EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

PC&PE: The Government must deliver on a promise to make it easier for development projects to secure match funding through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), says the Communities and Local Government Committee in a report of its recent inquiry into the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  
 
Ministers must recognise the problems that ERDF projects face and set aside RGF money specifically for this purpose. The UK should also press for reform so that after 2020 it can retain that portion of UK monies currently paid into the ERDF but recycled back for projects in England, and use these funds to deliver its own regional policy
Press release & links
 
EU News: The deal on the proposed EU energy efficiency directive struck by MEPs and Council on 13 June was endorsed by the Energy Committee last Thursday. The directive would introduce mandatory measures such as renovating public buildings & energy-saving schemes for utilities.  The plenary vote is scheduled for September 2012.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsVehicle checks are fundamental to road safety.  More than 5 people die on Europe's roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure.  So the European Commission has adopted new rules to toughen up the testing regime and widen its scope.   

Existing EU rules setting minimum standards for vehicle checks date back to 1977, with only minor updates.  Cars, driver behaviour & technology have developed a lot since then.
Press release & links
 
EU News: As part of a joint initiative with national food safety agencies, EFSA is publishing new risk communications guidelines: ‘When Food Is Cooking Up a Storm – Proven Recipes for Risk Communications’.  

A recognised need for practical guidance coupled with a desire from all participating countries to share learning & experience to strengthen risk communications within the European food safety system has resulted in these guidelines.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsBoosting clinical research in Europe by simplifying the rules for conducting clinical trials is what last week’s proposal from the Commission is about.  Clinical trials are tests of medicines in humans and give patients access to most innovative treatments.  The proposed Regulation, once adopted, will replace the 'Clinical Trials Directive' of 2001.  
 
It has ensured high level of patient safety, but its divergent transposition & application led to an unfavourable regulatory framework for clinical research, thus contributing to a decrease of 25% of clinical trials conducted in the period between 2007 & 2011. 

The legislative proposal will now be discussed in the European Parliament and in the Council.  It is expected to come into effect in 2016.
Press release & links ~ NHS Confederation comment
 
EU NewsNew rules on biocides entered into force last week. They will bring a significant boost to the protection of human health & the environment.  Biocidal products are necessary for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health or that cause damage to materials.
 
But as their properties can also pose risks to humans, animals and the environment, they need careful regulation.   The new regulation on biocidal products will increase the safety of these chemical products and simplify their authorisation on the EU market, improving their free movement on the internal market.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Progress Microfinance Facility has proved to be a successful tool to create jobs, particularly amongst groups with difficulties to raise finance from more traditional sources, by helping start-ups by micro-entrepreneurs, according to the second annual report on its implementation, published last week.
 
Through this Facility 20 microfinance providers throughout the European Union have received guarantees or funding (debt or equity) to facilitate their lending to would-be micro-entrepreneurs worth €170m over the coming 2 to 3 years.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has welcomed the EC's announcement that it will review its "Early Warning System"(EWS).  The EWS consists of a database containing the names of persons or companies deemed to pose a threat to the financial interests of the European Union.  

The review covers changes aimed at ensuring that the operation of the EWS respects fundamental rights, such as the right to be heard.  The Commission's announcement follows the Ombudsman's inquiry and subsequent public consultation about the EWS.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The EC has launched a consultation (closes on 19 November 2012) to help victims of cross-border traffic accidents, who may currently face difficulties because of varying time limits for claiming compensation for damage in case of an accident abroad in the EU  – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information. 

EU News: The EC intends to launch in autumn 2012 a European Entrepreneurship Action Plan to boost entrepreneurship at all levels. To this end, the Commission has launched a public consultation (closes 1 October 2012) with the aim to gather inputs from stakeholders & citizens on the scope of possible future actions at EU, national and regional level in promoting entrepreneurship – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
 
EU News: In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM), the EC has launched a review of the risk capital guidelines as amended on 1/12/2010, which outline the criteria for assessing the compatibility of public support measures in this field – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
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