Headlines October 2012
The fourth European school in Brussels was officially opened on Wednesday by His Majesty King Albert II, Queen Paola and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, whose portfolio includes responsibility for all European schools, also took part in the inauguration.
The school, which is close to the Royal Palace in Laeken, in the north of the capital, is based around a former school for army cadets. President Barroso thanked the Belgian authorities for the provision of this site, which complements existing schools in Ixelles, Uccle and Woluwe, mainly in the south and east of Brussels.
The first classes began in September 2012, and the pupils of the new school were out in force for the official inauguration. V-P Šefčovič, who accompanied the King on his tour of the school facilities, was impressed by the visit.
"Visiting classrooms with pupils coming from different EU countries and learning together, I was deeply convinced that EU schools are one of the best places to build an EU spirit for the future," he said.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has entrusted the health and consumer protection portfolio to Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on a temporary basis until a new Maltese Commissioner is appointed.
The move follows the resignation of former Commissioner John Dalli on 16 October 2012.
V-P Šefčovič has spoken to the director-general of the health and consumer protection directorate-general (DG SANCO) and to the team of former Commissioner Dalli, reassuring them of his support and encouraging them to continue with business as usual through the interim period.
In a video message to staff, he praised the work of DG SANCO, calling it "a tangible example of how Europe can bring real benefit to the lives of all 500m EU citizens". He also praised their high levels of professionalism and dedication, and stressed that their work remained unaffected by the change of Commissioner.
DG SANCO works on a wide range of issues of vital importance to the citizens of Europe, from food labelling and safety to cross-border healthcare and consumer credit.
Building a stronger, safer, more united Europe will need a new approach to collaborative democracy, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič urged on Monday.
Speaking at the COSAC meeting of representatives from the European affairs committees of the European national parliaments, V-P Šefčovič reiterated his call for 'more Europe' – "not a power grab by Brussels or an attack on national sovereignty" but rather "the 'Europeanisation' of national politics and a more 'joined-up' approach" to tackling the EU's shared problems.