Letter from President Barroso to Ireland and seven other member states' leaders on youth unemployment (31 January 2012)
Last night's informal European Council agreed on the need to take immediate action to boost growth and employment. One of the specific ideas President Barroso brought to the European Council was to set up "action teams", bringing together the Commission, national authorities and national social partners in the eight countries with youth unemployment levels significantly above the EU average – namely Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy, Portugal, Latvia and Ireland.
The objective is to develop by mid-April targeted plans to be included in the National Reform Programmes in which each Member State outlines its economic policy priorities in the context of the European Semester.
President Barroso has today sent letters to the leaders of these eight Member States, outlining the proposed steps to be taken, including: the nomination of a contact person by national authorities, a visit by the Commission team in February, and the identification of the necessary elements of a youth employment plan and the support schemes for SMEs which could be accelerated or benefit from funding not yet committed from within the national Structural Funds allocation.
Click here [128 KB] to view the letter sent by President Barroso to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
WTO rules in favour of EU against China's export restraints on raw materials (30 January)
The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today confirmed the findings made by a Panel in July 2011 that China's export restrictions on several industrial raw materials are in breach of WTO rules. The WTO found that China's export restrictions are not justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy. Today's final ruling was welcomed by Europe's trade chief.
"This final ruling is a great success in our efforts to ensure fair access to the much needed raw materials for EU industry. Today's decision has confirmed that China's export restrictions on these raw materials are incompatible with the WTO rules. It sends a clear signal that such measures cannot be used as a protectionist tool to boost domestic industry at the expense of foreign competition," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "China now must comply by removing these export restrictions swiftly and furthermore, I expect China to bring its overall export regime – including for rare earths - in line with WTO rules."
The Appellate Body confirmed the clear findings made by the Panel in its report last summer. The Panel found that the export duties and quotas imposed by China on various raw materials [various forms of: bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc] are protectionist measures in breach of WTO rules and that China failed to justify them. The Appellate Body in particular upheld the finding that China has committed unconditionally in its Accession Protocol to the WTO not to levy export duties and that this commitment cannot be reduced by reverting to the general exceptions of the GATT.
The EU welcomes today's decision as a significant recognition of the interdependence of all WTO Members – whether developed or developing – when it comes to non-discriminatory access to raw material supplies as a fundamental principle underlying the global trading system.
The EU supports and encourages all countries to promote an environmentally friendly and sustainable production of raw materials. However, the EU strongly believes that export restrictions do not contribute to this aim. There are more effective environmental protection measures that do not discriminate against foreign industry.
China applies export restrictions on key raw materials, some of which cannot be sourced outside China.
Export restrictions create serious disadvantages for foreign producers by artificially increasing China’s export prices and driving up world prices. At the same time, such restrictions artificially lower China’s domestic prices for the raw materials due to significant increases in domestic supply. This gives China’s domestic downstream industry significant competitive advantages and puts pressure on foreign producers to move their operations and technologies to China.
As dialogue has not proven successful, the EU decided to have recourse to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism for an important set of raw materials. Restrictions on these materials have caused concerns for European industry such as the chemical, steel and non-ferrous metal industries, as well as their downstream clients, ranging from producers of beverage cans, CDs, electronics, automotives, ceramics, refrigerators, batteries and medicines and many more.
The export restrictions challenged include mainly export quotas (bauxite, coke, fluorspar, silicon carbide and zinc) and export duties (bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc) as well as some claims related to technical aspects of China's administration of export quotas and licences and to a minimum export price.
The WTO dispute settlement case was initiated on 23 June 2009 by the EU and US, followed by Mexico. Consultations were held with China but no amicable solution was found. A WTO Panel was established on 21 December 2009. A first ruling by a WTO Panel was issued on 5 July 2011 upholding most of the EU's claims. China appealed certain aspects of this ruling on 31 August 2011. A hearing took place before the WTO's Appellate Body on 7-9 November 2011.
The Appellate Body upheld all main claims raised by the EU. For procedural reasons, the Appellate Body was not in a position to rule on some additional claims on technical aspects of China's administration of export quotas and licences and to a minimum export price.
In terms of next steps, the EU (and the co-complainants) will request the adoption of the reports by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body within 30 days. China will then have to bring its measures in compliance with the rulings within a reasonable period of time.
For further information:
Report of the WTO Appellate Body: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news12_e/394_395_398abr_e.htm
The WTO Panel Report on case China – Measures Related to the Exportation of Various Raw Materials (DS 394/395/398)
More information about WTO Dispute settlement
Erasmus: changing lives, opening minds for 25 years (30 January 2012)
Erasmus, the world's most successful student exchange programme, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Nearly three million students have benefited from a study period or work placement abroad since the creation of the Erasmus programme in 1987. According to the figures for the last academic year (2009/2010) 2,128 Irish students went abroad for study or work placement as part of their course. At the same time 5,073 Erasmus students came to Ireland from abroad.
Under the slogan, 'Erasmus: changing lives, opening minds for 25 years', the silver anniversary celebrations will be launched today by Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Erasmus mobility is at the heart of the Commission's strategy to combat youth unemployment by focusing more on skills development.
“The impact of Erasmus has been tremendous, not only for individual students, but for the European economy as a whole. Through its support for high-quality teaching and a modern higher education system, with closer links between academia and employers, it is helping us to tackle the skills mismatch. It also gives young people the confidence and ability to work in other countries, where the right jobs might be available, and not to be trapped by a geographic mismatch," said President Barroso.
Commissioner Vassiliou added: "Erasmus is one of the great success stories of the European Union: it is our best known and most popular programme. Erasmus exchanges enable students to improve their knowledge of foreign languages and to develop skills such as adaptability which improve their job prospects. It also provides opportunities for teachers and other staff to see how higher education works in other countries and to bring the best ideas home. Demand for places strongly exceeds the resources available in many countries – one of the reasons why we plan to expand opportunities for study and training abroad under our proposed new education, training and youth programme, Erasmus for All."
In the 2011/2012 academic year, more than 250 000 students will benefit from the Erasmus programme. The most popular destinations for students are expected to be Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, while the countries sending the most students abroad are expected to be Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland. The EU has allocated around € 3 billion for Erasmus for the period 2007-13.
Erasmus for All would bring together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes with one. This will increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for grants, as well as reducing duplication and fragmentation. Under the new programme, the aim is for up to 5 million people, almost twice as many as now, to get the chance to study, train or teach abroad. The Commission's proposal is currently being discussed by the Member States and the European Parliament, which decide the future budget.
The Erasmus programme was launched in 1987 with 3 244 young, adventurous students who took part in learning experiences in one of the 11 countries which initially participated in the programme. Now, 33 countries take part in the scheme - the 27 EU member states, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
In the past 25 years, the programme has seen a constant rise in both the number of students and in the quality and diversity of the proposed activities. Teachers and other staff, such as university international relations officers who are often the first point of contact for potential Erasmus students, can also benefit from EU support to teach or train abroad – nearly 40 000 did so in 2010/2011.
Work placements in companies abroad have been supported through Erasmus since 2007 and are increasingly popular. Up to now, grants have already been awarded to nearly 150 000 students for this purpose. In 2009/10, 35 000 students (one in six of the total) chose a work placement, which was a 17% increase on the previous year.
For more information:
See also Frequently Asked Questions: Erasmus Programme
More about the Erasmus programme at http://ec.europa.eu/education/erasmus
Statement of President Barroso following the Informal meeting of the European Council (30 January 2012)
"Today we had a very detailed discussion on how to boost our economy and this was part of delivering what we have set out to do right from the start: to create financial stability, at the same time to put in place a basis for sustainable growth. As we have said very often – yes, we need discipline, but we also need growth. We have a strategy, and we are staying the course.
It was important that the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism is now ready for signature and the objective is that it enters into force in July 2012. So after all discussions we can now conclude that this was agreed at Heads of State or Government level.
"The so called "fiscal compact", the Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the EMU has also been finalised and it took not so long to agree on it. It will be signed in March and I think that the fact that it was possible to come to an agreement not only between the euro area countries, but by 25 members of the European Union was indeed very impressive.
Now, we have concentrated most of our meeting today discussing growth and employment, namely the programme of youth unemployment, also the problems of our SMEs and the problems of the Internal Market. And the big message around that topic was that we need to deepen the Single Market. We need to do more in concrete terms to create better conditions for growth. And precisely since there is not so much fiscal space for stimulus, because there is no fiscal space in our member states, we should concentrate on the structural reforms that can unleash the growth potential of Europe.
In fact, I have proposed also some concrete policies on fight of youth unemployment, the single market and small businesses. And some of these proposals can be done quickly and make their impact felt rapidly – they can be quick wins, so of course they re not a substitute to medium and longer term structural reforms, but they can have a very important impact in the short term.
To tackle youth unemployment, each member state will prepare a National Job Plan. I proposed that at its core will be a Youth Guarantee which ensures that all young people are either in a job, in training or in education within 4 months of leaving school. The Commission will establish Action Teams with Member States with above-average youth unemployment, namely the eight countries that are the most affected by this problem. They will agree how we can best use the €22bn of European Social Fund money not yet allocated, so that we can improve job opportunities for young people. We can re-deploy part of this funding. The key is to use the best practice across the Union to spark action at the Union level and at the national level too. We want our young people to study, train and work across our Union. With Youth On The Move, we have the programmes to make that happen: Erasmus for studying, Leonardo for training and EURES for job vacancies, and now with these National Job Programmes, part of the National Reform Programmes. As President Van Rompuy said this is indeed part of our exercise in the European semester and the Spring European Council, so on 1 and 2 March we will give concrete guidance to all the European Union member states.
To exploit the full potential of the Single Market, we have agreed to fast-track the Single Market Act and complete the Digital Single Market by 2015. This is indeed important and there were very important contributions from the Heads of State or Government saying what we could do to implement and enforce better the rules of the single market.
To support the small businesses, which form the backbone of our economy, we also must do more internally, with the market access in our single market, but also abroad what they can gain in terms of market access also to reduce the red tape they face and also how to get easier access to finance, because this is one of the main problems SMEs in Europe now face.
Money from the EU budget must be focussed on growth. €82 billion is still to be allocated from the total of €347 billion for the period 2007-2013. I have today proposed that the Member States sit down with the Commission to look at how this money can be reprogrammed and accelerated towards growth related projects. For instance, SMEs can use money from the Structural funds as guarantee for loans they can get in the banks.
I'm pleased that we have also reached agreement so quickly on the fiscal compact. I have already mentioned it. This is a necessary piece of the puzzle, and as you know the Commission has successfully defended a series of principles in the negotiations, importantly no new institutions have been created, the Commission has a central role in delivery of the Treaty objectives always in conformity with the Lisbon Treaty and the Community method; and the Treaty will remain open to all and will respect the vital role of our institutions and everything we have achieved as a Union. And there is in the Treaty, the Treaty that as been agreed today by 25 member states, the commitment to put it maximum in five years in the current Treaties so inside the Community method.
I think this was the most important from this point of view.
So now, this is work in progress and as I have said before, what I think is important is to highlight that we are making a root and branch reform of our budgetary and economic policies instead of falling for the illusion of quick fixes and constant new announcements. It is important to keep the course, to be determined, to be coherent, to be persistent. The reality is that many of our member states are making impressive reforms, but of course some of those results take time to appear. I believe that if we keep this line we will gain back the confidence, not only of the markets, but mainly, and this is the most important of all, the confidence of our citizens."
Ireland participates in over 2,550 EU funded research projects (27 January 2012)
A new on-line service with better access to information on a wide range of EU funded research projects dating back to before 1986, has been launched by the European Commission. The records, which cover a myriad of science, technology and research-related fields and topics, show that Ireland currently participates in over 2550 EU funded research projects and acts as project coordinator in more than 1600 of these. The projects can be found on the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/.
The EU has some of the world's best research facilities and most accomplished researchers. Harnessing their full potential will help turn novel ideas into jobs, green growth and social progress. To facilitate this, the European Commission finances, either wholly or partially, a wide range of individual research and technology development projects.
The new projects service is a comprehensive reference point for project participants, coordinators and stakeholders, and will help to make information and data available to wider audiences. Even when a project has finished, specific project information can help with result development, the planning of new initiatives, the indication of new research avenues and more. The service will unlock content, standardise the presentation of project information, and help users to find out more. It is a dynamic service with project records added as and when they are made available.
The current Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) which runs from 2007-2013 is a key tool to respond to Europe's needs in terms of jobs and competitiveness, and to maintain leadership in the global knowledge economy. It is investing more than €55 billion over seven years in areas including agriculture, fisheries and food, health, nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and communication technologies, transport, energy, environment and climate change, SMEs, security and space. This year will see the last call for proposals in FP7 worth some €10 billion. Once FP7 comes to an end in 2013, it will be replaced by a new programme called Horizon 2020, which has a proposed budget of €80 billion.
Link to CORDIS database: http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/
Information on FP7: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html
"European Economic Policy - What's in it for Ireland", Athlone (26 January 2012)
On Tuesday 31 January, the European Commission Representation in Ireland is organising a seminar on "European Economic Policy - What's in it for Ireland" in the Earl of Rosse Lecture Theatre, Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Athlone.
Speakers include Brendan Keenan, Economics Editor, Irish Independent, Suzanne Kelly, barrister-at-law and tax practitioner, and Nigel Nagarajan, Resident Adviser on Economic and Financial Affairs to the European Commission.
Organised by the European Commission Representation in Ireland, this is the second in a series of public economic seminars that began last November with an event in Waterford Institute of Technology and continues now with three further seminars due to take place over the coming weeks in Athlone, Sligo and Limerick.
Those in attendance will also have an opportunity to voice their opinions and ask any questions they may have about the current economic situation.
Registration and refreshments will be available from 6 p.m. with the presentation and public debate starting at 6.30 p.m.
If you are interested in attending the seminar, please register with the European Movement at: firstname.lastname@example.org
EU gas market: Commission refers Ireland and the UK to Court (26 January 2012)
The best way for ensuring security of supply and affordable energy prices is to have a competitive internal EU energy market. An efficient and properly functioning internal market in natural gas will give consumers the choice between different companies across national borders.
EU legislation aims at facilitating cross-border gas trade and increasing the capacity on gas markets. The European Commission considers that Ireland and the United Kingdom are not fully in line with EU gas market rules and has decided today to refer these countries to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
According to EU gas rules, the maximum interconnection capacity between Member States and between different gas transmission systems must be offered to the market so that consumers can fully benefit from competition on the market. Only when interruptible reverse flow capacity and short-term services (short term contracts to book gas capacity) are offered, can pipelines be used to their maximum capacity. This means that more gas can be transported and new companies can enter the market. This will give consumers the possibility to choose between different companies and services.
The maximum interconnection capacity is not offered in the UK and Ireland as the pipeline connecting Northern Ireland and Ireland is not open to the market. This means that gas companies in Ireland cannot directly trade gas with Northern Ireland or vice versa. On the pipeline connecting Scotland to Northern Ireland short-term services are not available and neither is virtual reverse flow capacity based on netting off physical forward flow to make capacity available for commercial trade as required by EU longstanding legislation.
The Commission is aware that the UK and Irish governments intend to introduce Common Arrangements for Gas (CAG) between Ireland and Northern Ireland. While the Commission welcomes such steps to create cross-border market, this project has already been delayed. Therefore the Commission has decided to proceed with these infringement procedures in accordance with the EU law.
The infringements concern Member States' failure to respect their legal obligations arising from the Gas Regulation No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks which replaced on 3 March 2011 the Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005.
The Commission is following up on infringement cases which were opened in June 2009 with a letter of formal notice and followed up with reasoned opinions in June 2010 (see IP/10/836 and MEMO/10/275).
Since the start of these infringement procedures progress has been made by Ireland and the United Kingdom in eliminating the shortcomings. However, full compliance has not yet been achieved and therefore the Commission proceeds to the Court of Justice.
Commission web page on the Second Energy Package: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/legislation/legislation_en.htm
Current figures on infringements in general can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/42
Commission requests Ireland to modify its Vehicle Registration Tax (26 January 2012)
The European Commission has today formally requested Ireland to modify how motor vehicles less than 3 months old are taxed so as to make the rules comply with EU law.
Concerning taxes which are levied in the Member State just once with the first registration of the vehicle (Vehicle Registration Tax), the EU Court of Justice has considered that a part of such a tax remains incorporated in the value of second-hand vehicles already registered on the national market. The residual value of the tax diminishes proportionately with the depreciation of the vehicle.
Consequently, EU rules are breached (article 110 TFEU) if the amount of tax levied on an imported second-hand vehicle is higher than the residual tax incorporated in the value of similar second-hand vehicles already registered on national territory. This is the case with the current Irish legislation on Vehicle Registration Tax of vehicles less than 3 months old.
The EU Court of Justice has established that a vehicle starts to lose its value as soon as it is bought or brought into use. According to EU case law on car taxation, the amount of tax due can not exceed the amount of tax supported by similar vehicles that are already registered in the national territory and are incorporated in their value. However, under Irish legislation vehicles which are less than 3 months old or cars which have travelled less than 3000 km bear the same tax burden as new vehicles. This is a discrimination of these vehicles which are proportionally more taxed than new vehicles purchased in the country.
The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion which is the second stage of an infringement procedure. If the rules are not brought into compliance within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Subject to certain exceptions, the taxation of motor vehicles has not been harmonised. According to EU case law, the Member States have the right to levy a registration tax - at a rate as high as they see fit - when a vehicle is registered for the first time in the State. This tax can be levied even if the transfer of the vehicle is linked to a change of residence and even if a similar tax has already been levied in another Member State.
EU rules prohibit Member States from imposing higher taxes on products of other Member than imposed on similar domestic products (article 110 TFEU). This is to guarantee the complete neutrality of internal taxation as regards competition between products already on the domestic market and imported products.
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/42.
For the most up-to-date general information on the infringement proceedings initiated against Member States, see: http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm
Stronger EU data protection rules (26 January 2012)
A recent survey on attitudes on data protection in the EU has found that:
- 2 out of 3 Europeans are worried that companies share their personal data without their permission
- 9 out of 10 want the same data protection rights across Europe.
To address these concerns, the Commission is proposing to update the EU’s data protection law. The changes would introduce a single set of rules on data protection, valid across the EU.
The proposals include:
- requiring companies to get explicit consent before they re-use personal data – people would also have access to their own private data and be able to transfer it to another service provider more easily
- reinforcing the ‘right to be forgotten’ – people will be able to have their personal data deleted if a business or other organisation has no legitimate reasons for keeping it
- increasing responsibility and accountability – companies would have to notify their clients of any theft or accidental release of personal data
- applying EU rules when personal data is processed outside Europe – people would be able to involve the national data protection authority in their country, even when their data is processed by a company based outside the EU.
Good for business
A single set of rules would encourage a more consistent application of the law across the EU. Businesses would have clear rules on how to treat private information.
And red tape would be cut, saving businesses an estimated €2.3bn a year. For example, companies would only have to deal with a single national data protection authority in the EU country where they have their main operations.
The new rules would give national data protection authorities powers to enforce the EU rules more rigorously.
For crime investigations, a separate law would apply to the exchange of data with countries outside the EU.
The proposals complement the EU's drive to encourage more online commerce by improving consumer trust – contributing to economic growth and job creation. They must be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament before becoming law.
More on the proposals to revise the EU’s data protection law
More on data protection in the EU
Top researchers from Irish institutes awarded money from the EU's Research Council (25 January 2012)
Senior researchers from Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin have been awarded Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) to perform ground-breaking innovative research over the coming five years.
Daniel Bradley from Trinity College will research the DNA data matrix of domestic animals over the last 100,000 years. His project looks at how the major domestic animals emerged in the remarkably innovative early agricultural communities of the Near East and proceeded to dominate food, economy and culture. Through domestication humans profoundly altered their relationship with nature and the results of this research could unlock the key genetic changes that accompany the domestic state and the breeding structures that are a consequence of human management.
Frédéric Dias, originally from France and hosted by UCD since two years, will investigate extreme and rogue wave phenomena together with a co-investigator based in France. The results of this research could, in the future, help with forecasting and early-warning signatures for rogue waves in the ocean. Frédéric who is undertaking this research in UCD is proof that Ireland is able to attract great scientists from other EU countries to its universities. In addition, it demonstrates the mobility of researchers within Europe.
Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Supporting the very best researchers working at the frontiers of knowledge is essential for European competitiveness. The European Research Council has been a huge success in its first five years, with an ever growing flow of research results from its investment. I have therefore proposed a major increase of the ERC budget under the EU's future research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020 ".
The ERC is financing close to 300 EU-based researchers to conduct their research in Europe, with grants up to € 3.5 million each. In these times of economic crisis where research budgets are under severe constraints, this is a good news for the academic world. These grants will, for instance, allow researchers to buy equipment, materials or hire team members to help them in their projects. Institutions based in Ireland have hosted 6 recipients since these type of Advanced Grants were first awarded, back in 2008.
Lists of selected researchers
The lists below show the proposals selected for funding. Some additional funds are expected to be confirmed which will enable the ERC to support a few more projects that are presently on a reserve list. The lists will subsequently be updated. Proposals placed on the reserve lists will only be published once their actual funding has been confirmed.
List of all selected researchers by country of host institution (in alphabetical order within each country group): http://erc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/document/file/erc_2011_adg_results_all_domains.pdf
Statistics (Advanced Grant call 2011):
More information on the ERC: http://erc.europa.eu/
Meeting of Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn with Bill Gates (23 January 2012)
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, met today with Mr Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They discussed topics related to the remit of the Commissioner and of interest to both sides, including poverty-related diseases, rare diseases, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and food security.
Following the meeting, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said:
"In times of economic crisis, the EU's determination to help developing countries is strengthened, not diminished. People's lives are at stake, and as the world's largest donor, the EU has an important role to play in improving public health and alleviating hunger and poverty.
As Commissioner for Research and Innovation, I strongly support research projects leading to innovative solutions in tackling major global challenges such as health and food security. Mr Gates and I agreed that international cooperation is particularly important in these areas.
Success stories exist and should inspire us. The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is one of them. Created in response to the global health crisis caused by the three main poverty-related diseases: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, EDCTP has effectively paved the way to potential breakthrough treatment. On this occasion, I would like to thank again the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their contribution to this and other projects.
Only through collective efforts can we effectively tackle the really big issues affecting the world's most vulnerable, and respond to current and emerging research needs and priorities. Partnerships across regions and public-private initiatives are the way forward. The European Commission and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation share many research goals and priorities and already work together well. I am looking forward to cooperating even more closely together in the coming years."
For more information on the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), go to: http://www.edctp.org/
Statement by the EC, ECB, and IMF on the Review Mission to Ireland (19 January 2012)
Staff teams from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Dublin during January 10-19 for the regular quarterly review of the government’s economic programme. The teams’ assessment is that the programme is on track but challenges remain and continued steadfast policy implementation will be key. The EC and IMF missions will seek approval for the completion of this review from the relevant EU bodies and the IMF Executive Board respectively.
Click here [5 MB] to listen to the Opening Statement by Istvan Szekely of the European Commission.
A video of the press conference is available here.
Programme implementation remains strong. The front-loaded fiscal consolidation is on track, with the 2011 deficit significantly below the programme targets. The Irish authorities have continued to advance wide-ranging reforms to restore the health of the financial system so it can support Ireland’s recovery. Reforms to enhance competitiveness and support growth and job creation are moving forward.
The substantial fiscal consolidation targeted for 2011 has been achieved with a margin. Budgetary measures of 3½ percent of GDP reduced the estimated general government deficit to about 10 percent, well within the programme target of 10.6 percent. This result was achieved despite weaker domestic demand, reflecting the authorities' strong revenue administration and firm expenditure control. Budget 2012 targets further consolidation of 2¾ percent of GDP to lower the deficit to 8.6 percent of GDP, and sets out a clear path to reach the 3 percent of GDP deficit target by 2015.
Major progress in strengthening and downsizing the banking system was made in 2011. The two pillar banks met the 2011 deleveraging targets with almost €15 billion of predominantly foreign assets sold at a better price than anticipated. Implementation of the strategy to restore the viability and solvency of the credit union sector is underway. More conservative, provisioning and disclosure guidelines will enhance the transparency of the banks’ 2011 financial statements.
Steps to support growth and job creation are being put in place. Reforms of sectoral wage agreements, to make wage-setting in occupations hard hit by recession more responsive to economic conditions, have been submitted to parliament. Asset disposal plans are being finalized with the primary goal of strengthening competition and efficiency in key sectors while securing value for the state.
Looking ahead, nonetheless, Ireland continues to face considerable challenges. Domestic demand remains subdued, unemployment high, and trading partner growth is slowing. As a result, projected GDP growth for 2012 has been revised down to ½ percent, from an estimated 1 percent in 2011.
In this more challenging environment, maintaining Ireland’s track record of strong programme implementation remains key to sustaining recovery and achieving Ireland’s return to capital markets. Accordingly, the authorities' priorities in first half of 2012 include publishing a fiscal responsibility bill to underpin the achievement of the budgetary consolidation. They are also working with lenders to promote efforts to address loan arrears, and they will publish a modernization of personal insolvency framework. The authorities are also strengthening the effectiveness of activation and training policies to help job seekers get back to work.
The objectives of Ireland’s EU-IMF supported programme are to address financial sector weaknesses and to put Ireland’s economy on the path of sustainable growth, sound public finances, and job creation, while protecting the poor and most vulnerable. The programme includes loans from the European Union and EU member states amounting to €45.0 billion and a €22.5 billion Extended Fund Facility with the IMF. Ireland’s contribution is €17.5 billion. Approval of the conclusion of this review will allow the disbursement of €3.2 billion by the IMF and €6.5 billion by the EU. The mission for the next programme review is scheduled for April 2011.
Statement by Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development (18 January 2012)
Following the meeting of Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, with Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Commissioner said:
"The Commission put on the table a strong proposal regarding the future of the CAP in terms of the budget. The agricultural sector remains a key sector for the European Union, not only for the economy but also for society. Therefore the Commission proposed a strong budget for the CAP. I'd like to thank the Irish Government for their support for our proposal. Ireland will play an important role in this process, as Ireland will have the Presidency of the Council in the first semester of 2013."
"The future of the CAP is linked to the budget, but it is also linked to the credibility that we must maintain and reinforce in the eyes of taxpayers and consumers in Europe. With these reforms we propose to reinforce the partnership between farmers and society because I strongly believe that farmers, consumers and taxpayers in Europe have the same interests and objectives; to have a secure supply of quality, affordable food and at the same time to have it produced in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner. We must support the sustainable competitiveness of our agriculture and the proposals for CAP reform seek to do this. We also propose more transparency in the utilisation of the budget that we have for CAP.
In terms of direct payments to farmers, which are an essential instrument for the future CAP, these will be redefined based on new criteria taking into account the realities of today, not the past.
The future competitiveness of the agri-food sector in Europe will depend more and more on our capacity to integrate innovation and the results of research in farming and agri-food practices. Here the Commission has proposed that there will be more integration of research and innovation in agriculture than in the past, with a specific budget and specific measures for research and innovation in agriculture. With the cooperation of Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire-Geoghegan Quinn, we have proposed to the farming community strong new instruments to create a more competitive and a more sustainable agri-food sector.
Supporting rural areas remains a priority under the reform proposals with the Leader Programme, which Ireland has had a good experience of, remaining a key element.
I conclude by hoping that during the Irish Presidency we will be able to find compromise and finalise these reform proposals and that the Council together with the Parliament will be able to do this at the beginning of 2013."
Later on today the Commissioner will deliver the keynote address at the Irish Farmers' Association in the RDS and tomorrow he will speak to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.
A "Star" for an Irish child – Adam Vaughan wins Galileo Drawing Competition (18 January 2012)
Adam Vaughan from St Cronan's Senior National School, Swords, Co Dublin has won the Galileo drawing competition. The 10-year old 's drawing , entitled "The Solar System", was selected as the winner of the Irish leg of the competition. As first prize winner, one of the Galileo Satellites will be named after Adam and launched into space later this year.
The competition was organised by the European Commission to coincide with the creation of the EU's 'Galileo' satellite navigation system. In Ireland it was launched in September by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.
Children aged between 9 and 11 were asked make a drawing representing space and satellite navigation. The competition judges (David Moore, chairman and founder of Astronomy Ireland, Don Conroy, artist and environmentalist and Joan Flanagan, Education Officer in the European Commission Representation in Ireland) had the difficult task of selecting the winning drawing out of a total of 173 entries from schools all over Ireland.
This competition was organised in each of the 27 countries in the European Union. The Galileo Programme will launch a total of 30 satellites that will form a constellation orbiting at more than 20,000 km from earth. Each of the competition winners will have one of these satellites named after them.
More Information: http://www.galileocontest.eu/
Most Irish against compulsory retirement - Eurobarometer (13 January 2012)
To mark 2012 European Year of Active Ageing , two major EU studies are out today giving new information about older people in Ireland and across the EU.
Both publications are rich in data – below are just some Irish highlights we have picked out.
1. Eurostat : Ireland has the lowest share of people aged over 55 in the EU
According to a new Eurostat publication, "Active ageing and solidarity between generations – a statistical portrait of the European Union 2012", in 2010 Ireland had the lowest share of people aged over 55 in the EU at 21.4% compared to just under 33% in Germany and Italy (EU average of 29.6%). The share of persons aged 55 and over in the total population increased between 1990 and 2010 in all Member States. On average across the EU, the share of people aged 55 and over increased from 24.5% in 1990 to 29.6% in 2010. The share of people aged over 55 in Ireland also increased although at a slower rate, from 19.3% in 1990 to 21.4% in 2010.
The employment rate of people aged 65 and over in Ireland was 8.6%, which is well above the EU average of 4.7% but well below countries like Portugal (16.5%), Romania (13.0%) and Cyprus (12.9%) .
To view the original Eurostat press release go to
2. Eurobarometer: Seventy-four per cent of Irish people surveyed are in favour of allowing work after 65 and 57% are against any compulsory retirement age.
Irish people are third most likely to see themselves as young at 51% compared to an EU average of 40%. Only people living in Cyprus (58%), Greece (54%) and Iceland (53%) were more likely to consider themselves as young. By contrast only 27% of Germans think of themselves as young.
To mark the start of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity of Generations, the Commission presented today a new Eurobarometer survey showing that 71% of Europeans are aware that Europe's population is getting older, but only 42% are concerned about this development.
This is in stark contrast with the perceptions of policy makers, who regard demographic ageing as a major challenge. For most citizens, people aged 55 years and older play a major role in key areas of society. Over 60% believe that we should be allowed to continue working after retirement age and one third says that they would like to work longer themselves. Surprisingly, people closer to retirement are more likely to share this view than the younger generation.
The Eurobarometer survey covers five areas: overall perceptions of age and older people; older people in the workplace; retirement and pensions; voluntary work and support for older people and an age-friendly environment.
Key results of the active ageing Eurobarometer survey
- The majority of Europeans (71%) are aware that the population is getting older, but this is a concern for only 42 %. 65% of Irish respondents are aware that the population is getting older and this is of concern to 37%.
- Definitions of 'old' and 'young' differ across countries. On average, Europeans believe that people start being considered as old just before 64 years (64.2 for Ireland) and are no longer considered young from the age of 41.8 years (39 for Ireland).
- Most Europeans consider that older people play a major role in society and especially
within their families (82% for EU and Ireland),
in politics (71% for EU as a whole and 76% for Ireland),
in the local community (70% and 73% for Ireland),
or in the economy (67% and 69% for Ireland)
- Only one in three Europeans believes that the official retirement age will have to increase by 2030. However a majority of people in Denmark (58%), the Netherlands (55%), Ireland (53%), and the UK (51%) recognise the need for an increase in the official retirement age.
- 61% of Europeans support the idea that people should be allowed to continue working once they have reached the official retirement age. Irish people are more in favour with 74% supporting people being allowed to continue working after the official retirement age. Support was highest in Denmark (93%) and the Netherlands (91%).
- 53% of Europeans and 57% of Irish people reject the idea of a compulsory retirement age. However opinions across Europe varied strongly from 84% in Denmark and 83% and 83% in Iceland to 14% in Macedonia and 17% in Romania.
- For those who felt there should be a compulsory retirement age, the average age chosen across the EU was 64 years. However this varied from 69.9 years in Denmark to 53 years in Turkey and 59.5 years in Romania. In Ireland the 36% of people who felt that there should be a compulsory retirement age chose 66.9 years.
- One third of Europeans state that they would like to continue working after they reach the age when they are entitled to a pension. Irish people are much more likely to want to continue working at 46%. Across Europe, the percentage of people who wanted to continue working after they reach the age when they are entitled to a pension varied from 57% in Denmark and 56% in the UK to 16% in Slovenia.
- Part-time work combined with a partial pension would be more appealing than full retirement, to two thirds of Europeans. The combination of working with a partial pension appeals most in Sweden (90%), Denmark (87%), Iceland (86%), the Netherlands (84%), UK (82%), Finland (80%), Ireland (78%) and Belgium (78%).
- The majority of Europeans believe that their country and local area are 'age-friendly'. 63% of Irish respondents believe that Ireland is 'age-friendly', which is above the EU average of 57% but well below Luxembourg at 81%. Hungarians are least likely to think their country is 'age-friendly' at 21%.
- When it comes to their local area, 64% of Irish respondents and 65% of EU respondents felt their local area was 'age-friendly'. Respondents in Denmark (80%) and Luxembourg (78%) were most likely to agree and respondents in Hungary least likely at 37%. The most commonly mentioned improvements for making their local area more “age friendly” were more facilities for older people to stay fit and healthy (42% across the EU and 48% for Ireland) and improvements to public transport (40% across the EU and 45% for Ireland).
- Just over half of EU citizens (53%) feel that the use of technology to interact with customers instead of traditional means is a major obstacle for older people. However only 43% of Irish respondents considered technology to be a major obstacle.
- In tackling the challenges of ageing populations, most respondents believe older people's organisations and other NGOs, as well as religious organisations and churches, play the most important role. 72% of Irish respondents believed older people's organisations and other NGOs played a positive role and 65% believed religious organisations and churches played a positive role.
This Eurobarometer covers the 27 Member States and five non-EU countries; namely Croatia, Iceland, FYROM, Norway and Turkey. In Ireland 1,006 people were interviewed by Ipsos MRBI between 24 September and 7 October 2010.
For more information:
Special Eurobarometer 378: Active Ageing (Report and Factsheets)
Comparative information on EU member states in MEMO/12/10
Website of the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations
European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing
Eurostat brochure - Active ageing and solidarity between generations – a statistical portrait of the European Union 2012
How to promote active ageing in Europe - EU support to local and regional actors
European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012
New 'six-pack' at work - "Hungary's measures insufficient" (11 January 2012)
Today the European Commission concluded that Hungary has not made sufficient progress towards a timely and sustainable correction of its excessive deficit. The European Commission proposes to move to the next stage of the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) and recommends that the Council of Ministers decides that no effective action has been taken to bring the deficit below 3% of GDP in a sustainable manner.
Subject to this Council decision (under Article 126(8) of the EU Treaty), the Commission will then propose to the Council new recommendations addressed to Hungary (under Article 126(7) of the Treaty) with a view to bringing to an end its excessive government deficit.
Olli Rehn, the European Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro said: "Today's report shows that the six-pack is already delivering. It has given the European Commission teeth to act when countries fail to bring their deficits under control and reduce their debt. Fiscal discipline is crucial to reinforce confidence in our public finances. I stand by my word: I am determined to fully use this new powerful set of tools from Day One."
Belgium, Cyprus, Malta and Poland - the other countries that were at risk of not meeting their deadlines of 2011 or 2012 to correct their excessive deficit - have taken effective action. Therefore, the Commission considers that no further steps in the excessive deficit procedure are necessary for these four countries, though it will continue to monitor budgetary developments closely. This is the first time the European Commission has applied the new rules of the strengthened Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), which are part of the so-called "six-pack" on economic governance, which entered into force on 13 December 2011.
For Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta and Poland, the Commission's Autumn Forecast of 10 November 2011 showed that these countries were at clear risk of not meeting their obligations to correct their excessive deficits. The next day, Vice-President Rehn sent letters to the Finance Ministers concerned making clear that, in the absence of corrective measures, further steps under the EDP, with the possibility of prompting sanctions, would become unavoidable. All four countries have since taken measures that appear sufficient to ensure a sustainable correction of the excessive deficit.
The budget balance in Hungary, in contrast, is heavily influenced by one-off revenues that do not result in a sustainable deficit correction. Although in 2011, Hungary formally respected the 3% of GDP reference value, this is only thanks to one-off measures worth some 10% of GPD, this budgetary outcome masks, however, a severe deterioration in the underlying structural balance. In fact, the structural budgetary position deteriorated in 2010 and 2011 by an estimated cumulative 2¾% of GDP in stark contrast to the recommended cumulative fiscal improvement of 0.5% of GDP. Also, in 2012, the general government deficit would remain below 3% of GDP only thanks to one-off revenues. Consequently, in 2013, the deficit is projected to reach 3¼% of GDP, even without taking into account possible negative effects of a worsening in the macroeconomic scenario and rising bond yields, thus breaching the reference value of the Treaty. In sum, the correction of the excessive deficit in 2011 is not of a sustainable nature. This leads to the conclusion that Hungary has not taken effective action in response to the Council Recommendation of July 2009.
For further information:
MEMO/11/898 - EU Economic governance "Six-Pack" enters into force
MEMO/11/364 - EU Economic governance: a major step forward
MEMO/11/627 - EU Economic governance "Six Pack" - State of Play
Meet the EU at Young Scientist Exhibition: STAND 20 - Smart grids, radioactivity "glove box" and careers in EU Research (11 January 2012)
Come to the EU stand and check out Europe's "smart grids", have a go with the radioactivity "glove box" or talk to the EU's research staff about careers and the work they do!
The smart grid touchscreens give information on innovation in electricity infrastructure and smart electricity grids. A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the behaviour and actions of all its users to ensure a sustainable, economic and secure electricity supply.
A "glove box" helps users to learn about the EU Joint Research Centre's work on nuclear research. Glove boxes are normally used in nuclear facilities and laboratories for the handling and storage of radioactive material.
Staff from the EU Joint Research Centre, the European Commission Representation in Ireland and the European Parliament Office in Ireland will be on hand to answer questions.
The Joint Research Centre (www.jrc.ec.europa.eu) is the scientific and technical arm of the European Commission and provides scientific advice and technical know-how to support a wide range of EU policies. The European Commission Representation in Ireland (www.euireland.ie) and the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland (www.europarl.ie) provide information to the Irish public on the European Union and its policies, and the roles the EU institutions.
Location of EU Stand: Stand 20, The World of Science and Technology, Industries Hall, RDS.
Fish boosts unborn babies' brainpower (10 January 2012)
Can pregnant women help boost their children's brainpower by eating fish? The findings of a an EU-funded study just published show how children born to women who ate more fish during their pregnancies demonstrated better outcomes in tests for verbal intelligence, fine motor skills and prosocial behaviour.
The results are from the NUTRIMENTHE ('Effect on diet on the mental performance of children') project, which is backed under the 'Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology' (KBBE) Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 5.9 million.
Oily fish is the leading source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a key structural component of cells and particularly the cell membranes of the brain. The study looked at blood samples from 2,000 women at 20 weeks of pregnancy and then from the umbilical cord at birth. The interaction between gene clusters and mother and baby levels of these fatty acids was then investigated for the first time ever.
'There is more contribution to omega-6 fatty acid synthesis by the foetus than previously expected; DHA levels are dependent on both maternal and child metabolism' says Dr Eva Lattka who lead the international team. 'DHA supplied by the mother might be very important.'
In a previous study, researchers had found that consumption of fish during pregnancy is associated with verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) at age 8, but it wasn't clear what fish have that mediates the effect. Eating fish is associated with maternal levels of DHA, but there was no data on whether maternal DHA levels are directly related to outcomes in children. The NUTRIMENTHE project, which is expected to end in 2013 is working on resolving this issue. These first results have just been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In the NUTRIMENTHE study, the researchers investigated how fish mediate the effect of genetic variation on brainpower. The project partners focused primarily on polymorphisms in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster that codes for the enzymes delta-5 and delta-6 desaturase involved in the synthesis of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Using blood samples taken from more than 2,000 women at 20 weeks of pregnancy and from the umbilical cord at birth, researchers assessed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the genotyping of 18 FADS single nucleotide polymorphisms. The team supplied omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to the developing child by placental transfer via the umbilical cord. How maternal and child FADS genotypes impact the levels of these fatty acids had not been investigated until now.
Dr Eva Lattka from Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Centre for Environmental Health and her team discovered how polymorphisms in the FADS gene cluster affect fatty acids in women during pregnancy. According to the researchers, the composition of fatty acids in cord blood needs maternal and child genotypes, such that maternal genotypes are primarily associated with omega-6 precursors, and that child genotypes are mainly linked to omega-6 products. They also found that the DHA amounts were equally associated with maternal and child genotypes.
'There is more contribution to omega-6 fatty acid synthesis by the foetus than previously expected; DHA levels are dependent on both maternal and child metabolism,' Dr Lattka says. 'DHA supplied by the mother might be very important.'
In a previous study, researchers had found that consumption of fish during pregnancy is associated with verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) at age 8, but what does fish have that mediates the effect? While the study identified how eating fish is associated with maternal levels of DHA, no data has emerged on whether maternal DHA levels are directly related to outcomes in children. The NUTRIMENTHE project, which is expected to end in 2013, will work at resolving this issue.
The NUTRIMENTHE partners hosted a symposium called 'Nutrition and Cognitive Function' at the European Nutrition Conference in Madrid in late October. Researchers from Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are part of the NUTRIMENTHE consortium. (EFSA Journal 2011;9(4):2078)
For more information, please visit:
Research in KBBE:
Dublin to host the biggest science conference in Europe (6 January 2012)
In 2012, Dublin will host Europe's largest science conference as part of its role as European City of Science 2012. Having been awarded the honor, Dublin will follow such cities as Stockholm, Munich, Barcelona and Turin in organizing a year-long programme of science-related events and activities throughout the country. The highlight of the year will be the Euroscience Open Forum which will be held in Dublin's Convention Centre from the 11th – 15th July next year and is expected to draw up to 6,000 of the world's leading scientists, researchers, educators, industry experts, policy makers and media.
The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) is held in a major European city every two years. It aims to bring together researchers in both the natural and social sciences so that in addition to showing the latest scientific and technological advances being made, the forum will bring people from different fields together to discuss the role of science in public life and policy, and spark an interest and enthusiasm for science among young and old.
The Euroscience Forum will be the biggest science event in Europe next year and will offer Ireland the opportunity to further enhance its image as a science, technology and innovation hub. The forum will feature workshops, discussions, debates and seminars on the most cutting-edge research. The year will give Irish researchers in particular the opportunity to have their research seen by a global audience of leaders in R&D and it will highlight the amazing opportunities available to young people considering a career in science, research and development.
As part of the year, Dublin City of Science will actively engage with younger people to promote science education and to communicate the importance of scientific research both for our lives and for our economy.
At Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn's recent keynote speech at IBM Ireland, she discussed the importance of science for the future economic growth of our smart economy and the role that Dublin City of Science 2012 can play:
"This will give Dublin and Ireland a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best research that is being performed in Ireland and to lead the European-wide debate on the most important research and science issues." The Commissioner also stressed the importance of, "putting research, innovation and science at the heart of our fight for jobs and prosperity."
An additional boost to the Irish economy will come from an expected €9 million spend by the large number of delegates attending the Forum and the promotion of Ireland abroad.
To visit the Dublin City of Science website or to register for the Euroscience forum log on to http://www.dublinscience2012.ie/
To visit Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's website see http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/geoghegan-quinn/index_en.htm
European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 (6 January 2012)
2012 has been designated as the 'European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations'. The European year 2012 aims to help create better job opportunities and working conditions for the growing number of older people in Europe, help them take an active role in society and encourage healthy ageing. This European Year allows us to discuss the challenges and benefits that our changing population will bring to Europe over the coming decades.
While we must acknowledge the challenges that we face as a society due to an ageing population, the European Year 2012 encourages us to see the benefits of having an inclusive approach to ageing. As our age demographics shift, we will need to look at policies on family welfare, education, training, employment and how we finance health care and pensions. Europeans today are living longer and healthier lives, a fact that needs to be celebrated. The challenges brought about by this historic achievement however, cannot be overlooked. On average in the EU, there are currently four people of working age (15 – 64) for every person over 65. By 2060, there will only be two people of working age for every person over 65.
Ireland currently has the highest fertility rate of the 27 EU states, with the average number of children per Irish woman standing at 2.07. This is a positive trend for Ireland as we seek to maintain a vibrant community and a strong economy into the future. As the average age of our population increases however, there will be more pressure on public services and finances. The European year 2012 allows us to discuss these issues and ensure that solidarity between generations is maintained.
The Year of Active Ageing 2012 will promote the view that these challenges give us great opportunities where we can help solve some of the most important problems facing us. By empowering older people to age with better health and security, we can ensure that they continue to contribute throughout their working lives so that we can respond to changes in a way that is fair to all in the community. Promoting the sharing of experience and skills through mentoring will encourage younger people to see the interdependence of the generations and the importance of learning from those who have the knowledge needed to succeed in work and life.
The European Year 2012 gives us a launching pad for raising awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It will encourage policy makers and stakeholders to take action on these issues facing us and it promotes better cooperation and sharing of experiences and views between generations, helping to create a stronger and more inclusive community for all of us.
Active Ageing allows all of us to realise our potential for wellbeing throughout our lives, participate in society and provides us with protection, security and care when we need it.
The Irish website for the European Year 2012 will be up and running in January.
For further information log onto the official European Commission website http://ec.europa.eu/social/ey2012.jsp