Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye, bye 2008...

We have almost reached the end of the year and, as everyone does, it's time for to turn a look back and see what these last twelve months of work have been.

In 2007 we already paved the way for new developments and set some objectives for this year always seeking to offer you more and better contents and tools. We are not going to bore you with a listing of aaaaaal the posts we've sent you this year (for those of you who are in a nostalgic mood today, you can have a look at the list of post published by month... :)), but what we would like to do with you is remember those changes and improvements we are most proud of.

2008 has been the year when we formally launched the new international version of and, as a consequence, when this international official blog was born. Since then, we have little by little been adding to this version features and tools which were already available for the Spanish version, and today, nearly at the end of the year, we can affirm that the international version has already become an adult ...

Some new features were added during this year for the automatic publication of EU contents in any site or blog using widgets, such as new icons, buttons and tools to improve their aspect when you implement them in your own web or blog, and some other possibilities to improve their layout and give you more options to include them.

But we have also made some improvements in the way we publish everyday contents in the site. As accessibility is one of our main concerns when developing such features, one of the changes we introduced was the new format for the contact addresses which are referred to in all the tenders and commercial opportunities we publish.

Some challenges we had to deal with over the last year came directly from the EU, such as the adaptation of the tenders and commercial opportunities section of to the new published CPV codes, which we made from the very first day of their official introduction, both for the publication in and for the filters introduced in our widget.

Besides all this, the blog itself has also come through some improvements. Once the Official shifted its regularity from a fortnight to a weekly basis, we decided that these posts should also have their place in the newsletter, giving an opportunity to all those who did not knew about it, to join the community.

As we found out that it was an interesting information for you all, we started to create the Directory of EU blogs. Your contributions have been, and still are, really valuable for this task, and we therefore keep on encouraging you to send us all your suggestions about useful interesting EU blogs.

And, for those of you who are Facebook users, 2008 has been the year when we released the Facebook fan page, so that the community would have a new space where they can meet and interact.

Let's leave this post as an exercise to review the work of a whole year. A year in which we hope has provided you with more useful and interesting contents for your work. We will post on our new ideas for 2009 and the projects we plan to launch when the New Year comes, as the starting shot...

So, the last thing for us to do, is to wish you all to celebrate a great farewell for 2008 and welcome year 2009, which we hope it will be full of joy, success and new projects for all of you. We also hope to be here with you, offering always the best.

Happy 2009 for everyone!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Public Sector Opportunities to tackle the crisis (I)

Over the last weeks, or even months, we have been waking up with worse and worse news about the global financial situation and the consequences of the economic turmoil. Rescue measures for some major financials institutions, emergency meetings at the highest EU level, attempts to reassure European savings, ..., are at the top of last days news. In such a situation, one can't help but rush every morning to read the news at, to check whether the storm calmed down, or if we should still be worrying about any new financial disaster.

In such circumstances it seems that a new scenario has been installed, to which we should better be familiar as soon as possible... So, the time has come to take action and apply imaginative solutions, such as turning to Public Sector and find ways to get the most of all the opportunities it is offering to us.

How many times have you realized, once it was too late, that you could have submitted a proposal for a European project? This happens too often ... Or even worse, what happens when one is not aware of the opportunities he's missing to finance projects, just because he doesn't even know about them?! That's too bad...

Don't let this happen to you again ... in you will find updated information about the calls for proposals published in the OJEU. Also, if you have a website or intranet in which you could publish those informations (i.e., if you are a sectoral organization, a public institution or if you have a company intranet), you can include those Calls for EU Projects among your contents using our Calls widget. Thus, your users will not pass by potential opportunities to get public funding.

These widgets will help you to display in your web sites updated and timely information about the Calls for Proposals to finance projects, and your users will have easy access to all the details concerning them: deadlines and submission procedures, funded actions, budget .... and no need for you to track the Official Journal.

In our last post we already spoke about the new 2008 CPV Codes which apply to EU Calls for Tenders. Those are also good opportunities offered by public procurement on services, supplies or even for the execution of construction works; but this is something we will talk about in a future post.

See... crisis times can also be an opportunity to build up new skills, such as making good use of all the funding instruments the EU is offering us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Tender's CPV codes already in

Those of you who are already subscribers of the weekly Newsletter, will be aware of the changes that the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities has made on the CPV codes which describe the content of contracts in public procurement. For those who haven't subscribed to the Newsletter yet, here are some tips.

Every day, the OJEU publishes in the S Series, more than one thousand calls for tenders for works, services or supplies contracts in public procurement: the same you can find every morning in Calls for Tenders section.

In order to allow economic operators to have free and easy access to these contracts, CPV codes (whose 2008 version has been adopted September 17th), provide a unique classification vocabulary. This system is made up of a main vocabulary of eight digits which give a detailed description of the product or service the contract is related to, followed by a check digit which verifies the code. The more you go down in this tree structure, the more accurate the description is. Simple, isn't it?

There is also a supplementary vocabulary which, although it is not always used, helps to complete even more the description giving some additional details for one specific call. This is the short version of the full description of the new CPV codes for Public Procurement Announcements which we provide you in In this section you will also find some documents you can download, which will certainly be useful.

In essence, this coding system aims to provide the highest transparency and accessibility to information, contributing to the fulfilment of the Four Freedoms within the EU Single Market.

In fact, widgets also provides some tools which can help to improve access to calls for tenders and commercial opportunities in public procurement within the EU, as it allows not only to automatically display them in any website, intranet or blog, but also to filter the results and display only those which really meet the needs of the subscribers. In order to make you as easy as possible to access EU contents, in we have introduced those changes over the CPV codes from the very first day, adapting the publication and filters to these news.

In future posts we will be spending some time explaining how you can get the most from Calls for Tenders widgets in public procurement, using the CPV codes, as well as some other features.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More accesible contact details in Tenders and Commercial Opportunities

As we have already told you in some occasions, one of our main concerns in is make life easier for all our users. Well, one might find this objective a little bit too ambitious :) but, at least we try to do so by giving you as much information as possible and always in the most accessible and easy way.

This is the general idea that inspires the widgets that provides in order to display EU contents automatically in any website or intranet, and is also the purpose to implement new features in our contents, such as we did, not so long ago, with the site plans of the Commission's DGs that appear in the Calls for Proposals.

Making things easier for users is also what we are intending to do by adding a new address layout for contact details in the Calls for Tenders.

Until now, the Calls for Tenders used to display the relevant contact details for each Call, such as the Contracting Authority, the institutions where further informations or documents can be requested, or any other relevant contact; just as part of the general text of the Call. From now on, these informations (the name of the contact person, the address, telephone, fax the e-mail, website...) will be isolated and highlighted in a box, and each of them will be identified with its own icon.

All these data are, of course, marked following the hcard microformat, according to our strict commitment to meet open standards and recommendations from the most prestigious international organizations.

So, with a quick overview you will have a straight forward access to the basic data of the contacts related to the Call you are interested in. This is one more way to make informations more usable and accessible for all users and subscribers!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Waiting for Google Chrome

Over the last week, there have been a lot of, generally, enthusiastic announcements about how fast Google Chrome is acquiring a significant share of the Internet web browsers market. Some specialized webstats companies like StatCounter or XiTi, have already published shares between 1-2% less than 72 hours after the launch. Blogs for more or less geek users, such as SearchEngineWatch, have announced shares around 5% (Wow!!). The usage share in the first days of the new-born browser, at least in those hype moments, seem to make it the definitive browser.

In we do not want to feel less than anybody, and therefore, want to publish our own data... So, we have to publicly announce that this week we almost haven't received any visit with Google Chrome. As these figures only show that a limited 0,5% of our traffic has been generated using this new tool, we can't even make any speculation about which browser has been substituted by this new one.

Those figures make us very proud, because they show something we already suspected..., that you, the users who usually visit to look for relevant contents about the European Union for your work, do not have time to install the ultimate-most-fashionable browser and make tests. This is something you do later at home, when you are relaxing just reading your favourite blogs... :)

In any case, those figures encourage us to keep on offering you the best information about EU funding opportunities, commercial opportunities available in more than 30 countries, and, of course, the hottest EU News. This is the best way to keep the Community of users always growing and growing, no matter the browser you use.

By the way, just as a curiosity, here is an image to show you how would be displayed using Google Chrome:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 opens its facebook fan page

Today we are making a very brief-August-type, but still exciting, announcement: just joined Facebook and opened its fan page!!!

As every new release, it is still very simple but we hope it will grow and become a great space where all of you, the community can interact, share and of course meet each other.

You are all invited to become facebook fans and supporters and join the facebook page!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A new Directory of Blogs about the EU!

July is coming to its end... And although some of you might already be suntanned, or are about to flight to your holiday destinations, we can't stop giving you some news. So, we will finish this month announcing that we have just inaugurated a new content section: the Directory of Blogs about the EU of!

During the last years the blogosphere has not stopped growing and, step by step, a lot of Euro-fans, Euro-sceptics, Euro-students, Euro-journalists, Euro-politicians, ..., and many other kind of internauts interested by the adventure of the EU, have joined it. Well, now in we have a new space specially dedicated to them, a new space for you... :)

We are just getting started and for the moment we have a short selection, so all your contributions will be welcomed! If you have among your favourite blogs some that you think could be interesting for our Community, or if you maintain your own blog about the EU, just send us an email so we can have a look at it and add it to the Directory.

We will keep on updating the Directory with your contributions and with all the blogs we will find interesting for you. And don't forget that is multilingual :), so if you have some Spanish skills, have a look at the Spanish version of the Directory of blogs!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Site plans of the Eropean Commission Directorates-General Offices

What we are bringing to you today, is one more small detail that we have included in the features of One of the informations we provide you in the files of the Calls for Proposals and EU Programmes in are the data to locate the Directorate or Directorates General of the European Commission that are responsible for the management of financial opportunities and where, for instance, you could apply for further informations or ask for valuable indications or clarifications.

Although the good-old-days when you had to go to Brussels, with the whole file in your brief-case to submit your project or present your application in the appropriate desk, are nowadays completely over, having clear informations about where we can obtain further details is something that can be very useful at some point. Getting lost in Brussels while you are looking for an address is an experience that we would like to save you..., and for that purpose we have included a little help: the georeferenced situation on Google Maps, or the cyber-version of the trail of breadcrumbs in fairy tales :)

With this new feature, when you will browse the information about an EU Programme or Call for Proposal, and want to know the exact situation of the DG responsible for it, you will only have to click on the link to the address and you will have the site plan. That's it! Just as simple as that, with no more search, you will have all the information from the beginning!

All those new features we are introducing step by step, are intended to make an ever better site for you, providing you with more complete and useful contents. We will keep on improving!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The current European Union news widget

In the series of posts specially dedicated to the new features released by, we now have the pleasure to announce you the launch of the new Current News widget. This new widget allows you to display up to date European Union Current News form automatically on your website, and for free!

If you already have your API key for the EU Calls for Proposals widget, you will not need a new one for this new widget. They can both coexist along-side one another in the same page, as you can see in the right sidebar of this blog, where we have installed both of them as an example. But if you don't have your API key yet, all you need to do is sign up with the Condelway platform.

We are not telling you any news about how to install, customize and use this widget, because this information is exactly the same we gave you last week, when we announced the release of its twin brother, the widget that allows you to publish EU Calls for Proposals. All the necessary documentation and examples are available on the EU news widget page within the section Widgets and tools for the community.

We would especially like to thank our friend Macarena from La Oreja de Europa for her her input whilst launching the new widget.

In we will keep on working to provide you the best information contents about the European Union as well as the best tools to make them useful for your websites.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Free EU Calls for Proposals Widget for your website

We are posting today on something we wanted to share with the international community for quite some time. As some of you already know, we have been working on a widget that allows you to display updated EU Calls for Proposals automatically on your Website for free. You can see the first example of this kind, in the sidebar of this blog, where you will find the last 10 Calls for Proposals published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Some of you are already in “the know” either via email conversations we have had or through your direct involvement with the dozens of tests we have made into the last few months. During this precious time, we have been dealing with all the little things that appear when you think everything is fixed and, of course, improving all the aspects of the project to release a reliable service even in beta. A special thanks to all those that collaborated with us and those who we asked for help because without you, nothing that we have achieved would have been possible.

CondelwayTo get a widget for your website all you need to do is register with Condelway, the platform through which distributes all of its contents. Once you have signed up, you can manage your subscriptions through the Condelway dashboard. The wizard will help you to customize the code for your website or blog if you do not have programming skills. For advanced users the complete API documentation is published in the website as well as some examples on how this widget has been installed by some other Euroalert subscribers.

We are continually developing new features for our services to extend and improve them. As we always do, we will keep you informed about any new version we may release, announcing it in this blog and updating all the documentation.

Hot off the press are our EU News widget and the EU Programmes and Initiatives widget, which have been developed so that you can provide information from these areas to your users on your website! We will be posting on it very soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Calls for tenders in weekly Newsletter

A few months ago we started to send you the European Information Newletter on a weekly basis. Since that moment we have been adding some new features and contents so you receive a more useful Newsletter.

As we announced you in our last post, an extended and improved Calls for Tenders section has already been released. So the next step to take was to include this contents in the Newsletter you receive every Wednesday. And there it is!, in the last issue this information was already included.

From now on, in addition to the last news on European issues, the information about EU programmes and the EU Calls for proposals; you will also receive the last calls for tenders and commercial opportunities published in English in the Official Journal of EU.

In every Newsletter, just before the posts, you will find the last published calls for tenders. The amount of commercial opportunities published every day is so huge, that it would be impossible to send you all of them, but if you want to have the complete information about one particular call for tender, or want to browse all of them, you can access calls for tenders and commercial opportunities section as often as you like.

As always, we remind you that if you want to receive this Newsletter every week, you can subscribe to it very easily just giving us the e-mail where you want to receive it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Euroalert expands the information about tenders and commercial opportunities

As many of you may already know, calls for tenders and commercial opportunities section has already been reactivated. We have not been updating new calls for tenders for a short period and now we have relaunched this section with a lot of extra information.

This halt was caused by the needs of the deep changes we were developing in order to provide a better service for you. Among those improvements, one of the most important you will find, is that now we are publishing in the full content of each call for tender instead of the summary we used to publish in the previous version.

There has also been some important changes like the amount of calls for tenders or the updating frequency. You can now find every day, early in the morning, all the commercial opportunities published in the S Series of the Official Journal of the European Union, which have a complete English version.

As the amount of contents we can provide is too large to be easily published and browsed in, we are delivering this information for our subscribers filtered in widgets. This way, companies on their intranets or associations and public bodies on their websites, can automatically display nearly effortless calls for tenders and commercial opportunities that are relevant for their corporate users.

Whatever, in the next days we will be posting about the possibilities of this service and the way some of our subscribers are using it. In the meantime, we invite you to have a look to the features of the One Web Full Content service.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Euroalert blog posts in our weekly newsletter

As all of you know, this blog is mainly dedicated to the new features and improvements that we are adding continually to Today's topic will be brief, telling you about the European newsletter from, which has been weekly since last month. We hope now that subscribers to the newsletter, whom still are many more than those subscribed to this blog, will be better informed of the new services we are releasing.

If you are still not a user of our newsletter, you can subscribe by entering your email address and start receiving every week an essential selection of information published in . We will not request more personal information because it is not necessary to receive the newsletter in your email inbox. Furthermore, if you decide to stop receiving, it is possible to cancel your subscription very easily, :)

For those of you only interested in information from our blog, in the lateral panels you have links for subscription to the most popular feed aggregators:

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 directly from Brussels

We have one more in our team! We would like to present to you Macarena Rodríguez who has involved herself in the editing team of from Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union's principle institutions. From there she will send us hot information on everything that is coming out of the European Union first hand through her articles.

As you already know, we work continually to improve the services the provides and now we are looking at the section Current news from the European Union.

From now, thanks to the addition of Macarena to the team, we will be able to offer a greater number of news articles about the European Union everyday. Her first contribution was an article on the Official Launch of the Single Euro Payments Area which we hope will be the first of a long series of articles from Brussels.

Macarena is qualified as Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism & Media and also in BA in Humanities from the University of Salamanca. She did a MA degree in European Journalism at the Haute École Galilée (IHECS) in Brussels. On a professional level Macarena has accumulated a huge amount of experience throughout her youthful career and has been, amongst other things, delegate of press in the both community institutions the European Parliament and the European Commission. Furthermore is the author of the EU blog La Oreja de Europa.

Besides from tell you all a bit about her we would like to take the opportunity to welcome Macarena to the team.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Free newsletter from now European information every week

One of the oldest services that has offered to its users is the free European Union newsletter which has been sent by email in Spanish since 2000. This morning we have sent all our subscribers the last fortnightly edition. In response to the requests of great number of you whom with good reason wanted a more up to date service, we now send our newsletter out weekly.

The format of the newsletter has not changed, you will receive in your mail boxes a selection of the most relevant contents about the European Union every week free as always. (Current news, Calls for Proposals, programmes and initiatives from the European Union, etc.)

To be more precise, we will send you the newsletter every Wednesday at 10.30 am. With this change, we hope the newsletter will contain the most up to date information on everything that is coming out of the European Union whether it be the current news, a calls for proposals or a new initiative.

The change from fortnightly newsletter will be automatic, this is to say that those already subscribed, will continue to receive on a weekly basis. If it is the case, and we hope for not many of you, that the new newsletter is inadequate for your needs, you are able to cancel subscription yourselves.

As always we will keep you informed through this blog of any improvements that we include or of any features that become new to the international version of

Monday, April 7, 2008

Euroalert participates in the GOMC with UEMC

Thanks to Miguel de Cervantes European University (UEMC), in we have the opportunity to participate in the GOMC, in other words, the Google Online Marketing Challenge. This challenge or competition which has been launched by Google to all universities around the world, will require teams to use 200 dollars to create and market his own publicity campaign with Google AdWords (designed for real business).

The marketing competition comprises of the development and running, by the teams of students from the University together with heads of small businesses, of an online marketing campaign for three weeks between February 10th and May 24th 2008.

If you had not have guessed, the role of in GOMC would be that of the real business through which a group of students from UEMC would realise their ideas. To this opportunity, that the university has been so kind to offer us, we have responded with our utmost enthusiasm and aim provide all the resources that we possibly can to our team so that they can really sink their teeth into the challenge.

The results of the challenge will be published by way of a series of recommendations which will be useful in future development of online marketing strategies on Furthermore, the real task that our team are certain to complete, will be to help us spread our services to many more people and expand the community. We also hope to be able to give real work experience to the students and aspire that the time will be useful for their own academic trainning.

We warmly welcome María, Helena, Rita, José y Borja, our team from UEMC, so that together we get the best possible result and why not, perhaps they can come with us for a week to the Googleplex in Mountain View (California). In any case, the prize that is guaranteed is the knowledge we will gain about online marketing and of course the taking part.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More EuroalertSearch Gadgets and Widgets

Recently we have seen some important improvements to the Euroalert search engine euroalertSearch. Making the most of your suggestions (which we have not been short of) and some of our own ideas, that until now we had not be able to implement, we believe that we have significantly improved the quality of our search results. In any case, we are continually updating and making improvements on a weekly basis whether or not they appear in our blog. If you find an area of information for which EuroalertSearch does not provide sufficient quality of contents or, you think does not highlight the relevance of a particular website, do not hesitate to contact us so that we may analyse and resolve the issue.

Along with this update, we have taken the opportunity to release the EuroalertSearch search engine widget code so that you may install it on your websites or blogs as we said in our previous post about the installing euroalertSearch in the search bar of your browser.

Those of you that use iGoogle can also install euroalertSearch with the gadgets of your profile page. The point of this gadget is similar to the euroalertSearch plug-in for the search bar of browser which we released recently. We created it so that you can perform optimum searches on European topics easily without having to go to website.

So, we hope that the users of distinct services and programmes will be able to reap the benefits of euroalertSearch's capabilities. You can install the euroalertSearch gadget to your iGoogle profile by clicking on the link or review the more detailed information available at As always, if you have any doubts or need support with any of our tools you can contact us by email at

All the information about our euroalertSearch gadgets and widgets is in the section Widgets and tools for the community. This is where all future tools will be published for the community.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

euroalertSearch in the search bar of your browser

Despite being nearly in Easter, and we would all rather be on another Easter bunny's treasure hunt and eating chocolate eggs, we have managed in the last week to include a few more novelties to the international edition. Cast your eyes to the left hand side of the page. We have published an opensearch plugin with which you can add euroalertSearch to your own browser's Search Bar. Installing it means that you can use our specially configured search engine, without having to visit the website every time you want to find European Union information.

It is fully compatible with Mozilla Firefox as well as Internet Explorer 7. To install and try it, you simply have to click on this link (or on the image at the beginning of the article) and accept the dialogue box. If you are not convinced after having tried it, to remove it is very simple through the preferences menu of your navigator search bar. We have published more information in the widgets section and if you have any doubts email us at and we will try and help.

We have also published a larger variety of icons and buttons for making links to the m information sections, as we said we would last week. For each section we have used icons with the regular size of height 17 pixels. The width of each icon varies slightly according to the text it holds. However, none exceeded 104 pixels so that you may use them in lateral columns (1 o 2) of websites on the right or left of the main text.

licitaciones noticias UE convocatorias noticias

We intend to release very soon the widget code for the euroalertSearch search engine, which can be used to include euroalertSearch on your website or blog. We hope you like and in the mean time we will continue working on to make its services even more efficient and useful for you all.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Icons, buttons and linking

When it comes to making links to other websites, one thing that I have always liked is that we are offered a small set of buttons to make the process fast and simple. It is not that they are essential but always welcome. We have all been down this boring and unproductive path before, in which to create a link we have to start by editing the logo of the host organisation and for some strange reason they always seem to insist on making it as difficult as possible by covering the site with animated logos in inaccessible places, or worse still animated.

To avoid these sorts of problems when linking to the international edition, either from a blog or another website, we have included in the widgets section the page icons & buttons. There we have published some icons and buttons of various sizes and colors for you selection. Together with the icon or logo, we have included an example code so that making the link is as easy as possible.

At the moment every example code makes a link to our home page, but in the next series you will have specific icons available (Calls for proposals, Calls for Tenders, etc.) for those of you only interested in linking a particular section of

However, if you still haven't found the right button or icon to suit your website, do not hesitate to contact us at We will be delighted to send you a new one.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

About the blog

In the past few days the new international version of was born and, as with the launch of any new services, there has been little time to stop and think and even less to write. Now that all its vital signs are stable, although being a basic version, we have been able to start the euroalert blog in English.

As you can imagine, this is the classic opening post for a blog. A declaration of our intentions which we probably won´t complete, despite trying, and a great speech describing the trials and tribulations that have brought us to this point (the reality of this is that the first paragraph has done nearly all of that for us without realising!). However, don´t worry everything to come will be much more interesting.

For now, we will start with a simple task. The blog articles will mainly focus on improvements to services and new characteristics which we are including in euroalert to avoid having to find them on the off chance. We will describe new options so that you understand their potential uses and also that any suggestions you wish to make, may help us improve them further. We thank you for all your feedback. Send us your criticisms as well. To start off, we ask you to subscribe to the newsletter and to our blog.

Our aim is that is the most useful and practical tool for your work with programmes and initiatives from the European Union. Although you may not be traveling to Brussels every week, this will be a good point of contact for being up to date with Calls for proposals and business opportunities (calls for tenders) which are announced at an European level.

For the future we are feeling rather ambitious and hope that this blog becomes somewhat of a "ecosystem" through which you can exchange ideas and opinions about subjects such as research and development, education, regional development, citizen, cooperation, etc. Who knows, perhaps forge new relationships that will give place to winning future projects.

However, all this will take place at little further in the future. It has been your confidence and loyalty to, these past ten years, that has made all this possible. Welcome to all newcomers and to all others, we hope that you stay with us.