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Top News from the European Commission 21 September to 18 October 2009

European Commission - AGENDA/09/31   18/09/2009

Other available languages: FR

AGENDA/09/31

Brussels Friday 18 September 2009

Top News from the European Commission

21 September to 18 October 2009

Background notes from the Spokesperson's service for journalists.
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

Tuesday 22 September: Commission presents EU Budget 2008 Financial Report 2

Tuesday 22 September: Commission publishes Report on consumer conditions in high street banking (bank fees, information, switching) 3

Tuesday 22 September: 5th Brussels Debate "Innovation policy: time to step on the gas" 4

Tuesday 22 to Friday 25 September: Celebrating the European Day of Languages 5

Wednesday 23 September: Action Plan on urban mobility 6

Wednesday 23 September: Adoption of the Financial Supervision Package 7

Wednesday 23 September: Commission announces winners of first EU Ecolabel Communication Award 8

Thursday 24 September: Inauguration of the new European Research Council Executive Agency 9

Friday 25 September: Scientists invite the public to their labs –
30 European countries participate in European Researchers' Night 10

Monday 28 September: EU Healthy Eating Campaign – A new initiative to fight against child obesity 11

Monday 28 September: Award Ceremony for the European Prize for Literature 12

Monday 28 September: Improving the quality of education for Roma - Second meeting of the Integrated Platform on Roma inclusion 13

Monday 28 September: Consumers – Preventing hearing damage from personal music players 14

Tuesday 29 September: Launch event of the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer – Europeans united in speaking about cancer 15

Wednesday 30 September: EU-Latin America - Global Players in Partnership 17

Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 October: Brussels cultural festivals participate in the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 18

Saturday 3 October: Job Days 2009 – job seekers and employers all over Europe seize the opportunity to meet 19

Monday 5 to Thursday 8 October: OPEN DAYS – the European Week of Cities and Regions 20

Wednesday 7 October: On the road to Copenhagen: what Europe's regions can do to fight climate change 21

Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October: International Workshop on Poverty Eradication and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 22

Friday 16 October: EU Bookshop Digital Library goes live - All the EU publications in one place 23

Tuesday 22 September: Commission presents EU Budget 2008 Financial Report

The news:

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 background:

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.

The event:

12.15: Press conference after the daily midday briefing, with Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta in the Berlaymont Press Room, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

The "EU budget 2008 Financial Report" will be available at:

Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta's website:

The contacts:

Cristina Arigho +32 2 298.53.99 cristina.arigho@ec.europa.eu

Roger Nunn +32 2 295.36.47 roger.nunn@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 22 September: Commission publishes Report on consumer conditions in high street banking (bank fees, information, switching)

The news:

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva will present the results of two new reports (Commission Staff Working Paper and in-depth study on transparency in bank fees) focusing on three areas of retail financial services where consumers face a significant number of problems: pre-contractual information and advice, the level and transparency of bank fees and bank account switching.

The reports were carried out as a follow-up to the 2008 Consumer Scoreboard. The documents to be published are as follows (1) Commission Staff Working Document on the follow up in Retail Financial Service to the Consumer Markets Scoreboard; (2) "Data Collection for prices of current accounts provided to consumers." (an independent study on the level and transparency of bank fees across the EU 27).

The background:

The EU Annual Consumer Markets Scoreboard Report screens more than 20 goods and services sectors (including food, clothing, footwear, financial services, energy and telecoms) against 5 key consumer indicators – prices, switching, satisfaction, complaints and safety. The aim is to identify where markets have a high risk of malfunctioning for consumers.

After the publication of the first Consumer Scoreboard, in 2008, Commissioner Kuneva announced three areas for priority action. The first was Retail financial services. Building on the work already undertaken by the Commission in the area of retail financial services the decision was to carry out an in-depth analysis in order that the factors determining price transparency, comparability and mobility of customers in financial services be better understood.

The event:

15.30 Key note speech, Commissioner Kuneva, European Savings Banks Group Conference, Marriot Hotel, Rue Auguste Orts 3-7/Bourse, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS

11.15: Technical briefing (off the record) Berlaymont press room, Brussels.

IP, MEMO; SPEECH under embargo.

The sources:

IP/08/157 : Commission launches new system of Consumer Investigations

IP/09/202 : Consumers: Energy, banking, and urban transport "underperforming" for consumers

SPEECH/09/198 : Restoring Trust in Retail Financial Services.

Commissioner Kuneva's website:

The contacts:

Helen Kearns +32 2 2987638 helen.kearns@ec.europa.eu

Monika Wcisło +32 2 2959299 monika.wcislo@ext.ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 22 September: 5 th Brussels Debate "Innovation policy: time to step on the gas"

The News

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.

The background:

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.

The event:

17:00 - 19:00: Résidence Palace, Polak Room, Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Brussels, (Registration will start at 16:30)

Speakers:

  • 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

  • EbS News coverage

The sources:

Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:

Education and Culture web site:

Home page Europa:

Commissioner Figel's web site:

The contacts:

John R. Macdonald +32 2 295 52 67 John.Macdonald@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 Sophie.Andersson@ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 22 to Friday 25 September: Celebrating the European Day of Languages

The news:

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.

The background:

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.

The events:

On 22 September, in Brussels, the Business Platform for Multilingualism holds its constitutive meeting. The platform will have its own web site, where public debate will be encouraged. It will be autonomous, and should develop proposals which may be examined by national governments as part of the open method of coordination.

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.

25 September:

  • 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

  • Ebs coverage

The sources:

Commissioner's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/orban/index_en.htm

Translation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation

Interpretation DG:

http://scic.ec.europa.eu/europa/jcms/j_8/home

Languages in the EU website

http://europa.eu/abc/european_countries/languages/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Pietro Petrucci +32 2 298 94 92 pietro.petrucci@ec.europa.eu

Roger Nunn +32 2 295 36 47 roger.nunn@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 23 September: Action Plan on urban mobility

The news:

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 will propose concrete initiatives to help local, regional and national authorities in addressing the challenges of urban mobility and will contain some twenty actions including:

  • 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.

The background

It can be very hard to move around towns and cities. The main issues are congestion, traffic safety, access to public transport, 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.

The event:

11.30: Press conference of Vice-President Tajani in the Berlaymont Press room, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS + Memoclip

The sources:

European Commisson website on urban mobility:

Commissioner Tajani's website:

The contacts:

Fabio Pirotta +32 2 29 67284 fabio.pirotta@ec.europa.eu

Andrea Maresi +32 2 29 90403 andrea.maresi@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 23 September: Adoption of the Financial Supervision Package

The news:

The Commission will adopt a legislative package that will set up for the first time a truly European system of supervision for the financial sector. It envisages the formation of a European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), which is to monitor and assess risks to the stability of the financial system as a whole and where necessary to issue warnings and recommendations to prevent those from materialising.

The other key element of the package is the creation of a European System of Financial Supervisors, involving new European Supervisory Authorities for the banking, securities and insurance and occupational pensions sectors, which will be responsible for co-ordinating and facilitating the work of national supervisors.

The package is a key element of the EU's response to the financial crisis and its strategy to prevent future crises. It will also put the EU in a strong position to lead in shaping the global coordination being developed under G20 auspices.

The background:

The European Council in June supported the Commission's proposals, contained in a May Communication, to strengthen macro and micro-financial supervision in the EU and welcomed the intention to table legislative proposals rapidly to have a new supervision framework in place in the course of 2010. The initiatives follow up to the conclusions of a High Level Group, set up by Commission President José Manuel Barroso and chaired by Jacques de Larosière.

The financial supervision package will be adopted on the eve of the G20 Pittsburgh Summit (September 24 and 25), where the follow up of the reform of the financial markets will be high on the agenda.

The event:

12.30: Press Conference by Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and Commissioner Joaquín Almunia in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/09/836 Financial Services: Commission proposes stronger financial supervision

European Commission's financial crisis websites:

Commissioner McCreevy's website:

Commissioner Almunia's website:

The contacts:

Amelia Torres + 32 2 295 4629 amelia.torres@ec.europa.eu

Oliver Drewes +32 2 299 2421 oliver.drewes@ec.europa.eu

Marisa González + 32 2 295 1925 marisa.gonzalez-iglesias@ec.europa.eu

Catherine Bunyan + 32 2 299 6512 catherine.bunyan@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 23 September: Commission announces winners of first EU Ecolabel Communication Award

The news:

The European Commission will announce the winners of the first EU Ecolabel Communication Award at a ceremony in Brussels.

Awards will be made in two categories:

  • Service providers – licence holders who provide tourist accommodation or camp site services

  • Producers/Retailers – licence holders who produce ecolabelled goods that fall into at least one of the categories covered by the EU Ecolabel.

The background:

The award recognises companies that have undertaken exceptional promotional activities to increase public awareness of the EU Ecolabel. The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme established in 1992 to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment. It is the only pan-European multi-criteria environmental label.

The label takes into account the main environmental impacts of a product as well as its environmental performance throughout its life-cycle. Only the very best products which are kindest to the environment are entitled to carry the EU Ecolabel. To be awarded the label, a product or service must comply with a number of different criteria which are constantly reviewed and improved.

Today, around 20,000 products and services carry the flower logo. These include cleaning products, appliances, paper products, textile and home and garden products, lubricants and services such as tourist accommodation.

The event:

The award ceremony will start at 6pm at the Chateau de la Hulpe, 111 Chaussée de Bruxelles, La Hulpe, Belgium.

The sources:

EU Ecolabel website:

Commissioner Dimas' website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/dimas/index_fr.htm

The contacts:

Barbara Helfferich +32 2 298 20 10 barbara.helfferich@ec.europa.eu

Lena De Visscher +32 2 296 36 94 lena.devisscher@ec.europa.eu

Thursday 24 September: Inauguration of the new European Research Council Executive Agency

The news:

The inaugural event " ERC – The Future Starts Today" marks the start of the ERC Executive Agency as an autonomous body and is open to journalists.

The background:

The European Research Council (ERC) was created by the European Commission in February 2007 with a budget of €7.5 billion (2007-2013). Through Europe-wide competition, with excellence the only criterion, the ERC funds researchers working on the brightest ideas at the frontiers of knowledge. The ERC is already funding some 600 pioneering top researchers throughout Europe. It is playing a central role in the European Research Area and has developed into a well-functioning research funding body that is internationally recognised and a beacon for the best investigator-driven European frontier research. .

The implementation of the ERC activities, until recently assured by the Commission’s Directorate-General of Research, has now been taken over by a purpose-built Executive Agency, which became autonomous on 15 July this year.

The event:

Inauguration with (16.30-17.30) and Cocktail (17.30-).in the landscaped garden-atrium of this sustainable innovative building, Place Rogier 16, 1210 Brussels, Interview opportunities for the media.

Speakers:

  • Janez Potočnik European Com missioner for Science and Research

  • Tobias Krantz, Minister for Higher Education and Research of Sweden (EU Presidency)

  • Herbert Reul, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the ITRE Committee

  • Prof. Fotis Kafatos, ERC President and Chair of the ERC Scientific Council

  • Jack Metthey, ERC Executive Agency Director (ad int.) ( Host )

ERC Scientific Council members will be present.

Journalists can gain access with their press passes at the registration desk.

The sources:

Event programme:

http://erc.europa.eu/thefuturestartstoday

ERC website:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray +32 2 296 99 21 catherine.ray@ec.europa.eu

ERC Press contact:

Madeleine Drielsma +32 2 292 75 31 madeleine.drielsma@ec.europa.eu

Friday 25 September: Scientists invite the public to their labs –
30 European countries participate in European Researchers' Night

The news:

Researchers' night is an initiative by the European Commission that offers the public a unique opportunity to discover the world of research during one evening.

Dozens of labs, universities, businesses, and research foundations will open their doors to anyone interested in how they work and what they do. People all over Europe will be able to become a "scientist for one night", use sophisticated instruments and take part in experiments.

The background:

European Researchers’ Night is an invitation for the public to meet researchers, learn about their work and the skills involved, and get a better understanding of what they deal with everyday in their quest to expand our knowledge and make technological progress.

This initiative, first launched by the European Commission in 2005, has been increasingly successful. Last year 27 European countries 1.400 organisations and over 320.000 visitors took part in European Researchers' Night.

The event:

Dozens of events will be held in 30 European countries. To find out which countries are participating, and in which city events are organised, visit the European Researchers' Night 2009 website:

The sources:

Commissioner Potocnik's website:

The contacts:

Catherine Ray +32 2 296 99 21 catherine.ray@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 sophie.andersson@ec.europa.eu

Monday 28 September: EU Healthy Eating Campaign – A new initiative to fight against child obesity

The news:

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.

The background:

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.

The event:

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 Berlaymont plaza and activities with a group of kids will take place there.

  • Press conference covered by EbS

The sources:

IP/07/720 : White paper on nutrition: Commission proposes EU-wide efforts to tackle the obesity epidemic

IP/07/1663 : Tackling Childhood Obesity: European Day of Health Food and Cooking

European Commission's websites:

EU School Fruit Scheme:

European School Milk Scheme:

Health and Consumers website:

Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel's blog:

The contacts:

Michael Mann +32 2 299 97 80 michael.mann@ec.europa.eu

Johan Reyniers +32 2 295 67 28 johan.reyniers@ec.europa.eu

Monday 28 September: Award Ceremony for the European Prize for Literature

The News

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 background:

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.

The event:

16:00: The Prize-giving 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'.

  • Prize giving ceremony covered by EbS

Press conference following the awards ceremony at 18:00 - 18:30 with Commissioner Figel', Henning Mankell, and representatives of the consortium.

The names of twelve European authors who will receive the European Union Prize for Literature this year are announced at the following web site: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/our-programmes-and-actions/doc627_en.htm

The sources:

Culture web site:

Website "Prize of literature"

Home page Europa:

Commissioner Figel's web site:

The contacts:

John R. Macdonald +32 2 295 52 67 John.Macdonald@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 Sophie.Andersson@ec.europa.eu

Monday 28 September: Improving the quality of education for Roma - Second meeting of the Integrated Platform on Roma inclusion

The news:

The second meeting of the integrated platform on Roma inclusion, launched in April 2009 in Prague, will take place in Brussels. It is being organised jointly by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council.

The aim of the Platform for Roma inclusion is to provide an arena for exchanging knowledge, experience and good practice, making commitments for initiatives and possibly monitoring progress achieved for the inclusion of Roma in Europe.

The meeting will focus on a specific priority theme for Roma inclusion. Thus, experts from the Member States, the EU institutions, civil society as well as international organisations and research institutions, will be invited to discuss and share their views on the education of Roma in Europe.

The background:

Roma communities in Europe continue to face persistent discrimination. Following the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and 2007, Roma communities now represent one of the largest ethnic minorities in the EU. However, the richness these communities could bring to European society is often overlooked, tainted by stereotypes and prejudices that manifest themselves in the form of economic, social and political discrimination.

The integration of Roma communities is a joint responsibility of Member States and the EU. Following a request by the European Council of December 2007, the Commission examined existing Community instruments, policies and progress achieved towards Roma inclusion. On 2 July 2008, the Commission published its response in the form of a comprehensive report which was presented at the high-level Roma Summit held in Brussels in September 2008. The European Council of December 2008 confirmed Member States' commitment to using the tools available, e.g. the Structural Funds, to support Roma inclusion.

The EU has a strong legal framework to combat discrimination. It uses the European Structural Funds and addresses the issue of Roma discrimination in its awareness-raising initiatives. Moreover, it coordinates a number of key policy areas which are particularly relevant for Roma inclusion, such as education, employment and social inclusion.

The events:

13:30: Press conference with Commissioner Spidla, Swedish Permanent Representation to the EU.

The meeting will take place in Brussels (Swedish Permanent Representation to the EU, Square de Meeûs 30, 1000 Brussels) on September 28, 2009 (14h30-17h35, followed by a reception from 17h35-19h00).

  • Press conference covered by EbS

The sources:

Commission website on Roma

Video News Release: I-057447 Defending Roma Rights in the European Union

Commission report on Roma (July 2008)

  • I-057447 : VNR: Europe's Forgotten Citizens - Defending Roma Rights in the EU

The contacts:

Katharina von Schnurbein +32 2 298 14 08 katharina.von-schnurbein@ec.europa.eu

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 carmel.dunne@ec.europa.eu

Monday 28 September: Consumers – Preventing hearing damage from personal music players

The news:

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva will present measures to be taken by the Commission to better protect children and adolescents from exposure to noise from personal music players.

The background:

In October 2008, the report by the EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) showed that 5% to 10% of users may be at risk of permanent hearing loss and that this could equate to up to 10 million people in the EU.

The European Commission had asked the independent scientific committee to examine the issue, given the widespread use of personal music players and the number of children and adolescents exposed to such noise. Based on the results, the European Commission consulted EU Member States and stakeholders to discuss possible measures.

Consumers, particularly young people, need to be aware of the risks and products need to be designed so that they are safe.

The event:

11.30 Press Conference with Commissioner Kuneva in Berlaymont press room, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS + Memoclip

The sources:

IP/08/1492 : Scientists warn of health risks from exposure to noise from personal music players

SPEECH/09/22 : Meglena Kuneva: Keynote Speech - Personal Music Players Stakeholders' Conference, Brussels

Commissioner Kuneva's website:

The contacts:

Helen Kearns +32 2 2987638 helen.kearns@ec.europa.eu

Monika Wcisło +32 2 2959299 monika.wcislo@ext.ec.europa.eu

Tuesday 29 September: Launch event of the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer – Europeans united in speaking about cancer

The news:

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 coordinated 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.

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.

The background:

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.

The event:

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

The sources:

Communication on European Partnership: Action Against Cancer:

Fighting Cancer: A European partnership is born:

European Partnership Action Against Cancer: contribution of EU-funded research :

IP/09/113 : Europe needs to intensify and double cancer screening, concludes Commission report

MEMO/09/20 : Overview of the current coverage of population-based screening programmes for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer across the EU

European Commission's website on Cancer

Commissioner Vassiliou's speech delivered on the 3d Cervical Cancer Summit:

The contacts:

Nina Papadoulaki +32 2 29 86378 haravgi-nina.papadoulaki@ec.europa.eu

Catherine Ray +32 2 296 99 21 catherine.ray@ec.europa.eu

Antonie Kerwien +32 2 29 72686 antonie.kerwien@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 sophie.andersson@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 30 September: EU-Latin America - Global Players in Partnership

The news:

The Commission will present a Communication on EU-Latin America relations, which assesses the state of play of the Strategic Partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean and outlines the targets and objectives which should guide the Commission's strategy towards the region in the coming years.

The background:

This year the EU- Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Partnership celebrates its 10 th anniversary. Much has changed over these years in Europe, in Latin America and at global level. New priorities have emerged and new challenges must be faced. The Communication assesses the state of play of the Strategic Partnership with regard to Latin America, and the results of the Commission’s Latin America strategy as outlined in its 2005 Communication A stronger partnership between the European Union and Latin America (COM(2005) 636).

The Communication also aims at addressing, the challenges posed by the global economic and financial crisis and climate change as well as other issues that have risen high up on the political agenda in bi-regional relations, notably migration.

The Communication is also a chance to constructively reflect on the next EU-LAC Summit to be held in May 2010 in Madrid, Spain. A series of recommendations will be made for the future EU strategy on Latin America.

The event:

Press Conference by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner at 12.15 in the Berlaymont Press room, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission's website:

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner's website

The contacts:

Christiane Hohmann +32 2 29 91196 christiane.hohmann@ec.europa.eu

Concha Fernández de la Puente: +32 2 29 52977 concha.fernandez-puente@ec.europa.eu

Anja Fiedler +32 2 29 80385 anja.fiedler@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 October: Brussels cultural festivals participate in the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009

The news:

This year, the well-established artistic festivals NUIT BLANCHE and BRXLBRAVO in Brussels will be organised in partnership with the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 (EYCI2009).

NUIT BLANCHE will give public access to exhibitions, films, concerts, stories and contemporary dance in Brussels on the night of 3 October, while the arts festival BRXLBRAVO will offer the opportunity to discover the city through music, dance and theatre at different venues over the three days.

The background:

The EU 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. Hundreds of activities and projects which represent good practice in innovation and creativity will be highlighted, promoted and disseminated during the EYCI2009.

The activities of the EYCI2009 are aimed at a range of different groups including young people, educators, firms and policy makers, as well as the general public. Civil society organisations are encouraged to mobilise and get involved at European, national and local levels.

Rome, Madrid, Riga, Paris, Bucharest and Brussels have all set up a Nuit Blanche Europe network. These cities work together to promote artistic exchanges via Nuit Blanche, and thus promote the idea behind the European Year of Creativity and Innovation - to raise awarness of the importance of creativity and innovation in Europe.

The events:

15 September at 11.00: Press conference to present the planning of the Festival "3 Days and 1 Night" in cooperation with the EYCI2009 . Venue: Coudenberg , Ancien Palais de Bruxelles, Entrance through the museum BELvue Mont des Arts, Place des Palais, 7, 1000 Bruxelles.

2 October at 19.00: Opening event of BRXL BRAVO in cooperation with the EYCI2009 with the participation of Mme Odile Quintin, Director-General DG “Education and Culture”. In this occasion there will be the performance of the ballet project " 5 Easy Pieces" (Velvet / Joanne Leighton) supported by the European Commission. Venue: Les Ateliers des Tanneurs, Rue des Tanneurs 58/62 - 1000 Bruxelles at 19h. The performance will be followed by a reception.

3 October 19.00-02.00: Installation of the project 'Ceci n'est pas un nuage' co-financed by the European Commission in the framework of the NUIT BLANCHE. Venue: Place Royale

The sources:

Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:

Education and Culture web site:

Brux Bravo :

Nuit Blanche:

The contacts:

John R. Macdonald +32 2 295 52 67 John.Macdonald@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08 Sophie.Andersson@ec.europa.eu

Saturday 3 October: Job Days 2009 – job seekers and employers all over Europe seize the opportunity to meet

The news:

The Brussels European Job day will be organised for the third time in the Berlaymont, as part of the European Job days that are being organised in over 200 European cities between mid-September and mid-October 2009.

It attracts every year 10,000 participants in Brussels, from over 30 nationalities and over 40 employers, advertising around 2,000 jobs. This year for the first time, there will be an area where people can directly test their skills in a number of areas.

The press room will host for its part a series of 9 conferences and workshops on EU policies and instruments dealing with mobility, focusing on this year's main theme "New skills for new jobs". The particularity of the Brussels Job Days is also linked to the fact that people can pre-register their CVs, which allows for direct on the spot interviews. A thorough monitoring of the event also enables us to measure the success of the operation, with over 1,000 jobs created during the previous editions of the event.

The background:

Job Days are held across Europe every year, and are designed to explain the benefits of job mobility within the EU to both employers and employees, and give them the opportunity to meet and talk to each other. More than 150,000 people took part in Job Days in 2008. This year, events are being planned at over 200 venues. Job interviews can take place directly at Job Day events.

The events are being organised in co-operation with EURES, the Europe-wide employment service, and its network of more than 700 EURES advisers, which are in daily contact with jobseekers and employers. They are trained specialists who provide the three basic EURES services of information, guidance and placement. They work within the public employment services of each member country, or within other partner organisations in the EURES network, such as employer organizations, trade unions, local and regional authorities etc.

On the 26th November 2008, the European Commission proposed a €200 billion recovery package to tackle the effects of the crisis, and also defined three priorities: maintaining employment and promoting mobility; upgrading skills and matching labour market needs; increasing access to employment. The Job Days are a good example of the concrete application of our priorities. Mobility is a key element in recovering from the crisis.

The event:

3 October, European Job Days in Belgium: Berlaymont building, Brussels.

11.00: Informal press point followed by a guided tour of the Fair, with possibilities of photo opportunities and interviews.

  • Job Day in the Berlaymont covered by EbS

The sources:

Job Days 2009:

The European Job Mobility Portal EURES:

EURES event calendar :

Financial crisis - EU's response:

The contacts:

Katharina von Schnurbein +32 2 298 14 08 katharina.von-schnurbein@ec.europa.eu

Carmel Dunne +32 2 299 88 94 carmel.dunne@ec.europa.eu

Monday 5 to Thursday 8 October: OPEN DAYS – the European Week of Cities and Regions

The news:

The 7 th annual Open Days – the European Week of Cities and Regions – will offer more than 120 seminars, under the overall heading “Global challenges, European responses”, and will be organised around four themes:

  • Restoring growth: innovation in Europe's cities and regions;

  • Regions and climate change: Europe's way to sustainable regional development;

  • Territorial cooperation: working together across borders;

  • Evaluation and future prospects for EU Cohesion Policy.

Groupings of regions and cities organise events on shared interests, such as innovation or public health. This year, more than 250 event partners have joined forces, among which 213 regions and cities from 33 European countries. Special emphasis will be placed on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region - one of the top priorities of the current Swedish EU presidency.

The background:

The aim of the event is to facilitate debate and networking among key players in regional and local development from the public, private and academic sector. In the space of just six years the OPEN DAYS have become a key event at which cities and regions have provided practical evidence of their capacity for creating growth and jobs, implementing EU cohesion policy in such a way as to achieve the best results.

Conceived and developed by the EU Committee of the Regions and the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional Policy, this communication platform has enlisted loyal support from over 7 000 local, regional, national and European decision-makers and experts, whose achievements have been manifold in the areas of economic success and social integration, cooperation between regions, fruitful partnerships between local and regional authorities and businesses, and centres of excellence with research centres and universities.

The events:

- 5 October 15.00 to 17.00: Opening Session in the European Parliament's Hemicycle. Keynote speakers will include: the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister, Maud Olofsson, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Paweł Samecki, President of the Committee of the Regions, Luc Van den Brande, Chairwoman of the European's Parliament's Committee on Regional Development, Danuta Hübner, the President of the Basque Country, Patxi Ló pez Álvarez , and the Mayor of Dresden, Helma Orosz.

- 6 October 12.30 to 13.00: Press Panel on the EU Baltic Sea Strategy, Schuman room, Berlaymont, Brussels, with Swedish Minister for European Affairs, Cecilia Malmström and the Finnish Minister for European Affairs, Astrid Thors.

- 7 October 11.30 to 12.00: Press Conference with Jeremy Rifkin, US economist in the Berlaymont press room, Brussels (tbc). See Top News event of the 07/10.

- 7 October 16.45 to 18.30: OPEN DAYS University with keynote address by Jeremy Rifkin in the Centre Borschette, Rue Froissart 36, Brussels.

The sources:

More information on Open Days – the European Week of Regions and Cities - available at:

Commissioner Samecki's website:

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 229 59 258 dennis.abbott@ec.europa.eu

Constantina Avraam +32 229 59 667 constantina.avraam@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 7 October: On the road to Copenhagen: what Europe's regions can do to fight climate change

The news:

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Paweł Samecki, will hold a joint press conference with US economist and author Jeremy Rifkin to discuss the role Europe and its regions can play in the fight against climate change.

This press conference will take place in the context of the 7 th annual Open Days – the European Week of Cities and Regions – which runs from 5 to 8 October 2009.

The background:

Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, is renowned for his visionary ideas on how Europe can lead in radically overhauling the way we use energy to trigger a post-carbon "Third Industrial Revolution".

The author of 17 books to date, his theories centre on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, society, and the environment. Alongside his activities as a writer, speaker and columnist, he also advises political bodies and has been influential in shaping public policy in the US and around the world.

Commissioner Samecki is also an economist. Prior to taking up his post at the Commission, he was a member of the management board of the National Bank of Poland.

The event:

11.30: Joint press conference with Commissioner Samecki and Jeremy Rifkin in the Berlaymont press room, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

More information on Open Days – the European Week of Regions and Cities - available at:

Commissioner Samecki's website:

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott +32 2 29 59258 dennis.abbott@ec.europa.eu

Constantina Avraam +32 2 29 59667 constantina.avraam@ec.europa.eu

Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October: International Workshop on Poverty Eradication and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

The news:

The European Commission has a long tradition of supporting reproductive health initiatives in developing countries. An International Workshop on Poverty Eradication and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is taking place in Brussels in cooperation with the ACP Group of States, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The event will bring together high-level representatives and key decision makers from ACP countries' national authorities, donor governments as well as beneficiaries involved in SRHR issues to share experiences, discuss policy implications and potential financial commitments.

The background:

In 2002, the European Commission agreed to fund a programme of sexual and reproductive health services in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (implementation period: January 2003 to October 2008).

The purpose of the € 32 million grant was to help 22 of the poorest countries to manage and improve their own delivery of sexual and reproductive health care. The programme was implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in cooperation with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and in agreement with the ACP Group of States.

The workshop will present results and lessons learned from the joint programme activities in the past and draw up recommendations for future interventions in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The event:

15 October 11.00: Press briefing, Centre Albert Borschette, room AB-0D, Rue Froissart 36; Brussels.

The sources:

EuropeAid website:

ACP Group of States website:

UNFPA website:

IPPF website:

COM(2002) 129 Health and Poverty Reduction in Developing Countries

Commissioner De Gucht's website:

The contacts:

John Clancy +32 2 29 53773 john.clancy@ec.europa.eu

Marie-Pierre Jouglain +32 2 29 84449 marie-pierre.jouglain@ec.europa.eu

Directorate-General External cooperation programmes:

Sabina Gockel +32 2 299 5446 sabina.gockel@ec.europa.eu

Suzanne Kodsi +32 2 299 2244 suzanne.kodsi@ec.europa.eu

Friday 16 October: EU Bookshop Digital Library goes live - All the EU publications in one place

The news:

Scanning 12 million pages makes more than 110 000 EU publications available free of charge for download in the EU Bookshop Digital Library. It offers all publications ever edited by the Publications Office on behalf of the EU institutions, agencies and other bodies since 1952.

To host the newly uploaded publications, the EU Bookshop offers a new web interface with increased capabilities and functionality to allow users to better take advantage of its expanded content. The EU Bookshop is a valuable information source for citizens, journalists, education professionals, students, librarians, publishers, and anybody interested in Europe, in 50 languages, including the possibility of ordering printed copies.

The background:

The Publications Office's archives have long represented a veritable treasure trove of European history. These publications can once again see the virtual light of day through the Publications Office Digital Library.

The Publications Office Digital Library was a response to a growing demand to digitise out-of-print publications. In 2007, the Publications Office launched a PDF-on-demand service, wherein users could request publications to be retrieved from the archives and scanned as needed. They turned out to be in such high demand that within six months the service was saturated. To better serve the users, it was decided to scan the industrial volumes of the entire archive.

The result – less than two years later – is an electronic library of more than 14 million pages of web-optimised PDFs available to the public free of charge. Public response has been overwhelmingly positive, and the numbers speak for themselves: total PDF downloads jumped from just 100 000 in 2008 to an expected 280 000 per month for 2009.

The event:

15:30 - 17:30: Frankfurt Bookfair, Hall 6.2 Press Centre Conference room, Messegelände, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt.

Speakers:

  • Leonard Orban, EU Commissioner for multilingualism

  • Claudia Lux, President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions 2007-09 (IFLA) and Director General of the Central and Regional Library Berlin

The sources:

EU Bookshop:

Publications Office of the European Union:

Commissioner Orban's web site:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/orban/index_en.htm

Frankfurt Bookfair:

www.buchmesse.de

To confirm attendance to the event:

The contacts:

Pietro Petrucci +32 2 298 94 92 pietro.petrucci@ec.europa.eu

Roger Nunn +32 2 295 36 47 roger.nunn@ec.europa.eu


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