Turku (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) are to be the European Capitals of Culture in 2011. The programme will officially begin on 1 January in Tallinn and 15 January in Turku, and many events will take place throughout the year.
José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Catherine Ashton, Vice President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will join Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a ceremony today to mark the signing of a joint declaration to strengthen people-to-people contacts between India and the EU through a policy dialogue on culture.
The European Union's Marie Curie Actions programme, which provides funding for some of the world's best young researchers, today celebrates its 50 000th beneficiary with a conference in Brussels. "The programme enables our most promising researchers to gain experience abroad, in Europe and beyond, and it allows us to attract the best young researchers from outside the EU so that Europe can benefit from their talents," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
The Commissioner has welcomed the latest results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide survey on the level of performance of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science. Mrs. Vassiliou said: "PISA is an important resource for the European Union because it supports our joint efforts with Member States to improve quality of education to become a society of smart and sustainable development. By exposing weaknesses in education systems and illustrating what could work, the survey can help us to raise our game in Europe. It is clear that by investing in education and making better use of resources, the best performers are securing their future economic growth."
The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, welcomed today's adoption of the Bruges Communiqué, a package of objectives and concrete actions to increase the quality of vocational training in Europe by making it more attractive, accessible and relevant to the needs of the labour market.
More than 10 million people are now using a 'Europass' online CV (curriculum vitae) to help them find a job, according to latest figures compiled by the European Commission. By offering a standardised CV template, available in 26 languages, Europass helps job-seekers to market their knowledge and skills in a user-friendly way to employers all over Europe and beyond. Almost half of Europass users are under the age of 25.
Eurobarometer on graduate employability: Employers value teamwork, adaptability, communication and language skills
A new Europe-wide survey among employers shows that, when it comes to graduate recruitment, 'soft' skills are just as valued as sector-specific and computer skills. Significant numbers of employers questioned said that the ability to work well in a team (98%), to adapt to new situations (97%), communication skills (96%), and knowledge of foreign languages (67%) were important when recruiting for their companies. Almost 50% of companies with considerable international business identified knowledge of foreign languages as the most important skill for the future.
Skills and capabilities: importance and satisfaction
Almost all skills and capabilities listed in the survey were considered to be very or rather important when recruiting higher education graduates. In the list of the highly ranked skills, team working skills (67%) are followed by sector-specific skills, communication skills, computer skills, being able to adapt to new situations, ability in reading/writing and analytical and problem-solving skills. Between 58% and 67% of respondents consider these skills as very important for new recruits.
Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer, swept the boards at the European Film Awards in Tallinn, Estonia, on 4 December, taking the prizes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Ewan McGregor), Scriptwriter (Robert Harris & Roman Polanski), Production Designer (Albrecht Konrad) and Composer (Alexandre Desplat). It was one of 18 nominated films at the ceremony supported by the European Union's MEDIA cinema funding programme. Four other MEDIA-backed films were also honoured with Sylvie Testud winning Best Actress for her role in Lourdes, Jaco Van Dormaels' Mr. Nobody receiving the People’s Choice Award, Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist taking the prize for Best Animated Film, and Luc Barnier and Marion Monnier sharing the European Editor Award for Carlos.