Месечни архиви: June 2018

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, June 2018

Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,

Debate on the Future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Netherlands

© European Union 2018 – Source : EP

The June plenary session highlights were the continuation of the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and the preparation of the European Council meeting of 28 and 29 June 2018. The European Commission and Council participated in discussions on, inter alia, the independence of the judiciary in Poland, humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean and solidarity in the EU, and the economic and monetary union package. VP/HR Federica Mogherini’s statements on the Iran nuclear deal, the annual report on human rights and democracy in the world (2017), and on the Georgian occupied territories ten years after the Russian invasion, were also discussed. Debates followed on the first anniversary of the signature of the Istanbul Convention and on the closure of the ivory market to combat poaching. Parliament approved the proposal to amend the regulation on OTC derivatives, an agreement on common rules in the field of civil aviation, on monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions and on fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles. It approved the final text of a proposed directive on proportionality tests for new national professional regulations. It also approved the new composition of Parliament after ‘Brexit’, and further macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.

Iran nuclear deal, human rights and democracy, and Georgian occupied territories

Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, made a statement on the Iran nuclear agreement; Mogherini also discussed the annual report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World (2017), and the EU’s policy on the matter, followed by debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Russia, Bahrain and on the situation of Rohingya refugees. Another topic for discussion was the situation in the Georgian occupied territories, ten years after the Russian invasion.

OTC derivatives

A proposal to amend and simplify the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), which deals with the regulation of ‘over-the-counter’ (OTC) derivatives in the EU, was debated and amendments approved by Members, clearing the way for the ECON committee to open trilogue negotiations. The 2017 Commission proposal covers issues such as the clearing obligation, reporting requirements, risk-mitigation techniques and trade repositories in the OTC derivatives market. Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs proposes further amendments that would boost transparency, compliance with reporting requirements, and access to clearing, including the principle that clearing services be provided under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) commercial terms.

Common rules for civil aviation and European Union Aviation Safety Agency

Europe remains the safest air space in the world and the EU intends to ensure it stays that way. MEPs approved the trilogue agreement on common rules in the field of civil aviation and on reform of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) statutes. Parliament’s focus in its position on the proposals has been on adapting the rules to heavier air traffic and emerging technologies in aviation. One of the key points also includes the obligation of registering certain recreational drones.

CO2 emissions from and fuel consumption of new heavy-duties

Free movement of goods in the EU is also essential to the success of the internal market. However, the large-scale use of heavy-duty vehicles in transport has consequences for our environment, as they emit around a quarter of all road transport CO2. Parliament’s amendments extend EU targets to reduce these emissions, to include new administrative fines on manufacturers who fail to comply, and introduce new on-road verification tests. Parliament validated the provisional trilogue agreement on the proposal on monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles that seeks to stimulate market uptake of cleaner, fuel-efficient, heavy-duty vehicles, by an overwhelming majority.

Further macro-financial assistance to Ukraine

Members approved the granting of new macro-financial assistance to Ukraine for a maximum of up to €1 billion, which will help cover Ukraine’s needs in external financing for 2018-2019. Despite the priority accorded to Ukraine under the Eastern Partnership, the EU has already cancelled assistance payments due in the previous programme, because of the country’s failure to meet the conditions regarding governance and economic reforms. Parliament and Council positions to date indicate that any further assistance will be conditional on progress in the fight against corruption, with a proposed Memorandum of Understanding to be signed covering institutional and administrative capacities, including an anti-corruption court.

Proportionality test before adoption of new professional regulations

Parliament adopted a compromise text agreed in trilogue on the proposed directive introducing a proportionality test for new national regulations for professions, which affect employment in areas such as medicine and architecture. Public concern has been expressed regarding the inconsistent application of proportionality principles and a lack of transparency in the access to such professions, which is decided by Member States individually. Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection obtained a compromise between addressing unnecessary national requirements and allowing a specific status for healthcare services, and Council’s desire to limit obligations regarding the transparency of the national regulatory process.

Composition of the European Parliament

The number of Members of the European Parliament is limited to 751 under the Lisbon Treaty. The United Kingdom withdrawal means the seats left vacant by British Members must be redistributed, a situation complicated by the withdrawal date falling just before the next European elections. The composition of the European Parliament will therefore change after ‘Brexit’, providing an opportunity for Parliament to correct the current flawed application of the degressive proportionality principle (minimum of 6 seats per Member State, maximum 96; with each Member elected in more populous states representing more electors than those elected in less populous states, and vice versa), without reopening the Treaties. Parliament voted on whether to consent to a European Council decision on a partial redistribution of seats for the next term, involving no loss of seats for any Member State, reserving 46 seats for future enlargements, and reducing the overall number of Members to 705. Parliament approved the proposal by a very large majority (566 votes for, 94 against, 31 abstentions). The reform is due to be formally ratified at the end of June by the European Council.

Structural and financial barriers to access to culture

EU citizens have a huge range of cultural heritage sites, museums, exhibitions, films, and live performances to choose from, and digital access to cultural services makes it even easier to find cultural stimulation. In addition, the EU offers support to Member States in promoting cultural life. Nevertheless, participation in cultural activities remains low. Against this background, Parliament voted this week on a CULT committee report on the barriers to accessing culture in the EU, which include public funding levels, access, and the role of education.

Opening of trilogue negotiations

Three parliamentary committees’ decisions to enter into interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations were confirmed: on interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union; on charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructure (TRAN committee); on free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (IMCO committee); and on screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union (INTA committee).

Three further TRAN committee decisions to open negotiations were rejected: on the posting of road transport drivers; on driving times, rest periods, and positioning by means of tachographs; and on the occupation of road transport operator and access to the international road haulage market. These reports will therefore be placed on the agenda of the July part-session.

Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, June 2018‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/15/plenary-round-up-strasbourg-june-2018/

Major sporting events versus human rights

Written by Christian Salm,

Winner holding golden medal for show and celebrate number one

© vectorfusionart & hin255 / Fotolia

On 14 June 2018, the 21st FIFA World Cup opens with the Russia versus Saudi Arabia match in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow – the first time that Russia hosts what is the most important tournament for national football teams. Despite some calls for a political boycott due to Russian governmental policy under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, there was little speculation that the tournament would not go ahead as planned. However, there were some calls for a political boycott of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. For example, a group of 60 Members of the European Parliament (EP) from five political groups and 16 European Union (EU) Member States signed an open letter calling on EU governments to boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia due to the authoritarian and anti-western path of the Russian President.

In fact, debates in the EP on how to react to major sporting events in host countries with a poor track record of human rights have history. At the ends of the 1970s, the EP discussed policy action with regard to the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. The Argentinian World Cup, occurring around two years after the Argentinian military right-wing coup and its violent repression of critics, was described then by many sports and political observers as the most political in FIFA’s history to date. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games, the first to be held in a socialist country, unleashed a hitherto unprecedented boycott by 60 countries, in protest against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.

In the case of the 1978 World Cup, the EP held a public hearing, funded by the then Socialist Group, intended to help move forward investigations into human rights violations and the disappearance of around 100 European Community citizens in Argentina. Victims of the Argentinian military regime and representatives of Amnesty International gave evidence to the public hearing. On the basis of the declarations made during the public hearing, the EP adopted a resolution on 6 July 1978. The resolution requested ‘the Foreign Ministers of the Member States meeting in political cooperation, the Commission and the Council urgently to take all appropriate measures to bring about an improvement in the situation as regards the respect of human rights and democratic freedom in Argentina’.

Two political developments, in particular, influenced the conditions and perspective for the EP’s considerations on the right course of policy action towards the Olympics in Moscow in 1980. First, after a period of détente, the international situation deteriorated following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979; and second, the USSR began a wave of repression against protagonists of human rights. This included the arrest in January 1980 of the academic Andrei Sakharov, a symbolic figure for the human rights movement and winner of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize. Members of the EP expressed deep concern that Sakharov’s arrest and the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan were a threat to international détente and peace. As a consequence, the EP adopted a resolution in mid-January 1980, which stated: ‘The European Parliament calls on the Governments of the Nine [the European Community Member States at that time] to express abhorrence of Soviet oppression and aggression by advising their National Olympic Committees to ask their teams and individual athletes not to take part in the Olympic Games in Moscow’. The resolution followed United States President Jimmy Carter’s ultimatum of mid-January 1980 that the US would boycott the Olympic Games if Soviet troops had not withdrawn from Afghanistan by 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on 20 February 1980.

Then, as now, the protection of human rights was one of the EU’s fundamental values. The EP saw raising public awareness of human rights violations in Argentina and the Soviet Union as a moral responsibility, at a time when both countries gained high public attention as hosts of these major sports events. A more recent example is a public hearing in Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights of February 2014, which focused on the situation of migrant workers in the construction of football stadiums for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. This and other EP public hearings, as well as the above-mentioned open letter calling on EU governments to stay away from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, follow a tradition that originated in EP debates and policy action regarding the 1978 World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.

Read also: ‘Major sporting events versus human rights: Parliament’s position on the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Moscow Olympics‘.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/14/major-sporting-events-versus-human-rights/

Science is not finished until it is communicated!

Written by Svetla Tanova-Encke,

Science is not finished until it is communicated

© Shutterstock / Sunny studio

More than ever, science and new technologies surround us in our daily lives. Equally, more than ever, it seems that nobody understands enough about this. Digital communications, artificial intelligence, big data: you do not have to be a high-tech geek to see the impact new technologies are already having on our lives. However, how can average citizens find their way through scientific or pseudo-scientific claims, whom should they trust in the post-truth world, where even issues on which scientists are virtually unanimous, like climate change or vaccines, are heavily questioned and debated?

‘Science is not finished until it’s communicated’, Mark Walport, who was Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government, once said. ‘Communication to wider audiences is part of the job of being a scientist, and so how you communicate is absolutely vital.’

In this context, science communication plays an important role in helping citizens understand the issues at stake. A constant dialogue between the actors involved in the scientific endeavour – scientists, communicators, policy-makers and journalists – is essential. The European Science-Media Hub (ESMH), newly launched by STOA, should serve as a platform for such dialogue between the European Parliament, the scientific community and the media.

Creating a network

The first task of the Science-Media Hub is to establish contacts with partners from the scientific community, among science journalists and from other relevant stakeholders.

It is important to work across disciplines and across institutions. The Science-Media Hub has already set up an Interinstitutional Advisory Board consisting of representatives from the European Parliament (STOA and DG COMM), the European Commission (DG RTD, DG CONNECT and the Joint Research Centre (JRC)), the European Institute of Innovation &Technology (EIT) and the European Research Council (ERC) Executive Agency.

Monitoring media and innovation

The ESMH will monitor the trends in media coverage of science topics as they happen. Via media monitoring tools the Hub will work to identify the most debated topics in different scientific categories across a wide variety of mainstream media. The team will use additional means to take a closer look at the information streamed on social media. In parallel, the ESMH will identify science-based information, scientists and scientific articles on specific topics, gathering information from scientific publications.

Online platform and knowledge sharing

In the meantime, the ESMH team is working on an online platform for the Hub. The webpage will provide articles on popular topics in the field of science and new technologies, written in a citizen-friendly style. The webpage will also disseminate trustworthy sources of information and promote EU and EP research.

Training for journalists

The ESMH would like to empower quality science journalism through access to such trustworthy information, as well as contacts with scientists and policy-makers. The main target group of the ESMH will be science journalists, young media representatives, science communicators, writers, bloggers and other communication practitioners.

For this audience, the ESMH will organise training and workshops on current technological developments, both as subjects of their reporting and as means of facilitating their work. The first of these will be organised in the autumn by the ESMH team, together with their colleagues in STOA and DG COMM of the European Parliament, and will look into the issue of how big data and algorithms can influence elections.

Many more interesting events are to come, so stay tuned and be sure to follow the activities of the European Science-Media Hub via the EPRS blog and Twitter!

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/14/science-is-not-finished-until-it-is-communicated/

Multiannual plan for demersal fisheries in the western Mediterranean [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Irina Popescu (1st edition),

Porto Santo Stefano, Italy - June 24, 2017: Harbor seafront and village skyline, italian travel destination. Monte Argentario, Tuscany, Italy.

© isaac74 / Fotolia

On 8 March 2018, the European Commission proposed a multiannual plan for the western Mediterranean fisheries exploiting several stocks of fish and crustaceans living close to the sea bottom (i.e. ‘demersal fisheries’). Most of these stocks have long been overfished and are now in an alarming state. The proposed plan aims to reverse this trend and ensure that fishing activities are environmentally sustainable and capable of securing economic and social benefits. The plan concerns fishing fleets from Italy, Spain and France, totalling almost 10 900 vessels.

The proposal would introduce a fishing-effort regime for all trawlers operating in the region, and reduce fishing activities in the first year of application, in line with the scientific advice. In addition, it would restrict trawlers from operating in waters shallower than 100 m for three months each year, to reserve the coastal zone for more selective fishing gear. The plan would also establish regional cooperation among the Member States concerned, with a view to developing provisions on the obligation to land all catches and on the conservation of resources through technical measures.



Landings of the main demersal species exploited in the western Mediterranean Sea in 2014 by value (million €)

Landings of the main demersal species exploited in the western Mediterranean Sea in 2014 by value (million €)

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/13/multiannual-plan-for-demersal-fisheries-in-the-western-mediterranean-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Performance-based Budgeting: A means to improve EU spending in the 2021-2027 MFF?

Written by Magdalena Sapala and Nurseli Ulvieva,

EPRS Policy Roundtable - ' Performance-based Budgeting: A means to improve EU spending in the 2021-2027 MFF ? 'Following the publication of the study on ‘Performance budgeting: A means to improve EU spending‘, an EPRS roundtable discussion was held in the European Parliament library on 5 June 2018. Speakers, including Martina DLABAJOVÁ (ALDE, Czech Republic, Vice-President of EP Committee on Budgetary Control), Maria Rosa ALDEA BUSQUETS (Deputy Director-General, DG Budget, European Commission), Joël COSTANTZER (Principal Auditor, Financing and Administering the Union, European Court of Auditors) and Magdalena SAPAŁA (Policy Analyst, Budgetary Policies Unit, EPRS), contributed to the lively discussion. EPRS Director Etienne BASSOT delivered a welcoming speech, while the event was moderated by Fabia JONES, acting head of the EPRS Budgetary Policies Unit.

Magdalena SAPAŁA - EPRS Policy Roundtable - ' Performance-based Budgeting: A means to improve EU spending in the 2021-2027 MFF ? '

Magdalena SAPAŁA – (Policy Analyst, Budgetary Policies Unit, EPRS)

The roundtable discussion was opened by Magdalena SAPAŁA, an author of the study on performance budgeting, who defined performance budgeting and the main challenges to its implementation. Performance budgeting is a way of allocating resources where the goals can be best achieved, as well as a way of managing public finances based on three main elements: budget, information on performance, and decisions on learning from results. However, highlighting that challenges might be attributed to all three elements of performance budgeting, SAPAŁA noted that a crucial point in performance budgeting is the link between information on performance and decision-making process. Moreover, effective and successful implementation of the method requires a change in thinking about public budgets, based on performance culture and performance ethos.

Martina DLABAJOVÁ - EPRS Policy Roundtable - ' Performance-based Budgeting: A means to improve EU spending in the 2021-2027 MFF ? '

Martina DLABAJOVÁ (ALDE, Czech Republic)

The next panellist, Martina DLABAJOVÁ focused on her experience of dealing with the topic as a member of the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) of the European Parliament and the Rapporteur in the discharge procedure for the EU general budget 2014. DLABAJOVÁ pointed out the need to change thinking around budgetary control, from focusing on errors and mistakes to results, performance, and lessons learned. DLABAJOVÁ noted ‘the biggest failure is that we are very good in highlighting errors, mistakes and frauds that form less than 5 % of the EU budget, instead of focusing on promoting the successful stories that form 95 % of the Union’s tax payers contributions’. She continued by adding that performance and results make it easier for citizens and stakeholders to understand the objectives and impacts of the EU budget. Informing citizens of EU achievements is crucial, as the EU future and its budget are based solely on their trust.

Maria Rosa ALDEA BUSQUETS - EPRS Policy Roundtable - ' Performance-based Budgeting: A means to improve EU spending in the 2021-2027 MFF ? '

Maria Rosa ALDEA BUSQUETS (Deputy Director-General, DG Budget, European Commission)

The floor was then taken by Maria Rosa ALDEA BUSQUETS, who presented the Budget Focused on Results Initiative and emphasised the European Commission’s commitment to implementing performance budgeting. Continuing with actions taken, ALDEA BUSQUETS pointed out the improved reporting with the Integrated Financial Reporting Package (including the Annual Management and Performance Report), simplification of the Commission’s financial rules, and the execution of a Spending Review. ALDEA BUSQUETS also emphasised that the proposal for the next MFF has an increased focus on EU added value and includes further measures to improve the performance framework such as: drastically reducing the number of ‘corporate’ indicators embedded in the spending programmes, decreasing the number of programmes, and creating more flexibility. However, she also noted that creating a full performance culture is a time-consuming process. Furthermore, she highlighted that many challenges remain in this process, specifically for the EU budget with regards to shared management with Member States, and called for the support of the Parliament, Council, Court of Auditors, as well as other stakeholders in the implementation of performance budgeting.

Joël COSTANTZER - EPRS Policy Roundtable - ' Performance-based Budgeting: A means to improve EU spending in the 2021-2027 MFF ? '

Joël COSTANTZER – (Principal Auditor, Financing and Administering the Union, European Court of Auditors)

The final speaker, Joël COSTANTZER presented the Court of Auditor’s view on the EU performance framework. He highlighted the Court’s overall support for all initiatives that make the EU more performance-oriented and gave examples of the Court’s special reports published recently and focused on the different aspects of performance and results. COSTANTZER described some limitations to implementation of the method to the EU budget, namely the MFF’s limited flexibility as compared to national budgets, the coexistence of different performance frameworks, the use of a large number of sometimes non-relevant objectives and indicators by the Commission. He added that, for the EU, the discussion on the new MFF is a major opportunity to improve implementation of performance budgeting. Therefore, although the negotiations on the 2021-2027 MFF are still in the initial phase, the Court has already noted the positive changes included in the Commission’s proposal, in particular the strong focus on the European added value and performance. In the future, the Court of Auditors will analyse the proposal in detail and the actual steps taken to improve performance orientation of the EU budget.

The roundtable discussion was followed by a lively Q&A session.

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Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/13/performance-based-budgeting-a-means-to-improve-eu-spending-in-the-2021-2027-mff/

Future of Europe debates: Parliament hosts Heads of State or Government

Written by Silvia Kotanidis and Ralf Drachenberg,

Participants in Future of Europe debates in the European Parliament, 2018

Participants in Future of Europe debates in the European Parliament, 2018

Against the background of the many challenges which the European Union has faced in recent years, the European Parliament has taken the lead in launching and hosting a series of high-profile debates on the Future of Europe, intended to run for the whole of 2018. While the Heads of State or Government of countries holding the rotating presidency of the Council – this year, Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria and Sebastian Kurz of Austria – routinely debate with MEPs in plenary, the leaders of other EU Member States are now able to set out publicly their vision for Europe’s future in a dialogue with the only directly elected European institution, during its plenary sittings.

This process is all the more important at a time when the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the next seven years is being discussed: the choices surrounding the MFF and the direction in which the EU decides to develop are intrinsically linked.

So far, at the invitation of its President, Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament has hosted the leaders of six Member States in the context of these ‘Future of Europe’ debates, welcoming the prime ministers of Ireland (Taoiseach), Leo Varadkar; Croatia, Andrej Plenković; and Portugal, António Costa; the President of France, Emmanuel Macron; and the prime ministers of Belgium, Charles Michel; and Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel.

This Briefing provides an overview of where the Future of Europe debate stands in a number of key policy areas, such as economic and monetary union (EMU), the EU’s social dimension, migration policy, security and defence, and broader institutional issues. It takes stock of the views expressed by those EU Heads of State or Government who have intervened in the debate so far, on how these areas might develop in the future.

Read this briefing on ‘Future of Europe debates: Parliament hosts Heads of State or Government‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Overview of topics addressed by each Head of State or Government

Overview of topics addressed by each Head of State or Government

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/11/future-of-europe-debates-parliament-hosts-heads-of-state-or-government/

Bird watchers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for Bird watchers.

Like many of us, you may derive great pleasure and inspiration from watching wild birds and listening to their song. Birds are also an essential element of our ecosystems, which provide us with clean water, pure air, food, medicines and important raw materials.

For these reasons, the European Union protects the 500 wild bird species naturally present in Europe. Through a law adopted in 1979 (the oldest EU law on the environment), the European Union protects bird species in two ways. On the hand, it created protected areas to maintain habitats for 194 species that are particularly threatened (these nature protected areas are part of the wider Natura 2000 network of wild spaces). On the other hand, it bans most activities that directly threaten wild birds, like killing them deliberately, capturing or trading them.

Spanish imperial eagle. Aquila Adalberti

© Jesus / Fotolia

BirdLife, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) developed, with European Union financial support, a system to collect information on threats to and plans for conservation of about 50 bird species. Projects protecting 54 bird species also have priority access to European funds under the LIFE programme.

You may have noticed that numbers of common farmland birds in Europe, such as sparrows and swallows, have fallen recently. However, EU action has helped to protect Europe’s most threatened birds from further decline. One example is the Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila Adalberti), whose population has recovered from 50 pairs in 1974 to about 150-160 pairs today.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/10/bird-watchers-what-europe-does-for-you/

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEETS) [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for young people not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

Many Europeans aged between 15 and 24 years are likely to have experienced difficulties in finding a job and becoming independent, largely due to the 2008 economic and financial crisis. In 2015, 12 % of young Europeans (6.6 million individuals) were not in work, education or training – a social phenomenon known as the NEETs (young people who are ‘not in education, employment or training’).

failed businessman sitting near a homeless looking for work - caucasian people - business, economy, people and lifestyle

© Kar Tr / Fotolia

In response to the poor outlook for young people, all EU countries committed to implement a Youth Guarantee in April 2013. The Guarantee promises a good quality offer of employment, further education, an apprenticeship or traineeship to all young people under the age of 25 years, within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. To help European countries to fulfil this commitment, the EU is spending €6.4 billion on the Youth Employment Initiative (2014-2020), with an extra €1.2 billion in 2017.

Up to now, much effort has been made to reintegrate young people in short term unemployment. European countries also frequently focus on helping young people with disabilities or illnesses. Other strategies that foster equality between young Europeans and boosting female employability include assisting young people who are NEET due to family responsibilities, enhancing young people’s skill sets (basic or digital skills, entrepreneurship), and matching their skills to job market needs.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/10/young-people-not-in-education-employment-or-training-neets-what-europe-does-for-you/

Undergraduate students [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for undergraduate students.

If you are studying your first degree or are considering in enrolling for one, you may think about going abroad for a part of those studies. In that case, your university’s international office will have information about the possibility of an Erasmus exchange. As an Erasmus student, you do not have to pay registration or tuition fees to your host university, your studies count for your degree, and you receive an EU grant.

You should also know that as an EU citizen, you are entitled to study in any other EU country under the same conditions as nationals. The Your Europe website has information on admissions, fees, financial help, or working while studying to help you plan for your degree abroad.

Workshop at university. Rear, trough the window, view of students sitting and listening in lecture hall doing practical tasks on their laptops.

© kasto / Fotolia

However, the recognition of academic diplomas in different EU countries is not yet automatic. By supporting the development of the European higher education area, the EU is promoting a process that gradually makes this simpler. In the meantime, centres exist in all EU countries that assess the comparability of diplomas. Once you obtain your degree you can also ask your university for a Diploma Supplement to ease recognition.

One of the EU’s targets is for over 40 % of young people to complete higher education by 2020. To this end, the EU brings together policy-makers from the Member States to exchange experiences on updating higher education in terms of attractiveness, accessibility and relevance to contemporary realities. The EU also ensures that graduates receive a quality job offer or an opportunity to further their studies by means of its Youth Guarantee programme.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/09/undergraduate-students-what-europe-does-for-you/

Secondary school students [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for secondary school students.

How many years young people spend in school, the subjects they study, the exams they take – all of this varies from country to country, and sometimes even from region to region. In some countries, pupils wear school uniforms while in others, they don’t; in some, everyone has the same basic education, while in others, there’s a choice between grammar schools and vocational schools. There can be no question of replacing this diversity with a standardised European school system – after all, every country has its own traditions.

Having said that, there are many challenges that schools from different parts of Europe share. The EU is bringing together teachers and other people involved in education to discuss how to deal with problems like pupils dropping out of school early, or ensuring that school leavers are equipped with the right skills to find work. For example, the EU is supporting initiatives to teach programming skills in schools.

Highschool students carrying out written task

© pressmaster / Fotolia

Most people have heard of Erasmus, the EU’s successful university exchange programme. The programme also offers exchanges for secondary school pupils lasting up to a year. In 2016 around 100 000 took part – a relatively small number compared to the EU’s 40 million secondary pupils, but a growing one. And, for those who don’t take part in an exchange, the EU has set up websites such as eTwinning enabling schools from different countries to organise joint projects; these can be a great opportunity for teenagers from all over Europe to get to know one another by working together on joint tasks.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/09/secondary-school-students-what-europe-does-for-you/