Archive pour juillet 2010

Key regulation adopted by the Commission for the Single European Sky (SES II)

Vendredi 30 juillet 2010

The Commission has approved the keystone of the SES II, the performance implementing regulation, and the designation of a dedicated body to supervise compliance with this rule, sixteen months before the deadline of December 2011 set by the legislator.

What is SES II?

The original Single European Sky (SES I) package came into force in 2004. At the time, the greatest problem in air traffic management was congestion in the air and subsequent delays hence it also became the main focus of SES I, together with safety. Since then, whilst safety and capacity are still major issues, the picture has become more varied with a greater emphasis on environment and more recently due to the fuel price crisis, on cost efficiency. Additionally, the regulatory approach has been changed for a less prescriptive approach (”better regulation”). The updated SES II package is tackling all these challenges.

Facts and figures on the European Sky

Today

* European Aviation market : a €140 billion business in 2006
* +/- 150 airlines
* 730 million passengers in 2006
* 1,000 airports
* 25,000 aircraft on average per day
* 1,000 air traffic control sectors
* 12 traffic bottlenecks account for 80% of delays
* Air traffic control/management costs €8 billions for 9 millions flights per year
* Airlines incurred €9 billions losses in 2009 because of the crisis
* The volcanic ash cloud crisis costed airlines some €1.26 billion in a week
* In 2007, delays generated an additional €1.3 billion of costs to airlines.
* Flight inefficiencies generate substantial additional fuel burn – estimated at more than €1 billion per year - and generate some additional 16 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Tomorrow

* Reduce the cost of flying by 50%
* Decrease the environmental impact of flights by 10%
* Allow continuous increase of capacity while reducing delays
* Further enhance high level of safety De-fragment European airspace by creating nine Functional airspace blocks.
* Improve performance of air navigation services with regard to safety, environment, cost-efficiency and capacity
* Establish a single authority to manage the European network, in order to allow optimum use of airspace and allocate scarce resources.

Next step

The next important step, to be achieved by the end of 2010, shall be the designation of a single manager for the whole European network to ensure the optimum use of the airspace and coordinate the allocation of scarce resources (such as frequencies and codes).

EDPS calls for more protection for the Internal Market Information System

Vendredi 30 juillet 2010

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) addressed a letter last week to the Internal Market and Services Directorate General of the Commission (DG MARKT), in which he explained the further progress needed on the issues raised in the Commission Report on the state of data protection in the Internal Market Information System (IMI).

IMI is an online application that allows Member States to cooperate with each other in order to improve the implementation of Internal Market legislation. This also involves recording and sharing of relevant personal data.

The EDPS welcomes the progress made thus far and encourages the Commission to implement further safeguards, using the principles of Privacy by design, and to continue cooperating, as necessary, with data protection authorities in Member States.

Importantly, the EDPS also calls on the Commission to adopt a new legal instrument in order to establish a more comprehensive data protection framework for IMI.

Taking into account the expected scale and complexity of the system, as well as the need to obtain some experience with the practical use of IMI, the EDPS was sensitive to the Commission’s preference for a step-by-step approach. Based on this approach, significant progress has been made. While the EDPS is pleased with the results so far, it will be inevitable for an important and complex European information system such as IMI, that a binding legislative instrument be adopted as a subsequent step, preferably under the ordinary legislative procedure. Work on the development of such an instrument should take into account the first experiences with IMI and should start as soon as possible.

The EDPS will also consider the need for a joint meeting with national - and, where relevant, sub-national - data protection authorities in due course, to look into issues that may arise in the context of supervision or further consultation with regard to IMI.

Background information

IMI is an online application that allows national, regional and local authorities in European Union Member States to communicate quickly and easily with their counterparts in other European countries. IMI helps users find the right authority to contact in another country and communicate with them using pre-translated sets of standard questions and answers. IMI is designed as a flexible system that can be used for many pieces of single market legislation. Currently, it covers the following directives: the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC) and the Services Directive (2006/123/EC).

EU - Georgia negotiations on the protection of Geographical Indications

Vendredi 30 juillet 2010

The text of the agreement between EU and Georgia regarding the protection of their respective Geographical Indications was initialled yesterday. This agreement will promote and foster trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs originating in the territories of both Georgia and the European Union.

Georgia is the first among the EU Neighbourhood Countries to take this important step forward in promoting and protecting the quality of the agricultural production. The use of a geographical indication will act as a certification that a product possesses certain qualities, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to the fact that it has been produced in a determined region and following specific procedures.

This agreement is a response to the willingness expressed by the EU Member States to promote the protection of Geographical Indications internationally and is a reflection of the converging views of the European Union and Georgia on matters like consumer protection and intellectual property.

Georgia is traditionally renowned for the quality of its agricultural production, its cuisine and its hospitality. The objective of these negotiations was to reduce misuses and abuses of the names of products. It will also better protect consumer rights in terms of not being misled on the true origin of the product, and the respect of traditions.

The development of the geographical indications will significantly contribute to the diversification of the wine production. The initial protection of 18 wine Geographical Indications originating from Georgia, such as Khvanchkara, Tvishi, Kindzmarauli, Saperavi, Mukuzani, and others, could be of stimulus and example for the application of this kind of protection in other categories of products. It might also encourage the development of new initiatives for tourism and the launch of new marketing strategies.

The Agreement should serve as a dynamic instrument that will lead to the improvement of the quality of the products traded between the European Union and Georgia. It will introduce a mechanism for updates and for regular consultations, which will be of particular utility when it comes to integrating new products in the list of the Geographical Indications.

Through this agreement, Georgia is adapting its domestic legislation to the highest international standards on the protection of intellectual property rights. The Geographical Indications system is a cornerstone of EU quality policy, with a steady progression of registrations. Today, around 3 000 products have been registered. These procedures will undoubtedly contribute to the development of those rural areas that have been producing wine and food following century long traditions.

Bilateral agreements have been concluded or are under negotiation with most of the EU’s trading partners. The same position is defended by the EU at multilateral level, namely in the World Trade Organization.

The Agreement will have to be signed and submitted to the approval of the respective legislative authorities before its final entry into force.

PROGRESS publishes its annual report 2009

Vendredi 30 juillet 2010

It presents the results of the performance of the European Union programme for employment and social solidarity — Progress (2007–13) against the commitments made in the programme’s strategic framework and detailed in the annual work plan 2009.

The Report provides further evidence of PROGRESS’ added value - a programme which has made an important contribution to improving EU legislation, policy making and policy implementation. In contrast to previous editions, this report gives a more qualitative account of how Progress-funded activities have actually contributed to the achievements of EU policy goals and illustrates their concrete benefits for Europeans. The report highlights some of the most successful actions that have led to significant and lasting effects for the Member States, for example, in terms of policy transfer and mutual learning. It also gives recommendations on actions to enhance the programme’s efficiency and effectiveness.

The Committee of the Regions supports the policy of the European Commission to fight discrimination against Roma

Jeudi 29 juillet 2010

The Committee of the Regions has prepared a draft report to the center of which is the fight against prejudice and hostile attitudes concerning Roma. Concrete measures to improve the integration of Roma populations are presented. The Assembly of regional and local representatives of the EU, supporting the position of the Commission in this regard, calls upon Member States, regions and local authorities to vigorously enforce the fundamental rights enshrined in EU treaties and fight all forms of discrimination against Roma people. This should include better awareness of national, regional and local measures to prevent improper or illegal.

The proposals will be discussed in Brussels on 29 September in the presence of Lívia Járóka, the European Parliament rapporteur on the Roma issue and herself a member of the Roma minority.

The CoR president, Mercedes Bresso has stated that the Roma community continued to be frequent victims of discrimination and social exclusion in European as well as other countries, which was a breach of the fundamental values of the European Union and human rights. He added that there was clearly a need to raise national, regional and local administrations awareness of their responsibility to respect the fundamental rights of every European citizen.

In his draft opinion, the CoR rapporteur Alvaro Ancisi (EPP/IT) points out that the EU and the Member States bore a shared responsibility towards the Roma people and that there was a need to put the values underpinning the EU into practice, so as to combat discrimination and expressions of xenophobia and encourage the inclusion of the EU’s largest ethnic minority group.

The integration of the Roma people, who are estimated to number some 10 to 12 million, is the responsibility of the Member States and the EU institutions. However, the CoR is concerned about the effectiveness of current policies, which suffer from lack of awareness about the Roma population among local authorities.
The diagnosis of the situation by the rapporteur, a member of Ravenna municipal council, denounced that while the instruments and policies adopted at EU level to encourage the inclusion of the Roma people were appropriate, implementation at national, regional and local levels was lacking owing both to the absence of strong partnerships and coordination mechanisms and to a local-level failure to implement instruments that could alter the practical living conditions of the Roma. He went on to add that these shortcomings and the difficulties faced by local authorities could not be ascribed simply to prejudice and stereotyping on the part of local administrations and communities but also, more generally, were the responsibility of the national governments that defined the legislative backdrop, and resulted from the not always clear-cut distribution of competences between the various tiers of government when it came to the fight against social exclusion and from insufficient cooperation between central and local government.

To remedy the situation, the CoR rapporteur proposes solutions at three levels : At European level, he hopes to see the establishment of a strategy for the implementation of common policies in the various Member States, and access to European funds for projects undertaken by local authorities. At national level, he believes that there is an urgent need for Member States to adopt legislation to render European anti-discrimination and pro-rights legislation effective and applicable. At local and regional level the rapporteur believes there is a need for territorially integrated regional policies and cooperation arrangements with the countries of origin of Roma migrants.

EU opens accession negotiations with Iceland

Mercredi 28 juillet 2010

The first intergovernmental conference on the accession of Iceland to the European Union was held in Brussels today, formally opening accession negotiations with this country. The Belgian Presidency delivered the EU Negotiating Framework, which outlines the principles, substance and procedures guiding the negotiations with Iceland, thus paving the way for the upcoming accession talks between Iceland and the EU.

Before actual chapter by chapter negotiations start between Iceland and the EU Member States, the ’screening’ process will provide an in-depth analysis of the EU rules and regulations with which the country must comply (the so-called acquis). This process, estimated to last from November this year to mid-2011, will allow Iceland to familiarise itself with the acquis and the Commission to assess how prepared Iceland is for EU membership. Once screening has been completed, individual chapters can be opened for negotiations between the EU Member States and Iceland.

In the framework of the IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession), the Commission will continue to support Iceland’s accession process through pre-accession funding to help the country further align its laws with the acquis, as well as providing objective information on the EU and its policies.

Background

The Negotiating Framework is the core reference for the accession negotiations with a candidate country. It points out areas where special efforts are necessary to fulfil the accession criteria, which in the case of Iceland include fisheries, agriculture and rural development, environment, free movement of capital, and financial services.

Iceland is the third country with which the EU is currently negotiating accession, after Croatia and Turkey, which both opened accession negotiations in 2005.

Europe 2020: Competitiveness, cooperation and cohesion for all regions

Mardi 27 juillet 2010

Between 4 and 7 October 2010, the OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities will be held for the eighth time in Brussels. Registration is now open. Once again, around 100 seminars, workshops, debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities for around 6 000 participants will be organised by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission, in partnership with regions and cities from all over Europe, companies, banks and international associations and academic organisations. CoR headquarters will host the OPEN DAYS “meeting place” with two thematic villages showcasing best practise and local action on climate change and on trans-border cooperation in Europe. The official OPEN DAYS media centre, for 250 to 300 journalists, will also be located at the Committee of the Regions.

The OPEN DAYS are organised jointly each year by the Committee of the Regions, the EU’s assembly of regional and local representatives, and the European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate-General (DG REGIO). The 2010 event will also include 28 regional partnerships, who will organise around a third of the more than 130 conferences and seminars to be held between 4-7 October in Brussels. The other two thirds will be organised by the CoR and DG REGIO.

The reform of cohesion policy post-2013 and the local dimension of the “Europe 2020 strategy” will dominate the 8th European Week of Regions and Cities. Workshops and seminars will concentrate on the three key issues of competitiveness, cooperation and cohesion and will highlight the concerns and demands of regions and cities in the run-up to the adoption by the European Commission of its 5th cohesion report, an assessment of the current state of play that will influence the Commission’s thinking on the policy post-2013.

The OPEN DAYS also involve the European Parliament, private companies and financial institutions. The latter will showcase the role of public-private partnerships in developing a greener economy” and “territorial cooperation – the themes of two “villages” hosted by the CoR. In addition, the OPEN DAYS University, which brings together top-level scholars and researchers in the field of regional and urban development, will address the issue of EU cohesion policy from a more academic point of view.

A total of 6 000 participants, representing local, regional and national authorities, academia, EU officials and media, are expected to attend the 2010 event. In addition, under the label “Europe in our Region/City”, another 260 local events will be organised all over Europe to reach an even wider public of more than 25 000.

The EU launched its own diplomatic service

Mardi 27 juillet 2010

The European Union officially launched Monday, July 26, his new foreign service, the European External Action Service, at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

This article is only available in french.

The difficult implementation of the international commitments against deforestation

Mardi 27 juillet 2010

Center for Strategic Analysis in June organized a seminar on assistance, deforestation and fragile states. The opportunity to take stock of the international commitments in the fight against deforestation and their implementation.

This article is only available in french.

European Project for the closure of coal mines

Lundi 26 juillet 2010

All unprofitable receiving grants coal mines must be closed before 2014. The European Commission had granted an exception to the coal sector, which employs a total of more than 97,000 people in the EU. This exemption allows operating aid and is to expire at the end of the year. Brussels proposes to extend it until 2014 and not 2022 as said in an earlier text.

Texte disponible en francais uniquement