EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU NewsProtection from second hand smoke has improved considerably in the EU, according to a report published by the Commission recently.  28% of Europeans were exposed to second hand smoke in bars in 2012 – down from 46% in 2009.
Press release & links
 
ScotGov: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out an independent Scotland’s place in the European Union. She has also again called on the UK Government to work with the Scottish Government to ‘prepare a precise scenario for the European Commission on an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU’.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has proposed to better protect workers from risks linked to exposure to chemicals at the workplace.

 In particular, the Commission has proposed to amend 5 existing EU health & safety Directives on protection of workers from exposure to harmful chemicals to align them with the latest rules on classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals (Regulation (EC) 1272/2008). The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for adoption.
Press release & links
 
EU News: Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, addressed top EU policy makers in Brussels last week on the Irish Presidency priorities of stability, jobs & growth and the theme of The Three Unions: From banking to economic to political?’  He also signalled that he did not believe changes to EU Treaties would be an issue in the short term
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has recently, on Rare Disease Day 2013, announced €144m of new funding for 26 research projects on rare diseases.  The projects will help improve the lives of some of the 30m Europeans suffering from a rare disease and bring together over 300 participants from 29 countries in Europe & beyond, including teams from leading academic institutions, SMEs & patients' groups.
Press release & links
 
EU News: Recently, the European Commission proposed measures to keep Europe's space industry competitive and to set up a European satellite collision avoidance system.

The Commission proposes a new industrial policy for the European space sector, with a number of targets:
* to increase industry skill levels, to make finance & investment more readily available
* to ensure the EU's independence in space
* to reshape the EU's legislative framework to make it a driver for industry
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has published new guidelines on how Member States should use financial incentives to best increase demand for low CO2 emission vehicles.  Currently, rules on financial incentives differ across the EU, but a common framework could help facilitate the assembly of larger quantities of such vehicles, prompting lower prices for consumers.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has launched 2 public consultations on specific measures which could improve tax collection and ensure better tax compliance across the EU.  Contributions must be submitted online no later than 17 May 2013 – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
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