EU News & Highlights


Highlights 19 – 23 June 2017

Reflection Paper on the future of European Defence

The Commission has responded to a key concern of European citizens with a package to open a debate on moving towards a security and defence union, and provide the means to stimulate cooperation in defence research, development and acquisition of technology and products.

The aim is to fit Europe with a powerful and efficient security and defence structure by 2025. Following the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe and a series of reflection papers on key European issues, a new reflection paper outlines three different scenarios on how to address the growing threats facing Europe and enhance Europe’s own abilities in defence.


Join the online debate on cohesion policy

DG Regio has launched an online debate ‘Is it fair that rich EU countries pay for the development of poorer EU countries”, ahead of the Cohesion Forum which takes place at the end of June.

The EU and the structural funds’ goal is to ensure opportunities for all European citizens, regardless of the place in which they live, but there is evidence that some territories and groups of people have been left behind over the recent past. EU cohesion policy is not just about rich countries paying for poor countries. Within wealthy EU countries, there are also poorer regions, just as within poorer countries there are wealthier regions.

The online forum will discuss harnessing the opportunities of globalisation and keeping Europe as a reference of innovation and social inclusion.

Erasmus+ Contact making Seminar 8 & 9 June 2017

Europe Direct NI attended a contact making seminar for Erasmus+ organised by
Lid+ in Derry, Northern Ireland which brought together 10 international Erasmus+ experts to work with and mentor 10 local youth organisations to explore ideas to develop an Erasmus+ project.

The experts from Spain, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, Greece, Croatia and Ireland shared their extensive knowledge of EU funding, youth activities and the Erasmus+ programme with the local organisations to help them develop their project ideas.

Each local partner developed working partnerships with various members of the international experts and will continue to work up their applications for the next application deadline in October 2017.

International experts

Countdown to the fourth EU Code Week, which takes place from 7–22 October 2017

Europe Code Week is a grassroots initiative that aims to bring coding and digital literacy to everybody in an engaging way. It brings millions of children, young adults, adults, parents, teachers, entrepreneurs and policymakers together in events and classrooms across Europe to learn to create with code. Last year more than a million people participated in coding events in more than 50 countries in Europe and beyond.

Once again this year, Google is offering grants up to €2,500 to organisations to run education initiatives during Code Week, aimed at children aged 5–18. The deadline for grant applications is 14 July 2017.

Video: Europe gears up to introduce 5G technology

Just imagine: driverless cars that can connect to each other, online health monitoring, intuitive e-services, virtual reality and self-adjusting appliances. The fridge will always be cold enough; the heater warm enough; the TV bright enough. Data can also be sent from these machines to service providers.

Welcome to the world of 5G – fifth generation mobile networks – a tech buzzword that could soon be the norm in business and in daily life. As this EuroparlTV video explains, the EU is gearing up to usher in this high-speed, high-capacity digital world by 2025, with 700 million euros set aside for it, plus private sector funding.


Highlights 12 – 16 June 2017

Consumers like to be aware of the environmental implications of the purchases they make. A “green” image adds value to a business, and certification under the EU’s Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) can help businesses achieve just that.

EMAS can help companies:

  • cut costs related to resources and waste management
  • minimise risks and potentially save/earn you money (for example, 20 percent discount when applying for an EU Ecolabel)
  • comply with regulatory requirements
  • benefit from environmental regulatory relief (for example, reporting requirements and inspections)
  • improve relations with internal and external stakeholders
  • achieve a competitive advantage.

State of bathing waters

More than 85 percent of bathing water sites monitored across Europe in 2016 met the most stringent “excellent” quality standards – meaning they were mostly free from pollutants harmful to human health and the environment. This is according to the EU’s annual bathing water quality report, which also found that over 96 percent of bathing water sites met minimum quality requirements set out under EU rules. The report, compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission, compiled analyses of water sampled at more than 21,000 coastal and inland bathing.

Bathing water in the UK – Interactive Map

Competition: Europe’s Perfect Playlist Challenge

Launched by Creative Europe, the EU’s programme for the cultural and creative sectors, Europe’s Perfect Playlist Challenge seeks to crowdsource the best European music around. To enter, participants must create and share a playlist of their favourite European music tracks. By sharing their Europe’s Perfect Playlist with other music enthusiasts, entrants could win tickets to a Liveurope concert of their choice or five Spotify Premium accounts for three months.

The closing date for entries is midnight June 22 (GMT +2). On June 30, Creative Europe will publish the official European Summer Festival playlist and announce the winners.

Funding for free WiFi4EU in public areas gets the thumbs up

A scheme to help local authorities offer free Wi-Fi hotspots in parks, squares, hospitals, libraries and other public spaces across the EU has received political backing from EU telecoms ministers and MEPs. More…

Highlights 5 – 9 June 2017

Countering online hate speech – Commission initiative with social media platforms and civil society shows progress

One year ago, the European Commission and four major social media platforms announced a Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech.

It included a series of commitments by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to combat the spread of such content in Europe. An evaluation carried out by NGOs and public bodies in 24 Member States, released on the first anniversary of the Code of Conduct, shows that the companies have made significant progress in following up on their commitments. More…


Commission initiative with social media No more roaming charges when travelling to another EU country from 15 June 2017.

Every existing or new contract that includes roaming services will change to “roam like at home” contract. New EU rules will cover data services, voice calls and SMS. More..


Opportunity Europe Euro Quiz 2017 Grand Final!

The competition was designed specifically for Key Stage 3 pupils and based on the KS3 curriculum and tested students’ knowledge of topics such as geography; culture; daily life; food and drink; languages; music; faces; places and much, much more!

Five regional heats were held in Belfast; Derry~Londonderry; Ballymena; Omagh and Armagh.

The heats were keenly contested with all students displaying a terrific and diverse knowledge of life and culture throughout the rest of Europe.  Nine teams from around Northern Ireland took part in the Grand Final which was held on Thursday 1 June In Belfast Metropolitan College.

Winners: Methodist College, Belfast
Runner Up: Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock

The Grand Final was broadcast LIVE and an on-demand recording of it will be available to view in a few days.

The European Commission has welcomed the formal adoption today of new EU rules to prevent tax avoidance via non-EU countries.

The agreed rules will stop companies from escaping tax by exploiting the mismatches between Member States’ and non-EU countries’ tax systems (“hybrid mismatches”). Today’s agreement completes the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) which ensures that binding and robust anti-abuse measures are applied throughout the Single Market. More…


Highlights 29th May – 2 June 2017

Austria, Sweden, & Czech Republic are leading the way on jobs in organic farming – Find our more at EU Green Week

EU Green Week is the annual opportunity to debate and discuss European environmental policy. Organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment, this key event attracts policymakers, leading environmentalists, stakeholders and other interested parties from across Europe and the globe.

EU Green Week 2017 will take place from 29 May to 2 June with the theme of ‘Green jobs for a greener future’. It will focus on how EU environmental policies are creating green jobs and contributing to economic, sustainable and socially responsible growth in the EU. It will also highlight the demand for new types of green skills in many professional sectors. More..


European Commission presents an analysis of EU consumer and marketing rules. This report will serve as a basis for further improving the legal framework for consumers and businesses.

European consumers already benefit from strong consumer rights, there is room for improvement for instance when it comes to enforcing these rights or making them fit for the digital age. An update of the rules should also ensure more legal clarity for businesses operating cross-border. More…


EU Draft Budget 2018:  a focus on jobs, investments, migration and security + helping young people

Full Questions and Answers on the budget


European Alliance for Apprenticeships

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) is a unique platform which brings together governments with other key stakeholders, like businesses, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training (VET) providers, regions, youth representatives or think tanks.

The common goal is to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe, and more recently mobility of apprenticeships has also emerged as an important topic. More...


Highlights 22nd – 26th May 2017

The European Commission’s approach to transparency in the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

The Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom are unique and differ from any other negotiation conducted by the European Union to date. Given their unprecedented nature, the European Commission has decided to adopt a tailor-made approach to transparencyThe Commission, as European Union negotiator, will ensure a maximum level of transparency during the whole negotiating process. Commission negotiating documents which are shared with EU Member States, the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, national parliaments, and the United Kingdom will be released to the public. More…

European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK

On the 22 May 2017 The European Commission welcomes the Council’s decision today to authorise the opening of the Article 50 negotiations with the UK and to nominate the Commission as Union negotiator. The Commission also welcomes the adoption of the first set of negotiating directives. More…

Sequencing of sunflower genome could help develop climate-resistant crops


A breakthrough in the sequencing of the sunflower genome could help in developing crops that are better able to adapt to climate change.

This new resource will assist future research programs using genetic tools to improve crop resilience and oil production.

University of Georgia researchers published their findings in the journal Nature.

Known for its beauty and also as an important source of food, the sunflower is a global oil crop that shows promise for climate change adaptation because it can maintain stable yields across a wide variety of environmental conditions, including drought. More….


Highlights 15th – 19th May 2017

Sharing best practice with Erasmus+ partners from Sweden, Poland, Turkey hosted and opened by the Mayor, Mary Garrity in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh on the 12 May 2017 as part of the Women return to work project. More…

Mayor Mary Garrity Fermanagh and Omagh Council, Fermanagh

First Steps Women’s Centre share their work in supporting local and migrant women with partners from Erasmus+ Women return to work project from Poland, Turkey and Sweden. The meeting was opened by the Mayor, Trevor Wilson, Mid Ulster Council on the 11 May 2017. More…

Mayor Trevor Wilson Mid Ulster Council

Erasmus+ Project partners for Sweden, Poland and Turkey meet in the EU Commission office, Belfast to plan future activities and share best practice in the region with groups and organisations during a 4 day study visit. More… 

EU Commission Office 11 May 2017

Highlights 8th – 12th May 2017

New convention targets illicit trade in artefacts from war zones

Illicit trace in cultural artefacts is regarded as a major source of funding to militant groups in conflict zones. A convention took effect in May 2017 which is designed to “codify” and standardise criminal law against the excavation, importation and exportation, acquisition and placing of artefacts on the market. More...


 Plant-Based Alternatives: Taking a Bite out of the Meat Market?

This panel debate on the 6 June 2017 will bring together experts, policy makers, industry and other stakeholders to present the development and promotion of plant-based meat alternatives, and explore governments’ role in accelerating the transition towards more plant-based protein consumption. More…


European Film Forum – Creating the future: the MEDIA programme after 2020

After Berlin and Vilnius, the European Film Forum will travel to Cannes on May 22. In the context of the mid-term review of the Creative Europe MEDIA programme, the discussions in Cannes will focus on the future of the MEDIA programme after 2020, its architecture and priorities. In addition to the main conference, the European Film Forum will also feature a dense programme of roundtable discussions and panels with representative of audiovisual industry and policy makers.  More…


Highlights 1st – 5th May 2017

2017 European Semester: Country Specific Recommendations / Commission Recommendations

Find out recommendations for Uk and Ireland and all other member states. More…

Only 6 % of all farm holdings in Europe are run by farmers under 35 years old!

Faced with an ageing farming population, the European Union (EU) is stepping up its efforts to encourage young people to take up the baton. Young farmers are given a helping hand to get their business off the ground with start-up grants and other financial and practical support such as trainings. Supporting the next generation of European farmers not only enhances the future competitiveness of European agriculture, it also helps guarantee Europe’s food supplies for years to come. More...


Highlights 24th – 29th April 2017

29 April 2017: EU summit agrees stance for Brexit talks

 On 29 April, the EU27 leaders met at the first summit after the UK officially triggered Art. 50. They unanimously adopted guidelines for the Brexit talks ahead. This will define the framework for negotiations and set out the overall EU positions and principles.

The European Council stressed the importance of safeguarding the rights of citizens affected by Brexit. They highlighted the need to avoid a legal vacuum for business, and referred to a single financial settlement that should ensure the EU and the UK respect their obligations.

In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, the European Council stressed the need to support the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

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Theresa May calls general election to strengthen her Brexit negotiations

Theresa May became prime minister after David Cameron resigned, so has not won her own election. She did not call an election as she said the country needed a period of stability after the upheaval of the EU Referendum vote. Initially she indicated that she was happy to wait until the next scheduled election in 2020.

However, she has announced that she had changed her mind and plans to call an election for Thursday, 8 June 2017.

She said they reason for the change in her decision was that she needed to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations with European leaders. She feared Labour, the SNP and other opposition parties along with members of the House of Lords would try to block her Brexit negotiations making her Government look weak and the UK look divided to other EU leaders.

Highlights 17th – 21st April 2017

Online course on Marine Litter …enrol now and help to take action to clean up

Marine litter is a global problem that affects every ocean of the world. Litter is an environmental, human health and socio-economic problem that is a symptom of a highly disposable society.

This course seeks to inspire students to take action and leadership in the arena of marine litter through stimulating interaction with all stakeholder groups.

The MOOC on marine litter teaches students through action oriented learning how they can apply successful and inspiring activities to their own local context, regardless of their profession or location. More…

Goodbye to roaming charges on your mobile phone from 15 June

When travelling in the EU, data, calls & SMS will cost the same as you pay at home. When you roam while being abroad, your operator in your home country pays the operator in the foreign country for the use of their networks. The price paid between operators is called the wholesale roaming price. These wholesale prices represent a cost to the home country operator and therefore impact on consumers’ final bills. This is why the Commission has worked to limit wholesale roaming prices in the EU, in parallel to its work to directly limit the prices paid by the consumer (retail roaming prices). More…


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Highlights 10th – 14th April 2017


A new initiative Erasmus Pro – will allow a million young Europeans to obtain a professional qualification in another European country by 2020. More…

First European Conference on connected and automated driving: ‘Connected and Automated Driving – Together, shaping the future’

The high-level conference was held in Brussels on the 3rd and 4th April 2017. With major road transport stakeholders – automotive and telecom industry, users, road operators, public transport operators, regulators, research centres, universities and representatives of both EC and EU Member States. More…


The PLAID project (Peer-to-peer Learning:

Accessing Innovation through Demonstration) is an European Union funded project under Horizon 2020, starting in January 2017 and running until July 2019. The project has been designed to encourage farmers and farm employees to embrace innovations in agriculture, leading to a greater sustainability of European Agriculture, by accessing high quality demonstration activities on commercial farms. More…

First eHealth Hub -Lean Startup Academy will train 10 EU eHealth startups

Apply for the first Lean Startup Academy to improve your business model through an intensive programme delivered by experienced trainers.This project can help mature your business by testing your ideas against the market with the support of experts or finding your priority customers are and how to reach them. More…



Highlights 3rd – 7th April 2017

Read about the Brexit

  • Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50
  • The government’s negotiating objectives for exitingthe EU:
    PM Teresa May’s speech.
  • The Brexit White Paper
  • The Great Repeal Bill White Paper

Current status of Erasmus+ programme in the UK

Highlights 27th – 31st March 2017

Commission’s Chief negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations with the UK, Michel Barnier’s speech

Michel Barnier, spoke to the Committee of the Regions on 22 March, where he outlined three necessary conditions for reaching an agreement with the UK:

  • Unity of the remaining 27 EU member states;
  • Removing uncertainty, especially for EU citizens living in the UK, British citizens living in the EU and regional and local authorities benefitting from EU programmes;
  • Doing things in the right order.

He also explained that there will be no “exit bill”, no punishment, and that Brits won’t be asked to pay a single euro they have not agreed to as an EU member. He quoted Winston Churchill saying “the price of greatness is responsibility” and added “that is true for Britain and also for us”. He warned of serious consequences in the event of no deal between the EU and the UK following the two years of negotiations. He agreed with Theresa May about “a bold and ambitious free trade agreement” and said the EU and the UK can be ambitious together. He made clear nevertheless that the best relationship with the EU is to be a member of it. Full speech..

Digital EU: from super computers to cross-border consumer loans

Two different initiatives outline the EU’s ambition to make its economy fit for the digital age. Seven member states – France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain – committed to support the next generation of computing and data infrastructure, the so called high-performance computers. Separately, the European Commission is looking into how technology and online services can support a more integrated market in financial services, allowing consumers to borrow cross-borders or helping them avoid unnecessary charges in financial transactions or car rental, among others. More…


The Treaties of Rome at 60: Commission recalls Europe’s achievements and leads discussion on the future at 27

On Saturday 25 March, the 27 Heads of State or Government and the Presidents of the EU institutions will sign the Rome Declaration – in the room where exactly 60 years ago the Rome Treaties were signed. The Rome Declaration will feature the Union’s past achievements, and present the challenges it faces. All this follows the publication on 1 March of the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe, which seeks to kick-start discussions on what kind of future Europeans want for the EU. More…

Highlights 20th – 24th March 2017


Erasmus+ Funding during Article 50 negotiations

The European Commission has confirmed that during negotiations under Article 50, European Union treaties and law continue to apply to the UK, and this applies to projects financed through Erasmus+. The UK Government has also confirmed that while we remain in the EU we retain all our rights and obligations as a Member State, including the right to participate in Erasmus+ More…

The Opportunity Europe Euro Quiz 2017 has now been launched for post-primary schools in Northern Ireland to enter!


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The closing date for entries is 5pm on WEDNESDAY 12 APRIL 2017 More..

Commission launches call for applications for the selection of members of the “Support to Circular Economy Financing Expert Group”

As part of the Circular Economy Finance Support Platform launched on the 26th January 2017, the European Commission has set up a group of experts.
The group’s tasks shall be to provide the Commission with advice and expertise to support the generation and financing of circular economy in the Member States. It will provide recommendations regarding concrete measures to facilitate circular economy project financing.

The Commission is calling for applications with a view to selecting members of the group other than Member States’ authorities and other public entities.

The deadline for application is 9 May 2017. More...

Highlights 13th – 17th March 2017

Plans to adapt more books for blind people backed by Legal Affairs Committee

New draft rules to make more books available in formats designed for blind and visually impaired people were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee on Thursday. The draft legislation, which brings EU law into line with the Marrakesh Treaty, provides for copyright exceptions for formats such as audiobooks and Braille.


2015 Eleven Member States already achieved their 2020 targets

In 2015, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy reached 16.7% in the European Union (EU), nearly double 2004 (8.5%), the first year for which the data are available.

The target to be reached by 2020 for the EU is a share of 20% energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy. However, renewables will continue to play a key role in helping the EU meet its energy needs beyond 2020. For this reason, Member States have already agreed on a new EU renewable energy target of at least 27% by 2030.



Highlights 6th – 10th March 2017

How to set campaign objectives, impact indicators and how to measure results

This is a second webinar to improve skills in designing successful communication strategies. It should assist potential beneficiaries in designing successful programmes. In addition, it can help companies and organisations from the agri-food sector to better promote their products.

This webinar focuses on how to define the objectives of a communication campaign and how to measure campaign results and impact.  More…


Commission presents White Paper on the future of Europe: Avenues for unity for the EU at 27

As announced in President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union speech, the European Commission today presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which forms the Commission’s contribution to the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017.



Space: Latest Copernicus launch will improve services for farmers, fishermen and other users of land and sea maps

The latest addition to the Copernicus satellite Earth observation family will halve the time needed to provide precision land-use data to benefit farmers, builders, fishermen and anyone who needs rapid access to up-to-the-minute data on conditions on the ground.




Highlights 27 February – 3 March

EPALE is a multilingual open membership community for teachers, trainers, researchers, academics, policy makers and anyone else with a professional role in adult learning across Europe.

Community is at the heart of EPALE. It is set up around the sharing of content related to adult learning, including news, blog posts, resources, and events and courses. EPALE is funded by the European Commission, as the latest development in an ongoing commitment to improving the quality of adult learning provision in Europe. More…

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The European Professional Card (EPC) is an electronic procedure you can use to have your professional qualifications recognised in another EU country. It is easier and quicker to manage than traditional qualification recognition procedures, and more transparent: you can keep track of your application on-line and re-use already uploaded documents to start new applications for different countries.

For the moment, you can use the EPC procedure only if you are:

a nurse responsible for general care
a pharmacist
a physiotherapist
a mountain guide
a real estate agent More…


Commission presents White Paper on the future of Europe: Avenues for unity for the EU at 27

As announced in President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union speech, the European Commission today presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which forms the Commission’s contribution to the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017. It presents 5 scenarios for how the EU at 27 could evolve.

Scenario 1: Carrying On
Scenario 2: Nothing but the Single Market
Scenario 3: Those Who Want More Do More
Scenario 4: Doing Less More Efficiently
Scenario 5: Doing Much More Together   More…


How much do Europeans exercise?

While almost half (49.8%) of the population aged 18 or over in the European Union (EU) did not do any sport, almost a third (29.9%) spent at least two and a half hours per week of leisure time doing physical activities in 2014. This includes cycling as a form of transportation.

The proportion of those exercising for at least two and a half hours per week is higher for men (34.5%) than for women (25.6%). While the proportion of time spent on exercise tends to decrease with age, it tends to increase with the education level of the individual. Overall in the EU, 40.5% of the highly-educated people spent at least two and a half hours per week on physical activities, compared to less than a quarter (19.2%) of those with a low education level. More…

IMG Graph physical activities

Travel Writing Scholarship 2017
Are you able to write a compelling travelling story? Then you can win a 10-day travel writing trip to the Balkans (Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo) and be mentored by a New York Time writer!

Write a 2500-character travel essay about one the following topics: ‘making a local connection’, ‘out of my comfort zone’ or ‘a place I’ll never forget’. Three aspiring storytellers will be selected so don’t miss the deadline: 21 March 2017. More…


The European Solidarity Corps
The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe

The European Solidarity Corps brings together two complementary strands:

The volunteering strand offers young people, through a grant, the opportunity to carry out full time voluntary service of between 2 and 12 months.

The occupational strand provides young people with the opportunity of a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in a wide range of sectors that are engaged in solidarity activities and have a demand for highly motivated and socially minded young people.  More…
Fact sheet


€3 million prize up for grabs in materials for clean air challenge
Horizon Prizes are challenge or inducement prizes offering a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. The aim is to stimulate innovation and come up with solutions to problems that matter to EU citizens. Recently announced, the Horizon Prize on materials for clean air will be awarded to the most affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven material solution that can reduce the concentration of particulate matter in urban areas. More…


Applications open for RegioStars Awards 2017
The objective of RegioStars, an annual competition organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, is to identify good practice in regional development and to highlight original and innovative projects which could be inspiring to other regions and project managers. There are five RegioStars Award categories for 2017:

Smart specialisation for SME innovation
Energy Union: climate action
Women empowerment and active participation
Education and training        More…


Consultation on the future of CAP
A three-month public consultation on modernising and simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was launched on 2 February by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

The consultation will run between 2 February and 2 May 2017 and is available in 23 EU languages. Input from the consultation will contribute to the drafting of an EU Commission Communication that will address the current performance of the CAP and potential policy options for the future. For additional information, see the related Q&As.

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The European Commission (EC) and the European Agency for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (EASME) launched the pilot project “Ready2GO” aimed to support European SMEs to internationalise and become active in five target Third-Country markets.

A project by the European Commission and developed by an international consortium led by Promos Milan in collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network, Ready2Go is an innovative new programme in which selected SMEs will be provided with the necessary tools for guaranteed success abroad.



Highlights 20 – 25 Feb 2017

European Heritage Days (EHD) is a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The annual programme offers opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, many of which are not normally accessible to the public. This year the theme for EHOD is “Heritage and Nature: A Landscape of Possibilities” with focus to be given to Heritage and Nature including Landscape, Territory, Sustainable Development, Biodiversity, Major Hazards and Climate Change.

Every September thousands of volunteers across the country invite you to experience local history, architecture and culture. All for free.

Heritage Open Days 2017 will be 7-10 September.

Applications are now open for EHOD 2017 which will take place on Saturday 9th and 10th September. More…

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Launch of ‘LID+’ programme to promote Erasmus++ in the UK
Lid+ is a year-long programme of free services and events that Lid+will promote, inform and provide access to, not to mention support your potential involvement in the Erasmus+ Programme. More…


German Teacher Award 2017
If you know a truly outstanding German language teacher at your school – make sure that their dedication and excellence get the recognition they deserve!

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany is pleased to invite nominations for the annual German Teacher Award, now in its 14th successful year. The winners will receive a personal prize and a certificate. The prizes will be presented at a special ceremony during the “Sommerfest der Deutschen Sprache” in early summer 2017. More…


Protect yourself from cybercriminals! Follow these 8 tips on how to stay safe & secure when shopping online.


The European Commission published its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including an assessment of remaining imbalances.More…

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£184 million EIB backing for Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
The British Business Bank has today launched its £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), aimed at boosting the North of England’s economy and helping the region’s businesses realise their growth potential. The European Investment Bank will provide £184 million for the new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. More…

Helping pupils in secondary schools in Dungannon understand the importance of having a language at GCSE when thinking about future employment in a global market place.


EU funded astronomer Michaël Gillon & intl team discover 7 new planets!


New EU environmental standards for large poultry and pig farms
New standards on resources and emissions will help national authorities across the EU to lower the environmental impact of around 20 000 large poultry and pig farms. The new specifications stem from the review of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document for the intensive rearing of poultry and pigs (IRPP), the so-called IRPP BREF, whose conclusions were published on 21 February 2017 in the Official Journal of the EU. More…


The Commission publishes today its first report on the implementation of the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality.
On that occasion, the Director-General for Justice and Consumers, Tiina Astola will present the main achievements at the High Ministerial Level Conference on LGBTI Mainstreaming in Malta 23 February 2017. More..


Highlights 13 – 17 Feb 2017

Energy consumption in the EU below its 1990 level…but EU dependency on fossil fuel imports on the rise.

Largest Energy Consumers in the EU:
2. France-16%,
3. UK-12%.     read full report

Making GCSE Choices
The is an important time when pupils make their GCSE choices and we were delighted to be asked to speak about the importance of languages for future employment in St Cairans’ Ballygawley.


Registrations open for the 10th European Maritime Day “the Future of our seas” in Poole, UK, 18-19 May

At the heart of European Maritime Day is the a 2-day conference “The Future of our Seas” in Poole, UK, on 18 and 19 May. High-level sessions and stakeholder workshops attract delegates & experts from across Europe and beyond.

The programme includes more than 30 stakeholder workshops and project pitches on the following themes: 1) Innovation & Growth, 2) People & Skills, 3) Safety & Security, 4) Sustainability & Governance. More…

In 2015, there were nuclear reactors in operation in 14 EU Member States generating more than 26 % of the electricity produced in the EU.
In 2015, the largest producer of nuclear power in the EU was France with a 51 % share of the EU total, followed by Germany (11 %), the United Kingdom (8 %), Spain and Sweden (both 7 %). These five Member States account for more than 83 % of the total amount of electricity generated in nuclear facilities in the EU. More…


Highlights 6 – 10 Feb 2017

What the CE means
The letters ‘CE’ appear on many products traded on the extended Single Market in the European Economic Area (EEA). They signify that products sold in the EEA have been assessed to meet high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. When you buy a new phone, a teddy bear, or a TV within the EEA, you can find the CE mark on them. CE marking also supports fair competition by holding all companies accountable to the same rules.

By affixing the CE marking to a product, a manufacturer declares that the product meets all the legal requirements for CE marking and can be sold throughout the EEA. This also applies to products made in other countries that are sold in the EEA.  More…


Are you a start-up trying to find finance for your project?
If you are a start up trying to find finance for your project, you can take advantage of this option and search opportunities that best suit your needs and wants. Search here


Europe Direct NI delivered a workshop in Rainey Endowed, Magherafelt school how important languages are for employment and encouraging pupils to keep a language at GCSE.

Rainey 2

Highlights 30 Jan – 3 Feb 2017

Delivering intercultural competence training to a Women’s Centre, Dungannon looking at how we can misunderstand different cultural behaviours.  Great discussion on cultural clashes!


Executive Agency for SMEs (ESME) is looking for experts on coastal and maritime tourism: Help us evaluate project proposals.

Experts on coastal and maritime tourism are needed to help us select project proposals for funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and to monitor their implementation.

Experts on coastal and maritime tourism are invited to register in the European Commission’s database of experts in maritime and fisheries policy.

From this database EASME is selecting candidates with the most suitable profile for the following activities:

Evaluating project proposals submitted in response to EMFF calls for proposals, or Monitoring the implementation of actions funded under the EMFF.

Expert evaluators are asked to examine proposals against published criteria providing comments and scores which will form the bases of the European Commission’s funding decision. The experts’ working language is English; a good ability to write and discuss in English is an essential requirement. More…


Enterprise Europe Network is organising a free B2B matchmaking event on 8th March 2017 during Ecobuild, one of the biggest event in sustainable constructionthe world for sustainable construction.

The event will consist of pre-arranged one-to-one meetings, which will enable visitors and exhibitors to the ExCel exhibition to find potential commercial and technology partners from all over Europe.

Participants can register now on

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem that does not have a simple solution. Thanks to the overuse of antibiotics in everyday life and agriculture, strains of so-called “superbugs” have evolved that cause us harm and have no clear weaknesses. This rising threat is so serious that the UN General Assembly convened last year for a health summit – just the fourth time in its history that it has ever done so.


Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU), have found a molecule that has been synthesized that reverses the antibiotic resistance of three groups of bacteria. More…

Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference: One year after adoption, working together for the future. Brussels, 9-10 March 2017


US travel ban: MEPs to hold debate with @FedericaMog. Watch it live tomorrow from 3pm CET here →

Highlights 23 – 27 January 2017

In Coleraine with high school students running workshops to encourage them to make languages one of their GCSE choices!

‘LID+’ is a year-long programme of free services and events that will promote, inform and support your potential involvement in the Erasmus+ Programme.

Funded by the European Commission (through its representation in London) The Inside Out Programme in Claudy, Northern Ireland is responsible for delivering this programme to support young people, young leaders, youth workers interested in developing an application to the Erasmus+ programme in 2017.

The project will work specifically to target (i) those interested in Volunteering Abroad (ii) taking part in Youth Exchanges and (iii) or developing other Key Action1 Mobility Projects including planning meetings, training programmes and seminars. More…

Highlights 16 – 20 January 2017

Designing the website for Euro-Youth MediaLab project with partners Sweden,France & Bulgaria. The aim of the project is to work with young people to explore what citizenship means to them and share it with other youth involved in the project. More…

In 1 year, 700+ European Professional Cards helped people get qualifications recognised across borders. The European Professional Card (EPC) is an electronic procedure you can use to have your professional qualifications recognised in another EU country. It is easier and quicker to manage than traditional qualification recognition procedures, and more transparent: you can keep track of your application on-line and re-use already uploaded documents to start new applications for different countries. More…

Highlights 9 – 13 January 2017

Want to do a Master abroad? Have a look at the Erasmus+ Master degree loans which could help fund your dream! More…

Annual inflation up to 1.6% in the United Kingdom and up to 1.2% in the EU More…

Eurodesk UK has launched a Call for Partners to support the delivery and promotion of its services across the UK in 2017, complementing the work of the existing Partner network.

The Eurodesk network is a recognised support structure under the Erasmus+ funding programme, and works closely with the Erasmus+ UK National Agency to provide information and guidance on Erasmus+ and other opportunities to youth organisations and young people.

Applications to join the network of Eurodesk Partners are welcome from UK organisations with experience in the youth sector. For more information please refer to the briefing note and application form below. More…

Highlights 1 – 6 January 2017

Erasmus for young Entrepreneurs: The European exchange programme for Entrepreneurs
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other Participating Countries. More..

The UK’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, has resigned 3 January 2017
Sir Ivan, appointed to the job by David Cameron in 2013, had been expected to play a key role in Brexit talks expected to start within months. The government said Sir Ivan had quit early so a successor could be in place before negotiations start. Last month the BBC revealed he had privately told ministers a UK-EU trade deal might take 10 years to finalise, sparking criticism from some MPs.