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EU to work with #Mediterranean partners on research and innovation – informal deal with EP

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The Maltese Presidency today (11 April) struck a provisional deal with the European Parliament on the participation of the EU in a partnership to develop innovative solutions for sustainable water provision and management and food production in the Mediterranean region. The initiative, known as PRIMA (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area), will pool the know-how and financial resources of the EU and participating states.

The partnership currently involves nine member states: Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal; and six non-EU countries: Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.

The EU's participation will include a contribution of  €220 million from its Framework Programme for research and innovation, the "Horizon 2020" Programme.

"The PRIMA partnership will help improve the health and livelihoods of those living in the Mediterranean region. It is also expected to encourage economic growth and stability in the longer-term," said Chris Agius, the Maltese Parliamentary Secretary. "Today's agreement in just one trilogue meeting means that PRIMA can be operational in early 2018, as planned."

The presidency will submit the outcome of the talks for approval by member states in the coming  weeks.

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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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