EU Ministers discuss the draft directive on indirect land-use change

Ministers were invited to answer two questions raised by the presidency, one focussing on whether the draft directive adequately fulfils its objectives of addressing indirect land-use change emissions and encouraging the transition to advanced biofuels, and the second relating to its support for the achievement of the existing energy and climate change objectives in the EU.

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A Commission's report shows the improvement of the protection from second hand smoke in the EU in 2012

The European Commission published a report that shows that in 2012 in 28% of Europeans were exposed to second hand smoke in bars in 2012 – down from 46% in 2009. In addition, the report dispels concerns about smoking bans impacting negatively on the revenues of bars and restaurants, by showing that the economic impact has been limited, neutral and even positive over time.

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MEPs and Council negotiators reached a provisional deal on proposed legislation for the safety of offshore oil and gas …

The European Parliament and the Council negotiators a political agreement on offshore legislation. Among the points agreed, the directive would require oil and gas firms to submit major hazard reports and emergency response plans and prove their ability to remedy any environmental damage caused, before could get a licence to drill. The European Parliament and Council are expected to formally approve the legislation in the coming months.

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€3786 million for GMES programme allocated in the proposed multiannual financial framework

The European Space Agency (ESA) welcomed the Council decision to secure the Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme (GMES) EU funding through 2020. Within the new multiannual financial framework, €3786 million was allocated for GMES. ESA highlights that this amount covers GMES Services, In-Situ Component (a network of sensors on the ground, at sea and in the air) and the Space Component, securing funding for the programme’s long-term operational phase.

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New LeaderSHIP 2020 strategy to increase the competitiveness of European maritime technology

The European Commission presented a strategy aimed at increasing the competitiveness of European maritime technology. The LeaderSHIP 2020 strategy's recommendations range from the wider use of EU instruments to foster new skills, competence and qualifications, to Public Private Partnerships for new maritime research, EIB funding opportunities and smart specialisation strategies in regional policy.

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New action plan from the Commission to detect fraud in the marketing of foods

The European Commission is co-financing a plan to start immediately for one month that includes the establishment of the presence of unlabelled horse meat in foods, and the detection of possible residues of phenylbutazone in horse meat. Phenylbutazone is a veterinary medicinal product whose use in food producing animals, including horses, is illegal.

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The European Economic and Social Committee calls for adopting a common energy tax regime

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion which states that if the EU is to meet its energy and climate policy goals, it will need to adopt a common energy tax regime. The opinion suggested creating a common tax framework which would link the tax rate to the energy source and factor in CO2 emissions.

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An agreement on Trans-Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP) was concluded between Albania, Greece and Italy

The European Commission welcomed the signature of a tri-lateral intergovernmental agreement (IGA) as an essential step in the preparation of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP). TAP is an important gas pipeline between Italy, Albania and Greece with a starting capacity of minimum 10 billion cubic metres per annum (bcma).

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New rules proposed to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the Single Market

The European Commission proposed new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the Single Market and to step-up market surveillance concerning all non-food products, including those imported from third countries. The two legislative proposals are complemented by a multi-annual plan for market surveillance setting out 20 concrete actions to be undertaken from now to 2015 to improve market surveillance.

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The use of chemicals in Europe has become considerably safer since the REACH regulation entered into force

According to European Commission's report, risks from substances registered under REACH have significantly decreased. Companies have now registered 30,601 files with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) describing the uses and properties of 7,884 chemical substances manufactured or placed on the market.

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