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Monday, December 31, 2012

EU Pecking Order Photographed In Newbridge (County Kildare) On Christmas Day 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Commission report finds one million hours of European film locked away in cans & cupboards

Commission report finds one million hours of European film locked away in cans & cupboards
A new European Commission report has found most European film heritage institutions have not yet adapted to the digital revolution and are not yet able to preserve film digitally. Some of our current films are being lost to future generations forever, just like those of the silent era, where only 10% survived. At the same time films of the early digital era – because of formatting and interoperability issues – also risk being lost forever.
New technologies open the door for people to enjoy one million hours of European film, currently locked away in cans in the archives. Yet only 1.5% of European film heritage is commercially or freely accessible to the public.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "It is ridiculous that our film heritage is invisible in the 21st century. Culture is the heart of Europe, and film is at the heart of culture. I am determined to bring this film legacy online and will make a proposal in 2013 that helps Member States and stakeholders to join forces to get films online."
Only 1.5% of European film heritage is digitised. Digitisation is a pre-condition for online access. Without it, films lovers will continue to miss out on the opportunities offered by the online world. This is not because of lack of interest. Two million films have been viewed on the EU-funded online platform "Europa Film Treasures" since 2009, for example.
Current obstacles to digitisation include scarce national and private funding and the complexity of rights clearance (both time and money).
Sweden and UK are considered to be examples of current best practice.
The Commission considers that Member States should include film heritage in their national digitisation strategies and archival policies; one outcome of this should be greater film content on the Europeana portal. Innovative financing and collecting techniques need to be developed; for example, further research into scanning technologies for archival films could result in a reduction of digitisation costs. In addition, resources, facilities and skills for the preservation of both analogue and digital film need to be improved.
The European Parliament and Council adopted a Film Heritage Recommendation on 16 November 2005.
The first implementation report on the Film Heritage Recommendation was published in August 2008 and the second one in July 2010. This third report of 2012 analyses the reports received from Member States in reply to a Commission questionnaire and the national reports are available on line in English and in their original language.
In January 2012, the Commission published a study on a "Digital Agenda for European Film Heritage", carried out by independent experts.
The Commission adopted in October 2011 a Recommendation on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation. The Recommendation applies to Europe's cultural memory regardless of the format in which it is imbedded, including film heritage.
The Commission will, as parallel actions, conduct a stakeholder dialogue on certain urgent copyright-related issues in 2013, including problems relative to the preservation and online availability of film heritage items, and assess whether to propose legislation in 2014 modernising the Directive 2001/29/EC on copyright in the information society, including on exceptions and limitations (see IP/12/1394 and MEMO/12/950).
For more information
The 3rd Implementation report on the Film Heritage Recommendation
Neelie Kroes' website
Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter
Contacts :
Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16), Twitter: @RyanHeathEU
Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Strasbourg plenary session 10-13 December

On the agenda for this week: 2012 Sakharov prize to be awarded on Wednesday, MEPs to vote on budget 2012/2013, preparations for the European Council, Nobel Prize ceremony, EU patent: possible final act, EP wants to unclog airports but not at the expense of ground staff, Protecting animals during transport, migrant and minority rights: MEPs to highlight breaches

and other issues:

These photos are copyright free, but must be credited: © European Union 2012 - European Parliament. (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license). If you need high resolution files do not hesitate to contact us. Please do not forget to send the link or a copy of the publication to us: webcom-flickr(AT)

Nobel Prize Guestbook

Parliament's President Martin Schulz went to Oslo for the official ceremony to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. In Strasbourg and Brussels, live broadcasts of the ceremony, a photo exhibition, and a formal ceremony in the Strasbourg plenary chamber will mark the occasion. Many activities are also planned in EU capitals.

Read more here:

These photos are copyright free, but must be credited: © Photo European Union

Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo

Parliament's President Martin Schulz went to Oslo for the official ceremony to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. In Strasbourg and Brussels, live broadcasts of the ceremony, a photo exhibition, and a formal ceremony in the Strasbourg plenary chamber will mark the occasion. Many activities are also planned in EU capitals.

Read more here:

These photos are copyright free, but must be credited: © Photo European Union

Nobel Prize Medal on display

Parliament's President Martin Schulz went to Oslo for the official ceremony to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. In Strasbourg and Brussels, live broadcasts of the ceremony, a photo exhibition, and a formal ceremony in the Strasbourg plenary chamber will mark the occasion. Many activities are also planned in EU capitals.

Read more here:

These photos are copyright free, but must be credited: © Photo European Union

End of mandate Facebook chat with President Buzek

President Buzek, what were the toughest moments during your presidency?

JB:"The hardest moments include 2011 annual budget, reaching an agreement, full engagement to the MFF achieved for EP. Another challenge was the SWIFT negotiations to defend privacy of EU citizens - negotiations with US. "

President Jerzy Buzek. EU has got quite big economical problems. Why EU has decidet to affiliate new member - Croatia - the country which has got serious economical problems?

JB:"Some Member States also have economic problems it is not unusual for Croatia alone. Croatia will be a reliable and efficient Member of the EU. I visited Crotia two months ago as well as in Serbia, Bosnia Herzogovina (Srebenica). "


© European Union 2012 EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari

The Sacred Heart College Ganshoren is a Catholic school for primary education, secondary education and adult education in Ganshoren (Belgium), near the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Het Heilig-Hartcollege Ganshoren is een katholieke school voor lager onderwijs, middelbaar onderwijs en volwassenenonderwijs in Ganshoren (België), vlak bij de Nationale Basiliek van het Heilig Hart. Het onderwijs in deze school wordt verzorgd door de vzw Sint-Goedele, die ook de inrichtende macht is van het nabijgelegen Sint-Pieterscollege in Jette. Dit college geeft TSO (handel) en BSO (kantooradministratie en gegevensbeheer) en telt circa 240 leerlingen.

Samen met veertien andere Brusselse katholieke scholen behoort ze tot de Scholengemeenschap voor Katholiek Secundair Onderwijs Sint-Gorik.

Het Heilig-Hartcollege bood jarenlang ASO aan met de richtingen economie-moderne talen, economie-wiskunde, moderne talen-wetenschappen en wetenschappen-wiskunde. Omdat het leerlingenaantal achteruit ging, werd enkele jaren geleden het aanbod uitgebreid met de technische en beroepsafdelingen kantoor en handel. In 2005 stopte de school volledig met het aanbieden van ASO-onderwijs. Op datzelfde ogenblik werd het Sint-Pieterscollege een school met enkel een ASO aanbod.

In februari 2007 besloot de inrichtende de school te sluiten omdat ze machteloos stond tegenover het groeiende aantal probleemjongeren in de school.

In het schooljaar 2007-2008 zal het Heilig Hart alleen nog het tweede, vierde en zesde jaar inrichten. De school is daartoe verplicht omdat volgens een Vlaams decreet de leerlingen een hele graad in dezelfde school moeten kunnen volgen. Op 30 juni 2008 gaat de school helemaal dicht. De basisschool en het volwassenenonderwijs zullen wel blijven bestaan.

Brussels: Street Art

Brussels by infomatique
Brussels, a photo by infomatique on Flickr.

Street Art In Brussels


Brussels by infomatique
Brussels, a photo by infomatique on Flickr.

Election Campaign In Brussels: May 2010


Brussels by infomatique
Brussels, a photo by infomatique on Flickr.

Brussels, officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region[, is the de facto capital city of the European Union (EU) and the largest urban area in Belgium. It comprises 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels proper, which is the constitutional capital of Belgium, the French Community of Belgium, as well as Flanders and the Flemish Community.

Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a main centre for international politics. Its hosting of principal EU institutions as well as the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has made the city a polyglot home of numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants.

Although historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels became increasingly French-speaking over the 19th and 20th centuries. Today a majority of inhabitants are native French-speakers, although both languages have official status. Linguistic tensions remain, and the language laws of the municipalities surrounding Brussels are an issue of much controversy in Belgium.

Tourists from all over the world are attracted to Belgium

Belgium fires one's imagination. Tourists from all over the world are attracted to Belgium and its cosmopolitan capital, Brussels. It is no surprise then, that Belgium has a lot to offer the foreign tourist. Belgium means holidays in many forms. You will be able to briefly escape the daily grind, with a weekend in a Belgian city, but you can also plan a true voyage of discovery throughout Belgium.
Two of the big tourist attractions in Belgium are the Ardennes and the coast. Do you like hiking, cycling, sport, nature and tranquillity? Then you will undoubtedly want to go to the Ardennes, Belgium's lungs. Are you more likely to be tempted by sun, sea, sport and enjoyable bustle? Then there is the lure of the Coast.
Those with a craving for art and culture or architectural beauty, will be pampered in our cities of art. Those who would like a taste of our gastronomy, cultural events and nightlife, will have their every wish satisfied. As a result, the many cities of art - with Brussels at the top - are able to depend on an ever-increasing interest from tourists.
Belgium plays an important role in the gastronomic life of Western Europe. The Belgians are well known for their exuberant lifestyle and they take pleasure in their guests enjoying themselves. The restaurants are outstanding, and what is more agreeable to finish a beautiful day, than the enjoyment of a Flemish meat casserole with a Trappist beer from the Ardennes?

The Belgian coast

The coast's 65 kilometre long stretch of sandy coastline has 15 resorts, each with its own character and unique atmosphere. The sandy beaches are ideal for children. The beaches shelve gently out to sea, and life guards ensure everyone's safety. Sunbathers have found that they acquire a healthier tan here than in southern Europe, thanks to the iodine and salt in the air. The Belgian coast offers a wide range of sport and recreation facilities : here you can hire a bicycle or a buggy, or go sailing or fishing. The wide beach is ideal for ball games, horse riding and beach surfing. The summer months are the busiest period for the coast. However, other seasons have their own charm, even if sunbathing is not part of it. There are plenty of alternatives on the coast. Close by, there is Bruges, one of Belgium's finest cities of art. A visit to this historic city is a must.

The Ardennes

Landscape Ardennes
The Ardennes, situated in the south-east of Belgium, are one of nature's unspoilt areas, rich in fauna and flora, with vast forests of broadleaf and fir, hills and fast flowing rivers. Visitors can wander through the many picturesque villages nestling in the valleys where traditions and folklore still live on, and where the region's arts and crafts can be enjoyed.
Springtime in the Ardennes is the season for walking, cycling, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Horse riding, climbing and mountain biking are other examples of popular sports in the Ardennes. The keen mountaineer has an exciting choice of challenges. In Winter, the Ardennes are a fun paradise for downhill and cross country skiers, or perhaps you prefer tobogganing and snow scooter racing. There is action, even underground. Some of the caves are certainly worth a visit.
Amongst the greenery lie the silent witnesses of the past of the Ardennes, such as castles, forts and citadels. They come to life again during special events and displays where knights and their shield bearers turn the neighbourhood into a battlefield.
There are accommodation facilities to fit every budget. There is a choice of holiday cottages, shared accommodation, chalets and 'bed-and-breakfast' accommodation. Alternatively, why not spend the night in a beautifully stored castle?

State aid: Commission adopts new Broadband Guidelines

State aid: Commission adopts new Broadband Guidelines
The European Commission has adopted revised guidelines for the application of EU state aid rules to the broadband sector. These guidelines will help Member States achieve the objectives of the EU Digital Agenda. Taking into account the extensive submissions from all stakeholders, they contain in particular a reinforcement of open access obligations and improved transparency rules. They also follow the principles of the Commission's State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative, which aims at facilitating well-designed aid targeted at market failures in order to achieve growth-enhancing priorities, while simplifying the rules to allow for faster decisions.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "To achieve the ambitious goals of the Digital Agenda in promoting very fast broadband connections throughout the EU, we need to achieve the right mix between public and private investment while building a pro-competitive environment. These new rules will allow for well-designed public interventions targeted at market failures and ensure open access to state funded infrastructure".
The changes are based on a two-staged public consultation and an intensive dialogue with all stakeholders (Member States, national telecoms regulators, aid granting authorities, telecommunications operators, business associations, consumer associations and citizens).
These changes focus on the following principles and priorities:
  • Technological neutrality: the new guidelines take into account technological advances, acknowledging that super-fast (Next Generation Access) networks can be based on different technological platforms.
  • Ultra-fast broadband networks: to help achieve the Digital Agenda objective of delivering very fast connections (of more than 100 Mbps) to half of European households by 2020, the revised guidelines will allow public funding also in urban areas but subject to very strict conditions to ensure a pro-competitive outcome.
  • Step change to connectivity: to protect private investors, the guidelines require that any public investment must fulfil a so-called "step change": publicly financed infrastructure can only be allowed if it provides a substantial improvement over existing networks and not only a marginal improvement in citizens' connectivity.
  • Reinforcement of open access: when a network is realised with taxpayers' money, it is fair that the consumers benefit from a truly open network where competition is ensured.
  • Transparency: new provisions regarding the publication of documents, a centralised data base for existing infrastructure and ex post reporting obligations to the Commission have been introduced.
Better, faster broadband is the top priority in 2013-14 of the revised Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) (IP/12/1389) is a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy aimed at fostering economic growth. The Digital Agenda sets ambitious objectives for broadband infrastructure development, namely to bring basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013 and ensure that, by 2020, (i) all Europeans have access to much higher internet speeds of above 30 Mbps and (ii) 50% or more of European households subscribe to internet connections above 100 Mbps.
Public authorities may fund such investments in line with the EU state aid rules. To facilitate pro-competitive investments, the Commission adopted the first broadband guidelines in 2009 (see IP/09/1332 and MEMO/09/396).
To adapt the guidelines to fast moving technology markets and to the objectives of its Digital Agenda (see IP/10/581 and MEMO/10/199) and State Aid Modernisation initiative (see IP/12/458), a review process was launched in 2011, with a first public consultation (see IP/11/493). After assessing the submissions, the Commission drafted revised guidelines and consulted stakeholders again in June 2012 (see IP/12/550). In light of comments received, the Commission has now finalised the new guidelines, which will enter into force from the first day following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The Commission may review the new guidelines on the basis of future important market, technological and regulatory developments.
The formal adoption and publication of the new guidelines in the Official Journal in all EU official languages is foreseen for January 2013. For information purposes, the full text of the guidelines is available in the working languages of the EU institutions at:

European Globalisation Fund pays €25.3 million to help redundant workers in France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden

European Globalisation Fund pays €25.3 million to help redundant workers in France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden
The European Commission has just made payments to France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The total amount of €25.3 million will help 4722 workers in those countries back into employment, following their dismissals in a wide variety of sectors including aluminium, broadband services, metal products, construction, car manufacture and the pharmaceutical industry.
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said "This is the result of the proposals made by the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council of Ministers following applications for funding from the EGF by the authorities of these countries. Council and Parliament have approved the proposals leading to the release of the funds". He added "The EGF is an effective tool in supporting workers laid off as a result of changing world trade patterns. It has also proven its worth in cases of lay-offs resulting from the economic crisis. The Commission calls on the Member States to ensure that the EGF continues to be available for the next programming period 2014-2020".
The break-down of the total €25.3 million is as follows:
  • €11.9 million will help 2089 former workers of PSA Peugeot-Citroën in France. The redundancies are a consequence of the financial and economic crisis which resulted in a substantial decrease in demand for new motor vehicles in the second half of 2008, especially in Western Europe.
  • €4.3 million will help 700 former workers of the pharmaceutical enterprise AstraZeneca in Sweden. The dismissals are linked to major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation. Many non-European countries are designing strategies for biosciences and industry in areas of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical technology. European companies have had to adapt their production to this situation. AstraZeneca followed the trend and adopted a new R&D strategy in 2010. This included the necessity to focus on fewer disease areas, closures of sites and significantly greater utilisation of external resources through outsourcing.
  • €2.8 million will help 435 dismissed workers from 54 Dutch enterprises operating in the construction sector. The redundancies are a consequence of the financial and economic crisis. The construction sector in the Netherlands as well as in the entire European Union has been severely affected by the crisis. Loans to the construction sector and to individuals have been drastically reduced, prices of the construction materials increased while the demand for new houses decreased due to declining consumer confidence and the lack of cash. Moreover the economic and financial crisis resulted in reduction of public expenditure which had a direct negative impact on investments in infrastructure and housing programmes.
  • €2.6 million will help 432 former workers of Talk Talk, a broadband services provider, in Ireland. The redundancies were a direct result of the company’s decision to consolidate activities with three chosen outsourcers. In 2011, the company adopted strategic alliances with three non-EU providers. As a result a significant bulk of work has been transferred to these third country providers.
  • €2 million will help 450 dismissed workers from 35 Spanish manufacturers of fabricated metal products for shipbuilders. Order books of European shipyards decreased dramatically since 2008. As a consequence the workforce in shipbuilding and its ancillary industries in Europe declined.
  • €1.4 million will help 616 former workers of the aluminium manufacturer Zalco Aluminium Zeeland Company NV in The Netherlands. The dismissals were a consequence of the financial and economic crisis which resulted in a substantial decrease in demand for aluminium products.
There have been 102 applications to the EGF since the start of its operations in 2007. Some €438.4 million has been requested to help about 91000 workers. EGF applications are being presented to help redundant workers in a growing number of sectors, and by an increasing number of Member States.
More open trade with the rest of the world leads to overall benefits for growth and employment, but it can also cost some jobs, particularly in vulnerable sectors and affecting lower-skilled workers. This is why Commission President Barroso first proposed setting up a fund to help those adjusting to the consequences of globalisation. The EGF was established at the end of 2006 and was designed to demonstrate solidarity from the many who benefit from openness to the few who face the sudden shock of losing their jobs. In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument forming part of Europe's response to the financial and economic crisis. The revised EGF Regulation entered into force on 2 July 2009 and applied to all applications received from 1 May 2009 to 31 December 2011. In the absence of an agreement in the Council, the EGF's crisis response function could not be prolonged beyond 2011.
Building on the experience acquired with the EGF since 2007 and its value added for the assisted workers and affected regions, the Commission has proposed to maintain the Fund also during the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, while further improving its functioning. This includes covering lay-offs resulting from the economic crisis as well as new categories of workers such as temporary and self-employed workers. The proposal is currently under discussion at Council and Parliament.
For more information about the Commission's proposals related to those cases, including details about the proposed measures to help the dismissed workers, see also: IP/12/785 regarding the Dutch construction enterprises; IP/12/786 regarding the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca; IP/12/861 regarding Talk Talk broadband services, IP/12/892 regarding the aluminium manufacturer Zalco; IP/12/893 regarding the Spanish manufacturers of fabricated metal products for shipbuilders and IP/12/907 concerning PSA Peugeot-Citroën in France.

Tobacco products: towards bigger health warnings and ban of strong flavourings

Tobacco products: towards bigger health warnings and ban of strong flavourings
Today, after years in the making, the European Commission has adopted its proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive. The proposed legislation consists of new and strengthened rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented, and sold. More specifically, it bans the use of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco (RYO) and smokeless tobacco products with characterising flavours and makes the use of large pictorial health warnings mandatory on cigarettes and RYO. It regulates cross border internet sale and foresees technical features to combat illicit trade. Moreover, measures are proposed for products that were not specifically regulated so far such as e-cigarettes and herbal products for smoking. Chewing and nasal tobacco will be subject to specific labelling and ingredient regulations. The existing ban for oral tobacco (snus) shall be maintained.
On the occasion of the proposal's adoption, Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg said: "We delivered! The European Commission had promised a proposal on tobacco products by the end of 2012, and that's what I'm presenting today to Health ministers and the European Parliament. The figures speak for themselves : tobacco kills half of its users and is highly addictive. With 70% of the smokers starting before the age of 18, the ambition of today's proposal is to make tobacco products and smoking less attractive and thus discourage tobacco initiation among young people". He added that"Consumers must not be cheated: tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products and this proposal ensures that attractive packaging and flavourings are not used as a marketing strategy."
Why a revision of EU law?
The current Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC) dates from 2001. Since then, significant scientific, market and international developments have taken place. For example, new evidence on flavourings used in tobacco products and effectiveness of health warnings has become available. Novel products such as electronic cigarettes have entered the market and recent marketing strategies involve the use of attractive packaging and flavours. At international level, the EU and all of its Member States have ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which entered into force in February 2005. As a consequence, some of the current provisions of the Directive have become outdated. Member States have also taken different regulatory approaches resulting in a divergence between Member States' laws on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products.
The new proposal is responding to these developments and to requests from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers as well as the Commission's own report on the Application of the Tobacco Products Directive of 2007 and 2009, which identified potential areas for improvement.
Main elements of the proposal:
The proposal foresees major revisions of the current Directive. It addresses in particular the following areas:
  • Labelling and Packaging: All cigarette and Roll Your Own packages must contain a combined picture and text health warning covering 75% of the front and the back of the package and must carry no promotional elements. The current information on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide, which is perceived as misleading, is replaced by an information message on the side of the pack that tobacco smoke contains more than 70 substances causing cancer. Member States remain free to introduce plain packaging in duly justified cases.
  • Ingredients: An electronic reporting format for ingredients and emissions will be introduced. The proposal foresees a prohibition for cigarettes, roll your own tobacco and smokeless tobacco that have characterising flavours and a prohibition of products with increased toxicity and addictiveness.
  • Smokeless tobacco: The ban on oral tobacco products (snus) is maintained, except for Sweden which has an exemption. All smokeless tobacco products must carry health warnings on the main surfaces of the package and products with characterising flavours cannot be sold. Novel tobacco products require prior notification.
  • Extension of the scope of the Directive : Nicotine Containing Products (e.g. electronic cigarettes) below a certain nicotine threshold are allowed on the market, but must feature health warnings; above this threshold such products are only allowed if authorised as medicinal products, like nicotine replacement therapies. Herbal cigarettes will have to carry health warnings.
  • Cross border distance sales: A notification for internet retailers and age verification mechanism are foreseen to ensure that tobacco products are not sold to children and adolescents.
  • Illicit trade: A tracking and tracing system and security features (e.g. holograms) are foreseen to ensure that only products complying with the Directive are sold in the EU.
Process and Timelines
The proposal has been adopted following extensive consultation of stakeholders including a public consultation which generated 85,000 responses. During its preparation, a thorough impact assessment has been carried out, evaluating economic, social and health effects of several policy options under consideration. Several external studies were commissioned during the process.
As a next step, the proposal will be discussed in the European Parliament and in the Council of Ministers. It is expected to be adopted in 2014. It would come into effect from 2015-2016.

Belgium: Flemish Brabant - Politics


The Governor is the representative or "commissioner" of the Federal and the Flemish Government in Flemish Brabant. He is appointed by the Flemish Government, on the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers. The current Governor is Lodewijk De Witte, he has been the Governor of Flemish Brabant since it was created in 1995 as a result of the splitting up of the Province of Brabant. The Governor is responsible for supervising the local authorities, ensuring that laws and decrees are observed, maintaining public order and security, and coordinating the response to a disaster which has occurred in his province. He also presides over the Permanent Deputation, however, he doesn't have the right to vote in the Permanent Deputation except in those cases where the Permanent Deputation exercises a judicial function.
Flemish Brabant is that only province that has a Deputy Governor as well. The Deputy Governor is appointed by the Flemish Government on the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers and must have a considerable knowledge of both the Dutch and the French language. He is responsible for ensuring that the language legislation is observed in the peripheral municipalities of Flemish Brabant.
The Provincial Council of Flemish Brabant consists of 84 members elected for a term of office of 6 years. The last election was held on Sunday 8 October 2006. Six political parties have seats in the Provincial Council: Christian Democratic and Flemish/New-Flemish Alliance (CD&V/N-VA, 25 seats), Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD, 17 seats), Vlaams Belang (15 seats), Socialist Party – Different-Spirit(SP.A-Spirit, 14 seats), Groen! (7 seats) and Union des Francophones (6 seats). The majority in the Provincial Council is currently formed by CD&V/N-VA, Open VLD and SP.A-Spirit. These three parties together have a majority of 56 out of 84 seats.
The current President of the Provincial Council is Vic Laureys (CD&V/N-VA). He is assisted by a Bureau which consists of two Vice-Presidents, four Secretaries, three Quaestors and the floor leaders of the fractions in the Provincial Council.
The Permanent Deputation is the executive organ responsible for the daily administration of the province. It consists of the Governor and six Deputies elected by the Provincial Council from among its midst. The Deputies are currently divided among the majority parties as follows: two for CD&V/N-VA, two for Open VLD and two for SP.A-Spirit. However, one of the two SP.A-Spirit mandates is a shared one, it will be held by a member of SP.A-Spirit for the first three years and from 2009 to 2012 it will be held by a member of CD&V/N-VA.

Belgium: Flag of Flemish Brabant

Belgium: Flag of Flemish Brabant

Flemish Brabant  is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on (clockwise from the North) the Belgian provinces of AntwerpLimburgLiègeWalloon BrabantHainaut and East Flanders. Flemish Brabant also surrounds the Brussels-Capital Region. Its capital is Leuven. It has an area of 2,106 km² which is divided into two administrative districts (arrondissementen in Dutch) containing 65 municipalities.
Flemish Brabant was created in 1995 by the splitting of the former province of Brabant into three parts: two new provinces, Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant; and the Brussels-Capital Region, which no longer belongs to any province. The split was made to accommodate the eventual division of Belgium in three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region).
It is a province with a rich cultural history and a great diversity of typical products, among them several of the world-famous Belgian beers.
The province is made up of two arrondissements. The Halle-Vilvoorde Arrondissement has Brussels in its middle. It is therefore mainly a residential area, but it also has large industrial zones. For example, it is home to Belgium's main airport. The other arrondissement is the Leuven Arrondissement, centered on Leuven.
The official language in Flemish Brabant is Dutch (as it is in the whole of Flanders), but a few municipalities are to a certain extent allowed to use French to communicate with their citizens; these are called themunicipalities with language facilities. Other such special municipalities can be found along the border between Flanders and Wallonia, and between Wallonia and the German-speaking area of Belgium. Halle-Vilvoorde mostly surrounds Brussels, which is officially bilingual but whose inhabitants mostly speak French.
The history of Brabant can be found at the Duchy of Brabant article; see also Duke of Brabant.

Duke Leopold V, kneeling, receives the red-white-red banner by Emperor Henry VI, Babenberger Stammbaum, Klosterneuburg monastery, about 1490

Duke Leopold V, kneeling, receives the red-white-red banner by Emperor Henry VI, Babenberger Stammbaum, Klosterneuburg monastery, about 1490

Duke Leopold V, kneeling, receives the red-white-red banner by Emperor Henry VI, Babenberger Stammbaum, Klosterneuburg monastery, about 1490

Austria: State Flag 1934-1938

This is the state flag of Austria adopted in 1934 and used until Austria was incorporated into Germany from 1938 to 1945. This flag was used during the regime of the Fatherland's Front single party state.

This is the state flag of Austria adopted in 1934 and used until Austria was incorporated into Germany from 1938 to 1945. This flag was used during the regime of the Fatherland's Front single party state.

European Quarter of Brussels - Statue of Europe "Unity in Peace"

This monumental work is dedicated to Europe and offered to the European Commission by the French sculptor Bernard Romain. It was placed at the heart of the European quarter within the unique crossroads of peoples and cultures that is Brussels, and was inaugurated on 9 December 2003 by Mr. Neil Kinnock, then Vice-President of the Commission, and Mrs. Viviane Reding, Commissioner at the occasion of the year 2003 which was devoted to disabled people as well as the historical enlargement of the Union.

This exhilarating work carries a universal message of brotherhood, tolerance and hope; the statue of Europe - ´Unity in Peace` - was manufactured, modelled, polished and painted by children with challenged vision of different cultures under the supervision of Bernard Romain.

Belgium: The Economy Of Antwerp


The Port of Antwerp is the economic heart of the province. Until the agricultural crisis of 1880, the eastern part of the province was a largely agricultural region. The industrial development of the eastern part of the province, part of the Campine region, started at the end of the 19th century when industry established itself in the region. The availability of cheap labor, new roads, canals, tramways and railroads such as the Iron Rhine, stimulated the settlement of new industry. Brick making industry alongside the canals, paper and printing business in Turnhout. Non-ferrous metallurgy in Balen-Nete, dynamite factories in Arendonk and Balen. Tobacco and cigar factories in Arendonk and the first shoe factory in Herentals. During the 1920s, the industrial expansion of the region continued with the radium and copper factories in Olen, the glass factory in Mol-Gompel and the diamond industry in Grobbendonk and Nijlen.
In the 20th century the first nuclear installation in Belgium was established at the SCK•CEN in Mol in 1962. The European Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), one of the EU Joint Research Centres, was founded in Geel in 1957 as a result of the Treaty of RomeInnotek is a technology centre located in Geel and is part of the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN). Industry in the Campine region of the province is mainly located alongside the E313, the E34 and theAlbert Canal.
Chemical industry
After World War II the Port of Antwerp was expanded and on its premises several chemical factories and oil refineries were established, such as BayerBASFMonsanto Company. The chemical and petrochemical industry is widely represented in the port region and comprises the world's second largest cluster of petrochemical industry, next to Houston (USA). In 1967 Amoco Chemical Belgium N.V., now BP, was founded in Geel.
Pharmaceutical industry was founded in Beerse in the 1960s, with Janssen Pharmaceutica and more recently with Genzyme in GeelSoudal (silicon) in Turnhout and Ravago (plastics) in Arendonk became leading companies in their markets.


The diamond industry and trade is traditionally located in Antwerp. At the end of the 19th century Hendrik Cassiers founded a diamond cutting company outside Antwerp, in Grobbendonk. Hendrik Cassiers and Frans Dela Montagne laid the foundations of the diamond industry in the Campine region. The industry would settle in NijlenHerenthoutBevelKesselVorselaar and Berlaar.
The region around Turnhout became famous for its printing business, with companies such as Brepols, which roots date back to 1796 when Pieter Corbeels established his printing business in Turnhout. In 1833, Van Genechten N.V., Splichal N.V. in 1856, Mesmaekers Freres in 1859, Meses-Goris in 1872, L. Biermans in 1875, Poupaert in 1881, La Belgica N.V. in 1907, H. Proost & Co in 1913, J. Van Mierlo-Proost in 1918, Lityca in 1932 and Veloutex in 1951. More recently in 1970, Cartamundi was established, a world leader in playing cards.
While Wallonia was famous for its steel industry, the Campine region became renowned for its non ferrous metallurgies. The Campine region was scarcely populated in the 19th century and with the availability of canals, the Iron Rhine and cheap labor, severalmetallurgies were established in the region. In 1888-1889 the metallurgy La Vieille Montagne was founded in Balen-Nete, close the Iron Rhine and the canal to Beverlo. The company had its roots in the exploitation of the zinc mines of Moresnet.
The Union Minière du Haut Katanga founded the Société Générale Métallurgique de Hoboken in Olen, which was established along the Iron Rhine and the Albert Canal. The factory produced radiumcobalt and copper from the mines of the Union Minière inKatangaBelgian Congo and Rhodesia. Along the canal Turnhout-Schoten the Métallurgique de la Campine was established in 1910 for the production of lead and antimony. In 1919 La Metallo-Chimique was established which specialized in the production of copper.
In 1872 the Sablières et Carrières Réunies (SCR), now Sibelco, was founded to extract the silica sand layers in Mol for industrial applications (glass). In 1920 the glass bottle manufacture Beles Réunios was set up in Mol-Donk. In 1921 a group of Belgian banks, the Mutuelle Mobilière & Immobilière, the Société Générale de Belgique, the Banque de Bruxelles and the Financière de Transport together with the American group Libbey-Owens founded the Cie Internationale pour la fabrication mécanique de Verre inMol Gompel. In 1931, due to the economic crisis, the company merged into Glaces et Verres (Glaver). In 1961 Glaver would merge with Univerbel into Glaverbel.
As the Campine region was sparsely populated several dynamite factories were established in the region. In 1875, the Societe Anonyme d'Arendonk was established which premises would later become part of Ravago. In 1881 La Forcite N.V. was established near Balen, which was later acquired in 1920 by the Poudreries Réunies de Belgique (PRB). In 1887 a factory was founded near Herentals, which was closed due to the vicinity to the city. The factories produced explosives for the mines and quarries. The factories in the province are now closed down.


Historically, wool processing industry was based on the wool from the sheep which were kept on the Campine heath. The centre of the textile industry in the province could be found in Turnhout. Wool processing companies such as Wolspinnerij Van Iersel,Spinnerij en Weverij Van Hoof and De Wollendekensfabriek Van Doren were located in Mol.


At the end of the 19th century Arendonk became the centre of the tobacco industry. Additional factories were founded in TurnhoutMolGeel and Herentals. After World War II, the ALTO sigar factory was founded by Frans Van den Bergh who would also play an important role at Janssen Pharmaceutica.