Defra: All 4 nations within the UK will be given greater power to manage their own fishing quotas following an agreement that has just been reached. Under the agreement, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive will each be allocated shares, agreed annually, of UK fish quotas for distribution to their fleets.
The new arrangements will replace the present system where the UK Government allocates quota directly to fishermen and to fish producer organisations that manage quotas. This will allow each country to adapt quota allocations to best suit fleets in different parts of the UK.
EU News: Last week, representatives of the European Union's employers & trade unions in the sea fisheries sector signed an agreement to ‘ensure that fishermen have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels with regard to minimum requirements for conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security’. This agreement implements at EU level the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on ‘Work in the fishing sector’.
EU News: The European Commission has welcomed the ‘New Alliance to improve Food & Nutrition Security’ launched on the eve of the recent G8 Summit, which aims at boosting productivity, domestic and international private sector investments and supporting innovation & technology in Africa.
EU News: A pilot project to help young people find a job in another EU country has been launched by the European Commission. In its initial phase 'Your first EURES job' will aim to improve cross-border mobility for 5,000 people. It will also serve as a testing ground for transforming EURES - the network of Member States' employment services – towards a pan-European employment service.
EU News: Last week was the 20th anniversary of 2 key instruments for the conservation & sustainable use of nature in the EU: the Habitats Directive and LIFE, the EU financing programme for the environment.
The Commission has launched a celebratory brochure on the Habitats Directive that showcases a selection of the many achievements to date. Celebratory events take place all over Europe; special events in numerous Natura 2000 sites in EU Member States, and over 300 LIFE events have been planned. A key conference will take place in Belgium in October 2012.
EU News: The EU will set aside €230m in guarantees to support the issuance of ‘project bonds’ for EU infrastructure projects under a deal concluded by MEPs & EU governments in Strasbourg last week. The deal will pilot test this innovative plan to attract private investment in transport, energy & information technology network projects. With an expected multiplier ratio of between 15 & 20, these loans & guarantees could mobilise up to €4.6bn in private investment.
EU News: Consumer expenditure, amounting to 56% of EU GDP, reflects the enormous power of the consumer to drive forward the European economy. This is why the European Commission's strategic vision for EU consumer policy aims to maximise consumer participation & trust in the market.
Built around 4 main objectives the European Consumer Agenda aims to increase confidence by: reinforcing consumer safety; enhancing knowledge; stepping up enforcement and securing redress; aligning consumer rights and policies to changes in society and in the economy. It also presents a number of key actions to be implemented between now & 2014.
EU News: The European Commission launched a new viral clip as part of the ‘Generation Awake!’ campaign, which alerts consumers to the dangers of unsustainable patterns of consumption. The clip features Water Maniac Walter, a neurotic bucket who addresses the theme of excessive water use. The clip links to the Generation Awake website, a multilingual site intended to get citizens thinking about their consumption habits, and help them change their behaviour so as to live more sustainably.
EU News: Europe's largest environment conference kicked off last week under the banner ‘The Water Challenge – Every Drop Counts’. This year's edition of Green Week is dedicated to water and saw some 3,000 participants gather for 3 days to discuss water-related issues. The week's events will feed into the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources scheduled for November 2012.
EU News: The European Commission has adopted a framework under which Member states may compensate some electro-intensive users, such as steel & aluminium producers, for part of the higher electricity costs expected to result from a change to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as from 2013. The sectors deemed eligible for compensation include producers of aluminium, copper, fertilisers, steel, paper, cotton, chemicals and some plastics.
EU News: EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has announced the winners of the European Business Awards for the Environment 2012 at an evening ceremony at Green Week. The 2012 winners include:
* Marks & Spencer (UK) for management
* Aquamarine Power (UK) for product
EU News: The proposed financial transaction tax should be better designed to capture more traders and make evasion unprofitable, said the European Parliament in its opinion adopted last Wednesday. The opinion also says the tax should go ahead even if only some Member States opt for it. The opinion maintains the Commission proposal timetable: 31 December 2013 deadline for Member States to adopt implementing laws and 31 December 2014 for entry into force of these laws.