The Common Agricultural Policy - a fat cash cow by azw20493

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									                                                                                              NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                          April 2007

Portraits                                                                                                          Highlights
Mariann Fischer Boel      “We have a job to do to help public                               Three training seminars in Brussels
                          perceptions catch up with the reality”                                   during the first half of 2007
Katarina Kus                                                                          A peek through the keyhole: Open Doors
                                                                                             Day at the European Institutions

The Common Agricultural Policy
– a fat cash cow?
Not too long ago, one of Europe’s most famous mountains            times gone by, it is important to provide citizens with rele-
disappeared – and almost nobody noticed! The ‘butter               vant and accurate information of the Common Agricultural
mountain’, which had long been a landmark for critics of           Policy of today.
the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), no longer exists.       One of the most common reproaches of the CAP is that it’s
Its disappearance is another step towards a ‘healthier’ CAP
– and more are to follow.                                                      “The CAP is not a ‘gap’ into
                                                                               which money disappears”
Nevertheless, if you stroll through rural areas in Europe you
will still see tractors bearing “Stop MacSharry” stickers – a      a waste of public funds. But as Commissioner Fischer-Boel
reference to the substantive reform in the early 1990s under       recently pointed out, “the CAP is not a ‘gap’ into which mon-
Commissioner MacSharry – and you will still meet a lot of          ey disappears”. True, an impressive 40% of the EU budget
scepticism towards the CAP in the media or when talking to         goes into agricultural policy and rural development, but this
citizens. These are not just isolated incidences but are indic-    figure needs to be seen in context. Not only is the CAP the
ative of public opinion in general. As the Commissioner for        only policy area funded primarily from the EU budget, its
Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer-Boel,           expenditure has also been falling steadily in comparison to
points out in an interview with the ED newsletter, many            the EU budget as a whole – a trend that will continue under
people still base their criticism on an outdated view of the       the current Financial Perspectives.
                                                                   Next comes the question of whether it is money well spent.
Given the presence of agricultural sectors in all Member           On this point, some major changes were introduced with the
States and the important role of agriculture and rural de-         2003 reform, notably through ‘decoupling’ (see also ABC sec-
velopment in the EU budget, this phenomenon certainly              tion) subsidies from production. In short, this means that
represents a big communication challenge – not least for           aid is paid independently of production, guaranteeing farm-
the EUROPE DIRECT Network. Some popular perceptions                ers a basic income while allowing the agricultural sector
about the CAP are widespread and engrained in public opin-         to make business decisions based on market demand. This
ion. While these perceptions may have been appropriate in          ‘single farm payment’ is, however, not unconditional. It is

                                                                                                               Continued on p. 18 ...

Dear Network members,

European issues have been subject to referendums more fre-
quently than any other theme, but the lack of knowledge regard-
ing what the EU does, and why, is a significant barrier to public
debate on European issues.

On considering European issues one has to calculate the impact
on the national identity, choose between different economic
approaches, contemplate the world order, the importance of
environment protection, etc. At least in some of these themes
nobody has predefined views or experience – this makes the dis-
semination of EU information both challenging and important.

The EUROPE DIRECT network is the most local information net-
work in the EU and therefore plays very central role in stimulat-
ing EU-related discussions and providing citizens with relevant
and precise data.

DG Communication will continue to offer you the usual support
services, taking into account your feedback and suggestions. We
are also working on improving our information and promotional
materials. We plan to substantially simplify the ED relay’s finan-
cial reporting from the new financial cycle (2009-2013).

This year, the 50th Anniversary of the EU has significantly influ-
enced our work. It was astonishing that an Austrian relay can ar-
range a newspaper supplement with 251 000 copies and that the        This coming autumn members of the ED Relays and the Europe-
presence of Hungarian relays was so visible at open-air events.      an Documentation Centres are invited to join the Annual Gener-
I was amazed how extensively the Italian network cooperated          al Meetings in Barcelona, Warsaw and Dublin – 250 participants
with local authorities and how Polish students competed to           are expected to attend each event. We are planning to organise
produce anniversary-related radio or TV programmes – yet, these      a specific conference for the Team Europe members in 2008.
are just a few examples among many other excellent ideas that
were carried out. The sheer variety of related activities shows      The Intranet, the exchange programme, discussions at seminars
how much we can learn from each other.                               and meetings as well as this very newsletter offer you a lot of
                                                                     possibilities to share experiences. The recently launched elec-
                                                                     tronic reporting system should also be seen as a tool which helps
                                                                     to compare and analyse your means of providing information.

                                                                     I invite you to take advantage of these networking opportuni-
                                                                     ties, and hope that you test your skills actively in practice. As
                                                                     stated in our March specific training seminar: Communication is
                                                                     not a matter of life and death – it’s much more important than

                                                                     Paavo Palk
                                                                     Head of Unit DG COMM/B.2

                                                                                              NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                 April 2007 /      2

            The EUROPE DIRECT Newsletter is available   The Common Agricultural Policy – a fat cash cow?
                         on the Network’s Intranet at                      Editorial                                                                 2
                                                        EUROPE DIRECT News                                                        4
          and on the EUROPE DIRECT public website at
                                                        Three training seminars in Brussels during the first half of 2007                      The 3 Annual General Meetings in 2007
                                                        Europe on Air
                                                        Connecting Young Europeans – European Youth Seminar
                                                        “Week of Europe” in Montijo
                                                        “Europe celebrates its 50 years” - Drawing contest in Picardie
                                                        Portrait: Katarina Kus                                                    9

                                                        News from the Institutions                                               11
                                                        What’s the new social reality of Europe? Citizens’ views are welcome!
                                                        Additional aid for vulnerable people in Africa
                                                        Red carpet for the RegioStars 2008 awards
                                                        A peek through the keyhole: Open Doors Day at the European Institutions
                                                        Discrimination writ large! – Participate in the EU Journalist Award
                                                        Celebrating 50 Years of European Research: The Joint Research
                                                        Centre opens its Doors in Ispra
                                                        Taking ICT into the future – Winners of European ICT Prize            16
                                                        for innovation revealed

                                                        Portrait: Mariann Fischer Boel                                           16

                                                        EU Policies                                                              18
                                                        So Young Yet So Famous Happy birthday “.eu”!
                                                        “What future for European agriculture?” – European Young Farmers’ Day
                                                        EC: Co-financing agriculture information activities
                                                        MEDIA supported films nominated for Palme d’Or at Cannes
                                                        “Crossing Borders – Connecting Cultures”:
                                                        Shop till you drop? Yes, but not across borders – yet!

                                                        Young Europeans                                                          22
                                                        Fed up with stereotypes?
                                                        50 years and still young at heart!

                                                        Quote of the Month                                                       22

                                                        ABC                                                                      23

                                                        Key Figure                                                               24

                                                        EUROSCOPE                                                                24

                                    Disclaimer                                                                         Publisher
     The opinions expressed in this publication are                              This newsletter is published by the EUROPE DIRECT
not necessarily those of the European Commission.                           Information Networks Helpdesk in the framework of the
                                                                                                    service contract: PO/2005 – 06/A2.
                                                                                        We welcome your questions and suggestions
                                                                                           on our Questions and Answers service at:

                                                                                             NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                               April 2007 /        
               EUROPE DIRECT News

Three training seminars in
Brussels during the first
half of 2007
               The first Specific Training Seminar organised for the
               EUROPE DIRECT Information Relays and Network took
               place in Brussels on 22-23 March. The seminar focused on
               the theme ‘’The Future of Europe’. The 115 participants ex-
               amined different related aspects of the topic: how the EU
               responds to the challenge of energy and climate change,
               whether/how it meets citizens’ needs, and the economic
               and social impact of the enlargement process.

               They also had the opportunity to hear a journalist’s view on
               communicating on EU issues and to practise their profes-
               sional skills – particularly their oral and written communica-
               tion skills. Judging from their comments and feedback, they
               especially appreciated the interactive approach of the sem-
               inar and the opportunity to meet their colleagues across
               the 27 Member States. The report of the seminar as well as
               training material are available on the ED intranet.

               The seminar is to be followed with another STS for the EDCs
               which will specifically address the professional needs, and
               will take place on 24-25 May in Brussels. The programme is
               available for consultation on the ED intranet.

               The General Training Seminar will be held in Brussels on 27-
               29 June. Especially aimed at the newcomers in the Network,
               it will cover many different aspects of their daily work, com-
               bining skills improvement and practical and ready-to-use

               To keep updated with the latest information, please visit
               the ‘training’ page of the intranet regularly.

                                         NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                April 2007 /    
                                                                      EUROPE DIRECT News

The three Annual General
Meetings in 2007    RegisTeR by 1 June 2007
Following the coordination meeting with the Relay correspond-         be specific for EDCs as this was their wish following last year’s
ents of the Commission Representations and the Relay represent-       meetings. Furthermore, the meeting will start on Wednesday af-
atives in January 2007, we have been busy examining the different     ternoon, including a social gathering in the evening, and will end
comments we received and have tried to take on board as many          on Friday at lunchtime.
ideas as possible. The programme we have proposed reflects our
discussions during the meeting and the different elements which       The programme will also offer plenty of scope for sharing best
need to be taken into consideration when organising the AGMs.         practice and experiences. While the Relays will meet in ‘focus
We also consulted the national networks on topics they were in-       groups’ to discuss practical problems they encounter and share
terested in, in order to incorporate these wishes when finalising     experiences of communicating to specific target audiences, the
the programme.                                                        EDCs will have a specific session on online information sources
                                                                      and they will discuss 2 aspects of their work which were chosen
The formula for the meetings is as follows:                           according to the outcomes of the consultation: cooperation be-
There will be three AGMs with max 250 participants for each           tween EDCs and event management.
and you can freely choose which one (you can register only to
one AGM) you would like to attend to: 3-5 October in Barcelona        The programmes of the AGMs have now been published on the
(Spain), 17-19 October in Warsaw (Poland), or 7-9 November in         ‘network meetings’ page of the ED intranet, with practical infor-
Dublin (Ireland). The programme will be the same for all three        mation about the registration and other arrangements put to-
AGMs, except for one policy-specific session on the first afternoon   gether in an ‘FAQ’ document. Registration opened on 18 April and
of the programme. Following the outcomes of the consultation,         will close on 15 June 2007.
this topic will be solidarity in the EU in Barcelona, energy issues
in Poland, and the EU Constitution in Dublin. Some sessions will      We are looking forward to lively and fruitful AGMs !

Europe on Air
A radio game show “Üheskoos aastast 1957” was aired a week            day, including the current number of Member States, the main
after the 50th celebration of Rome Treaty. This was already the       difficulties and the achievements to date, and where the EU is
third similar show for the Europe Direct Pärnumaa relay. The          currently heading. People were invited to visit to
main theme behind this particular show was the announcement           find out more. The questions had to be set at a fairly easy level to
of EU´s 50th Anniversary. The idea to have a competition came         encourage people to listen and actively participate in the game.
from a local radio station which was very keen to let listeners       The answers to all of the questions were provided in the intro-
know about events taking place in the county of Pärnu, and            duction so that those who listened carefully could catch them
about the organisations active in that area. For five days, from      right away. Listeners were asked, for example, what the wording
26-30 March 2007, the radio station Pärnu Raadio provided lis-        of the logo celebrating the Rome Treaties was, and when Europe
teners with a short introduction to the European Union, based         Day is celebrated. We also had some bit trickier questions, such
on the Europa website — After this introduction        as why there are 12 stars on the EU flag. Most listeners wrongly
listeners were addressed with a question to which they had one        assumed that it was because there were 12 member states when
hour time to answer to. Participation was very active, and each       the EU was founded or that there was one star for each current
day one lucky participant won a prize.                                member, rather than the true answer that the 12 stars represent
                                                                      a symbol of unity.
The introduction highlighted important dates in the history of
the European Union, such as 9 May 1950 and 25 March 1957, ac-         Kersti Liiva
companied with a short explanation of their significance. More        ED Pärnumaa, Estonia
detailed information was provided on the European Union of to-

                                                                                                NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                    April 2007 /       
                                                                   EUROPE DIRECT News

Connecting Young Europeans –
European Youth Seminar
On 13-14 March, Youth Service Practitioners from Wales wel-        The participants also had the opportunity to exchange ideas for
comed their counterparts from Cyprus, Estonia, Malta and Po-       future projects, such as organising exchanges of students, work-
land to Llanelli, Wales to address key areas impacting on young    ers and trainers; youth exchanges on specific themes such as the
people aged between 15 –25 years old. Namely these were:           environment or the personal development of the young people;
                                                                   initiatives on professionalism and entrepreneurship camps. As-
»   citizenship and democracy;                                     tero Matheou, from Palodia Elementary School, Cyprus said;”
»   personal support ;                                             We shared some very good ideas about getting young people
»   learning and employment.                                       interested in forming groups and getting involved with young
                                                                   people from other countries.”
Carmarthenshire County Council accessed funding from the Eu-
ropean Union’s Connect Youth programme to put on this excit-       In order to organise future cooperation in the various areas ad-
ing event. Lorena Prist, European Networking Officer, based at     dressed during the seminar, networking boards were developed.
the West Wales European Centre said: “It was a brilliant confer-   In order to drive forward our youth agenda, the delegates will
ence, very much appreciated by all. The presentations, debates     now be contacted to be part of a network under their chosen
and workshops were all of a very high standard. Undoubtely,        theme(s) and/or of thematic projects and future events for
such events help to forge closer bonds with our European part-     young people. Jeffrey Cassar, from the Maltese Association of
ners, especially with regards to youth events.”                    Youth Workers said: “ This seminar has helped me think about
                                                                   and realise different aspects concerning the youth.”
This seminar enabled Youth Service Practitioners from various
countries to meet and share experience and best practice. Joyce    Lorena Prist
Thomas, from the Nightstop project, the only scheme of its kind    West Wales European Centre
in Wales providing shelter via host families to young people in    01267 242369
Carmarthenshire said: “I met some fabulous people and it was
great to be with people who have the same aim, making this
world a better place for the youth of today and future.”

                                                                                           NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                              April 2007 /      
                EUROPE DIRECT News

“Week of Europe” in Montijo
                The municipal council of Montijo, in conjunction with the Eu-
                rope Direct Centre of the Peninsula of Setúbal and the Civil Gov-
                ernment of Setúbal, organised a ”Week of Europe” between 25
                March and 1 April 2007 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the
                signing of the Treaties of Rome.

                The city of Montijo was the scenic back-drop to the “European
                Village”, which played host to 27 information stands, each repre-
                senting a different Member State of the European Union.
                The week was officially inaugurated on 25 March to a rendition
                of the European Anthem – Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

                On 27 March, in the Square of Gomes Freire de Andrade, a cer-
                emonial tile of Europe was unveiled at the initiative of the Eu-
                rope Direct Centre of the Peninsula of Setúbal. People in attend-
                ance included the Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development
                and Fisheries, the Head of the Representation of the European
                Commission in Portugal, the Civil Governor of Setúbal, and the
                President of the City council of Montijo, as well as the Secretary
                of State for European Affairs and of course members of the pub-
                lic. Those present presided over the opening of an international
                exchange entitled “Youth for Europe”.

                A conference on the European Constitution also took place on
                27 March, boasting as its guest of honour Dr. António Vitorino,
                former EU Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs.

                On the last day of “Europe Week” young people joined together
                to create a human version of the EU’s ‘TOGETHER’ logo (‘Juntos’
                in Portuguese), which is the official symbol of the 50th anniver-
                sary of the Rome Treaties.

                Ana Monteiro
                ED Península de Setúbal, Portugal

                                         NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                            April 2007 /       7
                                                                       EUROPE DIRECT News

“Europe celebrates its 50 years”
DRAwing ConTesT
Within the framework of the festivities of the 50th Anniversary
of the Treaty of Rome, the European Information-Point of Picar-
die (the EUROPE DIRECT Relay), in partnership with the General
Council of the Somme and the Dean of the Academy of Amiens,
organized a drawing contest entitled “Europe celebrates its 50
years” for schoolchildren of the Department of the Somme..
The contest, supported by the Ministry of European affairs, was
held from 1 January to 15 March 2007. It aimed at encouraging
the children’s interest in the history of European integration
while stimulating their artistic creativity. The official award cer-
emony took place on Thursday 29 March at the Town Hall of the
Department of the Somme, in Amiens, the capital of the region
of Picardie.
                                                                       Brussels to visit the theme park “Mini Europe” on April 10 2007.
It was held in the presence of the President of the Somme’s Gen-       Moreover, the winning design will now illustrate a batch of 3000
eral Council, a representative of the Faculty for International        postcards which will be distributed, in particular, to colleges,
Relations and Cooperation, as well as the President of the Eu-         municipalities, elected officials, and of course the general public
ropean Information-Point Amiens Picardie, who handed out the           of the region. All the children who participated in the contest re-
prizes to the winning school classes. The speakers took the op-        ceived a package containing documentation as well as a T-shirt
portunity to point out the historical context of the signing of        and cap with the colours of Europe and those of the department
the first great European Treaty, the objectives of the Founding        of the Somme.
Fathers of Europe, as well as the achievements made in Euro-
pean integration in the past 50 years. They also stressed the im-      For further information on this event, please contact: Mrs. Em-
portance of Europe and of the 50th Anniversary for the future          manuelle BORLA – e-mail: -
of Picardie’s young people. The prize winners were invited to          Tel.: 03 22 22 21 92

       4 – 31 May 2007                                                 ‘Hello this is Europe speaking’ in the city’s Hansa-centre,
       Germany: In May, it’s all about Hungary in Ingelheim.           or attend a full day of events on 9 May to meet, among
       In the framework of an extended European Week and               others, Commissioner Rehn or Finnish artists like Maria
       under the patronage of the Hungarian Ambassador in              Lund and Anna Hanski.
       Germany, EUROPE DIRECT Ingelheim has come up with a
       very diverse programme where citizens can see, hear and         10 May 2007
       even taste different facets of the country.                     UK: ED Highlands & Islands is organising a one-day event
                                                                       to promote the new Interreg programmes 2007-2013,
       7 – 11 May 2007                                                 specifically the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP).
       Finland: As with many Relays all over Europe, ED Turku
       is co-organising a European week including special              For a more complete overview of all the activities organ-
       activities on Europe Day. In Turku, citizens will have the      ised by Network members for Europe Day, check the ED
       opportunity to stroll through the an exhibition called          intranet at the Members’ Meetings and Events section!

                                                                                                 NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                    April 2007 /       

Katarina Kus
eD ZAsAvJe, sloveniA
                                                               face a problem connected to the EU in their everyday lives
                                                               they know (or at least I hope they do) that they can contact
                                                               us and we will do our best to help them find the best solu-

                                                               EDN: Does your Relay have any distinctive features due to
                                                               the fact that it is hosted by a regional development agency?
                                                               Does this somehow affect your work and the activities you
                                                               organise? Do you cooperate with other regional develop-
                                                               ment agencies in the EU?

                                                               I don’t think that our Relay is very different from others just
                                                               because of the fact that it is hosted by the Regional Devel-
                                                               opment Agency. In fact, so far all the Slovene Relays have
                                                               been hosted by those agencies.
                                                               It may be that we have different target groups, or people
                                                               who visit the Relay, than the majority of European Relays.
                                                               The visitors are mainly from small and medium enterprises
                                                               or students. We also prepare activities for young people
                                                               and we have quite a lot of cultural events – the majority of
                                                               which are exhibitions.
                                                               We cooperate with different regional development agencies
                                                               in the EU and the Balkans, mainly on European projects. We
                                                               have also signed a cooperation agreement with agencies
EUROPE DIRECT Newsletter: Ms Kus, as a member of the           from Ireland.
EUROPE DIRECT Network what is your experience of com-
municating Europe to the people in your region? What do        EDN: Having attended the AGM in Bologna and some train-
you think local people expect from your Relay?                 ing seminars organised for the Network members, what
                                                               would you say have been the benefits of these events for
Generally, I believe that communicating Europe is a rather     your daily work?
difficult job, as there are so many things that are in fact
achievements of the EU, but which we somehow all man-          I think there is a difference between AGM meetings and
aged to forget.                                                training seminars. As far as I see it, AGM meetings are there
                                                               to bring people together from different Relays. We share
People in our region are usually interested in those things    experiences about our activities and we try to get some
or topics that have a direct effect on them. Other topics      good ideas from other Relays and adapt them for activities
are not necessary as important to them, which is quite logi-   that would suit people in our region. Those meeting are also
cal to some extent. We try to answer their questions and       great for exchanging good practices. On the other hand,
help them, but we also think that they have to know about      training seminars are more “serious”, as we work in small
the most important things that are currently happening in      groups and are getting familiar with new or different ap-
the EU, so we try to inform them about those themes too.       proaches to communicating Europe. We work on different
I think that people expect information and help from our       European topics and try to find the best way to communi-
Relay when they need it or when they face a problem. If they   cate them to different target groups. It’s all about the abil-

                                                                                          NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                             April 2007 /        

ity to present Europe and to send a clear message of what       As for the Slovenian Presidency, we will prepare an intro-
Europe is about and how it works – which is what we are         duction of what the Presidency actually means and what
doing in our everyday work. And I believe that this is not      it is all about, but this will probably take place in the last
only about positive advertising, but we try to give citizens    few months of 2007. Until then, we still have some work to
the whole picture and a clear message of what is happen-        do – Starting with the “Euro week”.
ing around us.
EDN: You have been organising a series of events for the        EDN: Ms Kus, thank you very much for this interview!
introduction of the Euro in Slovenia. Could you tell us
more about this initiative and its impact?

As Slovenia was the first of the “new” member states to
change its national money (the Tolar) for the Euro, we had         questions’ BoX
a broad campaign about the Euro on the national level. Our
Relay organized some events connected with the introduc-           Your favourite European city:
tion of the Euro, in cooperation with the Representation of        Ljubljana (Slovenia)
European Commission in Slovenia and the Governmental
Office for Communication. We presented the Euro as the             Your favourite European dish:
general European money to the youngest age-group – 5-              Lasagne
year-olds from kindergarten. We had some activities with
                                                                   Your favourite European magazine:
schools, presentations, a Euro quiz, and an exhibition of
                                                                   ED Newsletter
imaginary Euro notes seen through the eyes of school chil-
dren. The main event was a debate for the general public           Your favourite European personality:
about the introduction of the Euro, the timeline of the in-        Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for
troduction, the Slovenian Euro coins, and the difficulties         Science and Research
and problems which we expected to appear regarding the
introduction of the Euro etc. In general, our most impor-          Your favourite communication tool:
                                                                   Public debates
tant aim was to inform as many people as possible about
the basic facts of the Euro introduction and their rights
                                                                   To bring the EU closer to its citizens who do you
connected to this “piece of Europe in our pocket”.                 think are the people we mostly need to target when
                                                                   communicating the EU?
EDN: What are the specific activities planned for the com-         The youngest and the oldest
ing months that you would like to share with the Network,
                                                                   In three words: what is the biggest challenge for
especially in the context of the Slovenian Presidency dur-
                                                                   Europe in the future?
ing the first half of 2008?                                        Migration and enlargement

We have already been preparing some activities for our
“European week” in May. We plan to present a few exhibi-
tions in our gallery, including an exhibition of the logos of
the 50th anniversary of the EU. We plan to promote the
50th anniversary and Europe Day, and also plan to have
some articles in the local media. We will prepare a quiz and
a competition (with prizes) for the best essays, pictures
and photos. We were also preparing to have a “euro vil-
lage” in a local park, but we will have to wait and see about
that. We also plan to have a debate on energy policy and a
platform on equal opportunities.

                                                                                         NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                             April 2007 /        10
                                                           News from the Institutions

What’s the new social reality of
Europe? Citizens’ views are
                                                                       wide-ranging debate about the social challeng-
                                                                       es europeans face in an era of globalisation

                                                                       citizens. But well-being does not come from money alone. The
                                                                       social setting is just as important.

                                                                       That is why the European Commission initiated on 26th Febru-
                                                                       ary a public consultation to take stock of present social realities
                                                                       and trends in European societies, with a special focus on access
                                                                       and opportunity. The aim is to reach out to different constitu-
                                                                       encies to discuss what forms Europe’s social reality. This exercise
                                                                       will be based on a consultation paper, a Eurobarometer poll and
                                                                       a special website (

                                                                       The Commission is in listening mode, not testing policy. The goal
                                                                       is to promote a wide-ranging debate about the social challenges
                                                                       Europeans face in an era of globalisation. At this stage, there
                                                                       is no draft set of proposals, or even policy guidelines on which
                                                                       the Commission is seeking views. Only at a later stage may pol-
                                                                       icy conclusions be drawn in close partnership with the Member
European society is changing dramatically in so many different         States. European leaders want to be better equipped to judge
ways - in working patterns, social mobility, the changing posi-        how to improve access to opportunities for their citizens. They
tion of women in society, dropping birth rates, and also new           recognise that equal opportunity for everyone means nothing
patterns of poverty and inequality. Values are evolving and Eu-        if systems are not in place to ensure that each citizen has a fair
ropean societies are becoming                                                                             chance in life. This is of con-
ever more multicultural. These                                                                            cern notably to women, who
social trends are in turn shaped        The european Commission initiated on 2th                         still have very often to carry
by forces such as demography
                                        February a public consultation to take stock                      the lion’s share of caring for
and globalisation.
                                        of present social realities and trends in euro-                   children and the elderly. Fami-
                                        pean societies, with a special focus on access                    lies, too, are under pressure in
                                        and opportunity.
Is Europe ready to become a                                                                               our fast-paced world. A clear
knowledge and service economy?                                                                            understanding of immigra-
What are the social implications of this? What do we mean by a         tion is also needed and how it is affecting our societies.
healthy work-life balance? Is the traditional family in decline?
What do we mean by well-being? How can we measure it? Why              The exercise will not be a Brussels-dominated affair but will
do so many children in the EU miss out on higher education?            involve local and national organisations, as well as engage the
Understanding how Europe’s societies are changing is essential         policy and think tank community across Europe. All those with
in keeping EU policies relevant to citizens. In recent years, the EU   an interest in the issues at stake are invited to make their views
has been concentrating on creating jobs and fuelling economic          known during the period of consultation. The consultation will
growth, so as to improve the well being of Europe’s 500 million        stretch over the remainder of 2007. The best way to comment

                                                                                                 NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                    April 2007 /      11
                                                          News from the Institutions
on the issues for discussion is to participate in the debates or-     gender equality? What are the factors driving social transfor-
ganised at a national level and to send feedback by e-mail to         mation? How can we address the problems faced by many mi-
“” or by mail to “European Commis-      nority groups – discrimination, high unemployment and low
sion, Social Reality Stocktaking, BERL 6/251, B-1049 Brussels”.       educational attainment?
Feedback is absolutely necessary on key themes such as types of
economy and society. Is Europe well on the way to moving from         The Commission invites all EUROPE DIRECT Relays to partici-
an industrial society to a knowledge and service economy? Are         pate and to stimulate the debate locally – to help shape Europe
European values changing? What still has to be done to achieve        for generations to come.

Additional aid for vulnerable
people in Africa
The European Commission has recently adopted three new hu-            Another African country that has been plunging deeper and
manitarian aid plans (‘global plans’) to alleviate the suffering of   deeper into crisis recently is Zimbabwe, with disastrous effects
the most vulnerable people in African crisis regions. €45 million     on the civilian population. In order to mitigate the impact of the
have been allocated to support large scale operations in Sudan,       crisis, the Commission has allocated €10 million in food aid and
particularly in Darfur and South Sudan. Another €15 million will      another €8 million under the global plan. All the relief funds are
be used to fund assistance for refugees and displaced people in       channelled through the Directorate General for Humanitarian
Chad, as well as for other vulnerable communities in the east         Aid (ECHO) of the European Commission.
and south of the country. Together with the food aid already
earmarked, the European Commission foresees €110 million of           If you want to know more about EU humanitarian aid and ECHO,
humanitarian aid going to these two neighbouring countries            visit the website at and look
this year.                                                            out for the June edition of the ED newsletter, where we will have
                                                                      a special report on this topic!

Red carpet for the RegioStars
2008 awards
Regional projects now have their own claim to fame! EU Com-           The competition is open to all projects that have received fund-
missioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, has recently            ing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Pro-
launched a new award to identify good innovative practices in         posals have to be submitted online by 29 June 2007. The detailed
regional development: the RegioStars. The initiative is part of a     modalities of the procedure, including the application form (in
stepped-up communication effort in the area of regional policy        English and French), can be found at the Website of DG REGIO
and aims to highlight innovative projects that also have the po-      at
tential to give new ideas to other regions. The first edition in      change/regiostars_en.cfm?nmenu=4
2008 is focused on four main thematic areas:

»   supporting clusters and business networks
»   technology transfer from research institutes to Small and
    Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
»   energy efficiency and renewable energies
»   environmental technologies.

                                                                                                 NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                    April 2007 /       12
                                                            News from the Institutions

      A peek through the keyhole:
      Open Doors Day at the
      European Institutions
       Curious about how the European Institutions look like from the inside? If you always wanted to know where policies are
       shaped and decisions are made in the EU, then you have the opportunity to come and see on Saturday 5th May! As in previ-
       ous years, the European Institutions in Brussels – and elsewhere – will open their doors to the general public.

       Numerous fun events and information activities will, for example, take place in and around the Commission Headquarters,
       the Berlaymont Building, where the EUROPE DIRECT network will also be presented. At the European Parliament the main
       attraction will be a ‘European Village’, where Member States, candidate countries, political groups and Parliament’s serv-
       ices will present themselves.

Discrimination writ large! –
Participate in the EU Journalist
“I was a slave in Puglia”. What sounds like fiction, is the title of    The articles must have been published between 1 Janu-
a real-life story by Italian journalist Fabrizio Gatti, who has just    ary and 30 September 2007 and can be submitted in one
been announced winner of the 2006 EU journalism award ‘For              of the 23 official EU languages. The contributions can
Diversity. Against Discrimination’. The article is not only an illus-   be entered until 30 September 2007 via an online form
tration of the severe discrimination faced by Europe’s ‘second-         (
class citizens’ due to their ethnic origin but also a good example
of how media can play an important role in the way minorities or        The three winners of the EU-wide award will be selected among
certain groups are seen within a society.                               27 national winners by a jury composed of media-professionals
This is why the EU has again launched a competition for the best        and anti-discrimination experts and will receive a tailor made
journalistic work that contributes to a better public understand-       study trip to an EU country of their choice! Moreover, a special
ing of the benefits of diversity and the fight against discrimina-      award will be granted in the framework of the European Year of
tion in society. In the framework of the campaign “For Diversity.       Equal Opportunities for All.
Against Discrimination”, print and online journalists from all EU
Member States are invited to submit articles dealing with issues        For more information about the award, the application proce-
of discrimination or diversity based on racial or ethnic origin,        dure and the criteria, please visit the website of the EU Journal-
age, gender, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief.     ist Award 2007 at

                                                                                                  NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                       April 2007 /   1
                                                          News from the Institutions

Celebrating 50 Years of European
Research: The Joint Research
Centre opens its Doors in Ispra
                                                                      on May 12, the Joint Research Centre (JRC)
                                                                      – in-house research service of the european
                                                                      Commission – is organising the annual open
                                                                      Day at its largest site in ispra, italy. To cele-
                                                                      brate the 0th anniversary of the Treaties of
                                                                      Rome, it will showcase its ispra laboratories
                                                                      and facilities with an even more interactive
                                                                      and entertaining programme than in previous

                                                                      The JRC institutes based in other countries,
                                                                      other european Commission services and the
                                                                      european agencies – such as the european
                                                                      Food safety Authority, italy and the european
                                                                      environment Agency, Denmark - will join the
                                                                      event and highlight their work as well.
                                                                      And there will be a few surprises!

The picturesque Italian town of Ispra, located on the shores of       Some Highlights of the Programme
Lago Maggiore, is home to three JRC research Institutes: The          If you ever wanted to extract DNA from vegetables, or learn how
Institute for Environment and Sustainability, the Institute for       the GPS system actually works, or how photovoltaic cells con-
Health and Consumer Protection and the Institute for the Se-          vert sunlight into electricity, this is your chance! JRC scientists
curity and Protection of the Citizen. The mission of the JRC is       will present their labs with interactive experiments and numer-
to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for       ous accessible layman seminars on topics ranging from renew-
the conception, development, implementation and monitoring            able energy to deforestation, nuclear security and sustainable
of EU policies. Hence, the JRC functions as a reference centre of     transport.
science and technology for the European Union.
                                                                      Special emphasis will be on the younger generation to raise their
In Ispra alone, more than 1.500 Commission scientists and em-         interest in scientific matters: Following the “Kid’s Tour” through
ployees are working to make Europe safer, cleaner and more            the site, they will playfully learn about animals and plants in wa-
competitive. Join them - and several thousand visitors - on a jour-   ter ecosystems, the development of alternative methods to ani-
ney into science and discovery, put on a white coat and perform       mal testing, the importance of soil for our ecosystem and food
some laboratory experiments, learn the latest about climate           chain, and much more.
change, solar energy, food safety, satellite imagery, nuclear se-
curity and safety...

                                                                                                NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                   April 2007 /      1
                                                              News from the Institutions

In addition, the German staff in Ispra will organise several ac-    Find out more about the JRC: Upcoming Open Days at other Sites
tivities to present the current EU presidency, as will the JRC      You can learn more about the JRC at the following Open Day
scientists from the two newly acceded countries, Bulgaria and       events:
                                                                    »   5 May: JRC at the Berlaymont Open Day (Brussels, Bel-
Further Information                                                     gium)
Participation is free and the JRC will provide refreshments so      »   2 June: Open Day at the JRC Institute for Energy (Petten,
you can keep up your energy for an action filled day - you just         the Netherlands)
have to register as a visitor beforehand. Detailed Information,     »   27 September: Open Doors at the JRC Institute for Transu-
programme and registration are available under                          ranium Elements (Karlsruhe, Germany)                     »   7 October: Open Day at the JRC Institute for Reference Ma-
                                                                        terials and Measurements (Geel, Belgium)

                                                                    Our website will keep you updated on
                                                                    these events.

Taking ICT into the future –
Winners of European ICT Prize for
innovation revealed
The European ICT Prize, the EU’s most distinguished prize for in-       digital preservation of our paper-based knowledge by
novation in information and communication technologies, has             means of a new distortion-free automatic scanning device.
this year been awarded to British, Swedish and Austrian entre-          This mechanism actually opens and turns all of a book’s
preneurs.                                                               pages one by one, converting its contents into digital files
                                                                        for future generations.
»   Transitive Corporation (UK) won the prize for its product
    ‘Quick Transit®’. This is a software ‘translator’’ which al-    At the award ceremony in Hanover, which took place on 16 March
    lows applications created for one processor and operating       at CeBIT (the world’s largest ICT trade fair), Commissioner for In-
    system to run on another platform without the need for          formation Society and Media Viviane Reding bestowed each of
    reprogramming.                                                  the three Grand Prize winners with €200.000, stating that “In-
                                                                    novations such as these are essential if Europe is to stay ahead
»   Telepo (SE) received the award for its Telepo Business          in the global game.”
    Communication system, which basically allows internal
    communications within organisations to run much faster,         The award is organised with the support of the European Com-
    intelligently, and cheaply.                                     mission and rewards novel products or services with a high in-
                                                                    formation technology content and evident market potential. If
»   Treventus’ (AT) ScanRobot aims to guarantee the future          you want to learn about the nominees, the winners or the appli-
    of human knowledge, as enshrined in its more well-known         cation procedure for next year’s award, please go to http://www.
    format: books and libraries. ScanRobot provides for the

                                                                                               NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                  April 2007 /         1

Mariann Fischer Boel
EUROPE DIRECT newsletter: Mrs. Fischer Boel, you are Com-
missioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. This is a
policy area that has undergone significant changes in the
last years. What is your assessment of the situation now?
Are we on the right track?

I’d say that we are definitely on the right track, but that
there is still work to be done. The Common Agricultural Pol-
icy of 2007 is a far cry from the policy of 20 years ago and is
very different to the negative caricature many people still
have in their heads. The reforms we began in 2003 complete-
ly changed the way our farmers are supported. The changes
broke the link between subsidies and production, through
what is called “decoupling”. Payments to farmers are no
longer linked to what they produce but to the respect of a
number of standards, covering environmental protection,
animal welfare, food safety and the maintenance of the
land in good condition. Farmers now look to produce what
the market wants, not what brings the biggest cheque from
Brussels. The incentive to overproduce has gone and our           land aside is still appropriate, whether we should prepare
payments no longer distort trade. I believe the new system        the milk market for the phasing out of milk quotas, and
is much more in line with what our consumers and taxpay-          probably increasing the amount of money we transfer from
ers want. Farmers can concentrate on producing high quali-        direct payments to farmers into the budget for Rural Devel-
ty food while making sure that our countryside is protected       opment policy.
and nurtured. But despite the progress we have made, we
cannot simply rest on our laurels. We are still working on        EDN: Many citizens are wondering why the Community is
reforms to our wine and fruit and vegetable regimes and we        spending so much money on the CAP. Is it justified that
will be carrying out a major assessment of our policy over        more than 40% of the EU budget goes to agriculture and
the next couple of years.                                         rural development?

EDN: You are envisaging a ‘health check’ for the CAP. What        To read some of the comments about this, you would think
does this imply? Another reform if we find out the patient        we were putting 40% of total European spending into ag-
is sick?                                                          riculture! The reality, of course, is quite different. Agricul-
                                                                  ture is the only common EU policy wholly financed from
After the upheavals of recent years, our farmers need a bit       Brussels. So yes, it takes more than 40% of the EU budget,
of time to adjust and a period of continuity. However, the        but that is because all other policies are mainly financed
Health Check will be an excellent opportunity to see if the       from national budgets. Spending on areas like education,
CAP is working as well as it could and to make any adjust-        defence, and social security dwarf agricultural spending. In
ments which could make it work better. For me a major             fact, we spend just 0.43% of EU GDP on farming, or about 1%
priority is to simplify the CAP. That will be one of my aims.     of public spending, and I would argue that we get extremely
We should look at the payments system and consider how            good value for money. I think it is important that the CAP re-
this could be simplified, perhaps by increasing the level of      mains a common policy. Renationalising farm policy would
decoupling in those limited areas where it does not apply.        not necessarily reduce overall spending, but would merely
We will also be looking at whether the system of setting          remove the level playing field.

                                                                                             NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                April 2007 /        1

EDN: An important external factor for the CAP is the Doha         It’s been an excellent experience, a real opportunity to
Round of World Trade Organisation talks. Which impact             hear what people have got to say. It’s early days, so I would
does this have on European agriculture?                           hope to see many more people joining the dialogue in the
                                                                  months to come. Obviously, some people have a particular
The Doha Round will be crucial for the future of European         agenda they want to promote, but I have been impressed
agriculture. What we have put on the table amounts to an          by the overall quality of the debate. For me the major com-
offer to halve our average farm tariffs from around 23 per-       munication challenge is to get the public at large better
cent to around 12 percent, end all export subsidies by 2013       informed about the Common Agricultural Policy, but also
and cut our trade-distorting farm subsidies by 70%. That is       about the wider role of farming and rural areas in the Eu-
an extremely significant offer. If it is accepted, it will have   ropean way of life. Again and again, I come across people
a major impact on EU farmers and they will need to adjust         whose opinions are based on a completely outdated view
to increased competition. But I think they are capable of         of our policies. This is frustrating and I know we have a job
adjusting to whatever comes out of Doha. Of course, the           to do to help public perceptions catch up with the reality.
negotiations are not a one-way street. Tariff cuts will also
help our exporters on other markets. If we can get recog-         EDN: Commissioner Fischer Boel, thank you very much for
nition for our foodstuffs with protected Geographical In-         sharing your views with us.
dications, I see huge potential to win new markets across
the world for our high quality products. Likewise, a Doha
deal must include disciplines on other countries’ trade-
distorting farm subsidies and on their export support pro-
grammes. Final point: we are working hard to get a deal,
                                                                     questions’ BoX
but that is not a foregone conclusion.
                                                                     Your favourite European city:
EDN: What are the prospects for the future? Will agricul-            I prefer to stay in the countryside.
                                                                     But I do love Rome.
ture still be attractive in the next decades? What about
the younger generations of the rural population?                     Your favourite European dish:
                                                                     It depends on the season. In summer I like fresh
Agriculture is a vital part of the EU economy and the Eu-            strawberries with cream, in autumn I love to eat
ropean way of life and it will remain so. I am determined            pheasant, and I like fish in winter – especially
that there should still be a strong CAP in the years ahead,          sole.
but it needs to adapt – as it has done successfully in recent
                                                                     Your favourite European personality:
years. We need to establish the framework which will allow           Angela Merkel.
farmers to thrive and which will keep agriculture attrac-
tive. Our reforms are already focusing on increasing farm-           Your favourite communication tool:
ers’ competitiveness and market-orientation. We need to              Meeting people in person, listening to them and
                                                                     trying to come up with pragmatic solutions to
keep producing our own food, we need to play a part in the
                                                                     their concerns.
energy mix and we need to make sure that farmers remain
the heartbeat of the rural economy. Our young farmers are            To bring the EU closer to its citizens who do you
the future. I have worked very hard to give them a strong            think are the people we mostly need to target when
voice – not least through our recent Young Farmers’ Day in           communicating the EU?
Brussels. I have been very impressed by what I have seen             The most important thing is to make sure that
                                                                     the people affected by decisions are getting ob-
– they are innovative and entrepreneurial. I have a lot of
                                                                     jective and accurate information about what is
confidence for the future.                                           being done in their name.

EDN: You have recently started a blog on your website.               In three words: what is the biggest challenge for
Could you share your experience with it so far and where             Europe in the future?
                                                                     Getting things done.
do you see the major communication challenge in your
policy area?

                                                                                           NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                              April 2007 /        17
                                                                                                    EU Policies
Continued from p. 1 ...

linked to the respect of standards relating to the environment,      reaucratic re-shuffling, but it’s not. So what is the way forward?
food safety, animal and plant health, and animal welfare, as well    What can consumers and farmers expect for the future? Firstly,
as the requirement to keep all farmland in good agricultural and     the European Commission has started a process of more general
environmental condition. This conditionality is known as “cross      reflections on the future of the CAP under the working motto
compliance” and the motivation behind it is twofold: first, to       ‘one vision, two steps’. The first step will be a ‘Health Check’ that
make agriculture more sustainable and second, to make the CAP        will get underway this year. Its purpose is to find out where the
more compatible with the expectations of consumers and tax-          CAP needs some small remedies to make it work as it should, but
payers. In practice, this means that payments to farmers can be      it will not entail any major changes in the policy and therefore
reduced if they fail to comply with those requirements. While        won’t require major adjustments from farmers. A second step
the general public seems to overwhelmingly support the idea – a      will be to look beyond the current Financial Perspectives and re-
recent Eurobarometer survey (March 2007) revealed that more          flect on how the CAP should look like after 2013. This exercise is
than 83% of respondents were in favour of this mechanism – the       foreseen chiefly for the year 2009. One thing, however, seems to
farmers are not always happy with this conditionality.               be clear already: the Commission is advocating a non-prolonga-
                                                                                                        tion of the milk quota system
The Commission has now intro-      “Cross Compliance is right and necessary and it                      beyond its expiration in 2015.
duced a proposal to simplify       is here to stay. but this does not mean we can-                      This is in line with efforts to
and improve the system of          not make changes to make it work better”                             bring the agricultural sector
cross compliance. As Commis-                                                                            under a system that is more
sioner Fischer-Boel has said: “Cross Compliance is right and nec-    market-oriented and based on competitiveness – certainly a very
essary and it is here to stay. But this does not mean we cannot      sensitive issue. This development will probably mean that some
make changes to make it work better”. The new proposal there-        farmers will have to look for new markets and new products.
fore introduces certain measures to alleviate the administrative     According to the European Commission, the ever more pressing
burden both on farmers and national authorities. The measures        need to act against climate change could create one such new
include, for example, exemptions from very small fines, more         opportunity for farmers in the guise of bio fuels. These are fuels
efficient farm inspections and a phasing-in period for certain       processed from biomass, a renewable resource, and can serve as
standards in the new Member States.                                  a direct substitute for traditional petrol and diesel.
This effort to simplify cross compliance is part of a wider effort
to simplify the CAP. The main objective of this simplification is    Moreover, under the new Financial Perspectives the EU is putting
a revision and streamlining of the legal framework in order to       more emphasis than before on rural development in general. In
                                                                     line with the Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs, this policy
“we need to get our farmers out of the office                        aims at enhancing opportunities for the rural population – for
and into the fields”                                                 example by promoting the diversification of the rural economy.
                                                                     The need seems to be there: while farm income per worker has
make the CAP easier to manage and easier to comply with for all      been on the rise on average in the EU Member States (3.8% since
concerned – farmers, agri-businesses and national civil servants.    last year), in some countries it has been falling. Clearly this is a
As Commissioner Fischer-Boel pointed out: “we need to get our        concern for the rural population in these countries and a signal
farmers out of the office and into the fields, doing what they are   for policy makers and citizens to look out for future opportuni-
best at”. Ultimately this should benefit us all by saving time and   ties.
taxpayers’ money. A central component of this simplification is
the creation of a single Common Market Organisation (CMO; see        One such initiative to engage in more dialogue about the future
also ABC section) for all agricultural products. All 21 separate     of agriculture and the rural population was the “Young Farmers’
CMOs will be brought under one legislative roof, thereby drasti-     Day” organised by the European Commission on 17 April (see also
cally reducing the number of legal acts and provisions governing     EU Policies section). Young farmers from all over Europe were in-
the CAP, harmonising and streamlining them and rendering the         vited to voice their views on the future of European agriculture,
policy more transparent. This technical exercise won’t in itself     which is an issue that concerns us all: as consumers of agricultur-
affect existing policy, and the current revisions of the wine and    al products every one of us eats – on average of course – around
the fruit and vegetable sectors will be incorporated into the sin-   90 kg of cereals, 73 kg of potatoes and 95 kg of meat a year!
gle CMO only once they are completed. With all these changes
it may sound like reforming the CAP is merely an exercise in bu-

                                                                                               NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                   April 2007 /       1
                                                                                                          EU Policies

So Young Yet So Famous
Happy birthday “.eu”!
Still a baby and already so many friends: 2.6 million companies,       wide – only surpassed by “.info”, “.org”, “.net” and, of course, the
trademarks and public bodies, private organisations, clubs and         ubiquitous “.com” with 64 million entries. Almost a third of the
individuals have registered their European web address. And the        “.eu” domain names have been registered by German residents
number is growing by the day! The European Top Level Domain            (about 800000), followed by some 440000 British, 320000 Dutch,
“.eu” is now one year old: On 7 April 2006, the non-profit organisa-   170000 French and 150000 Italians. For the exact numbers have a
tion EURid who operates and manages “.eu” opened the registra-         look at:
tion to the wider public. Since then, any individual residing in the   Want to register yourself? For detailed information on how it’s
European Union can create his or her “.eu”-website. Today, with        done, check the “.eu” factsheet (available in 20 languages) at:
its 2.6 million registrants, “.eu” has become Europe’s third-largest
name space, behind “.de” and “.uk”, and it ranks seventh world-        cfm?item_id=2573

“What future for our agriculture?”
euRoPeAn young FARMeRs DAy: A DAy oF DiAlogue
                                                                       ers and for them to provide their visions and expectations for the
                                                                       future of European farming. A significant contribution was made
                                                                       by CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers) presenting the Com-
                                                                       missioner with a report on their view for the future of agriculture
                                                                       based on seminars held in 2006 and the results of a survey cir-
                                                                       culated amongst their members. The importance of innovation
                                                                       and increasing competitiveness were perhaps the 2 points most
                                                                       frequently raised by young farmers at the conference. The Com-
                                                                       missioner stressed the importance of stakeholder dialogue in
                                                                       the Commission’s considerations and European Innovative Young
                                                                       Farmer of the Year, Peter Papp, outlined the particular opportuni-
                                                                       ties that renewable energies will provide for the farming sector
                                                                       and called on a farmer exchange programme along the lines of
                                                                       the ERASMUS programme for students in order to boost knowl-
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural De-       edge & understanding. The Commissioner highlighted that there
velopment is always very interested to hear the views of young         is already the Leonardo Da Vinci Programme which organises 80
farmers on the future of European agriculture. The Directorate         000 vocational training exchanges a year from which many young
General of Agriculture and Rural Development therefore organ-          farmers had already benefited. Other issues raised during the day
ised a day of dialogue in Brussels on the 17th April 2007 for Young    related to investment problems for new entrants and the impor-
Farmers from all over Europe. The topics mainly focused on what        tance of closer links between farmers & consumers. The Commis-
the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) should look like after 2013,      sioner will now reflect on the comments made to her and is leav-
visions for the European model of farming, new opportunities for       ing the door open for further ones to be sent to her (see below).
the farming sector such as new technologies and energy crops
just to mention a few. The Young Farmers’ Day was the first im-        The conference was recorded and is available on-line in 18 languag-
portant event in the consultations that are being organised in         es at:
preparation of the upcoming Health Check of the Common Agri-           Comments can be sent to Mariann Fischer Boel’s blog:
cultural Policy and reflections on its future. The key element of
the day was to allow for an exchange of views with young farm-

                                                                                                    NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                       April 2007 /       1
                                                                                                      EU Policies

EC: Co-financing agriculture
information activities
The farming and food education body AGRI AWARE is one of the         tional interest, are for information actions on the priority topics
examples that has been awarded funding by the EU Commis-             and measures indicated in the annual call for proposal, published
sion. The DG for Agriculture and Rural Development co-financed       each year before October 31st.
them to run an awareness campaign outlining the benefits of the
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for consumers. The co-funded        For further information take a look at the Website (19 languages)
campaign consisted of a radio campaign, promotion activities         at
and a detailed consumer information guide explaining how the         or contact DG AGRI:
CAP benefits consumers in their everyday lives. The Commission       Email:
generally co-finances various information measures in relation to    Hans Barth, Head of Unit, AGRI.K.1,
the CAP. These grants which are generally co-funded by a rate of     Tel. +32-2-295.63.63, Fax: +32-2-299.17.61
50% of the total budget, or up to 75% if a measure is of excep-

MEDIA supported films nominated
for Palme d’Or at Cannes
                                                                     At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, three MEDIA supported movies
                                                                     received the highest honors: Ken Loach’s “The Wind that shakes
                                                                     the Barley” won the Palme d’Or, the Grand Prize-Award went to
                                                                     “Flandres” by Bruno Dumont, and the “Best actress” award was
                                                                     collectively given to Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas,
                                                                     Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo and Chus Lampreave for their roles
Four MEDIA supported films are, so far (23 April 2007), nominated    in “Volver” by Pedro Almodóvar, who also won the “Best screen-
at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival that opens on 16   play” award.
May. The German drama “Auf der anderen Seite” (On the Other
Side) by Turkish-origin Fatih Akin and the Belgian cartoon “Perse-   MEDIA is the EU’s support programme for the European audio-
polis” by Iran-born Marjane Satrapi have received over € 70 000      visual industry. It has a budget of € 755 mio. for the next seven
and € 52 000 respectively through the programme’s automatic          years (2007-2013). In the past, it has supported many award win-
distribution scheme. The Spanish drama “La soledad” (Loneliness)     ning European films, such as Lars von Trier’s Dogville, Le Fabuleux
by Jaime Rosales was supported with € 50 000 in the single project   Destin d’Amelie Poulain by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Michael Haneke’s
scheme, and the Austrian production “Import Export” by Ulrich        Caché (Hidden) or the recent Oscar-winning film The Lives of the
Seidl received over € 46 000 in the sales agent scheme.              Others by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

                                                                     If you want to know more about the MEDIA programme, visit

                                                                                                  NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                      April 2007 /    20
                                                                                                         EU Policies

“Crossing Borders
– Connecting Cultures”:
The new CulTuRe PRogRAMMe 2007-201 hAs been lAunCheD!
What do Beethoven and the Beatles, Dante and Dali, as well as            The new Culture Programme has been allocated a budget of 400
Kafka and Kosturica all have in common? Well, they have all con-         million euros over the period 2007-2013. This money will be made
tributed to our rich European culture. Culture has always connect-       available for three types of activities (‘strands’): The bulk of fund-
ed Europeans across national borders. In line with this tradition,       ing will be allocated to the ‘Support for cultural actions’; a smaller
it is the aim of the EU’s new Culture Programme to contribute            percentage will be spent on both ‘Support for European cultural
to the emergence of a European citizenship through the promo-            bodies and networks’ and ‘Support for activities maximising the
tion of cultural co-operation in Europe. Over the period 2007-2013       impact of projects, collection of statistics as well as studies on
the programme will promote the cultural area Europeans have in           cultural co-operation and cultural policy development’.
common, with its shared heritage and rich cultural diversity. Un-
der the slogan “crossing borders – connecting cultures” it will help     Groups interested in applying for funding should go to the Com-
numerous cultural organisations work together to create and im-          mission’s website at
plement cultural and artistic projects. This not only involves thea-     conditions/conditions_en.html. The selection process is in most cases
tres, museums and cultural institutes, but also professional as-         based on annual open calls for proposals launched by the Direc-
sociations, research centres, universities and public authorities,       torate-General for Education and Culture of the European Com-
to name but a few examples. In order to achieve this aim, three          mission and managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture
priorities have been laid down for the programme. They concern           Executive Agency, EACEA (
the trans-national mobility of cultural players, the trans-national
circulation of works of art and artistic products, as well as the pro-
motion of intercultural dialogue.

Shop till you drop?
Yes, but not across borders – yet!
“empowering consumers, enhancing their                                   the heading “Empowering consumers, enhancing their welfare,
welfare, effectively protecting them”                                    effectively protecting them”. As the Commissioner for Consumer
                                                                         Protection, Meglena Kuneva has put it: “With this Strategy we
How often in the last twelve months did you buy something                aim to awake a sleeping giant, the retail side of the Single Market.
over the internet from another EU country? Do you trust the re-          The new tools are there for a dramatic evolution in the cross bor-
tail seller in a neighbouring country as much as the one in your         der market, but consumer behaviour is lagging behind.” In order
home town? If you answered both questions with a ‘yes’ you are           to wake up the giant, the EU has put down two main objectives in
still part of a minority among EU citizens. During the last year, for    the new Strategy: First, to ensure a high level of consumer protec-
example, only 6% of EU consumers made a cross-border purchase            tion through a simple legal framework, improved evidence, better
via e-commerce (i.e. via the Internet). While the Single Market          consultation and better representation of consumers’ interests.
has been in place for years now, statistics like this show that con-     And second, to ensure the effective application of the rules no-
sumers and businesses are still not fully exploiting its potential.      tably through enforcement cooperation, information, education
In other words, for consumers the Internal Market remains frag-          and redress. These priorities will be turned into concrete actions,
mented in 27 national markets, thereby depriving every one of us         including benchmarking, monitoring and support for consumer
of the full benefits of a truly integrated European market. In order     organisations. If you want to learn more about the Strategy or
to boost this aspect of the Single Market and to make cross-bor-         more generally about your rights as a consumer, please visit:
der shopping easier for consumers, the European Commission has 
presented a new Consumer Policy Strategy for 2007-2013 under

                                                                                                    NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                        April 2007 /       21
                                                                                        Young Europeans

Fed up with stereotypes?
TAke PART in The euRoPeAn PhoTo CoMPeTiTion FoR DiveRsiTy!
If you think that discrimination is a good thing, you should prob-
ably stop reading now. If you think that diversity is a good thing,
you should get out your camera! In the framework of the Europe-
an Year of Equal Opportunities for all, the “Breaking Stereotypes
Photo Competition” invites you to make a creative statement for
diversity and against discrimination. If you are a student of pho-
tography, fine arts, graphic design, communication design, visual
communications, media design or other related disciplines and
you are registered with a university, college or academy in one of
the EU Member States, you can submit a contribution and win up
to € 3,000 for yourself and € 3,000 for your university or school!

So what do you have to do?
The idea is to create a photo or a photo collage that promotes di-
versity and appeals to a young audience. A jury of international
experts, photographers and artists will select the winners, based          mat of the photo. Please note as well that the material submitted
on the creativity, originality and European appeal of the photo.           must be your own! You can register via http://photocompetition.stop-
Before registering, carefully read the instructions on the competi- until 30 June 2007 (team submissions
tion’s website ( as it   are equally possible). What are you waiting for – get creative!
contains important information regarding, for example, the for-

AngelA MeRkel
                                                                           “That is Europe. Scepticism, contradic-
                                                                           tions, diversity, even some much loved
                                                                           clichés, but not least – courage.”
                                                                           Speech by the President of the European Council, German Chan-
                                                                           cellor Angela Merkel at the official ceremony to celebrate the
                                                                           50th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome. Berlin,
                                                                           25 March 2007.

                                                                                                     NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                         April 2007 /        22
                                                                                       Young Europeans

50 years and still young at heart!
The 50th anniversary of the EU was not only an occasion to look          “listen to what we have to say, ask us what we
back, but was also a chance to look forward. This is why more than       need and then act!”
200 young people from all 27 Member States gathered under the
motto “Your Europe – Your Future” for the first ever EU Youth Sum-       In the Rome Declaration the participants of the Youth Summit
mit. On 24-25 March, six participants from each Member State as          affirm their readiness to take on their share of responsibility con-
well as around 40 representatives from international youth NGOs          cerning the future of the continent and to lay down recommenda-
and the European Youth Forum got together on the Campidoglio             tions on how they think Europe should take on the challenges of
in Rome to discuss their visions and aspirations for the future of       today. They also, for example, call for better strategies on gender
Europe.                                                                  equality, the fight against all kinds of discrimination and the pro-
                                                                         tection of the environment, as well as demanding a higher profile
Divided into six working groups, the young delegates discussed           for ‘Europe’ in national educational curricula. The young people
central issues that will play a decisive role in the European Union      who took part would also like to have a greater say in political
in the coming years: the future of the EU (‘Constitutional’) Treaty;     decision-making in general and participate more in the develop-
the EU’s social and economic model; sustainable development;             ment and implementation of EU foreign policy.
the EU’s role in a globalised world; democracy and civil society,
as well as youth and education. At the closing plenary session           Moreover, the participants echoed something that you, the mem-
final conclusions were adopted in the “Rome Youth Declaration”           bers of the EUROPE DIRECT network, are repeatedly underlining:
(available at           that there needs to be an enhanced effort in communicating with
rome_youth_finaldeclaration.pdf), which should serve as a basis for a    and informing young people. This is also why the “Rome Youth
structured dialogue between the youth generation and the Euro-           Declaration” ends with a very clear statement towards all Euro-
pean Institutions in the near future.                                    pean decision-makers: “Listen to what we have to say, ask us what
                                                                         we need and then act!”

DeCouPling                                                               CMo
Decoupling is one of the central elements of the reform of the           The Common Market Organisations were introduced in the CAP
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) introduced in 2003. It means            in order to manage the markets for agricultural products. Each
that direct payments to farmers are no longer linked to produc-          CMO is a set of measures designed to provide farmers with a sta-
tion. Instead, farmers now receive a ‘Single Farm Payment’ pro-          ble market in which to sell their products and to provide consum-
viding them with a stable income while also giving them greater          ers with a secure supply of food at reasonable prices. Currently
freedom to base their business decisions – i.e. what crops to grow       there are 21 CMOs for all different types of agricultural products,
or which animals to raise – on market demand. In order to re-            ranging from bananas to wine, from cereals to eggs or from dried
ceive the payment, farmers need to respect public health, animal         fodder to olive oil and raw tobacco. In the ongoing process of re-
health, plant health and animal welfare standards. They are also         forming and simplifying the CAP, the Commission proposed on 18
required to maintain all their agricultural land in good agricultur-     December 2006 to establish a single Common Market Organisa-
al and environmental condition. These requirements are referred          tion for all agricultural products, replacing the existing 21 CMOs.
to as ‘cross-compliance’ (see also our article in the EU policies sec-   This way, the EU’s agricultural policy will be simpler, with a re-
tion).                                                                   duced legislative burden, as well as more transparent and acces-
                                                                         sible for citizens.

                                                                                                   NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                       April 2007 /      2
Under the new Financial Perspectives 2007-2013, the old financial
                                                                               KEY FIGURE
instruments for Agriculture and Rural Development have been
replaced by two new ones: the European Agricultural Guarantee                  soluTions To The MAThs gAMe in
Fund (EAGF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Regional                    The MARCh eD newsleTTeR:
Development (EAFRD). The EAGF finances both expenditure man-
aged by the Commission alone or in cooperation with the Member
                                                                               With the first set of figures: 2 5 0 3 1 9 5 7
States. Among other things, it provides money for the direct pay-
ments to farmers (see ‘decoupling’), for the export of agricultural            [9 – (1+5)] / 3 + 7 x (5+2) + 0 = 50

products to third countries, and for intervention measures to
regulate agricultural markets. The EAFRD covers rural develop-                 With the second set of figures: 2 5 0 3 2 0 0 7
ment programmes whose expenditures are managed jointly by                      (2+5) x 7 + 3 – 2 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 50
the Member States and the Commission.

                   PORTUGAL                                   AUSTRIA                              BULGARIA                                   GREECE

Until 31 May in Lisbon: the Portu-    9 May in Vienna: the Viennese            Until 27 May at the Sofia City Art     9 May in Athens: Europe Day cel-
guese Ministry of Foreign Affairs     Flower Gardens in Hirschstet-            Gallery: the “” exhibi-      ebrations will take place around
and the Jacques Delors European       ten will turn into a “European           tion will show masterpieces from       Athens’ main square with a car-
Information Centre invite young       Garden“ with a special flower-ar-        artists who come from the EU’s         rousel for children, internet
Portuguese graduates to take          rangement laying down a map of           Member States. As part of the          points, and various information
part in a national essay-writing      Europe with its member states.           event, a competition for Bulgar-       stands on the two new Member
competition on the European in-       This is a joint initiative of the Ger-   ian artists will also be organised.    States, on EU policies and on the
tegration process. More informa-      man Embassy and the Represen-                                                   history of the last 50 years of the
tion is available at:,   tation of the European Commis-                                                  Union. More information on http://              sion in Vienna                                                        

              LUXEMBOURG                                               UK                                  ITALY                            SWEDEN

5 May in Luxembourg: Inaugura-        9 May in Belfast, 8pm at the John        12 May in Ispra: Science and Re-       9 May in Karlskrona: EUROPE
tion of the European Walk (8km),      Hewitt bar and restaurant: “EU           search Competition organised           DIREKT Blekinge welcomes you
starting at the City Hall, where      Night” with The Polskadots/Ma-           by the Joint Research Centre, the      to the exhibition “The Baltic Sea
the first meeting of the High Au-     zaika. This European cultural            Ministry of Education and the          Area in the EU as seen by young
thority of the ECSC was held, then    night will be part of the Belfast’s      Regional School Office of Lom-         people”, illustrating how young
continuing towards the “Maison        Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival          bardy to let young people learn        people see the future in the Baltic
d’Europe” and Robert Schuman’s        (3-13 May 2007); see programme           more about the activities of the       Sea Area as part of the EU over the
birthplace, before ending on          at                   7 research institutes. Participa-      next 20 years. http://www.regionble-
the Plateau du Kirchberg, home                                                 tion form:
of the European institutions.                                                  eu50_italy_event_ispra_concorso_sco-                                             pri_it.pdf

                          SPAIN                             SLOVAKIA                                SLOVENIA                                FINLAND

7 May in Barcelona: as part of its    9 May in Bratislava: Beano dance         9 May in Ljubljana: “EU on the         9 May: This year the main festiv-
celebrations of the 50th anniver-     performances in a Bratislava             water”: a boat wrapped in stars        ity will be held in Turku in co-
sary of the Rome Treaties; the        square; intervals will provide op-       and with the Together since            operation with the foundation
Catalan Council of the European       portunities to play quizzes and          1957 logo will be cruising on the      Europe in Finland and Europe In-
Movement welcomes you to a            win small prizes. This artistic          Ljubljana river through the centre     formation Service of the Finnish
concert in the Barcelona Audi-        event is free and non-alcoholic          of Ljubljana, and will provide visi-   Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The
torium by the Vallès Symphony         beverages will also be distribut-        tors with promotional materials.       programme is available at www.
Orchestra. More information is        ed for free. To find out more see        More information is available at
available at          the EC Representation website:

                                                                                                             NEWSLETTER no.4
                                                                                                                                April 2007 /         2

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