30/09/2011 Europe and you: mobilising for road safety, promoting tourism in Europe and adapting the European schools

Every week, gives the highlights of what Europe has been doing for you, for your rights, your health and your daily life. This week, the activities of MEPS deal with their mobilisation for road security, their hopes of seeing Europe promoted as the world’s number one tourist destination and revision of the European school system.

Increasing road safety

On Tuesday September 27th 2011, during the plenary session, MEPs adopted by a high majority a resolution on road safety at the European level. In so doing, they approved about one hundred measures related to both the preventive and repressive elements of road safety. They also called on the European Commission to develop a fourth plan of action on the subject, noting that “only 27.5% of the planned measures (in the current action plan) have been completely implemented”.

“We demand, for starters, harmonised analysis of the causes of accidents and injuries as well as an exchanges of data within the EU while maintaining the highest level of privacy protection,” said rapporteur on the resolution, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, (EPP).

In concrete terms, the MEPs insisted upon a zero tolerance approach to alcohol consumption by young drivers. They also called for alcolocks to be installed in professional transport vehicles. The speed limit in residential zones could be harmonised to 30km/hour across all Member States. Furthermore, they demanded harmonisation of road signage and rules of the road by 2013.
MEPs also welcomed the adoption by the Council of the directive on Cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences between the authorities in different EU Member States.

Maximum blood alcohol levels allowed by drivers across the EU
  • 0.9 mg/ml in Cyprus,
  • 0.8 mg/ml in Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom,
  • 0.5 mg/ml in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovenia,
  • 0.4 mg/ml in Lithuania,
  • 0.2 mg/ml in Poland and Sweden.

Europe, number one tourist destination
At the same plenary session, the Parliament adopted a resolution to promote a new political framework for European tourism. Even in the depths of the economic crisis, this sector is doing well and is “faring better than most”, noted rapporteur Carlo Fidanza (EPP).
MEPs showed themselves in favour of creating a “Europe” label for promoting Europe as the world’s number one tourist destination. Member States, regional and local authorities as well as national tourism agencies could also benefit from this. The aim of this label is to highlight the economic added value that tourism represents in Europe. In fact, tourism contributes to Europe’s GDP to the tune of 10% and represents 12% of total employment in the EU.

Alongside the creation of a “European label for quality tourism” and a “European tourist charter” with passenger rights as its frame of reference, the Parliament advocates progressive harmonisation of the systems for classifying hotels and the reduced VAT rate for tourism products.

MEPs drew attention to the redevelopment of tourist areas in difficulty via the granting of structural funds.  They believe that quality tourism that supports Europe’s multicultural dimension could create jobs at local level.

The system of European schools to ring in changes

MEPs approved the revision of European schools as proposed by rapporteur Jean-Marie Cavada (EPP). Originally, these establishments enabled the children of European officials to be educated in their mother tongue.

The newly adopted resolution opens these schools up to other students in the European Union, emphasises the European values present within these schools and invites Member States to use the schools as an example for their national education systems. As such, pilot establishments could be set up to promote access to European studies and to the European baccalaureate in the different Member States.

European schools date back to 1953 when the first one was inaugurated in Luxembourg. Currently there are fifteen European schools divided over seven Member States. They provide education in a multicultural and multilingual context.

“Exporting the European educational model to the national systems is necessary, both by developing schools which can welcome children whose parents are not employees of the EU Institutions and by creating new schools on the initiative of Member States, but also with the integration, within national schools, of new concepts inspired by European Schools,” said Jean-Marie Cavada.

MEPs want the European baccalaureate to be recognised in all Member States. This examination is available to European school students and facilitates access to all European universities. Similarly, the creation of a certificate marking the end of studies for students in vocational studies was also called for.


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