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Health and environment

 

MEPs question high pricing of certain life-saving medicines

Plenary Session Public health17-09-2014 - 11:56

The pharmaceutical industry is raising the prices of new, life-saving medicines ever higher, thus threatening the equal access to treatments while increasing the burden on healthcare systems, said MEPs during a debate with Council and the Commission on Tuesday. The issue will be discussed during the next informal Health Council meeting of 22-23 September. (Read more: MEPs question high pricing of certain life-saving medicines )

 
A girl walks past a slogan painted on a wall reading "Stop Ebola" in Monrovia on August 31, 2014. ©BELGA_AFP_D.FAGET  

The EU has a “moral obligation” to help the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, said health commissioner Tonio Borg. Speaking during a meeting with the Parliament's public health committee on 3 September, he added: "The more we contain it, the less the chances are for the disease to reach Europe." MEPs agreed more needed to be done, but highlighted there were budget limitations. They also underlined the importance of financing research. (Read more: Borg: EU has "moral obligation" to help countries affected by Ebola outbreak )

 

Rapa Iti: from Europe to the ends of the Earth

Others Environment20-08-2014 - 09:00
Polynesia - EP border story  

There is no airport at Rapa Iti and it takes 50 hours to get there by cargo ship from Tahiti. Boats travelling there are few and far between, making Rapa Iti one of the South Pacific’s most isolated islands, along with Pitcairn and Easter Island. Its dark and wild coast is overlooked by the forts of twelve ancient clans at the top of the sleeping volcano. Humpback whales can be seen from afar. But the people living in this slice of paradise are also EU citizens. (Read more: Rapa Iti: from Europe to the ends of the Earth )

 
In the summertime… The beach is king Infographic - Tourism / Environment23-07-2014 - 16:36

Summer has arrived and millions of Europeans have already started their holidays. Europe boasts countless beautiful beaches and according to the European Environmental Agency's 2013 report 95% of the EU’s bathing waters meet the minimum requirements for water safety. Croatia, Malta, Slovenia and Greece are only some of the countries with excellent quality coastal bathing waters. So which are the bluest of them all? (Read more: In the summertime… The beach is king )

 
 
World Environment Day  

“Raise your voice, not the sea level” is the motto of this year´s World Environment Day, which calls attention to the impact climate change has on small islands. The day is held on 5 June every year to raise awareness and encourage people to act to protect the environment. The European Parliament has been at the forefront of the world´s response to global warming, by adopting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by guiding the EU towards a low-carbon economy. (Read more: World Environment Day: Parliament's non-stop fight against climate change )

 

"Legal highs": the ins and outs of tackling uppers and downers

Plenary Session Public health17-04-2014 - 09:00
Drug test in a laboratory.©BELGA_SCIENCE  

New psychoactive substances, also known as "legal highs", can prove damaging or even lethal. On 17 April MEPs vote on new rules to enable these harmful substances to be quickly withdraw from the EU market. In a separate vote, they decide on more severe punishments for criminals who breach the ban on severe risk substances, including prison sentences of up to ten years. Read on for the lowdown on "legal highs". (Read more: "Legal highs": the ins and outs of tackling uppers and downers )

 

Parliament backs EU-wide plans to stem the spread of invasive alien species

Plenary Session Environment16-04-2014 - 13:29
Asian tiger mosquito feeding on a human blood.  

Measures to stop invasive alien species of plants animals or insects getting into the EU, or limit the ecological and economic damage caused by those that do, were backed by Parliament on Wednesday. The legislation bans species declared to be of “Union concern” and requires more and better-coordinated action by member states to tackle the threat. (Read more: Parliament backs EU-wide plans to stem the spread of invasive alien species )

 

MEPs clamp down on wasteful use of plastic carrier bags

Plenary Session Environment16-04-2014 - 13:14
A shopper with carrier bags as ministers have made a "complete mess" of moves to introduce a 5p charge on carrier bags in England  

EU countries would have to reduce the use of the most common and most polluting plastic bags by at at least 80% by 2019, under draft rules backed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs recommend using taxes and levies, marketing restrictions or bans. Plastic carrier bag litter is a major environmental problem, known to pollute water bodies and aquatic eco-systems in particular. (Read more: MEPs clamp down on wasteful use of plastic carrier bags )

 

Invasive alien species: "The damage and costs continue to increase"

Plenary Session Environment16-04-2014 - 11:36
Asian hornet preying on a bee  

One of the worst threats to Europe's biodiversity and ecosystems is plant and animals species coming from other countries and continents, which often cause the near extinction of native species. On 16 April MEPs approved new rules to tackle this issue. “Invasive alien species are the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss and they are also recognised as a major cause of species extinction,” said Pavel Poc, the MEP responsible for steering the proposal through the EP. (Read more: Invasive alien species: "The damage and costs continue to increase" )

 

Paulsen: Important to strike a balance between free trade and disease control

Plenary Session Public health15-04-2014 - 15:08
ITW with Mari Paulsen  

Animal diseases pose a significant risk to public health as most infectious diseases can spread between species. The European Parliament votes 15 April on new rules updating some 40 pieces of European legislation dating back to the 1960s. This would not only clarify who would be responsible for what, but also make prevention a higher priority. We spoke to Marit Paulsen (ALDE, Sweden), responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament, about the difference the new legislation would make. (Read more: Paulsen: Important to strike a balance between free trade and disease control )