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Top News from the European Commission 18 January 2010 to 14 February 2010

European Commission - AGENDA/10/2   15/01/2010

Other available languages: FR

AGENDA/10/2

Brussels Friday 15 January 2010

Top News from the European Commission

18 January 2010 to 14 February 2010

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

Tuesday 19 January: Options for EU vision and target for biodiversity post-2010 2

Thursday 21st January: European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion – launch event (Madrid) 3

Thursday 4 February: Conference on New Skills for New Jobs 5

Tuesday 19 January: O ptions for EU vision and target for biodiversity post-2010

The news:

The European Commission will present a policy document outlining the options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010.

In its communication, the Commission will present an EU vision up to 2050 and four different options for a target for biodiversity beyond 2010, to be achieved by 2020. An EU biodiversity strategy will be presented by the end of the year.

The background:

Biodiversity – the immense variety of life on earth – is the world's natural capital. It provides us with clean air, water, food, materials and medicines, regulates our climate and protects us from disaster, underpinning our economic prosperity, social well-being and quality of life. But the world's biodiversity is shrinking at an alarming rate, with potentially disastrous consequences. Together with climate change, biodiversity loss is the greatest environmental threat facing mankind.

In 2001, the EU set itself the target of halting biodiversity loss in the EU by 2010. Since then efforts to meet the target have included better implementation of existing legislation as well as additional measures to strengthen the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. An EU Biodiversity Action Plan was adopted by the Commission in 2006 to speed up progress. The main success story has been Natura 2000 – the EU's network of protected areas – which now covers 17% of EU territory and has prevented the destruction and degradation of vital habitats such as wetlands.

However, despite these efforts, there are clear indications that the EU will not reach its target. The March 2009 EU Environment Council called for a new post-2010 EU vision and target for biodiversity which will contribute to discussions on a new global target for biodiversity which will also be adopted in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.

The sources:

European Commission's website:

Commissioner Dimas' we bsite:

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 21 st January: European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion – launch event (Madrid)

The news:

2010 will be the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion - a one-year programme aimed at raising awareness on poverty and social exclusion. It will be implemented in all EU Member States as well as in Iceland and Norway, with a total budget of €17 million (to be complemented by national co-financing), covering activities at European as well at national level.

The European Year events are being organised in partnership between participating countries, the EU, civil society, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and social partners, who will work together to ensure its success. A range of activities will be organised across Europe, such as awareness-raising campaigns, information sessions in schools, roundtables and training for the media and decision-makers. The activities and events planned at European level include two focus weeks, a journalist competition, an art exhibition, and two major conferences in January and December 2010.

The Year will be launched in Madrid, on 21 January 2010 at a high-level conference being organised by the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency of the EU. President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso and President of the Spanish Government, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will address the opening session. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimír Špidla will present the major events to take place throughout 2010 in the context of the European Year.

The background:

Ten years ago, at the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, EU leaders pledged to 'make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty' by 2010. Since then, many efforts have been made (e.g. through the Open Method of Coordination), yet a significant number of Europeans still live in poverty: approximately 80 million people live on or below the poverty threshold, including 19 million children. Poverty and exclusion affect not only the wellbeing of individuals and their ability to play a part in society; but also impedess economic development. With all this in mind, the EU is stressing the importance of collective responsibility in combating poverty, involving decision-makers and actors in the public and private sectors. The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion will seek to give a voice to those experiencing poverty on a daily basis.

The event:

The opening conference of the European Year will take place at the Ministry of Health and Social Policy, Madrid on 21 January 2010.

Press arrangements to be announced later.

  • EbS coverage

The sources:

European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion:

More information on EU response to the social dimension of the crisis:

More information on employment:

  • I-059732 VNR: 7th European Round Table on poverty and social exclusion

  • I-056687 VNR: Ending child poverty in Europe (long version)

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

Thursday 4 February: Conference on New Skills for New Jobs

The news:

The European Commission is organising a major conference in Brussels to present the key findings of the 'New Skills for New Jobs' high-level expert group, providing recommendations on how to take forward the EU skills and jobs agenda. In addition, new figures on the supply and demand for skills in Europe up to 2020 will be presented.

The conference comes at a time when the Barroso II Commission will be starting to shape the EU 2020 Strategy, the follow-up to the Lisbon Strategy. According to the experts, much stronger bridges have to be built between the worlds of work and education and training. This is all the more urgent as today, despite the crisis, several millions of jobs are waiting to be filled by the right candidates. And labour markets in the EU are changing fast: within the next decade, around 80 million vacancies will need to be filled due to retirement and 20 million new jobs can be expected to be created, often requiring more and better suited skills than ever before.

The background:

After some years of relatively high growth and job creation (8 million new jobs alone in 2006-2008), the economic crisis has hit labour markets in Europe and affected the prospects and livelihoods of Europeans. In response, the European Commission launched a recovery plan to tackle the effects of the crisis and set three priorities for safeguarding jobs. One of them is upgrading and maintaining the level of skills in Europe.

Across Europe, globalisation, ageing populations, urbanisation and the evolution of social structures accelerate the pace of change in labour market and skills requirements. The development of new skills and competencies to fully exploit the potential for recovery is a priority and a challenge. Skills upgrading is also crucial for equity, since the low skilled are more vulnerable in the labour market. But this is not enough: ensuring a better match between the supply of skills and labour market demand is just as necessary.

This is why EU Member States have asked the European Commission to report on future skills requirements in Europe up to 2020.

The event:

The report of the expert group will be available shortly before this conference.

A press event will be organised in parallel to the conference to present the report, details tbc.

The sources:

More information on EU response to the social dimension of the crisis:

More info on New Skills for New Jobs:

More information on employment:

Commissioner Špidla's website:

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


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