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Commission supports Estonia in increasing the efficiency of its transport sector

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The European Commission, in co-operation with OECD International Transport Forum (ITF), has been providing support to Estonia through the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) to help prepare a new transport and mobility development plan for the period 2021-2035. The result of the support project, an analysis of the transport sector in Estonia, was presented today during an event in Tallinn.

The analysis focuses on the main challenges and opportunities facing the Estonian transport sector and identifies the country's needs in terms of infrastructure and reforms. The final report provides recommendations to guide reforms and collects best practices from other Member States.

The outcome of the project should help Estonia develop better policy on transport and ultimately contribute to reduce CO2 emissions for the benefit of its people and businesses. The SRSP offers expertise to all EU countries for the implementation of growth-enhancing reforms. The support is based on request and is tailor-made for the beneficiary member state. Since 2017, the programme has been supporting over 1,000 reform projects in all 27 member states.

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Dead mayoral candidate gets landslide win in Romanian village

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Death didn’t stop Ion Aliman in his bid for a third term as mayor of Deveselu, a village of around 3,000 people in southern Romania. Aliman won the local election by a landslide, with 64% of votes cast, despite dying 10 days before the vote, on 17 September, from COVID-19 complications, writes Cristian Gherasim.

According to electoral officials, his name was already printed on the voting ballots and couldn’t be changed before voting took place.

The deputy-mayor, Nicolae Dobre, is not surprised by the surreal outcome saying that the former mayor did everything for the community, he deserved this victory and that people didn’t trust other candidates.

Following the results, people gathered on Monday at the grave of the newly elected mayor to light candles and pay their respects on the day Ion Aliman would have turned 57.

The grave site election celebration was shared on social media, as dozens of villagers turned up for the occasion.

The procedure now requires that local council members appoint a deputy-mayor who takes over the duties of the mayor until new elections take place. The incumbent deputy-mayor, Nicolae Dobre, announced his intention to run.

Mr. Aliman’s victory is not a big reason to celebrate though for his former party, as the Social Democrats lost key municipalities and counties in these local elections. Center-right parties made significant gains in former social democrat strongholds, running both separately and as an alliance depending on the region.

Deveselu is known for housing one of the key components of the NATO defence system, employing Aegis Ballistic Missiles, able to intercept and defend against short to intermediate-range missile attacks.

Romania has so far reported more than 125,000 coronavirus cases and 4,800 deaths, with daily infection rates on the rise. Prior to election week, Romania recorded 1,767 new Covid-19 infections over a 24-hour span, the highest number since late February, when the pandemic started in the south-eastern European nation.

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Russian oil industry - innovative approach to talent development for industrial sustainable development

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Russian oil workers celebrated their professional holiday in September. Oil and Gas Industry Workers day was established 55 years ago in the USSR as a sign of appreciation for the specialists successfully satisfied both the needs of home and active front lines in WW2 times and made a significant contribution in post-war reconstruction. People continue to be the main asset for oil companies in Russia and abroad.

Russian oil and gas industry is renowned worldwide for its high professionalism and dedication”, - OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo noted in his letter to the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak in honor of the day of workers of the oil and gas industry. “Oil workers are unsung heroes whose tireless efforts enable OPEC and our outside partners to make informed decisions. We must never take their work for granted,” – he added.

According to International Labor Organization reports, the world of work is currently undergoing profound changes. Digitalization, changing demographics and a transition to a green economy are setting up the new trends – automation and robotics that reduce the need for labor, herewith the ever raising competence requirements for the current personnel. Given this, each professional oil worker – in a very real sense – worths his weight in gold by being able to deliver high performance in current changing conditions.

ILO highlighted three main goals to support oil workers and other working men around the globe: increasing investment in people’s skills, strengthening labor guarantees and expanding social dialogue.

In the words of Anatoly Moskalenko, Vice President for Human Resources Management and Social Policy of PJSC LUKOIL, corporate programs fully comply with ILO’s vision: “Today, the oil and gas sector is facing new challenges that can significantly change professional areas of activity and, therefore, specifics of HR management and social work. In 2019 the Company launched a personnel performance and efficiency management system, based on the principles of modern leadership philosophy.” The new approach places a greater emphasis on the individual as the key driver behind achievement of the Company’s strategic goals.

PJSC LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov has decided to begin implementing leadership and engagement tools to facilitate a reliable and sustainable future for LUKOIL. Forward-looking changes are designed to ensure that the Company maintains its leading position in the industry.

This will require changes in the system used to make decisions, people management, training, motivation, and overall performance and efficiency assessments. Goal management, effective and inspiring interaction between managers and employees, constant feedback, and a modern system of productivity and performance management in a unified digital environment.

The first step has been to elaborate the project groups in the Exploration and Production business segment. This group of employees ensures that effective solutions are found to engineering and technical problems, while achieving operational and investment efficiency when implementing major and high-priority projects, both in Russia and abroad with Company’s and global experience and best practices are taken into account. This new approach will be further distributed to the corporate vertical system, backed by the constantly renewing regulatory framework.

LUKOIL employed over 105 thousand people, 41% female, which are more than 26% of managerial personnel. Company applies uniform principles for the talent development and respects personnel’s wish to achieve work-life balance. In LUKOIL Group entities parental leave is granted to both women and men.

Company endeavors the implementation of harmonized standards to working with our employees in all countries and regions where we operate, taking into account local specifics and features. LUKOIL’s basic approach is to employ the best professionals, while in foreign countries company strives to employ as many local professionals as possible, and provide them with employee training where necessary.

Company strives to maintain an attractive employee remuneration system to facilitate social stability and to enhance the quality of life of our employees and their families. In 2019, the average salary in LUKOIL Group’s Russian entities in significant regions of operation was at least 1.5 times higher than the average salary in the same regions. Voluntary health insurance programs cover over 90% of employees at Russian entities, over 1.4 thousand employees participate in the housing program.

Constant and focused talent development programs aimed at full professional fulfillment, while maintaining the social guarantees, helps LUKOIL to keep employee turnover at insignificant 7.5%.

New approach towards corporate policies, compliant with the actual social needs and current technological development level, ongoing partnership with ILO allow LUKOIL to build up the solutions that would become referential either for Russian oil market and global business society.

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Latest Eurobarometer survey (July-August): Economic situation is EU citizens' top concern in light of the coronavirus pandemic

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In a troubled period marked by the coronavirus pandemic, trust in the EU remains stable and Europeans trust the EU to make the right decisions in response to the pandemic in the future. In the new Standard Eurobarometer survey released today, European citizens identify the economic situation, the state of member states' public finances and immigration as the three top concerns at EU level. The economic situation is also the main concern at national level, followed by health and unemployment.

In the new Eurobarometer conducted in July and August, concern about the economic situation is reflected in the perception of the current state of the economy. 64% of Europeans think that the situation is ‘bad' and 42% of Europeans think that their country's economy will recover from the adverse effects of the coronavirus outbreak ‘in 2023 or later'.

Europeans are divided (45% ‘satisfied' vs 44% ‘not satisfied') regarding the measures taken by the EU to fight the pandemic. However, 62% say they trust the EU to make the right decisions in the future, and 60% remain optimistic about the future of the EU.

  1. Trust and image of the EU

Trust in the European Union has remained stable since autumn 2019 at 43%, despite variations of public perceptions during the pandemic. Trust in national governments and parliaments has increased (40%, +6 percentage points and 36%, +2 respectively).

In 15 Member States, a majority of respondents says they trust the EU, with the highest levels observed in Ireland (73%), Denmark (63%) and Lithuania (59%). The lowest levels of trust in the EU are observed in Italy (28%), France (30%) and Greece (32%).

The proportion of respondents with a positive image of the EU is the same as that with a neutral image (40%). 19% of respondents have a negative image of the EU (-1 percentage points).

In 13 EU member states, a majority of respondents has a positive image of the EU, with the highest proportions observed in Ireland (71%), Poland and Portugal (both 55%). In 13 other member states, the EU conjures up a predominantly neutral image for respondents, with the highest proportions observed in Malta (56%), Spain, Latvia and Slovenia (all 48%).

  1. Main concerns at EU and national level

Citizens mentioned the economic situation as the most pressing issue facing the EU - over one-third (35%) of all respondents, a strong increase of 16 percentage points since autumn 2019, and rise from third to first concern. Concern about the economic situation has not been this high since spring 2014.

Europeans are also increasingly concerned about the state of member states' public finances (23%, +6 percentage points, the highest level since spring 2015), which moves from fifth to second place on a par with immigration (23%, -13 percentage points), the latter now being at the lowest level since autumn 2014.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, health (22%, new item) is the  fourth most mentioned concern at EU level. The issue of the environment and climate change has lost ground, down 8 percentage points to 20%, followed by unemployment (17%, +5 percentage points).

Similarly, the economic situation (33%, +17 percentage points) has overtaken health as the most important issue at national level, rising from seventh to first position. Although in second position, health has had a notable increase in mentions since autumn 2019 (31%, +9 percentage points), taking it to its highest ever level over the past six years.

Unemployment has also increased considerably in importance (28%, +8 percentage points), followed by rising prices/inflation/cost of living (18%, -2 percentage points), the environment and climate change (14%, -6 percentage points) and government debt (12%, +4 percentage points). Mentions of immigration (11%, -5 percentage points), are at their lowest level for the past six years.

  1. The current economic situation

Since autumn 2019, the proportion of Europeans who think that the current situation of their national economy is ‘good' (34%, -13 percentage points) has declined considerably, while the proportion of respondents who judge this situation to be ‘bad' has increased sharply (64%, +14 percentage points).

At national level, a majority of respondents in 10 countries says that the national economic situation is good (down from 15 in autumn 2019). The proportion of respondents who say the situation of their national economy is good ranges from 83% in Luxembourg to 9% in Greece.

  1. The coronavirus pandemic and public opinion in the EU

Europeans are divided on the measures taken by the EU institutions to fight the coronavirus outbreak (45% ‘satisfied' vs 44% ‘not satisfied'). However, a majority of respondents in 19 Member States is satisfied with the measures taken by the European Union institutions to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The highest positive figures are found in Ireland (71%); Hungary, Romania and Poland (all 60%). In seven countries, a majority of respondents is ‘not satisfied', especially in Luxembourg (63%), Italy (58%), Greece and Czechia (both 55%) and Spain (52%). In Austria, equal proportions of respondents are satisfied, and not satisfied (both 47%).

However, more than six Europeans in ten trust the EU to make the right decisions in the future (62%). The most frequently mentioned priorities for the EU's response to the coronavirus pandemic are: establish a strategy for facing a similar crisis in the future and develop financial means to find a treatment or vaccine (each 37%). 30% think that developing a European health policy should be a priority.

Europeans' personal experiences of confinement measures were very diverse. Overall, close to three Europeans in ten say that it was fairly easy to cope with (31%), while a quarter say it was fairly difficult to cope with (25%). Finally, 30% say that it was ‘both easy and difficult to cope with'.

  1. Key policy areas

Asked about the objectives of the European Green Deal, Europeans continue identifying ‘developing renewable energy' and ‘fighting against plastic waste and leading on the issue of single-use of plastic' as the top priorities. More than one third think the top priority should be supporting EU farmers (38%) or promoting the circular economy (36%). Just over three in ten think reducing energy consumption (31%) should be the top priority.

Support for the Economic and Monetary Union and for the euro remains high, with 75% of respondents in the eurozone in favour of the EU's single currency. In the EU27 as a whole, support for the eurozone has increased to 67% (+5).

  1. EU citizenship and European democracy

A majority of people in 26 EU member states (except Italy) and 70% across the EU feel that they are citizens of the EU. At a national level the highest scores are observed in Ireland and Luxembourg (both 89%), Poland (83%), Slovakia and Germany (both 82%), Lithuania (81%), Hungary, Portugal and Denmark (all 80%).

A majority of Europeans (53%) say they are satisfied with the way democracy works in the EU. The proportion of respondents who are ‘not satisfied' has increased, by 3 percentage points since autumn 2019 to 43%.

  1. Optimism for the future of the EU

Finally, in this troubled period, 60% of Europeans say they are optimistic about the future of the EU. The highest scores for optimism are observed in Ireland (81%), Lithuania and Poland (both 75%) and Croatia (74%). The lowest levels of optimism are seen in Greece (44%) and Italy (49%), where pessimism outweighs optimism, and France, where opinion is evenly divided (49% vs 49%).

Background

The ‘Summer 2020 – Standard Eurobarometer' (EB 93) was conducted face-to-face and exceptionally completed with online interviews between 9 July and 26 August 2020, across the 27 EU member states, in the United Kingdom and in the candidate countries[1]. 26,681 interviews were conducted in the 27 member states.

More information

Standard Eurobarometer 93

[1] The 27 European Union (EU) Member States, United Kingdom, five candidate countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) and the Turkish Cypriot Community in the part of the country that is not controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

 

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