World Heart Day: Listen to your heart – Statement by Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

Tomorrow, 29 September will be World Heart Day. On this occasion, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, made the following statement: “World Heart Day touches on one of the greatest health challenges of our time – cardiovascular disease. Each year, there are more than 6 million new such cases and over 1.8 million people die from heart disease in the EU. Even before the pandemic, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death both in the EU and globally. Today, on World Heart Day, we put this important health risk under the spotlight. Chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer, are all important causes of death and as we have seen over the past years, they have also increased the risk of more serious COVID-19 illness. Many of the deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in older population groups with chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases as well as diabetes. Our work to address non-communicable diseases is a key complement to our actions under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and is contributing to building the foundations of a strong European Health Union. But the most powerful tool of all is prevention by investing in our health every day and pay attention to habits that help us improve the health of our heart. On this World Heart Day my message to you is simple but crucial: listen to your heart.” The full statement is available online.


European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2021-2027: Commission adopts €38.3 million programme for Cyprus


The Commission has adopted the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) Programme for Cyprus, to implement the EU Common Fisheries Policy and EU policy priorities outlined in the European Green Deal, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. The EU contribution for the Cypriot Programme Fisheries 2021-2027 accounts for €38.8 million, and with national funding its total financial allocation reaches €54.7 million for the full programming period. The Fund will support the fishing and aquaculture sectors in Cyprus by facilitating the green and digital transition, improving resilience, and boosting innovation. Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “I am delighted to announce this new EMFAF Programme that will support sustainable investments in aquaculture and fisheries in Cyprus, accelerating a green and digital transition of the sector. The programme will make an important contribution to the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy in the Mediterranean and to the protection of the marine environment, while supporting the industry’s resilience and profitability.” More concretely, the programme will support investments in fishing vessels to improve safety, health, hygiene, working conditions, energy efficiency and decarbonisation, as well as the acceleration of the digitalisation of fisheries control, in particular as regards fisheries management and control through the development and use of control IT tools. The latter will help Cyprus comply with the landing obligation. Investments in aquaculture for the diversification of farmed aquaculture species will contribute to the reduction of the environmental impact of the sector. The programme will support the objectives of the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Cypriot Prioritised Action Framework through marine environment actions, such as the development of the management of marine protected areas, the monitoring of coastal habitats and species and the promotion of scientific knowledge for issues related to the Habitat and Birds Directives.


COLLEGE MEETING: The European Commission appoints three new Directors for its Directorate-General for Climate Action


The European Commission has decided today to appoint Diana Acconcia as Director ‘International Affairs and Climate Finance’, Elina Bardram as Director ‘Adaptation & Resilience, Communication and Civil Society Relations’ and Alexandre Paquot as Director ‘Innovation for a Low Carbon, Resilient Economy’ for its Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA). This department leads the European Commission’s efforts to fight climate change at EU and international level. Diana Acconcia, an Italian national, will draw on her vast experience in international trade negotiations and her outstanding experience in EU external relations and cooperation policies. She has also obtained excellent communication and diplomatic skills by working with different partners in Africa, Asia and the Americas. She spent most of her career in the Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE), having notably been Head of Unit ‘Economic Partnership Agreements and relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific’ and Deputy Head of Unit ‘Relations with East and South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand’. She also coordinated the EU trade relations with Canada and Mexico. From 2018 until 2021, she served as EU Ambassador to Ghana where she led key climate diplomacy initiatives. She joined the Commission in 1995 as Case handler in the Trade Defence Instruments Directorate of DG I. Prior to that, she worked in the Italian private sector as marketing analyst. Elina Bardram, a Finnish national, brings with her a thorough understanding of climate change policies, and the economics of mitigation and adaptation. She also has many years of experience in representing the Commission in key negotiations, coupled with excellent communication skills. She has been working in DG CLIMA for more than 12 years where she is currently Head of Unit ‘Bilateral relations’ and the acting Director for ‘International Relations and Climate Finance’. In this capacity, she manages relations with international partners, and coordinates the development of outreach and communication strategies for external relations and EU climate diplomacy. She headed the EU delegation to the UN Climate Negotiations between 2014 and 2018, and served as the Head of Unit ‘International Carbon Markets, Aviation and Maritime’ in the same Directorate-General prior to that. She joined the Commission in 2003 as a Policy Coordinator for the Directorate-General for the External Relations (DG RELEX). From 1996 until 2003, she worked as an Economist and a Business Consultant. Alexandre Paquot, a French national, will benefit from his 25 years expertise in climate, environmental and transport policies as well as his advanced representation, communication and negotiation skills. Since 2016, he has been heading the ‘Road Transport’ unit in DG CLIMA, where he oversaw the implementation and revision of the C02 emissions standards for light and heavy-duty vehicles as part of the 2021 Fit for 55 package. He also led the development of the EU policy towards zero-emission mobility. Earlier in his career, he took on various posts such as Head of Unit ‘Monitoring, Reporting & Verification’ in DG CLIMA and Assistant to DG CLIMA’s Director-General. He also served in the Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) as a Team Leader on industrial emissions from 2004 until 2010. Prior to that, he worked as Head of Unit for Health & Environment in the French Ministry of Environment. He started his career at the Commission in 2001 in the Waste Management Unit of DG ENV.


Consumer protection: Commission launches public consultation


Today, the European Commission opened a public consultation to seek views on issues related to consumer protection. First, the Commission aims to modernise EU rules on enforcement cooperation among European consumer protection authorities (the so-called CPC network), fostering the authorities’ empowerment in their efforts to ensure that consumers benefit from the same rights online, as they do offline. Second, it will look into adapting dispute resolution procedures fit for the cross-border nature of digital markets, and introducing wider tools for consumers to obtain remedies, in the event of disputes. Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “Over the last few years, we have witnessed EU consumers increasingly turn to online markets, a phenomenon which only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers deserve the same standards of protection online as they do offline, and they need modern tools to cope with modern challenges. We want to hear from those who will reap the benefits of these initiatives most. We will continue our efforts to ensure a safe and fair online ecosystem for consumers”. The Commission is seeking feedback from all interested parties, particularly from consumers, traders and organisations interested in consumer protection issues. The results of these consultations will feed into the Commission’s impact assessments. The consultation will be open for views until 21 December 2022.


Financial markets: Commission adopts two additional equivalence decisions for non-EU jurisdictions


The European Commission has today adopted two decisions determining that the legal and supervisory frameworks for central counterparties (CCPs) in Colombia and in Taiwan are equivalent to the requirements applicable under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). Today’s decisions allow these CCPs to apply for recognition by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Once recognised, such CCPs will be able to provide central clearing services in the EU to EU clearing members and trading venues. These decisions are in the EU’s interest since they will facilitate EU clearing members’ access to these foreign CCPs and to clearing products denominated in local currencies. CCPs are bodies that operate between the buyer and seller of a derivative contract, becoming the buyer to every seller and the seller to every buyer. Their use was encouraged by the G20 following the financial crisis, to reduce risk in derivatives trading. Derivatives markets are global in nature. The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) provides a framework for the recognition of non-EU central counterparties. That framework ensures that non-EU CCPs that comply with requirements that are equivalent to those laid down in EMIR may offer central clearing services in the European Union. To ensure that its equivalence decisions remain adequate, the Commission reviews them where necessary.


European Research and Innovation Days start today focusing on how research and innovation can help achieve Europe’s priorities


The European Research and Innovation Days, Europe’s annual flagship event on the future of research and innovation, are starting today, and will take place online until tomorrow 29 September. This year they will feature more than 50 live sessions and connect more than 12,000 policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and citizens. The event covers the new European Innovation Agenda, deep tech talents, women founders and funders, the New European Bauhaus, young innovators, the European Year of Youth, the richness of European cultural creativity, the EU Missions and many more topics. The virtual European Research and Innovation Exhibition will showcase EU-funded research and innovation projects that are paving the way to achieve the goals of the EU Missions. At the same time, the Horizon Village area will host a series of thematic “Houses” that address different aspects of Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme for 2021-2027. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: Europe’s flagship research and innovation event is the annual moment to reflect, discuss and think ahead of how research and innovation can help achieve the world we want to live in. From deep tech innovation to young innovators and EU Missions, I look forward to taking part in this edition’s rich programme and get to know the contributions of its participants.” Over the two days, the Commission will also award the Industry of the Future Award, announce new signatories of the Mission for Adaptation to Climate Change mission charter and kick off the development of the Horizon Europe strategic plan 2025-2027. The European Research and Innovation Days are open to everyone interested in research and innovation. Last year’s online event brought together over 21,000 participants from over a 100 different countries.


Commission launches call for displaced researchers from Ukraine


Today, the MSCA4Ukraine scheme, funded by the Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, has published its call for applications to support displaced researchers from Ukraine. With a total budget of €25 million, MSCA4Ukraine will provide fellowships for doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers. Interested host organisations and researchers can already start preparing their applications and access the scheme’s matchmaking services and call specifications on the MSCA4Ukraine website, including eligibility criteria, application requirements, guidance for applicants, as well as terms and conditions. The scheme, which is implemented by an experienced consortium supporting researchers at risk, will allow academic and non-academic organisations in Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe to host researchers from six months up to two years. The scheme is made to help excellent scientists continue their work in any domain of research and innovation with excellent conditions and access to training, skills and career development opportunities. The scheme also aims at facilitating researcher’s reintegration in Ukraine, when conditions permit, in order to rebuild the country’s research and innovation capacity. An information day for prospective host organisations will be organised on 6 October. Researchers wishing to apply should first prepare an application with their potential host organisation that will submit the proposal on the researcher’s behalf via an online portal. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all available funds are committed.


Commissioner Várhelyi in Ukraine to discuss EU support and reforms, announces disbursement of €500 million for access to housing, education and the farming sector


Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Olivér Várhelyi announced today during his visit in Kiev the disbursement of €500 million in EU budget support to support housing solutions, education and improve food security through support to the farming sector in Ukraine following the signature of the Financing Agreement in the margins of the EU-Ukraine Association Council on 5 September. During his third official mission to Ukraine, Commissioner Várhelyi will meet members of the government and representatives of the Verkhovna Rada to discuss EU support and reforms identified in the Commission’s Opinion on Ukraine’s membership application. “Ukraine has our highest respect, for fighting for independence and democracy while simultaneously working on the reforms to advance on its EU path. I am pleased to see that the candidate country status has already created positive reform momentum, particularly in the areas of anti-corruption and justice sector reform. The substantial work ahead to be done also includes tackling the vested interests and finalising the legal framework for national minorities. At the same time, the Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area remains essential to further integrate Ukraine with the EU. We will stand by Ukraine, as strong as ever, for as long as needed.” said Commissioner Várhelyi. During his stay, Commissioner will also visit projects financed by the European Union, meet with local residents and participate in the distribution of in-kind assistance for displaced populations in Ukraine. The Commissioner will also meet representatives of national minorities.Pictures and videos of the mission will be available on.


COLLEGE – Minimum income: more effective support needed to fight poverty and promote employment


Today, the Commission calls on Member States to modernise their minimum income schemes as part of the ongoing pledge to reduce poverty and social exclusion in Europe. The proposed Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income ensuring active inclusion sets out how Member States can modernise their minimum income schemes to make them more effective, lifting people out of poverty, while promoting the labour market integration of those who can work. The social and economic advantages of adequate and targeted social safety nets became even more important during the lockdowns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adequate minimum income is highly relevant in the current context of rising energy prices and inflation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as income measures can be targeted to specifically benefit vulnerable groups. The proposed Recommendation offers guidance for Member States to ensure that their minimum income schemes are effective by improving the adequacy, coverage and take-up of income support, the access to labour markets as well as to enabling and essential services and promoting individualised support. It also offers guidance on improving the effectiveness, monitoring and reporting mechanisms of social safety nets. Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “Social protection systems help to reduce social inequalities and differences. They ensure a dignified life for those who cannot work – and for those who can, encourage them back to a job. At a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet, it will be important this autumn for Member States to modernise their social safety nets with an active inclusion approach to help those most in need. This is how we can fight poverty and social exclusion, and help more people into work during this challenging period.” Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, added: “Today, more than one in five people in the EU are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Minimum income schemes exist in all Member States, but analysis shows that they are not always adequate, reach all those in need, or motivate people to return to the labour market. Against a backdrop of soaring living costs and uncertainty, we must ensure our safety nets are up to the task. We should pay particular attention to getting young people back into work also through income support, so they do not get trapped in a vicious cycle of exclusion.” Minimum income is cash payments that help households who need it to bridge the gap to a certain income level to pay the bills and live a life in dignity. They are particularly important in times of economic downturns, helping to cushion drops in household income for people most in need, thereby contributing to sustainable and inclusive growth. They are generally complemented with in-kind benefits giving access to services and targeted incentives to access the labour market.


Source: Cyprus News Agency