EU office: Newsletter - February 2021
The Commission Work Programme 2021: A Union of vitality in a world of fragility
In October 2020, the European Commission published its Work Programme for 2021. The overarching goal is to“make Europe healthier, fairer and more prosperous, while accelerating its long-term transformation into a greener economy, fit for the digital age.” The measures encompass six headline ambitions.
The first of the six headline ambitions is the Green Deal. Here, the Commission will focus on overhauling climate and energy legislation. The Commission will also propose a carbon border adjustment mechanism, as well as measures to promote smart and sustainable transport and an action plan for the circular economy.
Secondly, the digital age plays a key role. Clear goals will be defined, to be implemented by 2030. Among others, topics such as artificial intelligence, data protection and legal acts to ensure fair competitive conditions will be addressed.
The third goal revolves around the economy in Europe. It is vitally important to cushion the impact of 2020, and to guarantee and build on social rights across the EU. Increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and capacity of public administrations
should also be tackled.
The Commission also intends to strengthen Europe’s role in the world, and to continue fostering global cooperation. In particular, it is hoped that the Western Balkans and Africa will play a key role.
Looking back at the past year, the Commission also declared its intention to improve the EU framework for combating cross-border health threats, in order to be able to respond faster and more efficiently to such crises in the future. A new strategy for the Schengen Area and a new pact on migration and asylum are to be developed as well.
Furthermore, the Commission is committed to achieving equality, with strategies designed for people with disabilities and to promote gender equality. At the same time, it aims to ensure democratic conditions and judicial cooperation.
The Commission provides a full account of these measures on its website, and also illustrates the steps that have already been taken.
Werkschau Chemnitz – Made in Saxony from March to May 2021
Creative minds and artists from all over Saxony are to showcase their original Saxony-made products from March to May 2021 in the heart of Chemnitz. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to witness first-hand the variety and creative potential offered by the region, and learn more about the people and the stories behind the products. The WerkSchau exhibition gives creative professionals from Saxony the opportunity to present their ideas and works away from mass-produced goods, whilst also offering an exclusive insight into the multi-faceted work of regional manufacturers. The exhibition highlights the wealth of ideas available, the new synergies to be tapped, and new business models; it also spotlights the innovative power of local cultural forces and creative providers. The event is organised by KREATIVES SACHSEN and MARXMAID as part of the EU project InduCCI.
Green and digital transition in Europe and Chemnitz
On 26 January 2021, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships gathered speakers from all over Europe to participate in an online event on the green and digital transition. These two topics were discussed first and foremost in the context of local solutions in European cities, and how both educators and apprentices can get involved in local projects. The short break included an opportunity for participants to watch a commercial for Chemnitz, Capital of Culture. The second part of the discussion saw Ralph Burghardt, Mayor for Education, Social Affairs, Youth, Culture and Sport, reporting on digital teaching approaches and the difficulties faced by the city, young people and young adults in accessing vocational training. A recording of the online event (in English) is now available.
Places available in Danish volunteer projects for young people
Photo: solaris FZU
Although the starting situation may initially seem daunting, solaris FZU (Educational Centre for Youth and the Environment) continues to play an active role in Europe-wide work. As part of the European Solidarity Corp programme, a dynamic partnership has been forged with Denmark. This has resulted in a number of different volunteer projects to participate in, including some places available in Danish projects. An overview can be found online in the project list. As a sending/hosting organisation, solaris FZU has already had some excellent experiences with Danish projects, as attested by two participants from Chemnitz. Particularly at the current time, this presents a great opportunity for young people affected by coronavirus mesures.
Annual general meeting with strong statements from EUROCITIES members
On 4 and 5 November, Eurocities held its first ever online Annual General Meeting, which was originally supposed to have taken place in Leipzig. Captioned “Reinventing cities – beyond the urban crises”, more than 30 speakers answered questions on how city councillors can explore new pathways as they continue to fight crises. More than 300 people watching per session appreciated their candid views and optimistic outlook. To start with, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Klára Dobrev, and the mayors of Bristol, Bilbao, Nantes, Barcelona, Helsinki, Braga, Gdansk, Cluj-Napoca, Prague and Stockholm examined opportunities that may arise from current crises, which could be used to redesign the way we live. In the next session, Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič advocated for cities to push together to collaborate with EU institutions. A fantastic conversation between the outgoing president of the Eurocities network, Anna König-Jerlmyr, Stockholm, and her successor Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence, ended with a bouquet of flowers being gifted virtuallyon the screen.
Climate round table on overhauling the EU’s energy and climate goals by 2030
On 3 November 2020, Dr. Nicoleta Reinhardt, head of climate protection at the Environment Office in Chemnitz, took part in an online meeting between Eurocities members. In order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions ‒ a critical task ‒ it is imperative that measures be taken at all levels of government and in all fields. This is the standpoint of a new position paper from the Eurocities network. With the overall goal being to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, the network proposes a radical overhaul of the ambitions for the next ten years. The climate round table therefore presented an excellent opportunity to discuss the open letter to president of the European Council,
Charles Michel, in which Eurocities calls for bolder steps to be taken. Michel has been urged to revise the emissions reductions target for 2030, and to pursue a reduction target of at least 60%. The cities are determined to show the way. The Commission is urged to harness the skills of local experts to develop the EU framework by increasing collaboration with municipal authorities and their European network organisations. Greater financial support at a local level in the EU’s next multiannual financial framework will be hugely important in keeping the transformation process running in the cities, and to meet more ambitious EU goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2030.
School classes can take part in online European- wide quiz “that’s eUrope”
Photo: Bürger Europas e. V.
With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, non-profit educational organisation Bürger Europas e. V. entered its second round on 18 January 2021. – This time there was also an English version of the quiz duel, in which school classes can go head-to-head with their partner schools elsewhere in Europe. The educational European policy organisation poses a variety of questions about Europe and the work of the EU to pupils aged 16 and above studying at all types of schools. Informative videos, texts and graphics liven up the answers, meaning that the young people get a huge boost in their knowledge. The project won the European Citizen’s Prize in 2018. Teachers can register for their preferred slot in the online booking calendar at european-online-learning.de
European dates in Chemnitz until May 2021
4 March 2021
Chemnitz University of Technology
The start of an online series of seminars on “electromobility in Europe”
10 to 11 March 2021
Educational Exchange Service
Online seminar on the new ERASMUS+ programme: “Green Erasmus, green mobility, green schools” – Erasmus+ online contact seminar for schools
15 March 2021
Volkshochschule Chemnitz (Chemnitz Adult Education Centre)
Online course: Civil society in eastern Europe ‒ a guarantee of democracy? Dr. Piotr Kocyba
26 March to 2 May 2021
Shop behind the Karl Marx Monument
“WerkSchau Chemnitz” demonstrates the range of cultural and creative offerings available in the Chemnitz region
Environmental protection and sustainability take centre stage in the new ERASMUS+ as of 2021. The Pädagogische Austauschdienst (educational exchange service) explains new funding opportunities at a number of different events.