Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 259

Archive for febbraio 2014

Future of Mobility: Corporate Carsharing Fleets Set to Grow from ~2,000 in 2013 to 85,000 Vehicles in 2020

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

london-centralLondon, UK Dedicated corporate carsharing solutionsb are beginning to become far more prevalent in a company’s mobility requirements, as the attractiveness and awareness of such offerings increases. With rising congestion and the relative ease of using public transport in most urban areas, set against the challenges of parking in particular, the need of having a dedicated car for each employee for business requirements in many cases is declining. And as connected cars become more commonplace, the kind of telematics and fleet management software that is used in carsharing fleets is beginning to be offered into several corporate situations. These changing urban dynamics alongside evolving consumer electronics and fleet management technology in particular, have led to a new wave of corporate carsharing solutions across Europe.A recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan estimates the number of vehicles to stand at ~2,000 vehicles in such fleets in 2013, and forecasts that by 2020 there could be between 75,000 and 100,000 of such vehicles in operation, as providers such as OEMs, leasing arms, rental companies, carsharing organisations (CSOs) and technology providers continually enter the market and expand geographically with competing solutions. With more than half of European automobile sales now accounted for by fleet sales, set against the ever growing demand for carsharing services, the two business models were always likely to converge, given the benefits of shared mobility in reducing costs and improving efficiency, and the relatively higher business travel requirements in terms of utilisation and flexibility.A comprehensive corporate mobility solution allows employees the use of several travel modes billed to a dedicated cost centre. This will lead to a changing role of the company car in future, and give rise to a growing mobility option on a company wide basis. Accessing desirable corporate carsharing fleets at reasonable or subsidised prices will enable company fleets to become potential profit generators rather than just cost centres through charging employees for personal vehicle use. Those employees that may not have previously qualified for their own company car would also be granted access to the corporate carshare vehicles, which are largely brand new high quality vehicles, and will therefore not only boost staff morale and retention for the companies offering the services, but ensure sufficient vehicle volumes to service providers to underpin the business model longer term, as the requirements for vehicles increases.With providers looking to offer multi-brand options enabled by standardised technology and interfaces, the range of vehicles available through corporate carsharing schemes is set to increase substantially. Whilst OEMs want to sell their own brands, there is an increasing awareness that corporate mobility requires flexibility and product offerings at all price points, and that customers are used to fleet/leasing/rental providers which offer a range of vehicle brands to their customers. AlphaCity and PSA (Shareyourfleet) have already confirmed they will move to a multi brand service, with several other OEMs likely to follow suit, whether directly or in partnership with technology or service providers. Keyless access and centralized end-of the-month invoicing are some of the elements that will continue to play a pivotal role in making corporate carsharing programmes scalable and simple to adopt by corporates. The operating model will evolve from (RFID) smartcards and Fobs to use smartphone based virtual keys, and potentially allow multiple companies to share the same fleet, by downloading a generic corporate carsharing app for example, and in turn lowering costs to employers that are located in close proximity, and increasing efficiency/utilisation of the vehicles.

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European Investment Bank agrees GBP 175m backing to upgrade Scotland’s core motorway network

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

World_BankThe European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term lending institution, has agreed to provide a funding contribution of GBP 175 million towards the completion of the motorway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The investment programme will include both completion of the M8 motorway between Scotland’s two largest cities and major improvements to the M73 and M74. Drivers will benefit from reduced congestion as well as safer and quicker journeys as a result of the new M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project. The scheme will create hundreds of jobs during construction and, once complete, will significantly reduce congestion on one of Scotland’s busiest road networks. Long-term employment opportunities will also be created throughout the 30 year operation and maintenance of the new roads. Advanced works are currently underway and the road link will be designed, built, operated and maintained for 30 years following award of a concession agreement by the Scottish Government.“The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting crucial investment in essential infrastructure across Europe and we recognise the importance of the M8 scheme to upgrade Scotland’s core motorway links. This project will not only provide economic benefits during construction, but will also improve safety and reduce costs for business in the years ahead through improved travel times. We are committed to providing significant long-term financial support for the scheme.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice-President responsible for the UK and Ireland.Transport Minister, Keith Brown, said: “This marks a significant milestone in the timeline of what is a major transport infrastructure project for Scotland. Not only will these works vastly improve connectivity across Scotland’s Central Belt, the project will deliver far reaching benefits to the wider Scottish economy.“We’ll see the creation of hundreds of new jobs which will leave a lasting legacy of a highly-skilled workforce, bolstering Scotland’s construction industry. In addition, the project will act as a catalyst to attract significant inward investment and stimulate continued growth of our business communities.” Debt financing for the project is equally split between a direct loan from the European Investment Bank and a bond placement with international investors. The new Scottish scheme represents the first UK road project involving bond finance since the global financial crisis in 2008, and is the largest project to be financed through the Scottish Government’s Non-Profit Distributing model.The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting crucial investment that stimulates economic growth and improves lives in Scotland. This has included recent support for investment such as the new City of Glasgow College and there is a strong pipeline of future projects currently under consideration by the EIB including new hospitals, transport infrastructure and other flagship investment across Scotland. Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided more than GBP 4 billion for transport investment across the UK. Last year represented a record for overall EIB engagement in the UK, GBP 4.85 billion in 2013, up 59% from 2012. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

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Lauder: New Ukrainian government must promote equal rights

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

new yorkNEW YORK — The World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder today looked forward to a democratic and peaceful future for Ukraine. “We hope and expect that all members of the new Ukrainian interim government will promote equal rights for all citizens and harmony among Ukraine’s diverse communities,” Lauder said. “We are monitoring closely the words and actions of politicians, including those from the Svoboda Party. We stress that there must be a zero tolerance toward any manifestations of anti-Semitism.”Lauder said that WJC views with concern the vandalism that happened during Sunday night at the Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia, 250 miles southeast of Kiev, which sustained some damage from firebombs. No one was injured. “Local authorities must catch the culprits and prosecute them to the full extent of the law,” Lauder said. “No religious community must fear in a democratic Ukraine.”
Lauder appealed to the authorities to redouble security around Jewish sites; he praised the Jewish Agency for Israel for its pledge to send funds to bolster security in Jewish areas. “Security is expensive and that money is needed urgently,” Lauder said.Noting that WJC CEO Robert Singer had recently returned from a fact-finding mission in Kiev where he had met with communal figures and with the ambassadors of the United States, the European Union, Germany and Israel, Lauder said that he was heartened that Ukrainian Jews had so many friends. “We thank the ambassadors for their continued close contact with the Jewish community and vigilance in monitoring any threats,” he said.

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New rules make it easier to confiscate crooks’ assets across the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

Rules to make it easier for national authorities to freeze and confiscate crooks’ assets across the EU were approved by Parliament on Tuesday. Today, less than 1% of the proceeds of crimes such as drug trafficking, counterfeiting, human trafficking and small arms smuggling are frozen and confiscated. The draft law, already informally agreed with national governments, is part of a broader EU strategy to fight fraud and corruption.”Our priority must be to follow the money across borders and confiscate the profits of criminals. Otherwise all we do is useless. Only if we take money and assets of criminals we can dare to believe that we reduce the serious criminality. Sending some people to jail but leaving the money in circulation cannot be tolerated”, said Parliament’s rapporteur Monica Luisa Macovei (EPP, RO).The directive requires member states to enable the confiscation of criminal assets following a final conviction. It would also enable the authorities to confiscate assets even if the suspect or accused person is ill or has flown, e.g. through in absentia proceedings. Furthermore, a joint declaration by Parliament and Council asks the European Commission to study the feasibility of introducing “non-conviction based confiscation”.

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Better entry and living conditions for non-EU students and researchers

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

UCBM - Studenti ed edificio di sfondoThe EU would offer talented non-EU students and researchers better living and working conditions so as to boost its member states’ long-run competitiveness, under draft rules backed by the full Parliament on Tuesday. The rules would also clarify entry and residence conditions for foreign trainees, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs.The EU spends 0.8% less of its GDP on Research & Development than the US and 1.5% less than Japan, prompting many of the world’s best researchers and innovators to go there instead, says the European Commission.This update of EU rules, backed by 578 votes to 79 with 21 abstentions, would create better conditions to make the EU more attractive to third-country nationals seeking opportunities to do research, study, take part in a student exchange, or do paid or unpaid training, voluntary service or au pairing.”Other countries in the world are doing a better job than we are in attracting competent and well-qualified workers. We often have complicated bureaucratic procedures (…) we need simplified, clearer rules to make the EU more attractive. More foreign students and international exchanges would boost economic growth, promote innovation, create more jobs in the long term and make our member states more competitive”, said rapporteur Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).After finishing their research or studies, third-country nationals should be entitled to stay in the member state where they studied or did their research for 18 months in order to seek work or set up a business, MEPs say. The Commission had proposed that this period be limited to 12 months. Researchers’ and students’ family members would also have the right to stay and work for the same period, Parliament points out.

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Nuove norme UE per agevolare la confisca dei proventi di reati

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

Martedì, il Parlamento ha approvato nuove norme europee per aiutare le autorità nazionali a confiscare i proventi derivati da reati. Oggi, meno dell’1% dei proventi di reati come il traffico di droga, quello di esseri umani, la contraffazione, il traffico e il contrabbando di armi di piccolo calibro sono confiscati. Il disegno di legge, già informalmente concordato con i governi nazionali, è parte di una più ampia strategia dell’UE per combattere la frode e la corruzione.
“La nostra priorità deve essere quella di poter “seguire” il flusso di denaro attraverso le frontiere e assicurare la confisca dei profitti criminali. Solo allora potremo sperare di ridurre la grande criminalità. Mandare alcuni criminali in galera lasciando il loro denaro sporco in circolazione è intollerabile” ha affermato la relatrice Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE, RO).

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Il Parlamento approva €3.5 miliardi in aiuti agli indigenti per il 2014-2020

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

BruxellesI cittadini più poveri dell’UE continueranno a poter contare sul Fondo europeo per gli aiuti agli indigenti (FEAD) per il periodo 2014-2020 per procurarsi cibo, assistenza di base e accesso ai servizi sociali, grazie a un accordo con il Consiglio approvato dal Parlamento martedì. I deputati sono riusciti a mantenere invariato il budget di € 3,5 miliardi e hanno assicurato che il fondo sarà operativo immediatamente.”Siamo riusciti a raggiungere i nostri obiettivi chiave in negoziati con la Commissione e gli Stati membri durati un anno, ossia l’aumento del budget da € 2,5 a € 3,5 miliardi di euro, per rafforzare il ruolo delle organizzazioni anti-povertà nella progettazione, gestione e monitoraggio del programma e per semplificare le procedure amministrative. Il nuovo programma FEAD che ora abbiamo concordato è la prima iniziativa europea specifica per aiutare le persone in situazione di privazione estrema, particolarmente per la povertà alimentare, per i senzatetto e per la povertà infantile in tutti gli Stati membri”, ha affermato il relatore Emer Costello (S & D, IE).

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Migliori condizioni d’ingresso e soggiorno per studenti e ricercatori stranieri

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

parlamento europeoIn base alle norme votate dal Parlamento martedì, l’UE offrirebbe migliori condizioni di vita e di lavoro a studenti e ricercatori extracomunitari talentuosi, in moda da incoraggiare la competitività degli Stati membri nel lungo periodo. Tali norme inoltre renderebbero più chiare le condizioni d’ingresso e soggiorno dei tirocinanti stranieri, dei volontari, degli alunni e dei ragazzi “alla pari”.
Come afferma la Commissione europea, l’Europa spende lo 0,8 % in meno del PIL per la ricerca e lo sviluppo (R&S) rispetto agli Stati Uniti e l’1,5 % in meno rispetto al Giappone, spingendo molti fra i migliori ricercatori e innovatori di tutto il mondo a muoversi verso questi paesi.L’aggiornamento delle norme europee, approvato con 578 voti in favore, 79 voti contrari con 21 astensioni, creerebbe condizioni migliori per rendere l’Unione europea più attraente per i cittadini di paesi terzi che cercano opportunità per fare ricerca, per studio, per partecipare ad uno scambio di studenti, per effettuare un tirocinio retribuito o non retribuito, per servizi di volontariato o scambio alla pari.”Ci sono altri paesi nel mondo che attualmente stanno svolgendo un lavoro migliore rispetto al nostro per attrarre lavoratori competenti e qualificati. Ci sono spesso procedure burocratiche complicate (…) servono regole più chiare e semplici per rendere l’Europa più attraente. Una quantità maggiore di studenti stranieri e di scambi internazionali stimolerebbe la crescita economica, promuoverebbe l’innovazione, creerebbe più posti di lavoro nel lungo periodo e renderebbe più competitivi i nostri Stati membri”, ha affermato la relatrice Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).

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Europe: l’hymne à la peur

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

l'hymne à la peurLe climat de peur qui entoure la campagne des élections européennes dans de nombreux pays de l’Union européenne doit conduire à quelques clarifications politiques salutaires à 3 mois du scrutin de mai prochain.Dans cette Tribune, Yves Bertoncini s’intéresse notamment à trois éléments:
1. Même si elle inquiète nombre de ses citoyens, l’UE n’est pas responsable de la crise en cours ;
2.L’Union européenne peut être une réponse efficace aux principales menaces qu’affrontent ses citoyens ;
3. Les protections offertes par la construction européenne sont menacées par la poussée populiste. (l’hymne à la peur)

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Unimak Maritime Group’s Russian scallops verified Friend of the Sea sustainable

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 25 febbraio 2014

Friend of the Sea announces the certification of North Kurilsk Seiner Fleet Base scallops. The company is the Russian partner of Unimak Maritime Group. The scallops are fished in the Pacific Ocean (Kuril Island and Okhotsk areas) where this species is abundant. North Kurilsk Seiner Fleet Base is a sister company to Kamchatka’s Tymlatskii Rybokombinat, which together with Unimak, obtained certification for sockeye and pink salmon.The audit was run by an accredited international body and based on Friend of the Sea strict social and environmental requirements.Use of dredges is authorized as the level of scallop population is so high that the gear does not touch the seabed. Vessels are operated at due distance from the coast: 12 miles for driftnets and 1.2 miles for traps. Crabs and echinoderms are immediately released alive when they accidentally enter the traps.Discard of scallops fishing tends to zero. This achievement is neatly under 8% maximum allowed level of discard according to Friend of the Sea.The reliability of the company is also proved by its modern fleet whose fishing vessels are mandatorily registered with Russian Federation’s flag.”Unimak Maritime is proud of Tymlatski’s double Friend of the Sea certification.” comments Mr William Turner, Unimak Maritime Group’s President. “This further recognition confirms once again our deep sense of responsibility and attention to environmental conservation.”

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Simba The Lion Goes Home

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

leoneToday international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation, and The Natuurhulpcentrum (Wildlife Rescue Centre) announced that Simba the lion’s epic journey to Africa had started, accompanied by Bafta award-winning actress Virginia McKenna OBE and Coronation Street favourite Helen Worth.The uplifting story of Simba has captured the hearts and imagination of people across the world and, with the relocation firmly underway, it brings the tragic story of this magnificent lion to a new and exciting chapter. From the confines of a zoo cage to the beast wagon of an animal trainer, Simba finally embarks on the 4,900 mile journey to the Born Free-supported Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi.The expert relocation team and sanctuary staff, headed up by senior wildlife vet Stef Michels and Born Free’s Big Cat expert Tony Wiles, met early this morning and gently encouraged Simba into his travelling crate in preparation for his 4 hour journey to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
Stef said, “We were hopeful that Simba would respond and voluntarily enter the crate and, with his familiar carers around him, it all went to plan. So far he has had a smooth journey, which he is taking well and we are very pleased with his progress.” Star of Coronation Street and long term ambassador for Born Free, Helen Worth, was on hand to lend her support and witness proceedings. Helen said, “This is the first time I have met Simba and what a beautiful animal he is. It is a disgrace that in modern Europe such neglect of wild animals can still be found. I am delighted that I can be part of this operation that is running so smoothly and will take Simba to a new secure home with lifetime care.” Simba was six months old when he entered the French zoo, Parc Zoologique du Bouy, and only two months later he was then acquired by an animal trainer in Vernay. Here, poor Simba’s home was a ‘beast wagon’ – nothing more than a lorry trailer and leone1sometimes the use of a small outside run. Thankfully though, matters were about to change for Simba when the French Authorities stepped in and ordered that Simba be handed over. At the end of 2012, thanks to a concerted effort by Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, a French NGO, and the Natuurhulpcentrum Opglabbeek, Simba had a temporary new home in Belgium and following discussions with Born Free last year the plan was hatched to move Simba to Africa.Sil Janssen, Founder and chairman of the Natuurhulpcentrum said: “Every time we release an animal or send it off to a new and better home, it is a great day for the Natuurhulpcentrum. This is what we work and strive for. We know that Simba will be in good hands with Born Free Foundation and the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.”The move to relocate Simba has been a great team effort with sponsorship and support of the transportation courtesy of Born Free’s Global conservation partner Land Rover and Kenya Airways, ‘The Pride of Africa’, generously providing the flights.As Simba’s IATA-approved crate was loaded onto a trailer, the convoy headed up with the pulling power of the 6-strong convoy of Land Rover Discovery cars set off on their journey.Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director, said, “Over the past decade Land Rover has enjoyed a successful and rewarding partnership with the Born Free Foundation and I am therefore delighted that our Land Rover Experience team have been able to help with the safe relocation of Simba from Belgium to Malawi. Born Free has worked tirelessly to ensure Simba enjoys the rest of his life in his new home and I am very proud that through the towing capability of our vehicles and the expertise of our Land Rover Experience drive team we can help this become a reality.”On arrival at Schiphol, Simba will be taken into the animal quarantine centre before boarding the Kenya Airways 767 aircraft, under the careful supervision of the ground staff. Simba’s flight to Malawi will have a short touchdown in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport whilst enroute to Lilongwe. Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Titus Naikuni, noted that, “The initiative is part of the airline’s partnership with the Born Free Foundation towards supporting wildlife conservation by rescuing endangered animals and restoring them to their natural habitats. Wildlife is our heritage, and its conservation and protection is the responsibility of all of us. Therefore, I find this an amazing example of how we can connect across the globe to protect endangered wildlife for their return and long-term survival in their natural habitats.”At Nairobi, Simba will be met by the symbol of lions herself the Born Free actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna OBE, who will join the team and personally be making the journey to welcome Simba into his new home.Virginia said, “How wonderful to have a ‘good news’ animal story! In contrast to the seemingly endless negative and tragic ones that have filled the media in recent weeks. Yes, it is about one animal, one individual, but all of them matter and Simba, having initially been taken in by a Belgian Rescue centre from an animal trainer in France, is now to begin his final journey to Africa, his rightful homeland. The public’s generous response to his situation has been quite amazing. Indeed, people are increasingly aware of how wild animals can be exploited and can suffer, and perhaps long to be a part of a caring and positive story.”In time there are plans to introduce Simba to a lioness named Bella who was rescued by Born Free from a Romanian zoo and now lives at the Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary in Malawi.

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La storia naturale della pressione arteriosa

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

pressione arteriosaSe nei 25 anni che separano un giovane adulto dalla mezza età la pressione aumenta, cresce anche il rischio di aterosclerosi coronarica, misurabile dal grado di calcificazioni delle arterie cardiache. Questo è quanto emerge da uno studio pubblicato su Jama e coordinato da Norrina Allen, ricercatrice alla Feinberg school of medicine della Northwestern university di Chicago. «La pressione sanguigna è un importante fattore di rischio per la malattia cardiovascolare, ma gli attuali modelli predittivi considerano solo i valori misurati al momento di stimare la morbilità coronarica, cosa che di solito si fa nella mezza età o più avanti, senza considerare l’effetto potenziale dei valori pressori nel corso del tempo» spiega la ricercatrice, che assieme ai colleghi ha provato a correlare le tendenze pressorie all’estensione delle calcificazione coronariche (Cac) nei 4681 partecipanti allo studio Cardia, Coronary artery risk development in young adults, ambosessi bianchi e neri fra 18 e 30 anni all’inizio dello studio, nel 1985-1986. Durante i 25 anni di follow-up i ricercatori hanno misurato pressione sistolica, diastolica e mediana identificando cinque distinte sottopopolazioni in base alle variazioni di pressione registrate fino alla mezza età: il 22% dei partecipanti ha mantenuto bassi valori in tutto il follow-up; il 42% aveva livelli moderati persistenti; il 12% aveva livelli che aumentavano gradualmente; il 19% aveva la pressione alta in modo stabile e il 5% iniziava con valori elevati che aumentavano ancora durante il follow-up. «A conti fatti, la prevalenza di un punteggio di calcificazione coronarica elevato variava dal 4% nel primo gruppo al 25% nell’ultimo» riprende Allen. E conclude: «Anche se la pressione sanguigna è un fattore di rischio noto da decenni, questi risultati suggeriscono che il suo andamento a lungo termine può essere una preziosa fonte di informazioni sul rischio coronarico». E in un editoriale di accompagnamento Pantelis Sarafidis, dell’università di Salonicco, in Grecia, commenta: «I dati di Allen e colleghi approcciano in modo nuovo la valutazione del rischio di malattia cardiovascolare e aprono importanti prospettive nella prevenzione della malattia coronarica dimostrando l’esistenza di diverse possibili evoluzioni della pressione sanguigna nel quarto di secolo che separa un giovane adulto dalla mezza età».

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The single market 20 years later: challenges and opportunities

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

single marketThis synthesis by Emanuel Gyger and Maria Eugenia Le Gourriérec, reviews the main ideas discussed during the conference entitled “The single market 20 years later: challenges and opportunities” organised by Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute and the Maison de l’Europe on 11 December 2013 in Paris. The conference focused on two elements of the single market: growth and the social dimension. The text is divided in five parts:
1. The single market, a driving force for growth in Europe;
2. A potential which has yet to be fully exploited;
3. A single market based on competition and on solidarity;
4. The social dimension of the single market in the context of the European elections campaign;
5. The single market, unloved and incomplete. (Photo: single market)

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Friend of the Sea sponsors

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

veneziaVenice monk seal conservation project. Friend of the Sea has made an important donation to LIPU (Italian major birds’ conservation organization). The donation will support a project for the protection and conservation of habitats in the Venice Lagoon which hosts monk seal and marine birds.Monk seals are normally found in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea, mainly in Turkey, Greece, and Croatia, but last summer a specimen unexpectedly appeared in the Lagoon after been sighted on the southernmost point of Istria peninsula.The Mediterranean monk seal used to be widespread throughout the Mediterranean Sea, but in 20th Century it was brought to the brink of extinction by habitat changes and fishermen.The LIPU project aims at assessing monk seal populations and movements in the Northern Adriatic, and how they can be better protected. An awareness campaign is also carried out to locals and tourists.“Friend of the Sea has helped over the years several projects to protect endangered species, such as albatross and boto dolphins in the Amazon river.” Explains Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “The certified products this way carry an added value as they contribute to these conservation projects through Friend of the Sea.”

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EU public prosecutor: MEPs call for clearer scope, defence rights

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

BruxellesThe powers of the future European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) should be clearer and the EPPO should make sure that defence rights are properly protected in all its activities, said the Civil Liberties Committee in a resolution passed on Thursday.The non-legislative text, approved by 34 votes to 7 with 1 abstention, sets Parliament’s priorities and red lines for giving its consent to the EPPO proposal when the moment comes.The protection of the EU budget against fraud can be better achieved at EU level, MEPs underline. However, they urge member states to clarify the EU prosecutor’s powers and the relationship between the EPPO and other EU bodies, such as Eurojust and OLAF.The committee text also points out that the EPPO’s competences should only be extended to offences other than those affecting the EU’s financial interests under three conditions:when the conduct simultaneously constitutes a crime affecting the EU’s financial interests and other offences;when the offences affecting the EU’s financial interests are predominant; and when the other crimes would be barred from further punishment if they were not prosecuted and brought to judgement together with the offences affecting the EU’s financial interests.The EPPO should ensure a high protection of defence rights in all its activities, MEPs point out, adding that EU minimum standards for procedural rights in criminal procedures should be respected in all the EPPO’s activities.In order to receive Parliament’s consent, the EPPO proposal should include a hierarchy of binding criteria to decide which court exerts jurisdiction over the different cases.

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Migrants: MEPs endorse search and rescue rules to prevent further deaths at sea

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

african_migrants.jpg.crop_displayBinding rules on search and rescue to clarify how border guards serving in Frontex sea operations should deal with migrants and where they should disembark them were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. The rules were informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on 11 February.The text defines “emergency phases” for search and rescue operations and places a clear duty upon units participating in Frontex operations to engage and to save lives. The rules on search and rescue operations and the disembarkation of migrants will only cover operations that are coordinated by Frontex. This should help to dispel confusion created by EU member states’ differing interpretations of international law and practices.The “operational plan” governing Frontex-coordinated border surveillance operations must henceforth include procedures to ensure that persons needing international protection, victims of trafficking in human beings, unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable persons are identified and given appropriate help. Only after migrants are identified may possible coercive measures be taken (the identification rules are mandatory, whereas the enforcement ones are optional).
MEPs tightened up the text to ensure compliance with the “non-refoulement” principle, which says that individuals must not be returned to their country of origin or any other country where there is a risk of persecution, torture or other serious harm.Border guards who consider landing intercepted or rescued people in a third country will have to follow certain procedures (e.g. identification, personal assessment, information on the place of disembarkation, etc). Their actions will be subject to inspection.”Even though no migrant has so far been disembarked in a third country as part of a Frontex-coordinated operation, it is still very important to lay down tough rules to ensure that if this happens, it is done in full compliance with the ‘non-refoulement’ principle and respect for the fundamental rights of the migrants concerned”, said the rapporteur.

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MEPs back deal on visa-free travel for Moldovan citizens

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

moldaviaMoldovan citizens should no longer need a visa to travel to the Schengen area, under an informal deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators and endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. The debate and vote in plenary on the draft regulation is expected to take place on 27 February.Moldova is the first East Partnership country to meet all the requirements of their Visa Liberalisation Action Plan allowing for visa-free travel to be put in place.

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Russia and the West must allow Ukraine to resolve crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

THE CRISIS in Ukraine has entered a new and dangerous phase. Although Ukraine is still some way from outright civil war, the absence of any sign of willingness on either side to step back and compromise is worrying, writes Professor Stefan Hedlund, Research Director at the Centre of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden in World Review. moscaMoscow is bent on ensuring Kiev does not sign any form of agreement with Brussels, which would mark the end of its own ambitions of restored status as a regional great power. The West in contrast is bent on precluding precisely this from happening.‘The real paradox of this game is that neither side appears to have any desire at all of actually integrating Ukraine,’ says Professor Hedlund. ‘The Ukrainian economy is now in such a terrible state, and Ukrainian politics so ridden with corruption and infighting, that neither of the two outside powers want anything to do with it.’The impact on Ukrainian politics of this internally inconsistent tug of war has been devastating. Successive governments have realised that playing Russia and Europe against each other is a winning strategy.‘The track record of broken promises and soured relations has now reached a point where outside interest in the future of the hapless country is just the overriding desire to prevent the other side from gaining the upper hand,’ he says.Only days before the bloodshed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of disaster and called on both sides to effectively step back and allow Kiev to sort out its own mess.‘There is wisdom in this’, says Professor Hedlund. ‘Outside involvement has been part of the problem, not the solution’.
Meanwhile, the situation in Kiev is marked by what is best viewed as the last stand of the Yanukovych regime.

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MEPs back Budapest as next European Police College seat

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

ungheria-budapest-2Budapest should temporarily host the European Police College (CEPOL), said the Civil Liberties Committee in a vote on Thursday. MEPs backed to move the seat of the EU police training body from its current location in Bramshill (UK) to the Hungarian capital, but they urged the European Commission to review this decision by 2019 and put forward a cost-benefit analysis of all possible options.The current CEPOL seat is located in Bramshill, but the UK government announced that it no longer wished to host it. MEPs say that the costs related to the change of seat should be fully covered by the UK and by additional EU money to avoid any additional burdens to the regular CEPOL budget.Under the approved text, MEPs call on the Commission to review the CEPOL regulation by 2019 at the latest, “including by performing a thorough cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of all possible options, and if appropriate table legislative proposals to amend it”.
MEPs regret that the European Parliament was not fully involved in the evaluation of applications and that only one candidate was presented to the Civil Liberties Committee, despite other 6 countries had applied for the CEPOL seat (Ireland, Greece, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and Finland).MEPs approved the mandate to start negotiations with the Council on this issue by 36 votes to 10, with 3 abstentions.

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Transparency: better access to documents and protection of whistleblowers needed in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

The widest possible public access to documents is needed to effectively allow citizens to comment on all aspects of EU activity, says a report adopted by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. MEPs call on the Council to finally move forward with the revision of the regulation on access to documents and for a Transparency officer in each EU institution. They also urge for better protection of whistleblowers.
The Lisbon Treaty lays down the fundamental right of access to documents, MEPs stress, recalling that “any decision denying access to documents must be based on clearly and strictly defined legal exceptions, accompanied by reasoned and specific justification, allowing the citizen to understand the denial of access and to make effective use of the legal remedies available”.Citizens have a right to know how the decision-making process works, how their representatives act, hold them accountable and to know how public money is allocated and spent, stresses the report.The EU legislation on access to documents is still not being properly applied by the EU’s administration, says the committee, noting that the “exceptions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 [on public access to documents] are being applied routinely rather than of exceptionally”. It calls on the institutions, bodies and agencies to strictly apply this regulation, taking full account of the body of case-law on this matter. MEPs express their disappointment with the fact that since December 2011, when Parliament adopted its first reading position on the revision of the regulation, “no progress has been made, since the Council and the Commission did not seem ready to embark on substantive negotiations”. They call on the Council to finally move forward with the revision and on both institutions to agree on a new instrument that provides significantly more transparency.The Civil Liberties Committee calls on all the institutions to evaluate and, where necessary, review their internal arrangements for reporting wrongdoing, and calls for the protection of whistleblowers. “In a healthy democracy citizens should not have to rely on whistleblowers in order to ensure transparency of their governments’ competences and activities”, it adds.
The Commission should table a proposal to protect whistleblowers “not only morally, but also financially in order to properly protect and support whistleblowers as part of the democratic system”, says the text.
MEPs recommend that each EU institution or body appoint from within its management structures a Transparency Officer, to be responsible for compliance and for improving practices. EU institutions should also put in place “public document registers” with clear and accessible structures and good search functionality, they add.
International agreements, such as the envisaged Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US, have binding effects and impact on EU laws. Documents related to them should therefore be public in principle, says the committee.

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