Nearly 800 young people and youth experts living and working in the Eastern Partnership countries have expressed interest to take part in the Eastern Partnership Youth Forum due to be held on 22-25 October in Kaunas, Lithuania. Only two hundred of them will be invitedto participate, said a press release from the EU-funded Eastern Partnership (EaP) Youth Regional Unit (EPYRU), whose key experts will attend the event.
The forum will set the basis for a viable, continuous and structured dialogue and cross-sectoral cooperation, the press release said, adding that the EPYRU will seek “to cooperate with these stakeholders to promote its missions of evidence-basis, mainstreaming and capacity building in youth policy, and to work with them in collating and making access to information on youth policy literature, stakeholders and opportunities.”
The Eastern Partnership Youth Forum aims to:
- enhance the recognition of youth work and non-formal learning especially in the context of social inclusion, building on the synergies between international, national, regional and local levels;
- raise the quality and visibility of non-formal learning and youth work at the local level and foster exchange of good practice of youth work between EaP and Youth in Action Programme countries;
- showcase current youth cooperation within the framework of the Youth in Action Programme’s EaP Youth Window and explore opportunities offered by the future EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Culture is a cornerstone of EU Neighbourhood policy efficiency, it can promote political reforms and dialogue: this was among the conclusions of the informal meeting of EU senior officials held yesterday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was co-hosted by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture. European senior officials responsible for culture attended, together with representatives from the EU Member States, the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, and the European External Action Service.
The meeting was intended to discuss how a common history and a common culture could contribute to the European Neighbourhood Policy, deepen mutual trust and promote intercultural dialogue. Participants at the event discussed how to increase the role of culture in promoting political reforms, democratisation and dialogue between civil society and policy makers in the EU’s neighbouring countries. Special emphasis was given to culture’s transformative role, and to the importance of civil society engagement. The participants underlined the need to ensure respect for fundamental human rights and core European values.
Intermediate results of the European Commission’s Preparatory Action “Culture in the EU External Relations” covering 54 states were also presented, but the final results will be accessible only in April 2014.
The next informal meeting of senior officials of Ministries of Culture and senior officials responsible for culture in Ministries of Foreign Affairs is to be held in March 2014 in Athens. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Armenia, Georgia and Moldova have joined the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P), which merges contributions from the EU and donor countries including Ukraine, as well as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the USA. During yesterday’s pledging conference at the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Luxembourg, the international donor community raised an additional €60 million to broaden the activities of the E5P Fund, a press release said, adding that Armenia, Georgia and Moldova will now benefit from support for energy efficiency and the reduction of harmful emissions due to the E5P Fund.
“I am delighted that Armenia, Georgia and Moldova have decided to join the Partnership. The European Commission, as the main donor of the Fund, is ready to provide up to €30 million for the three countries that are joining the facility, in order to co-finance energy efficiency and environmental projects in municipalities,” said EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
The E5P Fund contributions are used to leverage national funds and loans from international financial institutions (IFIs), including the EBRD, the EIB, the World Bank Group, the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation and the Nordic Investment Bank.
The initial focus of E5P was Ukraine, where, to date, one-third of the available E5P funds have been committed to projects in the municipal sector to modernise district heating systems, upgrade water and wastewater systems and save energy in public buildings.
Most of the Eastern Partnership countries are highly dependent on expensive imported gas, which places a heavy burden on their economies. On average, they are also three times more energy-intensive than the average EU country. The E5P is part of the strategic response to energy issues, allowing municipal authorities to invest in concrete projects that make the most of opportunities for energy savings.
Most of the cities that have benefited from the E5P Fund in Ukraine are also signatories to the Covenant of Mayors, a European Union initiative involving voluntarily commitments by municipalities to reductions in CO2 emissions and energy use. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
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