The Commission has put forward its proposal for the new Multiannual Financial Framework of the European Union for the period 2014-2020. The Multiannual Financial Framework is the main budgeting document of the EU for the seven-year period, and little can be changed once it is adopted. The proposal has to be approved by the Member States and the Parliament.
The main innovations:
- A new fund for financing infrastructure, the Connecting Europe Facility that includes a preliminary list of transport, energy and ICT projects;
- Stronger link of cohesion financing with the Europe 2020 objectives;
- New category of ‘transition regions';
- New conditionality provisions;
- Partnership contracts with each Member State to ensure mutual reinforcement of national and EU funding;
- An integrated programme of €15.2 billion for education, training and youth, with a clear focus on developing skills and mobility;
- A common EU strategy called “Horizon 2020″ for investment in research and innovation worth 80 billion €;
- 30% of direct support to farmers will be conditional on “greening” their businesses;
- €4.1 billion for the fight against crime and terrorism and €3.4 billion for migration and asylum policies.
- New own resources for financing the budget- a financial transaction tax (Tobin tax) and a new modernized VAT;
- Simplification of the existing correction mechanisms.
You can also read the critical assessment of the proposal by Charlemagne. Real Time Brussels looks at the fierce political battles that will likely emerge in the process of adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework.
Posted in Agriculture and Fisheries, Budget and Finance, Education, Science and Culture, Energy, Enterprise, Environment, Foreign and Security Policy, Institutional Affairs, Justice and Internal Affairs, Regional Policy, Taxes and Duties, Transport
Tagged 2014-2020, cohesion, EU funds, Europe 2020, European Commission, European Union, infrastructure, management and control, Multiannual Financial Framework, own resources, Tobin Tax
Everybody has now heard about the plagiarism scandal surrounding the doctoral thesis of the German defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Meanwhile it turned out that the son of Muamar Gadaffi, Seif-al-Islam, has got a PhD from the London School of Economics that was in part plagiarized from Wikipedia.
Meanwhile to the East, Russian bureaucrats try to disguise their ignorance by acquiring doctorates or professorships while in office. It just turned out that the chairman of the Bulgarian commission in charge of seizing illegally acquired assets is not a professor, as he has claimed.
So what is it all about??? Why this struggle for academic titles? It must be linked to the status and prestige of these titles, of course. But it also signals incompetence that attempts to mask itself. In order words, these are the symptoms of both deep complacency in political life and lax academic standards.
Posted in Education, Science and Culture
Tagged academia, Bulgaria, complacency, doctorate, incompetence, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, London School of Economics, Muamar Gadaffi, Russia, Seif-al-Islam, titles
The recent results from an independent investigation in Belgium showed systematic child abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy in the country. But what can the European Union do about it?
In March 2010 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new Directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Many serous forms of sexual offences against children are criminalised, including sex tourism. More importantly, the proposal would ensure that abused children have easy access to legal remedies and do not suffer for participating in criminal proceedings. The proposal also foresees the establishment of special programmes for offenders to prevent them committing new offences, and prohibitions imposed on them from carrying out activities with children.
In the light of the results from the investigation in Belgium I believe that this proposal deserves serious consideration and priority treatment.
Posted in Education, Science and Culture, Human Rights, Justice and Internal Affairs, Procedural Law
Tagged child pornography, criminalisation, Directive, European Union, sex tourism, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children
The Council conclusions on biodiversity reveal a disparaging truth: we have failed to reach our own targets for prevention of biodiversity loss. The document says that both the EU and the global biodiversity 2010 targets have not been met and that biodiversity loss continues at an unacceptable rate entailing very serious ecological, economic and social consequences.
According to the conclusions the main reasons are incomplete implementation of certain legal instruments, incomplete and poor integration into sectoral policies, insufficient scientific knowledge and data gaps, insufficient funding, lack of additional efficiently-targeted instruments to tackle specific problems, and shortcomings in communication and education to enhance awareness.
So what does the Council do – it devises a new headline target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. The idea is to develop a EU post-2010 Biodiversity Strategy, including an impact assessment, which should establish the baseline for measuring the halt of biodiversity loss and its restoration, propose sub-targets and also identify the necessary, feasible and cost-effective measures and actions for reaching them.
I do hope that this new approach will be successful. I am also encouraged by the understanding of the Council of the need to advance work on the economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services and to incorporate it into policy making and implementation.
Let’s hope that appropriate action follows.
Posted in Education, Science and Culture, Enterprise, Environment, EU Reform, Institutional Affairs
Tagged 2010, 2020, 2050, biodiversity, ecosystem services, extinction, loss, species, target