EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: By proposing to enhance cooperation on migration, mobility & security, the Commission hopes to reinforce long term relations between the EU and the countries of North Africa.  The proposed set of measures will help support the democratic & economic transition in the region, promote people to people contacts across the Mediterranean and contribute to more effectively preventing irregular migration.  These elements will now be discussed by the European Council on 24 June 2011.
Due to the countries' geographic position, their importance as countries of origin or of transit of irregular migration towards the EU, as well as countries of destination for persons in need of international protection, the Commission proposes to offer the possibility of developing a Dialogue on Mobility, Migration and Security, first of all to Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt
Press release & links ~ Related PR
EU NewsBody scanning should be voluntary for passengers at EU airports, argued Parliament's Transport Committee last week.  If scanners are used, health & fundamental rights must be safeguarded along with personal data, dignity & privacy.  No body images should be seen and, for health reasons, no X-ray-based scanners should be allowed at EU airports, say MEPs.  They also restate their view that the ban on carrying liquids on planes should be lifted by 2013.
The European Commission intends to propose new rules this summer that would add body scanners to the list of EU-authorised methods for screening passengers.  Some Member States (the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France & Finland), have already tested such scanners.  Parliament will have a veto right over the new rules once they are drafted but at this stage MEPs are sending an advance signal of their wishes.
Press release & links
EU News: Motorists who speed, ignore red lights or drink & drive when in a country other than their own will be brought to book more easily, thanks to closer co-operation between European police forces and EU-wide enforcement of traffic rules, under plans approved last week by Parliament's Transport Committee.
Traffic police authorities will be able to pursue offenders in their home country by using the EUROCARIS data exchange system.  Speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, failure to wear seatbelts, illegal use of mobile phones, using bus lanes, not wearing helmets when riding a motorcycle and crossing red lights are among the offences covered by the legislation.
Press release & links
EU News: From 1 June 2011 onwards, all 143 nuclear power plants in the EU will be re-assessed using EU wide criteria.  These are comprehensive tests as the Commission has called for which embrace both natural & man made hazards (i.e. effects of airplane crashes and terrorist attacks). The European Commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators' Group (ENSREG) agreed last week on the criteria covered and the way controls will be done.
Press release & links
EU News: In the last few years, technological change and, in particular, the growing importance of online activities, have completely changed the world in which Intellectual property rights (IPR) operate.  The existing mix of European & national rules are no longer adapted and need to be modernised.
That is why the Commission has adopted a comprehensive strategy to revamp the legal framework in which IPR operate.  The objective is to enable inventors, creators, users & consumers to adapt to the new circumstances and to enhance new business opportunities.
Press release & links
EU News: The EP Economics Committee last week voted to uphold the increased bank deposit protection limit of €100,000, but chose to allow Member States more leeway over how they design their schemes.  The schemes must be fully funded within 15 years instead of the Commission's proposed 10, said MEPs, who also voted for payouts to be made within 5 working days rather than 7.
Press release & links
EU News: Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, last week launched a new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) – ‘confirming the EU’s determined and reinforced engagement with its neighbours’.
The proposal sets out the main priorities & directions of a revitalised ENP strategy which seeks to strengthen individual & regional relationships between the EU & countries in its neighbourhood through a ‘more funds for more reform’ approach - making more additional funds available, but with more mutual accountability.
Press release & links
EU News: The European Commission has, together with the UN Environment Programme, launched 2 major reports that call for a radical change in the way we use scarce resources.  The first report shows the immense potential for increasing metal recycling rates.  Only 18 metals are recycled more than 50%, and the majority do not even attain a 1% recycling rate.
The second report, first presented at the UN Sustainable Development Commission on 18 May 2011, underlines the need for a radical decoupling to avoid a global resource crunch by 2050, and provides science-based scenarios on future resource consumption.
Press release & links ~ Green Week
EU News: A Europe-wide register aims to help Europeans actively engage in decisions affecting the environment.  New online maps published last week by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency, in close cooperation with the Joint Research Centre, the Commission's in-house science service, allow citizens to pinpoint the main diffuse sources of air pollution, such as transport and aviation.
The new set of 32 maps shows where certain pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are released.  It complements existing data on emissions from individual industrial plants from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).
Press release & links
EU News: Close to 85.8% of respondents to a recent public consultation on the future of LIFE+, the European Commission's environmental funding tool, consider that there is a need for a specific EU financial instrument for environment & climate action.  
The results of these consultations will be factored in a combined impact assessment and ex-ante evaluation of a successor for LIFE+.  The Commission intends to prepare a proposal for a future financial instrument for the environment and climate action by the end of 2011.
Press release & links
EU News: Last week, European Commission Vice President, Antonio Tajani, inaugurated a new network of Member States' SME Envoys at the SBA conference ‘Mobilising SMEs for the Future of Europe in Budapest.  As SMEs are affected by policies originating in different government departments ranging from tax to financial and from regulatory to education, the SME envoys should help small businesses to concentrate on their core business to strive and create jobs.
Press release & links
EU News: Last week the European Commission published its report on ‘progress achieved in the Common Fisheries Policy over the last few years and its suggestions for fishing opportunities in EU waters in 2012’.  The document sets out how the Commission intends to act on the scientific advice

it receives about the state of fish stocks when proposing catch limits and quotas for next year.  The Commission's ideas will now be the object of a wide consultation (closes on1 September 2011) – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
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