EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

PC&PE: The Government should frame its policy for EU reform in terms of the EU as a whole, not just the UK, says the Foreign Affairs Committee in a report published last week.  The Government’s tone, language & overall approach can play an important role in maintaining UK influence in the EU.  
 
The PM is to be commended for launching an ambitious agenda for reform of the EU as a whole, the Committee says. Given the crisis in the Eurozone and rising popular disaffection with the EU, it would be hard for others in the EU to argue that change is not required
Press release & links ~ FCO response to FAC report
 
EU News: The European Parliament has given its green light on a set of clearer rules protecting specific groups of consumers such as infants & young children. The aim is to better protect consumers on the content and marketing of these ‘special’ food products, and to provide a better environment for businesses, as well as better application of rules.
 
The Regulation will be published in the EU Official Journal in the coming weeks and will only apply from 2016 to allow time for businesses to adapt their commercial practices.  No products will however have to be withdrawn from the market.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsRussia's decree that European airlines must supply it with EU air passengers' personal data is a ‘very worrying issue’ that could set a precedent for other countries, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a debate with Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström last week.

In July 2012 the Russian Transport Ministry issued a decree requiring European airlines to supply it with EU air passengers' personal ‘Passenger Name Record’ (PNR) data, from 1 July 2013.  This also applies to overflights.
Press release
 
EU News: In the 2014 European elections 12 EU member states will each lose one seat and none will gain any, under a draft decision endorsed by Parliament last week.  These reductions are needed in order to comply with the 751-seat limit set by the Lisbon Treaty and to make room for Croatia's MEPs.
Press release & links
 
EU News: Freedom of movement within the Schengen area will be better protected thanks to MEPs' input to the new Schengen governance rules.  Inspection teams will in future be able to make unannounced visits to internal borders to halt any attempt to impose illegal checks.  The Schengen governance package is expected to be adopted formally by the Council in the autumn.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsNew rules laying down common procedures & deadlines for handling asylum applications and basic rights for asylum seekers arriving in the EU were endorsed by Parliament last Wednesday. The Common European Asylum System will also stop transfers of asylum seekers to member states unable to ensure decent living conditions for them.
 
The new asylum system updates laws passed about a decade ago. Some 330,000 asylum applicants were registered in EU countries in 2012. The new asylum rules, which have already been agreed by Parliament & Council representatives and backed by national governments, should enter into force in the second half of 2015.

The Dublin rules on transfers of asylum seekers will take effect six months after their legal entry into force (i.e. at the start of 2014
).
Press release & links
 
EU News: Last week the European Parliament formally adopted the updated EU rules on the re-use of public sector information, thereby completing the formal EU approval process. The Council already agreed to the new rules at the Telecoms Council last week.  

The agreement on the new text has been reached in only 16 months, showing how all EU institutions are committed to unlock the full potential of the open data goldmine.
Press release & links
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