Eu in brief

The European Commission supports electric vehiclesThe EU Commission promotes action in support of electric vehicles. “By 2030, the global car fleet is predicted to grow from 800 million to 1.6 billion vehicles”, states a document issued April 28. “This will be accompanied by an increasing scarcity and cost of energy resources”. These trends will have to be addressed by a step change in technology to ensure the sustainability of mobility in the long-term. The ultra low-carbon electric power-trains and hydrogen fuel cells are the most promising options with that respect”. The Commission drew up a strategy for encouraging the development and eventual widespread use of clean and energy efficient vehicles, to help the European car industry to strengthen its leading role globally basing its production on clean and energy-efficient technologies”. This “strategy” provides for “concrete and ambitious measures” to be implemented by the Commission that will support “research and innovation in green technologies” and propose guidelines for demand-side incentives”. “Electric vehicles are currently viewed as ready for the mass market”, the document states, and “and several Member States notably France, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Denmark promote electromobility”. According to the Executive, for the promotion of this technology it is necessary “to ensure that alternative propulsion vehicles are at least as safe as conventional ones; to promote common standards that will allow all electric vehicles to be charged anywhere in the EU; to encourage installation of publicly accessible charging points”.Cohesion, research and the youth in the EU Budget On April 27 EU Commissioner for financial programming and budget Janusz Lewandowski Janusz Lewandowski, presented the 2011 draft budget. According to the complex procedure, the Executive must submit a proposal subject to approval (with all necessary modifications) of EU Council and Parliament by November. “The draft budget adopted today gives Europe and its citizens incentives to develop an economy for the future: research and innovation, sustainability and inclusion are its cornerstones”, the Commissioner said. “This draft budget focuses on helping our youth be better equipped for their future, on enticing small and medium enterprises to make full use of EU funds to bounce back from the crisis”. Out of a total of €142.6 billion (bn), some €64.4bn – at least as announced by the Commission – “are geared towards economic recovery actions” (+3.4% on 2010). The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund remain stable while funding for environmental protection will increase along with investments in research and in the trans-European networks. The budget provides for new opportunities for the youth by making over 200,000 Erasmus grants available. Administrative expenditure for all EU institutions will stand at €8.3 billion or 5.8% of the budget. This is the first budget under the Lisbon Treaty, according to which the Council and the Parliament have equal decision-making power. How can we support cultural and creative industries?”Unlocking the full potential of Europe’s cultural and creative industries” is the Commission’s objective for the online public consultation linked to a new Green Paper which highlights the need “to improve access to finance, especially for small businesses, as key to enabling the sector to flourish and to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth”. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said: “”Europe’s cultural and creative industries are not only essential for cultural diversity in our continent; they are also one of our most dynamic economic sectors”. Figures released by the Executive show that the sector, which includes performing arts, visual arts, cultural heritage, film, television and radio, music, publishing, video games, new media, architecture, design, fashion design and advertising, “provides quality jobs for 5 million people in the EU”. It contributes 2.6% to European GDP. The consultation addresses themes such as digitization, market changes, and the “contents” that must be given to products. The consultation is ongoing until July at

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