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EXME 13 / 11.04

Midday Express of 2013-04-11

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Industrial relations: social dialogue under strain in Europe says new report

The on-going economic crisis poses a serious challenge to the dialogue between workers' and employers' representatives and governments according to a report published today by the European Commission. The report shows that recent government reforms have not always been accompanied by fully effective social dialogue, leading to increasingly conflictual industrial relations in Europe.

Migrant children more likely to end up in poor schools, report says

Newly arrived migrant children are more likely to face segregation and end up in schools with fewer resources, according to a new study conducted for the European Commission. This leads to under-performance and a high probability that the children will drop out of school early. The study suggests that Member States should provide targeted educational support for migrant children such as specialist teachers and systematic involvement of parents and communities to improve their integration.

Progress in tackling early school leaving and raising higher education attainment - but males are increasingly left behind

A majority of EU Member States have made progress on the Europe 2020 education targets to reduce the rate of early school leaving to below 10% and increase the share of young people with higher education (tertiary or equivalent) qualifications to above 40% by 2020, according to new figures for 2012 released by Eurostat today. However, there are still wide disparities between Member States and between males and females. The share of young people leaving school early now stands at 12.8% on average in the EU, down from 13.5% in 2011. In 2012, 35.8% of 30-34 year olds in the EU had completed tertiary education, compared with 34.6% in the previous year.

Europe 2020 headline indicators on education - Share of population aged 30 to 34 in the EU27 having completed tertiary education up to 36% in 2012 - Share of early leavers from education and training down to 13% in 2012

Improving the EU’s performance in education is one of the key objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, adopted by the European Council in June 2010. Targets on education are to increase the proportion of persons having completed tertiary education and to reduce the number of early leavers from education and training. In the EU27, 36% of persons aged 30 to 34 had completed tertiary education in 2012, compared with 34% in 2010 and 28% in 2005. The Europe 2020 strategy’s target is that at least 40% of the population in this age group in the EU27 should have completed tertiary education in 2020. For early leavers from education and training, 13% of the population aged 18-24 in the EU27 had at most lower secondary education and were currently not in further education or training, compared with 14% in 2010 and 16% in 2005. The target for 2020 for the EU27 is to reduce the share to below 10%.

Fourth quarter 2012 compared with fourth quarter 2011 - Euro area house prices down by 1.8% - EU down by 1.4%

House prices, as measured by the House Price Index (HPI), fell by 1.8% in the euro area and by 1.4% in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Compared with the third quarter of 2012, house prices fell by 0.5% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2012.

45 000 contributions to the consultation on organic farming in Europe

45 000 responses have been submitted to the online questionnaire on the future of organic farming in Europe launched by the European Commission on 15 January, and which ended yesterday. 96% of the contributions are from citizens. In addition, about 1600 free contributions from citizens, associations, public authorities or companies have been received. All answers and contributions will now be analysed to feed the ongoing review of the political and legal framework for organic agriculture in Europe, which aims at defining legislative and political orientations for organic farming in the next years. Opening a meeting of the enlarged Advisory Group on Organic Farming, a stakeholders group dedicated to the review of the organic policy, Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said: "this success demonstrates that citizens have high expectations for organic agriculture. The organic sector is at a crossroads, facing important decisions for its future. Citizens increasingly see it as a benchmark for sustainable production and this provides real scope for the sector's growth. The challenge will be to meet the demand without losing the value of the sector and the level of standards but strengthening the link of trust with consumers”. For more information on the consultation, see: and for Commissioner Cioloş' today speech: SPEECH/13/302

New term for three independent scientific committees

Today, the newly appointed scientists who are to provide the Commission with independent advice on scientifically complex and sensitive issues relating to consumer safety, public health and the environment, meet for the first time in Luxembourg. The committees have been relocated from Brussels to Luxembourg to bring their risk assessment activities closer to the Luxembourg-based Public Health section of the Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and thus enable better synergies on risk assessment activities. The three committees are: The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS); The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER); The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). These committees have adopted more than a thousand scientific opinions, since 1978, on subjects ranging from the safety of ingredients in cosmetics and hair dyes, to the potential dangers of fluoride in drinking water, electromagnetic fields and security scanners for passenger screening. Their opinions serve as a basis for regulations, contributing to a more evidence-based EU policy-making which ensures a high level of health protection to European citizens. They also serve to inform the Commission on new and emerging problems. For more information on the independent scientific committees and their 3-year term:

EU Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations: Photo opportunity at Opening Plenary on Monday 15 April 2013 in Brussels

The negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Japan were officially launched by President Barroso, President van Rompuy and Prime Minister Abe on 25 March 2013 with the objective of reaching a comprehensive agreement in goods, services and investment eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development ( MEMO/13/283). The first round of negotiations will take place in Brussels on 15-19 April 2013. It will open with a plenary session on Monday 15 April, chaired by the two chief negotiators, DG Trade Director Mauro Petriccione on the EU side, and Ambassador Jun Yokota on the Japanese side. This plenary session will be open to video and photo journalists exclusively for the first ten minutes with a photo and video opportunity. Interested photo and video journalists are asked to register with Helene Banner ( by Thursday 11 April 2013 18.00 CET.

Commissioner Vassiliou presents forthcoming strategy on internationalisation of higher education

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will today present the Commission's forthcoming strategy for the internationalisation of higher education at the European University Association annual conference in Ghent, Belgium. Internationalisation enhances the quality of European higher education and contributes to innovation and job creation by attracting international students and skilled migrants to Europe. By 2020, the number of students studying abroad in the world is expected to hit 7 million, compared with 4 million in 2010, with most coming from Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. According to the OECD's 'Education at a Glance 2012' survey, Europeans represented 22.7% of foreign students worldwide in 2010. Three quarters of these mobile Europeans chose to study in another European country. Commissioner Vassiliou will also outline how the EU will contribute to the internationalisation of higher education through Erasmus for All , its new programme for education, training and youth, through funding for research fellowships under the Marie Curie Actions , as well as through its policy initiatives (international policy dialogue, worldwide promotion of EU higher education…). The two-day conference brings together university leaders, researchers, students and policy makers. Internationalisation of higher education refers to a broad range of international partnerships and exchanges, including student and staff mobility, strategic alliances, open education resources, franchised overseas campuses and capacity building in less developed parts of the world. The Commission intends to publish its strategy on European higher education in the world in June. To find out more: DG Education and Culture , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU .


Commission concludes in-depth reviews of macroeconomic imbalances in 13 Member States

The Commission has today published the findings of the in-depth reviews carried out into 13 Member States identified in last November’s Alert Mechanism Report as showing signs of macroeconomic imbalances.

Commission welcomes Member States' endorsement of EU Open Data rules

The European Commission has today welcomed a key stage in fully opening-up public sector data for re-use across Europe, following endorsement by Coreper (EU Committee of Member States' Permanent Representatives) of the proposed revised Directive on public sector information (see IP/11/1524). This agreement has been reached in only 16 months, showing how all EU institutions are committed to unlocking the full potential of the open data goldmine.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan - rediffusion

Memo "Industrial relations: social dialogue under strain in Europe says new report – frequently asked questions"

Memo "Q&A on the next steps for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform"

Memo "Commission concludes in-depth reviews as part of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure" - rediffusion

Memo "EU-Turkey: With Ministers Bağış and Çelik about Social Policy and employment" – rediffusion

Memo "Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier" – rediffusion

Discours par le Commissaire Cioloș: "Pour une agriculture biologique dynamique et ambitieuse"

Speech by Vice-President O. Rehn: "Speaking points by VP Rehn on the in-depth reviews of macroeconomic imbalances in 13 member States" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Andris Piebalgs: "Making agricultural development in Africa a good business" – rediffusion

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