Archive pour mai 2008

Eu funding : Improving the safety and environmental performance of vehicles

Lundi 26 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for strengthening Community environment policy and legislation, with a view to promoting sustainable development in the EU

The European Commission proposes that all new cars from 2012 will have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems, to drastically improve vehicle safety.

Furthermore lorries and other heavy vehicles should be fitted with Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Systems as of 2013. Last year the Commission already proposed the obligatory fitting of passenger cars with Brake Assist Systems (BAS) to protect pedestrians. These measures will reduce fatal casualties in traffic by an estimated 5000 a year. At the same time the Commission proposes the obligatory introduction in 2012 of low rolling resistance tyres, which considerably save on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and might also reduce noise, while maintaining high level safety. Low rolling resistance tyres will reduce up to 7 gram of CO2 per km, therefore contributing strongly to the CO2 reduction strategy for cars, adopted in February 2007. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will further be reduced by the proposed introduction of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems. The Commission proposal will also sweep away more than 150 existing Directives and replace them with one single Regulation, which is directly applicable in the EU and refers to harmonised UN standards.

European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for Enterprise and Industry, stated: “We are simplifying legislation. We are improving road safety. We are promoting fuel efficiency. We are presenting a modern integrated policy approach beneficiary for citizens, for the environment and the industry.”

1. The Commission proposes that the following safety requirements are introduced:

* Mandatory Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems for new car series and commercial vehicles to be phased in from 2012, with all new cars being equipped by 2014. ESC acts on the braking or power systems of a vehicle to assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle in a critical situation (caused, for example, by poor road conditions or excessive speed during cornering). As well as saving casualties, the widespread use of ESC in vehicles could significantly reduce the traffic congestion caused by accidents involving large vehicles.
* Advance Emergency Braking (AEBS) on large vehicles employing sensors to alert the driver when a vehicle is too close to the vehicle in front and, in certain situations, apply emergency braking to prevent or reduce the consequences of a collision (from 2013).
* Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Systems on large vehicles to assist drivers by warning them when their vehicle is in danger of leaving the lane unintentionally, mainly due to lack of driver attention (from 2013).
* In addition, the Commission has proposed in October 2007, that passenger cars need to be fitted with Brake Assist Systems (BAS) as from 2009. If the complete European car fleet is fitted with BAS, as many as 1100 pedestrian lives may be saved every year. The use of BAS can considerably reduce the stopping distance of a vehicle in an emergency situation with the effect that a collision with a pedestrian could be avoided altogether or would occur at least at a far lower speed (see IP /07/1453).
* In line with the recommendation of the CARS 21 report, the repeal of over 50 existing Directives and more than 100 amending Directives to be replaced where possible by references to United Nations Regulations.

2. New requirements for tyres

* Low Rolling Resistance Tyres (LRRT), to be obligatory from 2012 , lead to lower fuel consumption by reducing the resistance to motion that occurs when the tyre rolls, caused mainly by the deformation of the wheel or tyre or the deformation of the road. Rolling resistance depends very much on the material of the wheel or tyre and can be reduced by, for example, the use of silica in the tread compound. In order to avoid any negative impact on safety, explicit safety requirements are introduced alongside new standards on noise.
* Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), obligatory from 2012, warn the driver when the tyre is significantly below its optimum pressure. Maintaining proper tyre inflation is essential for both fuel efficiency and better tyre performance. Deflated tyres can cause up to 4% increase in fuel consumption while reducing tyre lifespan by 45%. Tyres can lose 3-6% of pressure per month, and this may not be noticed by the driver. Deflated tyres are also an important factor causing road accidents.

According to research by TNO in the Netherlands, the fuel saving potential of LRRT and TPMS in passenger cars is 3% and 2.5% respectively. For new cars with expected engine test cycle performance of 130 g CO2/km this would mean additional reductions of more than 7 g CO2/km (3.9 LRRT and 3.25 TPMS). The CO2 reduction potential of LRRT+TPMS on a current car (with a test cycle of, for instance, 160g) would be greater than 7kg/tonne.

Advanced Safety Systems

Preliminary estimates suggest that the new proposals for fitting advanced systems to heavy vehicles could ultimately save around 2500 lives per year (around 500 for ESC and 1000 each for AEBS and LDW) and many more lives outside the EU since the legislation will encourage manufacturers to fit ESC as standard for a wider range of markets. Fitting ESC on cars is likely to save around 2000/2500 lives per year. The proposal also allows for the optional fitting of AEBS and LDW on cars, provided certain standards are met.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission
 
  More information:
European Commission

Eu funding : Financial services: Commission consults on review of Decisions establishing the Committees of Supervisors

Lundi 26 mai 2008

The European Commission has launched a consultation on possible amendments to Commission Decisions establishing the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR), the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) and the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS).

he overall objective is to align, clarify and strengthen the responsibilities of the Committees of Supervisors and to ensure their contribution to supervisory cooperation and convergence at EU level, and to the safeguarding of financial stability. The consultative document invites comments on a non-exhaustive list of tasks that the Committees are expected to perform in these areas. Stakeholders are invited to comment on these issues by 18 July 2008.

The Committees of Supervisors, called Level 3 Committees, are composed of high-level representatives from Member States’ supervisory authorities. They were established in 2001 in securities and in 2005 in banking and insurance as part of the Lamfalussy process.

Following the Commission Communication on the review of the Lamfalussy process of November 2007 and the work carried out in this respect by the Inter-institutional Monitoring Group, in response to the invitation of the May ECOFIN Council, the Commission proposes to introduce greater coherence and consistency between the three Decisions that established CESR, CEBS and CEIOPS[2]. The Commission intends to set out a clearer framework for the activities of these Committees in the area of supervisory cooperation and convergence. To this end, it is proposed that the Decisions explicitly refer to the main tasks that the Committees of Supervisors are expected to perform. In addition, the Decisions should reflect the responsibility of the Committees for financial stability monitoring and regular reporting.

The consultative document suggests a range of tasks each Committee should be assigned and explains the underlying reasoning behind each.

Contributions should be sent by 18 July 2008 to:

markt-l3@ec.europa.eu

All replies will be posted on the website, unless authors specifically request otherwise. On the basis of the comments received, and after taking into account the positions of the ECOFIN Council, the European Parliament, the Committees of finance ministries representatives and the Committees of Supervisors, the Commission will proceed with the revision of the Decisions before the end of 2008.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission
 
  More information:
European Commission

Eu funding : Annan, Gorbachev join EP leaders and other guests for Energy Globe Awards

Lundi 26 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for strengthening Community environment policy and legislation, with a view to promoting sustainable development in the EU

Politics, music and film meet at the European Parliament on Monday night for the 9th Energy Globe Awards.

The awards - which promote the use of clean and renewable energy - will present awards to projects in following categories: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth. Kofi Annan and Mikhail Gorbachev will be joined by Alanis Morissette and Dionne Warwick whilst Bollywood actor Aamir Khan will represent the world of film.
The ceremony will be presented from the parliament’s building in Brussels by TV presenter and actress Désiree Nosbusch in English. She will also be joined by Italian singer Zucchero and Aboriginal Park coordinator Leanne Liddle.

Some of the prizes will be presented by parliament’s President Hans-Gert Pöttering and the president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. The Council of the European Union will be represented by Slovenia’s PM Janez Jansa as Ljubljana currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

On this website over the next few days we will have a full report from the Gala itself as well as interviews with some of the VIPs who attended. The parliament has strongly backed the awards given the importance it attaches to environmental and energy questions. At present MEPs are legislating on a number of important EU-wide subjects:

* Revision of the EU Emission Trading Scheme;
* CO2 emissions from passenger cars;
* Renewable energy sources and biofuels;
* Binding national targets for emissions reductions;
* Carbon Capture and Storage.

As well as the main awards the Energy Globe Awards also help support local projects which help save energy, protect the environment or help more people access drinking water or electricity. This year projects from 109 countries participated. Indian activist Maneka Gandhi is chairing the jury.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

EU funding : The CAP reform

Lundi 26 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for strengthening Community environment policy and legislation, with a view to promoting sustainable development in the EU

Adjustment of Common Agricultural Policy – an Incentive for Response by Other EU Policies

A three-day informal meeting of the agriculture ministers of the EU Member States started today in Maribor. The ministers will conclude their visit to Slovenia with a plenary session on Tuesday, 27 May 2008, at Brdo pri Kranju. On the initiative of the Slovenian Presidency, at the meeting the ministers will discuss climate change, biofuels, environmental protection, risk management in agriculture and food safety. For the first time, the agriculture ministers will also exchange views on the legislative proposals relating to the “review” of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will be presented by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel.

The review of the CAP reform opens an important issue on new challenges and the adjustment of European agriculture to the changing global circumstances. In the conclusions adopted by the EU Council in March, the agriculture ministers stressed the need for risk management in agriculture and established that new challenges must receive a broader response, including through other EU policies.

According to Minister Jarc, agriculture needs to respond to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time adapting production to new climate conditions. It is necessary to assess the impact of biofuel production on global food safety, establish sustainability criteria for biofuel production and place greater emphasis on the research and development of second-generation biofuels.

In addition to environmental protection, Minister Jarc highlighted the rising prices of agricultural products, which is the reason why risk management in agriculture is gaining in importance. On account of the growing world population and increased demand for food, agricultural production will have to increase as well.

At the informal meeting, the ministers will discuss how the agricultural sector should be adjusted to these changes; in what way an appropriate balance could be found between delivering sufficient quality food at affordable prices for consumers on the one hand and ensuring the protection of the environment, cultural landscape and natural resources on the other hand; and whether the solutions contained in the legislative proposals are the proper answer to these challenges.

 
  Source:
Slovenian presidency

Eu funding : 25 May 2008 – International Missing Children’s Day

Lundi 26 mai 2008

For the fourth consecutive year, the European Commission is supporting on 25 May the International Missing Children’s Day, organised by the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children.

The main purpose of this day is to encourage European citizens and the whole world not to forget all the children that are missing. Vice-President Barrot took part today in the presentation of the first Annual Report of Missing Children Europe, a European federation bringing together 21 NGOs active in 15 Member States in the fight against the disappearance and sexual abuse of children.

Also today, the Commission published the results of the first Eurobarometer survey focusing on young people aged 15 to 18. The survey reveals that the main concerns of young European citizens are “violence” against children and “the fight against sexual exploitation”. Mr Barrot confirmed that both of these are priorities for the European Commission.

Since the launch of the Communication “Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child” on 4 July 2006, the European Commission has worked ceaselessly in this area. The Communication is the practical expression of genuine political commitment and proposes the introduction of a comprehensive European strategy for the effective promotion and protection of the rights of the child within the framework of the European Union’s internal and external policies, and for supporting Member States’ efforts in this connection.

Among these priorities, the Commission is giving particular attention to rapid implementation of a European missing children helpline and to the development of a missing children alert system in each Member State.

The European Commission has reserved the number 116 000 as the European missing children helpline. To date, only six Member States have made any progress in this area: Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Another priority for the Commission is to put in place national missing children alert systems for cases of abduction where the child is in real danger and to develop links between national systems in cross-border cases. Progress is also slow in this area. It is essential that real advances be made in the coming months.
To show solidarity with all parents and missing children, Mr Barrot asked all European Commission staff to express their support for families affected by a disappearance by wearing a “forget-me-not” flower.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission
 
   

Eu funding : EIB, Commission sign MoU on coordination of external lending policy

Lundi 26 mai 2008

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Commission will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at furthering coordination of European Union external lending policies.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen the consistency of EIB lending with the external policy objectives of the EU by reinforcing dialogue and planning between the two institutions, so as to optimise the use of grant and loan resources.

“This increased collaboration with the EIB will improve our ability to finance projects outside the EU in a range of areas from energy, environment and infrastructure as well as in the private sector to the benefit of the populations concerned. It will facilitate coordination, coherence and synergies between EU assistance instruments and EIB financing, thus increasing the efficiency and visibility of EU action towards third countries,” said Joaquín Almunia, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner.

EIB President Philippe Maystadt also said: “This is an important milestone in the relationship between the EIB and European Commission. We already cooperate closely on policy matters within the Union. This agreement cements our role as the privileged financial partner for EU external relations.”

The Commission and the EIB are privileged partners in providing financing in support of EU policy objectives. The EIB has been lending outside the EU since 1963 with the support of an EU guarantee, complementing the Commission’s political and financial initiatives for third countries.

The key objective of the new EIB external mandate is to enhance the contribution of EIB financing towards EU priorities, particularly by strengthening the policy dialogue between the Commission and the EIB and through strategic planning and coherence between the external financing activities of the EIB and the Commission.

In order to provide the necessary framework for such enhanced cooperation, the Commission and the EIB have decided to conclude, a first MoU on external lending to define practical terms for dialogue, consultation and cooperation between the two institutions.

The 2006 Council Decision on the EIB external mandate foresees at least €25.8 billion of loans being made available over the period 2007-2013, broken down by region as follows:

* Pre-accession countries, including Croatia and Turkey: €8.7 billion
* Mediterranean: €8.7 billion
* Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Russia: €3.7 billion
* Latin America: €2.8 billion
* Asia: €1 billion
* Republic of South Africa: €900 million

Loans totalling €1.9 billion were already signed under the new mandate in 2007.

The mandate currently covers 59 countries and/or territories. The European Commission recently proposed extending it to five central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. EIB activity in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries is covered by the separate Cotonou agreement.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

Eu funding : Alterego European Competition

Jeudi 22 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for cooperation and exchanges in the field of youth and informal education and training.

Create your “double portrait”!

Imagine you were born in another European country, who would you be? Where would you go? What would you look like? This pan-European competition engages young people (14 to 18 years old) in 22 EU countries to create a ‘double portrait’ using film, photography, painting, music or mixed-media, and show it to people across Europe. The winner will receive a week’s training from high-profile artists in Denmark (16th – 21st of November 2008) and his/her work might become part of an exhibition touring throughout Europe between January and March 2009.
The deadline for uploading material is 5 September 2008; winners will be announced the 3 October 2008.

 
  Source:
Youth in action
 
  More information:
Alter Ego

Eu funding : Commission launches European Green Capital Award

Jeudi 22 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for the conservation of natural habitats, wild fauna and flora of European interest

The European Commission is launching a new annual European Green Capital Award, to be given each year to a city that is leading the way with environmentally friendly urban living.

The launch event will be held at 1800 on 22 May 2008 at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, where Commissioner Dimas will sign a Declaration establishing the award scheme together with Paddy Bourke, the Lord Mayor of Dublin and President of the Union of Capital Cities of the European Union. Cities may then apply via an online application form to be selected as the European Green Capital for 2010 and 2011. Mr Jüri Ratas, former Mayor of Tallinn and current Vice-President of the Estonian Parliament, who laid the ground for the award in May 2006, will also be present, along with other mayors. Any European city with a population of more than 200,000 can apply, and a jury will select the winning cities for 2010 and 2011 later on this year. The award is intended to help European cities become more attractive and healthy places – “fit for life”. The launch of the award also coincides with World Biodiversity Day.

Environmentally friendly frontrunners

Starting in 2010, one European city will be selected as the European Green Capital of the year. The award will be given to a city that has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, is permanently committed to ambitious action, further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices in all other European cities.

Urban Europe

The European Green Capital Award has been conceived as an initiative to promote and reward these efforts. The award shows that a city wants to – and does! - solve environmental problems so as to improve the quality of life of its citizens, and reduce the burden they impose on the global environment. It provides an incentive for cities to inspire each other and share best practices, while at the same time engaging in friendly competition.

Green cities of tomorrow

The award scheme is open to the 27 EU Member States, candidate countries (Turkey, FYROM and Croatia) and European Economic Area countries (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). All EU cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants can apply for the European Green Capital Award via an online application form. Entries will be assessed on the basis of ten environmental criteria including climate change, transport, air, waste and water. The deadline for applications for both the 2010 and 2011 titles is 1 October 2008, with jury selection leading to a decision later this year.

The jury is composed of representatives from the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), the Union of Capitals of the European Union and the Committee of the Regions.

22 May 2008 – World Biodiversity Day

The inauguration of the European Green Capital Award coincides with World Biodiversity Day this year and two of the indicators that will be used to assess the cities’ performance are linked to biodiversity: availability of local public green areas and sustainable land use.

Background

The European Green Capital Award is the outcome of an initiative taken by cities with a green vision. The concept was originally conceived at a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, held on 15 May 2006, at the initiative of Mr Jüri Ratas, a former mayor of Tallinn, where 15 European cities and the Association of Estonian cities signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of such an Award. Currently, more than 40 cities, including 21 EU capitals, support it.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

Eu funding : World Biodiversity Day

Jeudi 22 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for the conservation of natural habitats, wild fauna and flora of European interest

The Commission warns against biodiversity loss

Today is World Biodiversity Day, and yet biodiversity is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. The EU has a package of measures in place to try and halt the loss, with an action plan well under way, a huge network of protected areas nearing completion, and a major report forthcoming on the economic consequences of biodiversity loss.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “Biodiversity is the natural wealth of the Earth, the basis of life and the prosperity of mankind. But the pool of life is shrinking at an alarming rate. The message is clear: we are robbing ourselves of our own future. It is now vital to step up our actions to safeguard the variety of life on Earth.”

The Convention on Biological Diversity

Policymakers are aware of the problem, and in 2002 the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its 190 Contracting Parties pledged to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. The EU went a step further, and pledged to halt the loss altogether by the same date. Progress in the EU has been fair to date, but the world needs more national and international alliances between policymakers, scientists, the public and business to stop the loss. There is still a need to raise awareness.

The Convention is currently meeting in Bonn, Germany, where many related issues will be in the spotlight, including agriculture and forest biodiversity, deforestation, protected areas (including the need for increased funding and protected ocean areas), the biodiversity impacts of the increasing demand for biofuels, the harmonisation of biodiversity and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Biodiversity loss – an economic issue

Nature provides us with many benefits which are often taken for granted. An enormous number of medicines originate in natural products. Forests, grasslands and wetlands purify water and air; forests and farmland provide food, timber and other materials; tree cover in mountainous areas and around cities helps to reduce flooding and protects soils from erosion; insects pollinate crops and wild areas offer space for recreation.

The economic arguments for nature protection are beginning to enter mainstream thinking, but the approach is still new and more work is needed. Together with the German Environment Ministry, the Commission has therefore launched an initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity and highlight the cost of biodiversity loss and deteriorating ecosystems. The first results of the study will be presented at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn next week.

Natura 2000 is now bigger than the Amazon basin

One of the Commission’s biggest contributions to the fight against biodiversity loss is the Natura 2000 network. This is now the largest ecological network in the world, consisting of around 25,000 sites spread across 27 countries and covering an area bigger than the Amazon river basin. The green infrastructure it provides safeguards numerous ecosystem services and ensures that Europe’s natural systems remain healthy and resilient. The network makes it possible for rare animals such as the otter, the beaver and the wolf to re-populate areas from which they have been absent for centuries. It also serves to reconnects an increasingly urban society with nature.
The designation of land territory for Natura 2000 is approaching completion. The next big step will be the extension of the network to marine areas, which will be added in the next few years. The completed network will provide a solid basis for fighting biodiversity loss and securing natural ecosystems – our prosperity and future.

The Living Planet Index:

The Living Planet Index (LPI), published by the World Wide Fund for Nature, tracks nearly 4,000 wildlife populations, covering mammals, birds, fish amphibians and reptiles. The latest index shows an overall fall in population trends of 27% between 1970 and 2005. Marine species such as swordfish and scalloped hammerhead have been particularly badly affected, falling by 28% between 1995 and 2005. Seabird populations have suffered a rapid decline of about 30% since the mid-1990s.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

Prevention crucial to new animal health plan

Mercredi 21 mai 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for the implementation of strategies responding to threats to health, especially communicable diseases

Animals in Europe - from wild and farmyard animals to domestic pets - could soon come under the remit of a proposed EU-wide animal health strategy

Bird flu, BSE and foot and mouth disease have shown the danger that outbreaks of animal disease can pose to animals, the wider economy and to humans themselves. A parliamentary report on proposals by the Commission calls for minimal animal transport and more stress on vaccination.

Precautionary measures such as disease surveillance, controls and research lie at the heart of the Commission’s “Animal Health Strategy 2007-2013″. Increasing public health and food safety and improving conditions for animals are just some of its aims.

As well as less animal transport and more use of vaccination Mr Wojciechowski would like to see restrictions on the size of farms. He believes that very large farms with large livestock herds pose more of a danger than small ones.

Members of the Agriculture Committee have already endorsed the Commission’s strategy and the changes proposed in the Wojciechowski report. On Thursday the full house will vote on the report. The Commission’s proposals must be adopted under the codecision procedure as they cover human health and food safety. If MEPs support the proposals the Commission is expected to release an action plan and timetable between July and September this year. What is absolutely clear is the determination never to repeat the human and environmental cost of previous disasters.

 
  Source:
European Parliament