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Towards a Conference on the Future of Europe

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MEPs from the Constitutional Affairs Committee will vote on their input to Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (i.e. President Sassoli and political group leaders) on the organization of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.

Following the establishment of the relevant Working Group by Parliament’s leaders, the Constitutional Affairs Committee was invited to contribute to its work in line with its leading role on topics of significance affecting the future of Europe. This will in turn help define Parliament’s position in the negotiations with the Council and the Commission on the structure, mission and objectives of the Conference.

When: Monday, 9 December, 18h - 20h

Where: European Parliament in Brussels, Spinelli building, room 3E2

You can follow the meeting live.

Background

The Conference, to be organised by Parliament, Council and Commission, is among Commission President von der Leyen’s most prominent commitments. It is expected to start in 2020 and run for two years, involving a cross-section of society to give citizens the chance to contribute in shaping the future of the EU.

The most recent in a series of debates in the Constitutional Affairs Committee was a public hearing with Parliament’s Vice-President Othmar Karas (EPP, AT), European Economic and Social Committee President Luca Jahier, Committee of the Regions President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and a range of academic and civil society experts, as well as the two Commission Vice Presidents: Dubravka Šuica (Democracy and Demography) and Věra Jourová (Values and Transparency).

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Commission launches first-ever call for journalism partnerships worth €7.6 million

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The Commission has published a €7.6 million call for journalism partnerships financed for the first time through an EU programme, Creative Europe. Grants will support cross-border collaboration among news media professionals in Europe. This first call promotes business transformation and journalistic projects – this can include the development of common technical standards, new types of newsrooms, the testing of new business models, original reporting and innovative production formats.

Values and Transparency Vice President Věra Jourová said: “It is the first time that the EU supports such journalism partnerships. It is a clear message to journalists and media actors that we stand by their side to help them address the challenges they face. Increasing and diversifying funding support goes hand in hand with our work for democracy, the rule of law and for a fairer online environment.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton added: “Media freedom and pluralism are key values on which our democracies stand and cannot be taken for granted. Through our Creative Europe programme, we will allocate an unprecedented budget of at least €75 million by 2027 to supporting media freedom and pluralism.”

Interested consortia can propose collaborations in a specific journalistic genre, and will operate with full editorial independence. Their projects should aim to help the wider European news media sectors, including small media. The deadline for applications for this call is 26 August 2021. Several other calls, representing close to €12m investment for European media projects, will be launched in the coming weeks, while other calls relevant for the news media sector, such as the Creative Innovation Labs, have recently been published. An upcoming webinar on this call and other funding opportunities for the news media sector can be found here, further information on current EU-funded projects in the news media sector can be found on this factsheet and an overview of the support to media freedom and pluralism is also available here. The Commission decided to strengthen its support to the media sector as part of the European Democracy and the Media and Audiovisual Action Plans.

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Equality: 12th edition of EU Access City Award open for applications

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The 12th Access City Award competition is now open for applications. The award rewards cities that have made particular efforts to be accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities. EU cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants can apply until 8 September 2021. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive prizes of €150,000, €120,000 and €80,000 respectively. Because 2021 is the European Year of Rail, the Commission will give a special mention to a city that has made outstanding efforts to make its train stations accessible for all.

Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli said: “Several cities across the EU are leading the way in creating more accessible spaces. With the EU Access City Award we reward these efforts and make them more visible. All of us have a responsibility to make Europe fully accessible. This is why accessibility is one of the priorities in the EU's new Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, presented in March.”

Last year's winner of the Access City Award was Jönköping in Sweden. The award-winners will be announced at the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference on 3 December 2021. For more information on the award and how to apply, please visit the Access City Award 2022 webpage.

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Future of Europe plenary, migration, biodiversity

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MEPs will participate in the inaugural plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe and discuss migration and development issues. The inaugural plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe takes place on Saturday, 19 June in Strasbourg. The Conference Plenary gathers representatives from EU institutions, and national parliaments together with citizens and will develop people's proposals into recommendations for EU action. All Europeans can participate in the Conference by sharing their ideas on the multilingual digital platform, EU affairs.

Following the approval of the EU Digital COVID Certificate during last week’s plenary session, Parliament President David Sassoli signed it into law on 14 June together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa.

conference on migration and asylum in Europe took place in the Parliament on Monday. MEPs and members of the  national parliaments discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on migration and the international aspects of the EU’s approach to migration, lsuch as partnerships with non-EU countries, legal pathways for migration and integration policies.

This year the European Development Days focuses on the EU's Green Deal and creating a sustainable future. On Tuesday (15 June), Parliament's development committee organized a panel on food security and biodiversity to discuss how to preserve biodiversity and increase nutritious and diverse food in developing countries, based on local varieties and production.

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