EU News: Clearer rules are needed to protect not only the victims of cross-border defamation, but also journalists accused of it, says a resolution approved last Thursday. Enhancing legal clarity would cut the cost of court cases, thus reducing the risk of a ‘chilling effect’ on press freedom and improving access to justice, says the text.
The proposed measures should also reduce the risk of ‘forum shopping’ in which a claimant chooses the jurisdiction thought likeliest to produce a favourable result. Rules on defamation & breach of privacy should be included in the existing EU regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations, known as ‘Rome II’, adds the text.
EU News: The European Commission has proposed to boost innovation to deal with water related challenges by creating a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water. A Strategic Implementation Plan will be developed with key stakeholders to define the priority areas for action. The EIP on Water will seek to align the activities and outcomes of existing European, national and regional activities.
HPA: The foundations for a public health map for Europe, with a focus on environmental factors, have been laid, as part of an innovative HPA led project. The UNIPHE (Use of sub-National Indicators to Improve Public Health in Europe) project kicked off 3 years ago and involved public health professionals compiling key information from European countries so they could draw worthwhile public health comparisons on a regional basis.
So far scientists have compared, among other things, deaths & injuries caused by road traffic incidents and health effects of environmental factors such as noise & air quality. The investigation team has now finished its 3-year long project and is finalising a report which will be published later this year.
EA: Swimmers, surfers & holidaymakers will benefit from plans to tackle pollution and further improve water quality at over 500 bathing water sites around England & Wales, the Environment Agency announced last week. As the official bathing season got underway last week, EA water quality sampling teams will be out taking weekly samples at every site until September – a total of 30,000 samples.
England & Wales will have more stringent water quality targets to achieve under the revised Bathing Water Directive in 2015 and the EA is concentrating on tackling pollution before the targets come into force.
EU News: Over 400m Europeans currently enjoy passport-free travel across the Schengen area. With Europeans making more than 1.25bn journeys every year, vigilance is required to defend citizens' right to free movement.
Last week, the Commission adopted its first 'health check', a biannual overview on the functioning of the Schengen area, which will contribute to enhancing political guidance & cooperation amongst Schengen participating countries. The report is accompanied by guidelines which seek to ensure a coherent interpretation & implementation of the selected issues, in a spirit of solidarity.
EU News: Health claims on food labelling and in advertising, for example on the role of calcium & bone health or vitamin C & the immune system, have become vital marketing tools to attract consumers' attention. Therefore EU consumers expect accurate information on products they buy, in particular on the health claims the products may put forward.
Last week, a list of 222 health claims was approved by the Commission. This list is based on sound scientific advice, will be used throughout the EU and will also help to remove misleading claims from the market before the end of 2012.