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COTER members discussed equivalent living standards for European citizens and the upcoming European Year of Rail

​The members of the European Committee of the Region's commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) discussed and adopted opinions on "Equivalent standards of living" and the "European Year of Rail 2021". At the meeting on 10 July, members also exchanged their views on the challenges for public transport in cities and metropolitan regions.​Recent trends have revealed a trend towards increasing disparities in economic development, employment and wellbeing between places and between people in Europe. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the existing economic, social and health challenges regions, cities and local communities face and has left them with reduced financial means to start their recovery, thus potentially reinforcing existing disparities.In the draft opinion on "Equivalent standards of living as a joint challenge for all levels of government in Europe", rapporteur Bernd Lange (DE/EPP), underlines that greater attention should be paid to small and medium-sized towns, which are anchor points in sparsely populated areas and provide essential public services of general interest and critical infrastructure that significantly improves the attractiveness of rural areas. He wants to ensure that a high level of public infrastructure and public services are available in all Member States as well as all local and regional authorities. The rapporteur emphasises that living standards, quality of life and business development are highly dependent on the accessibility, affordability and quality of public services and infrastructure."I am pleased that we are talking about equivalent living conditions. Rural and urban areas are not in competition, we must not play them off against each other. We should rather work together at all administrative levels to promote a balanced territorial development in all Member States, regions and local authorities", said Bernd Lange, Head of Görlitz District Council.One of the most important infrastructure priorities for economic, social and territorial cohesion is the availability of sustainable and affordable transport networks. In the draft opinion on the "European Year of Rail", rapporteur Jarosław Stawiarski (PL/ECR), puts emphasis on the differences of infrastructure and quality between Central and Eastern European countries and the rest of the EU, and calls for a coherent EU-wide strategy to encourage investment to reduce disparities and gaps in rail systems."Rail transport is one of the most sustainable, energy-saving and safest means of transportation. It should be emphasised that transport policy should focus not only on projects to expand the network with new railway lines, but also on the modernisation and improvement of the parameters of the current railway infrastructure", said Jarosław Stawiarski, President of the Lubelskie Region.COTER members also had a first exchange of views on the "Challenges for public transport in cities and metropolitan regions" with the rapporteur and the European Commission. Members debated the role of local and regional authorities in shaping urban mobility of the future, tackling problems like air pollution, capacity constraints or congestion. The decarbonisation of public transport and possible co-financing with the EU as well as problems triggered by the COVID-19 crisis were also among the topics discussed. The outcomes of the debate will feed into the draft opinion prepared by Adam Struzik (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Mazovian Voivodeship, which will be adopted at the next COTER meeting on 24 September 2020.The draft opinion on "Equivalent living standards" and the "European Year of Rail" will stand for final approval by all members of the European Committee of the Regions during their plenary session on 12-14 October 2020.Contact:Carmen SchmidleTel. +32 (0)494 [email protected]'s block ads! (Why?)

Stop COVID-19: Digital Health Platform

​​Catalan Health System makes https://stopcovid19.cat/en/ available altruistically for the International community. A free access cooperative platform to help prevent the global expansion of SARS Cov-2.The main objective is to share the work done with the maximum number of institutions, governments and International organizations. ​It's a tool of open code, and Works via an app available for both Android and IOS, accessible through the different app Markets.a web-based chatbot called COVID19Xat, accessible through the website of the Catalan Health System.The website, is in 3 languages Spanish , English, and French, and has all the functionalities of the platform.Functionalities: Possible early diagnosisImmediacyInteroperabilityCitizens networkPush notifications.From the data collected through both tools, the health system is able to monitor those cases with symptoms and, if necessary, alerts the emergency services of the most severe cases and informs primary care centers of those with mild symptoms for their monitoring. The information is also used to determine the evolution of the disease at the individual level and aggregate, in order to design and implement measures and strategies.. The objectives of the digital tools are:1. Relieve the pressure of the number of calls on the telephone numbers set up for Covid-19 emergencies (061 CatSalut Respon). 2. Provide reliable information and medical advice to citizens. 3. Be able to monitor and evaluate the symptomatology of those citizens who answer the test to validate the classification and, in case of severe symptoms, activate the emergency services.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Pregnant During a Pandemic: What We Know

Pregnant During a Pandemic: What We Know While pregnant women are not considered at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, it is worthwhile to understand how to ensure a safe delivery—and how to be a pregnant or a working mother during a pandemic. Jul 09, 2020 One article from KERA News confirmed that pregnant women are not necessarily at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, but the virus raises questions about a safe delivery and how that mother can work, or enter maternity leave, in the pandemic. Dr. Emily Adhikari is an assistant professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of UT Southwestern Medical Center, and medical director of Perinatal Infectious Disease, Parkland Health and Hospital System. She helped KERA answer the following common questions: Can the virus pass from mother to child? A few cases have been reported. However, scientists still need much more information to understand how and when the virus was passed to the infant. Scientists say that the possibility does not seem likely at this time, and it does not seem to likely cause pregnancy complications to the baby specifically. There are some possible complications from the virus scientists wanted to mention: scientists do worry about an infected woman if she is later in pregnancy. The virus can affect her respiratory reserve and ability for the woman to compensate. Second, when the gets sick, scientists think the does have a small change of causing pulmonary illness for the mother. What measures are being taken at hospitals? For Parkland Hospital, for example, the following precautions are taken: All staff, patients and visitors have to wear masks in the hospital. There are temperature screens. We ask about symptoms or recent diagnoses so that we can understand who is entering the premises second for labor and delivery. All women who are admitted to the labor and delivery unit are tested, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. Finally, the hospital limits the number of people who come into the hospital to visit for safety reasons. This is because the hospital does not have the ability to test all the visitors, and the more people who come into and out of the hospital from a patient’s room, the higher the risk. Let's block ads! (Why?)

A strong Social Europe is essential for EU's fair and sustainable recovery

​EU's gender equality strategy should also address the impact of Covid-19 pandemic​The EU's recovery efforts after the Covid-19 pandemic must have a strong social dimension in order to maintain social security networks, safeguard workers' jobs and avoid wrongful dismissals, members of local and regional governments highlighted in a debate with Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Social Rights and Jobs. An opinion discussed at the European Committee of the Regions' SEDEC commission on Thursday points out the close link between the EU's social agenda, the Green Deal and the digital transition and calls for more investment in youth, education and life-long learning.Addressing the members of the CoR's Commission for Social Policy, Employment, Education, Research and Culture (SEDEC), Commissioner Nicolas Schmit pointed out that as a result of the pandemic, poverty and inequalities are on the rise. He went on to stress that, in the current circumstances which put the Single Market to the test, European solidarity and active subsidiarity are needed more than ever."It is in the EU's regions where the action really happens. It is in the regions where our policies are implemented. And it is in the regions that our European Social Fund becomes a reality on the ground. Let's work together to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and to use it as our compass in recovering from the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic", Commissioner Schmit said. He also promised the Commission would look into the "unacceptable situations" affecting seasonal workers across the EU.Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES), Chair of the SEDEC Commission and rapporteur of the CoR opinion on A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic is leaving a trail of deep social and economic damages across the EU, but it must not be used as a pretext for postponing or withdrawing social policy proposals. The green and digital transitions must be based on social justice, equality and environmental sustainability. In times of hardship, like those we are living in, we all look up to the European Union for protection. Let's hope that Member States will now live up to our expectations and come to a swift agreement on the EU's future budget, which must be commensurate to the major recovery challenge at hand. This is essential for a strong Social Europe that leaves no people and no places behind, and for cities and regions that are fully empowered to take forward just transitions.Referring to the European Commission's communication published in January, Ms Karjalainen's opinion calls for a clear, coordinated and ambitious roadmap for implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and points out that the Just Transition Fund – EU's fund to support green transition in most vulnerable regions – should also be in line with the EU's social pillar. It underlines the key role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in ensuring fair working conditions and calls to pay more attention to health and well-being at work, also in the light of new forms of employment (platform economy) and new working patterns, such as constant connectivity and teleworking.Furthermore, the opinion highlights the importance of up-to-date skills and lifelong learning and suggests increasing funding for Youth Guarantee, making it permanent and extending the age limit to 30. SEDEC members welcomed the Commission's recent proposals for a new European Skills Agenda and Youth Employment Support and appointed Csaba Borboly (RO/EPP, President of Harghita County Council) and Romy Karier (LU/EPP, Member of Clervaux municipal council) respectively as CoR rapporteurs for these files. It was also decided to draft an own-initiative opinion on a Future plan for care workers and care services (rapporteur Christian Illedits, AT/PES, Member of the State Government of Burgenland).Members pointed out that workers in employment sectors particularly exposed to the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic need stronger social protection, safer working conditions and better remuneration. As most workers in these sectors are women, the impact of the pandemic should also be addressed in the EU's Gender Equality Strategy, the SEDEC Commision argues in another opinion presented on Thursday by Concha Andreu (ES/PES), President of La Rioja region."All the major challenges the EU faces today - including the green and digital transitions and the demographic challenge - have a gender dimension. This is why it is essential to have a gender perspective in all the Union's policies, in particular for the recovery plan, to avoid gender inequalities becoming even wider. Equality is a responsibility of all of us, including local and regional authorities, who demand that we are recognized as strategic partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of the EU Equality Strategy. Let's work together to make the process towards full equality as fast as possible", rapporteur Concha Andreu said.Ms Karjalainen's and Ms Andreu's opinions will be adopted in the CoR plenary session in October.The SEDEC Commission also adopted the two following opinions in Thursday's meeting:Contact:Lauri OuvinenTel. +32 [email protected]'s block ads! (Why?)

Join the webinar: Digital Masterclass on inclusive communication

​As a continuation of our successful webinars, we are inviting you to our 5th edition of the "Digital Masterclasses" series.  Join us for a talk on inclusivity in online communication. This time, the webinar will introduce both academic and practical perspectives on effective strategies of connecting with diverse audiences online.​The discussion will cover topics such as the risk of unconscious biases and accessibility barriers to communication, use of inclusive language, and other challenges in communicating with online users, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, or nationality.Webinar: Reaching more people through inclusive communicationDate and time: Tuesday, 16 July 2020, 16:30-17:30 CESTRegister for this webinar in advance:www.cor.europa.eu/webinar-registration.go(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting)Find out about the invited experts in the above registration link.Let's block ads! (Why?)