EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

CBIPlans to reform data protection laws in Europe will restrict & burden businesses and threaten innovation, the CBI said recently. In its submission to the Ministry of Justice’s Call for Evidence on the European Commission’s data protection proposals, the UK’s leading business group said the proposed regulation will threaten many innovative business models, which rely on data sharing to generate revenue.
 
Compliance will also place a cost burden on all businesses which may deter investment and be passed on to consumers. The CBI is calling on the European Commission to revise its proposals, in favour of a proportionate, risk-based approach to the scope of data protection regulation, taking fully into account the benefits versus costs of any changes and their impact on innovative business models.
Press release & links
 
WAG: A recent Welsh Government report shows that the 2000 – 2006 Structural Funds programmes created many benefits for Wales during the period.
Press release & links
 
HOCalls for proposals for the European Integration Fund 2011/2012 are now open. The closing date for completed applications is 16:00 on Wednesday 16 May 2012. Applications are welcomed from non-governmental organisations, charities, academic institutions, local government, inter-governmental organisations, limited companies and any partnership made up of these organisations.
 
To assist bidders in preparing their applications, 1 day workshops will be held on 2 April 2012 in Manchester & 4 April 2012 in London There will be limited spaces available on a first come, first served basis.
Press release & links
 
HPA: Tests by the Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) have confirmed the presence of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in livestock samples submitted since January 2012 from a number of farms across England. To date, the majority of the cases of SBV infection have been in sheep with some cases reported in cattle.
 
According to the AHVLA, SBV infection has only been identified in areas of the UK at risk of midge incursion from Northern Europe during summer/autumn 2011. It is thought that UK livestock were most probably infected last year by midges blown across the English Channel from Northern Europe.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has approved UK plans to relieve the Royal Mail Group (RMG) from excessive pension costs relating to its past monopoly position and to provide RMG with restructuring aid consisting of a debt reduction of ₤1,089m.
Press release & links ~ BIS comment
 
EU News: A new agency for managing large-scale EU information systems has been inaugurated in Tallinn, Estonia, with the attendance of Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.  Its main task will be to en­sure that the Visa Information (VIS) and EURODAC systems operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Agency is due to become fully operational as of December 2012.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission proposes to improve business opportunities for EU firms in procurement markets.  The main objective of the initiative is to help open worldwide public procurement markets and to ensure European businesses have fair access to them.  

The proposal also aims to ensure that all companies (both European & non-European firms) are on an equal footing when it comes to competing for business in the EU's lucrative public procurement market.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: A Lords EU Committee have called on the Government to overcome the UK's lack of mobility culture, including by making language learning compulsory in primary & secondary schools.  

Coupled with financial, socio-economic & cultural barriers, the Lords Social Policies and Consumer Protection EU Sub-Committee warns that the UK's future participation in mobility programmes, such as the EU's Erasmus scheme, cannot be assured.
Press release & links
 
EU News: Transport ministers have reached agreement on proposals to transform the existing patchwork of roads, railways, airports & canals into a unified European transport network.

The proposed Regulation for Guidelines for Trans-European Networks (TEN-T) will ‘remove cross-border bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross-border transport operations for passengers and businesses throughout the EU’.
Press release & links
 
EU News: Last week’s Green Paper sets out how existing & proposed EU measures already address shadow banking activities. Although these measures go some way towards addressing shadow banking entities & activities, there is still further progress to be made given the continually evolving nature of shadow banking and our understanding of it.  Stakeholders are invited to respond to the consultation before 1 June 2012 – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.