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Die Industrie des Nachbarn hat im November einen überraschend kräftigen Auftragsschwund hinnehmen müssen. Review of Managerial Science 9 2 , Mai Ken Jebsen: Oktober Holger Strohm:

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Visto il ripetersi con sempre maggiore frequenza di questi avvenimenti, mi pare sia giunto il tempo di elaborare, con la collaborazione della Commissione europea, un programma che individui gli idonei strumenti per investire sul territorio in innovazione e prevenzione.

Il danno diretto complessivo provocato dalle inondazioni, ammonta secondo il governo italiano a ,5 milioni di EUR. Por estes motivos, votei a favor do documento. Thomas Ulmer PPE , schriftlich. Es ist notwendig und sinnvoll, die Katastrophenopfer in Italien zu unterstützen. Die rechtlichen Voraussetzungen für eine EU-Hilfe sind hier gegeben.

Iva Zanicchi PPE , per iscritto. O regulamento CE n. This application, from the Commission, for funds to cover the cost of technical assistance, is essentially EUR of taxpayers' money to be spent on EU 'propaganda'.

Videos and information leaflets will be produced to highlight the 'wonderful' work of the EGF and how its proliferation will help protect the European Union from the realities of globalisation, including EUR to be spent on networking activity, or in other words, a chance for interested parties to have a nice meal at the taxpayers' expense.

The most destructive force placing a stranglehold on European business in the context of a global marketplace is the deluge of regulation emanating from Brussels. I would rather the money be spent on a thorough evaluation of the fund.

I will continue to vote against any further EGF funding. Confirmant la somme de In secondo luogo, considerando la grave crisi economica che stiamo affrontando ed il serio problema dei lavoratori in esubero che affligge diversi Stati membri, ritengo che la Commissione dovrebbe evitare inutili spese, ed internalizzare, invece, i compiti per i quali richiede la mobilitazione del Fondo.

This application, from the Commission, is for funds to cover the cost of technical assistance, but what does that really mean? Videos and information leaflets will be produced to highlight the wonderful work of the EGF and how its proliferation will help protect the European Union from the realities of globalisation.

Nobody is buying this myth, not least the taxpayer. If we are to spend any money on this pointless scheme, I would prefer that we spent it on a thorough evaluation of the fund. Supporting wasteful funding like this brings this Parliament into disrepute. I want it to go on the record that I voted against this report and will continue to vote against any further EGF funding.

The monies will be used to provide information both to workers and to the managing authorities who apply for EGF funds. In regard to workers, it is extremely important that they are fully informed as to what is happening. Also, the managing authorities need the opportunities to learn from best practice elsewhere. Having examined most of the EGF application as part of the EGF working group, it is very clear that some Member States have really good systems in place and this delivers much better outcomes for workers.

The sharing of this knowledge and mutual learning is extremely valuable and is facilitated by technical assistance funds. According to Article 8 1 of the legal basis, 0. A maximum of EUR 1. Technical assistance is helpful to the smooth running and better functioning of the EGF. I voted in favour of this report. De acordo com o n. It concerns the mobilisation of EUR 1. According to Commission's proposal, this amount is intended to cover the following activities: Monitoring, Information, Creation of a knowledge base, Administrative and technical support, Evaluation.

O facto de o Regulamento CE n. In light of the ongoing debate at the Council about the future of EGF, the Council has challenged the amount of the technical assistance proposed by the Commission for the first time since the establishment of the Fund, arguing that the amount requested by the Commission would cover the start of the next MFF period as well.

Neste sentido, foi solicitada uma verba de 1. President, I voted for this report because I agree with the need of finding new channels of development cooperation between the European Union and the Latin American Region. The EU is the principal donor of development aid, the principal investor and the second trading partner in the region.

The EU aid to Latin America throughout these years has contributed positively to the efforts of each country to consolidate their Rule of Law and to reduce their pressing poverty issues. Now is not the time to abandon them but to redirect cooperation where it is needed the most in order to address poverty reduction through the Development Cooperation Instrument and the new Partnership Instrument. Latinalaisessa Amerikassa on koettu monia mullistuksia viime vuosikymmenten aikana.

Se, että jotkut Latinalaisen Amerikan maat ovat kivunneet maailman talousmahtien joukkoon, ei ole tullut kaikkien eduksi. Vaikka absoluuttinen köyhyys on vähentynyt, on maiden sisäinen eriarvoisuus vain lisääntynyt. Lisäksi talousmoottoreiden menestys on kääntänyt katseita pois maista, jotka eivät ole onnistuneet pääsemään talouskasvun tielle. Keskitulon maiden kanssa teknologia- ja innovaatioyhteistyö on mielenkiintoinen — vielä potentiaalisesti pitkälle vietävä — uusi alue.

EU on Latinalaisen Amerikan suurin kehitysavun antaja, mutta aikojen muuttuessa on tätä kehitysapua sovellettava ja kohdennettava uudelleen. This objective is a goal for everyone and is brought before the EU and all Europeans, despite the crisis, as the most compassionate and humane project ever developed, a responsibility that must be shared and supported by the countries of the region, encouraging regional cooperation and strengthening South-South cooperation. Clemente Mastella PPE , per iscritto.

Abbiamo compiuto progressi constanti nell'avanzamento dei rapporti con i paesi dell'America centrale, con l'attivazione della fondazione UE-ALC, con il varo di uno strumento per gli investimenti a favore dell'America Latina e con i dialoghi di estrema rilevanza sui cambiamenti climatici, l'innovazione, le droghe o sulla migrazione.

Riteniamo che sia giunto ora il momento di imprimere un nuovo slancio alla nostra politica di cooperazione allo sviluppo. Therefore, the Rapporteur believes in the necessity of a redirection of our development aid policy. Coordinated and customised cooperation is necessary, that gives due regard to the situation of each country and that is based on broader indicators than those that measure income level. The Rapporteur requests that the European Commission present a coherent strategy for the gradual withdrawal of bilateral aid to the middle income countries, and that it reinforce aid to the low income countries.

Einige davon sind wünschenswert, andere sind meiner Meinung nach strikt abzulehnen. Das Abkommen mit Lateinamerika ist zwar kein perfektes, da es einige Punkte gibt, die verändert werden hätten können, aber insgesamt gesehen ist das Abkommen zu unterstützen.

Mit dem Abkommen können z. Arbeitsplätze geschaffen werden, man kann die Armut bekämpfen, politische, wirtschaftliche und handelsbezogene Integration in der Region kann vorangetrieben werden und einiges mehr. Auch in Anbetracht der Prognosen einiger Fachleute, dass China die EU beim Handel mit Lateinamerika bis überholen wird, ist dies etwas, dem man entgegensteuern muss. Wir können aus diesem Abkommen einiges mitnehmen. Deshalb habe ich alles in allem für dieses Abkommen gestimmt.

Crescenzio Rivellini PPE , per iscritto. The Treaty of Lisbon defines that the actions of the Union on the international stage shall be based on, among others, the principles of the universality and indivisibility of human rights, respect for human dignity and the principles of equality and solidarity. It also indicates that the Union shall attempt to develop relations and create associations with third countries, supporting sustainable development at the economic, social and environmental levels of the developing countries, with the fundamental aim of eradicating poverty.

The EU development cooperation policy, and especially coherence between Union policies, plays a fundamental role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in the fulfilment of international commitments to human rights, food security and environmental sustainability. Amalia Sartori PPE , per iscritto.

Crisi alimentare, lotta ai cambiamenti climatici e problemi sociali sono sfide che accomunano queste due aree. Il multilateralismo e il rafforzamento della cooperazione sono due strade che devono essere intraprese con decisione. Cooperare e collaborare con l'America Latina, con l'invio di aiuti mirati e calibrati in base alla situazione e alle esigenze specifiche di ogni singolo Stato, non significa solo indirizzarsi verso il raggiungimento degli Obiettivi di sviluppo del Millennio OSM.

De hulp aan landen met een gemiddeld inkomen wordt gradueel afgebouwd en de criteria voor hulp worden objectiever. Er wordt voortaan ook rekening gehouden met de graad van ongelijkheid. Het BNP is inderdaad onvoldoende als maatstaf. Een goede zaak ook dat het middenveld gevraagd wordt een sterke rol te spelen in de strijd tegen de ongelijkheid. Enkele groene amendementen hebben het geheel nog versterkt. Het gaat onder meer over de noodzakelijke coherentie tussen handel en ontwikkeling, het belang van regionale integratie, en de vraag aan de EU om de productie van agro-brandstoffen niet in te zetten als ontwikkelingssamenwerking.

Tot slot werden onze suggesties overgenomen om straffeloosheid aan te pakken en het werk van het Inter-American System of Human Rights politiek en financieel te steunen, zodat geweld tegen vrouwen kan worden aangepakt. I do commend the rapporteur on the report; however, I do feel that there were some problems that went unaddressed or were perhaps not given enough attention where this was needed.

One such example is when numerous governments attempted and succeeded in privatising the use of natural streams and rivers used in rural areas for water. Now every time a citizen goes for a bucket of water this is taxed and represents a large part of their monthly salary. Many of the companies that own these waters are from the United States. Similarly, since the creation of NAFTA there have been substantial acts of land grabbing and continued acts of labour exploitation.

I strongly feel that there is much work ahead of us to better improve our development cooperation with Latin America and we must stay diligent and consistent in our pursuits. Its adoption will help eradicate poverty and strengthen the democratic system and the defence of human rights in Latin America. Gli obiettivi sono ambiziosi ma quanto mai utili.

Il progetto si prefigge in particolare la creazione di un Corpo volontario europeo e di un Passaporto europeo delle competenze. Il primo vorrebbe formare volontari e in seguito occuparsi del loro coordinamento, inviandoli per esempio nei vari paesi per coadiuvare i gruppi locali ad esempio negli interventi in caso di catastrofi naturali.

Marco Scurria per l'ottimo lavoro svolto. La relazione, infatti, affronta un tema vasto e complesso — il ruolo, il significato e il futuro del volontariato in Europa — in una prospettiva articolata e ambiziosa. Salvo alcuni caveat, quale quello relativo al paragrafo 9 del dispositivo, ritengo che la relazione vada approvata per il suo valore di principio e per una serie di richiami e sottolineature, in essa contenute, che meritano attenzione e seguito fattivo.

It is essential during times of austerity that matters such as funded volunteering are a national prerogative and are determined on a needs only basis, not imposed centrally at EU level. It is a method by the European Commission to mask the true extent of youth unemployment in afflicted member states yet simply shifts the economic toll onto other countries without tackling the real issues at the crux of the problem. It is also my belief that the determination of who lives and works, albeit in a voluntary capacity, and who is entitled to welfare is a matter of sovereign consideration.

La "Comunicazione sulle politiche dell'UE e il volontariato: This report, in particular by urging national, regional and local authorities to ensure stable funding and provide tax incentives, aims at a strengthened recognition of the organisations involved in volunteering activities. It also stresses the importance of ensuring that skills and knowledge gained by volunteers during their work should help them find jobs and receive due recognition as part of their working experience.

Moreover, the transnational nature that characterises voluntary work should receive special treatment from the European Union, since it represents one of those issues that actively trigger a dynamic definition of European citizenship.

Voluntary work puts transnational European solidarity into motion. Elisabetta Gardini PPE , per iscritto. Il settore del volontariato ha una dimensione europea. In additional to having a clear social impact volunteering activities also have an economic impact as volunteers can improve their working skills and widen professional qualifications. To continue supporting volunteering activities in Europe, the current report calls on the Commission and the Member States to set a legal framework and define clear rules for volunteering and volunteers in and between Member States.

Mathieu Grosch PPE , schriftlich. Die Tätigkeit von Freiwilligenorganisationen bietet eine wesentliche Unterstützung für soziale, intergenerationelle und ökologische Bedürfnisse der heutigen Gesellschaft. Sie ist daher eine aktive Stütze der Gesellschaft, deren Förderung unbedingt notwendig ist. Aber auch die Schaffung eines zentralisierten EU-Portals für die Freiwilligenarbeit mit einem eigenen Bereich zu grenzüberschreitenden Tätigkeiten und ein europäisches Statut für diese Verbände wird die grenzüberschreitende Arbeit von Freiwilligenorganisationen erleichtern und fördern.

This will be another important occasion to reflect on the value of volunteering in everyday life and to give older people the chance to make their own contribution to the growth of solidarity in the community. In light of the many initiatives and debates during , it has been shown that voluntary activities are a tool for individuals and associations to tackle human needs and concerns, whether social, intergenerational or environmental.

Emphasis has been placed on volunteering as an expression of active citizenship in all spheres of social life and as an essential activity for the development of democratic values, human dignity, equality and subsidiarity. Volunteering silently assumes the role of catalyst for social change and is an indispensable tool in encouraging the active support of society. Le cifre parlano chiaro: Siamo convinti che il volontariato transfrontaliero rappresenti un'occasione unica e imperdibile di arricchimento interculturale per i nostri giovani cittadini europei.

Abbiamo quindi il dovere di sostenere ogni tipo di iniziativa capace di coinvolgere un numero sempre maggiore di paesi europei nell'organizzazione comune di eventi. Purtroppo, constatiamo che anche in questo ambito continuano a persistere problemi dovuti alle barriere linguistiche e burocratiche, ostacoli, questi ultimi, che possono essere ridotti grazie ad adeguate politiche europee di sostegno.

Tra le misure concrete appoggiamo l'idea di istituire un portale centralizzato dell'UE sul volontariato con una specifica sezione dedicata al volontariato transfrontaliero, creando un Corpo volontario europeo di aiuto umanitario e sviluppando un Passaporto europeo delle competenze. Deve assim ser apoiado por todos os Estados-Membros.

Volunteers help shape European Society and those performing their activities abroad are actively helping to build a Citizens' Europe. Therefore I voted in favour. Und im sozialen Bereich wären viele Hilfsleistungen ohne die unzähligen Stunden der ehrenamtlich Tätigen nicht möglich. Angesichts dessen, dass nicht einmal die EU-Notrufnummern etwa bei Kindesentführung ausreichend bekannt sind, scheint es nicht sinnvoll, ein eigenes EU-Portal für Freiwilligentätigkeit einzuführen.

Viel wichtiger wäre es, sich um die negativen Auswirkungen der Arbeitszeitrichtlinie auf ehrenamtliche Tätigkeiten, beispielsweise bei der Feuerwehr — der zufolge laut Rechtsprechung des EuGH Bereitschaftsdienst und Arbeitsbereitschaft als Arbeitszeit gerechnet werden — zu kümmern, damit ehrenamtliche Mitglieder zahlreicher Freiwilligen-Organisationen ihre Diensteinsätze wieder legal durchführen können.

I consider harmonization of cross-border volunteering in the EU as important as Erasmus program for higher education. In order to promote cross-border volunteering Member states should apply the same approach. Volunteers need European recognition of their experience, of their new skills, respect to their work.

Support for volunteering organizations is necessary as well and I welcome measures proposed in this document. A tal fine, concordo con la creazione di un Corpo volontario europeo di aiuto umanitario e con la predisposizione di strumenti che permettano un maggiore riconoscimento a scopo professionale della formazione acquisita. Esteiden poistaminen sen tieltä on elintärkeää. Äänestin siten tämän mietinnön puolesta. Mikäli haluamme kansalaisten tuntevan Euroopan omakseen, on välttämätöntä helpottaa erityisesti valtioiden rajat ylittävää vapaaehtoistoimintaa.

Vapaaehtoistoiminnalla on mahdollisuus vaikuttaa sosiaalisen syrjäytymisen estämiseen. Tämän takia on merkillistä, että toiminta on edelleen hankalasti toteutettavissa ja rahoitettavissa eurooppalaisella tasolla. Mietinnössä ehdotetut toimet auttavat meidät alkuun vapaaehtoistoiminnan vaikutusten vahvistamisessa.

Il passaporto delle competenze potrebbe quindi diventare uno strumento essenziale nel percorso professionale o di formazione degli europei. Eighty per cent of citizens consider volunteering to be an important element of democratic life and a significant means by which each individual can participate in society. The need to continue to differentiate clearly and unequivocally between the value of volunteering, provided free of charge, and profit-making activities, still remains.

So, too, does the essential need to emphasise the role of volunteering in promoting the principles of identity and common European values, such as solidarity and social cohesion, within the EU and beyond. The report sets out many good initiatives that should be followed up and continued in future EU Years. The sets of recommendations are quite reasonable and easy to apply in the Member States as they stand today.

Ritengo infatti che essa colmi l'esistente vuoto normativo e rappresenti un passo in avanti rispetto alla situazione attuale. Andreas Schwab PPE , schriftlich. Deswegen freue ich mich, dass dieser Bericht nach dem Europäischen Jahr der Freiwilligentätigkeit einen weiteren Schritt zur Anerkennung des Freiwilligendienstes unternimmt.

Insbesondere in europäischen Grenzregionen stehen die Freiwilligenorganisationen vor administrativen und steuerrechtlichen Schwierigkeiten, wenn sie — im europäischen Sinne — in mehreren Staaten der EU gleichzeitig tätig werden wollen. Wir brauchen deswegen nicht nur ein EU-Portal für Freiwilligenarbeit, sondern auch Vereinfachungen im administrativen Bereich, um diese Initiativen zu verstärken, weil sie gut sind für Europa. In particolar modo, il volontariato transfrontaliero si rivela un'occasione di arricchimento interculturale per i giovani cittadini europei.

Whereas volunteering is an informal learning experience, where you can join people of all ages, all Member States should make an effort towards developing and financing volunteering programmes and activities. As volunteering can only bring positive things to society, there should be no borders that can limit this activity.

That is why I will vote in favour of this report. Freiwilliges Engagement muss in Europa grenzüberschreitend möglich sein. Der jetzt vorgestellte Qualifikationspass baut weitere Hürden ab.

Der Europäische Freiwilligendienst wird heute schon von Tausenden genutzt. Hier bieten sich auch neue Möglichkeiten für Menschen nach Beendigung ihres aktiven Berufslebens, ihre Erfahrungen und Fähigkeiten innerhalb der Gemeinschaft weiterzugeben. Kai kuriais atvejais skirtumas yra itin didelis — daugiau nei 15 proc.

It is important that volunteering is recognised throughout the EU as it makes an essential contribution to our society. It is also especially important to ensure that the sector continues to make this contribution, and in order to do this, support must be given to fund the volunteering sector through cohesion policy.

Without a doubt, the skills gained through volunteering add value to a CV and should be recognised as a way of making people more employable. This resolution, which has my full support, also highlights the need for the skills and knowledge gained through volunteering to be recognised in order to help volunteers as they look for employment. Milan Zver PPE , pisno. President, I abstained in the vote of this text because it proposes a comprehensive strategy to fight something that many experts don't consider as a serious threat.

Sergio Berlato PPE , per iscritto. La strategia Europa , lanciata nel , ha incluso l'Agenda digitale dell'UE tra le politiche di punta, definendo obiettivi ambiziosi per lo sviluppo tecnologico dell'Unione europea. Concordo con il relatore nel ritenere che la diffusione delle tecnologie innovative dipende da alcuni aspetti di importanza cruciale: Nel il Dipartimento per la Difesa americano ha dichiarato oltre Lo studioso italiano Stefano Mele ha recentemente riassunto l'impatto, anche in vite umane, di possibili attacchi alle infrastrutture critiche di trasporto, energetiche, idriche e ai sistemi di sicurezza.

Pertanto, esprimo un voto favorevole. Matters of free speech, the determination of what constitutes illegal activity and ways in which the internet should be regulated are extremely sensitive and demand a careful handling that does not impinge upon the freedoms of the individual or sovereign law.

While there is an urgent call for tighter regulation of the internet, this is being used as a tool to promote 'more Europe' and thus more regulation, representing a significant power shift to Brussels. In addition, the focus on the role of international cooperation for the development of a shared approach for tackling cybersecurity issues with all like-minded countries assumes a central relevance in the adopted report, which also maintains that internet security issues should be included in the scope of the future EU's external relations.

Apesar dos sistemas de alerta, temos conhecimento de ciberataques. Bisogna partire da dati come questo per capire il ruolo che ha internet nella vita di tutti i giorni. La portata di queste cifre impone di prendere iniziative forti per migliorare la sicurezza degli utenti. Con la relazione approvata oggi, il Parlamento europeo chiede ad alta voce che venga realizzato un quadro normativo che semplifichi le interazioni e lo scambio di informazioni tra i governi.

Dyrektywa z r. Tunne Kelam PPE , in writing. It was dangerous and a force that could not be easily controlled. Crossing the open sea was always a risky endeavour. For those, however, who were willing and able to do it, long-distance maritime trade opened endless opportunities through its advantages in terms of cost and speed.

Under optimal weather conditions a ship could move much faster than any land transport vehicle. Our modern maps give us a rather distorted impression of space and distance, since they correspond to the mathematical concept of space. If we perceive the Mediterranean basin as a hodological space, sea dis- tances shrink and Crete changes from a distant neighbour to an integral part of the Near Eastern world.

In a nutshell, due to the ambiguous dynamics of maritime contacts the sea did serve as an important unifying force, yet only for those who were able to take the risk. Structures The consequences of this ambiguity become clear at the level of the social, political and economic structures that shaped intercultural exchange in the Mediterranean. As stated above, the Mediterranean has always been a cellular world consisting of numerous separate and highly diversified local clusters.

Despite its geographical fragmentation, the whole region was tied together through complicated webs of communica- tion and exchange. At a regional level, the cabotage, i. However, at a supra-regional level, in the context of long- distance maritime trade, the arteries of contact were exploited not by coastal traders but by highly specialised sailors and merchants and by the major political institutions acting from the background as their employers or partners.

The high degree of connectivity thus remained a privilege of the elite. In these sophisticated webs of international exchange, goods and knowledge were circulating in very narrow and fragile channels fre- quented by sailors, merchants and emissaries who were willing or obliged to take the risk of crossing the open sea. We can thus surmise that the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean was characterised by a high degree of connectivity regular bilateral diplomatic and economic contacts , yet an unbalanced circulation due to the unstable character of long-distance maritime trade.

This structural ambiguity — which corresponds to the environmental ambiguity of the maritime element — shaped the peculiar type of Bronze Age Mediterraneism.

In this geohistorical setting, the role of political institutions was cru- cial. Greater and lesser kings seem to have had a quite different merit to transculturalism.

This becomes apparent if we conceive commercial and especially diplomatic exchange as network-driven phenomena. Closed or high density networks are highly restricted and characterised by many relational ties among their members. Open or low density net- works are more flexible and show many weak ties. Open networks with many social connec- tions to other networks are more likely to introduce new ideas and oppor- tunities to their members than closed ones.

Social systems with many weak ties, i. The contribution of the latter to the cosmopolitanism of the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean was apparently much greater than that of the Egyptian phar- aohs or the great kings of Mitanni, Assyria, Babylonia and Hatti. The lesser rulers were always more open and willing to operate in several exchange networks embracing a wider array of partners, influences and ideas.

The fact that both activities have been used in the past as two interchangeable terms is — at least in my view — misleading and rather distorts than reflects historical reality. In current research, the true motives of royal gift-exchange are disputed. For several scholars this ceremonial activity was driven mostly by economic interests. In its radical version, this line of thought claims that royal trade was disguised as the exchange of diplomatic gifts, or that virtually all exchanges at the palatial level were recorded in the official pictorial and written sources in terms of such reciprocal gift-giving Peltenburg In the search for a pattern, in terms of the nature and quantity of the exchanged items, it is clear that in both cases we are dealing with low figures of exotic raw materials or prestige objects with pre- dominantly symbolic value Panagiotopoulos An additional indication of its symbolic significance is provided through the seasonal pattern of gift-giving which obviously took place only once per year or on some special occasions.

It is highly improbable that this narrow chan- nel of ceremonial gift-giving would have ever satisfied the high demand for foreign raw materials, natural products and artefacts among the trade partners engaged in long-distance trade. The first comprised a mainly political activity well attested in the official sources, whereas the latter was governed by purely economic interests.

There are two main reasons why these activi- ties were often mingled together: In both cases a plausible explanation can be found. As to the first reason, trade left only scant traces in Egyptian and Near Eastern written and pictorial tradition because of its non-prestigious character. Regarding the alleged economic interests behind this ceremonial activity, there can be no doubt that a certain profit motivation can be traced in the letters from Assyrian and Babylonian rulers who attempted to exchange gifts with their Egyptian counterparts in order to acquire gold from their partners see for example Moran The straightforward claims of Near Eastern kings for acquiring gold as gift point rather to the gradual erosion of moral values in the ethical system of diplomatic gift-exchange.

Only in this way can we explain the evident unwillingness of the Egyptian ruler to satisfy the demands or wishes of his partners Panagiotopoulos The implication of this evidence is that, in the written evidence, gift- exchange and royal trade are not inextricably merged together, but can be clearly separated in terms of phraseology and modus operandi.

Agents The concept of agency has attracted much scientific attention in recent years, sharpening our analytic capacity to assess the significance, premises and consequences of conscious human action in cultural history Dobres and Robb ; Robb ; see also S. Through this theoretical prism it is possible to detect different levels of transcultural processes, giving a face and identity to the real protagonists of intercultural exchange. At the lowest and most basic level of transculturality, the rulers or elite members who acquired and used foreign objects in a private or public context show a certain degree of transcultural attitude.

A more active role in processes of cultural trans- mission was occupied by specialised sailors and merchants engaged in long-distance trade. Without downplaying the importance of sailors and merchants, we should raise emissaries to a higher level. There is an apparent reason for this.

The Amarna letters and other relevant sources inform us that most of these ambassadors had to spend at least some weeks if not months and years at a foreign court before they were able to travel back home for an extreme case see Moran These intensive intercul- tural contacts at the highest echelons of the international scene must have had a much deeper impact on domestic social and economic structures than any trade activities, contacts, experiences and memories of sailors and merchants, despite the fact that the former were considerably more infrequent than the latter.

Their significance applies particularly to the case of society, politics and administration, which is something much more complex than influences on art, iconography or technique.

While merchants and ambassadors may have acted as versatile agents of cultural transmission, they did not, however, necessarily adopt a tran- scultural attitude in the proper sense of the term, i.