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EXME 13 / 26.09
26 / 09 / 13
The Commission has decided today to refer to the EU Court of Justice Belgium, Cyprus and Poland.
The Commission will also send 32 reasoned opinions to 18 countries (AT, BE, CY, DE, EE, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LU, PL, RO, SE, SI, SK and UK). With a total of 220 decisions, the Commission aims at ensuring proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
President Barroso on Wednesday attended a United Nations special event on the Millennium Development Goals. The President conveyed the EU’s strong and unwavering commitment to the elimination of poverty and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
"My political vision is that of a world where every man, woman and child lives in dignity and prosperity; where preventable infant and maternal mortality are confined to history; where poor access to water, to education and health services, and the abuse of fundamental human rights are things of the past; but also a world where we unite to address our shared global challenges, such as climate change and advance together on a more sustainable growth path", said the President. Read the full speech .
Raw materials are the lifeblood of EU industry. At least 30 million jobs in the EU depend upon access to them. But we face increasing demand for unprocessed minerals and metals and, in parallel, strong challenges to the supply of certain raw materials, including price volatility and market distortions. In response, yesterday the High Level Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials released a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) describing how we can act to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy and make Europe a world leader in raw materials exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020. The SIP outlines detailed actions which the parties involved - EU countries, companies, researchers and NGOs – can use to foster technological and non-technological innovation in our raw materials value chain, as well as in the international arena. These include a wide range of initiatives such as new cost-effective exploration concepts and technologies, better recovery and recycling of demolition waste and finding substitutes for critical raw materials such as the indium used in touch screen technologies. See also MEMO/13/819.
Less than two years before the deadline set to achieve international development goals, the European Union (EU) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) step up their efforts to reduce world hunger by assisting two million people in six countries with agricultural development activities worth nearly €60 million. The funding comes from a €1 billion EU initiative that aims to foster speedier progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “I find it unacceptable that in the 21st century some 870 million people are still going hungry and malnutrition is responsible for over 3 million child deaths annually. This funding underlines our commitment to stepping up our work on hunger and to meeting the MDGs”, added EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
Exploring the limits of life on Mars, developing a virus that can target cancer cells, or using photonics to restore vision in patients with cataracts. Societal challenges such as ageing populations in developing countries or inequality in capitalist societies. These are just some of the issues being tackled by the 284 scientists who are set to receive €660 million in the latest funding round from the European Research Council (ERC). In its sixth and last Advanced Grant competition under the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), the ERC will provide individual grants of up to €3.5 million. The funding, some of the most prestigious in the world for frontier science, will enable well-established senior researchers to pursue their 'blue-sky' research. The next Advanced Grants call will be the first under Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation programme.
Celebrities support Europe's first 'Day of the Ex-smoker'
This afternoon in Brussels, Health Commissioner Tonio Borg will open the 'Day of the Ex-smoker' – the first health awareness day to celebrate the achievements of Europe's ex-smokers. Internationally famous DJ, Bob Sinclar, will join the Commissioner in congratulating ex-smokers and announce 1,000 free downloads for EU citizens of his song "Summer Moonlight" which he has dedicated to the Day of the Ex-Smoker. "The Day of the Ex-smoker" will be celebrated at national events across the EU. Grand Slam tennis champion Victoria Azarenka, is also supporting the event through posters and a video clip. She joins Bob Sinclar and many national celebrities and health NGOs in applauding those who have succeeded in quitting smoking. The initiative is part of the European Commission's three year "Ex-smokers are Unstoppable" campaign. Awareness campaigns are an important element of the Commission's tobacco policy in addition to legislation on Tobacco products and on their advertising and sponsorship, and support to Member States. To find more information on the campaign and the Commission's policy on tobacco, see www.exsmokers.eu and http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/introduction/index_en.htm
How do you say 'I like you' in 24 languages? This very useful information is brought to you today by the European Commission on the occasion of the European Day of Languages (EDL). It's the minimum you'll need to know if you're planning to attend an international EDL dating event, where multilingualism is the language of love. Cosmopolitan Berlin and Prague are both hosting speak-dating evenings for linguistically adventurous types: and even if you're not, at least you will now be able say 'I like you' in 24 EU official languages. There are also hundreds of other language-related events taking place across Europe, from a multilingual rap concert in Zagreb to a 'Think German' career fair in Glasgow and a stroll down Language Street in Bratislava. As well 47 European countries, other parts of the world including Canada, French Polynesia and the United Arab Emirates, are also holding events to celebrate the day. The Commission and Council of Europe support the European Day of Languages and you can find out about events taking place near you here: http://edl.ecml.at/ & http://bit.ly/18UBpxo .
The winners of the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature, recognising the best emerging authors in Europe, were announced today at the opening of the Göteborg Book Fair in Sweden by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. This year’s winners are: Isabelle Wéry (Belgium), Faruk Šehić (Bosnia Herzegovina), Emilios Solomou (Cyprus), Kristian Bang Foss (Denmark), Meelis Friedenthal (Estonia), Lidija Dimkovska (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Katri Lipson (Finland), Marica Bodrožić (Germany), Tullio Forgiarini (Luxembourg), Ioana Pârvulescu (Romania), Gabriela Babnik (Slovenia) and Cristian Crusat (Spain). See below for more details of the winning authors and their books.
In the EU28 in 2011, 83% of pupils at primary & lower secondary level and 94% of those in upper secondary level general programmes were studying English as a foreign language. The second most commonly studied foreign language at both primary & lower secondary level and upper secondary level was French (19% of pupils in primary & lower secondary level and 23% in upper secondary), followed by German (9% and 21%) and Spanish (6% and 18%). The importance of English as a foreign language in the EU is also confirmed amongst working age adults. In the EU28, English was declared to be the best-known foreign language in 2011 amongst the population aged 25 to 64. Among those stating English to be their best-known foreign language, 20% responded that they spoke it at a proficient level, 35% at a good level and 45% at a fair level. Considering all languages, two-thirds of the total population aged 25-64 stated they knew at least one foreign language.
What Commissioners said
“Europe's strengths lie in the capacity of regions to innovate and to reinvent themselves”: so said Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn to a conference of over 160 European peripheral and maritime regions, gathered in Brittany, France. Commissioner Barnier will emphasise the need to create a new mode of governance with Europe's regions, who play a key role in bringing Europe closer to its citizens. Commissioners Hahn and Barnier are attending to 40th anniversary of the CPMR which represents the interests of 200 million people across 28 countries, promoting a strong EU Regional Policy and an integrated Maritime Policy to contribute to Europe’s growth. Referring to the reforms of future EU Regional Policy, currently being agreed by EU institutions, Commissioner Hahn underlined that the policy is expanding its traditional role of helping poorer regions to catch up and "assuming more and more the role of implementing Europe wide objectives like the Europe 2020 goals." Commissioner Barnier will say that "If we want to build a new approach to growth in Europe, growth which is more sustainable and sounder, each region, each territory in Europe is necessary." He and Commissioner Barnier praised outgoing President Jean Yves Le Drian for his energetic contribution to shaping future EU policy.