|Commission awards almost EUR 330 million in research grants to post-doctoral researchers and to innovative training programmes
What will the next generation of solar cells look like? What is the most effective way for cities to manage floods? These are just two of the challenges that will be tackled by the new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellows which have been announced by the European Commission today. Following the 2017 bid for post-doctoral research funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the Commission is awarding grants worth EUR 248.7 million in total to 1,348 researchers with the highest potential to make a game-changing impact on our society and economy. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “We are today recognising the potential of 1,348 excellent, internationally mobile researchers who faced intense international competition to be awarded a fellowship. The projects they will work on will tackle some of the biggest challenges our societies face, helping to build a resilient, fair, competitive Europe. In addition, the EU is now investing in truly innovative research training programmes for doctoral candidates and experienced researchers, enabling them to make full use of their talents and empowering the organisations supporting them to gain competitiveness on a global scale.” The funding awarded to the researchers, which is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation, represents an increase of €30 million compared to the previous call. Under another strand, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes the Commission announced that 8 doctoral and 13 post-doctoral research training programmes of outstanding quality – from nine EU Member States and three associated countries – will receive cofunding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of €80 million over five years. You can find more details on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships and the Co-funding of regional, national and international programme as well as a factsheet on Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions online.
President Juncker and the College of Commissioners participate in the launch of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Belgium
The European Year of Cultural Heritage will put the spotlight on Europe’s wealth of cultural heritage, showcasing its role in fostering a shared sense of identity and building the future of Europe
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, who officially launched the European Year of Cultural Heritage today, said: “Cultural heritage is at the heart of the European way of life. It defines who we are and creates a sense of belonging. Cultural heritage is not only made up of literature, art and objects but also by the crafts we learn, the stories we tell, the food we eat and the films we watch. We need to preserve and treasure our cultural heritage for the next generations. This year of celebrations will be a wonderful opportunity to encourage people, especially young people, to explore Europe’s rich cultural diversity and to reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in all our lives. It allows us to understand the past and to build our future.” Read more here
State aid: Commission concludes that the introduction of the Road Act Amendment in the Czech Republic does not involve State aid
The European Commission has found that the prohibition of outdoor advertising such as billboards alongside motorways and main roads, which was introduced by the Czech Republic through the “Road Act Amendment” and entered into force on 1 September 2017, does not involve State aid. In October 2017, the Commission received a complaint from an advertising company alleging that, by introducing amendments to the Act No. 13/1997 Coll. on Roads, the Czech authorities would have granted alleged State aid to its competitors. The Commission assessed the complaint and found in particular that the prohibition: (i) does not grant a selective advantage to any company, since it is a general ban imposed to enhance road safety; (ii) applies equally to all companies operating in the market for outdoor advertising; (iii) does not involve a transfer of State resources in any way to any company. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the measure does not involve State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.48856.
Commissioners Oettinger, Navracsics and Thyssen to host a meeting on the European Solidarity Corps with key stakeholders
Tomorrow, 30 January, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will host a meeting in Brussels on the European Solidarity Corps. This event will be an opportunity to bring together key partners of the Solidarity Corps, including representatives of the European Parliament and the Presidency of the Council of the EU, to have an open discussion on the lessons learnt during its first year. They will also discuss important issues regarding the next phase of the European Solidarity Corps. Over a working lunch with meeting participants, the Commissioners will discuss remaining issues in the ongoing negotiation process on the legislative proposal on the European Solidarity Corps and give an outlook on key areas. A stakeholder forum took also place on 12 April 2017. Since its launch on 7 December 2016 around 48,000 young people have registered in the European Solidarity Corps portal. Around 2,600 young people have benefitted or are benefitting from placements in more than 1,750 organisations. More information on the European Solidarity Corps can be found here.
Commissioner Hahn in Belarus to follow up the Eastern Partnership Summit
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will visit Belarus on 30 January to follow up the Eastern Partnership Summit which took place on 24 November in Brussels. Commissioner Hahn will meet with the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov and with Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the priorities of the Eastern Partnership Summit and the deepening of EU-Belarus relations. This will also be reflected in the new EU-Belarus Partnership Priorities which will define further cooperation for the coming years. The Commissioner will also meet with representatives of the opposition and participants of the MOST project. Ahead of the mission, Commissioner Hahn said: “Since my last visit in Minsk in 2015, relations between the EU and Belarus developed positively and we extended our cooperation considerably. Cooperation in areas of common interest has been stepped up. The EU increased its support to regional and private sector development; support to civil society; and energy efficiency. The EU’s efforts will continue to focus on increasing engagement with all sectors of Belarus society. My visit will focus on EU-Belarus relations, human rights as well as regional cooperation and our joint progress on the “20 deliverables for 2020“, which aim to bring tangible benefits to the daily lives of Belarusian citizens. Photos and videos of the mission will be available on EbS
Commissioner Vestager visits Berlin and participates in a Citizens’ Dialogue
Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager travels to Germany today and will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue on “Your voice in Europe” at the Representation of the European Commission in Berlin. The Commissioner will also meet Mr Wolgang Schäuble, President of the Bundestag and receive an award from the Schwarzkopf Foundation. The Citizens’ Dialogue can be followed live here.