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Rare diseases – defined as diseases that affect no more than one person in 2 000 – currently impact between 30 and 35 million EU citizens. Limited patient volume hinders research on these diseases, to the detriment of understanding of their biology, recruitment to clinical trials and survival rates. Real-time sharing of primary health data within and between rare disease healthcare centres and across Member States is feasible but there are obstacles. This report focuses on childhood cancer as a rare ...

Air pollution is the single most significant environmental health risk in the European Union, causing chronic disease and premature mortality. Some 300 000 premature deaths are caused by fine particulate matter annually in the EU, and the annual economic cost of air pollution is at least €330 billion. Industrial plants are a significant source of air pollution, releasing a wide range of harmful pollutants that can seriously impact on human health and the environment. While previous research has examined ...

Alternative proteins are of increasing interest in terms of their potential to improve food security and reduce the environmental impacts of food and feed production. This study assesses the current state and future prospects of protein production globally and in the EU to 2050, with a focus on conventional and alternative protein sources for food and feed. While projections show increased conventional protein needs up to 2050, climate change necessitates exploring non-linear scenarios and the potential ...

Academic freedom is widely acknowledged both as a fundamental value of present-day higher education and science, and as a prerequisite for well-functioning democratic societies. Yet in recent years, major concerns about the state of academic freedom in the European Union have been raised by various stakeholders. The European Parliament launched an annual EP Academic Freedom Monitor in 2022, aimed at helping to strengthen the protection of academic freedom in the European Union. This report presents ...

Health is a fundamental human right, and achieving equality in access to medicines is crucial for ensuring public health. The current system of innovation strongly relies on the private sector, while remuneration of innovation is mainly based on exclusivities. This system presents several issues, such as innovation being driven by market size, the partial misalignment between industry’s research and development (R&D) priorities and public health goals, access constraints, and the scarcity of disruptive ...

An effective climate labelling scheme requires a methodology, a database, and a label format that allows consistent comparison both within and across product categories. To this end, we analyse the EU product environmental footprint (PEF) methodology, the state of databases on climate footprints, the current knowledge on effective label design, and relevant EU regulation. Based on this analysis, we conclude that further preparation is required before a voluntary, horizontal climate labelling scheme ...

The development of a European digital public space in which all European citizens could inform themselves about current affairs would be a great opportunity. While online platform operators from the United States and China provide various different digital media and also meeting spaces, these often lack democratic discourse and at the same time increase polarisation and division by concentrating and rewarding those types of content that generate outrage. Freedom of expression, and the possibility ...

Robot applications, including 'collaborative robots' – cobots – designed to collaborate with humans, are in high demand, with sales and installation figures constantly on the rise. However, it is necessary to analyse the risks and opportunities of this technology and its possible social, economic, and ethical impacts. This study presents the current state of collaborative robotics, its benefits, and its disadvantages, with a special emphasis on key aspects such as safety. It presents possible policy ...

The fishing sector is facing major challenges in the accelerating energy crisis, owing to its high dependency on the stable supply of fossil fuels at low prices. This report reviews the literature on drivers of energy use, identifies potential reduction measures and provides an overview of opportunities for using alternative fuels in the fishing sector. Each measure is evaluated in terms of greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and costs, and challenges and policy options that could facilitate ...

The current situation in Ukraine has led to severe supply chain disruptions, contributing to a sharp increase in food and commodity prices globally and the limitation of fossil fuel imports from Russia to the EU. Moreover, to end Europe's dependence on semiconductor suppliers from Asian countries, it is necessary to take immediate action of a structural nature, involving all EU Member States and all participants in regional supply markets. The overall aim of this study was to identify drivers of ...