Humanitarian aid and Civil protection

European humanitarian values in action

The European Union provides assistance to countries and populations, both within Europe and abroad, when major disasters or humanitarian emergencies occur.

By EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

Together, the EU countries are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid, helping millions of people worldwide each year. This aid accounts for 1% of the EU’s total annual budget – around €4 per EU citizen.

EU action is guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Aid is channelled through 200+ international and local partner organisations and agencies, and supported by thousands of European volunteers.

Any European citizen or long-term resident in an EU Member State can take part to an EU aid volunteer programme.

Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU, together with a number of other European countries, plays a key role in coordinating responses to crises in Europe and worldwide. Existing and potential crises are monitored around the clock and the participating countries also cooperate on risk assessment, disaster prevention preparedness and planning.

Emergency relief can take the form of items such as food, shelter or equipment, deployment of specially-equipped teams, or assessment and coordination by experts sent to the field. Relief teams, experts and equipment from participating countries are kept on standby to provide rapid EU responses all over the world.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/humanitarian-aid-civil-protection_en (23.12.2019)

Health

Supporting public health in Europe

The EU complements national health policies by supporting local EU governments to achieve common objectives, pool resources and overcome shared challenges. In addition to formulating EU-wide laws and standards for health products and services, it also provides funding for health projects across the EU.

Created by Maria Boehling for opensource.com

EU health policy focuses on protecting and improving health, giving equal access to modern and efficient healthcare for all Europeans, and coordinating any serious health threats involving more than one EU country. Disease prevention and response play a big part in the EU’s public health focus. Prevention touches many areas such as vaccination, fighting antimicrobial resistance, actions against cancer and responsible food labelling.

By Tumisu

Two dedicated agencies support national governments on health issues. The European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control assesses and monitors emerging disease threats to coordinate responses. Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency manages the scientific assessment of all EU medicines’ quality, safety and efficiency.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/health_en (23.12.2019)

Foreign and Security Policy

European foreign and security policy

The EU’s joint foreign and security policy, designed to resolve conflicts and foster international understanding, is based on diplomacy and respect for international rules. Trade, humanitarian aid, and development cooperation also play an important role in the EU’s international role.

By EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

EU foreign and security policy seeks to:

* preserve peace

* strengthen international security

* promote international cooperation

* develop and consolidate democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights & fundamental freedoms

The EU maintains partnerships with the world’s key players, including emerging powers and regional groups. It seeks to ensure that these relationships are based on mutual interests and benefits.

The EU has no standing army, so relies on ad hoc forces contributed by EU countries. The EU can send missions to the world’s trouble spots; to monitor and preserve law and order, participate in peacekeeping efforts or provide humanitarian aid to affected populations.

The External action service (EEAS) acts as the EU’s diplomatic service. A network of over 140 delegations and offices around the world promotes and protects the EU’s values and interests.

In foreign policy, the EU’s ultimate decision-making body is the European Council, which comprises EU country heads of state and governments. Most foreign and security policy decisions require the agreement of all EU countries.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/foreign-security-policy_en (23.12.2019)

Environment

Towards a greener and more sustainable Europe

EU citizens benefit from some of the highest environmental standards in the world. The EU and national governments have set clear objectives to guide European environment policy until 2020 and a vision beyond that, of where to be by 2050, with the support of dedicated research programmes, legislation and funding:

* protect, conserve and enhance the EU’s natural capital

* turn the EU into a resource-efficient, green, and competitive low-carbon economy

* safeguard EU citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing

U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter

Work is ongoing on many fronts to protect the EU’s endangered species and natural areas, ensure safe drinking and bathing water improve air quality and waste management, and reduce the effects of harmful chemicals.

Northern muriqui (Brachyteles hypoxanthus), photo by Bart van Dorp

Environmental protection and innovation help to create new business and employment opportunities, which stimulate further investment. Green growth is at the heart of EU policy to ensure that Europe’s economic growth is environmentally sustainable. The EU also plays a key role in promoting sustainable development at a global level.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/environment_en (23.12.2019)

Energy

Investing in a sustainable energy future for Europe

The EU is actively promoting Europe’s transition to a low-carbon society, and is updating its rules in order to facilitate the necessary private and public investment in the clean energy transition. This should not only be good for the planet, but also good for the economy and good for consumers.

The low carbon transition aims to create a sustainable energy sector which stimulates growth, innovation, and jobs whilst improving quality of life, increasing choice, reinforcing consumer rights, and ultimately providing savings in household bills.

A streamlined and coordinated EU approach ensures a genuinely continental impact in the fight against climate change. Moves to encourage renewables and improve energy efficiency are central to reducing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and meeting Paris Agreement commitments.

Through the European energy union, the EU is ensuring there is a greater coherence in all policy areas to meet the broad objectives of creating a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system.

The EU also provides various funding opportunities and lending schemes to help companies and regions successfully implement energy projects.

On the international stage, the EU plays an important role, working together with other countries, regions and international organisations to tackle energy problems and ensure a reliable, competitive energy market within Europe.


Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/energy_en (23.12.2019)

Non tutti i training escono col buco…

Eccomi di nuovo per far sentire la mia voce dall’altra parte del mare raccontandovi storie sulla mia vita come volontaria in Grecia. Quest’oggi ho deciso di condividere con voi la mia ultima esperienza durante il mid term training, ovvero quattro giorni spesi con altri volontari al fine di tirare le somme ognuno sul proprio progetto e la propria esperienza, confrontarsi con persone che stanno vivendo la stessa situazione e cercare delle soluzioni o la motivazione giusta per concludere al meglio quest’anno di volontariato europeo. O almeno così doveva essere in teoria.

La città d’incontro designata era Xanthi, situata a nord est del paese e vicinissima al confine con la Turchia. Inizialmente non avevo grandi aspettative rispetto a questo training, ma essendo di indole curiosa ero ad ogni modo entusiasta del fatto di poter allontanarmi per qualche giorno dalla mia routine e visitare un luogo nuovo dove non ero mai stata. La cittadina effettivamente si è rivelata molto gradevole, non troppo grande ma piena comunque di giovani, locali e una grande piazza dove si sono tenuti i festeggiamenti per il carnevale proprio nei giorni che ho speso lì. La prima sera, una volta riuniti tutti insieme con il trainer che avrebbe tenuto le attività per i giorni seguenti, dopo un brevissimo gioco per iniziare a conoscerci era già ora di cena, e così abbiamo goduto di un po’ di relax proseguendo la serata in centro e unendoci ad alcune feste volte a celebrare il Tsiknopempth, ovvero il giovedì del carnevale in cui è usanza grigliare carne, bere in compagnia e danzare mascherati. Nonostante fossimo rientrati in albergo quasi all’alba ero comunque motivata e curiosa per la mattinata che ci aspettava, speranzosa che avremmo davvero iniziato ad approfondire i temi legati al volontariato europeo e che avremmo avuto la possibilità di legare come gruppo insieme al nostro trainer.

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Le mie speranze però hanno iniziato a scemare quando ho appreso che l’unica attività della mattina sarebbe consistita nel dividerci in gruppi e fare un tour della città scattando delle foto ai monumenti più importanti e cercare di chiacchierare con gli abitanti del posto. Nella mia testa suonava più come attività conclusiva, ma tant’è… Il mio stupore non ha fatto che crescere quando, ritrovatici nuovamente per discutere delle nostre impressioni su Xanthi e mostrare le foto scattate, il tempo scorreva senza che si accennasse a cambiare attività o a iniziare ad entrare nell’argomento ESC. Va bene che si trattava del primo vero e proprio giorno di training, ma avevamo a disposizione solamente quattro giorni, non mesi!
Al termine del pomeriggio speso quindi a guardare le foto scattate da tutti i volontari (ridete pure ma purtroppo è la verità), ci siamo appropinquati al tavolo del buffet per la cena, almeno il cibo è sempre una buona consolazione. La serata in seguito è stata piacevole come la precedente, e di nuovo con due o tre ore di sonno in corpo eravamo (circa) pronti per vedere cosa ci avrebbe atteso durante il secondo giorno.

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Finalmente sembrava che si iniziasse a prospettare una giornata più proficua di quella precedente, ma evidentemente mi sbagliavo: abbiamo assistito a quella che credo sia stata la presentazione più noiosa e non ho timore di definire inutile della mia vita su quali saranno le prospettive future dopo il termine del volontariato; a tenere il discorso è stata una signora che aspira a diventare trainer e che per il momento accompagna i volontari durante questi progetti e sostiene il lavoro di quelli che trainer lo sono già. La cosa che mi ha lasciata più attonita è stata la lentezza e la poca spigliatezza di questa donna; io sicuramente non posso definirmi un’esperta, ma un formatore dovrebbe far ritrovare l’energia e la voglia di lavorare, non il contrario!

A seguito di quelle due ore che sono parse interminabili ci siamo risvegliati dal torpore con un gioco sul lavoro di squadra e successivamente abbiamo valutato entrambe le attività. Quello che proprio non mi tornava era come fosse possibile che non avessimo ancora discusso o menzionato il lavoro nelle nostre organizzazioni, le debolezze e le difficoltà, come trovare soluzioni a un problema. Arrivata alla fine del secondo giorno però ho deciso di rassegnarmi al fatto che questi formatori erano sicuramente delle belle persone, ma probabilmente non competenti come gli sarebbe stato richiesto.

Lungi da me annoiarvi ancora su ogni attività che (non) è stata svolta, vi basti sapere, nel complesso, che non ho trovato quei giorni spesi a Xanthi per niente utili, se non fosse per alcuni volontari conosciuti e con cui abbiamo sicuramente passato dei bei momenti e delle belle serate in compagnia a divertirci. Dal mio punto di vista, tuttavia, il senso di questi training dovrebbe proprio essere quello di aiutare i volontari a trovare soluzioni o condividere la propria esperienza in un ambiente neutro, lontano dai propri coordinatori o dal proprio ambiente in cui, a volte, potrebbero sentirsi giudicati. Il massimo che ho potuto fare è stato riportare le mie impressioni nel questionario valutativo, e mi auguro per il futuro che in qualche modo vi possano essere dei miglioramenti sulla qualità di queste attività, peraltro obbligatorie.

Sento a questo punto di dovere delle scuse ai temerari che sono arrivati fin qui con la lettura, ma mi auguro che questa testimonianza possa risultare utile a chi magari ha vissuto la stessa esperienza in un altro paese e che possa sentirsi meno solo.
Mi farò sentire presto con, spero, qualche storia più avvincente e positiva. Per ora, da Nea Moudania, è tutto!

Federica

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Employment and social affairs

Employment and social affairs

Technological advances, globalisation and changing demographics continue to impact the ways Europeans live and work. The EU is actively developing policies and legislative proposals to meet these challenges.

U.S. Marine Corps Illustration by Cpl. Taylor W. Cooper/ Released

Through the European pillar of social rights, the EU works to safeguard the rights of citizens by ensuring:

* Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

* Fair working conditions

* Social protection and inclusion

EU funding helps public and private organisations implement and improve employment and social policy, and finance projects to support their citizens of today and tomorrow.

EU employment legislation guarantees minimum levels of protection that apply to everyone living and working in the EU. Specific EU rules also aim to make it easy for EU citizens to live and work in other EU countries, while protecting their social security rights, such as health insurance and benefits.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/employment-social-affairs_en (23.12.2019)

Development and cooperation

Eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development

Together, the EU institutions and countries are the world’s leading donor of development assistance and cooperation. The EU proposes legislation and policies to promote good governance and human and economic development, such as fighting hunger and preserving natural resources.

Responding to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, EU institutions work together and provide funding to address the following five aspects of sustainable development:

* People: End poverty and hunger in all forms and ensure dignity and equality

* Planet: Protect future generations from environmental destruction and resource depletion

* Prosperity: Ensure prosperous and fulfilling lives in harmony with nature

* Peace: Create peaceful, just and inclusive societies

* Partnership: Implement development work through global partnership

The EU cooperates with 150 partner countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, as well as civil society and international organisations. In addition to providing financial aid and engaging in dialogues with partner countries, the EU also conducts research and evaluation to ensure that aid is used effectively.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/development-cooperation_en (23.12.2019)

Customs

The EU customs union in action

The EU Customs Union, established in 1968, makes it easier for EU companies to trade, harmonises customs duties on goods from outside the EU and helps to protect Europe’s citizens, animals and the environment.

In practice, the Customs Union means that the customs authorities of all 28 EU countries work together as if they were one. They apply the same tariffs to goods imported into their territory from the rest of the world, and apply no tariffs internally.

In the case of the EU, this means that there are no customs duties to be paid when goods are transported from one EU country to another. The customs duty from goods imported into the EU makes up around 14% of the total EU budget as part of its ‘traditional own resources.’

Customs controls at the EU’s external borders protect consumers from goods and products which could be dangerous or bad for their health. They protect animals and the environment by fighting illicit trade in endangered species and by preventing plant and animal diseases.

Customs authorities work together with policy and immigration services in the fight against organised crime and terrorism. They combat trafficking of people, drugs, weapons and counterfeited goods, and verify that travellers with large amounts of cash are not laundering money, evading tax or even financing criminal organisations.

EU customs also tackle tax and duties fraud by businesses and individuals, which deprive national governments of vital revenues for public spending.

Source

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/customs_en (23.12.2019)

Culture in the European Union

Celebrating Europe’s cultural heritage and diversity

The EU works to preserve Europe’s shared cultural heritage and to support and promote the arts and creative industries in Europe. Specific initiatives, like the European Year of Cultural Heritage, are dedicated to make this vibrant and diverse culture accessible to everyone.

There are cultural components in many EU policies, including education, research, social policy, regional development and external relations. The creation and promotion of culture in today’s interactive and globalised world also goes hand-in-hand with media and digital technologies. The EU promotes policy collaboration on culture among national governments and with international organisations.

Through Creative Europe, the EU supports European cinema, arts and creative industries to create European jobs and growth, as well as to open up new international opportunities, markets and audiences.

Every year, 2 European cities are chosen as Europe’s cultural capitals: this gives an extra boost to local economies, and puts the spotlight on local artists and each city’s unique cultural wealth.

The EU also partners with film festivals, cultural exhibitions, concerts, conferences, artistic prizes and awards across Europe all-year round.

CREATIVE EUROPE

Creative Europe is the European Commission’s framework programme for support to the culture and audiovisual sectors.

For more info: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/node_en

Sources

https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/culture_en (23.12.2019)

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/node_en (23.12.2019)