Latest EU News

Highlights 16th – 20th April 2018

How will European farmers benefit from EU-Japan Economic Agreement? 


The EU has finalised negotiations for a trade agreement with Japan.

EU firms already export over €58bn in goods and €28bn in services to Japan every year.

But European firms face trade barriers when exporting to Japan which make it hard for them to compete.

The trade agreement with Japan will:

  • remove these barriers
  • help us shape global trade rules in line with our high standards and shared values
  • send a powerful signal that two of the world’s biggest economies reject protectionism.

In 2013 EU governments instructed the European Commission to start negotiations with Japan. On 6 July 2017 the European Union and Japan reached an agreement in principle on the main elements of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

On 8 December 2017, the negotiations were finalised. After the legal verification and translation processes, the European Commission can then submit the agreement for the approval of the European Parliament and EU Member States. The European Commission has now proposed to the Council and then the European Parliament that they approve the EU-Japan EPA.

What’s really going on? Challenging discrimination with youth mobility projects

Training Course

4-8 June 2018 | Dublin, Ireland

To understand how KA1 Youth in Action projects can be used to support young people to challenge discrimination, promote intercultural learning (ICL), and meet partner groups who want to develop projects on these themes.

The overall aim of this training course is to support youth workers in their work with young people around topics such as identity, belonging and discrimination e.g. what forms it can take and how it impacts on young people. During the training, participants will gain a better understanding of how they can use the Erasmus+ programme to build international relationships and projects with young people that can support them in this work. The training will also allow space for participants to network and explore possible projects together.

The overall objectives of this activity are:
• To meet your peers from around Europe who are working with young people to build their resilience and response to discrimination.
• Work on the topic of discrimination together, share experiences and explore ways of working with young people.
• Develop your understanding of intercultural learning and how international youth work can support your work with young people.
• Get a better understanding of the Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme specifically Key Action 1 
• Develop partnerships for Erasmus+ projects

Long-standing health issues interfering with activities

Long-standing health issues interfering with usual activities reported by nearly 25% of EU citizens aged 16+ in 2016. Highest share was in Latvia and Austria, the lowest in Sweden and Malta.

Find out more:  

Erasmus+ CRANE Project meeting, Belfast 16 & 18 April 2018


Delighted to host project partners from Italy, Spain and Malta to Belfast for a meeting of the Erasmus+ CRANE project sharing expertise on multifunctional farms. As well as the meeting to prepare materials for training on multifunctional farms which will be delivered in Malta in May 2018 the partners had the opportunity to visit two social farms facilitated by Rural Support who are involved the project.

Highlights 9th – 13th April 2018

City break? Work trip? Holidays? For peace of mind, always carry your European Health Insurance Card!  

A better deal for consumers: Cheap euro transfers everywhere in the Union and fairer currency conversions

The European Commission is today proposing to make cross-border payments in euro cheaper across the entire EU. Under current rules, there is no difference for euro area residents or businesses if they carry out euro transactions in their own country or with another euro area Member State.

The proposal aims to extend this benefit to people and businesses in non-euro countries. This will allow all consumers and businesses to fully reap the benefits of the Single Market when they send money, withdraw cash or pay abroad. All intra-EU cross-border payments in euro outside the euro area will now be priced the same – with small or zero fees – as domestic payments in the local official currency. More…

Highlights 2nd – 6th April 2018

Europe Direct NI April 2018
Newsletter just published!

Commission takes further action to better protect workers against cancer-causing chemicals

Today, 5 April 2018 the Commission’s proposal will improve protection against cancer-causing chemicals for over 1 million workers in Europe and help create a healthier workplace, a core principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The Commission proposes to limit workers’ exposure to five cancer-causing chemicals, in addition to the 21 substances that have already been limited or proposed to be limited since the beginning of this mandate. Estimates show that today’s proposal would improve working conditions for over 1,000,000 EU workers and prevent over 22,000 cases of work-related illness.

Cherry on the cake – youth exchange in the context of a long term work with groups of young people 

Training Course

26-30 June 2018 | Laško , Slovenia

The aim of the training course is to deepen the understanding of the potential and possibilities of a Youth Exchange as a tool for non-formal learning in long-term work with young people.

– Explore the potential of Youth Exchanges for motivation, learning and empowerment in long term work with young people;
– Increase the participants’ understanding of the importance of involving young people in all phases of a Youth Exchange and the tailoring it according to their needs;
– Increase the participants’ understanding of the role of a Youth Leader in all phases of a Youth Exchange;
– Develop participants’ competences to recognize the potential for learning in all phases of a Youth Exchange and support the learning processes of everyone involved;
– Identify the challenges of international setting a Youth Exchange brings and reflect on how to approach them;
– Explore the use of digital tools in a meaningful way in different phases of a Youth Exchange.

Travel and accommodation funded see details:

Path To Success: Unleash The Entrepreneurial Potential of Your Youngster

Training Course

4-11 June 2018 | Ankara, Capital City of, Turkey

Our society is increasingly looking for flexible and creative people willing to take action and inspire others, create possibilities and be pro-active. The base of pro-activity and creativity is “inner leadership”: a strong personality who can carry.

Overall aim The main aim of “Path to success: Unleash the entrepreneurial potential of your youngsters” is to prepare youth workers to stimulate their young people in a holistic way to find their way as entrepreneurs.

Travel and accommodation funded see details:

EU Aim to amend Regulation to reduce cross-border payments

Currently cross-border payments in euro from non-euro area Member States can be as high as EUR 20 in some countries while equivalent cross-border payments from euro area Member States are very cheap or even free. The EU aim to reduce the cost of all intra-EU payments in euro and unify the single payment market for consumers and businesses.

New rules guaranteeing the right to presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial apply since 1 April

9 million people face criminal proceedings across the EU every year. From April, new EU rules guarantee that anyone accused or suspected of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.

Coming soon European Disability Card

To help people with disabilities travel more easily between EU countries, the EU is developing a system of mutual recognition based on an EU Disability Card.

Currently, there is no mutual recognition of disability status between EU Member States: this makes things difficult for persons with disabilities travelling to other EU countries as national disability cards might not be recognised.

The EU Disability Card will ensure an equal access to certain specific benefits, mainly in the areas of culture, leisure, sport and transport. The Card will be mutually recognised between EU countries participating in the system, on a voluntary basis.

Example of an EU Disability Card in Belgium, where the pilot was first launched in February 2016

eCALL Cars call emergency number if you crash!

All new cars sold in the EU must be equipped with eCall technology: The car will connect directly to the EU Wide #112 emergency number in case of accident.

Highlights 26th – 30th March 2018

To improve EU support for Rural Development we’ve launched a public consultation on rural development programmes (2007-2013)  before 20 April 2018:

About this consultation

Consultation period
22 January 2018 – 20 April 2018
Policy areas
Agriculture and rural development

Target group

All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. In particular, contributions from the following rural development programmes beneficiaries are sought for:

  • farmers
  • processors
  • retailers
  • wholesalers
  • individual citizens of rural areas
  • national public authorities
  • regional public authorities
  • business organisations (including associations, chambers of commerce, etc.)
  • non-governmental and civil society organisations
  • other public institutions

Objective of the consultation

The European Union (EU) rural development programmes (RDPs) benefit from substantial amounts of EU funding and are subject to regular evaluations in order to improve their performance and ensure the best possible use of public financing.

The results of this consultation will be used by the European Commission for drawing the evaluation conclusions which on their side will feed into the preparation of the common agricultural policy for the post-2020 period. 

Find out more –   


Workshop today March 27th on the importance of languages and opportunities for youth 

Working with 70 year 9 pupils who have started to learn French to encourage them to see how important languages. The EU has 24 official languages but uses 4 key languages: French, English, German and Spanish. These are the core languages used to carry out all interpretation and translation.



How will Brexit affect EU citizens working in the UK?


In 5 days new rules start to apply and you’ll be able to travel with your digital subscriptions across the EU!

Digital Single Market – Portability of online content services

What is the objective of the Regulation?

The aim is to ensure that Europeans who buy or subscribe to films, sports broadcasts, music, e-books and games in their home Member State are able to access this content when they travel or stay temporarily in another EU country. The Regulation comes into force on 1 April 2018 in all EU Member States.

Who benefits from the new rules?

  • Consumers who reside in the EU: new rules enable them to watch films or sporting events, listen to music, download e-books or play games – when visiting or staying temporarily in other EU countries.
  • Providers of online content services: they will be able to provide cross-border portability of online content to their subscribers without having to acquire licences for other territories where the subscribers stay temporarily.

The interests of right holders are safeguarded to avoid abuses. 

Find out how it will work →


Highlights 19th -23rd March 2018

Study Visit: Shared History

This cross community study visit included two primary schools from Newtownstewart who took part in a one day visit to discover shared history. The visit included 57 pupils aged 10/11 yrs old visiting the Titanic Centre. 

Youth Exchange visit to Spain

The Euro-Youth MediaLab Project is a two year project funded through Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships of youth: KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices: 2016-1-FR02-KA205-011285. The Project runs from 1/09/2016 to 31/08/2018. The aim of the project is to work with youth to explore what issues concern them and present their views through multimedia reports which they will produce and share with their project partners. Find out more

 Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, outdoorImage may contain: 23 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Foreign language learning in the EU: how many students learn 2 or more languages?


Highlights 12th -16th March 2018

An application workshop for the new PEACEIV ‘Shared Spaces’ funding.

This workshop will take place on 16 March 2018 (9.30am-1pm) in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast.



One of the visible aspects of the conflict is the high level of segregation which still exists within society. This is evidenced by residential segregation, peace walls, sectarian graffiti, and public displays of flags and emblems to mark out territory and intimidate. Segregation increases social division and tension and also inhibits economic development and the efficient delivery of public services.

The Programme will create new shared civic spaces that will be used by all sections of the community; this will involve changes in both attitudes and behaviour with a corresponding reduction in segregation. Projects will be of a sufficient scale to have a transformative effect on local areas, as well as having a regional significance. This objective will create a more cohesive society though an increased provision of shared spaces and services.It will result in an increase in the percentage of people who would define the neighbourhood where they live as neutral; an increase in the percentage of people who prefer to live in a mixed religion environment; and a reduction in the percentage of people who would prefer to live in a neighbourhood with people only of their own religion.

EU law that intersect with devolved competences

The Goverment has published its analysis of areas of EU law that intersect with devolved competences in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are 24 policy areas which the Goverment says may require a UK wide framework so will not be devolved immediately.

Highlights 5th – 9th March 2018

EU Supported Oscar Films

Congratulations to EU-supported films for winning an Oscar and 15 Césars! Meet the winners →  

EU Civil Protection Forum

The EU Civil Protection Forum is taking place today March 5th and tomorrow March 6th. Watch the sessions, all livestreamed:

Brexit negotiations

Details on next week’s round of Brexit negotiations EU Commission are available online: topics include Ireland/Northern Ireland, transition, governance & citizens rights.

 Share your views on the value of EU Funds
The European Commission are gathering views on EU funds in the area of values and mobility.

Have your say and complete the online questionaire by 8 March:

Have a look at the winning projects and the runner-ups here:

Highlights  26 – 28 February 2018

More information on draft Withdrawal Agreement

→ Press release:

→ Questions and answers:

→ Draft Withdrawal Agreement:

→ Negotiating documents

Working with pupils to show that languages are important no matter what you plan to do!

Highlights  19 – 23 February 2018

UK group and youth from Spain,France, Bulgaria and Sweden on Erasmus+ youth exchange in Bulgaria

Europe Direct facilitated youth from Tyrone to take part in an Erasmus+ youth exchange in Bulgaria with youth from UK Sweden, France and Spain



has a significant impact on . help farmers secure food supply with an efficient use of natural resources.

JUST PUBLISHED on EU Bookshop! Check here:

No Hate Speech

A world with will be a better world. Find the little hearts ❤️ below to see which countries are officially implementing the campaign of the Council of Europe 

The future of CAP is about simplification and modernisation. It is about evolution  over revolution. It is about the future of food and farming.


 Highlights  12 – 16 February 2018


There are 73 UK MEPs, who are elected across 12 electoral regions

Developing Digital Youth work 

This guide has policy recommendations, training needs and good practice examples in developing digital youth work across the EU

Is society unfair? If so, why is this? Will we ever get rid of this sense of unfairness?


Do you have an innovative ide to solve a key social challenge?

Apply for a chance to receive a €30 000 grant and 6 six months of mentoring support! 

5 – 9 February 2018

Brussels, 7 February 2018 Brexit: European Commission publishes draft legal text on transitional arrangements

The European Commission has today published a draft text of the transitional arrangements to be included in the Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement, following the United Kingdom’s request to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union for a short time-limited period after its withdrawal from the European Union on 30 March 2019.

The draft text (see here) will now be discussed amongst the EU27 Member States, before being formally transmitted to the United Kingdom. 

Highlights 29 January – 2 February 2018

Drinking water

Tap water is healthy, cheap & good for our planet! Proposed new rules will ensure people across the EU enjoy high-quality water. By drinking tap water we can all help to cut down on plastic waste. More…

31 Jan: Today is the launch of European Year of Cultural Heritage

Transition Arranegments for the UK

29 January: The European Commission welcomes today’s decision by the General Affairs Council (Article 50) to allow negotiations to begin on possible transitional arrangements following the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union. More…

The Road Trip Project is a European travel experience that will take 8 individuals on 4 routes across the continent between Spring and Summer 2018.

Four duos will embark on a European road trip in a minibus. Along the way, they will meet locals and experience the local vibe, discover projects that change people’s lives for the better, and explore unknown places and amazing landscapes.

These four journeys span the continent, from the Baltics to the westernmost point of Europe, the length of the Danube, around the Mediterranean and alongside the Atlantic.
The Road Trip travellers will share what they learn. They will film and post their stories to other millennials across the continent and beyond.

At the end of each journey, their unique experience will be featured in a road movie, and reflected in an online travel guide on Europe’s off the beaten paths. More...

Michel Barnier on transitional arrangements

“The EU position is very clear: the transition will last for 21 months until the 31st of December 2020. The whole EU acquis will continue to apply to the UK, as well as the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice”. More…


Can we make Europe stronger, ready for a comeback, up to the challenges of our time?What should the young generation place at the top of the agenda and push forward? Share your ideas

Highlights 22 – 26 January 2018

Space policy: Galileo Security Monitoring Centre back-up site moves to Spain

Brussels, 24 January 2018

Today the Commission adopted a decision to transfer the back-up site of the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre from the United Kingdom to Spain.

The Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) is a technical infrastructure which plays a key role in ensuring the security of the EU’s satellite navigation programme Galileo, including its Public Regulated Service (PRS). The GSMC has its main and operational location in France and its back-up site in the United Kingdom (Swanwick). As a consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the GSMC’s back-up site needs to be relocated from the United Kingdom to one of the 27 EU Member States. More…

EU invests €873 million in clean energy infrastructure

Europe’s transition to a clean and modern economy is the goal of the Energy Union, a priority of the Juncker Commission. It is now becoming the new reality on the ground, and one important building block is adapting the European infrastructure to the future energy needs. More…

EU Commission Belfast : Euro Quiz
Yes, It’s back – and it is bigger and better than ever! 

Entries are now open for the Euro Quiz competition 2018.  Act NOW to make sure you don’t miss  out. Simply click here for information and to submit your registration.

We’ve listened to your feedback and we have increased the number of questions per round AND introduced new rounds on sport and “name that country” in addition to your favourites such as geography; culture; daily life; food and drink; languages; music; faces; places and more!.  

The dates and venues for the five regional heats are:

  •   6 March (Tuesday)     –  The City Hall, Belfast
  • 13 March (Tuesday)     –  The Guildhall, Derry~Londonderry
  • 10 April (Tuesday)        –  The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena
  • 17 April (Tuesday)        –  The Strule Arts Centre, Omagh 
  • 24 April (Tuesday)       –   The Marketplace Theatre, Armagh

EU and Language workshops in schools

Workshops in schools in Antrim and Tyrone this week with year 9 & 10 pupils to help them understand the importance of languages for careers and personal development. We explored Northern Ireland’s European links and how the EU works, member states, languages, Euro, EU Citizen’s rights and highlight opportunities for living, working, studying, volunteering and traveling throughout Europe. There were lots of questions on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Highlights 15 – 18 January 2018

Erasmus+ EuroYouth MediaLab Project

Project managers from EuroYouth MediaLab Project meeting in Baena, Spain making final plans for the youth exchange in Bulgaria in February 2018 for youth from France, Sweden, Spain and the UK. More…

Read Questions & Answers on why we need a European strategy for plastics

EU Tenders: External service provision ‘extra muros’ in fixed price and quoted time and means for development, consultancy and support in the field of information systems More…

Tell us your story about vocational education and training and inspire others

By sharing your story, you will help to raise awareness of the wealth of opportunities available through VET. For example, you could write about a traineeship that helped you unlock your professional potential or a course that he

lped you stay up to date with new developments, or about how you reskilled to take up a new profession. More…

Highlights 8 – 10 January 2018

Commissioner Hogan on Brexit

Writing in the Irish Independent this week, Commissioner Phil Hogan warns of turbulence ahead in the Brexit negotiations: “…European unity has been remarkably strong. The union passed a difficult test and this is a source of satisfaction for all of us as we step towards the future. But, as I say, there’s still turbulence ahead. The year ended on an upbeat. The divorce has been agreed but must now be turned into law. If the hallmark of a political compromise is that people can agree, even though they still hold slightly different views, the hallmark of law is that everyone knows what it means and that it means the same to all.” Click on the link to read the article. More…

2018 – a decisive year for the EU and its future relationship with the UK

In a speech at an event in Brussels earlier this week, EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said: “We are waiting for the United Kingdom to confirm, over the coming months, that we are working towards an ambitious free trade agreement and to tell us in which other areas it would like to cooperate. From our point of view, we think that in addition to trade, our partnership should include security, defence and foreign policy, as well as justice and home affairs and include some sectors such as aviation and fisheries.” More…

Commission wants to invest €1 billion in world-class European supercomputers

The European Commission has unveiled plans to invest jointly with the Member States in building a world-class European supercomputers infrastructure. Supercomputers are needed to process ever larger amounts of data and bring benefits to the society in many areas from health care and renewable energy to car safety and cyber security. The EU will contribute around €486 million to the project matched by a similar amount from Member States and associated countries. More…

Priorities for 2018

In the first meeting of 2018, the College of Commissioners discussed today the institutional priorities for this year, a year to deliver on the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union, secure the EU’s borders, overhaul the EU’s asylum system, get back to Schengen, complete the Digital Single Market, and bring the Western Balkans closer to the Union. More…

How Brexit will affect air transport in the event of no deal

The European Commission has published its assessment of how the rules relating to air transport operators based in the UK will change post Brexit in the event of no deal. Such a scenario would result in changes to the operating licences held by air carriers, and changes to the rules relating to traffic rights and designation rights. These changes are detailed below. More…

A positive future for food and farming with a strong EU agri-food sector also depends on an effective Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Scientists have applied three exploratory policy scenarios to characterise future visions for the CAP up to 2030. More…

Is the EU budget really a bottomless pit? The EU budget actually benefits millions of students, thousands of researchers, companies, cities and regions.

View video:!NM64tm

The State of Health in the EU is a two-year initiative undertaken by the European Commission that provides policy makers, interest groups, and health practitioners with factual, comparative data and insights into health and health systems in EU countries. More…

Public call for expression of interest – Advisory Forum of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Public call for expression of interest as Commission appointees to the Advisory Forum of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to represent interested parties at european level, such as non-governmental organisations representing patients, professional bodies or academia.
Deadline: 16 February 2018  More…

Starting 1 January, Bulgaria holds the presidency of the for the next 6 months. Find out about their priorities. More…

Cascais in Portugal is the European Youth Capital 2018 under the theme “Glocal Youth”. Find out more

 Over 6,000 people have already registered to the EIB and ‘s 6-week online course on EU funding at regional and local level! Become an expert without moving from your desk.

Looking for practical information on doing business in Europe including access to finance, selling abroad, taxation and product requirements. More…

Iceland has declared Gender Pay Gap illegal.

If all EU Member States would follow Island’s example and would take concrete gender equality measure measures, 10.5 million more jobs would be created by 2050. 

For inspirational stories, innovative activities and agri-opportunities, check out the first newsletter

Public consultation on cohesion policy post 2020 is NOW launched! 

Have you say by 8 March 2018

EU citizens’ rights and Brexit

Some common questions on citizen’s rights answered.

Highlights 1 – 5 January 2018

MINDSET OF YOUTH WORKERS in supporting learning through youth mobilities

Training Course: 13-19 May 2018 | De Glind, Netherlands

This five-day training course provides a learning environment for youth workers to reflect on their mindset with a specific focus on being a learner and supporting learning of young people in youth work and especially in youth mobilities.

In view of the next edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2018), the European Parliament is launching an idea competition to find new ways to connect with young citizens. If you have ideas about this topic, take part in the competition!

Would you like to win a trip to the ? Then, prepare your best proposal on how you think the could better connect with young people and engage them more in the European democratic debate. Apply before the end of January

Participants at the EYE2016 holding signs

EST Call for Ambassadors in the Member States

European Student Think Tank Logo

EST is currently expanding the network of ambassadors to several more countries and is thus looking for young students or professionals ready to discuss and challenge the European project in an international setting. Apply for the pos­i­tion of EST Ambas­sador in your country now! More…