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Health and environment


European Parliament to offset its 2015 carbon emissions

Others Environment25-07-2016 - 15:05

The European Parliament aims to become the first 100% carbon neutral EU institution, as decided at the end of last year by the Bureau (President, Vice-Presidents and Quaestors). In order to fulfil this commitment, a call for tender was opened on 16 July 2016. (Read more: European Parliament to offset its 2015 carbon emissions )


The EU needs a common definition of “normal car use”, says Renault. Diesel engine NOx emissions are the price paid to hit lower CO2 targets, says the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. But Volkswagen is ashamed of cheating to beat strict US emissions laws. So said contributors to the “triple bill” of hearings in held by the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) on Wednesday and Thursday. Its work will continue after the summer break. (Read more: Car emissions: manufacturers and a former EU Commissioner quizzed by MEPs )

Diesel emission check ©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

Parliament's inquiry committee into car emissions measurements continues its investigation this week by questioning industry representatives as well as former Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. Committee chair Kathleen Van Brempt, a Belgian member of the S&D group, also takes part in a Facebook live session on Thursday from 14.00 CET, giving you the chance to ask her everything you wanted to know about this investigation. (Read more: Dieselgate: inquiry committee questions industry and Commission representatives )


Parliament vetoes energy drink “alertness” claims

Plenary Session Public health07-07-2016 - 12:55

EU Commission plans to allow claims that sugary drinks and energy drinks containing caffeine boost “alertness” or “concentration” were vetoed by the European Parliament on Thursday. Displaying these claims on drinks cans would have led to higher sugar consumption among adolescents, who are the largest group of energy drink consumers, said MEPs in their resolution. (Read more: Parliament vetoes energy drink “alertness” claims )


Parliament backs emission curbs for off-road machinery

Plenary Session Environment05-07-2016 - 13:46
A snow groomer machine ©AP Images/ European Union-EP  

Plans to update EU type approval rules and emission limits for internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), such as lawn mowers, bulldozers, diesel locomotives and inland waterway vessels, were backed by MEPs on Wednesday. These plans had already been agreed informally with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. NRMM engines account for about 15% of all NOx and 5% of particulate emissions in the EU. (Read more: Parliament backs emission curbs for off-road machinery )


Air quality legislation: MEPs strike deal with Council

ENVI Environment01-07-2016 - 16:58

Plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of key pollutants by 2030, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, were informally agreed by MEPs and the Dutch presidency of the Council on Thursday. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU per year. The agreement now needs to be endorsed by the Environment Committee and Parliament as a whole. (Read more: Air quality legislation: MEPs strike deal with Council )


Draft plans to tighten up official controls from farm to fork were informally agreed by food safety MEPs and the Dutch Presidency of the Council on Wednesday. It aims to guarantee that the food consumers buy and eat in Europe is safe and wholesome, hence improving consumer’s health and preventing food crises. (Read more: MEPs and ministers agree to beef up official food checks from farm to fork )

Close up of hand holding silicon breast implant  

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, were backed by Health Committee MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs also approved legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both files were informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. (Read more: Medical devices: Health Committee MEPs approve stricter EU safety requirements )


Sugary drinks and energy drinks containing caffeine should not display claims that they help increase alertness or concentration, as this would encourage high consumption of sugar among adolescents, who are the largest group of energy drink consumers, said Health committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. (Read more: Health Committee MEPs ask Parliament to veto energy drink “alertness” claims )


Should energy and sugary drinks be allowed to claim on their labels that the caffeine in them boosts alertness and concentration? Parliament's public health and food safety committee fears this could affect children and teenagers, who are the main consumers of energy drinks. On Wednesday 15 June, committee members discuss whether to vote against a European Commission proposal allowing this. We talked to Christel Schaldemose, in charge of steering the plans through Parliament, why she opposes it. (Read more: Schaldemose: "Energy drinks shouldn't have any kind of health claims on them" )