EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission has launched a call for proposals of €31.5m for the best 45 eco-innovation projects.  Businesses throughout Europe have until 5 September 2013 to put in their proposals for bringing novel environmental solutions to the market in the following 5 areas:
* material recycling
* water
* sustainable building products
* green business
* the food & drink sector
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Union & the Swiss Confederation have signed an agreement that ‘will strengthen co-operation between their respective competition authorities’, the European Commission and the Swiss Competition Commission.
 
This is the fifth such agreement signed by the EU after agreements concluded with the US, Canada, Japan and Korea.  An innovative feature of the agreement with Switzerland is that it will enable the two competition agencies to exchange information they have obtained in their investigations.
Press release & links
 
EU News: The European Commission has launched a new initiative to improve port operations & onward transport connections at 319 key seaports along Europe’s coastline.  The guidelines & legal changes being proposed will help port operators upgrade their services & facilities as well as giving them more financial autonomy.
 
74% of the goods entering or leaving Europe go by sea, but one fifth of that amount currently passes through just 3 ports: Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp.

This imbalance between port performance results in congestion and extra costs for shippers, transport operators & consumers.  The new proposals could save the European economy up to €10bn by 2030 and help develop new short sea links.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsParliament gave a lukewarm response to the Commission's next steps for economic & monetary union.  Its resolution says full implementation of the governance rules already set up must take precedence over new proposals.  It also says the Commission has not embedded enough democratic control into the new ideas and that tools are needed to help reforms and address social concerns.
Press release & links
 
EU NewsNew legislation on the ‘non-commercial transport’ of pets, already informally agreed with EU ministers, was approved by Parliament last week.  Taking pets abroad will be easier, but pet health requirements will be stricter.  Online information for pet owners will also be made clearer.
Press release & links
 
FSA: European member states have voted for new legislation to modernise the inspection system in pig slaughterhouses. The new legislation aims to improve food safety by increasing the focus on microbiological hazards (which are the main food safety risk from meat) and introduce a more proportionate risk-based approach to hygiene & welfare inspections, known as official controls.
Press release & links
 
DWP: The government has welcomed an announcement by Commissioner Barnier that he would postpone his plans to introduce Solvency II-style rules for defined benefit pension schemes – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
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