Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 126

Archive for 23 gennaio 2020

ENVI and ECON: Highlights of next meeting

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 gennaio 2020

Brussels. Thursday, 23 January 2020 from 09.00-09.15 Room: József Antall (4Q2), Monday 27 January 2020 and Monday 3 February 2020. In this joint Committee meeting, with the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, MEPs will vote on the provisional agreement that was made with the Council and the Commission in December. The Taxonomy regulation should enable investors to identify environmentally sustainable economic activities that substantially contribute to climate change mitigation, based on scientific evidence, including evidence from existing life cycle assessments (production, use, end of life and recycling), environmental impacts and long-term risks.

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Prevention is better than combat intervention, says NATO chief

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 gennaio 2020

AFET and SEDE MEPs discussed with NATO Chief ways to address the EU’s security and geostrategic challenges on Tuesday.
NATO will bring together the EU and the US to address three issues of concern: terrorism, relations with Russia, and new and emerging challenges such as artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons platforms, and big data, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressing the MEPs on Tuesday.He stressed the importance of building global capacity by enabling local forces in the fight against terrorism, instead of solely relying on NATO combat operations. He pointed to current efforts in Afghanistan, Jordan, Tunisia, and, especially, Iraq. “Prevention is better than intervention“, he underlined. “If we don’t react in Iraq now, we risk going into a combat”, he said discussing the security situation in Europe and the world with MEPs from the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE), and Delegation for relations with NATO Parliamentary Assembly (DNAT).Regarding relations with Russia, the NATO chief stressed the importance of maintaining a dialogue between the US and Russia in order to achieve results in arms control.Referring to transatlantic relations, he said that the US is not leaving Europe, but is rather increasing its military presence in the region, adding that Europe is also stepping up its efforts. The NATO Chief also underlined that Europe needs to increase its defence spending since tensions are currently increasing.When asked to share his thoughts on Europe´s efforts towards strategic autonomy, he stated that he supports the increase of the EU’s defence capabilities, stressing, however, that NATO will continue to be the corner stone of European defence.

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No more lead in PVC to protect public health, Environment Committee says

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 gennaio 2020

To protect human health and the environment, the Environment Committee objected on Tuesday to a Commission proposal allowing lead in recycled PVC. On Tuesday, the Environment Committee adopted a resolution objecting to the Commission’s proposal to amend the rules concerning lead concentration, and particularly concerning lead in PVC. Members consider that the proposed amendments do not protect human health and the environment enough, which is also the primary objective of the REACH regulation.The Commission regulation proposes restricting the use and presence of lead and its compounds in articles produced from Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a widely produced synthetic plastic, setting a maximum concentration limit of lead of 0,1 % by weight of the PVC material. It also introduces two derogations. MEPs are unhappy with two proposed derogations for recovered PVC materials, which will be in place for 15 years. One would allow concentration of lead up to 2 % by weight of rigid PVC and the other 1 % by weight of flexible/soft PVC.
MEPs recall that lead is a toxic substance that can seriously affect health, including irreversible neurological damage, even in low doses. They believe that the levels proposed by the Commission do not correspond to “safe levels” and underline there are alternatives to PVC available. They also highlight that recycling should not justify the continued use of hazardous substances, as prevention takes priority over recycling.The resolution was adopted with 42 votes to 22 and 4 abstentions. It will now be put to a vote at the February plenary in Strasbourg. If Parliament objects within the deadline set of 27 February 2020, the draft measure shall not be adopted by the Commission. The Commission may either submit an amended draft or present a new one.

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Stop illegal trade in cats and dogs, says Public Health Committee

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 gennaio 2020

On Tuesday, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee adopted a resolution demanding action against the illegal trade in pets to protect animal welfare, consumers and public health.The text calls for a series of measures to address illegal trafficking of companion animals, including:
• an EU Action Plan clearly setting out responsibilities to address the illegal trade in companion animals,
• a Commission proposal to set up a mandatory EU-wide system to identify and register cats and dogs,
• an EU definition of large-scale commercial breeding facilities known as puppy mills,
• improved law enforcement and tougher sanctions for those involved (veterinarians, national public services, economic operators),
• better cooperation, communication and training for customs and veterinary authorities,
• encouraging people to adopt, rather than purchase, companion animals.
The resolution was adopted with 66 votes to 0 and 3 abstentions. It will now be put to a vote at the plenary in Strasbourg. It is tentatively scheduled for the February session.Each year, many companion animals are illegally traded in the EU by abusing the EU’s pet movement legislation (Regulation (EU) No 576/2013), which is intended for non-commercial movement of pet animals.
Aside from the negative implications on public health, animal welfare and consumer protection, it has also become a source of income for organised international crime. It affects the smooth functioning of the EU internal market through lost taxes and by creating unfair competition, particularly with the increase in online sales.

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EU-Vietnam free trade deal gets green light in trade committee

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 gennaio 2020

The Committee on International Trade backed the free trade and investment protection agreements between the EU and Vietnam on Tuesday.The committee gave its consent to the free trade agreement by 29 votes, six votes against and five abstentions and recommends that EP Plenary should do the same. The agreement will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties in ten years. It will protect emblematic European products, and allow Europe to access the Vietnamese public procurement market.The agreement is also an instrument to protect the environment and further social progress in Vietnam, including in labour rights, the resolution accompanying the consent decision states. The trade committee’s demands from Vietnam, including on labour and human rights, as well as on the mechanism ensuring the enforceability of the sustainability clauses, was adopted by 29 votes for, nine against and two abstentions.The main elements of the trade deal are the following:
• removal of customs duties: 65% of EU exports to Vietnam will be immediately duty free, with the rest – including motorcycles, cars, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wines, chicken and pork – gradually liberalised over ten years. 71% of Vietnamese exports to the EU will be duty free on day one, with the rest catching up in seven years. Duty-free Vietnamese exports of sensitive agricultural products, such as rice, garlic or eggs, will be limited;
• non-tariff barriers will be eliminated in the automotive sector, export and import licensing, and customs procedures. Vietnam accepted the “Made in EU” marking, beyond national markings of origin, for non-agricultural products;
• geographical indications: 169 emblematic EU products such as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Champagne, or Rioja wine, will enjoy protection in Vietnam, as will 39 Vietnamese products in the EU;
• services: EU companies will have improved access to business, environmental, postal and courier, banking, insurance and maritime transport services in Vietnam ;
• public procurement: EU firms will be able to bid for contracts with Vietnamese ministries, state-owned enterprises, as well as with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City;
• sustainable development: there are legally-binding rules on climate, labour and human rights. The agreement commits Vietnam to apply the Paris Agreement. Vietnam scheduled the ratification of two remaining bills on the abolition of forced labour and on freedom of association by 2020 and 2023, respectively. If there are human rights breaches, the trade deal can be suspended.
Separately, the trade committee also agreed by 26 votes for, seven against and six abstentions to an investment protection agreement providing an investment court system with independent judges to settle disputes between investors and state. The accompanying resolution passed by 27 votes for, seven against and five abstentions. Rapporteur Geert Bourgeois (ECR, BE) said: “With the consent to this trade deal with Vietnam, the trade committee is giving a positive signal to the ASEAN region and the rest of the world at a time when trade tensions are rising. Besides its geopolitical and economic importance, I am convinced that this agreement will accelerate the reform process within Vietnam. The ratification will strengthen further progress on labour and environmental standards and the respect for human rights.”

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