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Midday Express of 2013-05-28
Commission Européenne - MEX/13/0528 28/05/2013
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EXME 13 / 28.05
28 / 05 / 13
Today, major regional organisations’ leaders took part in the Third High Level Meeting of the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy, dedicated to the Rule of Law, organised by the European Commission and International IDEA in Brussels.
Regional Organisations increasingly play a role in the field of the Rule of Law and constitution-building, including through initiatives to support the respect for human rights.
Participants discussed how to uphold and strengthen the rule of law from a regional perspective. They also discussed their experiences in and lessons learned from upholding and strengthening the Rule of Law and the challenges and limitations they face. The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said: "Dialogue among the major regional organisations is key for a cooperative global governance and to well manage our interdependence. And the respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms should be at the centre of our action at continental, regional and national levels. This is an initiative which needs to be continued." For more information see IP/13/465 and MEMO/13/461 . See the full speech the agenda and the official website .
"46% of the internet population that came into contact with government used the online channel". This and many other facts about the use of eGovernment are highlighted in a benchmarking report which gathered information from 28 000 internet users across 32 countries at the end of 2012. Results showed that almost half used online services to look for a job, apply for a passport or fill in a tax return. This is a promising trend, but more still needs to be done to reconcile online public services with what users want. Online cross-border services are more problematic. For example, whilst the majority of EU countries provide some information about studying or starting a company from abroad, online registration is less common.
The European Commission and CERN have today agreed to support the construction of SESAME, one of the most ambitious research facilities in the Middle East. SESAME is a so-called synchrotron light source, functioning in effect like a giant microscope. It will allow researchers from the region to investigate the properties of advanced materials, biological processes and cultural artefacts. SESAME is a unique joint venture based in Jordan that brings together scientists from its members Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. Alongside its scientific aims, the project aims to promote peace in the region through scientific cooperation ( MEMO/13/460).
The EU promotes a global approach to fight organised crime and drug trafficking
Drug trafficking is one of the major sources of revenue of organised crime along the so-called cocaine route. From the production countries in the Andes through the transit countries in Central America, the Caribbean, West, Southern and North Africa, to Europe, where consumption of cocaine has doubled in less than 10 years, the drug trade is exacerbating violence, instability and weakening governance and state institutions. On 28-30 May, the EU in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Italy and the South-Africa based Institute for Security Studies, is convening more than 150 policy makers and experts in the field to identify trends and highlight new priorities which will require a coordinated response. Since 2009, the EU has committed almost €30 million over 36 countries through the Instrument for Stability (IfS) and its flagship “Cocaine Route Programme”. This Programme was the first of its kind to think strategically about the flow and ensures an integrated response to the challenges presented by organised crime and drug trafficking along the entire route. To attend the conference click here .
What is the current situation? In March 2013, 5.7 million young persons were unemployed in the EU-27, of whom 3.6 million were in the euro area. The youth unemployment rate was 23.5% in the EU-27 and 24% in the euro area, relatively stable over the month, but up by respectively 0.9 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points compared to March 2012. In March 2013, the lowest rates were observed in Germany and Austria (both 7.6%), The Netherlands (10.5%), and the highest in Greece (59.1% in January 2013), Spain (55.9%), Italy (38.4%) and Portugal (38.3%).
The second meeting of the Competitiveness Council under the mandate of the Irish Presidency of the EU will meet in Brussels on 29 and 30 May 2013. On 29 May, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, will chair the Council. The European Commission will be represented by Vice-President Antonio Tajani; Vice-President Joaquin Almunia and Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services). On 30 May, Irish Minister for Research & Innovation, Seán Sherlock, will chair the Council. The European Commission will be represented by Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Vice-President Neelie Kroes, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, and Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. The agenda includes discussions in the areas of internal market (audit, copyright); industry (COSME, shipbuilding sector); space, research (Horizon 2020).
What Commissioners said
Today in Rome EU Regional Affairs Commissioner Johannes Hahn will call on national ministers, regional representatives and civil servants from across Italy to improve the way regional funds are managed. He will urge them to act urgently so EU investments, one of Italy's only sources of public investment in the current crisis, can support job creation and growth: in particular to tackle youth unemployment which is currently running at 40 %. Commissioner Hahn will deliver the key note speech at the Forum of Public Administration's "Towards Europe 2020" conference. He will be joined by Italy's new minister for Territorial Cohesion Carlo Trigilia.
"The growing socio-economic divergence which we are witnessing in Europe today is sometimes leading us to forget that labour mobility is first and foremost a right", said László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, in a speech on the Single European Labour Market. "But we should not have an illusion that transnational labour mobility could be a solution to the problem of Europe’s incomplete monetary union", he added. "Today, as we face growing economic divergence in the monetary union, the theoretical options are either to let the union dis-integrate, or to go for a combination of labour mobility and fiscal support to those areas that are struggling. This is why, for example, support to greater transnational mobility of the young unemployed in the ‘peripheral’ countries must go hand in hand with the implementation of Youth Guarantees for everyone".