EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission calls on EU Member States to develop & pursue a common vision on how to coordinate research at EU level in the field of ageing.  This was the message of a Recommendation just adopted by the Commission entitled "More years, better lives - the potential and challenges of demographic change".
 
The Recommendation urges Member States to participate in a Joint Programming Initiative on ageing populations in research areas such as how to retain people in the labour market, how to help older people remain active for as long as possible, in good health &with a better quality of life and how to make our future care systems sustainable.
Press release & links
 
EU News: Better air quality is on the way, thanks to proposals from the European Commission to lower the sulphur content of shipping fuels.  The proposals should reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by up to 90 %, and fine particle emissions by up to 80 %.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has proposed to revise the tachograph legislation to make full use of new technological opportunities such as satellite positioning.  This will make fraud more difficult & reduce the administrative burden, which is expected to save companies €515m per year.  
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has brought forward proposals to change the behaviour of the 8,000 banks that operate in Europe. The overarching goal of this proposal is to strengthen the resilience of the EU banking sector while ensuring that banks continue to finance economic activity & growth.
Press release & links ~ CBI response
 
EU NewsWill the EU have binding standards for managing radioactive waste in the EU? Including final repositories for nuclear waste from nuclear power plants? Will Member States have to notify detailed programmes on when and how they will build these repositories?
 
The answer to all these questions is: ‘Yes’.  The Council has adopted the ‘radioactive waste and spent fuel management directive’, proposed by the Commission on 3rd November 2010.  With this adoption, the Directive will enter into force at the latest in September 2011, and Member States have to submit the first national programmes in 2015.
 
All EU Member States produce radioactive waste, generated by numerous activities, such as electricity production, medicine, research, industry and agriculture.  14 out of 27 Member States have nuclear reactors which generate also spent fuel.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has approved funding for 183 new projects under the LIFE+ programme, the European Union's environment fund.  The projects involve all EU Member States and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, climate change, clean technology, environmental policy and information and communication on environmental issues.  Overall, they represent a total investment of some €530m, of which the EU will provide €244m.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsAs from last week, new EU rules for toys are in force to fulfil the highest safety requirements worldwide.  With the entry into force, the new Toys Directive, all actors involved in the production, selling & control of toys on the EU market will get more responsibilities to better protect children.  The EU Commission has also prepared a guide with recommendations for consumers on how to protect their children from toy-related risks.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The Task Force on maritime employment & competitiveness has delivered its report containing recommendations for possible future measures for the shipping industry

In its report, the Task Force provides recommendations on topics such as the regulatory framework, ranging from recruitment, training, career paths, working & living conditions on board including access to new technologies, legal & administrative treatment of seafarers, the piracy threat, state aid and employment.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The ban on heavy metals and other dangerous chemicals in electrical & electronic equipment has now been extended to a much wider range of products, with new rules entering into force last week, which will improve the safety of electronic products such as thermostats, medical devices & control panels, and will prevent the release of hazardous substances into the environment.  Member States have 18 months to transpose the new rules.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsAfrica’s first specialist rural microfinance fund supporting fair trade & organic small business, FEFISOL, the European Solidarity Financing Fund for Africa, was launched last week. The €15m FEFISOL fund will provide much needed microfinance funds for poor rural households across Africa and help finance small scale investment in agricultural activities. It is expected to double in size by 2013 and will assist microfinance institutions that help poor households in rural areas where no formal lending exists.
Press release ~ FEFISOL fund ~ SIDI
Energy Optimisation: Reducing Costs whilst Driving Sustainability