EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: New drugs were detected in the European Union last year at the rate of around one per week, according to the EMCDDA–Europol 2011 annual report on new psychoactive substances released recently.
Press release & links
EU NewsThe European Commission has given the United Kingdom 2 months to comply with European Union rules on the free movement of EU citizens & their families across the EU or face an EU court.
Press release & links
EU News: Under the 'Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings', suspects of a criminal offence will be informed of their rights in a language they understand.  The measure will ensure that EU countries will give anyone arrested – or subject to a European Arrest Warrant – a Letter of Rights listing their basic rights during criminal proceedings.
Once it will have entered into force (2 years after it is published in the EU's Official Journal – which is expected to take place within weeks), the new law will apply to an estimated 8m criminal proceedings every year in all EU 27 Member States.  Currently this right only exists in about one third of Member States.
Press release & links
PC&PE: UK citizens are accustomed to high standards of legal protection at home and they should enjoy similar when they are elsewhere in the European Union, says the Lords Justice and Institutions EU Sub-Committee in its new report, published recently.
With so many more people moving through EU countries, there is a higher likelihood of British citizens becoming caught up in the criminal justice systems of other EU Member States, either as defendants or victims. 

In their report, the Lords agree that the new ‘roadmaps’ of EU legislation, which will establish minimum rights for defendants & victims alike, are the best way to protect British people from any possible legal problems abroad.
Press release & links
ScotGov: The communiqué agreed at the recent EHEA Bologna Process conference reinforces Scotland’s commitment to keep access to university free, Education Secretary Michael Russell said recently. 
Mr Russell, had 1 to 1 meetings with the Austrian, Irish & UK Education Ministers and the EU Commission’s Director for Higher Education & international Affairs to discuss cross-border flows of students, with agreement to share information on student destinations after graduation with the Austrian Government and the European Commission.  
Press release & links
ScotGov: The Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and the Environment Committee recently published its report on the proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Press release & links ~ Common Agricultural Policy report
EU NewsThe Commission has recently stepped up calls on Member States to ensure that the ban on individual sow stalls is fully applied from 1 January 2013.  

Council Directive 2008/120/EC on the protection of pigs requires that sows & gilts (immature female pigs) are kept in groups during approximately 2 months and a half of their pregnancy in all pig holdings keeping 10 sows or more from 1 January 2013.  As a result, pigs will be moved from individual narrow stalls to more welfare friendly systems.
Press release & links
PC&PEToo much EU development aid is going to middle income countries, like Turkey & Serbia, and not enough is reaching the world's poorest people & poorest countries, according to a report by MPs on the International Development Committee.
The UK spends approximately £1.23bn each year on aid through the EU, approximately 16% of the UK's total aid budget.  Only 46% of this aid, however, goes to low income countries - a figure that MPs say is 'unacceptable'.  Instead middle income countries bordering Europe are benefiting. Turkey has consistently been in the top 5 recipients of European Commission aid (€223m in 2010) as has Serbia (€218m in 2010).
Press release & links
PC&PEConcerns over the willingness of the Treasury to hand back funds to the EU were raised last week by council leaders during an evidence session of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
Press release & links
EU News: The Commission has set out a plan to give children the digital skills & tools they need to benefit fully & safely from the digital world. The internet was not designed with children in mind, but today 75% of children use the internet, a third of them on mobiles.
The new strategy is to build up the market for interactive, creative & educational content online, in a partnership between the European Commission and Member States, mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and providers of social networking services.
Press release & links

PC&PE: Europe is not doing enough to protect itself from the threats to water resources in large parts of the continent, says the Lords Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment EU Sub-Committee in its new report. 

The Committee's report (An Indispensable Resource: EU Freshwater Policy) warns that urgent action is required to safeguard water quality & availability in the UK and many areas of Europe which are already suffering from the effects of a significant lack of rain.  And in order for this to happen, the Committee says that governments may have to allow the cost of water to rise.
The Committee also calls for the Government to bring forward the deadline for reforming the water abstraction regime, outlined in its Water White Paper. The Committee thinks that delaying this reform for at least 15 years fails to respond to the urgency of the situation.
Press release & links : Report: An Indispensable Resource: EU Freshwater Policy
EU News: The functionality of a computer program and the programming language cannot be protected by copyright. The purchaser of a licence for a program is entitled, as a rule, to observe, study or test its functioning so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie that program.
Press release & links
EU News: The European Commission is seeking views (by the 20 July 2012) on how to cut the costs of setting up new networks for high speed internet in the EU – See ‘Consultation’ section for more information.
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