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EXME 14 / 23.06
23 / 06 / 14
On 27 June 2014 the EU will sign Association Agreements with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova and complete the signature process with Ukraine, each providing for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. "The signature of the Association Agreements with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova and the completion of the signature process of the Association Agreement with Ukraine will be a very important moment both for the EU and for the countries concerned", said President Barroso. "For our three partners it is recognition of their strong political determination and sovereign choice of a closer political association and economic integration with the European Union. For the EU it is a solemn commitment to accompany them, each step of the way along the road of transforming their countries into stable, prosperous democracies."
For further information on these Association Agreements (content, signature, implementation) please see MEMO/14/430 . See also press releases on the conclusion of the technical preparations for signing the Association Agreements with Georgia and with the Republic of Moldova as well as with Ukraine .
Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, 23 June
Today's meeting of the Council, chaired by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton, will discuss Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Iraq. Newly-appointed Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin has been invited to discuss developments in his country with EU Foreign Ministers and the situation in Iraq will be discussed in the presence of Nikolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq and Head of the UN Assistance Mission. The Council is also set to decide on EU assistance to Ukraine in the field of civilian security sector reform, for which Ministers will be invited to approve a crisis management concept for a possible EU civilian mission under the Common Security and Defence Policy. A press conference will follow the Council in the afternoon and will be transmitted live on EbS .
President Barroso supports Nestlé’s employment initiative in Lisbon
Today in Lisbon, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, joins the Prime Minister of Portugal, Pedro Passos Coelho, the Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal, Paulo Portas, the Nestlé Europe CEO Laurent Freixe and Nestlé’s business partners to sign up to the European Commission’s European Alliance for Apprenticeships.
The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) aims to bring together public authorities, businesses, social partners, vocational education and training providers, youth representatives, and other key actors in order to promote apprenticeship schemes and initiatives across Europe.
Nestlé is building on the success of its Nestlé Needs YOUth employment initiative - designed to help tackle youth unemployment in Europe - by creating a new scheme with its business partners called Alliance for YOUth. The Alliance for YOUth will help to mobilise companies who are determined to play a positive role in getting the young people of Europe into work.
Ahead of this event, President Barroso said: "I commend this initiative in supporting the European Commission’s European Alliance for Apprenticeships by substantially increasing the efforts on promoting vocational training and offering apprenticeships/traineeships across Europe".
Low-skilled workers encounter increasing difficulties to find a job, face lower job stability and are out-competed by medium-skilled workers even in elementary occupations. In contrast, job opportunities are growing in some high-skilled professions. These are the main findings of the European Vacancy and Recruitment Report 2014 published today. László Andor said: "Persistent labour market segmentation and weak economic recovery mean that many people are excluded from job opportunities and risk falling into poverty. Employment prospects for those with poor education are dire unless they acquire the right set of skills and competences sought by employers. We must urgently strengthen support for transitions on the labour market, in particular through the Youth Guarantee. We also need to invest in training and career development schemes addressing the lower skilled. The European Social Fund provides important financial support for all of this".
When balanced with student support, increased tuition fees do not have an overall negative impact on enrolments in higher education, even among students from lower socio-economic groups, unless the magnitude of change is exceptional. However increases in fees can result in falling enrolments among older students, according to an international study released by the European Commission today. The report underlines that grants and/or loans are crucial for offsetting negative consequences of fees or fee rises on university enrolments, particularly from vulnerable groups.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on EU drinking water policy, to see where improvements could be made. This comes as a concrete response to Right2Water , the first successful European Citizens' Initiative. The consultation, which is available here , is open until 15 September 2014. It should provide us with a better understanding of citizens’ and stakeholders' views on the need for and possible range of actions that could be undertaken to improve the supply of high quality drinking water. The results of the consultation will feed into a process of reflection on whether improvements might be needed to the EU Drinking Water Directive.
EU agri trade in 2013: EU becomes world largest agri-food exporter
In 2013, EU agri-food exports continued to grow as in the previous years and reached a value of €120 billion, which made the European Union the world's number one exporter of agricultural and food products. At the same time, EU imports remained roughly stable, so the net agricultural trade balance stretched to a surplus of €18.5 billion. These are the main conclusions of the overview of the EU's agricultural trade performance in 2013 just published by the European Commission. While the EU is a renowned exporter of high value-added final products, the export growth in 2013 can be largely attributed to commodities, notably wheat and barley, with exports to Middle East-North African countries booming in 2013. Overall, the fastest-growing export markets for EU agricultural products were China and Saudi Arabia, although the US continued to be the most important destination for EU agri-food exports.
Produits agricoles de qualité: le "Charolais" reconnu comme appellation d'origine protégée
La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'enregistrement de la dénomination " Charolais " en tant qu'appellation d'origine protégée (AOP). Le "Charolais" est un fromage fabriqué à partir de lait de chèvre cru entier selon des techniques traditionnelles et artisanales dans la région de la ville de Charolles, entre les monts d’Auvergne et le massif du Morvan. Cette dénomination rejoindra plus de 1200 produits déjà protégés, dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR . Pour plus d'informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité .
To coincide with Graphene Week 2014 , the European Commission is proud to announce that today the Graphene Flagship , one of the largest-ever European research initiatives, is doubling in size. 66 new partners are being invited to join the consortium following the results of a €9 million competitive call. The partnership now includes more than 140 organisations from 23 countries. It is fully set to take ‘wonder material’ graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to everyday use. Vice-President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, said: This ‘wonder material has the potential to dramatically improve our lives: it stimulates new medical technologies, such as artificial retinas, and more sustainable transport with light and ultra-efficient batteries. The more we can unlock the potential of graphene, the better!”
What Commissioners said
During his visit to Denmark, President Barroso met Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt for a working lunch to exchange views ahead of the European Council on 26-27 June, including on economic matters and the situation in Ukraine. Their meeting was followed by a press doorstep . Later on the same day, President Barroso held the opening speech at Europe's leading annual science event, the EuroScience Open Forum , which took place in Copenhagen this year. In his speech he highlighted the importance of science being the future of Europe and called for five "bridges" to be built: 1) between all scientific disciplines; 2) between researchers and the general public; 3) between the laboratory and the marketplace, including through more private investment; 4) between Member States, including through more public investment in research and development; 5) between the EU and its global partners as part of the EU's science diplomacy.