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ASEP10 gives priority to climate change

21-09-2018

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

Guidelines for submission and evaluation of applications for the approval of active substances in pesticides

21-09-2018

Active substances are an essential element of pesticides. The approval of active substance occurs at EU level, and guidance documents and guidelines for this procedure exist. They aim to clarify, harmonise and standardise the complex approval process. This study examines the guidance and guidelines which exist for active substance approval; the level of harmonisation among them; the connection to the good laboratory practice (GLP) principles; and provides an overview of the studies which are required ...

Active substances are an essential element of pesticides. The approval of active substance occurs at EU level, and guidance documents and guidelines for this procedure exist. They aim to clarify, harmonise and standardise the complex approval process. This study examines the guidance and guidelines which exist for active substance approval; the level of harmonisation among them; the connection to the good laboratory practice (GLP) principles; and provides an overview of the studies which are required for active substance approval.

Autor externo

John NGANGA, Michela BISONNI and Maria CHRISTODOULOU, Agra CEAS Consulting IEG

Setting CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles

13-09-2018

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposal for a regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for some categories of new 'rigid lorries' and 'tractors'. The proposal seeks to contribute to achieving the climate target set by the Paris Agreement, adopted on 12 December 2015, i.e. 'holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts ...

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposal for a regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for some categories of new 'rigid lorries' and 'tractors'. The proposal seeks to contribute to achieving the climate target set by the Paris Agreement, adopted on 12 December 2015, i.e. 'holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels'. In addition, it intends to help Member States achieving the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets in the road transport sector for the period 2021-2030 set by the 'effort sharing' regulation proposed by the Commission. The appraisal concludes that the impact assessment clearly defines the problems to be addressed, although in a couple of cases only one option is considered (in addition to the baseline). In such cases, the Commission's approach appears not to be entirely in line with the better regulation toolbox. The analysis carried out appears to be sound and well evidenced, providing ample and detailed insight into the issues considered. The analysis of impacts focuses on the economic and environmental dimension, consistently with the manner in which the problems have been defined. Their quantitative assessment is based on three models which, according to the IA, have already been 'successfully' used in previous impact assessment regarding transport, energy and climate policies, The IA appears to have addressed all of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board's recommendations, and the legislative proposal seems to be consistent with the analysis carried out in the IA.

Mandatory origin-labelling schemes in Member States

12-09-2018

Eight EU Member States have launched, or are about to launch, national mandatory labelling schemes for certain food products, mainly for milk and milk used in dairy products, but also meat used in processed foods. The regulatory basis for these national measures is the Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, which allows Member States to adopt additional national measures concerning the mandatory labelling of foodstuffs, as long as these are justified by reasons specifically ...

Eight EU Member States have launched, or are about to launch, national mandatory labelling schemes for certain food products, mainly for milk and milk used in dairy products, but also meat used in processed foods. The regulatory basis for these national measures is the Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, which allows Member States to adopt additional national measures concerning the mandatory labelling of foodstuffs, as long as these are justified by reasons specifically defined in the regulation. The European Parliament has been supporting origin labelling in several resolutions. Consumer organisations have advocated it as well, while many industry stakeholders have highlighted the practical difficulties and costs it would bring. The European Commission has reiterated its position, based on its reports exploring the issue, that voluntary origin labelling is the best option at European level.

Fact-finding visit to Spain - 19 - 21 September 2018

12-09-2018

This briefing provides background information on the history, the development and the current situation of the Doñana National Park in the south of Spain. The PETI Committee has received a number of petitions on environmental issues concerning Doñana and decided to send a small delegation of its members on a fact-finding visit to the area. The briefing also provides the latest information on the state of play of the petitions, in particular with regard to the response of the European Commission to ...

This briefing provides background information on the history, the development and the current situation of the Doñana National Park in the south of Spain. The PETI Committee has received a number of petitions on environmental issues concerning Doñana and decided to send a small delegation of its members on a fact-finding visit to the area. The briefing also provides the latest information on the state of play of the petitions, in particular with regard to the response of the European Commission to the petitions.

Material use in the European Union: Towards a circular approach

11-09-2018

Global material use has tripled during the past four decades, in particular as a result of increasing living standards. The use of materials, which need to be extracted from our environment, can pose environmental challenges. It can also be threatened by resource scarcity and price volatility. This is particularly true for Europe, which is strongly dependent on imported materials. There are a number of ways to consider material use in the European Union (EU). The breakdown of material use by types ...

Global material use has tripled during the past four decades, in particular as a result of increasing living standards. The use of materials, which need to be extracted from our environment, can pose environmental challenges. It can also be threatened by resource scarcity and price volatility. This is particularly true for Europe, which is strongly dependent on imported materials. There are a number of ways to consider material use in the European Union (EU). The breakdown of material use by types of materials indicates that non-metallic minerals, which include sand and gravel, account for almost half of the materials used in the EU. Material flows provide an overall picture of how materials enter, are used and finally leave the economy. Some of these materials stay in stocks, which are growing year after year. However, the efficiency of material use, measured through resource productivity, has increased substantially since 2000, in part as a result of the economic crisis. Material use in the EU is steered by policies related to different areas such as energy, waste and industry. Relevant policy documents include the 2011 roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe, the 2013 seventh Environment Action Programme and the 2015 circular economy action plan. The EU supports these policies with funding. Funding channels include the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation, which allocated about €635 million between 2014 and 2020 for research on raw-material-related challenges. The European structural and investment funds also support developing more efficient material use practices. The European Parliament has advocated making the use of harmonised indicators for resource efficiency legally binding in the Member States and setting targets for increasing resource efficiency. Parliament has also supported broadening the scope of eco-design requirements to gradually include all relevant resource-efficiency features in product-design requirements.

Revision of the Drinking Water Directive

10-09-2018

On 1 February 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a recast of the Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption (the Drinking Water Directive). The proposal responds to the European Citizens' Initiative, Right2Water, and builds on a fitness check which concluded that the 20-year old directive is fit for purpose, but needs updating. The main elements of the proposal consist of updating the water quality standards, introducing a risk-based approach to the monitoring ...

On 1 February 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a recast of the Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption (the Drinking Water Directive). The proposal responds to the European Citizens' Initiative, Right2Water, and builds on a fitness check which concluded that the 20-year old directive is fit for purpose, but needs updating. The main elements of the proposal consist of updating the water quality standards, introducing a risk-based approach to the monitoring of water, improving and streamlining the information provided to consumers, harmonising the standards for products in contact with drinking water, and imposing obligations to improve access to water. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) considered the draft report on 7 June 2018; the vote in committee is planned for 10 September 2018. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

What if technologies challenged our ethical norms?

06-09-2018

Exploring the relationship between ethics and technological innovation has always been a challenging task for policy-makers. Ethical considerations concerning the impact of research and innovation (R&I) are increasingly important owing to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advances in science and technology. The multiplication of legal references to ethical principles and the mushrooming of ad hoc ethics committees indicate ...

Exploring the relationship between ethics and technological innovation has always been a challenging task for policy-makers. Ethical considerations concerning the impact of research and innovation (R&I) are increasingly important owing to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advances in science and technology. The multiplication of legal references to ethical principles and the mushrooming of ad hoc ethics committees indicate the institutional embedding of ethics into the scientific research process as such, but also into an increasing array of technological trajectories. Yet the rapid development of disruptive technologies means that social and ethical norms often struggle to keep up with technological development. But what if disruptive technologies were to challenge traditional ethical norms and structures?

What if technologies had their own ethical standards?

06-09-2018

Technologies are often seen either as objects of ethical scrutiny or as challenging traditional ethical norms. The advent of autonomous machines, deep learning and big data techniques, blockchain applications and 'smart' technological products raises the need to introduce ethical norms into these devices. The very act of building new and emerging technologies has also become the act of creating specific moral systems within which human and artificial agents will interact through transactions with ...

Technologies are often seen either as objects of ethical scrutiny or as challenging traditional ethical norms. The advent of autonomous machines, deep learning and big data techniques, blockchain applications and 'smart' technological products raises the need to introduce ethical norms into these devices. The very act of building new and emerging technologies has also become the act of creating specific moral systems within which human and artificial agents will interact through transactions with moral implications. But what if technologies introduced and defined their own ethical standards?

Setting minimum requirements for water reuse

06-09-2018

The Commission proposal aims to increase the uptake of water reuse for agricultural irrigation. The supporting impact assessment (IA) is based on extensive data and analysis. The range of options, the scope and the analysis of impacts, and the stakeholder consultation seem to have been done in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines. However, the objectives set in the IA are not time-bound, nor measurable. Furthermore, proportionality of the options and the presentation of the problem could be ...

The Commission proposal aims to increase the uptake of water reuse for agricultural irrigation. The supporting impact assessment (IA) is based on extensive data and analysis. The range of options, the scope and the analysis of impacts, and the stakeholder consultation seem to have been done in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines. However, the objectives set in the IA are not time-bound, nor measurable. Furthermore, proportionality of the options and the presentation of the problem could be improved.

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