Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

The European Commission launched an important initiative to support EU Member States

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 29 giugno 2022

To reduce the burden of EU Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by addressing the leading causes of avoidable premature death in Europe and improving citizens’ health and well-being. To do so, the Commission has published a guiding document to the “Healthier Together: EU Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Initiative”.This Initiative identifies effective actions and the available legal and financial supporting tools across five main areas: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health and neurological disorders, as well as their main contributing factors. The Initiative will have a budget of €156 million under the 2022 work programme of the EU4Health programme. As a member of the European Chronic Disease Alliance, EAACI has provided strong support for this initiative in the areas of common determinants of health, air quality and food safety and respiratory chronic diseases (asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis) and will continue to lobby for the expansion of the main areas of interest to other chronic allergic diseases.

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Developing a sustainable blue economy in the European Union

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 28 Maggio 2021

The European Commission is proposing a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU for the industries and sectors related to oceans, seas and coasts. A sustainable blue economy is essential to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and ensuring a green and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal said: “Healthy oceans are a precondition for a thriving blue economy. Pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, coupled with the effects of the climate crisis, all threaten the rich marine biodiversity that the blue economy depends on. We must change tack and develop a sustainable blue economy where environmental protection and economic activities go hand in hand.” Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs said: “The pandemic has hit the marine economy sectors in different, but profound ways. We have an opportunity to start afresh, and we want to make sure that the recovery shifts the focus from mere exploitation to sustainability and resilience. Thus to be truly green, we must also think blue.” All blue economy sectors including fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism, maritime transport, port activities and shipbuilding will have to reduce their environmental and climate impact. Tackling the climate and biodiversity crises requires healthy seas and a sustainable use of their resources to create alternatives to fossil fuels and traditional food production. Transitioning to a sustainable blue economy requires investing in innovative technologies. Wave- and tidal energy, algae production, development of innovative fishing gear or restoration of marine ecosystems will create new green jobs and businesses in the blue economy.

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European Union and IFAD to support Ethiopian rural financial institutions, jobs and livelihoods in the face of the COVID-19

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 26 Maggio 2021

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Union (EU) will provide EUR26.5 million worth of liquidity and debt relief to rural financial institutions to protect jobs and safeguard livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic.In Ethiopia, the agriculture sector and rural people are the most impacted by the COVID-19. The pandemic has reduced agricultural labor, limited access to inputs and production capital, reduced production and productivity, and obstructed access to markets and financial services. This has led to loss of employment, reduced access to food, and increased domestic responsibilities for women.Micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives who play an important role in creating jobs and sustaining livelihoods in rural areas are also facing the challenges due to the pandemic.“Today’s new project of €26.5 million to support agriculture financing in time of COVID shows our support to Ethiopia’s economic development and job creation. This EU and IFAD funding will provide new line of credits to agricultural SMEs and their farmers in the production areas of the main agro-industrial parks of the country,” said Dominique Davoux, Green Deal Team Leader, EU Delegation in Ethiopia.The current economic slowdown requires additional support for the rural financial institutions who are most at risk, to maintain their liquidity. The Government of Ethiopia has put in place mitigation measures to deal with the impacts of the pandemic including support to the entire value chain, the MSMEs and farmers’ cooperatives.Through the IFAD-supported Rural Financial Intermediation Programme III (RUFIP III), the government’s request to provide liquidity to MSMEs experiencing shortages will be met with assistance to enhance the resilience and sustainability of the rural financial sector. More than 1.5 million clients of these rural financial institutions will benefit.“The COVID 19 pandemic is affecting the most vulnerable members of the community through loss of jobs and economic opportunities. As the life blood of the rural economy, MSMEs will be able to sustain their business with minimum shocks and retain employees, thanks to this assistance,” said Mawira Chitima, IFAD Representative and Country Director for Ethiopia. “IFAD is happy to cofinance this effort with the EU and the government of Ethiopia, because protecting jobs is vital for resilience and supporting the financial sector is a key strategy”.The Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) will receive a EUR13.8 million IFAD grant and an additional EUR12.7 million EU grant to improve its liquidity and support rural financial institutions (RFIs). The financing will enable RFIs to help their MSME clients retain workers in employment, reduce the interest cost of credit, provide support to farmers facing challenges meeting their contract farming arrangements, absorb the penalty on defaulted loan repayments, and offer liquidity to partly meet the deferment of loan instalments due to DBE from the RFIs.“This support could be key in maintaining agricultural productivity in time of uncertain national and international food markets because of COVID,” Davoux said. “The EU contribution provides for an interest rate subsidy that will reduce the costs of finance for RUFIP beneficiary enterprises affected by the COVID-19 crisis, thereby increasing their resilience to withstand the crisis and maintain employment”.Key partners in the project will include the Federal Cooperative Agency, the Regional Cooperative Promotion Bureaus, Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions and the National Bank of Ethiopia.Since 1980, IFAD has invested US$795.5 million in 20 rural development programmes and projects in Ethiopia worth a total of US$2.1 billion. These have directly benefited around 12 million rural households.

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European Union Good Manufactures Practices

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 23 marzo 2021

Toronto, Ontario. Halo Collective Inc. (“Halo” or the “Company”) (NEO: HALO, OTCQX: HCANF, Germany: A9KN) is pleased to provide a comprehensive update about Bophelo Bioscience & Wellness (Pty) Ltd. (“Bophelo”), and it’s proposed European Union Good Manufactures Practices (“EUGMP”) and Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (“GACP”) certifications (collectively, the “GMP/GACP Certifications”).In 2020, Bophelo quadrupled the amount of cultivation space despite setbacks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. With the easing of restrictions, the next key step is the proposed commencement of cannabis exports to the E.U., U.K., and Australia. The Company expects the first export to occur within the sixty days subsequent to Bophelo obtaining GACP certification. The quality growing and manufacturing consultant, Pharmaconsulta Ltd. (“Pharmaconsulta”), is an independent consultancy firm based in Malta (E.U.), that specializes in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. After multiple visits to the site and a comprehensive review of the Company’s standard operating procedures, Pharmaconsulta is expected to issue both GMP and GACP certifications after Bophelo meets all requirements. Pharmaconsulta confirmed that Bophelo’s operation had met 90% of GACP requirements. Bophelo is expected to finish the remaining 10% of the requirements within the next 60 days. The main projects that are underway are: Fencing, a robust surveillance system, and security upgrades Infrastructure improvements and upgrades, including but not limited to, internet, electrical power upgrades, backup power generators, and an extra water borehole. Earlier this month, Bophelo commenced installation of double security fencing 2.5 meters high and 1,600 meters long. The Company expects the fence to be completed within 60 days and once finished the fence will encircle the entire site. Construction on the ablutions building and attached cafeteria designed to meet the anticipated growth in the labor force resumed three weeks ago. The ablutions are expected to be completed within 60 days.Bopehlo’s contracted security company has commenced the installation of HikVision® security cameras on the site. When finished, at least 64 security cameras will provide detailed monitoring and surveillance for the initial 5-hectare greenhouse site. Bophelo has hired a Chief Security Officer, and we are rapidly building upon strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure security on par with Halo’s U.S. operations.

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State of the European Union: EC president von der Leyen to address the House

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 12 settembre 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, MEPs will take stock of the von der Leyen Commission’s achievements to date.Ursula Von der Leyen is expected to outline the impact of the Commission’s work in mitigating the COVID-19 sanitary and economic crisis, and to outline her vision for economic recovery, fighting climate change, and the situation in Europe’s neighbourhood.Political group leaders will assess the Commission’s work and set out their views, as this annual State of the Union debate is a chance for MEPs to scrutinise the work and the plans of the European Commission and help set the future direction for the EU.The debate will start with an address by President von der Leyen, followed by several rounds of interventions by political group speakers between which Ms von der Leyen will reply. The Council Presidency also take the floor.

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A proactive and more strategic European Union

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 gennaio 2020

In the resolution assessing the state of play on the EU´s common foreign and security policy (CFSP), MEPs note that the world is facing a global power shift, with geopolitical competition becoming a leading trend.They express their full support for new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to transform the European Commission into a ‘geopolitical Commission’.MEPs point out that the EU has to switch from a responsive to an anticipatory approach. Teaming up with like-minded EU strategic partners, in particular NATO and emerging countries, is essential to defend the global rule-based order.Rapporteur and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister (EPP, DE) said: “The recent events in the Middle East proved again that multilateralism is more challenged than ever. With the beginning of a new political cycle, there is an urgent need for a stronger, united and proactive European Union. The role of the European Parliament should therefore be reinforced as an important pillar of the Common Foreign and Security Policy”.MEPs reiterate their support for the Eastern Partnership , and call for a credible EU enlargement strategy in the Western Balkans.The resolution was adopted with 454 votes for, 148 against and 102 abstentions.In the annual resolution on common security and defence policy (CSDP), adopted with 364 votes for, 266 against and 77abstentions, MEPs warn that armed conflicts provoking massive population displacement, jihadist terrorism, cyber attacks, hybrid threats, the weakening of disarmament efforts, energy insecurity and climate change, all make the European Union’s security environment uncertain and upredictable.MEPs note that some global actors (the United States, China, Russia) and an increasing number of regional actors (Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia) are seeking to assert power through a combination of “unilateral diplomatic posturing”.The European Union has been slow to react and adapt to this new international context, warn MEPs. In the area of defence, insufficient investments, lack of capabilities but above all, a “political reluctance to implement the robust provisions provided for in the European treaties” hampers the European Union’s ability to play a decisive role in external crises. Rapporteur Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR) said: “As Europe is facing tremendous security challenges, in a highly volatile international context, the European Union and its member states must take responsibility. In full respect of alliances and partnerships, Europe must assert its strategic autonomy and strengthen its capabilities in order to be a real actor and not a spectator.”

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“Original Sins: Globalization, Populism and the Six Contradictions Facing the European Union”

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 9 settembre 2019

Roma martedì 10 settembre, ore 19, nella sede della John Cabot University, in via della Lungara 233, Trastevere nuovo libro di Andrew Spannaus – giornalista e analista politico di origine statunitense, stabilitosi a Milano – che sarà presentato martedì prossimo a Roma, nella sede della John Cabot University (JCU), a cura dell’Istituto Guarini per gli Affari Pubblici. Alla presentazione interverrà il presidente della John Cabot University, Franco Pavoncello. I lavori saranno moderati dal professor Federigo Argentieri, direttore dell’Istituto Guarini per gli Affari pubblici. «L’Unione europea è nei guai. Gli elettori sostengono sempre di più i partiti populisti e antisistema. È molto comune sentire che questo processo sia dovuto principalmente a motivazioni razziste o reazionarie, e che l’avanzata del nazionalismo rappresenti un presagio per il ritorno della guerra. Questi argomenti non sono solo semplicistici, ma spesso utilizzati strumentalmente dalle élite per autoassolversi, evitando di andare alla base dei problemi riguardanti sia la Ue sia gli Usa», così Andrew Spannaus, autore, fra l’altro, del libro che predisse la vittoria di Trump, e fondatore di

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European Union commits €300 million for clean, healthy and safe oceans

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 20 novembre 2018

Brussels. The European Union makes 23 new commitments at the 5th edition of Our Ocean conference, in Bali, Indonesia for better governance of the oceans.The European Commission has announced €300 million of EU-funded initiatives, which include projects to tackle plastic pollution, make blue economy more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance. This important contribution comes on top of the over €550 million committed by the European Union, when it hosted the Our Ocean conference last year in Malta.High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The state of our oceans calls for determined global action. With 23 new commitments, the European Union stays engaged to ensure safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. No country can succeed alone in this endeavour. It requires determination, consistency and partnerships, within and outside our European Union, and it is in this spirit that today we renew the commitment to protect Our Oceans.”
During the Our Ocean conference in Bali this year, the EU has made 23 new commitments for improving the condition of our oceans and tapping their potential. These include €100 million for Research and Development (R&D) projects to tackle plastic pollution and €82 million for marine and maritime research, such as ecosystem assessments, seafloor mapping and innovative aquaculture systems. The new EU action also includes a €18.4 million investment to make the European blue economy – the economic sectors that rely on the ocean and its resources – more sustainable.The EU’s showpiece Earth observation programme Copernicus features prominently in the list of new commitments. The programme’s support will be enlarged with another €12.9 million for maritime security and for research dedicated to coastal environmental services, in addition to the €27 million Copernicus funds devoted at Our Ocean 2017 conference. With its Maritime Surveillance System Copernicus has significantly underpinned the EU commitments to reinforce maritime security and law enforcement.The EU is taking action at home but also internationally. As one of the commitments, the European Commission is joining forces with United Nations Environment Programme and other international partners to launch a coalition of aquariums to fight plastic pollution. Marine litter in South-East Asia, notably China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will be fought with a €9 million EU-funded project. Another €7 million will go towards protection of marine ecosystems in the region. Two years ahead of the initial deadline set, 10% of all EU waters have already been designated as Marine Protected Areas. With effective management, adequate funding and robust enforcement Marine Protected Areas can have both conservation and economic benefits.
The 2017 Our Ocean conference in Malta was a game-changer, mobilising funding and ocean action at an unprecedented scale.The European Unionhas already delivered on almost half of EU’s 35 commitments made at the last year’s conference, equalling €300 million. The EU is now working with Indonesia and other future hosts to keep the momentum going for cleaner and safer seas.

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EU and Arctic partners agree to prevent unregulated fishing in high seas

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 20 dicembre 2017

European UnionThe European Union, together with partners engaged in Arctic matters (Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Denmark in respect of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States), have succeeded in reaching an international agreement to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the Arctic high seas. That is, until sufficient scientific information to support the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks in the region is available.The Arctic region is warming at almost twice the global average rate, causing a change in the size and distribution of fish stocks. As a result, the Arctic high seas may become more attractive for commercial fisheries in the medium to long term. However, until present, most of the Arctic high seas were not covered by any international conservation and management regime.The agreement, reached in Washington DC at the fifth and final round of negotiations, will be a first step towards the creation of regional fisheries management organisations for the Central Arctic Ocean, to ensure that any future fishing is carried out sustainably.
The agreement is fully in line with the European Union’s long-standing position – emphasised recently at the EU-hosted Our Ocean Conference in Malta on 5-6 October – that no commercial fisheries should begin in the Arctic high seas before a science-based and precautionary management regime is in place.
Sound stewardship of the high seas has a prominent place in the EU’s Arctic policy and Ocean Governance policy, as regards a responsible approach towards utilizing Arctic marine resources, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.The agreement will enter into force when all ten Parties have signed and subsequently ratified the agreement.

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The European Union from the perspective of Central and Eastern European Countries

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 Maggio 2017

Roma Lunedì 22 Maggio 2017, ore 17:00 / 25 Maggio 2017 Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, Aule 2A (22 e 23 maggio) B (25 maggio) Via Gabriello Chiabrera, 199 La prof.ssa Agnieszka Nitszke dell’Uniwersytet Jagielloñski (Jagiellonian University) di Cracovia, visiting professor presso il Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, terrà un seminario in lingua inglese sul ruolo dei Paesi dell’Europa centro orientale all’interno dell’Unione Europea, in particolar modo la politologa affronterà i seguenti temi: Poland and Hungary: enfantes terribles of the European Union in the context of their political systems’ controversial changes; Sub-regional integration within the European Union: the case of the Visegrád Group; What we give – what we get”: the balance of EU Membership.

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A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 21 marzo 2017

European UnionRoma Venerdì 24 Marzo 2017, ore 14:30 Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, Aula Magna Via G. Chiabrera, 199. Convention: “A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy” Following a Manifesto of more than 300 European intellectuals and academics, the Convention aims to frankly and openly discuss the perspectives to concretely and urgently relaunch the European integration process, trying also to share a common strategy with institutional actors, in view of binding commitments that should be taken during the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Rome Treaties, on March 25.

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Brexit and the EU budget: threat or opportunity?/Brexit et budget de l’UE: menace ou opportunité?

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 27 gennaio 2017

brexit.jpgThe British decision to leave the European Union (EU) was influenced by the debate about the EU budget, but it is the opposite also true? Will British withdrawal have a decisive influence on the EU budget? In this policy paper, Jörg Haas, research fellow in our office in Germany, the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, and Eulalia Rubio, senior researcher on economic and social affairs, estimate how Brexit would impact the EU’s public finances. The authors draw up four scenarios that tline how the EU could react to the expected budget shortfall after Brexit and provide estimates of how the individual Member States might be affected by the different options. They analyse the political implications of these four scenarios for the upcoming negotiations about the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which will start in 2018. Overall, the policy paper concludes that Brexit could have a quite significant, although not devastating, impact on the EU budget and would likely deepen the existing cleavage between ‘net contributors’ and ‘net recipients’. This poses a number of tough challenges for the EU but could also support efforts to reform the current system.
La décision britannique de quitter l’Union européenne (UE) a été influencée par le débat sur le budget de l’UE, mais le contraire est-il également vrai ? Le retrait britannique aurait-il une influence déterminante sur le budget de l’UE? Dans ce policy paper, Jörg Haas, chercheur au Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin et Eulalia Rubio, chercheur senior à l’Institut Jacques Delors, analysent de quelle façon le Brexit aurait une incidence sur les finances publiques de l’UE. Les auteurs imaginent quatre scénarios qui exposent la façon dont l’UE pourrait réagir au déficit budgétaire escompté après le Brexit et présentent également des estimations de la façon dont chacun des États membres pourrait être affecté par les différentes options. Ils analysent les implications politiques de ces scénarios pour les prochaines négociations du cadre financier pluriannuel (CFP) qui débuteront en 2018.
Dans l’ensemble, le policy paper conclue que le Brexit pourrait avoir un impact important, bien que non dévastateur, sur le budget de l’UE et qu’il approfondirait probablement le clivage existant entre les « contributeurs nets » et les « bénéficiaires nets ». Il en résulte un certain nombre de défis difficiles pour l’UE, mais cela pourrait également soutenir les efforts de réforme du système actuel. (photo: brexit)

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European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights: Looking forward to 2017

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 4 gennaio 2017

bruxelles-1Other events will focus on the Fundamental Rights report 2017 and its focus on 10 years of fundamental rights achievements. This will take place in Brussels with the support of the Maltese Presidency. Then another anniversary event in Brussels will showcase the main results from the Agency’s second minorities and discrimination survey. This is the largest EU-wide survey of experiences of and attitudes towards some of Europe’s most marginalised communities, including Roma, Muslims, and other minority/migrant groups. With intolerance and hate an increasing concern across many Member States, the results should galvanise efforts to address this worrying trend. Migration will again be strong focus of the Agency’s work in 2017. Throughout the year, it will continue its series of monthly reports on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. In addition, in March, it will publish a major report that has mapped the various national integration policies, action plans or strategies that are being used across all EU Member States. It focused its attention on societal and political participation of migrants and their descendants. Other areas of interest will include the use of biometrics in border management (November), a FRA Opinion on the EU’s fingerprinting database (January), and migrant children in administrative detention (June). Staying with child rights, another core area of the Agency’s 2017 work, a major report on child-friendly justice will present the views of children involved in judicial proceedings. It will complement an earlier report that gave the professionals’ perspective. Then later in November, the Agency will turn its attention to child well-being and poverty across the EU, an issue of particular concern given the vulnerabilities of children and how it can affect their future. The Agency report on fundamental rights and mass surveillance by intelligence services will be another milestone. In October, it will present the findings from its combined socio-legal analysis of existing laws and how they translate into practice, drawing on its update of the legal frameworks that safeguard fundamental rights in the context of surveillance and interviews with all those involved. All told, this is just a snapshot of some of the highlights from 2017.
A fuller picture can be seen in the 2017 calendar. As events around Europe unfold, it is likely the Agency will be called on for its independent expert advice.

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The European Union at crossroads: working together for a better and more cohesive Europe-The romanian Perspective

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 22 novembre 2016

cluj-napoca-romaniaRoma Martedì 22 Novembre 2016, ore 11:00 Dipartimento Scienze Politiche, Sala del Consiglio Via Chiabrera 199 si terrà la Lectio magistralis L’Unione europea al bivio: lavorare insieme per un’Europa migliore e più coesa-la Prospettiva romena -The European Union at crossroads: working together for a better and more cohesive Europe-The romanian Perspective, del ministro degli Affari esteri della Romania, Dott. Lazăr Comănescu, iniziativa promossa dall’ambasciata di Romania in Italia.

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European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 22 giugno 2016

viennaVienna Congress Centre, Messeplatz 1. The search for a workable data-sharing agreement with the US is entering a crucial phase. The European Commission is about to present its latest proposal to the European Parliament. Today at the Fundamental Rights Forum, one of the key figures in the negotiations, Paul Nemitz, will be debating rights-based governance. As Director for Fundamental Rights and Citizenship in the DG for Justice of the European Commission, Mr Nemitz will help to decide the shape of any future deal.
The person responsible for transforming the treatment of migrants in Greece, Asylum Service Director Maria Stavropoulou, will be in a working group exploring how human rights can be placed at the heart of EU asylum policy. She recently oversaw the introduction of a pre-screening process for asylum seekers and may soon be dealing with a whole new committee system for dealing with the backlog of cases. All this while thousands of migrants remain stranded on Greek islands. The Polish government is currently at the centre of an unprecedented dispute with the European Commission over concerns that recent reforms to the media and the court system have eroded the rule of law. The European Parliament is now preparing a resolution on the issue. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksander Stępkowski has been a vocal defender of the government. He has taken part in the morning panel debate about rights-based governance and is available for interview.

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The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 16 giugno 2016

viennaVienna 20 June to 23 June 2016 Congress Centre, Messeplatz 1 The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is hosting three days of activities featuring more than 650 experts from academia, business, the arts, and politics, as well as grassroots activists, refugees and professional groups such as educators, health officers and psychologists. The participants will participate in working groups, inspirational talks, panel debates and discussions with guest speakers to devise innovative solutions to the most pressing problems Europe faces today. Their work will be structured around three themes: the refugee crisis, the digital age and inclusion.Those attending include Italian film-maker Gianfranco Rosi, whose award-winning 2016 documentary ‘Fire At Sea’ focuses on the lives of migrants on Lampedusa. He will be joined by dozens of other innovators, like digital rights activist Max Schrems, academic entrepreneur Alberto Alemanno, and Polish anti-surveillance activist Katarzyna Szymielewicz. Senior officials from the EU, including ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, will appear alongside policy makers from the European Parliament and national governments, not least Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister Lucia Žitňanská, whose country is about to take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Senior managers from businesses including IKEA, Facebook and Google will also be taking part.The aim is for everyone to make new commitments to human rights in their field. The commitments will be enshrined in a list of action points at the end of the Forum. The milestones and key findings of the Forum will be summarised in the Chair’s Statement.The Forum will be opened at Vienna City Hall on 20 June by FRA patron Heinz Fischer, who is stepping down as Austrian president in July after 12 years. He will be joined by Michael Häupl, whose 22 years as Vienna mayor make him the longest-serving incumbent in Europe. The European Commission’s First Vice President Frans Timmermans will give a keynote speech.

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The European Union’s external borders

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 9 febbraio 2016

Montenegro exodusThere is a race today in Europe between two very different concepts of how to restore control over the European Union’s external borders. One plan foresees the orderly large-scale resettlement of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Turkey and an end to the Balkan route by controlling the Aegean through close cooperation between Greece and Turkey. Versions of this plan are backed by German chancellor Angela Merkel, although crucial details remain to be settled and negotiated.However, there is also a radically different plan which proposes blocking all refugee movement by constructing a new wall across the Southern Balkans, an insurmountable fence along the green borders between Greece and all of its northern neighbours: Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria. This idea is the brainchild of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, and backed by other Central European political leaders.The decision as to which of these plans will be implemented and backed by European institutions will have far-reaching consequences for Greece, Balkan stability, EU relations with Turkey and the future of refugee law around the world.In recent weeks, ESI presented its analysis on the refugee issue in Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Washington, Athens, Istanbul, and Munich; we explained what it would take to implement the Merkel plan; and argued why the Orban plan was certain to fail. It would needlessly and unfairly antagonize Greece, destabilise the Western Balkans and create a huge demand for readily available smuggling services. It would also require a fence on the scale of the Iron Curtain or the Israeli fence along its Egyptian border (which took three years to build) and the readiness to use deadly force to have any real chance to stop those determined and desperate enough to cross the Iranian-Turkish border or brave the deadly Aegean.(photo: Montenegro exodus)

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How Brussels should deal with the question of China’s Market Economy Status

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 gennaio 2016

shanghai-chinaThe European Union should not rush into granting Market Economy Status to China. Such a step would not only make it harder for the EU to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports, exposing vulnerable European industries to a new price war. It would also risk creating a publicly visible clash of member states’ interests, further suffering of the EU’s legitimacy in the eyes of citizens and business communities, and another blow to the EU’s credibility as an international actor.In their China Policy Brief the MERICS experts Mikko Huotari, Jan Gaspers and Olaf Böhnke analyse the implications of removing one of the last roadblocks against unfair competition from EU-China trade relations. The authors urge European policy-makers to formulate common European interests from a position of strength and to enter into hard-handed negotiations with China. At the same time, the EU should shore up its trade defence regime to prepare for possible conflicts with China.
For the EU, the question of whether or not to grant Market Economy Status (MES) to China should not be on autopilot, regardless of China’s expectation to reach that status in December. EU policymakers should aim to find a solution between fully accommodating China and seeking open confrontation. In doing so, the EU should adopt and combine elements of approaches already pursued by some of the EU’s key Western partners, such as Australia, Canada, or the US. A possible EU strategy could include one or more of the following elements:
Transitional and sectoral bargains: The EU could grant MES in steps taking into account determinations of whether or not specific industries in China operate according to market principles.
Package deal: China would make concessions in exchange for MES. These could include export self-restrictions or a more level playing field for foreign companies in China.
WTO compliance: At the very least, the EU should push China for better compliance with its WTO commitments and to seek progress on concluding the planned WTO agreement on government procurement.
According to the MERICS authors the December 2016 deadline must be pushed back, giving the EU more time to develop a coordinated approach. In the meantime, the EU needs to modernise its trade defence mechanisms to prepare for the impact of the MES decision and possible retaliation from China.
When China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, a clause of China’s accession protocol explicitly allowed other states to use specific calculation methods to determine whether imported Chinese goods were unfairly priced. When this clause expires in December 2016, China expects to be automatically accepted as a full market economy by other WTO member states. The granting of MES would make it harder for those states to protect their trade interests from on-going unfair competition against China’s state-led economy.
China has not evolved into a full-fledged market economy in the 15 years since its accession to the WTO. Economic competition between China and Europe remains unfair. China’s current economic slowdown heightens the prospects of a trade war as China is increasingly trying to push its own overcapacities into the global market and to improve its export competitiveness with a further devaluation of its currency.The prevailing preference in the European Commission to proactively grant MES to China poses significant economic and political risks. Taking this step at this point in time would increase the impact of Chinese dumping and put pressure on a number of European industries, especially on heavy industries in Italy, Germany, Spain, France and Poland. Though the net effects are hard to predict, the EU is almost certain to lose credibility among its business community and citizens if it is not seen as fighting for a better deal for its own companies. The EU would also look weak in comparison with other international actors, most of whom are taking a more strategic stance towards Beijing on this issue.

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MEPs to Reform Electoral Law of EU

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 12 novembre 2015

electoral lawOn Wednesday evening, the European Parliament will vote on proposals for future electoral reforms to enhance the democratic nature of the European elections. Among these measures we find:
– The possibility for all EU citizens living abroad to vote in European elections.
– The increase of electronic, online ad postal voting.
– The increase of gender balance in voting lists.
– The lowering of the voting age to 16.
– The nomination of lead candidates to preside the European Commission.

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11th Annual European Union Film Festival in Toronto

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 12 novembre 2015

festival torontoToronto Sunday, November 15 – 8:30pm. Royal Cinema – 608 College St. Directed by Laura Bispuri Italy/Switzerland/Germany /Albania/Kosovo,  Drama, 90 min, Language: Italian/Albanian Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Lars Eidinger, Flonja Kodheli
Hana Doda, still a girl, escapes from her destiny of being a wife and a servant, a future imposed on women in remote village life in Albania.  With the help of her uncle’s guidance, Hana appeals to the old Kanun traditional law and takes an oath of eternal virginity for the chance to  bear a rifle and live free as men. For the villagers, Hana becomes Mark, a “sworn virgin”.  But something restless stirs under these men’s clothes. Years later, the immense Albanian mountains and her choice now seem like a prison.  Mark decides to set out on a journey, too long put off. He travels to Italy, crossing borders into many different worlds: Albania and Italy,  past and present, masculine and feminine.

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