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)

La bambina georgiana

Qualcuno dice che viaggiare sia il modo più efficace per vivere molte vite. Vi posso assicurare che lo è. Da sempre è il mezzo che uso per fregare il tempo, dilatarlo, renderlo più denso. Quando decidi di uscire dalla famosa “zona di comfort” la vita ti cambia. La mia, ad esempio, ha iniziato a prendere la forma che avevo immaginato da bambina. Oggi vi racconto di un mio viaggio, un viaggio fatto di persone, paesaggi, atmosfere, idee, cibi, culture diverse che ho lasciato entrare e che conservo ancora in casseforti che ogni tanto decido di riaprire, proprio come adesso. Il viaggio di cui vi parlo oggi è frutto di uno di quei sì detti all’ultimo minuto. A Febbraio dell’anno scorso sono partita per il mio primo Erasmus +, un progetto europeo che mi ha portato in Romania per un’intera settimana. E’ stata da subito una scommessa che sapevo di poter vincere. Quando decidi di scommettere con te stessa difficilmente prendi in considerazione di perdere sul serio, in qualche modo sai che ti rimarrà quel coraggio sfacciato d’esserti andata contro, o incontro. Tutti i viaggi ci regalano qualcosa, a me questo viaggio ha dato tanto; tra tutte le cose, un momento che ho deciso di raccontare. Vorrei poter rendere il momento di cui sto per parlarvi in tutta la sua pienezza. So che non ci riuscirò, ma ho comunque deciso di darmi una chance.

Ricordo come fosse ieri quel pomeriggio di Febbraio. C’era neve ovunque e una calma a cui ripenso ogni volta che mi concedo un respiro più lungo degli altri. Avevo trovato una persona rara in quel pezzo dimenticato di mondo, una di quelle con cui ti ritrovi a condividere quegli scorci di vita irregolari, quelle che arrivano come le cose che non avevi chiesto. Era come conoscerla da un tempo molto più lungo di quello che abbiamo avuto, era come sapere già che ci saremmo incontrate. Avevo trovato una di quelle persone che senti come casa tua, una di quelle persone che sorridono con occhi e bocca. Ne ebbi la certezza quando, in quella panchina al freddo, ci ritrovammo a parlare di tutto, di religione, politica, famiglia, dei nostri progetti futuri. Le nostre differenze ci tennero sedute lì per un po’. tra una parola e l’altra finimmo col parlare della sua infanzia, un’infanzia assai diversa dalla mia.

Gura Humorului – Romania

Consapevoli che quel momento non sarebbe tornato, decidemmo di viverlo con una sacralità che non si è ancora persa. Mi ritrovai ad ascoltare una storia che non sembrava vera davanti ad un caffè, in mezzo alla neve, nel nord della Romania. Fin da subito, rimasi colpita da quello sguardo fiero, uno sguardo che non doveva forzare un’umiltà che gli era da sempre appartenuta. Aveva gli occhi di chi aveva vissuto molti anni con un coraggio ammirevole, a volte senza neanche saperlo. Il sole di metà pomeriggio forse non bastava a scaldarci in mezzo a quel gelo di fine inverno, ma noi tenevamo le mani ben salde alle nostre tazze bollenti. Mentre parlava, immaginavo quello scenario triste e, a tratti, pieno di meraviglia, quello di un’infanzia che mai avrei potuto immaginare.

Quando la Georgia era in mano ad un regime, Mariam era solo una bambina. Nei primi anni Novanta, subito dopo la dissoluzione dell’Unione Sovietica, la Georgia attraversò un periodo di conflitti interni ed estrema povertà; il regime aveva lasciato il Paese al lastrico, l’economia era inesistente, le risorse alimentari insufficienti, la gente lavorava per due Laris (la moneta georgiana, corrispondente a 32 centesimi di euro) al mese. Il Paese era governato da “Ladri legalizzati”, persone che detenevano il potere abusivamente avendo anche la libertà di commettere crimini senza essere sottoposti a nessun controllo. “Le persone avevano paura di uscire di notte, perchè se lo facevi, c’erano alte possibilità che tu venissi aggredito. Raramente la gente portava con sé oggetti di valore e se lo faceva, stava attenta a nasconderli meglio che poteva. I criminali non avevano paura di strappare orecchini o borse alla gente. Non c’era polizia, la maggior parte era altamente corrotta e, per dirla tutta, collaborava con i “Ladri legalizzati”. A quei tempi la gente cercava in tutti i modi di sopravvivere.” Fu così che Mariam iniziò, e fu così che iniziai ad entrare in questa storia. “Non c’era elettricità, né gas, a volte neanche acqua. Usavamo una stufa a legna per riscaldarci in inverno e c’era un’ora in cui toglievano la luce e la gente cercava di sbrigare le faccende prima che ciò accadesse. Avevamo la tv ma l’accendevamo raramente, seguivamo le notizie alla radio e leggendo i giornali. Gli inverni erano molto duri da affrontare, dovevi preparare la legna durante l’estate per non passare un inverno al freddo.” Tra una frase e l’altra provavo una tale ammirazione che a tratti diventava vergogna, me ne stavo completamente in silenzio ripensando a tutto quello che avevo avuto io. Somigliava ad un romanzo di Dickens, in cui si racconta di una povertà semplice, in cui i bambini giocano accettando la miseria come qualcosa che non hanno scelto ma che riescono comunque a portare in spalla. Aggrottavo la fronte ai particolari più assurdi e la distendevo tutte le volte che provavo ammirazione. A tratti toccavo con mano quello che stavo ascoltando. Non mi ero mai resa conto di quanto un evento per me straordinario potesse rappresentare la vita di tutti i giorni. Non lo dissi ad alta voce, ma ripensai a tutte le volte in cui mi lamentavo quando andava via la corrente e i miei apparecchi elettronici smettevano di funzionare per cinque minuti. Mi sentii piccolissima, la persona meno coraggiosa del mondo. Pensavo di aver dovuto portare il peso di molte cose, non avevo sopportato nulla in confronto ad una guerra in atto. Non mi ero mai trovata sotto un regime, non sapevo che aria avrei respirato, come sarei stata, forse la mia parte rivoluzionaria sarebbe venuta sù meglio di così.

Nonostante il clima presente in Georgia, la gente cercava di condurre una vita normale. Mariam andava a scuola, al parco giochi, con una tale naturalezza mi disse che, essendo piccola, non sentiva il peso della sua condizione. Pensava a giocare, a stare fuori casa più tempo che poteva. Forse mi colpì proprio quella naturalezza, quella leggerezza con cui mi raccontava la povertà. Mi raccontò un aneddoto che mi lasciò a bocca aperta, perchè io cose del genere le avevo viste solo nei film. “Durante l’inverno, quando le giornate erano più corte, era molto difficile finire i compiti prima del tramonto, quindi continuavo a studiare aiutandomi con la luce di una candela. Tutti gli inverni della mia infanzia sono collegati alla luce di una candela, perchè era l’unica risorsa che avevamo per far fronte alla mancanza di elettricità.” Capirete che, cose del genere non si sentono tutti i giorni.

Le chiesi cosa provasse, cosa fossero stati per lei quegli anni. “Oggi, quando io ed i miei amici ci guardiamo indietro diciamo sempre “bui e dolci anni 90”, perchè sono stati esattamente così. Furono bui in tutti i sensi ma anche dolci, perchè, d’altra parte, avevamo relazioni più vere e più strette con la gente, giocavo con gli altri bambini per strada durante l’estate e posso dire che la mia infanzia è stata bella, nonostante tutte le cose che stavano accadendo nel mio Paese. Furono dei tempi terribili, ma per un bambino che voleva solo giocare con i suoi amici, che voleva stare per strada o giocare in cortile, fu fantastico. Quando mi guardo indietro non vedo tempi bui, li guardo ancora con gli occhi di quella bambina di 6 anni che amava uscire fuori a giocare.

Io e Mariam siamo amiche da un anno, quel viaggio e quella panchina ci hanno dato qualcosa che conserviamo ancora come un regalo che qualcuno ha deciso di farci.

Alla mia amica Mariam, alla bambina georgiana.

Grazia

Destinazioni Ideali per il 2020

Ciao a tutti per ancora una volta,

and continuing with English as usual. So, I am Danai from Greece currently based in Faenza, doing my EVS and trying to figure out what life is going to bring me this new year. I ran out of themes to write -usually I am writing about my life and my experiences, but these past weeks I haven’t done something new and exciting- and I decided to write where I will go this year and where I am hoping to go.

 

Belgium, Brussels

My first trip for 2020 will be in Belgium and it will be soon. I am planing to go to Brussels this weekend, from Saturday 8th of February until Monday 10th of February. It is actually not ideal. One month ago I was searching a cheap destination to go with a friend that comes to visit me. At first, we wanted to go to Paris, but the tickets for a weekend were really expensive. After, we said to go to Berlin, but again the tickets were expensive and my EVS pocket money can’t afford them. Third option was London, but my friend had already been there and she wanted something new. So finally, we decided to go to Brussels. Everybody was like ”What there is to see in Brussels?” or ”It is not worth it!” but it doesn’t bother me. I’m going on a trip, I’m in trip mode and after all we have always to believe in the mainstream motto ”It doesn’t matter the destination, but the trip”. I’m 100% ready to survive with waffles and french fries for 2 days and to see all the nice places there.

 

Spain, Malaga & Granada

OK, this is most certainly ideal! I’m pretty sure that I talked to you a lot about the pros and the cons of my ESC experience and in general of this European opportunity for young people. So, my organization except of writing European mobility projects and a lot of other activities, is accompanying schools to trips abroad. In this way, I’m going in Malaga and Granada this March. My role there isn’t going to be responsible for the kids of course, but to help the teachers to communicate – the majority of them aren’t speaking in English-. From the first announcement of this trip I was absolutely excited and I’m looking forward to visit the beautiful Andalusia for another time. I was there a year ago, in Cordoba and Seville, but I didn’t have the time to visit Malaga and Granada. I really can’t wait!

 

Germany, Berlin

Another ideal destination is Berlin. I always wanted to travel in Berlin, is a capital full of history, so beautiful and with one of the most famous and amazing nightlife. I remember that the first time I started think about a travel to Germany was 3 years ago when I did my first visit to Prague. I said at that point with my friends that we have to go, but as usual we never did. This year I decided to visit Berlin even without my friends. I am planing to use a weekend in this summer to move a little bit northern and visit this beautiful capital.

 

Italy, Cinque Terre

And I’m moving back to the country that I am currently living. I surely want to visit the whole Europe, but also as long I’m staying in Italy, I will try to go to as many places as I can. Cinque Terre, is a part of Liguria and it’s one of the most popular summer destinations not only in Italy, but for the whole Europe. The colorful small houses up on the hills and the breathtaking sea view from above it makes this place irresistible. I am planing to do there at the end of April or early May and I’m hoping that the touristic period will start after this months, so I can find some peace and quiet in this wonderful environment.

 

Portugal, Lisbon

This is a destination that I MUST visit this year. I planned a trip two years ago, but it got canceled and until this day I’ m frustrated for that. This year, I hope the things will be better and I will have the chance to travel to Lisbon. I’ m dreaming to move around to this full of colors capital and use the most beautiful tram of the whole Europe to transfer. I also have a friend that lives in Galicia -an autonomous country of Spain, near to Portugal- and we can make this trip together.

That’s it for now, folks… I don’t want to continue writing destinations because: 1) I don’t have that much money to move around Italy and Europe and 2) if I start I will never stop -don’t even let me started with my ideal destinations in Asia-.

Until the next time…

Danai, Greece

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Il ritorno dopo Natale…

Ciao a tutti,

and a Happy New Year!!

I am back here to start the 2020 with a lot of energy, new experiences and food, of course. For the Christmas holidays I went back in Greece to see my family and my friends and enjoy some time in my home.

My feelings were mixed…

 

2019 memories photo

 

Before even leaving from Faenza to start my trip back to Athens I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to return. I had to stay in Italy to see how is Christmas time for the Italians and have this experience, too. But, my tickets were already paid and I couldn’t chance my mind so easily -after all, I think I already told you that I don’t have that much money to spent…-.

So, I returned in Greece and I landed in Athens. After a long journey I was finally home, in my bed sleeping during the afternoon because I was really tired from the flight and the change of the environment. I woke up at the right time to start my first night out in Athens and meet my friends. And that is how everything started….

 

I spent a week in Athens going out every single night and having fun. Of course with a bit of sleep and a lot of food. I saw all my friends and we had so much fun that after a point I almost forgot that I live in Italy now. After this fun and exhausting at the same time week, I took the bus to visit my parents and surprise them. They had no idea that I am going to my hometown to see them, even though they were literally begging me to go I was always telling them that I don’t have the time. Their reaction was precious!

I spent New Years Eve with them in our small village, in which they have a small, beautiful and traditional coffee shop. It was exactly what I needed after the previous week. I relaxed near the fireplace, I drunk coffees and hot chocolates, I took long walks with my dogs and I ate a lot for an other time. I also helped them if it was needed.

 

 

After 4 days with them, I returned to Athens to start getting ready to come back here, in Italy, in the magical Faenza. But, I never expected that for another time I didn’t wanted to go away. I got comfortable in Greece, with all these people around me that I love and it was really hard to come back here. I had to sit and think about all the positive and negative things to realize for another time that the opportunity to be here is amazing and I don’t want to change a thing.

 

 

After all, I am going back in Greece soon…

Danai, Greece

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FOOD SAFETY IN THE EU

Every European citizen has the right to know how the food he eats is produced, processed, packaged, labelled and sold. The central goal of the European Commission’s Food Safety policy is to ensure a high level of protection of human health regarding the food industry — Europe’s largest manufacturing and employment sector. The Commission’s guiding principle, primarily set out in its White Paper on Food Safety, is to apply an integrated approach from farm to fork covering all sectors of the food chain.1

Ensuring safe food from farm to fork

Health protection is the aim of all EU laws and standards in the agriculture, animal husbandry and food production sectors. An extensive body of EU-wide law covers the entire food production and processing chain within the EU, as well as imported and exported goods.2

EU countries implement these harmonised standards and establish controls to enforce them. The EU audits the application and effectiveness of the laws and controls, and also provides training to the responsible EU and international authorities.3

EU food safety policy and action is concentrated in 4 main areas of protection:

* Food hygiene: food businesses, from farms to restaurants, must comply with EU food law, including those importing food to the EU.

* Animal health: sanitary controls and measures for pets, farmed animals and wildlife monitor and manage diseases, and trace the movement of all farm animals.

* Plant health: detection and eradication of pests at an early stage prevents spreading and ensures healthy seeds.

* Contaminants and residues: monitoring keeps contaminants away from food and animal feed. Maximum acceptable limits apply to domestic and imported food and feed products.4

Food Hygiene

Rules on hygiene of foodstuffs were adopted in April 2004 by the European Parliament and the Council […]. They became applicable on 1 January 2006.5

The 2004 rules merged, harmonised and simplified detailed and complex hygiene requirements previously contained in a number of Council Directives covering the hygiene of foodstuffs and the production and placing on the market of products of animal origin.

The rules in place since 2006 innovate in making a single, transparent hygiene policy applicable to all food and all food operators right through the food chain (“from farm to fork”), together with effective instruments to manage food safety and any future food crises throughout the food chain.

A Commission report (2009) recounts the experience gained, including the difficulties encountered (in 2006, 2007 and 2008) from the implementation of the hygiene package by all interested actors. It does not suggest any detailed solutions to the difficulties reported and is, therefore, not accompanied by proposals.

1Food safety, European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/food/overview_en (page visited on 17/12/2019)

2Food safety in the EU, European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/food-safety_en (page visited on 17/12/2019)

3Ibid.

4Ibid.

5Food Hygiene, European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/biosafety/food_hygiene_en (page visited on 17/12/2019)

Il primo addio…

Hello from the other siiiiide (a little bit of Adele suits this sad article),

I am the Greek one, the known, the entertaining one that likes to speak about her weekends, Italian food and drinks. This blogging thing is starting to kinda like me…

My last blog was a travel blog, giving you some new information about Brisighella, a small but beautiful city of Italy, just ten minutes away from Faenza. So, I covered the travelling part and I am coming for another time to talk to you about the drama part of the everyday life of a volunteer in Faenza.

 

Brisighella

 

Well, we are doing international projects and taking this amazing opportunity that European Union is giving us. Of course, there are a lot of good things to tell about this experience, but there also some bad things and this is the main reason that I am writing this article.

Let’s start from the good parts so we can proceed to the sad and difficult parts…

One of the best things is the contact with the new culture. For me the Italian culture wasn’t so unknown. I was studying Italian Language and Literature back in Greece and I had a basic knowledge of the language, the culture and the Italian lifestyle. In this way, you might never read from me that I have a huge cultural shock or something like that. Also, as the time passes by I am realizing more and more how similar are the Italians with the Greeks. Regarding the lifestyle it is like I am still living in Greece, going out the same amount of time, be socialized and it is not a big deal if I talk with people I don’t know. The only difference is that I am speaking Italian.

Another really interesting fact is the job that I am doing here. It is not a regular work, you don’t feel like you are having a boss upon your head that anytime can start screaming at you. Also, it is pretty cool the fact that as a volunteer there are a lot of things that you can do. I mean, I am a volunteer, if help is needed and I can contribute, I will be there. In this way, the activities that I am choosing are a lot and different also. I am really enjoying this variety of occupations.

But, sadly I have to move one to share with you a really difficult part of the ESC life and in general of the life living away from your home. There are times that you are feeling home-sick and that’s logical. Your friends and your family are away, you are talking with them on phone or Skype but there aren’t next to you when you need a hug. Especially the first days of the arrival in a new country, a new city and society you have this feeling all the time. You are feeling alone…

 

 

Here comes the EVS opportunity to shine up your day and put some other volunteers beside you to share this experience and of course these emotions. When you are with people, even unknown at the moment, that you are sharing all these new things; it could make you feel more safe and loved and can help you to overcome a little bit your loneliness.

So, one of these guys, next to my side, sleeping in the next room of mine and sharing the everyday life in work and in the apartment, was Raquel. She was a Spanish, crazy and really interesting girl that we lived together for 2 and a half months. We became friends from the first moment -but no, to be sincere, we needed about a week to be sure-. We used to study together but in the middle of studying we started talking and stopping at midnight. Raquel was the reason that I put apart my fear and stress to talk in Italian and I actually started communicate with the locals. She, Greta -our other flatmate that I am promising that I will write something about her, too- and me had a lot of fun, a bunch of amazing moments and an extraordinary everyday life.

 

 

But, in conclusion, and of course the reason that I said that this is one bad and sad parts of the international volunteering experience, the project of Raquel finished and she had to return to Spain. We had a party, an after party and a tearful goodbye session. I still can’t realize that she is gone and I am expecting her to return for a trip in another city of Italy or something like that. In any case, I hate goodbyes, I am really bad at those…

Goodbye -the irony-,

Danai, Greece

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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The European Parliament is an important forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level. The Members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in all Member States to represent people’s interests with regard to EU law-making and to make sure other EU institutions are working democratically. The Parliament represents the second-largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. The President of the European Parliament (Parliament’s speaker) is David Sassoli (elected in July 2019).

European Parliament in Strasbourg

The Committees of the European Parliament

In order to do the preparatory work for Parliament’s plenary sittings, the Members are divided up among a number of specialised standing committees. There are 20 parliamentary committees that meet once or twice a month in Brussels and whose debates are held in public.

Languages, translation and interpretation

Speakers in the European Parliament are entitled to speak in any of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Simultaneous interpreting is offered in all plenary sessions, and all final texts of legislation are translated. With twenty-four languages, the European Parliament is the most multilingual parliament in the world and the biggest employer of interpreters in the world. Citizens may also address the Parliament in Basque, Catalan/Valencian and Galician.

Plenary

Plenary sittings are chaired by the President of the European Parliament. The President of the European Parliament is assisted in this task by the 14 vice-presidents, who can take over the chair. The President opens the sitting, sometimes with a tribute or a speech on a current topic. Parliament is in fact constantly concerned to respond to the latest developments in any major issue and has no hesitation in changing its agenda in order to call on the Union to act. The President’s influence can be decisive in this respect.

European Parliament 2019

References

About Parliament. European Parliament, web: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/about-parliament/en (page visited on 09/12/2019)

Wikipedia, European Parliament, web: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament (page visited on 09/12/2019)

Brisighella sei bella!

Ciao carissimi lettori,

We are here to entertain you for another time! Well, let’s see want is going on this week. We don’t have a lot of changes, the everyday life goes on pretty smoothly and I am working in different things.

As you can easily understand in this point, I am usually talking about my weekends so I can describe better the life in Faenza. The weekends I am going out, I am travelling and actually enjoying some alone time.

Something like that happened this weekend, too. Friday night we had our traditional dinner with pizza and wine, as we do every Friday. Thankfully, we found a cheep pizza place and also we don’t have preferences in our wine, so we don’t spent a lot of money every time. The difference of the past Friday with the previous ones is that finally I convinced the others to go and dance a little bit. So we did! Faenza is small -fact that I am repeating in every blog- but it has things to do and places to go out and also has a place that you can go and dance until the morning. After some hours, at 4.00 o’clock in the morning we returned home with my Lithuanian and blond friend to sleep until the next evening -because is Saturday and I don’t care if I am waking up late.

Saturday wasn’t a lot fun and it was certainly chill. I had a breakfast with my roommate and then with chilled all day in the apartment watching Netflix and eating. It is not ”party hard” kind of weekend, but I was really needed to stay in my warm couch all day and do nothing. I love myself, I have to respect its needs.

Sunday on the other hand was pretty interesting. We planned a small visit to Brisighella, a picturesque, tiny city near by. We spent only 10 minutes in the train and we were there, somewhere between 21th Century and Medieval Times.

Brisighella has the tittle of the most beautiful small city in Italy and I can’t give them wrong. Within 5 minutes walk from the station we were in the city center, which was full of little shops and restaurants. It is easy to notice from the first minute in this city the beautiful towers around its hills. Using the stairs we got to one of them and after 10 minutes we got to the highest point. The view from up there is certainly breathtaking and combined with the warm and nude colors of Autumn it was one of the best things I saw lately.

After a small walk upon the hills and enjoying the view, we decided to take a break and something traditional. As you may know one of the traditional dishes of Emilia Romagna is the ”piadina”. It is a kind of wrap, but a different one depending the area, stuffed with whatever you want. It is delicious, I love it, I ate it in 5 minutes.

So, that was it for today, I don’t have anything else to describe you.

Until the next time, have fun and eat italian food..

Danai, Greece

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European Union: Agriculture

Vibrant rural areas and quality agricultural products

World food production needs to double by 2050 to cater for population growth and evolving food habits. It faces the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, soil and water quality, and the demands of the global marketplace.

EU farm policy has changed considerably in recent decades to help farmers face these challenges and respond to peoples’ changing attitudes and expectations. EU agricultural policy covers a wide range of areas, including food quality, traceability, trade and promotion of EU farm products. The EU financially supports its farmers and encourages sustainable and eco-friendly practices, while also investing in the development of rural areas.

EU institutions collaborate on food and farming policy-making, implementing, monitoring and evaluating it. National and local authorities implement the laws agreed at EU level. Through the EU budget, funds are made available to member states in accordance to rules set at EU level. The EU also monitors how laws are applied, how effective they are, and coordinates amendments.

Agriculture and food related industries and services provide over 44 million jobs in the EU, including regular work for 20 million people within the agricultural sector itself. Thanks to its varied climate, fertile soil, the technical skills of its farmers and the quality of its products, the EU is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of agricultural products.

Agriculture and rural development in EU: Rural development 2014-2020

The EU’s rural development policy helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. Frequently called “the second pillar” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it complements the system of direct payments to farmers and measures to manage agricultural markets (the so-called “first pillar”).

There are 118 different rural development programmes (RDP) in the 28 Member States for this period, with 20 single national programmes and 8 Member States opting to have two or more (regional) programmes.

EU framework for rural development programmes

Member States and regions draw up their rural development programmes based on the needs of their territories and addressing at least four of the following six common EU priorities:

* Fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas

* Enhancing the viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture, and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable forest management

* Promoting food chain organisation, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture

* Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry

* Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors

* Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas

Source: Official website of the European Union

Aperitivo con altri volontari…

Ciao carissimi lettori,

and continuing in English as usual…

So, here I am, the Greek volunteer, to entertain you and keep you posted for another time. The life here in the beautiful and small Faenza goes on with calm and happiness. I am really appreciating that I am working for an organization (SE.M.I association) that keeps me motivated, find all the time new things to occupy me and I am never bored.

I mean, I was used to work a lot back in Greece and there was a time last year that I was doing three different works in the same time and I managed to handle it and enjoy it in the same moment. As you could understand in the start here I was afraid that I might be bored. A job with specific working hours and not many to be sincere, in an office like a normal human being and without the necessity to run like crazy all day, all of these things made me wonder if I could managed them. I know that sounds crazy but I was used to it, to run like hell and change two jobs everyday, then come back to my apartment with my energy levels in the lowest possible point.

Likely, the situation here is not like that. Even though, I work in an office the most of the time and I have specific work hours, I am occupied the most of the time. The association finds new things for me to do everyday and I feel like they understood me from the first moment, I am an active and a little workaholic person, I am finding new activities to do all the time.

Another thing that I am, is a communicative person. I mean, I have too my personal daily limits in communication, but they are pretty high. I love communicating and meeting people for the first time. And for another time, SE.M.I didn’t let me down…

I am almost two months in Italy now and I socializing with the other volunteers that we work together and also with some Italians that I met through my activities. The things is… I wanted more. One part of the ESC experience is travelling all year, explore the new country that you are currently living. So if you combine these two you can easily understand that I want to meet volunteers for other cities in Italy. And the organization saw that need of mine, but need of other volunteers too.

Our coordinator organized an aperitivo in a city near to Faenza, Forli. Forli has a big team of volunteers and also we met other three guys from Cesena. All together, a team close to 25 people, we managed to find a table in a place a little away from the station, but really nice.

The majority of the volunteers were Spanish or at least spoke the language because they were from Ecuador or Argentina. At this point I have to note that Spanish people in Italy are sooooooo many. We have two in our team too, but in Forli there were too many. Also, you have to know that I love Spanish people. When you do programs like SVE you are dealing also with cultural gaps and differences, which is truly interesting if you are asking me, but also can create problems. To conclude, with Spanish people I feel really close and I can communicate easily, they are cool and fun in every situation, I am enjoying their company and I made already a lot of Spanish friends.

Back to the aperitivo after a small pause, it was amazing knowing all these new people from all around the world. We shared our stories, we talked about our jobs in Italy, our experiences here and of course we exchanged number so we could meet again. As the true face of a party animal, I may be in Forli this weekend to party with them to an event that they recommended me.

Pretty much that’s it for this week, I think I shared enough with you my lucky readers. I think that there is no need to highlight that the ESC experience is the best and you certainly have to try it.

Arrivederci,

Danai, Greece

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