million children from the fruit and vegetables scheme.
8th August 2017
EU Publications Office newsletter on travelling in the EU
Summer is a time when many Europeans go on holiday, and they frequently choose destinations in Europe. There is a lot for travellers to discover and explore, and all is made much easier thanks to the EU. For example, holidaymakers have easy access to healthcare, should they need it, and driving licences and motor insurance policies issued in one EU country are valid in all the others. And roaming charges for using mobile phones abroad no longer exist. In this holiday-themed edition of its monthly newsletter, the EU Publications Office presents a selection of titles which contain practical tips for anyone travelling in Europe, including information on the various rights that EU citizens enjoy while travelling.
7th August 2017
Upskilling Pathways: New learning opportunities for adults
Almost 70 million people in Europe have trouble reading, writing, making simple calculations or using a computer. The EU’s Upskilling Pathways initiative will provide a fresh start to people in need of basic skills development through tailored learning offers and skills assessments to help them acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and/or a broader set of skills. This leaflet contains more information about the initiative and on how people can get involved.
4th August 2017
Registration opens for 2017 European Week of Regions and Cities
Over 130 workshops, networking events and project visits will be held in Brussels as part the 15th European Week of Regions and Cities, which runs from 9-12 October 2017.
Under the motto “Regions and cities working for a better future”, the programme tackles three main themes, as this video explains:
Some 28 partnerships of regions and cities, 14 Directorates-General of the European Commission, several networks, associations and other institutions have partnered up for this year’s event. The opening session takes place on 9 October in the European Parliament. A programme of events is available.
The European Week of Regions and Cities and its workshops, debates and networking activities are addressed to:
Registration for Brussels-based seminars is open until 30 September 2017.
2nd August 2017
Eurostat launches new section on economic globalisation
Eurostat, the EU’s statistical arm, has launched a new dedicated section on economic globalisation. Economic globalisation has led to a more connected world with a far-reaching impact on production arrangements, international trade and foreign investment, economic growth, labour market and many other sectors of the economy.
The new section contains information about economic globalisation from the point of view of business statistics and macroeconomic statistics: background information, concepts and definitions, statistics, and their proper use, presentation and interpretation.
31st July 2017
European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017
European SME Week, which is under the patronage of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, wants to know what the EU can do to encourage young entrepreneurs. People aged between 16 and 25 from Member States or partner countries of COSME (Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprises) are invited to share their thoughts with policymakers and entrepreneurs on a European stage. To that end, the event’s organisers are holding the European SME Week Youth Essay Competition 2017.
To enter, contestants must write an essay in English, of maximum 2,500 words, addressing the question: “What skills do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs need?” The top three entries will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the SME Assembly in Tallinn, Estonia, in November 2017, where they will compete in a grand finale and present their essays to the Assembly audience. The final winner will be chosen via a public vote. The three finalists will be announced in October ahead of SME Week. The deadline for entries is 8 September 2017.
28th July 2017
Commission seeks to boost smart specialisation for European regions
To take up the challenge of economic modernisation, the EU needs to empower its regions and help them create value. This means embracing innovation, digitisation, decarbonisation and developing people’s skills. For this reason, the European Commission is proposing a new set of actions to further help EU regions invest in their niche areas of competitive strength (“smart specialisation”, see factsheet) and generate the required innovation, resilience and growth. Introduced in 2014 in all regional policy programmes, smart specialisation has made a real difference in the way European regions are designing their innovation strategies, by creating or reinforcing cooperation at all levels, especially with local business spheres. The Commission intends to build on this positive experience with two pilot projects (see factsheet for details):
Country-specific factsheets on smart specialisation in Member States are also available.
26th July 2017
EU customs seized over 41 million fake goods at EU borders last year
New figures released by the European Commission show that customs authorities intercepted more than 41 million fake and counterfeit products at the EU’s external border in 2016. As the annual Report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights shows, the goods had a total value of over €670 million.
Everyday products which are potentially dangerous to health and safety – such as food and drink, medicines, toys and household electrical goods – accounted for over a third of all intercepted goods. Cigarettes were the top category (24%) for intercepted articles and toys the second largest group (17%), followed by foodstuffs (13%) and packaging material (12%). The number of intercepted articles rose by 2% compared to 2015.
China remains the clear leader when it comes to the provenance of fake goods: 80% of articles arrived from China in 2016. Singapore was the top source for counterfeit alcoholic beverages, while Iran was the main source country for fake clothing accessories. Hong Kong was the leader for counterfeit mobile phones and India topped the list for counterfeit medicines. In more than 90% of detentions, goods were either destroyed or a court case was initiated to determine an infringement or as part of criminal procedures.
24th July 2017
Registrations now open for EuroPCom
Registration for EuroPCom, the annual European Public Communication Conference, is open until 27 October 2017. EuroPCom is the annual conference for communication managers and senior experts from local, regional, national and European authorities. During this two-day event, public communication professionals gather together to discuss how to improve public communication and raise awareness of EU policies (see preliminary conference programme brochure).
The 8th edition of EuroPCom will be held on 9-10 November 2017. More than 600 EU communication professionals are expected to attend the event. The conference is organised by the European Committee of the Regions, in close cooperation with the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee.
At the opening session, the fifth European Public Communication Award will be presented. The award aims to showcase best practices and to promote professional EU communication at all levels of governance. In addition, a special prize will give recognition to an innovative communication project that aims to boost citizen engagement in the EU. Nominations may be submitted until 1 September 2017.
21st July 2017
European Asylum Support Office publishes 2016 report
The 2016 European Asylum Support Office Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum provides a comprehensive overview of the situation of asylum in the EU+ (EU Member States plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein). It examines requests for international protection to the EU; application and decision data, asylum trends, including key challenges and responses during the year; major institutional and legal developments and provides an overview of the practical functioning of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The report is available in English, but summaries of the main findings are available in all 23 official EU languages.
The main findings of the report are:
The crisis in Syria continued to be a key factor in the number of applications for international protection in the EU+. Syria was the top citizenship of applicants reported, with its citizens accounting for 26% of all applications in the EU+ while more than 65,000 unaccompanied minors (UAMs) applied for international protection in the EU+, 37% less than the previous year. Afghan nationals lodged 37% of all UAM applications in the EU+.
20th July 2017
Video: Passenger rights within Europe
What can passengers do if they experience a delay or cancellation? This video, produced by EuroparlTV, goes through the passenger rights people enjoy when travelling within Europe. Travellers may be entitled to anything from refreshments to compensation, while passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility also enjoy additional rights.What can passengers do if they experience a delay or cancellation?
19th July 2017
EU Publications Office newsletter on the future of EU finances
In recent years, the debate on the current system of funding of the EU has intensified. At the same time, new political challenges, such as the EU’s policies towards international conflicts and the refugee crisis, indicate that there is significant potential for a stronger role of the EU. Reforming the revenue system may be an important step to ensure that the EU is able to meet these demands.
In this context, the European Commission has just published its Reflection paper on the future of EU finances – the last of five reflection papers announced in the White Paper on the future of Europe (both all EU languages, except Irish). Its aim is to present five illustrative scenarios for the future system of funding of the EU, each with different consequences – both in terms of how much to spend for what purpose, and on where the money could come from.
To provide more background information on this important discussion, the EU Publications Office has devoted its July newsletter to presenting a selection of recent titles on various aspects of the future of EU finances and of the EU budget in general. Titles include EU own resources: Momentum for a reform? (English only), EU budget at a glance (all EU languages, except Irish) and Future financing of the EU (English only).
18th July 2017
InvestEU Portal - new video
A new video with VP Katainen promotes the European Investment Project Portal and is available with subtitles in 24 EU languages. The European Investment Project Portal is the central online speed-dating platform for EU projects and investors worldwide. It is hosted by the European Commission and is part of the Investment Plan for Europe, aiming to mobilise investment, promote economic growth and create more jobs.
17th July 2017
2016 EU budget reports: generating added value out of every euro spent
Three reports and five fact sheets published by the European Commission on the implementation of the 2016 EU budget show that the budget has helped achieve the political priorities of the EU, has created added value for EU citizens and was spent in line with EU rules. Another conclusion from those reports is that simplifying EU rules is key to making it easier for local authorities, farmers or businesses to use EU funds effectively and correctly.
Some key achievements of the EU budget in 2016 include:
The findings of the reports tie in with the recommendations of a high-level group of independent Cohesion Policy experts, who have proposed further simplifying access to EU funds in the budget framework post-2020. Although the achievements of the EU Cohesion Policy are undeniably positive, the current volume of rules does not always make life easy for local authorities managing EU funds or businesses looking to apply for EU funding. This factsheet (pdf, in English) contains the experts’ key recommendations.
14th July 2017
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): a must for holidaymakers
Going on holidays to another European country this year? Don’t forget to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), a free card that provides the holder with access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay. As this video explains, the card is valid in the 28 EU countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. Cards are issued by national health insurance providers.
An app (iOS, Android, Windows) is also available on the EHIC, explaining how it can be used in the 32 countries that accept it. It includes general information about the card, emergency phone numbers, covered treatments and costs, how to claim reimbursement and who to contact in case you have lost your card, as well as a card expiry reminder function. All this information is also available offline. The app is available in 25 languages and users can easily switch from one language to another.
More than 200 million Europeans have the EHIC, which is around 40% of the total insured population in the reporting Member States, according to the latest available figures.
14th July 2017
New Monitor shows how culture and creativity help cities to thrive
The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor (pdf) is a new tool that provides comparable data on how European cities perform across nine dimensions – covering culture and creativity – and underlines how their performance contributes to cities’ social development and economic growth and job creation.
Developed by the European Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the monitor will help policymakers as well as the cultural and creative sectors identify local strengths and areas for improvement, and learn from comparable cities. As this infographic (pdf) and video explain, it also sheds light on the strong relationship between cultural vibrancy and various dimensions of a city’s life, starting with its social diversity and its economic activity. The monitor is the result of a research project covering 168 cities in 30 European countries. It is available as an interactive online tool to allow users to browse the selected cities as well as a wide array of quantitative and qualitative information about their performance. Country factsheets are also available.
13th July 2017
New issue of research*eu results magazine published
With more than 167 million hectolitres (mhl) produced in 2015 out of a total of around 274 mhl, Europe is still the undisputed heavyweight of global wine production. Yet, its share is progressively shrinking – especially in the lowest price ranges – due to increased international competition. Stakeholders are calling for market reforms, and climate change is already challenging traditional production methods. Part of the answer to such challenges lies in research and development, which has the potential to still shake things up by complementing EU producers’ know-how. The latest issue of research*eu magazine presents eight relevant projects of high potential value for the European wine industry, while at the same time reflecting on the challenges ahead. The special feature is followed by highlights across nine themes of research: health, society, energy, environment, aquatic resources, industry, information and communication technologies, security and fundamental research. research*eu is published ten times per year. Free subscriptions are available to the publication, which can also be downloaded at no cost.
11th July 2017
A container's journey to the EU: new customs tools to fight fraud
Last year, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and customs officers gained access to new powerful IT tools to combat customs fraud. Through an update of customs rules, customs authorities will be able to access new systems that record the physical movements of containers transported on maritime vessels and gather information on the goods entering, transiting and leaving the EU. These new instruments will allow the EU and its Member States to better track and trace suspicious shipments and detect customs fraud. This is all explained in a new animated video available in English, French and German.
7th July 2017
Leaflet: Traineeships in the Council of the EU
The General Secretariat of the European Council offers a number of traineeships. This leaflet includes all the information prospective applicants need about traineeships, including the selection procedure, the duration of traineeships and a contact list for additional questions.
6th July 2017
Video: Combatting planned obsolescence
In the fight against planned obsolescence - the policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time - the European Parliament wants to set minimum resistance criteria for products and better inform consumers about their durability.
As this EuroparlTV video explains, the aim is to encourage repair and reduce waste. In doing that, they are responding to the wishes of over three-quarters of consumers in the EU, who say they would rather fix broken products than buy new ones.
5th July 2017
EU Aviation: 25 years of reaching new heights
Since the EU’s Internal Market for Aviation was born back in 1992, there has been a revolution in air travel. Today, air travel is cheaper, safer and open to more people than ever before. What’s more, because of a comprehensive set of EU passenger rights, travellers can have full confidence they will be looked after on their journey. This is all thanks in no small part to an EU initiative to replace a series of national rules by a single set of EU rules, known as the EU Internal Market for Aviation.
As this special European Aviation Safety Agency webpage marking 25 years of the EU Aviation Market shows, competition has brought major changes to air travel – changes that have propelled European mobility forward, successfully helping to bring Europeans closer together, and providing solid foundations for more jobs and a growing economy.
3rd July 2017
Report: Protectionism on the rise, EU successful in countering barriers
European exporters reported a 10% increase in the number of trade barriers they encountered in 2016 alone. A total of 372 such barriers were in place at the end of last year in over 50 trade destinations across the world. The 36 obstacles created in 2016 could affect EU exports that are currently worth around €27 billon. According to the latest Report on Trade and Investment Barriers (pdf, in English; a factsheet is also available, pdf), the European Commission succeeded last year in removing as many as 20 different obstacles hindering European exports, thanks to its effective Market Access Strategy.
The report has been published annually since the beginning of the 2008 economic crisis. This year’s edition is fully based on concrete complaints received by the Commission from European companies. They concern a wide range of products covering everything from agri-food to shipbuilding industries. G20 members figure prominently among countries with the highest number of import obstacles. Russia, Brazil, China and India top the list. Most of the new protectionist measures reported in 2016 appeared also in Russia and India, followed by Switzerland, China, Algeria and Egypt. The trade barriers section on the Commission’s Market Access database contains information on trade barriers reported to the Commission as well as an overview of what the EU is doing to remove them.
30th June 2017
EESC Civil Society Prize 2017
In 2016, The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Civil Society Prize 2017 aims to reward civil society organisations and/or individuals that are involved in the labour market integration of newcomers and people who are removed from the labour market and require specific support. The criteria and requirements for entry (in 21 official EU languages), as well as the application form, are available on the 2017 EESC Civil Society Prize webpage. The prize, which has a total value of €50,000 to be shared between up to five winners, will be awarded on 7 December 2017. It is open to civil society organisations officially registered within the EU and acting at European, national, regional or local level. It is also open to individuals. The deadline for applications is 8 September 2017.
29th June 2017
Europol launches 2016 EU terrorism report
In 2016, a total of 142 failed, foiled and completed attacks were reported by eight EU Member States.
More than half (76) of the attacks were reported by the United Kingdom. France reported 23 attacks, Italy 17, Spain 10, Greece 6, Germany 5, Belgium 4 and the Netherlands 1 attack. A total of 142 victims died in terrorist attacks and 379 were injured in the EU. These are among the key findings of the 10th edition of the yearly EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT, pdf), which Europol has produced since 2007.
Nearly all reported fatalities and most of the casualties were the result of jihadist terrorist attacks. Explosives were used in 40% of the attacks and women and young adults, and even children, are playing increasingly operational roles in committing terrorist activities independently in the EU.
28th June 2017
Trade flows: animated infographic
EU trade has flourished, thanks to the establishment of a single market, a single external border and a single trade policy.
Currently, the EU is the main global player in trade, responsible for 16.1% of trade in goods, services, and foreign direct investment flows in the world. It is a key partner in world trade in goods, has a leading position in global trade in services, and is also a major source and destination of world investment.
Prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service, this animated infographic is a user-friendly and engaging way to access a full range of information about EU trade.
27th June 2017
2017 EU Sustainable Energy Awards winners announced
The winners of the 2017 EU Sustainable Energy Awards were announced at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels. Twelve projects made it to the Awards shortlist this year, three in each of the four categories: Consumers, Public Sector, Energy Islands, and Businesses. A further Award was decided by a public online vote in the weeks leading up to EU Sustainable Energy Week 2017.
The winners are:
The EU Sustainable Energy Awards recognise outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables. Nominees/finalists are chosen from a shortlist of the year’s most successful projects for clean, secure and efficient energy. With prizes from an expert jury and European citizens, the Awards highlight new ways to shape Europe’s energy future.
26th June 2017
European Innovation Scoreboard: more even progress is needed
The EU’s innovation performance last year continued to grow despite somewhat uneven progress observed around Europe, according to the 2017 edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS). The EIS (see FAQ) provides a comparative assessment of research and innovation performance and the relative strengths and weaknesses of national research and innovation systems.
Published by the European Commission, it found that, overall, innovation performance improved in 15 countries, though large differences exist between these Member States. Sweden remains the innovation leader while Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria and UK are the fastest growing innovators. In a global perspective, the EU is catching up with Canada and the US, but South Korea and Japan are pulling ahead. China shows the fastest progress among international competitors. Country profiles are available for each country. In addition, an interactive tool allows for custom comparisons of performance scores and the visualisation of country profile comparisons.
23rd June 2017
EU Skills Profile Tool for non-EU Nationals launched
The integration of non-EU nationals into the labour market is one of the most important challenges the EU faces. The cost of non-integration is far greater in the long run than the cost of effective integration policies, and in light of digitalisation and an ageing society, Europe has an interest in becoming an attractive destination for the talent our economies need. With that in mind and on the occasion of the UN World Refugee Day on June 20, the European Commission presented the EU Skills Profile Tool for Third-Country Nationals (available in Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian and some non-EU languages).
An off- and online web editor, the tool allows non-EU nationals to present their skills, qualifications and experiences in a way that is well understood by employers, education and training providers and organisations working with migrants across the whole EU. The tool will be used by reception centres, integration services, public employment services and other organisations offering services to non-EU nationals to make sure their skills and education are recognised, and to further guide them to training, education or employment. A factsheet on the tool is also available (Dutch, English, French, German, Greek).
22nd June 2017
EU Bookshop moves to new platform
The EU Bookshop is moving to a new platform, with a new look, better service and new functionalities. It is now housed on the EU Law and Publications portal, which offers full, cross-collection access in 24 European languages to all existing EU law and publications. The new url for the Bookshop is: http://publications.europa.eu/bookshop
20th June 2017
EU observatory for nanomaterials launched
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has launched a new website that gives citizens, workers and professionals access to information on nanomaterials on the EU market in 23 languages. The website represents the first phase of the EU Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON). The EUON offers a unique web-based information point with factual and neutral content about nanomaterials on the EU market.
The observatory is targeted at a wide audience including consumers, workers, regulators and scientists. The website explains what nanomaterials are and where they are used. Information on health and safety issues, research, regulatory and international activities are also part of the EUON’s first phase. The potential hazards and risks resulting from the use of nanomaterials have to be assessed case-by-case as for any other chemical. However, more safety information is still needed for many of the most commonly used nanomaterials. Aimed at consumers, this factsheet explains why nanomaterials are important.
17th June 2017
Join the online debate on cohesion policy
The EU and the structural funds' goal is to ensure opportunities for all European citizens, regardless of the place in which they live, but there is evidence that some territories and groups of people have been left behind over the recent past. This is probably the most damaging legacy of the economic crisis. EU cohesion policy is not just about rich countries paying for poor countries. Within wealthy EU countries, there are also poorer regions, just as within poorer countries there are wealthier regions.
The online forum will discuss harnessing the opportunities of globalisation and keeping Europe as a reference of innovation and social inclusion. Please help promote the online debate. #CohesionPolicy #CohesionAlliance #EU7CF
16th June 2017
End of roaming charges in the EU
It’s happened! As of 15 June, EU consumers do not have roaming charges when travelling to another EU country. Every existing or new contract that includes roaming services changed to a “roam like at home” contract. These new EU rules cover data services, voice calls and SMS. Frequently asked questions on roam like at home are answered on this page (available in all EU languages except Irish), which will be updated regularly. The FAQs can also be downloaded in pdf format. More information is also available on the roaming webpage and in these general and detailed factsheets (in English).
The new rules mean mobile operators must offer their roaming services at domestic prices to consumers with stable links in one country when they are periodically travelling in the EU. If necessary, operators can ask their customers to provide proof of residence or stable links to the Member State in question. Examples of stable links include cross-border commuters and posted workers, Erasmus+ programme beneficiaries such as students, apprentices or volunteers. However, roaming providers may apply fair, reasonable and proportionate control mechanisms based on objective indicators to detect the risks of abusive or anomalous use of roam like at home when this is not part of a temporary trip abroad.
The Commission’s roaming expert also answered over 250 questions from the public about the new rules during a Facebook Live chat, which remains online (in English). As this video (in French, with subtitles) explains, the abolition of roaming fees brings an end to a 10-year battle for MEP Viviane Reding, who started the campaign when she was the Information Society and Media commissioner.
12th June 2017
Green Awards winners for 2017 announced
A project to produce biodegradable plastic film from bakery waste and a system to eradicate brine from seawater desalination plants were among the winners of this year’s Green Awards, awarded under the LIFE programme, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.
A total of 15 projects were selected as finalists for the hotly contested awards by an expert jury, on the basis of their long-term sustainability, communication potential and broader impact on a national, European or global level. Projects were also assessed for innovation, transferability, environmental benefits and improvement of conservation status. The winners were then chosen by public vote on Facebook. This year’s winners were:
Nature and Biodiversity category
Climate action category
8th June 2017
Reflection Paper on the future of European Defence
The Commission has responded to a key concern of European citizens with a package to open a debate on moving towards a security and defence union, and provide the means to stimulate cooperation in defence research, development and acquisition of technology and products.
The aim is to fit Europe with a powerful and efficient security and defence structure by 2025. Following the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe and a series of reflection papers on key European issues, a new reflection paper outlines three different scenarios on how to address the growing threats facing Europe and enhance Europe's own abilities in defence. The reflection paper will make an important contribution to deciding on how the Union will strengthen the protection and security of European citizens, which has been at the heart of the Juncker Commission priorities.
It is complemented by concrete proposals to launch a European Defence Fund, which will support more efficient spending by Member States on joint defence capabilities. Projects eligible for EU funding will focus on priority areas previously agreed by Member States, and could typically include electronics, metamaterials, encrypted software or robotics. It could generate a total investment in defence capability development of €5 billion per year after 2020.
7th June 2017
WiFi4EU initiative gets green light
Local public authorities, municipalities or groups of municipalities wishing to offer Wi-Fi in areas where a similar public or private offer does not yet exist will be able to apply for an EU grant via a simple and non-bureaucratic process, under a new funding initiative agreed by the EU institutions.
The WiFi4EU initiative (see factsheet), on which the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission have reached political agreement, will support installing free public Wi-Fi hotspots in local communities across the EU: in public squares, piazzas, parks, hospitals and other public spaces. The agreement includes a commitment by the three institutions to ensure that an overall amount of €120 million shall be assigned to fund equipment for public free Wi-Fi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities in all Member States.
The specific sources of the funding will be finalised in the ongoing legislative discussions on the review of the current Multiannual Financial Framework programme. Local authorities will be able to apply for funding once the system is set up.
6th June 2017
Commission Initiative: Europe on the Move
The European transport system is undergoing major changes: it is shifting to a more integrated and multimodal mobility system, which requires a more comprehensive approach, embracing a wide range of policy areas at EU level.
In a new initiative, the European Commission has moved to take action to modernise European mobility and transport. The aim is to help the sector to remain competitive in a socially fair transition towards clean energy and digitisation.
“Europe on the Move” (pdf, in English only) is a wide-ranging set of initiatives with which the Commission aims to shape the road and mobility systems of the future, boost competitiveness, strengthen social fairness and firmly put transport on the path towards zero emissions.
The Commission’s proposals are explained in the following factsheets (English only):
Overall, the Commission believes the implementation of the initiatives will contribute to the reduction of air pollutants and CO2 emissions as well as noise and congestion from transport. This will improve health and living conditions of European citizens. Road users will also benefit from expected improvements in road safety due to better social conditions of professional drivers, notably proper rest periods and better enforcement.
5th June 2017
Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union
The euro is a success story on many levels: it is shared by as many as 340 million Europeans in 19 Member States. But the tough times the euro area has endured over recent years mean it is not always perceived as such. For this reason, the European Commission has published a reflection paper with the intention of building a broad consensus on how to take on the challenges ahead and to give a fresh impetus to this important debate on deepening the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
The reflection paper sets out concrete steps that could be taken before the European elections in 2019, as well as a series of options for the following years, when the EMU architecture would be completed.
Moving ahead would involve taking steps in three key areas:
The Commission believes that completing the EMU is not an end in itself but is needed to provide jobs, growth, social fairness, economic convergence and financial stability. Responsibility and solidarity, risk reduction and risk-sharing will have to go hand in hand. The EMU should remain open to all Member States, and the decision-making process must become more transparent and democratically accountable
2nd June 2017
Toolbox: preventing marginalisation and violent radicalisation
Youth work can play a key role in promoting active citizenship, preventing marginalisation and violent radicalisation, an expert group of policymakers, researchers and practitioners set up under the EU’s Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018 has found. The expert group looked at three levels of prevention: at a generic, targeted and indicated level. At each level, youth work and non-formal and informal learning have a role to play and need to be supported in different ways. The expert group provides concrete proposals for each level in accordance with the different challenges that each poses. The main outcomes of the expert group are:
The full report is available here.
31st May 2017
Streaming without borders: new rules for online content
Border checkpoints for many Europeans may be a thing of the past, but what about the borders that exist online? Citizens visiting another EU country are often prevented from accessing online content such as films, TV series, music, games, or sporting events, which they have paid for in their home country.
Under new legislation adopted by the European Parliament, EU citizens with subscriptions for online films and TV will soon be able to access their content while temporarily in another Member State. As this EuroparlTV video explains, the new rules will remove restrictions so that EU citizens can use online services such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Deezer while in another EU country for holidays, studies or business. If a subscriber lives, for instance, in Germany but goes on holidays or visit their family or work in Spain, they will be able to access the services that they had in Germany. Platforms will be able to check their subscribers’ country of residence, for instance by asking for a tax statement or phone bill.
The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. Member States will have nine months from the date of entry into force of the regulation to bring the new rules into force.
For further details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
30th May 2017
European Inverstigation Order comes into force
The work of judicial authorities when requesting evidence located in another EU country has now become simpler with the entering into force in late May of the European Investigation Order. The new tool is based on mutual recognition and requires each participating Member State to recognise and carry out a judicial request from the other country as it would do with a decision coming from its own authorities.
For instance, if French judicial authorities are tracking terrorists hidden in Belgium, they can ask their Belgian counterparts to interrogate witnesses or conduct house searches on their behalf. This new tool will simplify and speed up cross-border criminal investigations.
The European Investigation Order has the following advantages:
This directive applies to all EU countries except Denmark and Ireland, which are not taking part. The United Kingdom decided to participate.
For further details email email@example.com or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
26th May 2017
eSearch plus: comprehensive information about trademarks and design
Run by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the eSearch plus application provides users with comprehensive information about trademarks, designs, owners, representatives and bulletins. It enables users to perform quick and efficient searches within EUIPO’s databases.
One of its newest features uses image recognition technology to find similar-looking marks. This feature is particularly suitable when the trademark image being searched has a common or abstract shape that can be difficult to describe in words, or when there are many potential words to describe it.
For further details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
22nd May 2017
2017 winners of EU Prize for Cultural Heritage announced
The winners of the 2017 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards were celebrated at an event on 15 May in Turku, Finland.
During the ceremony, the seven Grand Prix laureates each received €10,000 in prize money.
The winners in each of the four categories were:
Education, Training and Awareness-Raising
Moreover, The Public Choice Award went to Zoltán Kallós from Romania, who has devotedly compiled collections of music, dance, storytelling and crafts of the Hungarian, Romanian, Saxon and Roma communities of Transylvania in Romania for over 70 years. The Public Choice Award winner was chosen through an open online vote in which over 11,000 people participated.
The selection of Grand Prix laureates and Public Choice Award was made among this year’s 29 winning projects, from 18 European countries taking part in the EU’s Creative Europe programme.
19th May 2017
Spring Economic Forecast foresees euro area growth in 2017 and 2018
The euro area will see GDP growth of 1.7% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018, the European Commission predicts in its recently published Spring Economic Forecast (English only). As Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, explains in this video (English and French, now with subtitles in all 24 EU languages), the report notes that the European economy has entered its fifth year of recovery, which is now reaching all EU Member States. This is expected to continue at a largely steady pace this year and next.
Unemployment continues its downward trend, but it remains high in many countries. In the euro area, it is expected to fall to 9.4% in 2017 and 8.9% in 2018, its lowest level since the start of 2009. The trend in the EU as a whole is expected to be similar, with unemployment forecast to fall to 8.0% in 2017 and 7.7% in 2018, the lowest since late 2008. However, the picture varies from Member State to Member State and tackling the causes of this divergence is the key challenge the EU must address in the months and years to come. Economic forecasts for each country are also available.
18th May 2017
EU Sustainable Energy Week, 19 to 25 June 2017
The EU Sustainable Energy Week is back for its 12th edition. Taking place in Brussels from 19 to 25 June 2017, it will promote energy-saving and renewables and is complemented by a two-month series of events around Europe. This year’s theme is “Clean Energy for All Europeans”, inspired by the European Commission’s package of proposals to put consumers and growth at the heart of the sustainable energy transition.
Sessions organised by the European Commission and energy stakeholders debate policy developments, best practices, initiatives and ideas that support Europe’s move towards clean, secure and efficient power as part of the Energy Union. A central feature of the week is the EU Sustainable Energy Week policy conference, Europe’s most important conference on energy efficiency and renewables, which takes place in Brussels from 20 to 22 June.
Registrations for the event are now open. Coinciding with EUSEW Policy Conference, the Energy Days take place in May and June, marked by events and activities across the EU.
15th May 2017
EU Green Week 2017 to take place from 29 May to 2 June
EU Green Week (available in English) is an annual forum to debate and discuss European environmental policy. Organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment, this key event in the environment policy calendar attracts policymakers, leading environmentalists, stakeholders and other interested parties from across Europe and the globe.
EU Green Week 2017 will take place from 29 May to 2 June with the theme of “Green jobs for a greener future”. It will focus on how EU environmental policies are creating green jobs and contributing to economic, sustainable and socially responsible growth in the EU. It will also highlight the demand for new types of green skills in many professional sectors.
In addition to a high-level conference in Brussels, the programme will also feature a series of partner events and actions taking place across Europe. As well as being invited to take part in person, stakeholders and the general public are encouraged to become “virtually” involved by participating in a wide range of on-line and social media activities.
12th May 2017
Commission publishes mid-term review of the Digital Single Market strategy
The EU needs to develop the European Data Economy to its full potential, protect Europe’s assets by tackling cybersecurity challenges and promote online platforms as responsible players of a fair internet ecosystem. These are the recommendations of the mid-term review (see factsheet) of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy. Since May 2015, the Commission has delivered 35 legislative proposals and policy initiatives as part of the strategy. The focus is now on obtaining political agreement with the European Parliament and the Council on all proposals, above all on the updated EU telecoms rules which will boost investments in high-speed and quality networks, which are critical for the full deployment of the digital economy and society.
A selection of case studies accompanies the review. Several factsheets (in pdf format) illustrate how businesses in the various areas of the Digital Single Market have managed the transition and thrive thanks to EU digital policies. These success stories include:
The mid-term review is accompanied by Europe’s Digital Progress Report 2017 (EDPR), which monitors progress in digital policies in the Member States, such as developments in connectivity, digital skills or use of internet by citizens and by business. The EDPR includes reports on telecom market and regulatory developments in each Member State.
11th May 2017
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom: £25.5 million to support trans-European digital networks
The European Commission has opened a second call for proposals under the 2017 CEF Telecom Work Programme. €25.5 million will be made available to stimulate and support the deployment of European Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs). A Virtual Info Day on the call will take place on 16 May 2017 and participants can register online here.
Interested applicants from all EU Member States, as well as Iceland and Norway, are invited to submit proposals at the latest by 21 September 2017 for actions supporting the deployment of the four areas:
In 2017, CEF Telecom will provide up to a total of €77 million in funding through grants for European Digital Service Infrastructures.
10th May 2017
Commission launches reflection on the social dimension of Europe by 2025 and adopts proposal for the European Pillar of Social Rights
Building a fairer Europe and strengthening its social dimension is a key priority for this Commission. The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. It is presented both as a Commission Recommendation, effective as of 26 April, and as a proposal for a joint proclamation by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
The Commission will now enter into discussions with the European Parliament and all the Member States in the Council to work towards broad political support and high-level endorsement of the Pillar. More information on the European Pillar of Social Rights can be found in the press release and memo (22 EU languages) with links to related fact sheets.
In addition, the Commission flanks the Pillar with a number of concrete legislative and non-legislative initiatives, such as on the work-life balance of parents and carers, on the information of workers, on access to social protection and on working time. More information can be found in this press release and memo (22 EU languages) and related factsheets (EN, FR and D, others to follow).
In parallel, following the launch of the discussion on the future of Europe via the Commission's White Paper, the Commission also zooms in on the social dimension of Europe by 2025. The reflection paper on Europe's social dimension will mark the start of a reflection process with citizens, social partners, the European institutions and governments, that seeks to identify responses to the challenges our societies and citizens face in the coming years. The paper is also an effort to clarify the contribution of the EU level in addressing these challenges. More information can be found in this press release (22 EU languages).
9th May 2017
Enhancing the functioning of the EU Single Market
The Single Market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. It has fuelled economic growth and made the everyday life of European businesses and consumers easier.
Delivering on its Single Market Strategy – the roadmap to unlock the full potential of the Single Market – the European Commission has launched a new package of measures (see factsheet) that will make it easier for people and companies to manage their paperwork online in their home country or when working, living or doing business in another EU country and it will help ensure that commonly agreed EU rules are respected.
The three concrete initiatives adopted by the Commission are:
8th May 2017
Commission wants temporary border controls lifted within six months
The European Commission has recommended that Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway phase out the temporary controls currently in place at some of their internal Schengen borders over the next six months (see factsheet, in English only).
During this time, as in the previous periods, controls should only be carried out in a targeted and limited manner and only as a means of last resort. At the same time, the Commission is calling on Member States to increasingly make use of alternative measures that can provide the same level of security, such as proportionate police checks in border areas and along main transport routes (see factsheet, in English only).
Important progress has been made in better securing the EU’s external borders and limiting irregular migration over the past months. The full roll-out of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is progressing steadily since its launch on 6 October 2016; following the EU-Turkey Statement, irregular arrivals in Greece have decreased by 97%.
As this factsheet explains (pdf, in English), the Agency currently supports Member States with about 1,500 border guards at different sections of the EU external border, complementing the existing national capacities of Member States of over 100,000.
5th May 2017
MEPs want better protection for children
Children watch more and more videos on the internet, spending many hours every week in front of screens. Sixty percent of 9 to 15-year-olds go online nearly every day to do school work, play games, text and watch videos. On-demand video is also threatening traditional TV.
For these reasons, as this EuroparlTV video explains, MEPs want to strengthen the protection of minors online against harmful content.
They have proposed to adapt some of the rules that apply to programmes on television to services on the internet. They also want stricter measures on hate speech, violence and sexual content: encryption, clearer signage and stronger parental control.
Parliament also wants to protect minors from commercials for fatty or high-sugar foods in particular.
4th May 2017
2017 Sustainable Energy Awards
The EU Sustainable Energy Awards, which highlight cutting-edge innovation for the transition to clean, secure and efficient energy, are a major feature of the annual EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) policy conference. Three finalists have been selected for each of the four jury-assessed categories – Consumers, Public Sector, Businesses and, this year, Energy Islands. They will all also be competing for the Citizen’s Prize, to be chosen by a public online vote.
This year’s EU Sustainable Energy Award finalists are:
The winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony on day one of the 2017 EUSEW policy conference (20-22 June) in Brussels.
3rd May 2017
Special Green Awards to mark 25th anniversary of LIFE programme
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the LIFE programme, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.
To commemorate LIFE’s achievements during this time, the European Commission has selected 15 outstanding LIFE projects as nominees for a special Green Awards ceremony, which takes place during EU Green Week in Brussels on 30 May 2017.
The awards are for the most outstanding completed LIFE projects since 1992. The winners will be selected by means of a public vote on Facebook. Voting is open from now until 10 May 2017.
The nominees for the Green Awards were selected by a jury, based on a number of criteria, including long-term sustainability, communication potential and broader impact on national, European or global level. They were additionally scored on innovation, transferability, environmental benefits and conservation status.
2nd May 2017
House of European History to open on 6 May Open Doors day in Brussels
The House of European History aims to encourage citizens to reflect upon and debate the history of Europe and of European integration. This new museum, situated in Parc Léopold in the European quarter of Brussels, will offer a new and thought-provoking way of seeing and understanding the history of the continent and the development of European integration.
The main exhibition, available in 24 languages, takes a Europe-wide perspective on history and invites visitors to reflect critically on historical events and experiences, considering their meaning for today and for the future.
The museum aims to become, over time, a place of debate and exchange about history, with a range of events and learning programmes. The permanent exhibition, together with the first temporary exhibition on the theme of “Interactions – centuries of commerce, combat and creation”, encourages visitors to get involved: as they go through the museum, they are invited to look closely at events and processes in Europe’s history and then to look again and see things from a different angle, in a different light.
The museum’s opening on 6 May 2017 is part of the Open Doors Day festivities and attractions from 10:00 onwards to celebrate Europe Day.
28th April 2017
Eurostat launches new quiz
How many people live in the EU? Which EU Member State has the biggest area covered by forest? Which EU airport is the busiest? Find out the answers to these questions and many more with the new Eurostat quiz.
Eurostat’s fun quiz is designed to test and increase people’s knowledge of the EU and its Member States. The questions are organised in different statistical themes, for example population, economy, science, environment, energy, trade, etc. Participants have three minutes to complete it. Upon completion, participants can compare their score with other participants.
Eurostat’s quiz is available in 23 European languages and can be played as many times as a participant wants.
27th April 2017
CoR initiative "Reflecting on Europe"
On the occasion of Open Doors day in Brussels on 6 May, the Committee of Regions will bring together representatives of pro-European initiatives and invite them to share their experiences and prospects. This event will be part of the CoR’s "Reflecting on Europe" exercise, which collects feedback at local level on how the European Union should develop in the future. The event starts at 12.00 pm CET and will be web streamed live. Interpretation will be available from/into Dutch, English, French, German and Polish. Live stream
26th April 2017
Entries are now being accepted for the #CedefopPhotoAward 2017, a competition organised by Cedefop, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training.
As this promotional video explains, the competition aims to promote excellence in vocational education and training across the EU and beyond, also within the context of the European vocational skills week.
People wishing to participate should form a team of up to three members. Each team is expected to produce an original photo story consisting of three to five photos, and a narrative of up to 100 words. Individual entries will not be accepted. The competition is exclusively for students in vocational education and training (either initial or continuing vocational training later in life).
There will be two awards for the two best photo stories. The first prize will be a trip to Brussels for the winning team and a teacher/tutor to take part in the European Vocational Skills Week award ceremony on 24 November 2017. The second prize will be a trip to Thessaloniki for the winning team and a teacher/tutor for the opening of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival on 2 November 2017.
The deadline for submission of entries is 15 July 2017.
25th April 2017
EU Institutions seek to fill more than 100 new graduate administrator roles
The EU institutions are currently recruiting dynamic and dedicated new graduates to fill more than 100 new graduate administrator roles through an open competition.
The role offers the perfect launch pad to a stimulating and varied career where participants get the chance to work on the issues of the day and genuinely make a difference for Europe. The deadline for applications is 12:00 CET, 3 May 2017. The selection process is highly competitive, as there are only approximately 124 places on the reserve list. Only the very top scorers pass to the next stage of the selection procedure.
As an indication, in 2015 more than 31,000 candidates applied but less than 5% were invited to the second stage. The “EU Career, My Career?” questionnaire and the self-assessment test will give prospective applicants a realistic idea of whether they are likely to meet the high standards required to succeed.
24th April 2017
EU Solidarity Corps Photo Competition
What does solidarity mean? Is it belonging to a community? Is it team spirit in sports? Is it showing support for a cause or helping fellow human beings?
Solidarity arises from common goals, shared interests and binds us together. With this competition, the newly established EU Solidarity Corps invites people to submit a photo that showcases an inspiring or empowering experience of solidarity.
The public’s choice will receive travel vouchers worth €500. The deadline for submission is midnight CET on 8 May 2017.
21st April 2017
Europol launches 9th international law inforcement photo competition
Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, has launched its 2017 international law enforcement photo competition. Now in its ninth year, the competition recognises outstanding photography from the challenging and rewarding work of police and law enforcement agencies.
Entries are welcome from professional and amateur photographers working for law enforcement agencies and law enforcement magazines in EU countries, and countries that have agreements with Europol. The three winning photographers will win a trip for two people to the Netherlands, including a visit to Europol, and their photographs will appear in Europol’s 2018 calendars.
Each entrant can submit up to five digital photographs in the following categories:
The closing date for entries is 31 July 2017. Entry forms are available in all official EU languages except Irish and Maltese.
20th April 2017
Competition: European Transport Innovation Challenge
The EU is committed to cutting CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. With transportation accounting for one quarter of CO2 emissions, there is a need to radically transform the way people and goods are transported.
The European Transport Innovation Challenge (ETIC) will help move the EU along the path of decarbonisation and sustainable growth.
Entrants just need a good idea for a product or service that will contribute to one of the following key European goals for transport:
Entrants can be an individual, a team, a company (providing it is an SME) or any other type of legal entity anywhere in the EU or in a country associated with the Horizon 2020 programme.
In order to encourage young innovators, the person who attends the ITS European Congress must be under 35. The 12 winners of the ETIC will get a free trip to Strasbourg on 19–21 June 2017 to follow the ITS Congress, Europe’s biggest gathering of professionals working in intelligent transport systems.
The deadline for applications is midnight, 2 May 2017. More information is available in this FAQ.
19th April 2017
Finalists shortlisted for European Green Capital Award 2019
Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland), Lisbon (Portugal), Oslo (Norway) and Tallinn (Estonia) are the five finalists shortlisted for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) 2019. For the European Green Leaf (EGL) Award 2018 for smaller cities, the finalists are Leuven (Belgium), Ludwigsburg (Germany) and Växjö (Sweden).
The shortlisted cities will now have to convince the jury of their overall commitment to ongoing environmental improvement and sustainable development, their capacity to act as a role model, and their strategy for communicating with the public. This year’s winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 2 June 2017 in Essen, Germany, the current European Green Capital.
Over two-thirds of Europeans now live in urban areas, presenting cities across Europe with problems related to energy consumption, pollution, waste management, housing, unemployment, transport, and water conservation. By showcasing the achievements of European cities in tackling these issues, the EGC and EGL Awards aim to lead by example and inspire others to take action, as this video shows.
18th April 2017
"Fake News" and the EUs responce
Fake news – deliberately fabricated stories posing as journalism with the aim of manipulating readers – became an increasingly visible global phenomenon during last year’s presidential election campaign in the United States, not least due to the growing use of social media as a source for news.
Whereas recent research indicates that a majority of people have difficulties determining when news is fake, the EU’s steps towards countering this growing information challenge are still tentative, argues this “At a glance” briefing from the European Parliamentary Research Service.
The briefing also comes with an infographic that goes through five steps to spot fake news.
13th April 2017
Video Series: EU60 Stories
Sixty years after its establishment, the EU is now a place where Europeans can enjoy a unique diversity of culture, ideas and traditions.
The EU60 Stories video series features 60 testimonials about Europe (in the native language of the speaker, with subtitles in English, French and German).
A trailer is also available.
10th April 2017
Video: European Council explains who will do what in the Brexit negotiations
The UK has triggered the Article 50 process to leave the EU.
In a short video, available in English and in subtitles of all other 24 EU languages, the European Council explains who will do what in the future negotiations.
The European Commission has also published a factsheet on Article 50 (in all EU languages except Irish).
7th April 2017
Call for nominations for the 2018 "7 Most Endangered" programme
All over Europe monuments and heritage sites are in danger. Some due to lack of resources or expertise, others due to natural disasters or human action. To find a sustainable future for these sites, the leading heritage organisation Europa Nostra launched the 7 Most Endangered programme in 2013.
As this video explains, the programme helps threatened European monuments and sites by mobilising communities together with public and private partners. It is not a funding programme. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action. The 7 Most Endangered programme is supported by the EU Creative Europe programme, as part of Europa Nostra’s Mainstreaming Heritage network project. If they know of important heritage that is endangered – such as a historic monument or archaeological site, a place of worship, an industrial complex, a historical park, a museum or even a movable heritage asset – citizens can nominate it for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2018.
The final list of seven most threatened heritage sites in Europe will be announced in February 2018 during the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Nominations may be submitted from countries that are Member States of the Council of Europe (see list).
5th April 2017
Online Dispute Resolution competes first year of helping consumers
Now in its second year, the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform allows consumers to resolve disputes arising from online purchases outside the courts. In its first year of operation, the ODR received over 24,000 consumer complaints. More than a third of the complaints concerned cross-border purchases within the EU. Most complaints were about clothing and footwear, airline tickets and information and communication technology goods. Examples of the types of dispute dealt by the ODR include:
4th April 2017
Move2Learn boosts youth mobility in EU
Move2Learn, Learn2Move (English only), a new initiative under the Erasmus+ programme, will enable at least 5,000 young citizens to travel to another EU Member State in a sustainable manner – individually or together with their school class.
The one-off initiative, which is linked to the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme, is consistent with two central priorities of the European Commission: to put a renewed focus on Europe’s youth, and to facilitate EU citizens’ mobility, particularly low emission mobility.
Move2Learn, Learn2Move builds on an idea put forward by the European Parliament in 2016. It will be implemented through eTwinning, the world’s biggest teachers’ network. Part of Erasmus+, it enables teachers and pupils across Europe to develop projects together through an online platform.
The initiative will be open to school classes of students aged 16 and above taking part in eTwinning. They are invited to indicate whether they want to be considered for free travel tickets which will be awarded for the best eTwinning projects in each participating country.
Social inclusion will be an important criterion in the selection of the best projects. Once the winners have been picked, they will be able to travel between August 2017 and December 2018, at a date of their choice. Students will either travel in a group as part of a school trip or individually, depending on the decision of parents and teachers. This factsheet (English, French, German) provides more information on the initiative.
3rd April 2017
New Invest EU website launched
As this video explains, the EU is about opportunities that deliver concrete benefits, boost job creation and make a difference locally. As the people touched by the results of the EU’s investment programmes are best placed to tell their stories, a new InvestEU website has been created to showcase individual projects.
These success stories include:
The main page of the new website is available in all 24 EU languages. While all of the pages describing individual projects are in English, some pages are also available in additional languages. See also our dedicated Investment Plan page.
31st March 2017
European Defence Agency publishes annual report
2016 was a seminal moment for European defence and the European Defence Agency (EDA). It was a year that added a new sense of urgency and determination to European defence efforts.
The EDA’s Annual Report 2016 presents the main activities and achievements of the agency across its full range of activities and projects. It argues that the time has gone when Europe’s achievements were judged in terms of what it agreed on paper.
Henceforth the success or failure of European ambitions in defence will be judged exclusively on the basis of action and implementation.
Defence is now, and needs to remain, firmly on the European political agenda
30th March 2017
Civil society organisations invited to register with Fundamental Rights Platform
As per the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s founding regulation, the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) is the agency’s “mechanism of exchange and pooling of knowledge”, created for facilitating a “structured and fruitful dialogue” with and among civil society organisations.
The FRP is not an organisation and there is no membership. All interested civil society organisations are invited to register themselves in the database of organisations.
Through the FRP, the FRA seeks to engage with:
The FRP is being relaunched under a new strategy that draws on a decade’s experience of fruitful cooperation. The aim is to cooperate more closely and to greater effect with a broader variety of civil society organisations, focusing on enhanced thematic engagement.
29th March 2017
European Social Fund at 60
For 60 years now, the European Commission has been working in partnership with the Member States to give people the opportunity to improve their job prospects. Since the European Social Fund (ESF) was set up in 1957, it has helped millions of people from all walks of life.
In its early stages, the ESF was used as a means to compensate for job losses. It helped workers in sectors that were modernising or converting to new kinds of production by providing them with short-term retraining allowances. It also made available resettlement help for those out of work who left their region to seek jobs elsewhere.
Over the decades, the ESF has evolved into the EU’s key instrument for investing in people. It helps people retrain for new jobs or assists them in finding jobs for the first time (see here for examples). It also looks out for the more disadvantaged in society who may be socially excluded or at risk of being so, providing them with opportunities to find or get back into work.
A comprehensive communication toolkit is available in all EU languages via the 60th-anniversary page of the ESF website.
28th March 2017
Winners of the 2016 European sustainable urban mobility awards announced
Malmö (Sweden) and Brussels (Belgium) were named the winners of the 2016 European sustainable urban mobility awards at a ceremony held in Brussels on 20 March 2017.
Malmö won the European Mobility Week Award 2016 for its long-term focus on active transport modes such as cycling and walking. The 5th Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning was given to Brussels for its successful freight strategy.
The ceremony followed the first day of the European Mobility Week workshops, which kicked off the preparations for the 2017 edition of the campaign under the theme of clean, smart and intelligent cities, as encapsulated by the slogan “Sharing gets you further” (see promotional video).
The European Mobility Week Award is presented to the local authority that is judged to have done the most to raise awareness of sustainable mobility during European Mobility Week, the next version of which runs from 16-22 September 2017.
27th March 2017
Rapid Alert System continues to protect consumers from unsafe goods
In 2016, national authorities removed more dangerous products from stores using the Rapid Alert System, according to the latest European Commission report (pdf) on the service.
As more and more dangerous products are sold online, the Commission has stepped up its cooperation with Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba to tackle potentially unsafe or non-compliant products on their websites. In 2016, toys were the most notified product category (26%), followed by motor vehicles (18%), and clothing, textiles and fashion items (13%).
The majority of dangerous products notified in the system came from outside the EU. China was the country of origin for 53% of notified products, representing a 9% drop compared to 2015. Dangerous products of European origin accounted for 23% of the notifications, 5% came from the United States and 2.6% came from Turkey.
24th March 2017
Happy Birthday EU
On 25 March, EU leaders will come together in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. Following the presentation of the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe, EU leaders are expected to adopt the Rome Declaration, which will feature the Union's past achievements, present challenges and pledge to work for unity at 27 and strengthen common action in key policy areas, to the benefit of citizens. The Commission will also be organising in the months ahead public debates with the European Parliament and Member States, as well as online consultations, so that Europe's citizens have their say and are able to share their views on the future of Europe via the Commission Representations and a dedicated website, which will be launched on 25 March. For more information on the White Paper process see this timeline. Various audiovisual products, including 60 video testimonials from people across Europe, a compilation of archive video footage illustrating the major milestones in EU history since 1957 and an EU GIF competitoin are available here. Press release and useful links here. Update your Facebook and Twitter pages via the EU Twibbon page.
23rd March 2017
Follow Digital Day the digital way on 23rd March
Digital Day, the digital part of the official celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, will take place in Rome on 23 March 2017.
The event, organised by the European Commission and the Republic of Italy in collaboration with the Maltese EU Presidency, will look at topics that impact the near and long-term future of EU citizens.
The event is organised around industrial competitiveness and societal challenges, and it will bring together ministers, high-level representatives, key stakeholders in four different sessions (click through to see the agenda of each; full agenda here):
Four online polls are being conducted as part of the event. The surveys ask:
22nd March 2017
Communicating Europe lunchtime briefing on 28th March
In response to recent political developments, the European Commission has launched a new corporate communication approach to try and improve public understanding of the EU. This approach consists of three communication strands: the EU delivers, the EU empowers and the EU protects. These strands build on initiatives like the Investment Plan for Europe and communication milestones such as the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. Join Mikel Landabaso Alvarez, Director for Strategy and Corporate Communication of the European Commission for a lunchtime briefing at the Committee of the Regions where he will explain the details on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 from 12.30 to 14.00 CET. The session will be web streamed via this link.
21st March 2017
Report Together in the EU published
Risk of school segregation, discrimination and restrictions to political participation can form insurmountable barriers to the integration of migrants in EU society, as a new report from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows.
It examines integration strategies across the EU, providing clear evidence of the successes and failures of current policy and recommending changes in order to build a stronger and more cohesive Europe.
An accompanying infographic illustrates some of the main issues when it comes to integrating migrants and their descendants in the EU.
20th March 2017
Brochure: The European Story published
The foundations for the Europe we all know today were laid in 1957 in Rome. To mark its diamond jubilee, The European Story is just as its title suggests.
Prepared by the European Political Strategy Centre to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, it showcases six decades of shared progress under 10 main themes: peace, democracy, freedom, prosperity, discovery, equality, well-being, sustainability, influence and diversity.
The publication is full of interesting facts – from the EU’s 60+ indigenous regional or minority languages to the 6.5 million Europeans currently working in another Member State, and from the EU being the largest union of democracies in the world to Europeans living more than eight years longer than the world average.
17th March 2017
New issue of Research EU results magazine published
The latest issue (Nr 59) of research*eu, a magazine that features highlights from the most exciting EU-funded research and development projects, presents results from eight projects, covering key sectors including transport, infrastructure works, smart cities, logistics, disaster management, maritime surveillance and citizen-oriented applications.
research*eu is published ten times per year. Free subscriptions are available to the publication, which can also be downloaded at no cost.
16th March 2017
Digital Economy & Society Index 2017 published
Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands have the most advanced digital economies in the EU followed by Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK and Ireland. This is the finding of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a composite index published every year by the European Commission that measures the progress of EU countries towards a digital economy and society. It brings together a set of relevant indicators on Europe’s current digital policy mix.
This year’s DESI found that Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy have the lowest scores. In 2016, all Member States improved on the DESI, with Slovakia and Slovenia making the most progress. This year’s release allows users to explore the DESI dimensions, configure their own DESI using a simulation tool and explore performance of individual countries. A factsheet summarising this year’s DESI is also available.
15th March 2017
European Regional Competitiveness Index 2016 launched
Regional competitiveness is the ability of a region to offer an attractive and sustainable environment for firms and residents to live and work. The new edition of the European Regional Competitiveness Index (full report) shows the continuing strength of the capital regions and other regions with metropolitan areas. New online and interactive scorecards allow for easy benchmarking of a region relative to all other regions, as well as to regions with a similar GDP per head.
The index builds on the approach of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. It covers a wide range of issues including innovation, governance, transport and digital infrastructure, and measures of health and human capital. A growing number of regions use it to identify their strengths and weaknesses and shape their development strategies.
14th March 2017
Only 1 in 3 managers in the EU is a woman
Nearly 7.3 million people hold managerial positions in companies with 10 employees or more located in the EU: 4.7 million men (65% of all managers) and 2.6 million women (35%). In other words, although representing approximately half of all those employed, women continue to be underrepresented at managerial level.
In addition, female managers in the EU earn 23.4% less on average than men, meaning they earn on average 77 cents for every euro a male manager makes per hour. This pattern at EU level masks significant discrepancies between Member States regarding both positions and pay.
This information (in English, French and German), extracted from the four-yearly structure of earnings survey for reference year 2014, was published by Eurostat on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Eurostat also published a number of infographics (in English only) on the situation of women in the EU. Also on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Eurofound issued a study looking at the impact of the gender employment gap (in English) on Europe.
13th March 2017
Down load the EU 60 in 60 seconds vidio clip
On 25 March 2017, EU leaders will gather in Rome to celebrate 60 years since the signing of the Treaties of Rome. This event is a moment to look back on the EU's achievements, celebrate the Union's values, and look forward to the future of the EU. The audiovisual services of the Commission have produced the attached video clip 'EU 60 in 60 seconds'. Currently the clip exists only in English, French and Italian. Other language versions will follow.
10th March 2017
Farming teachers resource available
Urban populations in the EU, and in particular young people, feel disconnected from farming as the source of their food, according to recent studies. Young people are also unaware of the wider role played by farmers – in society and the economy – not just in providing food, but also in protecting the environment and natural resources, and in safeguarding the vitality of the countryside and rural areas.
An educational resource pack, produced by the European Commission, is designed to plug this knowledge gap. Available to download in 23 languages, the pack contains a teacher’s guide, including a factsheet, map of agricultural production in the EU and a glossary to help answer students’ questions and two opening lesson plans. The pack opens with an educational animated clip introducing the basics of European agriculture.
Alternatively, teachers can kick-start the topic with a slideshow presentation. There is a module for each of the three themes: food, the environment and the countryside. Each module contains a brief introduction for teachers, worksheets with learning activities and a project outline for students.
The pack can also be downloaded via EUBookshop.
9th March 2017
DG Communications March Newsletter available
The Citizens' Information Unit produces a continuously updated range of publications for the general public, teachers and children. The monthly Publications Update presents all the latest publications, online content, and promotional material, as well as information on all publications currently available for you to order. Read the March issue of Publications Update online, then sign-up to receive the update directly in your inbox every month!
8th March 2017
Almost all lower secondary pupils study a foreign language
Learning a foreign language at school is very common in the EU, with more than 17 million lower secondary school pupils (or 98.6% of all pupils at this education level) studying at least one foreign language in 2015, according to data issued by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office.
Among them, more than 10 million (58.8%) were studying two foreign languages or more. English was by far the most popular language at lower secondary level, studied by nearly 17 million pupils (97.3%). French (5 million or 33.8%) came second, followed by German (3 million or 23.1%) and Spanish (2 million or 13.6%).
Eurostat has also produced an animation and some infographics on foreign language learning in the EU.
6th March 2017
Commission proposes five alternative scenarios for the future of Europe
Do you want to As announced in President Juncker's 2016 State of the Union speech, the European Commission today presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which forms the Commission's contribution to the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017.
2nd March 2017
Do you know your EU rights? Take the online quiz
Do you want to study or launch your startup in another EU country but don’t know your rights? Do you know what to do when your flight is delayed or if you get sick while abroad? On 25 March this year, the EU celebrates the 60th anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome. Since 1957, the EU has guaranteed more and more rights for European citizens including the right to equal treatment when living, working, studying and doing business in another EU country. EU citizens and non-EU citizens with legal residency in an EU state can test their knowledge of EU rights with this Your Europe quiz, hosted on Facebook. The quiz is open to play until 19 March 2017, 18.00 CET.
• the quiz is available in all EU languages
• players must reply to 4 multiple-choice questions on their EU rights then to a tie-breaker question
• the 3 top players will win 2 Interrail passes each, valid for 1 month
• players don't need to have a Facebook account to play, but in that case they can play only once
As this is a fun and engaging way of reaching out to citizens, please help in spreading the word via your communication channels. DG GROW is putting Facebook posts online in the coming days in all languages, so if you need ready-made social media messages and visuals in your own language, contact email@example.com for material to post.
1st March 2017
Publication: Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020
Finding the appropriate funding sources for a local authority, a public entity, a company or a non-governmental organisation (NGO) can be a major problem. Information is scattered across many different sources and is often confusing and outdated. Compiled by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020 (pdf) is a basic introduction to EU funding opportunities for regional and local authorities, NGOs, businesses, professionals and citizens.
The objective is to provide an accessible list of the most important EU funds, and to provide potential beneficiaries with appropriate information on the opportunities the funding offers. The guide’s main funding themes are divided in subsections to facilitate research. A list of major potential beneficiaries is mentioned at the end of each section of the guide to help the reader, but the list is not exhaustive. As new funding elements emerge on a continuous basis, the guide will be updated regularly.
27h February 2017
€3million prize up for grabs in materials for clean air challange
Horizon Prizes are challenge or inducement prizes offering a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. The aim is to stimulate innovation and come up with solutions to problems that matter to EU citizens. Recently announced, the Horizon Prize on materials for clean air will be awarded to the most affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven material solution that can reduce the concentration of particulate matter in urban areas.
Particulate matter (PM) is the air pollutant which has the most severe impact on health. Currently, around 90% of the population of European cities for which PM data exist is exposed to levels exceeding World Health Organisation air quality guidelines levels. The contest will run until the end of 2018. Contestants will be able to submit their entries until 23 January 2018. The rules of contest are available online. An infographic, poster (pdf) and flyer (pdf) are all available.
24th February 2017
EUR-Lex February 2017 Newsletter published
EUR-Lex is an official website of European Union law and other public documents of the European Union (EU), published in 24 official languages of the EU.
In January 2017, a new version of EUR-Lex went online. It includes the display of internal procedures for autonomous acts of the European Commission.
Subscribe to the EUR-Lex newsletter and receive useful information directly by email. To subscribe, click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter and email your request.
In this latest edition, you can catch up on the latest EUR-Lex news and improvements:
23rd February 2017
European Semester Country reports published
The European Commission has published its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including an assessment of remaining imbalances. The package includes 27 country reports (for all Member States except Greece, which is under a dedicated stability support programme), which are in the official language(s) of the country concerned.
Member States are making headway in implementing the individual policy guidance they received last year around the “virtuous triangle” of boosting investment, pursuing structural reforms and ensuring responsible fiscal policies. This assessment of Member States’ progress is part of the annual cycle of economic policy coordination at EU level and is known as the Winter Package of the European Semester.
22nd February 2017
EU-Canadian trade deal ratified at EU level
In a vote on 15 February 2017 (see this EuroparlTV video), the European Parliament approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), concluding the ratification process of this deal at EU level. It will now go to the national parliaments of the Member States for ratification.
Seven years in the making, the historic deal is set to ease trade barriers between Canada and the EU. According to the European Commission, CETA will create new opportunities for EU companies. It will save EU businesses over €500 million a year currently paid in tariffs on goods that are exported to Canada. Almost 99% of these savings start from day one. It will give EU companies the best access they’ve ever had to Canadian public procurement contracts, including at provincial level (as well as federal and municipal). The agreement will overwhelmingly benefit smaller companies who can least afford the cost of red tape.
The EU’s 500 million consumers will also benefit from CETA. The agreement offers greater choice while upholding European standards, as only products and services that fully respect all EU regulations will be able to enter the EU market. This means that CETA will not change the way the EU regulates food safety, including GMO products or the ban on hormone-treated beef.
For more on CETA, see this factsheet (23 EU languages); a feature called “CETA in your town”, which comprises an interactive map with country info as well as infographics by country; and other background and FAQ material.
20th February 2017
Commission publishes latest Economic Forecast
For the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all EU Member States are expected to grow in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This is one of the main predictions contained in the European Commission’s Winter European Economic Forecast 2017. It includes data on gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation, employment and public budget deficits and debt, among others.
According to the Commission’s forecasts, the European economy has proven resilient to global challenges last year and the economic recovery is expected to continue this year and next: for the first time in almost a decade, the economies of all EU Member States are expected to grow throughout the entire forecasting period (2016, 2017 and 2018).
However, these forecasts are surrounded by higher-than-usual uncertainty. These forecasts focus on all 28 EU Member States, the candidate countries as well as some non-EU countries. Reports are available for each. A video on the report is also available.
20th February 2017
EU Sustainable Energy Week projects call launched
This year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week will take place from 19 to 25 June 2017. An integral part of the week, the Sustainable Energy Awards recognise outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables. Recent projects can be submitted in 4 categories - consumers, public sector, businesses, energy islands - until 3 March 2017. Eligibility and assessment criteria, as well as the descriptions of the categories and the link to the application form are available here.
A 3 day policy conference will take place in Brussels. The deadline of the call for applications for the organisation of a session is also 3 March. The application form, including guidelines for organisers, is available here.
Help promote #EUSEW17. Mention the Twitter account @euenergyweek and Facebook page of EUSEW. A social media repository containing ready-to-share visuals and messages (English only) is available (click on ‘Awards Competition’). Promotional material including posters and PowerPoint presentations can be downloaded.
17th February 2017
European Research Council turns 10
Back in 2007, the European Commission established the European Research Council (ERC) with the mission to encourage excellent frontier research in Europe through competitive funding, supporting top researchers across all fields and of any nationality. Since then, the ERC has had a considerable impact on the European research landscape.
In almost ten years, it has funded almost 7,000 researchers and thereby supported more than 40,000 team members. Its support has been acknowledged in close to 100,000 international scientific journal articles.
Details about the ERC 10th anniversary celebrations are available on this website.
15th February 2017
Winners of the EU translations contest for schools announced
The winners of Juvenes Translatores, the European Commission’s annual translation contest for schools, have been announced. A total of 28 secondary school students, one from each of the EU Member States, will be awarded a prize after competing with over 3,000 participants from across the continent.
The students had to translate texts on the subjects of languages and translation. The participants could choose from any of the 552 possible combinations between any two of the EU’s 24 official languages. This year, students used 152 language combinations, such as Greek into Latvian and Bulgarian into Portuguese.
The winners will be invited to Brussels on 6 April 2016 to receive their awards.
14h February 2017
Applications now open for Future Leaders Programme 2017
Youth are a driving force behind some of the most inspiring development projects. As part of this year’s European Development Days (EDD 2017), the EU’s largest forum on development, the European Commission has issued a call for its Future Leaders Programme.
The programme is aimed at identifying young leaders from around the world with a proven commitment and community engagement to represent the work and impact on development achieved by youth. Sixteen winners will be invited, on an all-expenses-paid trip, to the EDD 2017, which takes place in Brussels on 7–8 June 2017, where they will have the chance to visit European institutions, participate in workshops, meet key policymakers and interact with other young people driving change around the world. They will speak at various sessions and enjoy full access to the whole conference.
Applicants must be aged between 21 and 26 and the deadline for applications is 9 March. In this video, some previous Future Leaders participants speak about their experiences
13h February 2017
Commission launches first Environmental Implementation Review
The European Commission has published the Environmental Implementation Review (in English only), the first ever comprehensive overview of how EU environmental policies and laws are applied on the ground. It shows that environmental policies work but that there are big gaps in how these rules and policies are put into practice across Europe.
The most pressing implementation gaps across EU Member States are found in the policy fields of waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality, noise and water quality and management.
The launch of the EIR package will be followed by discussions with each Member State, the launch of a peer-to-peer tool to allow Member States to help each other with expertise, and political debates in the Environment Council.
Country reports (in the official language(s) of each country), which map national strengths, opportunities and weaknesses, and national factsheets, are available for each Member State
10h February 2017
Agreement on portability of online content services in the EU
Europeans will soon be able to fully use their online subscriptions to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services when travelling within the EU, following an agreement reached by negotiators from the European Parliament, Member States and the European Commission. This is the first step in the modernisation of EU copyright rules proposed by the Commission in its Digital Single Market strategy.
The future regulation will enable consumers to access their online content services when they travel in the EU the same way they access them at home. The new rules will become applicable in all EU Member States by the beginning of 2018, giving the providers nine months to prepare for the application of the new rules.
9h February 2017
What do the EU's new rules on data protection mean for SME's?
Stronger rules on data protection from May 2018 mean citizens will have more control over their data and business will benefit from a level playing field. The changes will mean one set of rules for all companies operating in the EU, wherever they are based. This interactive infographic, aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, explains the new rules. More information on the EU’s rules on protecting personal data are also available.
9h February 2017
What do the EU's new rules on data protection mean for SME's?
Stronger rules on data protection from May 2018 mean citizens will have more control over their data and business will benefit from a level playing field. The changes will mean one set of rules for all companies operating in the EU, wherever they are based. This interactive infographic, aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, explains the new rules. More information on the EU’s rules on protecting personal data are also available.
8h February 2017
Public consultation on European Solidarity Corps opens
The Commission has launched a public consultation on the priorities and the strengthening of the recently launched European Solidarity Corps. The public consultation will run for eight weeks and builds on an earlier stakeholder consultation that took place in late 2016. Young people and organisations participating in the public consultation will get the opportunity to evaluate the different aims of the initiative, inform about their motivation to participate, communicate their needs on information and guidance, and share best practice. It will be complemented by targeted consultations with key stakeholders involved in youth work in the EU. As announced at the launch last December, the Commission is preparing a legislative proposal in the first half of 2017 to create a dedicated legal base for the European Solidarity Corps. The results of the consultation will further shape and consolidate the European Solidarity Corps by feeding into the Commission's work on that legislative proposal. Closing date of the consultation: 2nd April 2017
7h February 2017
Erasmus+ - building on 30 years of success
Eramsus+, the EU’s education and training programme, is more successful and open than ever, its new annual report (English) shows. In 2015, Erasmus+, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, enabled 678,000 Europeans to study, train, work and volunteer abroad, more than ever before. In the same year, the EU invested €2.1 billion in over 19,600 projects involving 69,000 organisations. Results also show that the programme is well on track to meet its target of supporting four million people between 2014 and 2020.
The publication of the report coincides with the launch of the campaign marking the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme (called Erasmus+ since 2014 because it benefits more people through a wider range of opportunities). Over the past 30 years, Erasmus+ and its predecessors have supported not only more than five million students, apprentices and volunteers, but also staff and youth exchanges, amounting to nine million people in total.
Events will take place throughout 2017 at European, national and local levels to highlight the positive impact of Erasmus both on individuals and society as a whole, and to give all those involved the opportunity to debate how the programme should evolve in the future. Resources relating to the 30th anniversary, including a toolkit, country factsheets, video clips, testimonials, infographics and much more, are also available, much of the material in all 24 official EU languages
6th February 2017
End of roaming charges. EU agrees on wholesale prices
As the last step towards the end of roaming charges by 15 June 2017, representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on how to set the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU.
The EU negotiators agreed on the following wholesale caps:
They also agreed to a step-by-step reduction over five years for data caps, decreasing from €7.70 per GB (as of 15 June 2017) to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of 1 January 2021) and €2.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2022). The agreement is the final step to making “roam-like-at-home” work as of 15 June 2017, as foreseen in the Telecom Single Market (TSM) Regulation. It means that when travelling in the EU, consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile at the same price they pay at home. More information is available on the Commission’s Roaming website.
2nd February 2017
EU secures better consumer rights in the Car Rental sector
Last year, 2000 consumers in Europe complained to European Consumer Centres that after booking a car online, they had to pay more when they got to the rental desk. The European Commission and national consumer authorities engaged with the five leading car rental companies – Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt – to address these issues. Thanks to this dialogue the companies changed their policies and consumers will now benefit from the following conditions:
When it comes to damages, there is now:
Full details here.
1st February 2017
Introducing the Institute for Gender Equality
The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) is an autonomous body of the EU, established to contribute to, and strengthen the promotion of, gender equality. It promotes gender mainstreaming in all EU policies and the resulting national policies and the fight against discrimination based on sex, as well as raising EU citizens’ awareness of gender equality. This 18-page booklet surveys the EIGE’s work in monitoring the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU, combating gender‑based violence, promoting gender equality, producing gender equality statistics and promoting gender mainstreaming.
31st January 2017
Who's who in the European Parliament
Following the election of Antonio Tajani as president of the European Parliament, MEPs also selected 14 vice-presidents, who chair debates when the president is not in the chamber and who each have a specific portfolio. In addition, the Parliament has five quaestors, officials responsible for administrative and financial matters. The president, 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors – collectively known as the bureau – are all elected for a period of two-and-a-half years. An infographic, published by the Parliament, presents the names of the bureau’s 20 members.
30th January 2017
Finalists for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017 announced
The finalists of the Horizon 2020-funded EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017 have been announced. As profiled in this video, the shortlist contains 12 outstanding female entrepreneurs who have brought their breakthrough ideas to the market. For the first time, this year’s contest includes three finalists in a new category, the Rising Innovator, to recognise excellence in female entrepreneurs aged 30 years or under. All of the finalists have founded or co-founded a successful company based on their innovative ideas. On 8 March 2017, three of the finalists will be awarded prizes of €100,000, €50,000 and €30,000, while the winner of the Rising Innovator Award will receive €20,000.
(Germany), a founder of Microfluidic ChipShop in Jena, providing “lab-on-a-chip” systems for better diagnostics.
More information on the competition is available on Twitter at #WIPrizeEU
27th January 2017
Calling all entrepreneurs:
Start up Europe Week, 6-10 February
Startup Europe Week (SEW) is a large series of events taking place from 6–10 February 2017, involving more than 40 countries and over 280 co-organisers. Regional diversity and local policymaking still play a big role in shaping European startups. From helping entrepreneurs to incorporate a company, to providing grants or tax breaks, European regions are key players. For this reason, SEW activities focus on the support and initiatives for startups on a regional and city level, in hundreds of cities all over Europe.
The purpose of the initiative is to make founders and perspective entrepreneurs more aware of the existing resources available in their region and at European level. Startup Europe Week will reinforce the local ecosystem and connect all European regions to help startups flourish and ultimately to provide entrepreneurs support in other markets.
The week is an initiative of Startup Europe, the European Commission and the EU Committee of the Regions. To keep updated with Startup Europe Week events, follow Startup Europe Week on Twitter, Facebook and use the hashtag #SEW17
26th January 2017
EU Publications Office Newsletter highlights the Data Economy
A thriving data-driven economy is essential for innovation, growth, jobs and European competitiveness, as well as for a functional digital single market.
This month the European Commission published a Communication on Building a European data economy in which it sets out the policy context and a first analysis of the problem drivers in this area. At the same time it has also published two legislative proposals and a communication concerning personal data protection.
25th January 2017
Are EU citizens aware of their rights? Commission publishes report
The European Commission has published its third EU Citizenship Report taking stock of progress since 2014. Whilst awareness of what it means to be an EU citizens has increased, there is still a need to improve awareness of their rights, such as the right to vote in local and European elections and the right of consular protection outside the EU. A summary factsheet is available in all EU languages.
The Commission highlighted action it will take to ensure citizens can fully enjoy their rights:
The report is based on feedback from citizens, from petitions submitted, and from direct dialogues that Commissioners have with citizens. In 2015, the Commission carried out a public consultation and two surveys, which focused on EU citizenship and on electoral rights, to feed into the 2017 EU Citizenship Report
24th January 2017
Got a question about the European Parliament? - Ask EP
If you want to find out more about the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament, you can contact the Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (or simply Ask EP) using an online form (available in all 24 EU languages).
In 2016, 'Ask EP' received a large number of questions on how to obtain promotional material as well as information on visiting and petitioning the European Parliament, on the activities of the political groups and on how to get a job in the EU institutions.
All the 'Ask EP' replies to citizen’s questions are available here.
23rd January 2017
Cleaner air for all
Every year, more than 400,000 people in the EU die prematurely due to the consequences of air pollution: this is more than 10 times the toll of road traffic accidents. Another 6.5 million people fall sick as air pollution causes diseases such as strokes, asthma and bronchitis. Air pollution also harms our natural environment, impacting both vegetation and wildlife: almost two-thirds of Europe’s ecosystems are threatened by the effects of air pollution.
This interactive infographic explains how the European Commission proposes to address air pollution in Europe. Among others, the infographic explains what the main air pollutants and their effects are, where air pollution comes from, what action needs to be taken and what the benefits would be. All the graphics included in the infographic can be downloaded as image files.
23rd January 2017
Antonio Tajani elected President of the European Parliament
Antonio Tajani, an Italian MEP with the European People’s Party, is the new President of the European Parliament, following his election (page available in most official EU languages) on 17 January 2017.
As this video (English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish) shows, Tajani emerged as victor from the fourth ballot, in which he received 351 votes, putting him far ahead of his fellow Italian MEP, Gianni Pittella (Socialists & Democrats), who secured 282 votes.
In this video, made before the election, Tajani set out his reasons for running for the presidency. While Parliament is elected for five years, the term of office for president, vice-presidents, quaestors and committee chairs is two-and-a-half years. Thus, elections are held at the beginning of a parliamentary term as well as at mid-term.
19th January 2017
Starting a business in the EU - join the on line chat
The Facebook Chat on 'Starting a business in the EU' takes place next Monday 23 January from 10.00 to 13.00 CET. The target audience is citizens/businesses who intend to set up a business/have just set up a business/want to expand their business in another EU country. The experts will be able to reply to questions in English, French, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Greek, Swedish and Danish.
18th January 2017
EU Publications January Newsletter
The Publications Office of the European Union's core activities include the production and dissemination of legal and general publications in a variety of paper and electronic formats and providing EU citizens, governments and businesses with digital access to official information and data from the EU. Each month, the Publications Office issues a newsletter providing links to the most recent releases and other useful information and websites. A link at the bottom of the newsletter enables anyone interested to subscribe to the newsletter.
17th January 2017
Fancy a traineeship with the European Commission
Applications are now open for paid traineeships of five months’ duration starting on 1 October with the European Commission and some executive bodies and agencies of the European Institutions such as the European External Action Service or Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. Successful applicants will receive a monthly grant of around €1,120 and reimbursement of travel expenses. Accident and health insurance can also be provided. Every year, there are about 1,300 places available, which provide selected candidates with hands-on experience in an international and multicultural environment, thus enriching their career prospects. Applications must be submitted online by noon (Brussels time), 31 January 2017.
16h January 2017
Calling all film enthusiasts
The online #euFilmContest, a contest for all European film, TV series and games lovers, is being launched today. Participants are asked to recognise films or other audiovisual creations that received support from the Creative Europe MEDIA programme.
The most successful participants will get a chance to win a trip to the 70th Film Festival in Cannes (17–28 May 2017) and get a glimpse into the European audiovisual industry. Prospective entrants can train their skills with Creative Europe MEDIA’s 25th anniversary videos and see country-specific factsheets.
Follow the accounts on Facebook and Twitter. EDICS can also contact their local MEDIA desk for any questions about this contest, about the audiovisual industry in their country, for famous speakers at events and potentially even for the organisation of film screenings.
13h January 2017
30 years of Erasmus +
The Erasmus+ Programme has been enriching lives for the past three decades and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Starting in February 2017, there will be a free monthly newsletter (in English only) containing news about the initiative and its 30th anniversary. Subscribe here. In addition, a 30 years toolkit is available to promote the anniversary. All images are provided royalties-free for 2017. More materials, including a campaign poster, roll-ups, videos, and additional language versions will be available.
12h January 2017
EU Border Breaker Awards
First issued in 2004, the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) are about breaking down borders and recognising emerging European rock, pop and dance artists who achieved success in countries other than their own. These music awards aim to highlight Europe’s great cultural and linguistic diversity in popular music. The EBBA provide the opportunity for the public to discover emerging European artists, and for their music to be spread and enjoyed across Europe.
Ten artists or groups received the 2017 EBBA award: Era Istrefi (Albania), Filous (Austria), Jaakko Eino Kalevi (Finland), Jain (France), Namika (Germany), Walking on Cars (Ireland), Natalie La Rose (Netherlands), Alan Walker (Norway), Hinds (Spain), and Dua Lipa (UK).
At the awards ceremony, held on 11 January 2017 in Groningen, as part of the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival, the Public Choice Award winner was also announced: Dua Lipa. These unique European music awards are funded under the EU’s Creative Europe programme. With the EBBA, the EU wishes to highlight the success of 10 debuting European artists in selling albums and touring outside their home territory.
11h January 2017
15 years of Euro bank notes & coins
The euro is used by 19 counties in the EU. Its introduction in 1999 was a major step in European integration. Fifteen years later, more than 337.5 million EU citizens now use it as their currency and enjoy the benefits of using the second most widely used currency in the world. Today, there are around 19 billion euro banknotes worth more than €1 trillion and 120 billion euro coins worth €27 billion in circulation. This video marks the 15th anniversary of the introduction of euro banknotes and coins, the successes and the challenges ahead.
9th January 2017
Public consultation on Europe for Citizens Programme
The Commission has launched a public consultation to collect views and opinions on the results and impact of activities and projects co-financed by the Europe for Citizens programme between 2014 and 2016. Feedback will help to assess their relevance and EU added value with a view to improving the programme in the future. The Europe for Citizens programme aims to help the general public better understand the history and diversity of the EU and to stimulate interest and involvement in EU policy making. The consultation is open until 10th April 2017. Please help us to promote this as widely as possible.
The consultation can also be accessed via the dedicated webpage Your Voice in Europe.
9h January 2017
Video announcing the EU Parliament Agenda for 2017 released
Asylum reform, tax scandals, terrorism, digital borders and energy and climate will be high on the agenda for MEPs in the New Year, as this EuroparlTV video explains. The aim of the asylum reform will be to achieve a fairer relocation of refugees around the EU, while in the spring MEPs will discuss proposals to tackle tax evasion. To combat terrorism, a new law will criminalise the organisation, funding and recruitment of so-called foreign fighters. MEPs will also propose ways to lift restrictions on cross-border purchases on online subscriptions. They will also work to enact measures to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
6h January 2017
Malta takes over EU Council Presidency
Malta will hold the rotating EU Council presidency (website in English, French, German and Maltese) from January to July 2017. Its presidency will conclude the current trio presidency composed of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta. This is Malta’s first time to hold the rotating presidency. The Maltese government has identified six priorities for its presidency:
This briefing note, prepared by the European Parliament Think Tank, looks at the Maltese presidency’s priorities as well as the most important dossiers which the European Parliament will need to address in the coming six months. Follow the Maltese presidency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
4th January 2017
Winner of the 2016 European Civil Society Prize announced
The Artemisszió Foundation, a Hungarian NGO that assists migrants and facilitates their social and cultural integration in society, was 2016's winner of the European Economic and Social Committee’s (EESC) European Civil Society Prize. The NGO’s Building Bridges programme has helped many refugees and migrants feel part of Hungarian society, through the assistance of volunteer mentors who take refugees under their wing and initiate them into the local language, customs and culture.
Migrants also receive vocational training in preparation for the local labour market. The EESC shortlisted four other applications, from Germany, Spain and two from Greece, for the prize, which was aimed at individuals and organisations who have distinguished themselves through their work in improving the lives of migrants and fostering their integration into European society.
The Artemisszió Foundation received a €14,000 prize, while the German organisation SOS Mediterrannee, the Greek baker Dionysis Arvanitakis, a branch of the Spanish NGO SOS Racismo and the Greek NGO Iliaktida (Sunbeam) received €9,000 each. A full summary and video of each of the shortlisted projects can be found here. The five winning projects were chosen from a list of 284 projects. The Civil Society Prize, now in its eighth year, is awarded for “excellence in civil society initiatives”.
3rd January 2017
Roam like at Home
The countdown to the end of roaming charges in the EU has begun. As of 15 June 2017, consumers, when travelling in the EU, will pay the same prices as at home when using their mobile phone. In other words, they will be able to “roam like at home”. For instance, if a customer pays for a monthly package of minutes, SMS and data in their country, any voice call, SMS and data session they make while travelling abroad in the EU will be deducted from that volume as if they were at home, at no extra charge. This factsheet explains in detail what the abolition of roaming charges will mean for consumers. The end of roaming charges follows almost nine years of efforts by the European Commission to reduce the consumer price of roaming. Negotiations are ongoing now with the European Parliament and Member States on new, lower wholesale caps in the EU
23 December 2016
Youth report: 50 ideas for better future
Last May, the European Parliament in Strasbourg was transformed by 7,500 young people who came from all over the continent and beyond for the European Youth Event (EYE2016). The event was filled with ideas, shows, debates and demands for solutions to today’s most pressing issues. “Together we can make a change” was the motto driving the debates on topics spanning from space and innovation to climate change, migration and democracy. Read more
22 December 2016
Galileo goes live
On 15 December 2016, Europe’s satellite navigation system Galileo began offering its initial services to public authorities, businesses and citizens. Galileo is the EU’s Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS). Also referred to as “the European GPS”, Galileo provides more accurate positioning and timing information for users equipped with Galileo-enabled devices such as an in-car navigation systems and mobile phones. This tool, UseGalileo.eu, helps users keep track of Galileo-enabled devices serving a variety of needs as they become available. Now in English, UseGalileo.eu will be available in the 24 official EU languages by April 2017. A factsheet on Galileo is available (in 14 languages). Read more
20 December 2016
Statistics showing earning distribution within the EU
Notable discrepancies can be observed in EU Member States in gross hourly earnings not only between the 10% of employees earning the least and the 10% earning the most, but also according to the economic activity, with financial and insurance activities being among the highest paying industries and accommodation and food services among the lowest paying. The data on earnings disparities was issued by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office. The data is complemented with a more detailed on-line article and an interactive infographic on earnings by economic activity. The infographic allows users to compare gross monthly earnings in 17 economic areas in the different Member States and three EFTA states.
15h December 2016
EU rules to dramatically cut air pollution approved
Stricter limits on the five main pollutants in Europe will enter into force on 31 December 2016, following the signing into law by the European Parliament and Council of the new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive (see factsheet). When fully implemented, the Directive will reduce by almost 50% the negative health impacts of air pollution, such as respiratory diseases and premature death, by 2030. Read more
13h December 2016
EU rules on social security coordination to be updated
The European Commission has announced new proposals that would revise EU legislation on social security coordination. The proposals are part of the 2016 Commission Work Programme and the Commission’s efforts to facilitate labour mobility, ensure fairness for those who move and for taxpayers, and provide better tools for cooperation between Member State authorities. The proposal modernises the current rules to ensure that they are fair, clear and easier to enforce. Read more.
12h December 2016
Labour market report into the intergration of asylum seekers and refugees launched
Providing swift access to the labour markets of host countries is part of the solution to Europe’s refugee crisis, according to a new Eurofound report, Approaches to the labour market integration of refugees and asylum seekers. The study expands on existing research on the labour market integration of refugees and asylum seekers as a response to the refugee crisis. Read more.
8h December 2016
Doing Business in Ireland? Important seminar 15th December
Our sister organisation Enterprise Europe Northwest is hosting a seminar on 15th December for any businesses interested in doing business in Ireland. Please click here for further details
8h December 2016
European Solidarity Corps video released
A video has just been released to mark the launch yesterday of the European Solidarity Corps. Click here to download the video.
7h December 2016
Investing in Europe's Youth - European Commission launches Solidarity Corps
The European Commission is today launching the European Solidarity Corps, just two months after President Juncker announced it and as a first deliverable of the priorities for action identified in the Bratislava Roadmap. As of today, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 can sign up for new opportunities to make an important contribution to society across the EU, and to gain invaluable experience and acquire valuable skills at the start of their career. The Commission is also presenting a series of measures to boost youth employment, improve and modernise education, more investment in skills of young people, and better opportunities to learn and study abroad. Please click here for further details.
18h November 2016
European Travel Information and Authorisation System - factsheet available
The European Commission has proposed the establishment of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to strengthen security of travel to the Schengen area under visa-free agreements. This follows the announcement in September by President Jean-Claude Juncker in his 2016 State of the Union address, and is a first deliverable of the priorities for action identified in the Bratislava Roadmap. As this factsheet explains, ETIAS will gather information on non-EU travellers who are travelling visa-free to Europe and ensure that possible security concerns are identified prior to entering the Schengen area, contributing to a more efficient management of the EU’s external borders and improving security.
17th November 2016
Bringing Scientists & Polititians together
Scientist and MEPs have a lot to learn from each other. And they can now share their knowledge and experience, thanks to a programme designed to ensure that policy-making is qualified, and scientific advice effectively integrated into the EU decision-making process. As this video explains, the EU Joint Research Centre’s “Science meets Parliaments” scheme brings scientists from different areas together with politicians so that each can learn what the other is doing. Politicians benefit from the scientists’ knowledge while the scientists learn how the EU legislature works..
16 th November 2016
Today is International Day for Tolerence
"Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being" - Mahatma Gandhi
In a world of diversity, tolerance is a prerequisite for peace. It is also a lever for sustainable development as it encourages the construction of more inclusive and thus, more resilient societies that are able to draw on the ideas, creative energy and talents of each of their members. Tolerance is often perceived as a minority idea and one that is sometimes threatened. The International Day for Tolerance is a time for people to learn about respecting and recognising the rights and beliefs of others. It is also a time of reflection and debate on the negative effects of intolerance.
Established by the United Nations, the International Day for Tolerance is held on the 16th of November each year. The day is a focus for educating people about the need for tolerance in society and helping them understand the negative effects of intolerance. Over the past years, acts of intolerance, violence, terrorism and racism have been on the rise. They are often directed at the most vulnerable members in our society including: national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, refugees, migrant workers as well as immigrants.
The main aim of the day is to educate people about the need for tolerance in society and to help them understand the adverse effects of prejudice and hatred on any ground. It is often referred to a day for people to learn and imbibe the principles of respecting as well as recognising human rights.
On this International Day of Tolerance, let us call on all people especially young people and governments to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism as well as cultivate understanding and mutual respect.
15th November 2016
EU Jobs, Growth & Investment factsheet now available
The second title in the new series of short, easy-to-read factsheets on the 10 Commission priorities has just been published. The factsheets are specifically designed as hand-outs for the general public. They are limited to 4 pages and are available in all EU official languages. Paper formats will be available soon and can already be ordered through EU Bookshop. As privileged users, EDICs and EDCs can order up to 500 copies per language every three months, even if they did not respond to the recent survey. Requests for additional copies beyond this should be addressed directly to the Publications Office.
The factsheet sets out in simple terms how the EU is delivering on its top priority of getting Europe growing again and increasing the number of jobs without creating new debt.
14th November 2016
Fundimental rights challanges for the EU
Following its 2016 report on key migration issues, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has published its opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions. This publication provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States. Themes covered include equality and non-discrimination, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, Roma integration, rights of the child and access to justice. The publication is available in all EU languages.
9th November 2016
Two Years of the Juncker Commission
On 1 November 2016 the Juncker Commission marked two years in office. A set of presentations provides an overview of the progress made on the Juncker Commission’s key priorities in these two years
Tuesday 8th November 2016
EESC to host Your Europe, Your Say! 2017
2017 is a very important year for Europe, as it marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome that established the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the EU. On this anniversary, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), , is eager to ensure that the views, experiences and ideas of Europe’s younger generation are heard. For this reason, it is inviting secondary school students in their penultimate year across the 28 Member States and the five EU candidate countries (Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) to come to Brussels on 30–31 March 2017 to debate “Europe at 60: Where to next?”, which is the topic of the Your Europe, Your Say! 2017 (#YEYS2017). The event offers a unique opportunity for youngsters to speak to policymakers about the challenges and opportunities facing Europe, while at the same time learning about the EU and the EESC’s role within it. The schools, one per country, will be selected by a simple draw. The selected schools will then nominate three schoolmates and a teacher to travel to Brussels. The closing date for applications, which must be approved by the accompanying or head teacher, is 30 November 2016.
Monday 7th November 2016
Avoiding the cost of mobile malware
Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets have become ingrained in people’s daily lives. Technology which was once only found on desktop computers can now be carried in the palm of one’s hands. Yet as the popularity of these devices explodes, the appetite of cybercriminals targeting these devices grows too. The risk of mobile malware (malicious software which targets mobile devices) is real: hackers can steal money and sensitive information, use these devices as bots and even spy on your activities. Unfortunately, most people have not realised the importance of protecting their mobile devices from such attacks. To raise awareness among users, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has published a video (other languages versions are available on Europol’s YouTube channel) and an infographic as part of a Mobile Malware Awareness Campaign.
Friday 4th November 2016
Making public-sector websites & apps accessable for all
Computers equipped with assistive technology can make a world of a difference for people with disabilities or the elderly in accessing websites and apps. However, even if an elderly person or a person with a disability has the technology, they will still find many internet sites are not accessible to them. As this EuroparlTV video explains, the European Parliament wants to ensure that the 80 million Europeans with disabilities can access public-sector websites and apps, a step many hope will also lead to making private sector – ecommerce, insurance and banking – sites accessible to everyone
Thursday 3rd November 2016
Junkers unvails a Work Programme that Protects Empowers & Defends
The Commission Work Programme for the coming year focuses squarely on delivery of the
10 priorities outlined in the Political Guidelines in order to address the biggest challenges
which Europe faces today.On the basis of the Work Programme, the Commission, European Parliament and Council will now work on a Joint Declaration on commonly agreed objectives and priorities for 2017, to swiftly turn proposals into action and bring concrete results for citizens. Click here for further details.
Tuesday 1st November 2016
Skills Shortages of Concern
New Education & Training Video Launched
Skill shortages are of particular concern, especially when unemployment is high. Cedefop has developed a way to identify occupations for which a critical shortage has important implications for national economies and their education and training systems. It also provides insights into why skill shortages arise. The findings on critical skill shortages for each Member State are available on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama website. More detailed information can be found in Cedefop’s briefing note Skill shortage and surplus occupations in Europe.
Monday 31st October 2016
In the latest video in its animation series presenting EU Member States’ vocational education and training (VET) systems, Cedefop looks at Slovakia, which currently holds the EU Presidency. Recent reform of the Slovak VET system introduced a new form of dual VET, bringing together students and companies. Previous videos looked at VET systems in Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Friday 28th October 2016
Every year, the European Commission adopts a plan of action for the next twelve months. The Commission Work Programme informs citizens, its institutional partners and its staff how it will turn its political priorities into concrete action. Generally, the Work Programme is adopted in October. The 2016 Work Programme, explained in this factsheet, is the third to be presented by the Juncker Commission since it took office in 2014. The to-do list for 2017 includes 21 key initiatives in all the Commission’s 10 priority areas to deliver a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. The Commission also recommends the temporary extension of internal border controls (factsheet, in English and French) and proposes a major corporate tax reform (factsheet, English only).
Thursday 27th October 2016
EU space programmes already deliver services that have become indispensable in everyone's daily lives. Space data is needed in using mobile phones, driving cars with a navigation system, taking the plane or watching satellite TV. It is also central to the protection of key infrastructures such as power plants, smart grids or even bank transactions. In its new Space Strategy for Europe the Commission proposes a range of actions to allow Europeans to fully seize the benefits offered by space, create the right ecosystem for space start-ups to grow, promote Europe's leadership in space and increase its share on the world space markets. Watch the video here and find more detailed information here.
Wednesday 26th October 2016
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) supports Italy and Greece with the implementation of the EU relocation scheme in line with the European Agenda on Migration. On 9 October 2015, the first transfer relocating 19 asylum applicants between Italy and Sweden took place. One year later, close to 6 000 applicants have been relocated from Italy and Greece. This map displays the number of applicants relocated as of 7 October 2016.
Wednesday 26th October 2016
An independent evaluation of EU investments made from 2007 to 2013 has found they created one million jobs, corresponding to one-third of overall net job creation across the EU during this period. In addition, each euro of Cohesion Policy money invested created €2.74 of additional GDP, meaning an estimated return of €1 trillion of additional GDP by 2023. The Cohesion Policy has benefitted the economies of all EU Member States, supporting them during difficult economic times. It has invested in nearly 400 000 SMEs and start-ups and has been a pillar of the EU’s growth and jobs agenda. The European Commission has published the following reports and documents describing the effects of the investments overall and in individual Member States:
Wednesday 26th October 2016
Trafficking in human beings is a grave violation of human rights and a serious form of organised crime. More than 20 million people living today around the world have been trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour and other activities across the world, generating a profit of €117 billion a year. On the occasion of the 10th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, marked on 18 October, the European Commission presented a comprehensive policy review of anti-trafficking projects it funded from 2004 to 2015. This review is one of the last remaining of the 40 priority actions enlisted in the EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy, which comes to an end in 2016.
Tuesday 25th October 2016
To further reach out to cities, foster the exchange of best practices and the development of urban strategies, the European Commission has launched a new web portal for cities. Answering a need expressed by numerous cities in the development of the Urban Agenda for the EU (pdf, infographic), the new “one-stop shop” Cities portal provides up-to-date information on EU policies – such as climate change adaptation, mobility or circular economy – that directly impact cities and urban areas. Urban stakeholders can also get clear information on financing opportunities under the different EU funding instruments and on events related to urban development. The portal will help cities to address challenges such as affordable housing, energy efficiency or accessibility, by making the most out of EU funding opportunities. In addition, the new Urban Data Platform, hosted on the Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies operated by the Joint Research Centre, provides a single access point to common indicators on the status and trends in over 800 European urban areas – on demography, economic development or access to services, for example. This database will enable urban authorities and stakeholders to compare data, benchmark and monitor, which is one of the aims of the Urban Agenda.
Monday 24th October 2016
The 2016 edition of Eurostat’s The EU in the World provides a statistical portrait of the EU in relation to the rest of the world. It presents a broad range of indicators for the EU and non-EU members of the Group of Twenty (G20) andcovers the following areas:
The publication can be viewed as an introduction to European and international statistics. It provides a starting point for those who wish to explore the wide range of data freely available from a variety of international organisations and on Eurostat’s website.
Friday 21October 2016
Despite a continued increase in the female employment rate in Europe during the recent financial crisis and a narrowing of the gender participation gap in most Member States, a significant gender employment gap remains. With the female employment rate still more than 10% lower than the male equivalent, the cost of this – including foregone earnings and missed welfare contributions of individuals to society, as well as the public finance cost – is now estimated at around €370 billion, corresponding to 2.8% of the EU’s GDP. At an individual level, the cost of a woman’s exclusion from employment throughout her working life is estimated at between €1.2 million and €2 million, depending on her educational level. These findings are detailed in a new Eurofound report, The gender employment gap: Challenges and solutions.
Friday 14th October 2016
The new Agency has been designed to meet the migration and internal security challenges faced by the EU and is being launched today at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. You can follow the Commission's coverage of the event on social media via Twitter #EUBorderGuard (also on the new Twitter Moments), Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. There are photos, banners and other material available for dowloading here.
The establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard is a key measure under the European Agenda on Migration to reinforce the management and security of the EU's external borders. More information in this factsheet. See also factsheet on EU operations in the Mediterranean.
Wednesday 12th October 2016
October is European Cyber Security Month and this year will bring plenty of opportunities for people to discover how to stay safe online and play an active role in their own security. Throughout European Cyber Security Month, which is organised by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), over 300 activities, including events, training sessions, tips and an online quiz, will take place across 27 countries. This year’s Cyber Security Month will focus on security in banking, cyber safety, cyber training and mobile malware. The Cyber Security Month is a key part of the EU’s Cybersecurity Strategy to increase people’s awareness of the key role they can play in ensuring the security of networks and information systems.
Monday 10th October 2016
Nominations are now being accepted for the fourth edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. With this prize, the European Commission wants to give public recognition to outstanding female entrepreneurs who have brought their innovative ideas to the market, as EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Carlos Moedas explains in this video. The first prize is worth €100 000, the second prize €50 000 and third prize €30 000. A new category, the rising innovator prize for female entrepreneurs aged 30 years or under, is worth €20 000. This year’s edition is open to women of any nationality living in a European country who have founded or cofounded a company with an annual turnover of at least €100 000. Contestants must submit their entries by 3 November 2016. A jury will evaluate and select the four winners, who will be announced around International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017. More information on the competition is available on Twitter at #WIPrizeEU.
Monday 12th September 2016
Living and working in another country is an exciting option for Europeans of all ages. European (Online) Job Days play their part by making job vacancies easier to access throughout the EU. They assist in matching jobs with people across Europe at on-site and online recruitment fairs. First held in 2006, they have helped employers across Europe source specific skills and jobseekers find a new life and career abroad. This newly published 16-page brochure explains how the European (Online) Job Days work.
Friday 9th September 2016
On 14 September 2016, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will deliver his State of the Union address at the European Parliament.
President Juncker will take stock of achievements of the past year and present the priorities for the year ahead. The President will also set out how the Commission will address the most pressing challenges the EU is facing. The speech will be followed by a plenary debate. The State of the Union address traditionally kick-starts the dialogue with Parliament and Council, as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty, to prepare the Commission Work Programme for 2017. The debate can be followed on social media with hashtag #SOTEU
Wednesday 7th September 2016
Fighting climate change requires action from all countries across the world.
The EU is working to promote ambitious global action through
Wednesday 7th September 2016
The European Union has secured important outcomes at the G20 Leaders' Summit. The G20 notably commit to global action on over-capacity in the steel industry, progress on fair taxation and concerted action in the refugee crisis to tackle its consequences and root causes.
The European Union has secured important outcomes at the G20 Leaders' Summit which took place on 4-5 September in Hangzhou, China.
European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker arrived at the summit calling for firm global action on over-capacity in the steel industry, fair taxation and the global refugee crisis. Published today, the G20 Leaders' Communiqué sets out immediate action in all three areas:
On steel, the G20 has agreed to launch a "Global Forum on steel excess capacity, to be facilitated by the OECD".
On taxation, the G20 has committed to work for a "fair and modern international tax system", in particular by combatting tax avoidance. To ensure that multinationals pay their fair share of tax in the countries where they make their profits, G20 countries will implement a package of measures on Base Erosion and Profits Shifting.
To ensure greater tax transparency, the Leader's Communiqué calls on all countries to "commit without delay to implementing the standard of automatic exchange of information by 2018". It also endorses the OECD proposals on the "criteria to identify non-cooperative jurisdictions with respect to tax transparency". By June 2017 the OECD will report back to Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on progress towards tax transparency.
On the refugee crisis, the G20 calls for a global concerted effort to address both the consequences and root causes of the crisis, and in particular urges greater humanitarian assistance for refugees and refugee resettlement.
In the margins of the summit, President Juncker held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to discuss the new EU-Canada free-trade deal, CETA, which President Juncker described as the "best and most progressive" the EU had ever negotiated.
Presidents Juncker and Tusk also held a trilateral meeting with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and addressed EU-Turkey relations and their continued cooperation to tackle the refugee crisis.
Monday 5th September 2016
The EU’s activities today affect the lives of millions of European citizens and these decisions must be taken as openly as possible.
European citizens have a right to know how the European institutions are preparing these decisions, who participates in preparing them, who receives funding from the EU budget and what documents are held or produced to prepare and adopt the legal acts.
They also have a right to access those documents, and make their views known, either directly, or indirectly, through intermediaries that represent them.
The European Commission’s Transparency Portal is designed to be the citizens’ window on this world, giving them direct access to information that will help them to be better informed and better prepared to follow and participate in the EU decision-making process, to enjoy their rights and to play their role as a European citizen to the full.
Monday 5th September 2016
DG's Communication's publication, produced by the Citizens' Information Unit, is now available.
The monthly Publications Update presents all the latest publications, online content, and promotional material, as well as information on all publications currently available for you to order. Read the September issue of Publications Update online, then sign-up to receive the update directly in your inbox every month!
Monday 5th September 2016
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will deliver his State of the Union address at the European Parliament on 14th September.
President Juncker will take stock of achievements of the past year and present the priorities for the year ahead. He will also set out how the Commission will address the most pressing challenges the EU is facing.
The State of the Union address traditionally kick-starts the dialogue with Parliament and Council, as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty, to prepare the Commission Work Programme for 2017. The debate can be followed on social media with hashtag #SOTEU.
Monday 30th August 2016
The European Commission's Representation in the UK has launched the latest Call for proposals under the Erasmus+ programme.
The objective of the Call is to use a variety of communication activities to encourage young people, educational, non-governmental organisations, and local authorities to participate in the Erasmus+ programme in the UK.
The Call intends to build synergies launched by the UK National Agency for Erasmus+ and raise awareness and promote those areas of the programme which are less well-known in the UK including vocational training, volnteering abroad, youth exchanges, teaching and training abroad for teachers and working abroad.
The UK Representation will provide financial support to successful applicants in the form of grants limited to a maximum co-funding rate of 80% of actual eligible costs of activities. The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at €300.000. Only project proposals in a range between €10.000 and €60.000 euros will be considered.
Applicants are advised to check eligibily criteria and that they can fully satisfy the Call's requirements. The deadline for submission of proposals is 30th September 2016.
Click here for further details: https://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/COMM/LOND/2016/06_en
Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Friday 26th August 2016
What does the EU consumer need to know if they buy airline tickets or book foreign hotels online? Or when they buy things whilst on holiday abroad? If they rent a car in another country?
Published by the European Consumer Centre (ECC), Travel Tips sums up the rights consumers enjoy in making cross-border travel purchases. These rights apply wherever they travel or buy in the EU as well as Iceland and Norway. This ECC is part of a network, ECC-Net, which exists specifically to answer questions about cross-border rights.
Friday 5th August 2016
The Publications Office of the European Union's core activities include the production and dissemination of legal and general publications in a variety of paper and electronic formats and providing EU citizens, governments and businesses with digital access to official information and data from the EU.
Each month, the Publications Office issues a newsletter providing links to the most recent releases and other useful information and websites. A link at the bottom of the newsletter enables anyone interested to subscribe to the newsletter.
Recently publications include Environment for Europeans; Open Research Data; Travel Tips; the Zika virus; and Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World.
Trading opportunities for EU exporters interested in doing business in Iran and the Gulf States was the main item on the agenda at last month's meeting of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce International Trade Club.
Henny Azmoodeh, New Markets Advisor for Accountancy Firm Sterling Partners who specialise in assisting companies enter the Iranian market guided the delegates through the business opportunities and do and don’ts when trading with Iran in light of the lifting of EU trade sanctions.
Sandra Thornber, UKTI’s Gulf States Advisor, updated every one on the emerging sectors and specialisms in each state as well as the significant infrastructure investment. Susana Cordoba, the NW Co-ordinator for the Overseas Business Network initiative appraised the group on the rapidly expanding network of BCC Accredited Chambers who were offering business support for companies wishing to enter their markets.
The morning was rounded off with individual meetings between the companies taking part and the speakers to discuss specific opportunities in greater detail. The next International Trade Club will take place on the 26th August and will focus on the South American Market.
A Workshop designed to help businesses trade within the EU will run on the 19th August.
Tuesday 26th July 2016
Check out the Events page for a number of new and exciting events to help you and your company make the most of doing business overseas.
Thursday 21st July 2016
Europa is the European Union’s web portal, designed to be as user-friendly as possible in line with the EU institutions' commitment to openness.
It is a crucial tool for informing citizens about EU policies, legislation, their rights, employment opportunities and many other things that affect their daily lives.
The site can be accessed here
Tuesday 14th June 2016
Check out the Events page for details of a wide range of seminars and workshops to help Lancashire businesses develop overseas trading links.
Monday 6th June 2016
A Call has been launched for youth organisations to become an official Eurodesk UK Partner to support the delivery and promotion of Eurodesk services to young people and youth organisations across the UK.
The benefits include specialised training and priority access to European youth information and networks. Partners can be organisations that are already working with young people and wish to have access to tools and expertise to promote European information for young people. All applicants must be based in the UK.
A briefing note with information on the role, together with a short application form, is now available on the Eurodesk UK website:
Alternatively you can email Eurodesk UK at email@example.com for further details.
The deadline for receipt of Eurodesk Partner applications is 5pm (UK time) on Friday 24 June 2016.
The Eurodesk website also explains how individuals can become Eurodesk UK Ambassadors. Individuals interested in becoming an Ambassador can apply at any time.
Wednesday 11th May 2016
Nearly 90% of the senior businesspeople polled in a major new British Chambers of Commerce survey say they are unlikely to change how they will vote before the June 23rd referendum.
The BCC’s detailed findings indicate that 54.1% of businesspeople polled would vote to Remain, down from 60% in February 2016, and 37% would vote to Leave – up from 30% on the BCC’s previous survey.
The data on voting intentions also shows some divisions based on size and export interests. Those trading with other EU markets express the strongest support for ‘Remain’, with the strongest levels of support for ‘Leave’ among those that do not. Businesspeople representing large firms are significantly more likely to vote ‘Remain’ than those in micro businesses.
The findings, from an April 2016 survey of over 2,200 leading businesspeople, also show that individuals are now strongly committed to their voting preferences. Just 0.3% of respondents said they were uncommitted, and only 10.8% said they could change their mind.
Wednesday 11th May 2016
Lancashire EDIC in partnership with North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Trudos International and UKTI is inviting local companies to learn about business opportunities in this challenging but rewarding market.
The event will include a presentation about the market potential for Lancashire businesses as well as providing the opportunity for one to one meetings with market entry specialists.
The event takes place on 10th June at the Chamber's Blackpool office.
FTo book onto the event or for further information on the work of Lancashire EDIC email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Wednesday 4th May 2016
Lancashire EDIC partner, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), has announced 16 new Export Champions for Lancashire.
The Export Champions are a group of 82 business leaders from across the Northwest of the UK tasked with rasing the profile of exporting in the region, and helping others to develop opportunities. The initiative was first lanched in 2013 in conjunction with Chambers of Commerce across the region.
The new Export Champions for Lancashire are: ACDC LED Ltd; Carradice of Nelson Ltd; Chelsom Ltd; Chemical Innovations; Crown Paints; Dantech UK Ltd; EP Bitumen; Euravia Engineering and Supply Co Ltd; Evans Vanodine International Ltd; Flexcrete Technologies Ltd; Natures Aid; Panaz Ltd; Scorpion Automotive; Tangerine Holdings Ltd; TISS Ltd; and What More UK Ltd.
UKTI saysthat businesses who trade internationally are on average 34% more productive, 75% more innovative, undertake three times as much research and develoment, and are 12% more resilient than those who do not.
For further information on the work of Lancashire EDIC email email@example.com or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team. Click here for more details on the work of UKTI.
Friday 22th April 2016
Preston rolled out the red carpet earlier this week to welcome the Mayor of Rechlinghausen to the City.
Organised by the Preston Twinning Partnership (a partner of Lancashire EDIC) the event reciprocates a similar visit made by the Partnership, Preston City Council, and Lancashire EDIC to the German city last year.
The visit was held to mark the 60th Twinning Aniversary between Preston and Recklinghausen.
The delgation from the German city was led by the Mayor and Mayoress and included the Deputy Mayor, Council leaders and other city officials.
Representing Preston were members of the Preston Twining Partnership including Chairman Derek Smith, Vice-chairman Michael Dignan, and Secretary Jurgen Voges and Lancashire EDIC. The visit included a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Preston and Council officials.
A full two and a half day programme of events included conferences on gender equality, dealing with disability, and voluntary services. The delegation were hosted at the city's Holiday Inn.
Tuesday 19th April 2016
Lancashire Barrister at Law Ken Hinds CBE LLB has been confirmed as the second panellist representing the "remain" camp at the Lancashire EDIC and Chamber of Commerce debate on the forthcoming EU referendum.
Ken Hinds joins Sajjad Karim MEP on the "remain" panel with UKIP Deputy Chair Paul Nuttall MEP and Lancashire businessman Alan Halsall representing the "leave" campaign.
The event will take place on 20th May at Preston's College. To book onto the event email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Friday 15th April 2016
Business leaders from across the Northwest attended a seminar organised by Europe Direct Lancashire on 14th April updating them on the pending impact on businesses in the region for exporting to the USA .
The free trade agreement between the EU and the USA, the largest and most wide reaching in history, is about to enter the next round of talks. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP as it is known is one of the 10 Priorities laid out by the European Commission. Delegates were briefed on the agreement from both the EU and US prospective and given copies of the agreement published by the Commission.
Over half of international trade in the Northwest is with the US.
Wednesday 13th April 2016
Lancashire EDIC is reminding businesses that there are still a few spaces left for the TTIP event being held on 14th April.
David Booth (UKTI) and Emily McLaughlin (High Commission of Canada) are confirmed to speak at the event. David is UKTI Northwest's USA business advisor whilst Emily is the Commission's economic advisor.
To book onto the event email email@example.com or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Tuesday 12th April 2016
Lancashire EDIC has been asked to promote an opportunity for local firms to meet Amercian companies exhibiting at Hannover Messe later this month.
More than 200 Amercian companies will showcase their latest equipment and products at the show. Many of these cutting edge companies will be looking for agents, distributors, partners and customers across the UK.
Wednesday 6th April 2016
Lancashire Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) is a member of a powerful network of information centres located across all EU member states.
A key role of the EDICs is to use the resources of the network to put schools across the EU in touch with each other. A number of schools already use the service to find partners for cross-border collaborative project work, organise teacher exchanges and pupil visits, and share best practice.
EDIC staff also visit schools to talk to teachers and learners about the importance of language and culture and the opportunities to live and work across the EU.
Lancashire EDIC is keen to ensure that local schools across Lancashire take full advantage of this service. Schools interested in finding out more about Lancashire EDIC and the work it does should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Wednesday 30th March 2016
Lancashire EDIC and UKTI are providing a drop-in clinic for businesses interested in finding out more about digital channels, E-marketplaces, and E-commerce platforms in general.
For both early stage exporters and growth exporters, the clinic will provide a useful introduction to the technology, tools and opportunities available for a successful digital export strategy.
The global e-commerce industry saw impressive growth in 2015 with goods and services worth $1.5 trillion broought by shoppers via desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This growth trend is set to continue with the business to consumer e-comerce market value expected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2020, and the business to business forecast set to double this to reach $6.7 trillion.
To book onto the event email email@example.com or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Tuesday 29th March 2016
Lancashire EDIC is delighted to announce that David Booth (UKTI) and Emily McLaughlin (High Commission of Canada) are confirmed to speak at our event on 14th April. David is UKTI Northwest's USA business advisor whilst Emily is the Commission's economic advisor.
To book onto the event email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Lancashire EDIC has copies of a very useful guide "Inside TTIP" published by the EU. To order your copy contact the EIC team as above.
Wednesday 16th March 2016
Details of Lancashire EDIC's EU referendum debate have now been confirmed.
Click here for further details about the event and to book your place. Spaces are limited so early booking is advisable.
For further details about other EDIC- supported events visit the Events page or email email@example.com. Alternatively call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Thursday 10th March 2016
A number of new business opportunities have been added to our Events page. If you're interested in attending any of them please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Tuesday 8th March 2016
Lancashire EDIC's "Focus on Central and Eastern Europe" event attracted 50 delegates from a wide range of businesses across the County.
Speakers from Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, and the Czech Republic explained the finer details of doing business within their respective countries with a particular focus on language and culture.
Delegates also participated in a series of one to one meetings with country representatives.
The event was supported by EDIC partners UKTI, Enterprise Europe, and the Overseas Business Network.
Monday 1st March 2016
Lancashire EDIC's annual visit to Kirkham Grammar School proved as successful as ever with 120 students hearing first hand about employment opportunities across the European Union.
A key part of the visit was to encourage students to use their time at school to learn a European language.
Other topics covered included the importance of appreciating the cultural differences between the UK and other Member States.
The Lancashire EDIC team is exploring a number of opportunities to visit other schools and colleges across Lancashire. To request a visit simply email email@example.com or call 01772 653000 and ask to speak to the Europe Direct team.
Friday 19th February 2016
February's Lancashire EDIC newsletter is out now. Access your copy by simply clicking on the link in the right hand column. To receive copies of future newsletters direct into your inbox email firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 26th February 2016
Central Malta EDIC has published a brief introduction to the 28 EU member states fesaturing the beauty of some of their towns and cities. Click http://www.ediccentralmalta.eu/userfiles/file/beauty_of_europe.pdf to access the publication.
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JanThe Investment Plan for Europe aims to encourage investment in order to create jobs, boost growth and competitiveness, meet long-term economic needs and strengthen the EU’s productive capacity and infrastructure. To read the plan in detail click here.