A reputable agenda

Measures and proposals in social and economic fields

Consumer protection, culture, anti-gambling measures, regional support, environmental protection, fiscal matters and the economy: in the past days the Commission addressed various issues with measures and proposals marked by different scope and bearing. The week’s agenda included, among others themes, the European Day for Road Safety (October 13), and the meeting of the EU Executive, Council and Parliament with the representatives of philosophic and non-confessional organizations to discuss initiatives for combating poverty (October 15).Single market and cross-border protection. Citizens are increasingly attracted by the European Consumers Centre network (ECC- net), co-financed by the EU and its Member States, along with Norway and Ireland, which offers advice and assistance for cross-border and online purchases. According to the ECC-Net 5th anniversary report published by the European Commission, "Between 2005 and 2009, the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) handled almost 270.000 contacts with EU consumers who turned to them for advice or help". The number of annual contacts has been rising steadily, from about 43.000 in 2005 to over 60.000 in 2009. "The annual value of amicable settlements of complaints with traders (in reimbursements and compensation for consumers) reached € 3.5 million in 2008", states the Report. The network (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/ecc/index_en.htm) offers consumers free legal advice and assistance. Online purchases continue to be the main source of complaints for cross-border consumers: in 2009 they represented more than half of all complaints received. Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli said: “The European Consumer Centres provide an important safety net for EU consumers who want to seize the opportunities offered by the internal market by looking for better value and greater choice across borders".Pollution and economic crisis. "The facts show that the world can count on the European Union" said European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard commenting on the Executive’s report of October 12, according to which "the European Union is ahead of schedule in its promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012". The Commission’s annual report "shows that the 25 Member States with reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol will meet their commitments" – except for Cyprus and Malta -. Hedegaard pointed out: "The European Union not only signed the Kyoto Protocol, we not only pledged under Kyoto". The 15 EU Member States, at the time the Protocol was agreed, committed to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008-2012 by an average of 8% below levels in a chosen base year (1990 in most cases). Ten States which joined the EU pledged the same commitments (–6/8%). Figures show that For the EU-27 as a whole, emissions fell by approximately 14%. However, the "European Environment Agency provisionally estimates that in 2009 emissions fell sharply due to the economic situation". Reforestation activities, ongoing across the EU, would contribute an additional reduction. EU Member States plans to buy international emission credits.Expanding the "translating industry". Multilingual EU needs an increasing number of translators. Thus the European Commission has launched a new drive to encourage more European universities to offer high-quality courses for students who want to work as translators". In fact the Barroso Commission is expanding its ‘European Master’s in Translation’ (EMT) university network "which was set up last year in response to a growing shortage of properly qualified translators in the job market", explained Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. To date, 34 European universities have successfully applied to join the network. The EMT network met for its annual conference in Brussels from 11 -13 October. "In many countries, anyone can claim to be a translator without any guarantee of professional competence". The EMT project was conceived by the Commission in response to a doubling in the number of official EU languages, from 11 to 23 between 2004 and 2007. During the Brussels Conference it emerged that "demand for translation services across the world is soaring", especially in economic fields. According to a 2009 study on the EU language industry, "its current turnover is set to increase by at least 10% annually over the next few years and it is estimated that the industry will be worth up to € 20 billion by 2015".

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