EU News: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its overall assessment of the impact of infection by the so-called 'Schmallenberg' virus (SBV) on animal health, animal production & animal welfare.
EU News: Recently the Commission launched the search to find the city that will win the European Green Capitaltitle in 2015. Entries will be assessed on the basis of 12 indicators (see press release for details). The deadline for applications for the 2015 title is 15 October 2012.
EU News: Vice-President Kallas, EU Commissioner responsible for Transport, has recently provided the European Parliament & Council with an interpretation of the Directive on weights & dimensions of road vehicles and the conditions to be met when adjacent Member States wish to authorise longer trucks to cross the border between them.
EU News: High speed internet is a lifeline for economic recovery which provides new opportunities to enjoy and create web content, to innovate or to buy, sell & carry out business online. The report on the progress of the sector released last week as part of the Digital Agenda Scoreboard shows how citizens are enjoying greater choice of services & better prices, as a result of competitive developments.
Defra: UK pig farmers will be competing in a more level playing field after it was announced that 18 EU Member States will be fully compliant with the ban on sow stalls by 1 January 2013..
EU News: The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has published a set of ‘public service principles’ that should guide the conduct of EU civil servants. They take account of best practice in the Member States and were established through an initial consultation with the European Network of Ombudsmen.
EU News: All new cars ‘must’ be fitted by 2015 with eCall devices to alert the rescue services automatically to road crashes through the public 112 emergency call system, say MEPs in a resolution adopted jointly by the Internal Market and Transport Committees on last week. This system would speed up the arrival of the emergency services, saving lives and reducing injuries, adds the non-binding resolution.
The non-legislative resolution will be voted in plenary in Strasbourg in July 2012. The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal on eCall by the end of 2012.
EU News: Last week, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met with European Industry Associations, European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women to discuss progress being made on improving the gender balance in company boardrooms. Although 60% of university graduates are female, women still represent only 14% of board members in Europe's biggest listed companies and only 3% of board presidents.
In September 2011, a call to action was launched to ‘shatter the glass ceilings which impede senior women executives from acceding to corporate boardroom seats throughout Europe’. An ever growing list of ‘Board Ready Women’ – up to 7,000 today from 3 500 in March 2012 – makes it clear that there are more than enough eminently qualified women to help lead Europe’s and the world’s corporations into the 21st century.
EU News: Hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked in the EU every year. Women & men, boys & girls in vulnerable positions are traded for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation, removal of organs, begging, domestic servitude, forced marriage, illegal adoption as well as other forms of exploitation.
Last week, the Commission adopted the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016), a set of concrete & practical measures to be implemented over the next 5 years. These include the establishment of national law enforcement units specialised in human trafficking and the creation of joint European investigation teams to prosecute cross-border trafficking cases.
EU News: Last week Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant Supervisor, presented their Annual Report of activities for 2011 to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament. This Report covers the seventh full year of activity of the EDPS as an independent supervisory body.
EU News: Gradual opening of domestic road transport markets to cabotage should be considered as a key step towards completing the Single European Transport Area says a report handed over to Vice-President Kallas last week.
The High Level Group on the situation of the EU internal market for road haulage, chaired by Prof Brian T Bayliss, identifies the main obstacles as well as a series of recommendations in the field of road transport to the creation of a Single European Transport Area.
DWP: Pensions Minister Steve Webb said the Government remains resolute it will fight EU plans to apply Solvency II funding rules to pensions on his return from the Continent, where he met leading politicians and pensions experts in the Netherlands & Denmark.
The European Commission has said ‘it is listening’ and has just announced an extension to its timetable. If Solvency II rules were imposed they would affect all private sector companies offering defined benefit (DB) schemes in Britain, which represent around half the private pension assets in this country, with liabilities of about £1,200bn.
EU News: The EC has launched a public consultation with the aim to gather inputs from stakeholders & citizens on the scope of possible future EU-level actions in demand-side policies for industrial innovation policy – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU News: In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM), the EC has launched the review of the general block exemption regulation (GBER) which exempts certain categories of aid from the obligation of prior notification to the Commission – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.