Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 330

Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

Climate crisis demands more government action as emissions rise

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 21 giugno 2019

Bonn. Amid growing public concern as climate impacts start to bite, governments must take bold action to address the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, but most of them are not, said the Climate Action Tracker at the Bonn climate talks today, as it released its latest update of government action.The CAT has updated its assessments of 21 of the 32 countries it rates (see page 8 of the briefing for key countries).“We are seeing an increasing number of Governments beginning to talk about net zero emissions by or before 2050, but we also know that we must halve global emissions by 2030 in order to keep the 1.5˚C goal alive, and most governments are nowhere near the action they need to take,” said Professor Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.Last year, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions reached an historic high, with more than a third of emissions from coal, but the fastest-growing source is from natural gas, which grew 4.6% from 2017 to 2018.The US, India and China were responsible for 85% of the global rise in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions over the past year, and renewable energy additions have stagnated after 20 years of strong growth. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has accelerated in recent years, likely due to increasing emissions from oil and gas production. “Public concern is rising fast, with global movements like Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion pushing governments toward action as people take to the streets. As we turn from climate change to a climate crisis, the public priority is rising, and we expect Governments to take bold action,” said Höhne.There are key governments – the EU, China and India – who are likely to meet or exceed their Paris targets and can increase their action substantially as they haven’t reached the level of ‘highest possible ambition’ as stated in the Paris Agreement.“Although the overall picture is not good there are signs of progress with a number of countries moving forward, including Costa Rica, Chile and the UK with new zero emissions targets and other actions,” he said.
It has been reported that up to 80 countries may announce new targets later this year at the UN Secretary General’s Summit in September, which is in preparation for 2020, when countries are expected to increase the ambition of their Paris Agreement targets.
“On a positive note, the growth in electricity produced from renewables grew 7% from 2017 to 2018, more than twice as fast that from fossil fuel-sourced power,” said Hare.

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LessonApp: Resolving the Learning Crisis with the Help of Education Technology

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 19 febbraio 2019

Global education is in crisis. Majority of children do go to school, but the learning results are poor. Teachers in many countries are lacking quality teacher training.
“The reality struck us when we were travelling in emerging countries to train teachers. Many of the teachers we met were doing their best, but they didn’t have the resources or skills to develop their teaching competence,” Ellimaija Ahonen, Co-Founder and CEO of LessonApp says.“During this era of unlimited flow of information and efficient communication technology, how is it possible, that we cannot offer basic pedagogical knowledge and tools for every teacher around the world?” Johanna Järvinen-Taubert, teacher trainer and Co-Founder of LessonApp questions. “Coming from Finland, a land of excellent learning results and a strong ethos of equality, this seemed fundamentally unfair to us.” To tackle this challenge, a mobile lesson planning tool for teachers called LessonApp was developed.Team LessonApp aims to equip teachers with the understanding of the learning process and, with the tools provided by the app, to help teachers plan efficient and inspiring lessons themselves. The ultimate purpose is to offer quality education for all and increase the joy of learning in classrooms – for both students and teachers.LessonApp Premium was launched on Saturday 16th February 2019 in Malta. “This pioneer collaboration with Ministry for Education of Malta provides every primary teacher an access to LessonApp Premium. We are excited and looking forward to hearing the results and feedback,” Johanna Järvinen-Taubert summarizes.

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European public opinion and the EU following the peak of the migration crisis/Les opinions publiques européennes et l’UE après le pic de la crise migratoire

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 9 luglio 2017

European public opinionAt the end of 2015, the difficult rise of favourable attitudes to the EU suddenly stopped, along with the development of a major migration crisis. How have these attitudes changed since then? What is the state of the public opinion one year on? What are the attitudes of citizens in European countries with regard to immigration?In this Policy Paper, Daniel Debomy, director of OPTEM and Alain Tripier, director of Sereho, start by providing an overview of opinion on the European Union in its various member states, analysing the results of the European Commission’s Eurobarometer surveys, in addition to some aspects based on data from the European Parliament’s Parlemeter surveys.Analysis of opinion in the different countries confirms the observation of a great disparity within the EU; however, a majority of citizens are not breaking away from the European project even if they are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction and concern.As the peak of the migration crisis passed, despite a decline in 2016, immigration clearly remains the most important concern for the EU in citizens’ opinion, and a problem for their country amid other economic and social concerns. The analysis conducted on these points does, however, highlight highly contrasting attitudes.
À la fin de l’année 2015, la difficile remontée, après la crise économique, des attitudes favorables à l’UE avait connu un coup d’arrêt, en parallèle du développement d’une crise migratoire de grande ampleur. Comment ces attitudes ont-elle évolué depuis lors et quel est leur état un an plus tard? Quelles sont les attitudes des citoyens des pays européens à l’égard de l’immigration? Dans ce Policy Paper, Daniel Debomy, directeur d’OPTEM et Alain Tripier, directeur de Sereho, font d’abord le point sur l’état de l’opinion à l’égard de l’Union européenne dans les différents États membres, en analysant des résultats fournis par les enquêtes Eurobaromètre de la Commission européenne, complétés sur certains aspects par celles du Parlemètre du Parlement européen. Les analyses de l’opinion dans les différents pays confirment le constat d’une grande disparité au sein de l’UE ; néanmoins, dans leur majorité, les citoyens ne rompent pas avec le projet européen même s’ils expriment de façon croissante insatisfactions et inquiétudes.Le pic de crise migratoire passé, malgré un certain repli en 2016, l’immigration reste clairement le problème le plus important pour l’UE aux yeux des citoyens, et un problème pour leur pays au milieu d’autres préoccupations de nature économique et sociale. Les analyses effectuées sur ces sujets mettent toutefois en évidence des attitudes très contrastées. (Photo: European public opinion)

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Taking the ‘crisis’ out of migration: integration in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 16 marzo 2017

scuolaRisk of school segregation, discrimination and restrictions to political participation can form insurmountable barriers to the integration of migrants in EU society, as a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. It examines integration strategies across the EU, providing clear evidence of the successes and failures of current policy and recommending changes in order to build a stronger and more cohesive Europe.“The migrants living in the EU are not part of a ‘crisis’, but an integral part of our society. We need a new narrative that stresses the benefits that migrants, their children and their children’s children bring to our societies,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “Integration is key to our security and to our democracy.”
There are some 20 million non-EU citizens living in the EU. Many have settled and started families. However, despite efforts from 2004 to follow common principles to guide and improve integration across the EU, Member States have widely different approaches to guide and improve integration and inclusion across the EU.The report Together in the EU: Promoting the participation of migrants and their descendants identifies and compares policies across the EU in areas important for successful integration. These include:
Education: Migrant pupils face some form of school segregation in around half of EU Member States, often despite efforts by the authorities to prevent it. This depicts a worrying reality of migrants and natives living in divided societies.
Youth: Fewer than half of Member States have action plans or strategies explicitly addressing youth with a migrant background, even though they can be important to avoid marginalisation, alienation and radicalisation.
Discrimination: 16 Member States do not protect migrants against discrimination on the basis of their nationality or status as migrant, refugee or foreigner, which can mask ethnic and racial discrimination.
Language: Few Member States provide courses to all residents with limited language proficiency, including citizens of migrant background. At the same time, language learning programmes are rarely linked to employment, and job-specific or on-the-job language training courses are uncommon.
As well as examining the national integration policies and strategies across the EU that determine the social and political participation of migrants and their descendants, the report also identifies examples of good practices that can be used or adapted for use in other national contexts.

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Terrorist threat and refugee crisis: French and German answers/Menace terroriste et crise des réfugiés : réponses franco-allemandes

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 24 gennaio 2017

tribuneOn the anniversary of the Franco-German Treaty of the Elysée we issue a declaration from the “Think Tanks Tandem”, series of meetings organised between representatives of French and German think-tanks.
The challenges created by the threat of terrorism and the migrant crisis are so important that they could affect Franco-German relations, on a governmental level as well as on citizen level, especially if the the populist and anti-European actors from the two countries manage to provoke closure reflexes using these challenges in interior politics.
The necessity for tight cooperation is therefore more obvious today than ever before. If our two countries become closer the cooperation in the face of these challenges could consolidate not just Franco-German relations, but also the cohesion of the European Union.
Tribune par Yves Bertoncini, Gilles Finchelstein, Marcel Grignard, Julie Hamann, Ronja Kempin, Guillaume Klossa, Nicole Koenig, Martin Koopmann, Jean-Paul Maulny, Marc-Olivier Padis, Sophie Pornschlegel, Dominic Schwickert, Stefan Seidendorf, Hans Stark
Texte intégralTexte intégral. À l’occasion de l’anniversaire du traité franco-allemand de l’Elysée, nous vous adressons une déclaration issue du “Think Tanks Tandem”, série de rencontres organisées entre des représentants de think tanks français et allemands.
Les défis que représentent la menace terroriste et la crise des réfugiés sont à tel point importants qu’ils pourraient affecter les relations franco-allemandes, tant à l’échelon gouvernemental qu’à celui des citoyens. A fortiori si les acteurs populistes et anti-européens des deux pays parvenaient à attiser des réflexes de repli en instrumentalisant ces défis sur le plan de la politique intérieure.
La nécessité de coopérer étroitement est donc plus évidente aujourd’hui que jamais. Si nos deux pays font un pas l’un vers l’autre, la coopération face à ces défis pourra consolider non seulement les relations franco-allemandes, mais aussi la cohésion de toute l’Union européenne.(photo: tribune)

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Reboot euro: lessons learned from European Economic Governance

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 13 giugno 2016

Lieven TACKFor roughly half of its existence, the euro has been struggling to overcome the most serious financial and economic crisis since the establishment of the European Community in the 1950s. In particular, unemployment in the eurozone rose rapidly from 7.6 percent at the start of the crisis in 2008 to a record high of 12 percent in 2013. In addition, public debt grew from 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 to 94 percent last year. These record numbers will remain in our memory for a long time to come.
The response of the European Union and the eurozone to the crisis has focused on three areas: In response to the drying-up of the financial markets after the toxic bubble of unbridled securitisation burst, monetary easing flooded markets with excessive amounts of cheap credit. Hopeless as ever, the European Central Bank (ECB) reached deep into its toolbox and launched impressive asset buying operations (Securities Market Programme, Outright Monetary Transactions and Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operations).Simultaneously, ECB president Draghi drastically lowered interest rates, soon followed by commercial rates tumbling to practically zero percent. Several spending programmes were launched within a relaxed state aid regime, largely aimed at the recapitalisation of the banking system. Southern European Member States in distress were sustained on a drip thanks to a brand new Treaty-based permanent rescue fund worth 700 billion euro (the European Stability Mechanism). Another European fund, totalling 315 billion euro, was set up for investments in infrastructure, research, innovation and the business sector (the European Fund for Strategic Investments).
An ambitious package of structural reforms in labour and product markets was agreed upon (Europe 2020). In addition to this long-term growth strategy, rigorously enforced rules for maintaining public deficits and debts (the Sixpack and the Twopack)[5],[6] and economic imbalances (the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure) below specific limits are part of the EU’s ‘new economic governance’. This new surveillance system for budgetary and economic policies focuses on anti-cyclical government finances and is coordinated and monitored in the context of the ‘European Semester’.The whole set of anti-crisis measures will pave the way for the achievement of a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) by 2025. The roadmap for this fully fledged EMU includes two stages. The first step aims to create an economic union, a fiscal union and a financial union (including the Banking Union).It will be followed by a Commission White Paper in Spring 2017 that will put forward proposals for a more binding convergence process and a euro-area treasury.
In conclusion, the future of our common currency strongly depends on the willingness of our politicians to implement the reform agenda of a politically and economically divided continent. This is only realistic insofar as EU leaders show unity and courage to press the reboot button ‘Ctrl-Alt-Del’: Ctrl = control the current crisis and protect us against inevitable future shocks; Alt = focus on change and step up structural reforms; Del = get rid of imbalances and bridge socio-economic divergences. The euro is staring into an abyss and concerted and decisive action is urgently needed to pull it back! (photo: Lieven TACK)

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The refugee crisis: A European call for action

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 26 marzo 2016

refugee crisisThe leaders of the seven think tanks and foundations that are involved in the Vision Europe initiative have addressed an open letter to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and to the Prime Ministers of the 28 EU member states to stress the need to act in unity at the European level as a matter of urgency.The Jacques Delors Institute takes part to the Vision Europe project, a consortium of think tanks and foundations collaborating to address some of the most pressing public policy challenges facing Europe. Through research, publications and an annual summit, we aim to be a forum for debate and a source of recommendations to improve evidence-based policy-making at both a national and EU level and to foster as appropriate European integration. In 2015 we commonly worked on “The Future of the Welfare State”; for the year 2016, the Vision Europe initiative will developing innovative policy recommendations on how to improve the response to the crisis of migrants and refugees in Europe.(photo: refugee crisis)

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Syria must not be a silent crisis for women and girls says IPPF

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 6 febbraio 2016

siriaIn reaction to yesterday’s pledges made from donor governments to Syria’s aid conference in London, IPPF Director General Tewodros Melesse said more action should be taken to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the centre of humanitarian efforts.Mr Melesse stated that “We have seen some great progress today and we must celebrate that governments have come together to tackle one of the largest humanitarian crises we have seen in a long time. But we must not forget that in the response, sexual and reproductive health services should also be a top priority.Women and girls are disproportionately influenced by humanitarian crises exposed to early marriage, trafficking, rape, forced pregnancies, unattended service delivery during complicated pregnancies and delivery.We could save lives by putting money and efforts into an integrated comprehensive package on reproductive health into the standard humanitarian response. IPPF has been doing this for years, our staff work on both sides of the border and on the frontline. Beyond the immediate crisis, we also work with those affected, for the long term”.In Syria 46,500 women will suffer gender-based violence, including rape, as a result of the ongoing conflict. This shows a great need to ensure that the human rights of women and girls are protected and able to access sexual and reproductive healthcare.
IPPF Member, the Syrian Family Planning Association is on the front line when it comes to dealing with the less-reported consequence of every war- sexual and reproductive health and rights.Syrian Family Planning Association Executive Director Dr. Lama said ” When a woman comes to our services they are typically lost and without hope. Our indicator of success is that we help the hopeless to have hope.”
Over the last 10 years, IPPF has reached millions of people during floods, conflicts, earthquakes, cyclones. When health care often collapsed, our Member Associations continued to reach the underserved, which makes up three quarters of IPPF clients.

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European filmmakers deliver refugee crisis appeal to European Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 22 ottobre 2015

European Parliament President Martin-schulz, Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes and Culture Committee Chair Silvia Costa received an appeal today by European filmmakers on the current refugee crisis in Europe – “For A Thousand Lives: Be Human”.The delegation of European film directors and actors of various nationalities called on the European Union to take measures to ensure that member states respond to the refugee crisis by acting jointly, in solidarity, and with humanity, in accordance with the EU’s founding values.After receiving the filmmakers’ appeal, President Schulz said: “I welcome very warmly this initiative. The majority of Europeans favours helping refugees. With this initiative and many others by civil society, we show that we stay mobilized to find a fair solution in a spirit of solidarity and humanity”.”European filmmakers came to the Parliament today because they understand the power of images and that the European Union is also a Union of values in the midst of the refugee crisis. For this reason, they are right to speak out on refugees, as the winter sets in, to call on member states to shake off their complacency and populism, and focus on a practical, organised, compassionate action in place of inertia”, added Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes. “Cinema, creativity and culture have a crucial role in raising citizens’ awareness and the responsibility of national and European institutions. We are delighted to have received at the European Parliament the call from directors and actors who, with their valuable work, can give a voice and eyes to the dramatic situation of refugees. We share with them the goal of a more cohesive and inclusive Europe”, concluded Culture Committee Chair Silvia Costa.
Claude Moraes and Silvia Costa held a press conference at 14.30 with French director Michel Hazanavicius (5 Oscars, 6 Césars, 7 Baftas, and 3 Golden Globes for “The Artist”), Italian actress and director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, German cinema icon Hanna Schygulla, French director Laurent Cantet (Palme d’or for “Entre les murs”), and Polish actor Andrzej Chyra.

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Refugees: MEPs call for humanitarian response and overhaul of asylum rules

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 8 ottobre 2015

turchia-ist3The new scheme to relocate asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU member states, dialogue with Turkey on cooperation to stem and manage migration flows, and budget measures to respond to the unprecedented refugee crisis, were among the topics tackled in Tuesday morning’s debate with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the outcome of the 23 September informal EU summit.
MEPs regretted the European Council’s apparent lack of ambition to tackle the most serious refugee crisis since World War II. Some advocated reforming the Dublin rules (for determining which member state is responsible for handling asylum applications), opening legal migration channels and fighting smugglers criminal networks. Measures such as strengthening controls at the EU’s external borders and identifying, registering and fingerprinting migrants at the “hotspots” were also addressed in the debate.
Humanitarian concern for refugees as winter draws nigh
The humanitarian situation of refugees within the EU and neighbouring countries was the focus of a second debate with Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Luxembourg’s minister for relations with the European Parliament during the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Nicolas Schmit.
“The tough period is now, we can expect to see an increase in refugee flows before we are fully into the winter months. This is also a time when difficult decisions have to be taken to ensure the ‘hotspots’ are fully implemented and the budget is made available for the very EU responses the Council has committed to”, said the Chair of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, responsible for migration and asylum, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK). (full statement)
Migration will also be high on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 October and of the next European summit on 15-16 October.
Parliament and Council to co-decide on migration and asylum rulesThe European Commission’s current proposals under the co-decision procedure, on which Parliament and Council legislate on an equal footing, are for:a permanent relocation mechanism for asylum seekers within the EU – rapporteur: Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK),an EU common list of safe countries of origin – rapporteur: Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR),changes to the Dublin rules for determining which member state is responsible for processing applications for international protection of unaccompanied minors – rapporteur: Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE),a review of the EU Visa Code, including provisions on humanitarian visas – rapporteur: Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES),a legal migration measure on entry and living conditions for non-EU students and researchers – rapporteur: Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), andthe “smart borders” package, including a proposal for an “entry-exit system” to prevent overstaying in the EU, and thus irregular migration – rapporteurs: Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES), for the entry-exit system, and Tanja Fajon (S&D, SL), for the registered traveller programme (the Commission is expected to present a new “smart borders” package in late 2015/early 2016).

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Migration and refugee crisis: MEPs’ debate with UNHCR Guterres and EU Commission

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 17 settembre 2015

mediterraneoMeasures to deal with the migration and refugee crisis as well as the situation in transit countries in the Mediterranean region were debated at a joint hearing held by the Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Human Rights committees on Tuesday morning. MEPs expressed disappointment at the outcome of Monday’s Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting and urged EU to shoulder its responsibilities.
The debate began with contributions from by Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), Justice and Home Affairs Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), EU foreign chief Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and Human Rights Subcommittee Chair Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES) before members of the parliaments of Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey as well as MEPs took the floor and voiced the views of their respective countries and political groups.

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EU pledges €450 million to Ebola affected countries

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 13 luglio 2015

virus-ebolaToday the European Commission will pledge approximately €450 million to support the recovery of the three countries most affected by Ebola – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. This will be announced by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management and EU Ebola Coordinator, Christos Stylianides, at the International Ebola Recovery Conference taking place in New York and organised by the United Nations. Announcing the funding, Commissioner Stylianides said: “The emergency is not over until we are down to zero Ebola cases. With some new cases in Liberia we remain on high alert and our determination to eradicate Ebola is stronger than ever. Now is not the time to pull back.” A press release and a factsheet are available online.

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Finding hope in the midst of Greece’s financial crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 4 luglio 2015

As the atmosphere of political and economic uncertainty intensifies in Greece, the consequences of the financial crisis are evident in the public. Haggard figures find a home in the pavements begging for change, literally and metaphorically. Citizens, fired with indignation, are taking the streets to protest the unfair policies. More recently, people afraid of what the future will bring for Greece’s economy, had been queuing in front of ATMs trying to take hold of their life savings until the Prime Minister of Greece, Tsipras, announced today that all banks have been closed and the maximum amount of money that can be withdrawn in a day from an ATM is 6o euros.Like the majority of the Greek population, I was feeling weary and hopeless while thinking about what the future holds for this country. Yet something happened which gave me the strength to look at the future from the lens of optimism once again.Yesterday I visited the YouSmile studio in Marousi, which is the youth branch of the well known Greek NGO “Smile of the Child” (Το Χαμόγελο του Παιδιού). This organisation was established after a 10 year old boy called Andreas, who was suffering from cancer, wrote in his diary that we must unite and help all children who are suffering in Greece despite their ethnic background or social class. This could happen, he wrote, by the creation of an organisation called “The Smile of the Child” because “every child deserves a smile”. Unfortunately he passed away soon after writing this in his diary but his father made “The Smile of the Child” the purpose of his life. 20 years later and this organisation has helped nearly a million children and their families all over Greece.I had the privilege to be part of a large gathering of young people ranging from the age of 13 to 20, where we got the chance to share our aspirations as volunteers and our concerns about our society. We played an ice-breaker game, where we had to pass a ball around and talk about the reasons we decided to volunteer in this organisation. I cannot describe to you how heart-warming this meeting was from me. I was struck by the selflessness and purity of everybody’s words and the genuine interest we all had for helping our society. As I heard my fellow volunteers voice their thoughts, the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Menander came to my mind.Our beloved country is facing great hardships at the moment yet it is in such times when humanity really shines. It is in such times that we must remain hopeful and strong. We must carry each other now. We must help each other in anyway possible. We must not give up! Mr. Giannopoulos, who founded “Smile of the Child” said to us yesterday “Children are not the future like we usually say. They are the present so we can have a future.” It is up to us, especially the youth, to bring a change in our society.After meeting up with all these lovely people yesterday, I was reminded of the power of the human soul, where no matter the difficult circumstances people are in, they are still able to dream and fight for a better future. After witnessing the dedication and the willingness to help by my fellow volunteers, I feel empowered and ready to face anything because I know we will make it! I know we will survive! I feel blessed to be a citizen of this beautiful country because beyond the dirty games of corrupted politicians who have paralyzed Greece’s economy, I see a future of young Greeks who are determined to resuscitate Greece and I am proud to be one of them. This is how I know that, like Sam Cooke famously proclaimed in his song, “A change is gonna come. Oh, yes it will!”

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Facing the Allergy Crisis through Education and Prevention

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 8 giugno 2015

barcelonaBarcelona (Spain) Allergy is a public health problem of pandemic proportions that affects more than 150 million people in Europe, where it is one of the most common chronic diseases. It is predicted that this number will increase within 10 years by 50%.The European Academy for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) works in different fields, ultimately striving to ease patients’ lives. Since June 2014, EAACI raises awareness for the burden of allergies through its Beware of Allergy Campaign, addressing the following allergic diseases: Asthma, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis, and Allergic Rhinitis, together with allergy targeted treatment based on Allergen Immunotherapy. The online campaign has been well received and generated a total of 53 million impressions with almost 170,000 clicks in its first two waves.More than 20 organisations from all around Europe endorse the campaign, including European National Allergy Societies, Patients Organisations and community pharmacists (The Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union).In addition to this pan-European Allergy Awareness campaign EAACI will organise two activities during its annual congress in Barcelona (6-10 June) to inform the general public about allergy: the Anaphylaxis School and the Beat Allergy Run & Walk.Together with the Spanish Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC), the Spanish Pediatric Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (SEICAP) and the patients organisations AEPNAA and Immunitas Vera, EAACI will set up an “Anaphylaxis School” on 6 June 2015 in Plaza de la Universidad. The event has the format of a classroom with a corner for younger children to play in, while parents and older children can learn more about anaphylactic symptoms, how to use an autoinjector and how to prevent anaphylaxis. A certificate will be given to the graduates with the most important information summarised on it.Anaphylaxis is a very serious allergic reaction triggered by foods, insect stings, some medicines and latex. If it is not treated in time, it can be fatal. Prompt adrenaline administration may be lifesaving. In the past 10 years, the number of hospitalisations caused by anaphylaxis has increased 7 fold.More knowledge on allergic diseases will help to identify preventive measures, allow more scientific research and increase standardisation in patient care. To bring the burden of allergy to the attention of the people in Barcelona, the public together with participants of the EAACI Congress are invited to participate in the Beat Allergy Run & Walk on Sunday 7 June, starting at 20.00 at the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona. Registration is required either online or directly on-site.EAACI’s Beware of Allergy campaign is available in 5 languages: http://www.bewareofallergy.com

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The Juncker Commission: emerging from the crisis, averting a political crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 19 febbraio 2015

Juncker CommissionSofia Fernandes, senior research fellow for economic and social affairs, presents the summary of a debate on the topic “The Juncker Commission: What Internal Priorities (Growth, Social, Subsidiarity and so forth)?” held at the annual meeting of the Jacques Delors Institute’s European Steering Committee (ESC) on 13 December 2014.On the basis of introductory speeches by former European Commission Vice-President Etienne Davignon and by former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, participants debated the Juncker Commission’s main internal priorities. The ensuing debate revolved around three core issues:
1. The impact of the new institutional and political landscape on European action and how to avoid plunging headlong into the pit of a political crisis.
2. The priorities for strengthening growth in Europe: towards a “New Deal” based on debt reduction, investment and structural reforms. (Photo. Juncker commission)

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UK Higher Education in Crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 18 febbraio 2015

Queens University Belfast,Speaking at a breakfast meeting today, Robin Chater — Secretary-General of the Federation of International Employers (FedEE) — pointed out that “the UK spends less as a percentage of GDP on higher education than most of our major world competitors. According to the latest UNESCO statistics just 1.02% was spent on the tertiary educational sector in the UK compared to 1.29% in France, 1.38% in Germany and 1.39% in the USA.” Robin Chater went on to point out that, on closer examination, the pattern of spending was far from even. “The cost per head in England is far lower than in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. In fact, the per capita expenditure in Northern Ireland is 60% higher than in England (Public Expenditure National Statistical Analyses 2014). This is largely due, of course, to the growth of student tuition fees and the fact that Wales and Northern Ireland heavily subsidize ‘home’ students, and Scotland has lifted tuition fees altogether.”
“It could be argued, however, that asking English students to pay excessive tuition fees does at least increase funding to higher education and thereby raise educational standards. The increased financial burden on students might also be seen as a greater incentive to apply themselves to their higher educational studies. Yet there is little evidence that standards of education or student diligence has risen. Many gifted students have decided to skip University education altogether, student drop-out rates are higher than ever and Universities have not responded by increasing staffing numbers to any significant extent. In fact, the preoccupation of many English Universities has been on recruiting foreign students who may be charged tuition fees around 50% higher than those of home students.” “If we take as an example Reading University. Funding body grants fell between 2009 and 2014 by ₤25.8m, but tuition fees rose over the same period by ₤50.8m. However, during the same period staff numbers fell by 2.1% . Moreover, over 20% of the extra student revenue came from foreign student tuition fees. So where has all the additional funding gone? One answer is in higher salaries for senior personnel. In 2009 there were 22 University staff earning over ₤100,000 a year, whilst by 2014 this had virtually doubled to 41.” “The present higher educational funding system in the UK can also lead to many anomalies and inequalities. For instance in Northern Ireland, at Queens University, Belfast, students from other parts of the UK are charged ₤9,000 a year in tuition fees whilst students from the Irish Republic or other non-UK EU countries are charged only ₤3,685. What is more, students attending institutions at the bottom of the University league table can pay virtually as much for tuition as those in the best institutions. For instance, The University of East London was ranked at the last review (http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings) as one from the bottom, but its annual fees are only ₤531 lower than the maximum that can be charged.”“If the pace of economic growth in the UK is to be regained and sustained at pre-2007 levels, much more needs to be done to increase public investment in the development of human capital. As things stand Universities are not providing good value for money to home students, they are directing resources away to more lucrative foreign students and there is a lack of centralized control by government to ensure that standards are maintained and fairness is achieved. England is trying to get its intellectual wealth on the cheap and in the resulting free-for-all it is only the most senior University staff who are winning out.”
The Federation of International Employers (FedEE) was established in 1988 with initial assistance from the European Commission. FedEE now operates on an independent basis from regional offices in the UK and Hong Kong. All its members are major multinational enterprises and it is currently chaired by the Ford Motor Company.

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Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga on the Gaza crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 1 agosto 2014

GazastripSince early July, almost two million Palestinians in Gaza and people in Israel have been caught up in a devastating war. People have no safe place to hide when the bombs rain down on the densely-populated, small stretch land that is Gaza. They see their children slaughtered, their neighbourhoods razed to the ground and all hopes for a future of peace torn to shreds. The battlefield is neighbourhoods full of children, women and men. It contains hospitals over-burdened with the injured and dead and schools which are being bombed even if they are meant to offer refuge. As Caritas, we have called for a permanent ceasefire but this is just the first step on the road to a just peace based on inclusive negotiations across the region. The path towards reconciliation is long but it starts with ourselves. Israel and Hamas, why do you keep pointing out the speck in the eye of your brother while missing the plank in your own eye? Instead, you should put down your arms and pick up a pair of binoculars so you can see that most of your victims are innocent people. This is the third war in five years between Israel and militants in Gaza. In the intervening years, Palestinians in Gaza have lived a life where water is scarce, much of their food comes from humanitarian organisations and where the dignity of a job is beyond many people’s reach. Caritas brings material and spiritual aid to the people of Gaza in their times of need and despair.
We call for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza to allow Gazans to protect their lives and livelihoods and so they can live a dignified life.
When he met the presidents of Israel and Palestine at the Vatican recently, Pope Francis said, “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity.”
As Caritas, we pray for peace in the Holy Land. We pray for the Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost their children, mothers and fathers and for those who have been killed. Our prayers are with the children who live in terror and whose mental scars will run deep long after this war is over. The Caritas confederation sends its love and solidarity to Caritas workers who are risking their lives every day in Gaza. These people work humbly and tirelessly in the service of Christ in the most difficult conditions imaginable. May God be with them every step of the way. We also pray for our colleagues at Caritas Jerusalem and the vital support that they’re giving to their staff on the ground at this time. As we mark the anniversary of the First World War 100 years ago, we remember the words of the then Pope Benedict XV: “Force can repress the body, but it cannot repress the souls of men” and we pray that despite this terrible time of war and oppression, the souls of Palestinians and Israelis will remain free to believe in a future of justice and peace. Yours in Christ, Oscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B

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The Balkan employment crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 8 aprile 2012

Leskovac panorama

Leskovac panorama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leskovac, once known as the Serbian Manchester, is home to a textile industry that began in the 19th century, flourished under communism, and survives – albeit barely – till today. The town, which lies in the south of Serbia, boasts a textile school (set up in 1947), an association of textile engineers, and its very own textile magazine. The boom years are a distant memory, however. Leskovac’s socialist-era companies are bankrupt, their production halls empty, their machines dismantled and sold as scrap metal. In the past two decades Leskovac has seen its population decline from 162,000 (1991) to less than 140,000. The drop in the working-age population has been disproportionately high, and unemployment has increased. At the heart of the town’s plight, and that of so many other regions in the Western Balkans, is the impact of dramatic de-industrialization.Contemporary Serbia is a society whose population is both aging (with an average age of 41, it is one of the oldest in the world) and shrinking. So is its industry. A recent article in the local press cites that 98 large, complex, industrial companies have shut down over the past two decades. And, most worrisomely, so is total employment. After stagnating throughout the economic recovery of the 2000s, it has been sharply declining since 2008. Today the employment rate is down to about 45 per cent, more than 20 per cent below the EU average. Half of the young are unemployed. In the textile and clothing sector, the number of workers has collapsed from 160,000 in 1990 to around 40,000 in 2010.
Serbia’s textile industry is representative of much of its industry, and Serbia’s labor market trends are representative of those in all the post-Yugoslav states. The employment rate in Albania is also one of the lowest in Europe. It is true that Europe’s textile industry has been put on the defensive by the emerging Far East. However, it would be wrong to conclude that Serbia’s textile industry’s decline has been inevitable. In recent decades, the sector – one of the most highly globalized in the world – has seen employment shift from Germany to Poland, from Hong Kong to China, from Italy to Hungary and Turkey, and then to Bulgaria and Romania. In many peripheral regions across South East Europe, textiles have been a recent locomotive of growth and exports, creating hundreds of thousands of low-skilled jobs. The question we need to ask is why so few of these jobs have found their way to the Western Balkans. Bulgaria was able to increase its exports in the textile and clothing sector from 280 million USD to more than 5 billion USD between 1990 and 2010, contributing more than 100,000 industrial jobs. Why hasn’t this been possible in Serbia, Bosnia or Albania? The same questions could be asked about other industries in the Balkans. Why are there more than 10,000 jobs in the furniture industry in the Central Anatolian city of Kayseri, far from any woods, but not in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Why are household appliance producers doing well in Slovenia, Western Romania and Western Anatolia, but not in the Western Balkans? How about agro-processing for the EU market? And what about Bosnia’s armaments industry, the mainstay of its industry in the past? Was its collapse really inevitable? One answer is that the growth model adopted in the Western Balkans over the last decade has discouraged governments from asking such specific questions. Driven by distrust of the legacy of socialist planning, as well as by fear of state capture by corrupt businesses and corruption in the administration, the preferred economic policies have been hands-off, focusing not on specific sectors of the economy but on the general business environment. Policymakers have been praised for avoiding the temptation to shield declining areas of the economy from the discipline of the market. At the same time they found it hard to acknowledge when many former socialist businesses were past the point of possible recovery, overburdened by their debts and in urgent need of liquidation. Neither the political debates nor the legal framework in the region acknowledged that liquidation, sometimes, is the best way to ensure that existing resources—people and capital—remain in use, by being re-employed in the new growing private sector. These key ingredients of the standard recipes of economic policy in the past decade are important, of course: a stable macroeconomic environment and a good business climate, in which it is easier to open and close businesses, are a necessary condition for sustained recovery. But they are not sufficient. In a region ravaged by conflict and the sheer length of economic decline, a policy mix of “hands-off”, “rules-based” privatization and deregulation cannot be sufficient to launch sustained economic recovery. Even during the periods of relative economic growth and high FDI inflows, the employment generated by the new, entrepreneurial private sector was not sufficient to offset the jobs shed by the slowly restructuring and privatized old industries. The financial crisis of 2008 has wiped out more than the jobs generated in the recovery period, even if informal job generation is taken into account. While the recovery lasted, there was a hope that FDI would yet accelerate and begin to generate more employment. Now, however, it is clear that the growth model needs to be changed. This has been noted by international institutions, most explicitly the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). More importantly, regional policymakers, under increasing pressure to generate jobs, have begun reaching for desperate measures, such as large, blanket, subsidies for foreign investors. This is the kind of step that has so often in the past given industrial policy a bad name. What would an alternative model of economic growth look like? In answering this question, it helps to keep in mind that there is not, in fact, one simple answer. Each time, the answer depends on the context. Clearly, the key is the inclusion into global chains of industrial production. Credible industrial policies are needed to define ways of encouraging the mobile global investments to those sectors – from food processing to clothing, from furniture to basic engineering assembly – where declining industrial regions in the Balkans possess a comparative advantage. For this one needs a better understanding of the drivers behind the industrial jobs that are already being generated. In Leskovac, for example, over the past five years new jobs have been linked to investments by companies from Germany, South Korea and Turkey.
A competent industrial development agency, modelled, for example, on the Irish Industrial Development Agency (IRA) could do this job. The key word here is “competent”. It would have to be able to offer support and advice – based on credible and painstaking sectoral analysis – to local administrations and companies. It would need to help educate local governments about ways of attracting investors. It could also offer grants for private sector management training, to enable their companies to move up the value chain in different sectors of production.This is not an easy task. However, there is no reason to assume that such competence in the Western Balkans could not be put together and built up. For this, however, it is necessary, that a new philosophy for the role of industrial policy in economic growth be embraced. This can only be done by the policymakers and governments of the countries themselves.The EU could also help, however. All too often in the past two decades, the message coming across from EU officials and international financial institutions has, instead, been one of blanket discouragement of government intervention. The EU could do more to support the countries’ ability to develop and pursue credible multiyear strategies in a whole range of sectors, including agriculture and rural development, transportation, environment, and regional development. During the last enlargement wave, each candidate country integrated such strategies into a National Development Plan (NDP), which functioned both as a national roadmap and as a programming document for EU assistance. Such an approach would benefit the countries of the Western Balkans, where the public sector suffers from a dearth of planning capacity and resources for policy development.Last but not least, the credibility of Western Balkan integration into the EU market could be enhanced. For the Western Balkans, the last few years have seen agonizingly slow progress in this area, with no country other than Croatia having so much as opened EU accession talks. The more realistic the perspective of EU membership for countries such as Serbia or Albania, the bigger the incentives for those interested in long-term investments in industrial production in the Balkans.
The lack of employment opportunities today in the Western Balkans is generating quiet despair, especially among the young. Without radical change, without a serious and visible commitment to a new set of policies, the sense of despair now palpable in the region may become burning. There is, in fact, no greater, more urgent, social and economic issue in the Balkans. Fortunately, experiences of successful industrial recoveries and turnarounds abound. Learning from them could turn around the fate of people in Leskovac, and countless other towns just like it.

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Climate Crises deepen with UN talks ending amidst acrimony

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 12 dicembre 2011

Climate justice and water justice

Image by Toban Black via Flickr

All attributable to Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director, who following a peaceful protest out side the main plenary hall yesterday has been barred from the Climate Conference in Durban.“Many governments departing the UN talks in Durban tonight should be ashamed. When they return home we wonder how they will be able to look into the eyes of their children and grandchildren. The failure here will be measured in the lives of the poor, the most vulnerable and least responsible for the global climate crises,” said Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.
“The UN climate talks in Durban, were supposed to both reinforce and agree new global rules for tackling climate change – from the outset the objectives were in stark contrast with what the reality of climate change demands. They have been about creating a base for a climate deal that is already many years overdue. “As the talks began they were about trying to close the massive gap between what climate science says needs to be done and what governments are currently committed to. Yet, they are not in Durban to close that gap, all they have to do is decide on a new deadline for agreeing, and they can’t even do that. “Two years ago in Copenhagen we were promised a 100 billion USD fund would be set up to help the poorest adapt to and mitigate climate change. In Durban they only planned to design a way to collect and distribute the money. They could not even do that. Now, not only do we not have a bank to put it in, the money remains as illusive as an I.O.U from Bernie Madoff. Today, vulnerable people are dying because of climate related impacts, they cannot wait, they need help now. “While the talks may be complex, the truth is simple. We are nowhere near where we need to be to avert catastrophic climate change. There is no real political capital on the table in Durban, big countries may be bullying the small ones into submission through aid programmes and trade. With the fate of hundreds of millions of people at stake, progressive countries need to get serious about reigning in the blockers like the US, they need to start talking sanctions, there must be repercussions. “Time has all but run out and a serious crisis requires serious political action on behalf of the willing. “Chief among the blockers by far is the US, which is clearly operating at the bidding of the carbon cartels. Its negotiators have no place in the room. Other powerful governments and blocs, like the EU, China, and India should have outmaneuvered them by joining together to side with the most vulnerable to make real progress rather than being forced to dance to the tune of the carbon corporations. “While the diplomats, lawyers, pundits, NGOs rake over the tepid embers of the full document in search of good news, any good news, the carbon cartels will once more be drinking champagne and dancing in the streets of Durban tonight – job done, business as usual.” Greenpeace will provide a brief on the details of the final agreement in the coming hours.

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Climate crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 26 aprile 2010

Cape Town, South Africa, As ministers from the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, China, and India) meet in Cape Town, Greenpeace displayed banners reading “climate change needs BASIC leadership” on a boat directly opposite the 12 Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay where the conference is taking place. Greenpeace volunteers from BASIC countries held banners with the same message outside the hotel as the ministers gathered to meet  Greenpeace is highlighting the urgent need for the BASIC group of countries, four of the most influential emerging economies in the world, to take climate leadership in the run up to the next UN Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year. At the meeting, which lasts until 27 April, Greenpeace urges the BASIC bloc to ensure it: • Delivers a detailed framework indicating how support to the countries most vulnerable to climate change will be delivered through technology transfers, finance and capacity building. • Agrees a plan to help rebuild trust in the climate negotiations, and
to work with partners from the rest of developing world, as well as with developed countries to overcome the main stumbling blocks in the current negotiations. • Indicates how it plans to overcome the so-called “gigatonne gap” – the gap between current greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges, andthe real reductions needed to keep global temperature rise below 2°C,
the limit science tells us is needed to prevent climate chaos. • Takes the lead in ensuring that the final outcome of the international negotiations will be “legally binding” • Takes the lead on insisting that the US$30 billion identified at the Copenhagen climate summit for short-term funding to tackle global deforestation, climate change adaptation and mitigation is rapidly paid out  to the most vulnerable countries.

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