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Top stories
 Commission wants life-saving emergency call system for road accidents in place by 2015

AmbulanceThe first measure to ensure that by 2015 your car can dial emergency services for you when you have a serious accident has been adopted by the European Commission today (Thursday).

The Commission wants the life-saving eCall system to be fitted to all new models of cars and light vehicles from 2015. eCall automatically dials Europe's single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious accident and communicates the vehicle's location to the emergency services.

A Commission Recommendation adopted on 8th September, urges Member States to ensure that mobile phone network operators upgrade their infrastructure so that eCalls are efficiently passed on to emergency services.

Every minute is crucial to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries when emergency services are called to a road accident. Yet people injured in an accident do not always have the reflex or the physical ability to call emergency services immediately.

eCall devices address this problem by alerting emergency services immediately even if the driver or passenger is unconscious or otherwise unable to call. The technology speeds up the arrival of emergency teams by an estimated 40% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas.

 
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 Financial assistance programme for Ireland on track

Euro notesIreland is on track regarding the financial assistance programme, according to the Council of the EU. This is the outcome of the last quarterly review of the implementation of the programme conducted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

During their visits to Dublin in the first half of July the three institutions noted that the Irish programme was on track, with the respective authorities meeting important programme milestones and demonstrating their commitment to addressing underlying weaknesses in public finances and the financial sector and as regards competitiveness.

 
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 ECB leaves interest rates unchanged

Jean-Claude TrichetAt a meeting today (Thursday) of the Governing Council of the ECB it was decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged.

In a press conference following the meeting and on the subject of fiscal policy, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said "Turning to fiscal policies, a number of governments have announced additional measures to ensure the achievement of their consolidation targets and to strengthen the legal basis for national fiscal rules. To ensure credibility, it is now crucial that the announced measures be frontloaded and implemented in full. Governments need to stand ready to implement further consolidation measures, notably on the expenditure side, if risks regarding the attainment of the current fiscal targets materialise. Countries that enjoy better than expected economic and fiscal developments should make full use of this room for manoeuvre for faster deficit and debt reduction. All euro area governments need to demonstrate their inflexible determination to fully honour their own individual sovereign signature, which is a decisive element in ensuring financial stability in the euro area as a whole."

 
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 Speaking with one voice – the key to securing our energy interests abroad

Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who is responsible for Energy, speaking at yesterday's press conference on the Security of Energy SupplyThe Commission yesterday (Wednesday) adopted a Communication on the security of energy supply and international cooperation which sets out for the first time a comprehensive strategy for the EU's external relations in energy. The Communication proposes increased transparency among EU Member States on their energy agreements with third countries and strengthened coordination when approaching partner countries, when taking a position in international organisations, and when developing comprehensive energy partnerships with key partner countries.

Alongside the Communication, the Commission also proposed a Decision setting up an information exchange mechanism for intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy between Member States and third countries.

The EU currently imports 80% of the oil and 60% of the gas used for energy and these figures are contining to rise.

 
 
 Single Market Forum in Krakow – 2-4 October 2011

On 13 April 2011, the European Commission adopted the Single Market Act which sets out a package of twelve key actions to further develop the European Single Market.  The aim is to boost growth and jobs and to enhance citizens' and businesses' confidence in the Single Market.

The Single Market Forum, which will take place in Krakow in Poland between 2-4 October, will bring together businesses, social partners, non-governmental organisations and those representing citizens, public authorities and various levels of government and parliaments to discuss progress relating to the implementation of the Single Market Act.

If you or your organisation would like to be represented at the Single Market Forum (SIMFO), please view the draft programme at this link - http://ec.europa.eu/simfo.  Registration is possible up to and including 25 September 2011.  There is a limited budget available to assist individual citizens, NGOs and SMEs with travel costs and further information about registration, etc. can be viewed at the above website or can be acquired by contacting markt-simfo@ec.europa.eu.

 
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News in brief
 Statement of the European Commission on new fiscal measures announced by Italian Government

Image of RomeThe European Commission welcomes the new measures announced yesterday by the Italian Government. They confirm the determination of the Italian authorities to meet the agreed targets of deficit and debt reduction, while contributing to tackle the deep rooted structural weaknesses of the Italian economy.

 
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 European Commission to bring forward new package of measures for ports in 2013

Ship unloading cargoEuropean Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas announced his intention today (Thursday) to bring forward in 2013 a package of proposals to help ports remain competitive and support the huge potential for growth in the port sector. He underlined his intention to bring forward measures to support the reduction of the administrative burden in ports and to put forward proposals to improve the transparency of port financing and proposals for measures on port services.

 
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 Minister for Small Business launches mentoring programme for female entrepreneurs

Women workingMinister for Small Business, John Perry T.D., this week formally launched the National Mentoring Programme for Female Entrepreneurs at the European Commission Representation in Ireland. The programme is an initiative led by Galway Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the four Chambers of Commerce in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Sligo. The Mentoring Programme is geared towards early stage female entrepreneurs and sees them matched with a mentor for a 12-month period of mentoring support.

The intention of the mentoring programme is to boost female entrepreneurship, recognise and support the distinctive nature of women’s business start-ups and ensure that newly-established women entrepreneurs can sustain their activity throughout the first, very challenging years of their businesses.

 
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Agenda
 Agenda

Today (Thursday 8 September): Governing Council of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt

Friday 2 September to Monday 3 October 2011: Dundalk Europe Direct Centre - Irish Successes Abroad Exhibition

Friday, 9 September: Informal meeting of Education, Youth, Culture & Sport Council, Wroclaw, Poland

Sunday, 11 September –Tuesday, 13 September: Informal meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, Wroclaw, Poland

Monday 12 September – Thursday, 15 September: European Parliament Plenary Session, Strasbourg

Tuesday 13 September: Killarney Europe Direct Centre - European Theme Open Day for Primary Schools

Wednesday 14 September: Blanchardstown Europe Direct Centre - Make a European Flag Workshop

Friday 16 September: Regions of Knowledge Workshop (presentations and advice on applying to the FP7 Regions of Knowledge Call), Dublin

Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 September: Ballinsloe Europe Direct Centre: European Mobility Week Display and Exhibition

Tuesday, 20 September – Thursday, 22 September: EU Stand at the National Ploughing Championships, Athy, Co. Kildare

Friday 23 September: Waterford Europe Direct Centre - John Grenham Talk on “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors”

Monday 26 September: Blanchardstown Europe Direct Centre - Arts, Crafts & Language Activity—European Day of Languages

Tuesday 27 September: Killarney Europe Direct Information Centre - Open day on Volunteering

Friday 30 September: Letterkenny Europe Direct Centre - Volunteer Information Stands and lunch

Thursday 6 October: Ireland Wales Programme Annual Event 2011: Cross-border Partnerships: Connecting Regions & People, Dublin

 
 
 
 
 
Job opportunities
 Upcoming competitions

On 14 September, the European Personnel Selection Office will launch competitions for administrators in the following fields:

  • Archival science
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
  • Cooperation and Management of aid to non member countries

Details of these will be published at http://www.eu-careers.eu/

 
 
 
 
 
Competitions
 Design a road safety poster for Europe!

The European Commission is inviting young graphic designers and graphic design students to help spread the message about responsible driving among young people, one of the most vulnerable groups on the roads. The winning poster will be translated into the EU’s 23 official languages, distributed in all 27 EU countries and used for a communication campaign in Brussels and possibly for similar campaigns across all 27 EU Member States!

The winner will receive €2,000 and will be invited to Brussels for an award ceremony at the European Youth Forum for Road Safety on 24 November 2011. The two runners-up will each win €1,000 and will be notified by post of their prize.

 
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Calls for tender/proposals
 Call for Applications for Expert Group on payment systems

The European Commission is re-casting membership of the group of experts which helps in the preparation of legislative acts or policy initiatives in the area of payment systems (The Payment Systems Market Expert Group or PSMEG). The aim is to achieve a better balance between payment server users and providers, and to increase the participation of consumer representatives and civil society.

First set up in 2009, the Payment Services Market Expert Group provides the Commission with insights on payment issues, including fraud prevention. Interested candidates are invited to send an application to the Commission by 7 October 2011.

The call for applications is addressed to experts in payments, including fraud prevention, coming from the payment industry, the payment user side or the academic world. A maximum of 40 experts will be selected.

 
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Spotlight on:
 First European Report on Men's Health

Image from cover of reportA new report on men's health shows that more males suffer from prostrate cancer in Ireland that in any other EU State. Just over 120 men per 100,000 of the Irish population suffer from the disease compared to the UK where the figure is half the rate in Ireland.

This first report provides a comprehensive overview of the state of men’s health across the 27 EU member states, the 4 states of the European Free Trade Association (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein) and the 3 candidate countries (Croatia, Turkey, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

The full report can be read at: http://ec.europa.eu/health/population_groups/docs/men_health_report_en.pdf  

Further findings:

  • Birth rate - Ireland has the highest birth rate in Europe so there are more male babies born in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe. Ireland has a male live birth rate of about 18 per 1,000 population compared to Germany with 8 per 1,000 population and the EU27 average of 10 per 1,000 population.
  • Physical activity - men in the EU were found to exercise or play sports more than women; nevertheless, 56% of men in the EU were found not to engage in exercise/sport weekly. About 75% of Irish men engage in non-sport related physical exercise regularly or with some regularity compared to 66% of men across the EU and 85% of Danish men.
  • Cancer - One-third of all male deaths in the EU are from cancer. However, mortality rates for Irish men from cancer were a little below the EU average (approximately 210 deaths per 100,000 compared to about 230 per 100,000 for the EU as a whole) and fifth lowest in Europe after Luxembourg, Finland, Malta and Sweden. Generally speaking, mortality rates from cancer were highest in the eastern part of the EU.
    • Lung cancer - The rate of Irish men dying from lung cancer is below the EU average (approx 52 deaths per 100,000 compared to 60 per 100,000 for the EU as a whole). 
    • Colorectal cancer - Mortality rates from colorectal cancer were above the EU average at 27 per 100,000 compared to an EU average of 25 per 100,000.
    • Prostrate cancer - Irish men have the highest rate of prostrate cancer in Europe. There were 123 cases per 100,000 Irish men in 2008 compared to 14 per 100,000 Turkish men. The EU average is about 70 cases per 100,000 men. However mortality rates from prostrate cancer in Ireland were only a little above the EU average (24 deaths per 100,000 compared to an EU average of 21).
    • Testicular cancer - Irish men were also less likely to die of testicular cancer (just over 0.2 deaths per 100,000 compared to an EU average of 0.4) and fifth lowest in Europe.
  • Cardiovascular disease - CVD accounts for 36% of all deaths for men, ranging from 61% of total male deaths in Bulgaria to just 25% in France. For the age group 0-64, death rates among Irish men were below the EU average (50 deaths per 100,000 compared to an EU average of over 70).
  • Ischemic Heart Disease - IHD is responsible for about 15% of deaths in the EU. The mortality rate for Irish men was approximately 145 per 100,000 compared to an EU average of 120.
  • Cerebro-Vascular Disease – Stroke accounts for 8% of all male deaths. About 40 Irish men per 100,000 die every year from strokes compared to an EU average of over 60.
  • Preventative care - Irish men are the least likely in Europe to get their blood pressure tested. Only 46% of Irish men had their blood pressure checked in the year before the statistics were collected compared to 70% or above in Luxembourg, Estonia and Portugal.
  • Weight:  In Ireland 55% of men have a Body Mass Index of 25 or over, which classifies as overweight. In Europe the rate varied from over 65% having a BMI of 25 or over in Germany, the UK, and Malta to fewer than 45% of men in Estonia, Latvia, France and Romania.
  • Smoking – Approximately 24% of Irish men smoke, which is below the EU average of 32%. The proportion of male daily smokers ranges from a low of 17% in Sweden to a high of 51% in Latvia. It has been estimated that 15% of all deaths in the European Union - including 25% of all cancer deaths - could be attributed to smoking.
  • Alcohol and alcohol-related deaths - The proportion of Irish men who drink alcohol is about 87%, more or less in line with the EU average. Across the EU the percentage of male drinkers ranges from a low of 68% in Romania to a high of 94% in Lithuania. Alcohol-related harm accounts for over 7% of all ill health and early deaths in the EU. Irish men are however among the least likely in Europe to die from liver disease. About 8 Irish men and 5 Irish women per 100,000 die every year from liver disease compared to an EU average of 20 men and 7 women and figures of 70 men and over 20 women per 100,000 in Hungary.
  • Mental health - Irish men have among the lowest stress levels in Europe along with men in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands (all around 15%).  They were also among the least likely, along with Danish and Polish men, to be hospitalised for depression (about 0.1 per 1,000 population compared to a high of 2.5 in Austria).
  • Road traffic accidents – Irish men are among the least likely to die from road traffic accidents at just over 9 deaths per 100,000 compared to an EU average of 14. However, as in all other countries in Europe, Irish men were far more likely to die from road accidents than Irish women (3 deaths per 100,000). 
  • HIV/Aids – the rate of new cases of HIV is rising faster in Ireland than the EU average. Approximately 12 new cases of HIV were reported per 100,000 Irish men in 2008 compared to an EU average of 6.

N.B. It should be noted that the information used in the report was gathered between 2004 and 2008, depending on country and area.

The full report can be read at: http://ec.europa.eu/health/population_groups/docs/men_health_report_en.pdf  

 
 
 
 
 
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