Brussels Friday 4 September 2009
Top News from the European Commission
7 September to 4 October 2009
Background notes from the Spokesperson's service for journalists.
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes
Monday 7 September: Agriculture Council discusses support to dairy market 2
Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 September: 20 years of Commission support to EU studies around the world 3
Tuesday 8 September: Beyond GDP - improving the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of economic well-being 4
Tuesday 8 September: Railway safety: the way forward 5
Wednesday 9 September: EU mobile phone industry backs Europe's in-car emergency call system eCall 6
Thursday 10 and Friday 11 September: Ministerial meeting on H1N1 of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) 7
Friday 11 September: Promoting integrated maritime governance in the Mediterranean 8
Friday 11 to Wednesday 15 September: Young Science stars will shine in Paris at the 21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists 9
Monday 14 September: Interim Economic Forecasts 10
Monday 14 September: Health research: Commission and pharmaceutical industry join forces to support discovery of more innovative medicines 11
Tuesday 15 September: Annual Statement on the Euro Area 13
Wednesday 16 September: Information Day – Joining research forces to meet the challenges of "The Ocean of Tomorrow" 14
Wednesday 16 to 22 September: European Mobility Week 2009 15
Thursday 17 September: Ireland first country to move towards Europe-wide transparency on qualifications 16
Thursday 17 and Friday 18 September: Licensing Systems for sports Club Competitions 17
Friday 18 September: Information Day – Africa Call for proposals - €63 million to support research for Africa 18
Tuesday 22 September: Commission presents EU Budget 2008 Financial Report 19
Tuesday 22 September: 5th Brussels Debate "Innovation policy: time to step on the gas" 20
Wednesday 23 September: Action Plan on urban mobility 21
Wednesday 23 to Friday 25 September: Celebrating the European Day of Languages 22
Monday 28 September: EU Healthy Eating Campaign – A new initiative to fight against child obesity 23
Monday 28 September: Award Ceremony for the European Prize for Literature 24
Tuesday 29 September: Launch event of the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer – Europeans united in speaking about cancer 25
Monday 7 September: Agriculture Council discusses support to dairy market
Agriculture Ministers will have an in-depth discussion on the situation of the dairy sector and of the measures proposed by the Commission in its Communication of 22 July.
In the Communication, the Commission sets out the catalogue of measures available to help alleviate the very difficult market situation, while respecting the outcome of the Common Agricultural Policy Heath Check.
The dairy market situation has deteriorated dramatically during the last 12 months.
After a price spike in 2007, prices have dropped substantially, with serious effects on producers' incomes.
Prices for milk delivered to dairies have come down from 0.30-0.40 €/litre to an EU-27 average of 0.24 €/litre, with prices for many producers at 0.20-0.21 €/litre or less.
This has triggered substantial unrest amongst dairy farmers with many demonstrations.
Agriculture Council meeting.
Press conference at the end of the meeting, 19.00, press room of the European Council.
Covered by EbS
European Commission's website:
Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel's blog:
Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 September: 20 years of Commission support to EU studies around the world
The 2009 Jean Monnet Conference will mark 20 years of Commission support to EU studies which contributed substantially to the European integration process and to knowledge about the EU worldwide.
In the presence of President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Ján Figel', professors of EU studies from around the world will debate current EU policy questions with policy-makers and civil society representatives.
Since 1989, the EU has encouraged the study of European integration around the world through what is today the Jean Monnet Programme. The Programme supports professors specialised in European integration at universities in 62 countries on all five continents, reaching a quarter million students every year.
The annual Jean Monnet Conference is a forum of high-level dialogue on current European policy questions that brings together the Jean Monnet Professors with policy-makers and civil society representatives from around the globe. Previous Jean Monnet Conferences have served to conceive and announce important initiatives such as the European neighbourhood policy and the Commission's approach to intercultural dialogue.
The 2009 Jean Monnet Conference entitled "20 years of support to European Integration Studies: From the Jean Monnet Action to the Jean Monnet Programme", will be held in Brussels, in the Charlemagne building.
President Barroso's intervention will be covered by EbS + Photos, on the 07/09, 9.15.
Jean Monnet programme:
Commissioner Figel's website:
Tuesday 8 September: Beyond GDP - improving the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of economic well-being
The European Commission will publish a Communication on measuring progress in a changing world by moving beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To meet the challenges of climate change, the financial and economic crises and globalisation, new indices are needed to steer policies and behaviour.
The Communication identifies a number of actions that can be taken in the short to medium term. The overall aim is to develop more inclusive indicators that provide a more reliable knowledge base for better public debate and policy-making. The Commission intends to cooperate with stakeholders and partners to develop indicators that are internationally recognised and implemented.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the best known measure of macro-economic activity. It has also come to be regarded as a proxy indicator for overall societal development and progress in general. But by design and purpose it cannot be relied upon to inform policy debates on all issues. GDP does not measure environmental sustainability or social inclusion and these limitations need to be taken into account when using it in policy analysis and debates.
The need to strengthen data and indicators which would complement GDP – rather than replacing it – has been increasingly recognised and a number of international initiatives have been launched to consider these issues. There is strong support from policy-makers, experts and civil society for developing indicators that could complement GDP with a view to better informing policy decisions.
Publication of a Communication on measuring progress in a changing world by moving beyond GDP.
A stake holder conference starting at 14:30 in the Walter Hallstein room in the Berlaymont
13:00: press conference in the Berlaymont press room, Brussels.
Commissioner Dimas' we bsite:
Tuesday 8 September: Railway safety: the way forward
Vice-President Tajani will open a conference organised by the European Commission on "Railway safety: the way forward" that will be organised along four major themes: safety of infrastructure and operations, safety of vehicles, safety of goods transported, supervision and investigation.
The conference is expected to endorse an action plan to address the shortcomings highlighted by the recent railway accident in Viareggio, which is now being prepared by the European Railway Agency in cooperation with the National Safety Authorities and the industry.
The conference will be attended by transport ministers from the past (Czech) and present (Swedish) presidency, the Italian transport and infrastructure minister Mr Matteoli, representatives from Member States, the European Parliament, National Safety Authorities, National Investigation Bodies, the railway industry, the European Railway Agency and the Commission.
Speakers from all interested parties will present their experience and review existing rules and practices.
A recent and dramatic railway accident in Italy (Viareggio – 29 June 2009) caused many casualties and raised questions on railway safety at the national and European level.
The transport of freight, including dangerous goods, is a key necessity for the European economy. Rail transport is an environmentally friendly mode of transport and may offer a competitive alternative to road on certain major segments of the market. For economical and practical reasons, the same railway infrastructure is often used for both freight and passenger services. Mixed traffic needs to be managed in the safest possible way, and infrastructure and rolling stock must be properly maintained.
The Commission is convinced that the overall level of railway safety in the EU is high and has been working to maintain and improve standards through the development and implementation of safety regulations and technical requirements.
However, in the face of such a serious accident, Vice President Tajani believes it is appropriate to review existing rail safety rules and practices, as well as the quality of their implementation, and to consider opportunities for improvement, if so required. This is the purpose of the conference.
10.00 – 17.00: Vice-President Tajani will open the conference on "Railway safety: the way forward" in Brussels, Charlemagne building. Journalists can attend by showing their accreditation as EU journalists.
11:30: Press conference in the Press room of the Berlaymont.
Available on EbS
European Commission website on rail:
Commissioner Tajani's website:
Wednesday 9 September: EU mobile phone industry backs Europe's in-car emergency call system eCall
Good news for Europe's drivers, and for Europe's 230 million cars! Europe's mobile phone industry will sign the eCall Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), giving its full backing to eCall. Europe's in-car automatic emergency call system has life-saving potential as it automatically dials 112, Europe's single emergency number, when a car has a serious accident and sends its location to the nearest emergency service – even when the passengers do not know or cannot say where they are.
Viviane Reding, the EU's Telecoms Commissioner will host a signing ceremony on the eCall MoU with representatives of the GSM Association. With its commitment to eCall the industry sends an important message to Member States' national authorities some of which – despite several calls from the Commission – are still not ready to deploy the in-car system voluntarily.
This August, the Commission called on EU countries and Europe's car and telecoms industry to speed up the roll-out of eCall in Europe. It outlined a strategy for introducing eCall in all new vehicles across Europe by 2014, starting next year, including possible EU legislation should the voluntary approach fail.
eCall is an affordable in-car emergency call system which automatically dials 112, Europe's single emergency number, if a vehicle is involved in an accident. eCall could save up to 2 500 lives per year in the EU when fully deployed and reduce by 10-15% the severity of injuries.
Road accidents cost the EU economy more than €160 billion a year. Equipping all cars in the EU with the eCall system could save €26 billion annually while the system' is estimated to cost less than €100 per car.
Representatives from GSMA Europe will formally sign the eCall Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. Photo opportunity: Photographers wishing to cover the event should register with Mina Andreeva.
Available on EbS
eCall Memorandum of Understanding and its signatories
Fact sheet: 'eCall - saving lives through in-vehicle communication technology'
Commissioner Viviane Reding's website:
Thursday 10 and Friday 11 September: Ministerial meeting on H1N1 of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI)
The Health Ministers of the G7 countries, Mexico and the European Commissioner for Health will meet in Brussels to discuss ways to effectively respond to the future developments concerning the A/H1N1 pandemic.
The focus of the discussion will be on vaccination strategies and supplies, while the participants will also discuss other health measures regarding the ongoing A/H1N1 pandemic. Another important point on the agenda is the question of how to support the developing countries which are facing the pandemic.
The GHSI was first established in 2001 as a response to September 11th terrorist events and the subsequent release of anthrax letters in the US.
Global health security covers a wide range of issues such as response to encounter public health crisis, pandemic influenza as well as threats caused by chemical, radio-nuclear and bioterrorism agents.
When the Global Health Security Initiative last met in Brussels, in December 2008, a possible influenza pandemic was one of the topics: The members of the group concluded that even highly restrictive measures, such as general border closures, would be unlikely to prevent the spread of the virus and could aggravate the economic and social consequences of influenza pandemic . Instead it was important to keep the development of the pandemic under close surveillance and to monitor its spread.
11/09: Press Conference of Commissioner Vassiliou and the representatives of the GHSI and WHO, 13.00 in the Berlaymont (press room), Brussels.
Available on EbS
European Commission's website on flu A H1N1:
Commissionner Vassiliou's website:
Friday 11 September: Promoting integrated maritime governance in the Mediterranean
The Commission will publish a Communication highlighting tools and specific actions in order to achieve an integrated approach to governing maritime activities in the Mediterranean sea basin. The paper identifies two major challenges: an integrated approach to maritime matters by local administrations, and the difficulty for coastal states to plan, organise and regulate the activities that directly affect their territorial seas and coasts. The Communication outlines the next steps which the Commission will take in order to tackle these challenges, including the development of cross-cutting tools such as maritime spatial planning.
The benefits of such an integrated approach in the Mediterranean would generate additional potential for sea-borne economic growth as well as more cost-effective synergies of maritime activities, while also securing enhanced environmental protection and benefits for coastal populations.
The Mediterranean is a prime example of a maritime region where the EU's new integrated approach to maritime policy could help bring higher economic returns from the sea while ensuring that the resources of the ecosystem are safeguarded and managed sustainably.
Such a so called "closed sea" should, in theory, be easier to manage than larger oceans. Yet, the reality is one of over twenty coastal States with uneven levels of economic development and administrative capacities and important political disagreements, including on land and sea borders. The EU has a central responsibility towards this sea basin. Improved maritime governance is required at EU level, in close concertation with our Mediterranean partners.
12.30: Press conference by Commissioner Joe Borg, in the Berlaymont press room, Brussels.
Available on EbS
EU Integrated Maritime Policy: action plan
European Maritime Day 2009 stakeholder conference: workshop on "Towards better governance for a sustainable use of the Mediterranean Sea"
Commission Communication: Guidelines for an Integrated Approach to Maritime Policy:
Towards best practice in integrated maritime governance and stakeholder consultation
Outcome of Conference on Maritime Policy in the Mediterranean Sea, 10 June 2008, Piran - Portorož (Slovenia):
Friday 11 to Wednesday 15 September: Young Science stars will shine in Paris at the 21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists
The 21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) is taking place for the first time in Paris at the Palais de la découverte which has been educating scientists for generations. About 140 of the most talented students aged between 14 and 20 will compete for prizes totalling 51.500 € (First, Second, Third prizes and the International cooperation prize) as well as some very attractive special donated prizes from Eiroforum and EPO.
21 years ago, the EU decided to organize the EU Contest for Young Scientists with the aim of encouraging young people to get involved in science and promoting international cooperation and exchange.
The Commission provides funding for up to 100% of the "core" activities and shares the organisational tasks with a national host organiser which changes every year. This annual initiative aims to boost the enthusiasm of science students to foster their talents and to follow careers in science and technology. All participants have already won prestigious science awards in their home countries, making this international contest one of the toughest competitions for young scientists in the world.
Each project is evaluated by at least three members of the EU Contest jury, which consists of a President and 16 other members. All of them are leading scientists, from both academia and industry.
This event enables the young scientists to create links with other young people from abroad who have a similar passion: science. They also have the opportunity to meet experienced scientists, visit top science venues and participate in social activities. The event culminates in an awards ceremony at which the most talented students are rewarded with prizes.
The 21st edition of the contest takes place in Paris at the "Palais de la Découverte" and is open to journalists. In collaboration with the French national organiser, the young contestants will participate in a range of exciting activities, visit the French capital's top science venues, and some of the world-famous Parisian cultural highlights, and attend a round table at La Sorbonne with eminent scientific personalities.
The Contest will end with the Awards Ceremony announcing the winners of EUCYS 2009 followed by a press conference with the presence of:
Mr Luc Chatel, ministry of French National Education (TBC)
Mr Jean-Michel Baer, Director in the Directorate General Research of the European Commission.
Site of the EU Contests for Young Scientists:
Commissioner Potočnik's website:
Monday 14 September: Interim Economic Forecasts
The Commission will publish its interim economic forecasts, updating the outlook for GDP growth and inflation in 2009 for Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and Poland as well as the EU and Euro area aggregates.
The Commission publishes economic forecasts four times a year. The Spring and Autumn forecasts are comprehensive exercises for all EU countries and cover a variety of indicators from growth, inflation and employment to public budget deficits and debts. The interim forecasts published in between, in February and September, are lighter exercises, but representative nevertheless.
The seven countries concerned represent 80% of the EU and almost 85% of the euro area in terms of nominal GDP. The next fully-fledged forecast will come out on 4 November 2009.
12.30: Press Conference by Commissioner Joaquín Almunia at the Berlaymont in Brussels. economic forecasts on the day.
Available on EbS
European Commission's website:
Commissioner Almunia's website:
Monday 14 September: Health research: Commission and pharmaceutical industry join forces to support discovery of more innovative medicines
The Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) – a new public-private partnership between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and the largest of its kind – aims to support efficient discovery and development of better medicines for patients.
The topics will be announced under the 2 nd call of proposals for IMI research projects, and a presentation of the newly appointed Executive Director. At a press conference, Commissioner Potočnik, the President of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and the newly appointed Executive Director of IMI, will inform about the Innovative Medicines Initiative's achievements so far and about the 2d call for proposals.
The aim of the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) is to remove research bottlenecks in the drug development process and to increase R&D in the biopharmaceutical sector in Europe. It has a total budget of € 2 billion until 2017: € 1 billion from the European Commission and € 1 billion in kind from the industry.
The Innovative Medicines Initiative is one of five Joint Technology Initiatives created to support large-scale multinational activities and bring together private and public partners aiming to define common objectives of wide societal relevance, and to combine funding and knowledge in order to fulfil these objectives.
The purpose of JTIs is to address strategic areas where research and innovation are essential to European competitiveness. The JTIs constitute a new approach to financing R&D, and a new element of the 7 th Framework Programme (FP7) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities.
- 11:00 press conference with Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research, Arthur Higgins, President of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and Prof. Michel Goldman, newly-appointed Executive Director IMI, in Bibliothèque Solvay, Parc Leopold, 137 rue Belliard, Brussels.
- 12:30 press lunch, during which journalists will be given the opportunity to meet with the speakers
European Commission website on research:
Commissioner Potočnik's website:
Information on Joint Technology Initiatives:
Tuesday 15 September: Annual Statement on the Euro Area
Commissioner Almunia will present the Annual Statement on the euro area. The 2009 statement will focus on the policy responses in the euro area to the world financial and economic crisis. It will cover in particular the European Economic Recovery Plan and a first assessment of it.
The Annual Statement sets out policy messages drawing on the Annual Report on the euro area. It will describe the manifold manifestations of the crisis and the first reactions of economy policies in the euro area and throughout the world to combat recession. It will address the need to combine short-term economic policy objectives with long-term imperatives in terms of sustainability and consider key lessons for the euro area to move from recession to sustained recovery.
The Annual Statement and Report discuss economic developments in, and challenges for the euro area economy in a manner that is accessible to a broad, non-specialised audience. Together they form a Communication from the Commission to the Council, the EP, the EESC, the COR and the ECB. The euro area is an economic entity in its own right, facing a unique set of economic challenges.
The 2008 edition of the Annual Statement/Annual Report was suspended to make room for the publication of the Commission Report "EMU@10 Report: Successes and Challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union".
More information on the Annual Statement on the Euro Area available at:
Commissioner Almunia's website:
I-056056: Single Euro payments area (SEPA)
Wednesday 16 September: Information Day – Joining research forces to meet the challenges of "The Ocean of Tomorrow"
Oceans cover about 70% of the Earth's surface, but human activity is increasing environmental pressure on them. This is threatening both marine ecosystems and sustainable maritime activities. On 30 July 2009, the European Commission launched "The ocean of tomorrow" call for proposals to address this complex issue. Up to €34 million will be allocated to large cross-thematic research projects involving partners from different countries and research fields. Research will focus on:
the far reaching economic and environmental consequences of changing climatic conditions in the Arctic (€11 million);
the human and natural impacts on marine life and their subsequent effects on economic sectors such as transport, fisheries or tourism (€12.5 million); and
the potential impact of sub-seabed Carbon storage on marine ecosystems (€10.5 million).
The EU established in 2007 a new Integrated Maritime Policy, of which the "European Strategy for Marine and Maritime research" is a fundamental part. It highlights the importance of integration between established marine and maritime research disciplines with the objective of reinforcing excellence in science and reconciling the sea-based activities with environmental sustainability. "The ocean of tomorrow" call for proposals is the first concrete example of the cross-thematic approach recommended in this strategy.
The Information Day on "The ocean of tomorrow" call for proposals will take place in the Charlemagne building, rue de la Loi 170, 1049 Brussels starting at 09.30.
Journalists can gain access on production of their press passes.
Commissioners Janez Potočnik and Joe Borg will open the Information Day at 10.00.
During the Information Day, journalists will be able to meet scientists from different research fields, Commission experts, as well as representatives from research institutions, privates companies, and SMEs.
Programme of the Information Day:
MEMO/08/553 EU Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research: Frequently Asked Questions
Link to the Integrated Maritime Policy website:
Wednesday 16 to 22 September: European Mobility Week 2009
More than 200 million people across Europe and beyond are expected to take part in thousands of events to promote sustainable mobility.
Every year a theme is chosen to highlight a particular aspect of mobility. This year the chosen theme will focus on urban transport's impact on climate change.
The focus of this year's event is "Improving City Climates".
European Mobility Week (EMW) is an annual campaign on sustainable urban mobility organised by the city networks Eurocities, Energie-Cités and Climate Alliance with the political and financial support of the European Commission.
The aim of the campaign - which runs from 16 to 22 September every year - is to encourage European local authorities to introduce and promote sustainable transport measures and invite their citizens to try out alternatives to car use. The week culminates in the car-free day when participating towns and cities set aside one or several areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport for the entire day.
In 2008 the total number of participating cities reached a record high of 2,102 – 2,024 from EU and candidate countries – involving a total population of 218 million. This makes EMW the largest global event promoting sustainable mobility.
Events to promote sustainable mobility throughout the European Union and beyond. Details of the events can be found in the European Mobility Week 2009 website listed below.
Budapest, the latest winner of the European Mobility Award (2008), will again participate in European Mobility Week. Each day of the week will focus on different mobility themes beginning with the opening of four new metro stations, then on to promoting pedestrian streets, a car-free weekend (some streets to be covered with grass), debates about the city's traffic and transport programme, and closing with Critical Mass, the biggest bicycle demonstration in the world.
Video coverage depending on programme
The European Mobility Week 2009 website
Commissioner Dimas' website:
Thursday 17 September: Ireland first country to move towards Europe-wide transparency on qualifications
Ireland is the first EU Member State to link its national qualifications to the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF) which will improve the transparency of qualifications and make it easier for people to study or work in another EU country.
The EQF is a new European tool that aims to increase the transparency of qualifications across Europe. The EU Member States are taking part in this voluntary scheme to link their national qualifications levels to the EQF, and have committed themselves to do so by 2010.
The objective of the EQF is to create a common reference framework which will help both individuals and employers to better understand and compare the different national qualifications systems and their levels, whether in general or higher education or vocational education and training.
Member States are invited to relate their national qualifications systems to the relevant levels of the European Qualifications Framework by 2010. Ireland is the first country to have finalised, well before the target date, its referencing report which explains how national qualifications levels are linked to the EQF.
Press conference with the Irish Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe, and Odile Quintin, Director-General for Education and Culture at the European Commission, at 9:30, at the Radisson BLU Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, 8 Dublin City Centre, Ireland.
A seminar, jointly organised by the Irish Government and the European Commission, will look at linking Ireland's qualifications framework to the EQF and take stock of developments in other Member States (starts 17/9 at 9h00).
European Commission: The EQF:
National Qualifications Authority of Ireland: Ireland and the EQF:
Report on the referencing of the National Framework of Qualifications of Ireland to the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning:
Commissioner Figel's website:
Thursday 17 and Friday 18 September: Licensing Systems for sports Club Competitions
The Commission will organise an EU conference on licensing systems for club competitions that will gather representatives of football (federations, leagues, clubs and players) as well as representatives of other team sports with an interest in licensing systems. The purpose of the conference is to facilitate exchanges of views and sharing of good practices on this topic.
The conference will allow interested parties to discuss a series of topics related to the usefulness of licensing systems as a tool for promoting good governance in sport and for ensuring that sport clubs respect minimum standards regarding management, finance and infrastructure, thereby reducing the chance that clubs drop out from competitions prematurely.
By organising this conference, the European Commission implements Action 47 of the "Pierre de Coubertin" Action Plan which accompanies the White Paper on Sport: "Starting with football, the Commission intends to organise a conference with UEFA, EPFL, Fifpro, national associations and national leagues on licensing systems and best practices in this field."
In particular, the following topics will be debated during the conference:
Good practices at European level: UEFA club licensing system;
Good practices at national level: financial discipline as a key element of licensing systems;
Club licensing as a monitoring tool to protect the integrity of competitions;
Licensing systems as a tool to promote investment and improve infrastructure;
Licensing systems in other team sports: opportunities and challenges.
The conference will be opened by Commissioner J án Figel'. A final panel with representatives of all the main stakeholders will discuss the merits of licensing systems to promote good governance and organisation in sport and will draw lessons from the conference.
The conference will be held at the Hilton hotel in Brussels.
It will start on 17 September at 2pm and will be closed on 18 September at 1.30pm.
European Commission's website on
Commissioner Figel's website:
Friday 18 September: Information Day – Africa Call for proposals - €63 million to support research for Africa
Africa continues to face serious challenges to sustain its development and research can develop solutions. On 30 July 2009 the European Commission launched a call for proposals entirely dedicated to research for Africa.
Up to €63 million will be allocated to research projects involving various scientific and technological research fields and aiming to:
improve water and food security in Africa (€24 million)
improve health conditions in Africa (€39 million)
Supported research activities will involve African partners, with the aim to strengthen Africa's research base.
The European Commission and the African Union Commission representing 53 African States agreed on an EU / Africa Strategic Partnership in December 2007.
8 thematic partnerships were identified, the 8th of these being the partnership for Science, Information Society, and Space. In the framework of this 8th Partnership, 19 priority "lighthouse" project areas have already been identified and developed by the African Union. The "Africa call" covers some of the early deliverables amongst those project areas.
The Information Day on the Africa call for proposals will take place in the "Albert Borchette" Conference Centre, rue Froissart 36, 1049 Brussels starting at 09.00. Journalists can gain access on production of their press passes.
Commissioner Janez Potočnik will open the Information Day at 10.00.
On the Information Day, journalists will be able to meet European and African scientists from different research fields, Commission experts, NGOs, as well as representatives from research institutions, universities, privates companies, and SMEs.
Programme of the Information Day:
IP/08/1442: Science, ICT & Space: African Union Commission and European Commission launch 6 lighthouse common projects
MEMO/08/602: EU/AU Joint Statement on "Implementation of the EU-AU Partnership for Science, Information Society and Space" - Presentation of the 19 "Lighthouse" Projects
International research cooperation with Africa:
Tuesday 22 September: Commission presents EU Budget 2008 Financial Report
The annual "EU Budget 2008 Financial Report" will look at which Member States got what in 2008, and on which areas the €130.9 billion budget was spent in that year - the second of the enlarged EU-27 and the 2007-2013 financial framework.
The key findings of EU spending for that year will be presented by EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Algirdas Šemeta.
The annual report covers key features of spending for 2008. It includes an annex with an historical series of financial flows between Member States and the EU budget. It also includes information on Member States' operating budgetary balances for the period 1998-2008.
12.15: Press conference after the daily midday briefing, with Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta in the Berlaymont Press Room, Brussels.
Available on EbS
The "EU budget 2008 Financial Report" will be available at:
Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta's website:
Tuesday 22 September: 5th Brussels Debate "Innovation policy: time to step on the gas"
The 5th Brussels Debate "Innovation policy: time to step on the gas", in the framework of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009, will examine how innovation can help EU enterprises emerge from the current recession stronger and how it can help the EU address global challenges.
Enhancing innovation, and innovative capacity, is at the core of attaining sustainable long term growth and social progress in the EU. The re-launched Lisbon Partnership for growth and jobs has put innovation and entrepreneurship at the centre and called for decisive and more coherent action by the Community and the Member States to foster them.
On this basis, an ambitious European innovation policy has been launched and the Small Business Act has been agreed, and this partnership approach has already borne fruit. Almost all Member States have improved their innovation performance. The innovation gap between the EU and its key competitors, the US and Japan, has narrowed. At the same time, as new competitors are emerging and challenges are getting bigger, Europe must not only sustain its innovation performance, but further improve it.
The European Union has declared 2009 the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. The Year aims to raise awareness of importance of creativity and innovation as a key competence of personal, social and economic development.
17:00 - 19:00: Résidence Palace, Polak Room, Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Brussels, (Registration will start at 16:30)
Luc Hendrickx, Director "Enterprise Policy " at UEAPME (European Association of Skilled Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
Erik Spiekermann, Professor, typography designer and Ambassador of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation
Vice-President Günter Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry
Other speakers tbc
Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:
Education and Culture web site:
Home page Europa:
Commissioner Figel's web site:
Wednesday 23 September: Action Plan on urban mobility
The Commission is expected to adopt the Action Plan on urban mobility, a follow-up of the Green Paper on urban mobility that was adopted in September 2007. The consultation and debate that followed the Green Paper confirmed the added value of action at EU level in the area of urban mobility.
The Action Plan proposes concrete initiatives to help local, regional and national authorities in addressing the challenges in urban mobility and contains some twenty actions including, for example:
establishing practical links between urban mobility and health policy, regional policy and the EU's Disability Strategy;
launching a dialogue with stakeholders on passenger rights in urban public transport;
encouraging the use of integrated sustainable urban mobility plans by local planning organisations;
preparing EU guidance on the protection of vulnerable road users, efficient urban freight distribution and the use of intelligent transport systems;
supporting research and demonstration projects on lower and zero emission vehicles;
discussing with national governments how energy-efficient driving can be included in the driving tests for private drivers.
Every year it becomes harder to get around towns and cities. The main issues are congestion, traffic safety, access to public transport, and pollution and related health problems. Nine out of ten EU citizens believe that the traffic situation in their area should be improved.
Increasing congestion and pollution in cities has an impact on the European economy as a whole and the welfare of all European citizens: over 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas and around 85% of the EU's GDP is generated in cities. Some 40% of CO2 emissions and 70% of emissions of other pollutants from road transport are due to urban traffic. One in every three fatal road traffic accidents happens in urban areas.
Addressing these challenges is essential for the success of the EU’s overall strategy to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.
Press conference of Vice-President Tajani at 11.30 tbc in the Berlaymont Press room, Brussels.
Available on EbS
European Commisson website on urban mobility:
Commissioner Tajani's website:
Wednesday 23 to Friday 25 September: Celebrating the European Day of Languages
The Commission has organised a number of activities in the week leading up to the annual European Day of Languages (EDL), the 26 September. The purpose of the EDL is to draw the public's attention to the importance of language learning, raise awareness of all the languages spoken in Europe and encourage lifelong language learning.
September 26 was designated as the European Day of Languages by the Council of Europe and the European Commission following the 2001 Year of Languages. It was done to celebrate the cultural heritage that forms an integral part of the languages of Europe, including linguistic diversity and lifelong language learning.
23 September, in DG COMM's representation in Paris, premiere showing of the video "Interpreter pour l'europe", aimed at encouraging French speaking interpreters.
24 September, in Luxembourg, conference-debate entitled "How technology can help translators" with the keynote speaker from a German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence.
24-25 September, in Brussels, conference on Early Language Learning, with a speech by Commissioner Orban.
In Brussels, there will be a debate on multilingualism in the media, where representatives of international TV channels, European-wide radio networks and multilingual websites will present how they deal with multilingual content and journalism in many languages.
There will be a Press Conference Commissioner Orban at 12:30, followed by a Technical Briefing on Early Language Learning and a demonstration of electronic scrabble.
Throughout the day in Place Jourdan, Brussels, there will be activities aimed at children in the presence of Commissioner Orban.
Language activities are also being organised by the Commission's representations in various EU Member States
Languages in the EU website
Monday 28 September: EU Healthy Eating Campaign – A new initiative to fight against child obesity
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will fire the starting gun for a new Healthy Eating Campaign. The campaign consists of three roadshows that will take off from the EU headquarters in Brussels, giving children across Europe a chance to take part in on the spot activities and games. The European Commission will also launch an interactive website, competitions and other events with one key goal in mind – to help change children’s eating habits for the better.
The Healthy Eating Campaign, which is financed entirely by the EU agricultural budget, will run alongside the EU’s School Fruit Scheme and School Milk Scheme – important initiatives for a more balanced diet and healthier eating habits amongst children.
In a recent Eurobarometer survey, three quarters of respondents “totally agree” that “there seem to be more overweight children these days than five years ago”.
Indeed, around 22 million kids are overweight in the EU, with 5 million of them obese. There’s no doubt that the time has come to turn the situation around or face the consequences. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even early onset osteoporosis lie in wait for those youngsters who remain oblivious to the need to eat and drink well and wisely. In far too many areas of Europe, no meal is complete without chips and sugary drinks as the staple refreshment.
Quite apart from the personal costs borne by the children in the form of social stigmatism, bullying and illness, European healthcare systems, already bearing the brunt of demographic changes and costly new treatments, are groaning under the weight of childhood obesity. 10-13% of deaths in certain parts of the EU are obesity related.
12.15: Campaign launch press conference of Mariann Fischer Boel, in the press room of the Berlaymont in Brussels.
Press packs and sample promo material will be available for journalists.
The van of the roadshow will be parked at the BERL plaza and activities with a group of kids will take place there.
European Commission's websites:
EU School Fruit Scheme:
European School Milk Scheme:
Health and Consumers website:
Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel's blog:
Monday 28 September: Award Ceremony for the European Prize for Literature
The first edition of this Prize will take place in Brussels during a high-profile ceremony at which public figures from the field of culture, literature and politics, as well as a broad European audience, will be present.
The Prize will be awarded in three phases, in the years 2009, 2010, and 2011, with eleven or twelve winners each time. In this way, by 2011, a winning talent will have been identified in each of the 34 countries in the EU's Culture Programme, which is co-funding the prize.
The 12 countries selected for the 2009 Awards are: Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.
In 2010 Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Spain will participate. They will be followed by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Serbia, The Netherlands, Turkey and United Kingdom in 2011.
The aim of the European Union Prize for Literature is to put the spotlight on the creative and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature, promoting greater circulation of literature within Europe and interest in non-national literary works.
The Prize is co-financed by the Culture Programme and by a consortium composed of the European Booksellers Federation (EBF), the European Writers' Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). The consortium asked national bodies to establish a jury for the selection of this prize within their country.
16:00: The Prize ceremony will take place in the Flagey arts centre in Brussels and it will be attended by the patron of the prize, Mr Henning Mankell and public figures from the fields of culture, literature and politics who will be joined by President Barroso and Commissioner Figel'.
Culture web site:
Website "Prize of literature"
Home page Europa:
Commissioner Figel's web site:
Tuesday 29 September: Launch event of the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer – Europeans united in speaking about cancer
The European Commission recently adopted a Communication on a European Partnership for Action Against Cancer to support EU countries in their efforts to tackle the disease. The partnership covers the period 2009-2013 and provides a framework for sharing information as well as capacity and expertise in cancer prevention and control. It aims to engage all relevant stakeholders across the European Union in a collective effort to fight cancer.
By ensuring a more a co-ordinated cooperation in cancer-related activities and actions taken by EU members, scientific experts, patient organisations and other key stakeholders, the Partnership will help to avoid scattered actions and the duplication of efforts, in an area where resources are limited and expertise is often fragmented across the Union. The main areas of work proposed under the partnership are health promotion and early detection, identification and dissemination of good practice in healthcare, priorities for cancer research and health information and data.
By the end of the Partnership, the objective is for all EU countries to have integrated cancer plans, which is key to achieving the long-term Partnership aim of reducing the burden of cancer by 15% by 2020.
Every year, around 3.2 million Europeans are diagnosed with cancer, which is the second most common cause of death in Europe. The number of cancer cases is increasing as the European population ages. In addition to the serious implications to health, cancer also represents a heavy economic burden on society. Cancer incidence and mortality vary dramatically across the Union. These inequalities exist within, as well as between, EU countries. For example, cancer mortality in the worst performing member country is twice as high as in the best performing member country.
This launch event of the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer will be opened by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and hosted by Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. Personal messages will be heard from cancer patients and cancer survivors from across the European Union. There will be a panel discussion with Commissioners, politicians and experts about the way forward in the European fight against cancer. The event will close with a symbolic release of balloons (weather permitting). This half-day event will take place in Brussels, starting at 9.30 am. More information about the event and registration is available at:
Available on EbS + photo
Communication on European Partnership: Action Against Cancer:
Fighting Cancer: A European partnership is born:
European Partnership Action Against Cancer: contribution of EU-funded research :
European Commission's website on Cancer
Commissioner Vassiliou's speech delivered on the 3d Cervical Cancer Summit: