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What if we didn't need cows for our beef?

12-07-2019

With the help of cells from a single cow, scientists can produce 175 million hamburgers. What if we didn’t need cows for our beef? Technologies for producing cultured meat and dairy products will help feeding the world in a sustainable way. What if we could produce meat without farming? New technology within reach to produce meat with a very low eco-footprint

With the help of cells from a single cow, scientists can produce 175 million hamburgers. What if we didn’t need cows for our beef? Technologies for producing cultured meat and dairy products will help feeding the world in a sustainable way. What if we could produce meat without farming? New technology within reach to produce meat with a very low eco-footprint

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Environmental protection

28-06-2019

Through its environmental policy, the European Union (EU) has been improving Europeans' well-being since 1972. Today, the aim of EU environmental policy is to ensure that by 2050 we are living well, within the limits of the planet. To reach this goal, the EU is striving to move towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy, to safeguard biodiversity and to protect human health through legislation on air quality, chemicals, climate, nature, waste and water. Although this policy is delivering concrete ...

Through its environmental policy, the European Union (EU) has been improving Europeans' well-being since 1972. Today, the aim of EU environmental policy is to ensure that by 2050 we are living well, within the limits of the planet. To reach this goal, the EU is striving to move towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy, to safeguard biodiversity and to protect human health through legislation on air quality, chemicals, climate, nature, waste and water. Although this policy is delivering concrete benefits (such as a wide network of Natura 2000 protected areas, lower greenhouse gas emissions, increased resource recycling, and cleaner air and water), the outlook for the European environment 20 years from now shows a bleaker picture. Yet transitioning to sustainability could deliver a number of benefits beyond environmental protection, from jobs and economic activity to well-being and health. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, three quarters of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on environmental protection. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including waste management (for example new recycling targets, restrictions on plastic carrier bags, action on plastics, measures to tackle marine litter); climate (for example the 2030 greenhouse gas emission targets, and measures to decarbonise the transport sector); nature (primarily to improve the way EU rules on biodiversity protection are implemented); and air quality (new rules on maximum amounts of five key air pollutants that EU countries can emit into the atmosphere). The European Parliament has advocated ambitious policies in many of these areas. In the future, EU environment and climate spending is expected to rise. The Commission is proposing to boost the share of EU spending contributing to climate objectives from 20 % to 25 %, while Parliament has called for this share to be set at 30 %. In the coming years, policies are expected to focus on climate action, nature protection, air quality, the circular economy and pesticides. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

What if policy anticipated advances in science and technology?

26-06-2019

What if blockchain revolutionised voting? What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? And what if we genetically engineered an entire species? Science and policy are intricately connected. Via monthly 'What if' publications, the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA; part of the European Parliamentary Research Service) draws Members of the European Parliament's attention to new scientific and technological developments relevant for policy-making. The unit also provides administrative support to the ...

What if blockchain revolutionised voting? What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? And what if we genetically engineered an entire species? Science and policy are intricately connected. Via monthly 'What if' publications, the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA; part of the European Parliamentary Research Service) draws Members of the European Parliament's attention to new scientific and technological developments relevant for policy-making. The unit also provides administrative support to the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), which brings together 25 Members from nine different parliamentary committees who share a strong interest in science and technology in the context of policy-making.

Key issues in the European Council

20-06-2019

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues ...

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Outlook for the European Council and Euro Summit meetings, 20-21 June 2019

19-06-2019

The June 2019 European Council will discuss, and potentially agree on, high-level appointments to EU institutions and adopt the 2019-2024 strategic agenda. Other agenda topics are the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s common climate ambition, disinformation, enlargement and foreign policy issues, including relations with Russia. EU-27 leaders will meet for a Euro Summit in extended format to discuss the report submitted by the Eurogroup on EMU reforms.

The June 2019 European Council will discuss, and potentially agree on, high-level appointments to EU institutions and adopt the 2019-2024 strategic agenda. Other agenda topics are the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s common climate ambition, disinformation, enlargement and foreign policy issues, including relations with Russia. EU-27 leaders will meet for a Euro Summit in extended format to discuss the report submitted by the Eurogroup on EMU reforms.

Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter

17-06-2019

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding ...

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. After completion of the legislative procedure, the final act was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators (European Parliament and Council) on 5 June 2019, and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 12 June 2019. Member States have two years (i.e. until 3 July 2021) to transpose the new directive into national law. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Didier Bourguignon. document has been designed for on-line viewing.

European Council conclusions - A rolling check-list of commitments to date

14-06-2019

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is a new, updated and more comprehensive edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It distinguishes between four types of European Council conclusions (commitments, reviews, endorsements and statements) and indicates the follow-up given to calls for action made by EU leaders. It also offers an introductory analysis of each policy area, highlighting the background to the main orientations given by the European Council, as well as the follow-up to them and the future challenges.

Port reception facilities for ship waste: Collecting waste from ships in ports

07-06-2019

Marine litter and pollution put the marine environment at risk. While a great proportion of marine litter originates from land-based sources, limiting waste discharges from ships also plays an essential role in efforts to preserve marine and coastal ecosystems. Based on international law, EU legislation requires vessels to bring the waste they generate on voyages to waste-reception facilities in port, and obliges EU ports to provide such facilities to ships using the port. Despite these developments ...

Marine litter and pollution put the marine environment at risk. While a great proportion of marine litter originates from land-based sources, limiting waste discharges from ships also plays an essential role in efforts to preserve marine and coastal ecosystems. Based on international law, EU legislation requires vessels to bring the waste they generate on voyages to waste-reception facilities in port, and obliges EU ports to provide such facilities to ships using the port. Despite these developments, discharges at sea continue. In January 2018, the European Commission put forward a new legislative proposal seeking to improve the collection of ship waste while ensuring efficient maritime transport operations in ports. Interinstitutional negotiations concluded on 13 December 2018. The final text was adopted by the Parliament on 13 March 2019 and then by the Council on 29 March. The Directive was then signed on 17 April by the presidents of the two institutions and will be published in the Official Journal shortly.

CO2 standards for new cars and vans

28-05-2019

In November 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on reducing CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (vans). The proposed measures and targets are aligned with the 2030 climate and energy framework and with the energy union strategy, which envisages a reduction in transport emissions and energy consumption. The Commission sets new targets for the EU fleetwide average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans. Average CO2 emissions from new ...

In November 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on reducing CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (vans). The proposed measures and targets are aligned with the 2030 climate and energy framework and with the energy union strategy, which envisages a reduction in transport emissions and energy consumption. The Commission sets new targets for the EU fleetwide average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans. Average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans registered in the EU would have to be 15 % lower in 2025, and 30 % lower in 2030, compared to their respective limits in 2021. The proposal includes a dedicated incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles, in order to accelerate their market uptake. Interinstitutional trilogue negotiations concluded in December with an agreement setting a 37.5 % CO2 reduction target for new cars by 2030, and a 31 % target for new vans. Parliament approved the agreed text on 27 March 2019. The regulation was published in the Official Journal on 25 April 2019. It entered into force on 15 May 2019 and will apply from 1 January 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Living in the EU: Climate Change and Energy

30-04-2019

The European Union (EU) has been protecting the environment since the early 1970s, considering economic prosperity and environmental protection interdependent. As energy policies are a competence shared between the EU and its Member States (MS) joint strategic planning is strongly developed. Human activities can have adverse impacts on the environment, and subsequently on our well-being. Therefore, it is vital to monitor how MS perform in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy supply, ...

The European Union (EU) has been protecting the environment since the early 1970s, considering economic prosperity and environmental protection interdependent. As energy policies are a competence shared between the EU and its Member States (MS) joint strategic planning is strongly developed. Human activities can have adverse impacts on the environment, and subsequently on our well-being. Therefore, it is vital to monitor how MS perform in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy supply, considering that alongside the energy model, human behaviour of EU citizens represents the key element to prevent climate change.

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