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AGENDA/09/6

Brussels Friday 13 February 2009

Top News from the European Commission
16 February to 15 March 2009

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

 

 

Monday 16 February:
European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009. 1 st Brussels Debate "Boosting Europe’s knowledge economy"   3

Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 February:
Regions for Economic Change – Networking for Results and RegioStars Awards Ceremony   4

Monday 16 – Tuesday 17 February:
Launch of the new phase of Erasmus Mundus   5

Tuesday 17 February:
Conference on the Global Economic Governance – which perspectives?   6

Tuesday 17 February:
Launch of the Health Journalism Prize   7

Wednesday 18 February:
Annual assessment of the Stability and Convergence Programmes (first group of countries) 8

Wednesday 18 February:
Towards the creation of a European Asylum Support Office for a stronger practical cooperation between Member States   9

Thursday 19 February:
Internal Market Scoreboard   10

Thursday 19 February 2009:
English, a rare language? - awareness drive by the Commission   11

Friday 20 February (date tbc):
Five years of an enlarged EU   13

Monday 23 February:
European Mobility Week and Green Capitals Awards   14

Monday 23 February:
Strategy for disaster prevention   15

Monday 23 February:
Reducing Disaster Risk in developing countries   16

Wednesday 25 February:
Recommendations of the De Larosière Group for reinforcing cross-border financial supervision   17

Monday 2 & Tuesday 3 March:
Creativity & Innovation - best practices from EU programmes   18

Tuesday 3 March:
Gender Pay Gap Campaign   19

Tuesday 3 March:
Rare Diseases - The Voice of 12,000 Patients   20

Thursday 5 March:
Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion   21

Sunday 8 March:
Launch of Drawing Competition on Gender Equality   22

Friday 13 March:
Environmental Auction floor - Invest in environmental projects in developing countries   23

Friday 13 March:
Better control of CO 2 emissions from road transport to curb climate change   24

 


Monday 16 February: European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009. 1 st Brussels Debate "Boosting Europe’s knowledge economy"

The news

The first Brussels Debate in the framework of the European Year of Innovation and Creativity 2009 will focus on the knowledge society and on how Europe’s creative potential can be channelled towards finding innovative solutions, products and services that can boost economic growth. Special focus will be placed on the nascent European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). Fostering creativity and innovation contributes to the richness and diversity of Europe’s culture, as well as to creating new opportunities for economic growth by developing the knowledge economy

The background:

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. Throughout EYIC2009 six debates on key topics around Creativity and Innovation will be held in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC), special partner of the Year. The debates are designed to provide a platform for reflection and exchange of ideas which can contribute to policy discussion on Creativity and Innovation.

The five other debates will be on the following topics:

Education for creativity and innovation Monday 30 March

Creativity and Innovation in the public sector Wednesday 13 May

Creativity and Innovation and sustainable development Wednesday 10 June

Cultural diversity as basis for Creativity and Innovation Wednesday 14 October

Creative Arts and Industries Tuesday 17 or Thursday 19 November

The event:

1 st Brussels Debate 'Boosting Europe’s knowledge economy', Résidence Palace, Polak Room, Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Brussels, 18:00 - 20:00 (Registration will start at 17:30)

Speakers:

Ján Figeľ, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth 

Martin Schuurmans, Chairman of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology  (EIT)

Reino Paasilinna MEP, Member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, European Parliament (to be confirmed) 

Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Professor at the Department of Business Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark; ambassador of the EYCI 

Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Europe, Microsoft Corporation 

Maria João Rodrigues, Professor of Economics, University of Lisbon

Covered by EbS

The sources:

Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:

www.create2009.europa.eu

Education and Culture web site:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/index_en.html

Home page Europa:

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

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 16 and Tuesday 17 February: Regions for Economic Change – Networking for Results and RegioStars Awards Ceremony

The news:

The European Commission will hold its annual "Regions for Economic Change" conference under the title "Regions for Economic Change – Networking for Results". The conference will also include the 2009 RegioStars award ceremony, recognising the best regional innovative projects, and the launch of the 2010 RegioStars award categories.

The background:

More than 500 participants from regions all over Europe are expected to attend th e conference. The aim is for European regional policy practitioners to showcase examples of good practice and translate success stories into mainstream policy and programmes. In nine workshops and four plenary sessions, politicians, academics and experts w ill debate strategies, experiences and projects focused on cooperation, within the context of implementing the 2007-2013 programmes.

The main objective of 'RegioStars' 2009 is to identify best practices in regional development and to highlight original and innovative projects to inspire other regions in three broad areas: Research, Technological Development and Innovation; Adaptation to, or Mitigation of, Climate Change, and; Communicating on TV and Radio to highlight the added-value of Cohesion Policy.

Th e winners will receive a trophy and DG Regional Policy will also produce a film on the winning projects in categories 1 and 2 to publicise the success story.

The event:

The two-day conference is organised by the European Commission's Regional Policy DG and other Commission services in cooperation with the Committee of the Regions. Opening addresses will be given by Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, a representative of the Czech Presidency and Luc Van den Brande, President of the Committee of the Regions. Closing addresses (17.00) will be given by Danuta Hübner and Gerardo Galeote, chairman of the EP's Committee on Regional Development.

Commissioner Hübner, together with Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam and chairman of the RegioStars jury, will present the 2009 RegioStars awards at the Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar), Rue Ravenstein 21, 1000 Brussels, on 16 February

Covered by EbS

The sources:

IP/07/299; IP/07/309; IP/08/281

 

SPEECH/08/102: "Let's learn from our experience – both good and bad"

"Regions for Economic Change: Sharing Excellence" - Opening Plenary Session

SPEECH/08/104: Reflection on the future of European Cohesion policy after 2013

Second Conference on "Regions for Economic Change: Sharing Excellence

SPEECH/08/107: "Regiostars awards: Celebrating innovation"

2008 RegioStars Awards Ceremony

 

More information on the conference and regional policy in the EU, Inforegio website:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Dennis Abbott                +32 2 295 29 58             Dennis.Abbott@ec.europa.eu

Constantina Avraam       +32 2 295 96 67             Constantina.Avraam@ec.europa.eu


Monday 16 – Tuesday 17 February: Launch of the new phase of Erasmus Mundus

The news:

Erasmus Mundus, the European co-operation and mobility programme which supports academic excellence and the attractiveness of European higher education worldwide and fosters cooperation with third countries, now enters a new phase.

In 2009-13, the EU will continue to support joint programmes in Europe with grants to the most highly-talented students and professors from countries outside the EU, but will also extend the scope of the programme to the doctoral level and give more financial support to European students. Moreover, the former 'Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Windows' will be fully integrated into the Erasmus Mundus programme, continuing to support partnerships between EU and non-EU higher education institutions as a basis for mobility among students and academics.

The background:

In the period 2004-2008 Erasmus Mundus and the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Windows offered more than 10,000 scholarships to students and academics from all over the world. The programme offered the opportunity to third-country students to obtain a degree in Europe and to academics to share know-how and to contribute to study programmes through teaching or research activities. Thanks to these exchanges the programme also made a significant contribution to the enhancement of intercultural dialogue.

In 2009-13 the expected budget for Erasmus Mundus will be € 950 million, with a significant increase in respect to the previous years.

The event:

Erasmus Mundus 2009-2013: Launch conference under the auspices of the Czech Presidency

16 February, 17.30-19.00: Berlaymont, La Piazza: Welcome reception (following the meeting of the Education, Youth and Culture Council)

17 February, 10.00-17.30: Management Centre Europe (MCE), Brussels: Launch conference with representatives of higher education networks and associations, promotion agencies and other organisations from around the world. Keynote speakers include: Czech Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Jakub Dürr

The sources:

IP/08/1560: The Commission welcomes the adoption of Erasmus Mundus II by the European Parliament

 

Erasmus Mundus 2009-2013

http://ec.europa.eu/education/external-relation-programmes/doc72_en.htm

 

Commissioner Figel's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/figel/profile/profile_en.htm

 

I-048253 : Erasmus Mundus: The first Year

The contacts:

John MacDonald            +32.2.295.52.67 john.macdonald@ec.europa.eu

Sophie Andersson          +32.2.295.02.08             sophie.andersson@ec.europa.eu


Tuesday 17 February: Conference on the Global Economic Governance – which perspectives?

The news:

EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik will give the opening speech at a conference on global economic governance organized by the European Commission: "Global Economic Governance: Systemic Challenges, Institutional Responses, and the Role of the New Actors".

The conference will discuss three urgent global challenges for the EU related to the international financial system, international macroeconomics, and the global trade regime. Implications of these challenges for global governance and the role of emerging economies in shaping the new global institutions will be discussed. It will also assess the role which Europe might play in promoting the necessary changes in governance. Speakers from G8 and emerging countries, and from international institutions are invited.

The background:

The unprecedented crisis in international financial markets and its impact on the real economy have created major challenges for the EU.

The Member States and the EU have recently adopted and implemented a number of budgetary and regulatory packages. But the crisis is global and requires a global answer. It is therefore also necessary for the EU to promote measures suited to meet the global socio-economic challenges. 

The conference "Global Economic Governance: Systemic Challenges, Institutional Responses, and the Role of the New Actors" is part of the research project PEGGED (“Politics, Economics, and Global Governance: The European Dimension”) that is funded by the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research.

The event:

The conference (9:30 – 17:30) will take place in Berlaymont Building, Hallstein Room. Three sessions will be organised:

  • The Global Financial System with Xavier Freixas (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) and Chong-En Bai (Tsinghua University)
  • The Global Trading System with Simon Evenett (Universität St Gallen) and Suman K. Bery (National Council of Applied Economic Research, Delhi)
  • Macroeconomic Imbalances with Philip R. Lane (Trinity College, Dublin and Institute for International Integration Studies), Stefan Gerlach (Goethe University of Frankfurt) and Beatrice Weder ( Johannes-Gutenberg-University of Mainz )

 

The conference will end by a concluding policy panel discussion led by Marco Buti (European Commission) and Daniel Cohen (Université Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques)

Journalists who are interested in attending the event should register by 2 February.

EbS coverage of the opening ceremony

The sources:

The web site of the PEGGED research project:

http://pegged.cepr.org/index.php?q=node/85

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


Tuesday 17 February: Launch of the Health Journalism Prize

The news:

In 2009, the Commission will award an EU Health Prize for Journalists who managed to raise awareness of issues related to healthcare and patients' rights. The prize is part of the "Europe for patients" campaign, launched by Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou in September 2008.

The campaign highlights some of the health policy initiatives the Commission adopted in 2008 and has scheduled for 2009. The prize rewards journalists who have contributed in a significant way to help citizens understand health issues under the campaign and through their work reflect patients' and health workers' expectations and thoughts.

The background:

Ten initiatives were launched under the "Europe for patients" campaign, and they were bound by a common goal: better healthcare for all Europeans. The aim of the campaign is to provide a single entry-point to the often complex world of EU healthcare policies and actions.

The initiatives of the campaign address patients' rights in cross-border health care, patient safety, rare diseases, organ donation and transplantation, cancer, health workforce, flu and childhood vaccination, mental health and prudent use of antibiotics.

The event:

European Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will launch the Health Journalism Prize during the Commission Midday-Briefing.

Available on EbS

The sources:

European Commission's website on Europe for Patients:

http://ec.europa.eu/health-eu/europe_for_patients/index_en.htm

 

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

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

 

         

The contacts:

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

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


Wednesday 18 February: Annual assessment of the Stability and Convergence Programmes (first group of countries)

The news:

The Commission will assess a first batch of Stability and Convergence Programmes outlining the multi-annual budgetary projections of Member States according to the Stability and Growth Pact. The expected list of countries is the following:  Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. On the same day, the Commission will also draw conclusions in terms of budgetary surveillance, in application of the Stability and Growth Pact.

The next group will be examined on 25 February. The countries are expected to be Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Portugal.  The other countries' programmes have not yet arrived.

The background:

By the 1 st of December each year, Member States sent their updated medium-term budgetary projections to the Commission. The projections are contained in Stability Programmes, for euro area countries, and Convergence Programmes, for the other EU countries. 

This year Member States were given an extra month (i.e. until the 1 st of January) to reflect in their growth prospects and public finances projections the impact of the measures adopted in the framework of the Economic Recovery Plan proposed by the Commission and endorsed by the December European Council. 

The event:

Press conference by Joaquín Almunia at 11.15 in the Berlaymont press room

· Broadcast live on  EbS

The sources:

Stability and Convergence Programmes (2008-2009) already submitted by the Member States:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/thematic_articles/article10982_en.htm

 

Previous assessments of the programmes:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/sg_pact_fiscal_policy/sg_programmes9147_en.htm

 

Stability and Growth Pact rules:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/sg_pact_fiscal_policy/index_en.htm?cs_mid=570

 

Commissioner Almunia's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/almunia/index_en.html

The contacts:

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

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


Wednesday 18 February: Towards the creation of a European Asylum Support Office for a stronger practical cooperation between Member States

The news:

A proposal for the creation of a European Asylum Support Office will be made. Its objective is, by 2010, to accompany EU legal harmonisation with effective practical cooperation in view of improving convergence in asylum decisions by Member States.

The background:

This European Asylum Support Office will assist national administrations in order to improve the quality and convergence of their decisions. It will draw up a common training programme and exchange best practices. It will give its support to the Member States most affected by refugee flows by making group of experts available to them, especially specialised interpreters.

The event:

Press Conference by Vice President Jacques Barrot at 12.30 in the Berlaymont press room in Brussels.

Video coverage + photo coverage (tbc)

The sources:

European Commission's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/index_en.htm

 

Video Blog Vice-president Barrot':

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/barrot/welcome/default_fr.htm#week_thought

 

I-047743   Asylum and Immigration - 2005

The contacts:

Michele Cercone            022980963        michele.cercone@ec.europa.eu

Riccardo Mosca             022961404        riccardo.mosca@ec.europa.eu


Thursday 19 February: Internal Market Scoreboard

The news:

Adoption of the new Internal Market Scoreboard

The European Commission monitors the functioning of the Single Market and controls the full and timely respect of EU law in co-operation with Member States, without which the Single Market cannot function properly.

The background:

The Internal Market Scoreboard examines how quickly and how well each of the Member States writes Single Market directives into national law. Once legislation is agreed at EU level member States have a specific time – usually two years to transpose it into their own national legislation. It also highlights the number of infringements proceedings that are underway against Member States. The Commission starts these proceedings when it considers that a Member State has not implemented an EU law correctly or indeed at all. Usually the Member State is able to rectify the situation soon after the Commission has made a formal request, but in some cases the Commission may if necessary refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

The Internal Market plays a key role in achieving the EU's objective of creating more growth and jobs. It has created millions of jobs and billions of euros in extra prosperity. It gives EU citizens a wider choice of quality goods and services and greater freedom to travel, work, study and live in other EU countries, while making for a more efficient allocation of resources and offering greater trading opportunities to businesses. But the Internal Market can only achieve its full potential if legislation agreed at European level is effectively implemented and applied by all Member States.

The event:

Technical Briefing at 11.15 in the Press room of the Berlaymont, Brussels with Mrs Regio Casis, official DG Internal Market Unit on Better regulation

Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/08/235: Internal Market Scoreboard 2008

 

Monitoring and Reporting

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/top_layer/index_10_en.htm

 

Commissioner McCreevy 's website:

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

The contacts:

Oliver Drewes                +32 2 299 24 21             oliver.drewes@ec.europa.eu

Catherine Bunyan          +32 2 299 65 12             catherine.bunyan@ec.europa.eu  


Thursday 19 February 2009: English, a rare language? - awareness drive by the Commission

The news:

The European Commission faces a potential shortage of linguists for a number of languages due to retirement. If we do nothing, the EU Institutions will lose many of their English language interpreters and translators by 2015. There is a world-wide shortage of English mother tongue linguists and international organisations like the UN and the World Bank all try to recruit in Europe. Due to increased globalisation the demand for Arabic, Chinese and Russian interpretation and translation is also rising.

The Commission has therefore decided to launch an awareness-raising campaign aimed at young European Union citizens.

The background:

Thanks to continuous on-the-job training, retiring interpreters leave with more languages than can be provided by young colleagues coming in. This applies especially to English, with similar problems for French and German - and, following the 2004 and 2007 enlargement, there is still a shortage of Romanian, Latvian and Maltese interpreters. DG Interpretation has already run successful awareness raising operations in the Czech Republic and Latvia. A video will be launched on 19 February to interest young English speakers in the interpreting profession, followed by productions for French and German speakers later this year.

Within the European Commission there is a tendency to use one language as a common denominator, English. DG Translation therefore needs high-calibre English mother tongue translators to enable it to provide the Commission with translation into English. With this in mind, it has already established contact with a number of educational institutions, government departments and language organisations such as the National Centre for Languages (CILT) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists. It will also seek to enhance its presence at careers events and job fairs.

EU multilingual meetings need to be fully serviced with interpreters when a large number of the current staff and freelance interpreters retire - Young Europeans should know that language study can be important for a future career and that the Institutions offer a variety of jobs for excellent linguists. The Commission intends to use different internet platforms to get in touch with possible future linguists

The event:

Technical briefing to be held in the press room by Brian Fox, Director of Interpreters at DG Interpretation, and Klaus Meyer-Koeken, Head of the English language department in DG Translation.

There will be a showing of "Interpreting for Europe … into English" an awareness raising video addressed to a UK and Irish audience, on the EU interpreting services to be launched the same day on YouTube and official websites in the UK.

There will be a presentation on the role of English in written communication in the Commission.

EbS coverage


The sources:

Commissioner's website:

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

 

DG Interpretation:

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

 

DG Translation:

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

 

Languages in the EU website

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

 

European Commission Languages Portal

http://europa.eu/languages/en/home

I-047762 : Interpreters 2005

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


Friday 20 February (date tbc): Five years of an enlarged EU

The news:

The Commission will adopt a Communication and accompanying Report looking at the achievements for both new and old Member States of the last two enlargements of the European Union that was a historic step towards unifying Europe, after several decades of division. The Communication and Report "Five Years of an Enlarged EU" also looks into the challenges for the new Member States and the EU as a whole, in particular in the wake of the current economic crisis.

The background:

The 2004 enlargement of the EU was a historic step in the reunification of Europe. With ten countries acceding in 2004 and further two in 2007, this enlargement round of the EU was the largest, in terms of both the number of countries and population. 

The report is expected to show that the enlargement was an economic success for both sides and that the fears associated with it were largely unfounded.  While the main focus is on economic aspects, broader issues such as employment, free movement of persons, competition and the role of institutions in economic development are also featured.

The event:

Press conference by Commissioners Joaquín Almunia and Olli Rehn in the Berlaymont press room (tbc).

Coverage by EbS

The sources:

Previous report "Enlargement, two years after":

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication7548_en.pdf

 

For information on the economic situation of Member States go to the Economic and Financial Affairs website (Economic situation/Economies of the Member States on top-left-hand side)

http://ec.europa.eu/ecfin

 

Visit also the DG Enlargement's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/enlargement/index_fr.htm

 

Commissioner Almunia's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/almunia/index_en.html

 

I-053850:  Enlargement 01/05/2004 - 01/05/2007

The contacts:

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

Krisztina Nagy               + 32 2 2988663              Krisztina.Nagy@ec.europa.eu

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


Monday 23 February: European Mobility Week and Green Capitals Awards

The news:

On 23 February, European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will announce the winners of the European Green Capital Award for 2010 and 2011, and present the 2008 European Mobility Week Award at a ceremony in Brussels.

The background:

The Green Capital award is the Commission's prestigious new scheme which aims to strengthen sustainable and integrated urban management across Europe. Eight cities have been shortlisted for the 2010 and 2011 awards: Amsterdam, Bristol, Copenhagen, Freiburg im Breisgau, Hamburg, Münster, Oslo and Stockholm.

The winner will be chosen on the basis of criteria including contribution to the fight against climate change, public transport quality, air quality, noise pollution and waste management.

The 2008 European mobility week was held from 16 to 22 September 2008, and more than 2000 European cities and towns participated in the world's foremost sustainable mobility event.

This year's nominees are Budapest, Almada and Zagreb.  The award will go to the city with the best overall record in providing awareness and carrying out projects which contribute to a complete shift towards sustainable city transport.

The event:

European Mobility Week and European Green Capitals award ceremonies, Bibliothèque Solvay, Brussels, 23 February, from 16.00 to 18.00.

Available on EbS

The sources:

IP/08/779 : Green Capitals launch

 

IP/08/1324 : Mobility week 2008

 

European Commission's website on Green Capitals:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/index_en.htm

 

Mobility week:

http://www.mobilityweek.eu/

 

Commissioner Dimas' website:

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

 

I-054926 : Mobility week: park and ride

The contacts:

Barbara Helfferich           +32 2 298 2010              barbara.helfferich@ec.europa.eu

Lena De Visscher          +32 2 296 3694              lena.devisscher@ec.europa.eu


Monday 23 February: Strategy for disaster prevention

The news:

The Commission will adopt a Communication on a strategy to prevent natural and man-made disasters. The Communication will outline a series of possible measures to improve disaster prevention, and look at options at the European level.

The background:

There has been a marked increase in the number and severity of natural and man-made disasters in the EU 27 since 1990, and many of these disasters have affected several member states at the same time. Such disasters are often related to climate change.  While the EU has some instruments to prevent disasters, a more comprehensive approach is needed.

This Communication will examine the scope for EU action regarding the prevention of disasters and identify measures that could be included in such a strategy.

The strategy would help improve the knowledge base regarding disasters and their impacts, improve links between the relevant actors and policies, improving the use of Community funds, and map risks.

The event:

Adoption of a communication on strategy for disaster prevention.

The sources:

European Commission's website on Civil Protection

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/civil/prevention_overview.htm

 

Commissioner Dimas' website:

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

 

I-056605 : EU's disaster response

The contacts:

Barbara Helfferich           +32 2 298 2010              barbara.helfferich@ec.europa.eu

Lena De Visscher          +32 2 296 3694              lena.devisscher@ec.europa.eu


Monday 23 February: Reducing Disaster Risk in developing countries

The news:

The Commission will adopt a Communication on 'disaster risk reduction' in developing countries.

The Commission will set out plans to help developing countries to lessen the impact of natural disasters brought on by the effects of climate change. For example, a better understanding of climate change can help countries to anticipate the risk and effects of floods or tsunamis. To this end, the EU will support research in developing countries, strengthen or set up monitoring stations (e.g. satellite monitoring of weather and climate) and promote the exchange of data. The EU will also help populations in risk-averse countries better prepare themselves by informing them about risks and possible measures to take in the event of a disaster.

The background:

Under the 2005-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action – a UN framework which aims to reduce substantially disaster losses, in lives and in the social, economic, environmental assets of communities and countries  – states should work jointly on the issue.

Disasters undermine and jeopardize the achievement of the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). World leaders came together in New York on 25 September 2008 for a high level event convened by the UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN General Assembly to renew commitments to achieving the 8 Millenium Development Goals by 2015 and to set out concrete plans and practical steps for action.

One of the eight goals is the target to halve the proportion of people living on less than 1 US Dollar a day and get every child primary education by 2015.

The event:

Adoption of a Communication on disaster risk reduction in developing countries

The sources:

More about UN Millennium Goals:

http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

 

More about Hyogo Framework for Action

http://www.unisdr.org/eng/hfa/hfa.htm

 

European Commission's website

http://ec.europa.eu/development/aboutgen_en.cfm?CFID=2038704&CFTOKEN=17627951&jsessionid=0806ece29e212b643445

 

Commissioner Louis Michel's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/michel/index_en.html

The contacts:

Barbara Helfferich           +32 2 298 2010              barbara.helfferich@ec.europa.eu

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

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


Wednesday 25 February: Recommendations of the De Larosière Group for reinforcing financial supervision

The news:

The high level expert group on EU financial supervision chaired by Jacques de Larosière will present its report to President Barroso and to the Commission.

Taking account of the group's recommendations, the Commission will on 4 March set out its view of the way forward, as part of its package of proposals to the Spring European Council on 19-20 March.

This contribution to the Spring European Council will also cover an initial progress report on the European Economic Recovery Plan and initial proposals on the EU position for the G20 summit in London on 2 April.

The background:

The high level expert group on EU financial supervision chaired by Jacques de Larosière was set out by José Manuel Barroso on October 2008

The Group is requested to make proposals to strengthen European supervisory arrangements covering all financial sectors, with the objective to establish a more efficient, integrated and sustainable European system of supervision.

In particular the group should consider:

  • how the supervision of European financial institutions and markets should best be organised to ensure the prudential soundness of institutions, the orderly functioning of markets and thereby the protection of depositors, policy-holders and investors;
  • how to strengthen European cooperation on financial stability oversight, early warning mechanisms and crisis management, including the management of cross border and cross sectoral risks;
  • how supervisors in the EU's competent authorities should cooperate with other major jurisdictions to help safeguard financial stability at the global level.

The event:

The high level expert group on EU financial supervision chaired by Jacques de Larosière will present its report to President Barroso and to the Commission.

Press event to be confirmed.

Ebs coverage tbc

The sources:

Remarks by President Barroso following the appointment of Jacques de Larosière (FR):

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/president/pdf/press_20081022_fr.pdf

 

IP/08/1679 - High Level Expert Group on EU financial supervision to hold first meeting on 12 November

 

President Barroso 's website:

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

The contacts:

Johannes Laitenberger    +32 2 296 57 45 johannes.laitenberger@ec.europa.eu

Mark English                 +32 2 296 24 10 mark.english@ec.europa.eu


Monday 2 & Tuesday 3 March: Creativity & Innovation - best practices from EU programmes

The News

A Conference on Creativity and Innovation - "Best practice from European Union programmes" will take place in Brussels.

This conference will be accompanied by an exhibition showing the results of 20 star projects from around Europe which show how the EU's contribution can make a difference. The projects were chosen for being creative and innovative, in line with the theme of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009.

The conference will explore and identify examples of best practice among projects that have received funding through several European Union programmes and funds. It will also analyse the most appropriate ways to ensure that these examples will be followed and multiplied, making the European Year a catalyst to a long-lasting, enduring process.

The background:

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.

Hundreds of activities and projects which represent good practice in innovation and creativity will be highlighted, promoted and disseminated during this Year. As for previous European Years, measures will include promotion campaigns, events and initiatives at European, national, regional and local levels

The event:

"Creativity and Innovation conference and exhibition - Best practice from European Union programmes", Brussels, Charlemagne Building, 2-3 March 2009

An exhibition of 20 examples of best practice supported by the EU programmes will be organised in parallel. The Conference will be also an occasion to officially launch the electronic platform "EVE", which will contain results of hundreds of projects financed through the Lifelong Learning programme, the Culture, Youth and Citizenship programmes.

Registrations: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/valorisation/index_en.html

Ebs tbc

The sources:

Programme:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/valorisation/docs/march09-conf-draft-progr.pdf

 

Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:

http://www.create2009.europa.eu

Commissioner Figel's website:

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

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 3 March: Gender Pay Gap Campaign

The news:

The Commission is launching a campaign on closing the gender pay gap in the context of International Women's Day. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness on the gender pay gap and how it can be tackled.

The Commission will create a toolbox with information on the gender pay gap, a website in 22 languages with information about what can be done and good practices from countries across Europe and a video news release and video clip about the gender pay gap. These materials will be available from 3 March.

The background:

Across the EU economy, women continue to earn on average 17% less than men.

Equal pay for equal work is one of the European Union’s founding principles. Enshrined in the Treaty of Rome in 1957, it was already the subject of a 1975 directive which prohibits all discrimination in all aspects of pay between women and men for the same work or for work of equal value. As a result direct discrimination has fallen substantially.

But the gender pay gap extends well beyond that. It measures the difference in average hourly earnings between men and women in paid employment across the economy as a whole. It is a complex issue with different causes, the main ones being that women's work is still often seen as less valuable than the work that men do and women often work in sectors where wages are, on average lower than those dominated by men.

Closing the gender pay gap is one of the key concerns highlighted in the Roadmap for equality between women and men 2006-2010. In its 2007 Communication "Tackling the pay gap between women and men", the European Commission analysed the causes of the gender pay gap and identifed ways of tackling it.

The event:

The campaign will be launched in Brussels with a press conference by Commissioner Špidla in the Berlaymont press room at 12.15.

The sources:

More information on equality between women and men in the EU:

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social

 

Commissioner Špidla's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/spidla/index_en.cfm

 

I-056402: Waging war on the pay gap

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes             +32 2 296 44 50 chantal.hughes@ec.europa.eu

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


Tuesday 3 March: Rare Diseases - The Voice of 12,000 Patients

The news:

EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will present the book "The Voice of 12,000 Patients”, co-funded by the European Commission, to mark the Rare Diseases Day

Rare diseases are part of the "Europe for patients" campaign which was launched in September 2008. In November, the European Commission put out a strategy in order to improve the diagnosis and treatment for rare diseases patients.

"The voice of 12,000 patients" shows that action is needed: it finds that about one quarter of the people affected had to wait between 5 and 30 years to be diagnosed correctly after the first symptoms occurred. The book assembles data based on a survey of 12,000 Europeans, who inform about their experience with the diagnosis and care of their rare disease. The publication covers 18 different diseases and is rounded off by patient testimonies and photos. It's the first time that the patient’s perspective is heard from so many people representing 24 European countries.

The background:

Any disease that affects less than 1 in 2000 people is classified as rare disease. It is estimated that up to 30 Million people in the European Union suffer from rare diseases.

Their conditions are chronic, disabling and often life-threatening. Information is scarce and research is insufficient. People affected face challenges such as diagnosis delay, misdiagnosis, psychological burden and lack of practical support.

In supporting the Rare Disease Day, the Commission aims to raise awareness of rare diseases and of their impact on patients’ lives.

The event:

Commissioner Vassiliou will hold a speech in on of the public areas of the Berlaymont (place tbc). There will also be a testimonial from a patient.

The sources:

Communication and proposal for a Council Recommendation on rare diseases:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/non_com/rare_10_en.htm

 

Joint website on Rare Diseases Day:

http://www.rarediseaseday.org

 

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

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

 

         

The contacts:

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

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


Thursday 5 March: Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion

The news:

The Commission will present the annual Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion, prepared with Member States. It explores a selection of social and health issues that are high on the social agenda of the EU and the Member States, such as active inclusion, pension reform and access to quality healthcare.

This year's edition also focuses on the role of social policies in the current economic recession and stresses the need to carefully monitor the social impact of the crisis. The report presents some key messages where Member States are working to meet commonly agreed objectives.

The report will be sent to the EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs) Council for adoption on 9 March.

The background:

The Commission prepares an annual report on developments in social inclusion, pensions, healthcare and long-term care. The report reviews the main trends and policy measures across the EU and at national level.

The EU's system of common objectives, assessment and reporting for social protection and inclusion – the 'open method of coordination' – operates in synergy with the strategy for growth and jobs. The Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion is presented to EU leaders and feeds into the conclusions of the Spring European Council.

The event:

A technical briefing will take place at 11.30 on 5 March in the Berlaymont press room. A press release will be issued.

Available on EbS

The sources:

Former Joint Reports:

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/joint_reports_en.htm

 

More information on social inclusion and social protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/poverty_social_exclusion_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/social_protection_en.htm

 

Commissioner Špidla's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/spidla/index_en.cfm

The contacts:

Chantal Hughes             +32 2 296 44 50 chantal.hughes@ec.europa.eu

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


Sunday 8 March: Launch of Drawing Competition on Gender Equality

The news:

"Once upon a time there was a girl and a boy, without both of them, the world would no longer be…"

For the third year in a row, the European Commission launches an international drawing competition on the gender equality's theme on 8 th March 2009. This competition will call on the children in third countries, to express their vision of gender equality. The jury will be composed of children from the 27 EU Member states and the exhibition will be inaugurated during the autumn 2009.

The background:

Since the creation of the European Economic Community in 1957, the principle of equal treatment between women and men has been an integral part of the EC Treaty. On the occasion of the International Women's Day in 2007, the EU launched the first edition of the Drawing Competition on gender equality to increase the awareness of gender issues among children all over the world. Since then almost 60 000 children from all corners of the globe, aged 8 to 10, have participated in the competition.

Two drawings by region will be selected by a jury of European children, and a prize of a total value of €1.000 for each region, will be awarded to the two winners from each region. The winning drawings will be included in a booklet which will be distributed in the schools of the participating countries and in the European schools having participated to the competition.

 The event:

8 March 2009: Launch of the Competition, world wide

15 May 2009: Closure of Competition

23 June 2009: Announcement of the results

26 November 2009: Inauguration of the exhibition, Morocco

The sources:

Previous year's competitions:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/worldwide/gender/drawing-competition-2008/concours-dessin-2008_en.htm

 

EU actions for gender equality:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/worldwide/gender/index_en.htm

The contacts:

Christiane Hohmann       +32 2 29 91 196 chritiane.hohmann@ec.europa.eu

Charlotta Asplund          +32 2 29 85 480 charlotte.asplund@ec.europa.eu


Friday 13 March: Environmental Auction floor - Invest in environmental projects in developing countries

The news:

EuropeAid has the pleasure to announce the first ever environmental "Auction floor" conference that will take place in Brussels on the 13 th of March 2009.

This “Auction Floor” aims to build effective and inclusive partnerships for environmental projects in developing countries by bringing together development actors (civil society organisations, research centres etc.) and a wide range of potential donors: local authorities, EU member-states as well as the private sector foundations.

The background:

The Auction Floor is a unique opportunity for potential donors to easily find good quality projects to fund! Almost 100 environmental project proposals (with budgets between 400.000 and 3 million euro) that are looking for funding are presented in a booklet .

The projects were evaluated by EuropeAid in 2008 and were classified as very good but did not, because of limited budget, obtain financing in the call for proposals in which they participated. Through the Auction Floor conference these projects are offered a "second chance" to financing.

Match-making between potential donors and projects will be facilitated at the conference, with networking by sub-themes and regions. Private sector participants will also get a chance to share what they are doing in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Finally, for potential donors, making the implementation of these projects possible is not only an occasion to establish a strong partnership with civil society organisations and European Commission, but is also an opportunity to put word into action as far as the protection of the environment is concerned. .

The event:

The Environmental Auction Floor will take place in the Charlemagne building, Rue de la Loi 170, 1040 Brussels.

Available on EbS

The sources:

For further information and to register:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/auctionfloor

The contacts:

Christiane Hohmann                   +32 2 29 91 196   christiane.hohmann@ec.europa.eu

Johanna Peyredieu du Charlat     +32 2 29 65 258

Johanna.peyredieu-du-charlat@ec.europa.eu


Friday 13 March: Better control of CO 2 emissions from road transport to curb climate change

The news:

European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik will open a new laboratory to test emissions from trucks and buses at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy.

The new facility is the most advanced in Europe to test fuel consumption and related emissions of full size trucks and buses under simulated road driving conditions within a broad, realistic temperature range. It will provide sound scientific data needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy duty vehicles.

The background:

Trucks and lorries account for 23 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) released by road transport in the EU, although they make up just 3 percent of all road vehicles. Without measures to increase the energy efficiency of these vehicles, their emissions are predicted to double by 2030.

Since 2000, the Joint Research Centre has played – through its Vehicle Emissions Laboratory (VELA) – a leading role in setting emission norms for all kinds of vehicles in Europe. The new VELA7 test chamber can host buses up to 12 meters long. Alternatively, it can test the driven axis of 40 ton articulated trucks. It complements the existing capacity to test every type of engine and vehicle, from lawnmowers to tractors, from mopeds to cars and vans.

The event:

Press conference and official inauguration ceremony with Commissioner Janez Potočnik at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy (11:30 – 13:00)

A media briefing 'Air quality and transport' research at the JRC (including biofuels) will be organised in the afternoon. This will include demonstrations with a wide range of vehicles – from the scooter to the heavy truck and will be a very good opportunity for audiovisual media.

Participants will be able to directly experience how their driving behaviour influences fuel consumption and emissions by driving a car equipped with a portable emission measurement system.

Journalists who are interested in attending the event should register by 25 February

The sources:

For an overview of the air quality and transport related activities of the JRC, see:

http://ies.jrc.ec.europa.eu/index.php?page=action-13202

 

For an overview of the JRC, see:

http://www.jrc.ec.europa.eu

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


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