The EU in brief

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OECD: more education in Europe, but funding is needed Education opportunities in Europe are increasing, but greater public investments are needed to improve the offer; the positive effects of higher levels of education can be measured on the economic and social planes alike; but problems linger on, including the ageing teaching population, not to mention the delays (especially in certain Countries) in terms of school structures, access to new technologies, formation of teachers. On September 9 OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – released the findings of “Education at a Glance 2014”, an annual report on the situation and challenges of national education systems involving 34 Countries, 21 of which EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Hungary). Key findings show that “Educational opportunities continue to expand significantly in Europe”, while over the past decade the percentage of adult population with college education has increased constantly, reaching 29% today; “high levels of education and skills pay off for both individuals and society” while “adults with higher levels of education are more likely to be employed.” Moreover according to OECD, “higher levels of education translate into higher mean salaries.” The OECD survey shows that “the right skills matter during the transition from education to work” and that private investment in tertiary education is growing.” However, “the teaching population is ageing and On average in EU countries 37% of secondary school teachers are aged at least 50.” This underlines the importance of increasing the attractiveness of the teaching profession.”Days of heritage, 20 million visitors expected  To follow a path dedicated to the history of gold extraction in Finland; a walk in the patios of Córdoba or a visit to the windmills of the island of Mallorca in Spain; the homage of the victims of the wars of the 20th century in the Enclos des fusillés in Belgium. The European Heritage Days will be celebrated throughout the entire month of September. Fifty Countries take part in the event whereby visitors will have free access to thousands of historic and cultural sites, many of which are normally closed to the public. The European Heritage Days is a joint initiative of the European Commission and Council of Europe. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Culture said: “The European Heritage Days is a hugely popular initiative, enjoyed by people of all ages. This year we expect more than 20 million adults and children across Europe to take advantage of free entrance to a host of heritage sites.” “People often don’t realise how many undiscovered gems lie on their doorstep. I urge everyone to make the most” of this occasion that “is also a great way to ensure that our shared European heritage is treasured and protected for future generations, while also benefitting local communities through increased visits and tourism.” Info: http://europeanheritagedays.com/UE citizens call for more environmental protection To separate waste for recycling, to reduce domestic energy consumption, to use public transport: these are the priorities highlighted by Europeans for environmental protection. The proposals emerge from a survey by Eurobarometer on the themes of the ecology, which shows a great sensitivity in this field “despite the crisis”, the researchers said, and despite pressing concerns over employment and family income. “In an overwhelming consensus – states Eurobarometer- 95 % of the 28.000 interviewed citizens said that protecting the environment is important to them personally and many think more can be done.” Environment Commissioner Janez Potoènik said: “It is good to see such solid and widespread support for the protection of the environment, even in difficult times. People are particularly concerned about air and water pollution, chemicals and waste, and they feel that more must be done by everyone to protect the environment.” The survey shows that a strong majority of people share the view that the efficient use of natural resources (79 %) and the protection of the environment (74 %) can boost economic growth.” While 80% of respondents said that “the economy influences their quality of life” 75% “think the state of the environment has a similar impact and 77% of EU citizens believe that environmental problems have a direct effect on their daily lives.”

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