Statement on Growth by President Barroso: 'Seizing the moment to boost growth' (8 May)
"I am pleased to see the new momentum that is building in Member States to kick-start the engine of European growth"
On Tuesday the College of Commissioners discussed a paper entitled "Action for growth and action for jobs". After the debate President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said: "We have a twin track approach of stability and growth that has been always at the heart of our response. Now, firstly there must be no let-up in our focus on stability. Reducing debt and deficits is essential to build confidence and cut borrowing costs. Every euro spent on interest payments is a euro less for jobs and investment."
"Secondly, there must be acceleration in structural reforms. Member States should reduce taxes on labour to stimulate job creation."
"Thirdly, we need to step up investment. I am pleased that after the European Council has already called for approval of the project bonds, the proposal is on track, meaning that a contribution of €230 million from the current EU budget could be used to attract funding of up to €4.6 billion over the next two years for key infrastructure projects. I also want to see an increase in the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank. Boosting its paid-in capital by at least €10 billion would make available much needed funding in support of job creation, particularly if targeted at small businesses. I want to see this agreed at the next European Council. And if we are serious about investment for growth, we need to agree an EU budget for the next seven years that shifts the focus of spending to growth enhancing measures."
A total of 2,511 Irish students benefitted from Erasmus during 2010-2011 – up from 2,128 the previous year. The top three destinations for Irish students were France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Two Irish Universities feature in the top 100 higher education institutions receiving Erasmus students - University College Dublin ranked 72nd with 471 students, and the National University of Ireland, Cork ranked 83rd with 427 students.
Twenty-five years after its launch, Erasmus has become the best known EU programme and the most successful student exchange scheme in the world.
Anglo Irish Treaty selected by Irish Culture Minister as 'top treasure' for Europe's digital library
The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921 signed by the British and Irish delegates at 10 Downing Street, London, was the choice of Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan to add to Europeana, Europe's digital library.
Culture Ministers from all over Europe were asked to select their top treasure and these were unveiled yesterday in Brussels. Their choices were as wide and varied as Europe's rich history ranging from Finland's choice of Nokia football boot studs to Austria's choice of a Caravaggio masterpiece (David with the Head of Goliath) and the Czech Republic's choice of a 14th century illustrated bible (the Velislavova bible).
Minister Jimmy Deenihan explained his choice saying "The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which is among the most historically significant of the documents in the custody of the National Archives of Ireland, has been selected by me to showcase the many digital items from Ireland that are being made available online through Europeana. This document is potent evidence of the primacy of dialogue and consensus as a means of reconciling and accommodating the aspirations of the disparate nations that comprise the European family."
Today, Europeana gives people access to over 23 million books, paintings, films, recordings, photographs and archival records from over 2,200 partner organisations, in 29 languages. In October 2011, the European Commission challenged Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 30 million objects in Europeana by 2015.
New research shows life expectancy for HIV patients improving
HIV patients treated with antiretroviral drugs, now considered common course in treating the virus, can expect to live considerably longer lives, new research from the United Kingdom shows. The research was part-funded by the EUROCOORD project (a European network of HIV/AIDS cohort studies), which is backed with € 12 million under the Health Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
In this latest study, a British team of researchers was able to discern that HIV patients aged 20, who started antiretroviral treatments 16 years ago, could expect to live to an average age of 50. Life expectancy, however, jumps to 66 for subjects in the same group who began their treatment just 4 years ago. The sample was made up of 17,661 adults aged 20 and over who had HIV and had started antiretroviral treatment in the United Kingdom between 1996 and 2008.
HIV is a pressing matter in Europe; it is currently estimated that over 1.5 million Europeans are infected with HIV. In 2007, it was estimated that 100,000 people were newly infected with the disease, but the outcome for HIV patients has dramatically improved in countries where patients have access to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Healthcare professionals stress, however, that cART is not a cure for HIV and once a patient begins treatment, they must continue it for life.
Better use of health data will transform the healthcare landscape, says expert report
A high-level group of experts has warned that agreement must be reached on how health data is to be used before Europeans can benefit from the affordable, less intrusive and more personalised healthcare which Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) can bring.
The eHealth Task Force was established a year ago to advise the Commission on how to unlock the potential of eHealth for safer, better and more efficient healthcare in Europe. Earlier this week, it delivered 5 recommendations for redesigning health in Europe to Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Health Commissioner John Dalli:
To create a legal framework and space to manage the massive amounts of health-related data. Implement safeguards so that citizens can use health applications ("apps") with the confidence that their data will be handled appropriately.
Support health literacy: Health data needs to be available in a form that patients can understand.
Create a 'beacon group' of Member States and regions committed to open data and eHealth, including pioneers in eHealth applications.
Use data power: eHealth applications must prove worthy of users' trust. Only then will users make their data available for feedback on preventive care or for benchmarking and monitoring performance of health systems.
Re-orient EU funding and policies - specific eHealth budget lines need to be responsive and to enable the development of good ideas into fast prototyping and testing. Transparency should be required from health institutions through procurement and funding criteria.
The Task Force's recommendations will feed into eHealth-related EU initiatives, including the eHealth Network, which is being established according to the provisions of the Directive on patients' rights in cross border healthcare.
20% drop in number of dangerous products reported to EU in 2011
According to the annual report of RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products, which was published earlier this week, a total of 1,803 notifications on dangerous products posing risks to the health and safety of consumers were submitted through the RAPEX system by Member States in 2011. This constitutes 20% fewer notifications than in 2010 (2,244 notifications). Of the 1,803 notifications, 1,556 notifications concerned products which posed a serious risk to consumers. Other notifications refer to moderate risk or information only. This is the first time that the number of notifications has dropped since the RAPEX system was introduced in 2004.
Ireland accounted for almost 2% of the complaints, 29 in total. This is up from 2010 when it was 23, or 1% of total complaints.
In an EU row over trademarks, Helena Rubinstein and L'Oreal have been told to withdraw their brands "Botolist" and "Botocyl" respectively. The European Court of Justice has ruled today that the two cosmetics companies would be taking unfair advantage of the reputation of the "Botox" mark, which is already owned by Allergan Inc. The European Court's ruling confirms an earlier decision of the Community trade-marks office which deals with trade-marks and designs in the EU.
Cross-border cooperation between Councils marked with opening of Newry office
Representatives from the Commission's offices in Dublin and Belfast attended the launch last week of a new European economic development office in Newry which will work alongside an existing facility in Dundalk. The office was set up under an historic cross-border Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Louth Local Authorities and Newry & Mourne District Council. The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the frameworks with which both local authorities promote, strengthen and stimulate the social, economic, and cultural links within the region.
Maurice Maxwell, Head of the Commission's office in Belfast, and Jonathan Claridge, Head of Political Affairs at the Commission's Representation in Dublin, met members of the MOU’s Joint Council Committee along with officials from the new office, to hear about successes to date and plans for the future.
Europe Day sees launch of first European Citizens' Initiative
The European Commission has just registered the very first European Citizens' Initiative. "Fraternité 2020 – Mobility. Progress. Europe" is the title of the first initiative, proposed by a committee of EU citizens living in Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain. Their stated motivation is to "enhance EU exchange programmes – like Erasmus or the European Voluntary Service – in order to contribute to a united Europe based on solidarity among citizens".
The organisers of the initiative – which boasts registration number ECI(2012)000001 – now have 12 months to collect 1 million signatures from at least seven Member States. If they succeed, they can invite the European Commission to propose legislation on the issue.
The European Commission is calling on citizens all over the European Union to help set the policy agenda for the next years and shape the future of Europe in the biggest ever EU public consultation on citizens' rights.
The consultation will be open for four months during which time the public will be asked about the obstacles they face in exercising their rights as EU citizens, be it when travelling in Europe, when voting or standing as a candidate in elections or when shopping online.
The input received from the public will feed directly into the Commission's policy agenda and form the basis for the 2013 EU Citizenship Report, to be presented in exactly one year's time: on 9 May 2013.
Call for tenders concerning an open procedure for 'Cleaning services for the premises of the European Union House in Dublin'
The European Commission Representation in Ireland has issued a call for tenders in open procedure for the provision of cleaning services in its premises at 18 Dawson Street and 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
If you are interested in this tender, please download the tender documents below before 8 June 2012.
The European Commission is launching a €34.8 million call for eco-innovation projects. Businesses and entrepreneurs from across Europe can apply for funding to help bring novel environmental projects to the market. The call is open to eco-innovative products, techniques, services and processes that aim to prevent or reduce environmental impacts, or which contribute to the optimal use of resources. The call for applications is open until 6 September 2012, and around 50 projects will be selected for funding.
This year's call has five main priority areas:
sustainable building products
the food and drink sector
The call is targeted particularly at SMEs that have developed an innovative green product, process or service, which is struggling to find its place in the market. The call offers co-funding to cover up to 50 % of the project cost, and is likely to support around 50 new projects this year.
Spotlight on: Europe Day: Celebrating the Older Generation
Europe Day 9 May: Celebrating the Older Generation
Yesterday, 9 May, was Europe Day and this year it was all about the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity ‘Between the Generations’.
The celebrations kicked off with a flash mob of older and younger people dancing together to music from a live swing band in Grafton Street in front of Bewley's Cafe.
This year's Europe Day celebrated the concept of Active Aging and Solidarity between Generations by turning stereotypes on their heads.
Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission's Representation in Ireland said: "By challenging the stereotypes which lead to discrimination against older people, older people themselves are also challenged to redefine their own roles. The fact of the matter is that the older people in our society are a valuable but often untapped resource."
Celebrations went on with a free open doors event in European Union House. Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton T.D., and Members of more than 20 voluntary and public bodies involved in Ireland 's year of Active Ageing attended. Live music was provided by The Swing Cats and snacks from EU Member State embassy kitchens were served.
Europe Day is held every year across Europe to commemorate the moment in 1950 when the EU was first proposed. On that day, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made a speech to the international press declaring that there should be "a coming together of Europe" and a pooling of resources which would make war "not only unthinkable but materially impossible".
For more Information regarding the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity Between the Generations in Ireland see: http://www.activeageing.ie/