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EXME 13 / 08.10
08 / 10 / 13
One in five adults in Europe have low literacy and numeracy skills, and even a university degree in the same subject is no guarantee of the same level of skills in different countries, according to the first comprehensive international Survey of Adult Skills published today by the OECD and European Commission. The survey assesses the literacy, numeracy and problem-solving ICT skills of adults aged 16-65 in 17 EU Member States - Belgium (Flanders), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and the UK (England/Northern Ireland), as well as in Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States. The findings underline the need to target investment at improving education and training to increase skills and employability in European countries.
The European Commission has today released the results of the 3-yearly Eurobarometer survey on the “Perception of Quality of Life in European Cities”. The survey was conducted in 79 cities of all EU Member States as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. 41 000 urban dwellers rated their satisfaction with various aspects of urban life, in particular public services. It will be formally launched during OPEN DAYS 2013 in Brussels - a four-day event focusing on the EU's future regional and urban policy. Speaking ahead of the event European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "This survey provides a useful snapshot of how Europeans feel about the cities they live in".
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the European Union have today announced they will strengthen their cooperation and scale up their joint operations on areas of mutual interest. The decision comes one year after the signing of a partnership agreement (technically a Memorandum of Understanding, or MoU) between the two organizations. The MoU has resulted in the possibility to fund activities such as building tsunami emergency response capacity in Haiti, or the International Teachers Task Force for Education for All, which helps countries secure an adequate number of competent and motivated teachers. The new initiatives will push the European Commission’s contributions to the partnership to around €30 million. EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, said that "the initiative has proven that working together means our work is even more effective. The EU and UNESCO share several priorities, but above all they share the desire to strengthen fundamental values to achieve inclusive development".
“This is a package. You can't take it apart,” Neelie Kroes will tell telecoms industry leaders today in Brussels, “You can't pick which bits you want from the menu. This isn't a restaurant.” Kroes will outline six clear benefits for telecoms companies and explain that more than 80% of investors think the package will increase investment in faster broadband. Kroes will say delay and turning back are not options: “Which of you thinks it's sustainable for our economy to maintain scarcity, and frustrate the economy's need for connectivity? To be seen not as with your customers, but against them? Which of you thinks your customers would long tolerate an internet service where you decide what they can or can't access? And which of you honestly thinks that roaming surcharges within Europe will still be around in 3 years? I know most analysts don't; they discounted those revenues long ago.” “Your sector will need to change: but emphatically it doesn't need to decline.” That means stopping “looking backwards – to old services, dated business models, declining revenue streams. “Technology is moving on, the world is racing ahead, our economy is weak. We need this urgently.”
EU development assistance to El Salvador has so far had many benefits for its people, for instance, by providing access to basic pension for the elderly or access to water and sanitation. Building on these results, EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will confirm, during an official visit to the country, EU's commitment to help the country develop by providing new funding between 2014-2020. The new support will focus on the areas of social services for young people, private sector development and climate change and vulnerability with the objective of improving the livelihoods of those who need it most. The EU bilateral assistance to El Salvador is expected to be €149 million, subject to the final approval by the Council and the European Parliament. Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “I am pleased to see that good results are already being achieved through our work in El Salvador, especially in the fight against poverty and improving services for the most disadvantaged sectors of society. I look forward to discussing the future of our cooperation during my visit here, and am confident that we can continue to work together to help make even more of a difference with our support going forward.” Further information: IP/13/923
What Commissioners said
Commissioner Cioloş: let's continue fighting negative effects of food price volatility on most vulnerable farms
Participating in the Food and Agriculture Organization Ministerial meeting on price volatility in Rome, Commissioner Dacian Cioloş stressed the importance of moving forward in terms of thinking and going beyond the Agricultural Market Information System's (AMIS) success: "The monitoring of agricultural markets will only be effective in vulnerable areas if it is accompanied by agricultural and governance policies, by public and private investments, as well as by trade and more structured regional and sub-regional markets. This means in particular transparent, clear and stable institutional environments." Commissioner Cioloş called in particular for concrete answers to issues in the area of land tenure, research and innovation as well as crisis management. Read the full speech .