Articles taggés avec ‘Member State of the European Union’

EU Funding: Third maritime safety package

Mardi 26 août 2008

In its work programme for the second half of 2008, the French Presidency has set itself the objective of making progress on the third maritime safety package (”Erika III”)

 
 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

Erika III consists of seven legislative proposals presented by the European Commission in November 2005. On the basis of five of these proposals, the EU Transport Council meeting on 6 June in Luxemburg adopted six common positions, which were subsequently transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading in the framework of the co-decision procedure. The Council seeks a swift agreement with the Parliament on the six dossiers.

The Erika III package intends to amend the existing European legislation on maritime safety and complete it by new measures. The texts agreed upon in the Council would strengthen the present provisions concerning the inspections carried out at ports on vessels flying foreign flags (port state controls) as well as the monitoring system set up in 2002 to enhance the safety and efficiency of maritime traffic in Community waters. They would also reinforce the control of the organisations which inspect ships and issue the relevant safety certificates on behalf of the flag states (so called classification societies). In addition, they foresee EU-wide rules governing the investigation of accidents at sea as well as compensation for passengers involved in maritime accidents.

Following the accidental oil spill of the tanker “Erika” in December 1999 off the French coast, the EU member states adopted in 2001 a set of measures (”Erika I” package) to improve safety at sea. Erika I, which entered into force on 22 July 2003, provided for stricter port state controls and the accelerated withdrawal of all single-hull oil tankers. Simultaneously, the requirements for classification societies were raised. These measures were supplemented in 2002 by the “Erika II” package, which included the creation of the Community vessel traffic monitoring system as well the establishment of the European Maritime Safety Agency to ensure the effective implementation of the EU’s maritime safety rules.

 
  Source:
EU Council

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EU Funding: European Union maintains trade preferences for developing countries

Vendredi 25 juillet 2008

The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by EU Member States of a new Regulation applying the EC’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for the period from 1 January 2009 until the end of 2011. .

This decision will allow the EU to maintain
preferential access to its market for 176 developing countries. The renewed preference
system will be updated and improved, ensuring that GSP is targeted at those countries that need it most. GSP provides real economic value to developing countries, with €57 billion worth of trade under the scheme in 2007

As a result of re-calculations to reflect the evolution of trade, preferences for specific product groups will be re-established for six beneficiary countries of GSP (Algeria, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Thailand). Preferences will be suspended for one country, Vietnam, for one product group, namely Section XII products (footwear and some other products). These adjustments are triggered automatically when a country’s performance on the EU market goes above or below a certain threshold. This procedure follows strict rules, and helps to ensure that the benefits of GSP preferences are targeted at the countries that need them most. Suspension of preferences, called “graduation”, reflects the fact that a particular country is competitive in the EU market for the products in question.

Alongside the standard GSP scheme, the EU also offers a special incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance, known as GSP+. GSP+ offers additional preferences to support vulnerable developing countries in their ratification and implementation of relevant international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. Interested countries have until 31 October this year to apply in order to benefit for GSP+ preferences from January 2009.

Background

The GSP is an autonomous trade arrangement through which the EU provides non-reciprocal preferential access to the EU market to 176 developing countries and territories. In 2007, developing countries exported €57 billion worth of goods under GSP, with a nominal duty loss for the EU of €2.5 billion. At present, 14 beneficiary countries receive the additional preferences offered under the GSP+ incentive arrangement. These preferences will lapse at the end of the year and both existing and potential new beneficiaries meeting the applicable criteria will need to apply before 31 October 2008 if they wish to receive GSP+ treatment from January 2009. A special arrangement for the 50 least-developed

 
  Source:
DG Trade

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EU Funding: Commission proposes to Member States to jointly address major societal challenges

Mardi 15 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.

Climate change, diseases, or energy are societal challenges shared by all EU countries

National research, which currently makes up 85% of all European public research funding, will have more impact if Member States pool their resources and better coordinate their efforts. The European Commission today proposed that Member States adopt a new approach of “Joint Programming”. It aims at tackling current compartmentalisation which undermines the efficiency of Europe’s research.

The Communication adopted today by the Commission “Towards Joint Programming in Research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively” proposes that Member States first identify a limited number of key challenges on which to focus their efforts, and then, agree on a common vision, develop and implement a Strategic Research Agenda for each area.

The Communication stresses that Joint Programming will be a voluntary process and need not involve all Member States in each specific initiative. It can relate to the coordination of existing national programmes, or the setting up of entirely new ones, pooling resources and collectively monitoring and reviewing progress. The Commission’s role is that of a facilitator and the implementation may or not may involve Community financing. If the EU Council of Ministers agrees with the proposal, Joint Programming Initiatives should be underway by 2010.

The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan and the foreseen Marine Research Strategy provide pilot experiences for this initiative.

Background

The Communication is one of five policy initiatives planned by the Commission to follow up the 2007 Green Paper “The European Research Area: New Perspectives” and is a further step in the creation of the “fifth freedom” by removing barriers to the free movement of knowledge.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU funding: All-inclusive air fares just around the corner as MEP back legislation on transparency

Mercredi 9 juillet 2008

Air travellers will soon be able to see at a glance exactly what they have to pay for their tickets, as Parliament approved new EU rules.

Air fares as displayed will have to include all taxes, fees and charges added to the basic ticket price and known at the time of publication. Parliament approved a deal on this legislation reached with the Council, as it takes on board the EP’s key first-reading amendments.
The price you actually have to pay

Booking via Internet - often the only possibility with low-cost air carriers - is a particular concern. Under the EU regulation, all carriers will in future have to provide the general public with comprehensive information, “including on the Internet,” on their air fares. Air fares that are “addressed directly to the travelling public” will have to include all applicable taxes, non-avoidable charges, surcharges and fees known at the time of publication.

The following information, at least, must be specified: air fare or air rate, taxes, airport charges and other charges, surcharges or fees, such as those related to security or fuel. Optional price supplements must be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of any booking process and their acceptance by the consumer must be on an “opt-in basis”.

Security taxes and charges

With security charges on the rise, MEPs successfully argued that the consumer has a right to know how high these costs are, and what they are used for. Where airport or on-board security costs are included in the price of an air ticket, these costs will have to be shown separately on the ticket or otherwise indicated to the passenger. And, whether levied by the Member States or by air carriers or other entities, security taxes and charges must be transparent and be used exclusively to meet airport or onboard aircraft security costs.

A wide-ranging regulation

The new rules on transparency of air fares are part of a regulation which updates existing EU legislation on a range of matters to do with the operation of air transport services in the Community.

Among other things, it aims to establish a level playing field for leasing aircraft and to clarify who has administrative responsibility for revoking or suspending licences.

In addition, stricter controls on the financial situation of airlines should ensure that, if a carrier is on the verge of going bankrupt, passengers’ rights can be safeguarded.

Moreover, Member States must now ensure the proper application of Community and national employment legislation to employees of any Community carrier operating air services from an operational base outside the Member State where that carrier has its principal place of business. In the past, the use of bases outside the country of origin has made it difficult to determine which territory’s employment laws apply to crews.

The new regulation should enter into force later this year or early next year.

 
  Source:
European Parliament

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