EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU NewsStronger controls on drug precursors used in heroin & methamphetamine production have been proposed by the Commission recently.  Drug precursors are legal chemicals contained in a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, perfumes and plastics, but which can also be illegally diverted to produce narcotics.
The 2 proposals adopted recently seek to close loopholes in current legislation on drug precursors that could be exploited by illegal drug producers.  They reinforce the controls on specific chemicals, both within the Single Market and at the EU borders through Customs.  In doing so, the proposed new rules can contribute to early stage prevention of illicit drug manufacturing, which is an important pillar of the EU drug strategy.
Press release & links
DECC: Recently the UK, along with Germany and the Commission, announced the provisional dates for the first phase III and aviation auctions, which are due to take place later this year.
Press release & links
EU News: Every year thousands of unaccompanied minors travel to Europe seeking a new life. The majority has fled from wars, conflicts or other difficult living conditions and some have even lost family members along the way.
Recently in a report on the situation of unaccompanied minors in the EU, the Commission calls for improved efforts at both national and European level to respond effectively and in full respect of the rights of the child to this complex trans-national challenge.
The Commission recently adopted a mid-term report on the implementation of the Action Plan on unaccompanied minors (2010-2014)IP/10/534. The report takes stock of the progress made and identifies the areas which require more attention and targeted action during the next two years.
Press release & links
EU NewsFlavouring substances in food will become even safer & more transparent thanks to 2 pieces of legislation adopted last week by the European Commission.  Only those flavouring substances featuring on the approved lists will be permitted for use by the food industry.
* The first Regulation provides for a new EU wide list of flavouring substances which can be used in food and will apply from 22 April 2013
* All flavouring substances not in the list will be prohibited after a phasing out period of 18 months
* The second Regulation concerns transitional measures for other flavourings such as flavourings made from non-food sources and will apply from 22 October 2012
Press release & links
EU News: Complaints are often aired about the red tape created by European law.   However, there is a definite lack of concrete proposals to reduce this burden.  This consultation process for SMEs and their representative organisations, will help to identify the top 10 EU legislative acts considered most burdensome by micro-companies and SMEs.  Consultation closes on 21 December 2012..
Press release & links
EU NewsParliament will push for democracy, accountability & legitimacy in negotiations on the economic and monetary union roadmap with the Commission and Council.  MEPs argue that the power transfers to EU level necessary for a real EMU should be accompanied by stronger democratic legitimacy.  The negotiating mandate also prioritises growth and suggests that much can be achieved within the current treaties.
Press release & links
EU News: Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, International Cooperation and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, have proposed a new policy to help vulnerable communities across the world build resilience to future crises.
The new Communication, "The EU Approach to Resilience: Learning from Food Security Crises" draws lessons from the experience of responding to recent food crises and outlines the measures with which the European Union will help vulnerable populations reduce the impact of future crises and disasters.
Press release & links
EU News: 14 projects have been shortlisted for the 2012 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA).  Over 402 projects competed in this year’s national competitions for a chance to enter.  The winners for each of the 5 categories will be announced at the first ever SME Assembly in Cyprus on 15 November 2012..
Entries include (for the UK):  Promoting & raising desire for enterprise among hard-to-reach groups - Outset is designed to show the unemployed that self-employment & enterprise is a realistic alternative to unemployment.  
Press release & links
EU News: The standards of safety of nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high but further improvements in the safety features of almost all European nuclear power plants are recommended.   Nevertheless national safety authorities came to the conclusion that no closure of Nuclear Power Plants was warranted.
This is the main message of the European Commission communication on results of the nuclear stress tests, which established that not all safety standards promoted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and not all international best practices are applied in all Member States.  The Commission will follow closely the implementation of the recommendations and will at the same time propose legislative measures to further enhance nuclear safety in Europe.
Press release & links
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that a recent paper raising concerns about the potential toxicity of genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and of a herbicide containing glyphosate is of insufficient scientific quality to be considered as valid for risk assessment.
Press release & links
EU News: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Single Market.  The completion of the Single Market is a continuous exercise and is a central element of the European growth agenda to address the current economic crisis.
This is why the European Commission has adopted Single Market Act II, putting forward 12 key actions for rapid adoption by the EU institutions. These actions are concentrated on 4 main drivers for growth, employment & confidence: a) integrated networks, b) cross border mobility of citizens and businesses, c) the digital economy, and d) actions that reinforce cohesion and consumer benefits.
Press release & links ~ Comment from BIS
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