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Brussels Think Tank Dialogue 2014


High-level experts from across Europe will convene at the Résidence Palace in Brussels for an in-depth discussion on the tasks and challenges facing the EU’s new leaders as they take charge following the 2014 elections to the European Parliament. For the fifth year running, ten leading Brussels-based think tanks will join forces to debate the EU’s future including issues such as the Banking Union, the rise of populist movements across Europe and the EU’s main foreign and defence policy goals. Jointly organised by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Br... Read More »

Getting out the vote for the European elections


The new system, set out in the Lisbon Treaty, requires the EU's heads of state and government to nominate a candidate based on the election results. This means the Parliament will also have greater influence on the selection of Commissioners. Engaging voters A related change in May’s elections is that this will be the first time that political groups will put forward candidates for the post of Commission president. The centre-left Party of European Socialists (PES) has already selected the German MEP Martin Schulz – the current president ... Read More »

Member sates want EU embassy in Iran, MEP says


Tarja Cronberg, a Finnish Green MEP who chairs the parliament's Iran delegation, said member states' ambassadors in Tehran backed the idea when she met them in the Iranian capital on an official trip earlier this month. "We held a meeting with all the [EU] ambassadors and they really stressed the importance of more open exchange … They said the best tool for this would be an EU embassy or maybe the creation of an EU special representative [for Iran] as a first step," she told EUobserver. She noted that: "The Iranians are also open to the ... Read More »

Agreement on clinical trials – major step towards innovative and competitive Europe


The aim of this legislative act is to facilitate and speed up the authorisation procedure for clinical trials and as a result to increase the number of clinical trials in the European Union. In response to requests from scientists and in order to meet patients' needs, the particular goal of the regulation is to stimulate clinical trials conducted by non-commercial sponsors, e.g. hospitals and university clinics. According to the Minister of Health of Lithuania Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, adoption of this Regulation is a major step towards ... Read More »

First Commission report on the implementation by Russia of the Common Steps for visa free-regime with the EU


Overall, the Commission considers that Russia has made progress in the implementation of the Common Steps, many of which can be considered as fulfilled. The assessment carried out has however showed that further work is necessary to address concerns and implement the recommended actions. The Commission will now discuss its findings both with the Council and the European Parliament. The Commission will also discuss the report with the Russian authorities in particular on how to best address the issues pointed to in the report. The latter can ... Read More »

Member states agree reforms on foreign worker rules


"We have finally reached agreement," said Lithuania's employment minister Algimanta Pabedinskiene, who chaired the ministers' meeting. "It will help to protect the rights of the posted workers and will prevent possible abuses and infringements," she said Monday (9 December). The deal means member states now have a mandate to enter negotiations with the European parliament on the revised draft of the 1996 posted workers directive. The 17-year old directive is supposed to guarantee basic labour rights of people sent to another member state ... Read More »

Horizon 2020 – the EU’s new research and innovation programme


How is funding organised under Horizon 2020? Horizon 2020 is built around three pillars: Support for "Excellent Science" - including grants for individual researchers from the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships (formerly known as Marie Curie fellowships); Support for "Industrial Leadership" - including grants for small and medium-sized enterprises and indirect finance for companies through the European Investment Bank and other financial intermediaries; Support for research to tackle "societal challenges... Read More »

Green light for Erasmus+: More than 4 million to get EU grants for skills and employability


More than 4 million people will receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad, including 2 million higher education students, 650 000 vocational training students and apprentices, as well as more than 500 000 going on youth exchanges or volunteering abroad. Students planning a full Master's degree abroad, for which national grants or loans are seldom available, will benefit from a new loan guarantee scheme run by the European Investment Fund. Erasmus+ will also provide funding for education and training staff, youth workers and for ... Read More »

Philippe Maystadt, special adviser to Commissioner Michel Barnier, presents his recommendations for enhancing the EU’s role in international accounting standard-setting


With this in mind, in March 2013 the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, mandated Philippe Maystadt to examine ways of reinforcing the EU's contribution to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and improving the governance of the European bodies involved in developing these standards (IP/13/242). Mr Maystadt's report is part of a broader debate on accounting standards, which also takes into consideration international developments in this field and the revision of the Regulation on the application of t... Read More »

Agora 2013: young Europeans propose ways to fight youth unemployment


Opening the Agora, EP president Martin Schulz said: "We think this is a question of survival for our democratic system. The most important thing for every generation of parents is, what are the chances for my children, for our children. " EP vice-president Isabelle Durant added: "This conference aims to understand what the obstacles are that young people encounter when looking for a job." We asked 12 of the participants what the EU could do to fight youth unemployment. ... Read More »

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