Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 35 n°87

Posts Tagged ‘E.U.’

A revamped maritime strategy to foster a sustainable blue economy and the EU Green Deal

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 8 agosto 2020

At a time of social and economic uncertainty, the EU is preparing the next generation of EU-funded programmes to foster economic recovery. The revamped action plan will give new impetus to the Atlantic maritime strategy and will strengthen the participating countries’ recovery efforts. It will contribute to the European Green Deal, a socially inclusive model of sustainable development and job creation, while safeguarding marine and coastal environments and securing a healthy ocean.The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “In the midst of the crisis, more than ever, we must stay focused on making our future green: the EU Green Deal and the green transition should guide our recovery plan. The development of a sustainable blue economy, targeting specific challenges and opportunities at sea basin level, serves exactly these objectives. We must put green in the blue and blue in the green.’’Focusing on offsetting the adverse socio-economic impact of the crisis, the new action plan proposes concrete actions for the development of the blue economy in the Atlantic, addressing challenges, such as:The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the development of renewable energy – by supporting research and investment in marine renewable energy (going beyond offshore wind) for which the Atlantic has a huge potential; The fight against marine pollution – by promoting green shipping and coordinating actions against marine litter; The creation of new jobs – by addressing the skills gaps in the blue economy sectors and by supporting cooperation between EU training centres and businesses; The adaptation to climate change – by improving coastal observation and designing and promoting cost effective coastal protection measures.
The action plan also has a strong international dimension in The Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance including USA, and Canada, Brazil and South Africa. The participating Member States may decide, in consultation with the European Commission, to expand the membership of the Atlantic strategy to any interested state.The action plan will reinforce cooperation among the participating countries and include coastal regions and stakeholders. A solid monitoring framework will measure progress and impact.The main sources of funding will be European Structural and Investment Funds, including the future territorial cooperation programme in the Atlantic area and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). In addition to the national and regional funding, the action plan will also rely on sources such as Horizon Europe, Connecting Europe Facility, LIFE programme and innovative financial instruments managed by the European Investment Bank, such as the InvestEU programme for decarbonisation and the circular economy.

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Agricoltura: Taglio dei fondi EU?

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 24 luglio 2020

Pensare che la ripresa dell’economia europea possa avvenire sottraendo risorse all’agricoltura è una contraddizione in termini, oltre che un’implicita smentita di tutti gli impegni presi finora per promuovere un Green New Deal nel Vecchio continente – dichiara Andrea Michele Tiso, presidente nazionale Confeuro. Secondo quanto anticipato da alcuni organi di stampa, il Consiglio europeo sarebbe infatti pronto a sacrificare alcuni programmi per salvaguardare i fondi destinati alle riforme nei vari Paesi. In particolare, il fondo per lo sviluppo rurale creato per favorire la sostenibilità ambientale e rispettare i target del Green Deal, rischierebbe una riduzione di un terzo passando da 15 a 10 miliardi.Ci auguriamo che queste indiscrezioni restino tali e non si traducano in realtà. Il sistema economico non è un meccanismo che può funzionare a compartimenti stagni, ma un organismo unico in cui il settore primario gioca un ruolo fondamentale – prosegue Tiso. Tagliare le risorse destinate all’agricoltura sostenibile finirebbe per avere ripercussioni non solo sull’intera economia, ma anche sul fronte della lotta ai cambiamenti climatici. L’ipotesi che i leader europei siano pronti a fare dietrofront dopo aver annunciato a più riprese di voler puntare su agroecologia e sostenibilità, fa pensare che i Governi siano tuttora ancorati a vecchi schemi non più adatti a promuovere una sviluppo equilibrato. Gli impegni presi nei mesi scorsi dal Governo italiano e dal resto dell’Unione saranno valutati alla prova dei fatti. Oggi più che mai servono volontà politica e risorse reali, non semplici slogan.

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EU summit compromise: positive step for recovery, inadequate in the long-term

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 21 luglio 2020

• EP’s negotiating team welcomes the agreement on the €750 billion recovery instrument
• But it is unacceptable that long-term EU budget is cut, while citizens ask for an increase in EU investments
• Binding commitment to new sources of EU revenue is crucial for fair repayment of recovery debt
• Respect for rule of law must be guaranteed
Commenting on the conclusions of the 17-21 July EU summit, EP negotiators welcome the recovery fund but warn that their agreement to the long-term EU budget cannot be taken for granted.After five days of intense discussions, the Heads of State and Government reached a political compromise. Parliament’s negotiating team on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Own Resources (OR) welcomes the fact that at last a common position has been achieved, and that the newly created Recovery Instrument (Next Generation EU) is financed with a borrowing of EUR 750 billion. But Parliament remains critical on some essential aspects of the compromise, particularly on the long-term perspective.“The Recovery Instrument is an important step towards a new ambition for the Union: greener, more competitive and digital. This massive borrowing is an historical moment for the European Union, and we should not disregard what just happened.” However we regret that the Member States decided to entirely abandon the ‘bridge solution’, whose objective was precisely to provide immediate crisis response to the citizens, following the Covid-19 outbreak. In a context where the virus in on the rise again, citizens need certainty. Parliament will continue working hard to ensure that the recovery starts without delays. Furthermore, democratic oversight must be substantially increased: Parliament, as one arm of the budgetary authority will fight to be fully involved in the establishment and implementation of the Recovery Instrument”, said the EP’s negotiators on Tuesday.“The picture is much more negative when it comes to the EU long-term budget (the MFF). Parliament cannot accept the proposed record low ceilings as they mean renouncing to the EU’s long-term objectives and strategic autonomy, while citizens ask for more. More European solidarity, more European action in public health, in research and digitalisation, youth, and in the historical fight against climate change. Key programmes to reach these objectives have been considerably shrunk, and lost most of their top-ups under Next Generation EU. We will strive to secure improvements, including higher amounts, on future-oriented MFF programmes like Horizon, InvestEU, LIFE, Erasmus+. And if our conditions are not sufficiently met we will adopt the programmes on the basis of the existing MFF, as foreseen by the Treaty”, warned the members of the EP’s negotiating team.“The compromise is also a flagrant missed opportunity when it comes to modernising the revenue side, making it fairer and more transparent. The EU is now allowed to borrow funds but there is no certainty on how the debt will be repaid. Parliament has been clear: the recovery should not reduce investment capacities nor harm the national taxpayer. This is why new genuine own resources are the solution to repay the common debt, but the plastic-based contribution will not do the trick alone! We recall our strict demand to that respect: a binding commitment for the introduction of additional own resources as soon as 2021, and still in the course of the MFF 2021-2027. Furthermore, despite the United Kingdom leaving the EU, the insistence on the rebates has been extremely tough and results in a big step back for the European project: instead of being abolished, rebates are kept and even increased.Additionally, Parliament remains firmly against watering down the mechanism to reduce or suspend EU funding if a Member State disrespects the rule of law, and this issue should not be put off but addressed now. Parliament has stood ready to enter into negotiations under co-decision to continue building a Europe of fundamental rights.Parliament remains ready to immediately enter negotiations in order to achieve a better agreement for Europe”, the MEPs added.The EP’s negotiating team for the next long-term EU budget and Own Resources reform
Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR, BE), Chair of the Committee on Budgets
Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL), MFF co-rapporteur
Margarida Marques (S&D, PT), MFF co-rapporteur
José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT), Own Resources co-rapporteur
Valérie Hayer (RENEW, FR), Own Resources co-rapporteur
Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA, DE)
The Council will now finalise its mandate to enter negotiations with Parliament, which will have a final say before the 2021-2027 budget can enter into force. The current multiannual budget runs out on 31 December 2020.Parliament will set out its conditions and take up negotiations with the German Presidency of the Council of the EU as soon as possible.

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German Constitutional Court ruling and primacy of EU law

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 luglio 2020

Legal Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Committees took stock of the impact of the 5 May 2020 German Constitutional Court ruling on the EU legal order and examined potential courses of action.The hearing brought together MEPs from the two competent European Parliament Committees and a number of experts, with a view to discussing the legal and constitutional consequences of the ruling from an EU law perspective. Markus Ludwigs (Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg), Renáta Uitz (Central European University in Budapest), Diana Urania Galetta (University of Milan) and Joseph H.H. Weiler (NYU School of Law & Harvard Centre for European Studies) presented their views and answered MEPs’ questions during the ensuing discussion.The discussion focused mainly on the validity of the judgment in light of a series of issues around its legal reasoning and the way it applied (or failed to apply) general principles of EU law, such as the principles of conferral and proportionality, the delimitation competences between the EU and the member states, and the uniform and equal application of EU law. MEPs inquired about ways to redress the situation and manage consequences on the EU’s legal system. Several MEPs and guest speakers examined the option of an infringement procedure being launched by the Commission, while also aiming to reduce the probability of similar instances in the future by improving legal dialogue.References were made to the impact that a potential treaty review could have in addressing EU legal order issues and the role of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe in this regard. Many highlighted that action is required to prevent the erosion that can take place if diverging views on the supremacy of EU law, the rule of law, national constitutional identities and the future of the EU itself go unchecked.

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EU and Alga4Food brings algae to Portuguese dinner tables

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 3 luglio 2020

In a world where food resources are becoming scarce, conventional agriculture faces challenges in feeding 7 billion people and fish resources are under pressure, algae are one promising route to an affordable global food supply at low environmental costs. But whereas seaweed and other algae are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, European consumption and production of this green gold of the sea could use a major boost.
It is against this backdrop that the EU has provided financial support to the Alga4Food, among other projects. Since 2017, the Alga4Food aims to explore the benefits of edible macro algae (seaweed) from the Portuguese coast and promotes their use in Portuguese family cooking. The Alga4Food team brings the worlds of science and gastronomy together. They first analysed different types of seaweed to understand their flavour and nutritional value, and find the best ways to conserve them. Next, the team developed suggestions for their culinary use. They looked at similarities between seaweeds and traditional Portuguese foodstuffs like cabbage, sea cucumbers and goose barnacles, and suggested which kinds of seaweed might work as substitutes for these ingredients in traditional dishes.
The project was supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), in particular for the acquisition of new analytical equipment, the development of new food products and their evaluation via sensory analysis. The funding also allowed establishing a multidisciplinary partnership between the chemistry department at the Universidade Nova in Lisbon; CIIMAR – the Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research; associations of fishers and gatherers of shellfish; the University of Aveiro; the University of Coimbra; and the company NMT, which specialises in technology and innovation. 2020 is the last year of the project and many of the tasks are being finalized. However, because seaweeds are seasonal and the harvest period has unfortunately coincided with the peak of the corona crisis, final results might only be available later.

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EU tops up fisheries fund by €500 million to help recovery

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 3 luglio 2020

The additional funding is part of the Recovery Package and follows earlier EU support measures to alleviate the immediate socio-economic impact on the sector. The Commission will work closely with EU countries to ensure that the additional funding contributes to a swift recovery, in line with the European Green Deal and the ambitions of the common fisheries policy.
For many coastal communities, who strongly rely on fisheries for their livelihoods, the social-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis was – and still is – dramatic. Businesses suffered severe losses because of the lockdown and the disruption of the European seafood market. With measures including support for temporary cessation, storage aid and temporary state aid, the Commission had swiftly taken actions to avoid a worst-case scenario.Now that economic activity is slowly picking up again, the Commission is moving to a second phase of action, which is to support the recovery. Last week, the Commission presented the Recovery Instrument, consisting of new financing raised on the financial markets (Next Generation EU) as well as a reinforced long-term budget for 2021-2027. As part of the proposal, the EMFF budget is strengthened with an additional €500 million. This is an increase of more than 8% compared to the budget initially proposed for the EMFF in 2018.This additional money will feed Member States’ programmes for 2021-2024, frontloading financial support in the crucial first years of recovery. Member States will have to channel this investment to the objectives of the European recovery plan. The Commission will work closely with them during the preparation of the future generation of EMFF programmes.
With the recovery plan, the Commission wants to repair the short-term damage from the crisis by investing in a sustainable, inclusive and fair future for Europe. In this respect, investment supported by the EMFF should strengthen the resilience of the sector and contribute to the European Green Deal, including the 2030 Biodiversity and the Farm to Fork strategies, as well as the circular economy. Moreover, all EMFF funding should continue to promote the achievement of the economic, social and environmental objectives of the common fisheries policy

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MEPs call on EU to consider lawsuit against China over Hong Kong

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 20 giugno 2020

Parliament recommends that EU and members states file a case before the International Court of Justice, if the new national security law for Hong Kong is applied.In a resolution adopted on Friday by 565 votes to 34, with 62 abstentions, the European Parliament voted in favour of bringing China before the International Court of Justice over its decision to adopt a new national security law for semi-autonomous Hong-Kong.In the text, MEPs “call on the EU and its Member States to consider, in the event the new security law is applied, filing a case before the International Court of Justice alleging that China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”
They also strongly condemn the new law as an assault on the city’s autonomy, as well as China’s constant and increasing interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. MEPs call for the jailed pro-democracy activists and peaceful demonstrators to be released and for charges against them to be dropped. They want to see a UN Special Envoy appointed to deal specifically with the situation in Hong Kong.The European Parliament is greatly concerned by the steady deterioration of civil and political rights, and press freedom in Hong Kong and calls for an independent and impartial investigation into the police’s use of force against pro-democracy protesters.It finally strongly urges EU member states in the Council and the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to address the issue of the national security law for Hong Kong as a top priority at the upcoming EU-China Summit on Monday, 22 June, (via video conference) and at the planned EU-China Leaders meeting, as well as other human rights issues, such as the situation of the Uyghurs.

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Eu: fishing activities

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 15 giugno 2020

In France, fishing activities have recovered but demand is still fragile and too low to absorb the increased supplies and imports from neighbour countries, leading to low prices. FranceAgriMer data on weekly auction sales (excluding the Mediterranean seaboard) show that for the 31 main species, first sales volumes significantly increased in week 22 against week 21 (+17%, mostly due to sardine and to a lesser extent monk, saithe and haddock) but then decreased in week 23 compared with week 22 (-9%, mostly due to sardine). This led the average first sale price to decrease by 23% from week 21 to week 22 (mostly due to the volume effect and the increasing share of sardine) and to increase from week 22 to week 23 (+10%, with most species experiencing price increases and sardine share decreasing).
In Spain, sardine prices dropped in Galicia since the sardine campaign started in Portugal, the first week of June. In A Coruña, the medium sized sardine was sold at 1,50 EUR/kg and the big sized at 3,00 EUR/kg. The first week of June, Galician fishers sold medium sized sardines at 0,40 EUR/kg and big sized ones at 1,50 EUR/kg. The demand is expected to be lower than last year according to Acerga (seiners association of Galicia), due to COVID-19 restrictions making difficult the “sardiñadas” celebrations. In addition, the anchovy campaign is ending for Cantabrian seiners and prices have been lower than last year, making this year’s campaign hardly profitable.
In five auctions in Denmark (Hanstholm, Hirtshals, Strandby, Grenaa and Skagen), first-sale volumes decreased by 7% in week 22 compared to week 21 and remained stable in week 23 despite a public holiday on Monday 1st June. First-sale value decreased by 10% in week 22 but recovered in week 23 (+3%). Fishing activity seems to have increased over the past two months. The total first-sale volume in April and May was more than 50% higher compared to February and March. The main species contributing to this increase were plaice (+184%), saithe (+36%), cod (+86%), hake (+97%) and pollack (+129%).
In Ireland, the situation for the groundfish and shellfish fleets is reportedly depressed. In an attempt to balance the market, fFishermen receive public economic support for committing to vessel tie-ups. However, with the amounts received by fishermen being considered too low, fisheres go at sea fishing – with the result that fish is being landed at low prices. Achieved prices by fishermen for cod destined for the French market have been reported as low as 0,40 EUR/kg. The shellfish (crab) market has to some extent picked up. Still, market prices are low – currently around 2,00 EUR/kg, down from around 4,00 EUR/kg last year. Air freight capacity is limited, and the freight cost is still high to the Asian market. Another constraint is the test capacity for issuing veterinary certificates needed for exports to the Chinese market as the tests are conducted by one institution only.
In the Netherlands, the situation for fishermen has improved as public economic support measures seem to be effective and prices are currently on an acceptable level. There are currently no fishing restrictions for the flatfish fisheries. However, POs have decided a 60-hour restriction on for shrimp fisheries due to limited capacity at peeling factories in Morocco. As the HORECA segment is slowly opening again, demand for seafood seems to rise. From week 20 to week 23, first sale prices for sole have trended above 12,00 EUR/kg and were around 2,00 EUR/kg for plaice.

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Il Regolamento Ue sulle malattie infettive

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 4 giugno 2020

Oggi ASSALZOO, Associazione nazionale tra i Produttori di alimenti zootecnici, è stata ricevuta in audizione alla Commissione Politiche dell’Unione europea del Senato per l’esame del disegno di legge di delegazione europea del 2019. Il ddl, tra l’altro, riguarda anche l’applicazione del Regolamento UE 2016/429 in materia di sanità animale. In un confronto aperto e quanto mai costruttivo, l’Associazione ha sottolineato l’opportunità che la sua introduzione rappresenta per la disciplina del settore. Con questo regolamento si potrà finalmente semplificare una legislazione poco omogenea, alimentata negli anni anche da provvedimenti d’urgenza.Il regolamento prevede l’armonizzazione delle misure di sorveglianza e controllo delle malattie infettive ed entrerà in vigore il 21 aprile 2021. Il regolamento dell’Unione europea rappresenta un’opportunità importante di semplificazione e riordino della materia; il provvedimento è infatti una sorta di Testo unico che modifica e abroga ben trentotto provvedimenti legislativi. Lo stesso spirito che l’Associazione auspica possa ispirare anche l’azione del legislatore italiano.La normativa di recepimento dovrà infatti avere l’obiettivo di riordinare ed aggiornare la disciplina della sanità animale, come, ad esempio, riguardo alle malattie infettive emergenti, con l’auspicio di includere nella stessa disposizione anche le malattie non elencate nel regolamento comunitario.In qualità di autorità competente, il Ministero della Salute, attraverso l’autorità veterinaria centrale, dovrà poter contare su un’organizzazione adeguata ed efficiente, sia a livello centrale che periferico. Nelle Regioni sarà necessario introdurre un responsabile del servizio veterinario referente per il coordinamento con il centro.L’attività di semplificazione dovrà poi riguardare anche la raccolta delle informazioni attraverso una piattaforma unica che agevoli la condivisione dei dati, che elimini sovrapposizioni e che non preveda oneri agli operatori. E, infine, l’introduzione di una norma specifica che dia la possibilità di delegare alcuni controlli a veterinari non ufficiali.In questo modo il comparto della sanità animale potrà dotarsi di un rinnovato quadro legislativo coerente con il nuovo volto assunto negli ultimi anni ispirato all’approccio One Health, grazie ai ripetuti interventi del Ministero della Salute.Nel corso dell’audizione ASSALZOO ha anche illustrato la sua posizione in merito alla direttiva sulle pratiche commerciali sleali nella filiera agroalimentare. Il suo recepimento dovrà accompagnarsi a un coordinamento della disciplina vigente. Sarebbe inoltre importante evitare di fissare un limite di fatturato alle aziende che dovranno rispettare le norme della direttiva, individuare l’autorità competente in materia in un’ottica di ulteriore semplificazione e integrare l’elenco delle pratiche vietate dal dettato europeo.

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McAllister on EU-UK talks: Full support for the EU Chief Negotiator

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 31 Maggio 2020

The Chair of Parliament’s United Kingdom Coordination Group, David McAllister (EPP, DE), made the following statement on Friday after a meeting with EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.After a vote in the Committees of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 12 June, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution at the 17-19 June plenary session to sum up its stance ahead of the milestone High-Level Conference with the UK.“As stated in several resolutions, Parliament will not consent to an agreement that does not include provisions on level playing field, fundamental rights, robust governance and a stable framework for fisheries.It also considers the full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, co-signed by the UK Prime Minister, to be crucial.Today we reiterate our full support for the EU Chief Negotiator, who has a clear political mandate from the European Council and the overwhelming support of the European Parliament to negotiate an ambitious agreement that covers all the areas and sectors included in the Political Declaration. Not only the ones in which the UK government is interested.The EU cannot make an agreement at the cost of undermining its internal market or the interests and competitiveness of our companies and industries. Meanwhile, in the UK legal proposals, there are many examples of areas where the UK wants to keep access to the single market whilst not abiding by its rules: it asks for almost complete freedom of movement for service providers, the assimilation of UK auditors, the recognition of professional qualifications and electricity interconnection. The EU has provided none of these in any of its agreements with third countries.As the UK is no longer an EU member, it cannot have similar access to EU databases as member states. For the same reason, the UK cannot enjoy the right to decide on financial services equivalence or the adequacy of data protection, which are EU sovereign competences. The UK has taken a sovereign decision to leave the EU, its internal market and customs union and this will have concrete consequences as of 1 January 2021.”

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EU citizens want more competences for the EU to deal with crises like COVID-19

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 29 Maggio 2020

Conducted at the end of April 2020, nearly seven out of ten respondents (69%) want a stronger role for the EU in fighting this crisis. In parallel, almost six out of ten respondents are dissatisfied with the solidarity shown between EU Member States during the pandemic. While 74% of respondents have heard about measures or actions initiated by the EU to respond to the pandemic, only 42% of them are satisfied with these measures so far.Around two-thirds of respondents (69%) agree that “the EU should have more competences to deal with crises such as the Coronavirus pandemic”. Less than a quarter of respondents (22%) disagree with this statement. Agreement is highest in Portugal and Ireland, and lowest in Czechia and Sweden.In responding to the pandemic, European citizens wanted the EU to focus primarily on ensuring sufficient medical supplies for all EU Member States, on allocating research funds to develop a vaccine, direct financial support to Member States and improving scientific co-operation between Member States.This strong call for more EU competences and a more robustly coordinated EU response goes hand in hand with the dissatisfaction expressed by a majority of respondents as concerns the solidarity between EU Member States in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic: 57% are unhappy with the current state of solidarity, including 22% who are ‘not at all’ satisfied. Only a third of respondents (34%) are satisfied, with the highest returns in Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal. Respondents from Italy, Spain and Greece are among the most dissatisfied, followed by citizens from Austria, Belgium and Sweden.Three out of four respondents across all countries surveyed say they have heard, seen or read about EU measures to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic; a third of respondents (33%) also know what these measures are. At the same time around half (52%) of those who know about EU action in this crisis say they are not satisfied with the measures taken so far. Only 42% are satisfied, most of all in Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland. The degree of dissatisfaction is highest in Italy, Spain and Greece, and quite high in Austria and Bulgaria.A clear majority of respondents (58%) stated in the survey that they have experienced financial difficulties in their own personal life since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Such problems include a loss of income (30%), unemployment or partial unemployment (23%), using personal savings sooner than planned (21%), difficulties paying rent, bills or bank loans (14%) as well as difficulties having proper and decent-quality meals (9%). One in ten said that they have had to ask family or friends for financial help, while 3% of respondents faced bankruptcy.Overall, respondents in Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain are most likely to have experienced financial problems, while those in Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Austria are least likely to report problems. Indeed, in the latter countries, more than half of respondents have not experienced any of these financial problems: 66% in Denmark, 57% in the Netherlands, 54% in Finland and 53% in Sweden.

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EU future at stake: MEPs broadly welcome Commission’s recovery package proposals

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 Maggio 2020

Focussing on future generations, Commission President von der Leyen discussed the €750 billion recovery instrument within a revamped long-term EU budget in plenary.Following the presentation by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the pledge by the Croatian Council representative Nikolina Brnjac to work with member states to swiftly conclude negotiations with Parliament on the new package, political group leaders took the floor to outline their initial reactions. Click on names to view the individual statements.“European solidarity is back and we are opening a new chapter for the EU”, Manfred Weber (EPP, DE) said. The new money needs to be spent on fresh ideas and not on Europe’s old problems. “Solidarity goes hand in hand with responsibility”, therefore it must be clear how the money will be paid back, he said, calling for new own resources and for digital giants to pay their part.Iratxe García Perez (S&D, ES) thanked von der Leyen for an ambitious proposal and for giving the EP “the role it deserves” in the design of the recovery package. Warning that the survival of the European project is at stake, she urged the Council to adopt the new MFF by qualified majority to avoid keeping the EU “hostage by four member states that prefer a national response to a European one”.“It is a game changer, unprecedented in the history of Europe”, said Dacian Ciolos (Renew, RO). “The MFF and the recovery plan must focus on the future”, with the Green deal and digital agenda as building blocks, he said. “We may differ on some details, but I really welcome the approach”, he said, reminding member states that “the EU is not a cash machine. Solidarity comes with values”.Jörg Meuthen (ID, DE) rejected the package proposal as “completely wrong and nonsense”, without a proper legal basis and lacking responsibility or economic sense. The Commission wants to spend money “as if there was no tomorrow”. It is a huge price for European taxpayers, he concluded.Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE) urged: “We must not repeat the big mistakes of the past and force countries into austerity and blind market ideologies. Instead, we need to make sure that the money is well invested into projects that will help in the long term, create jobs and save the one planet that we have.”Johan van Overtveldt (ECR, BE) said: “If we are going to allow loans and grants, there must be clear conditions. The money needs to go to where it is most needed, and there must be safety mechanisms in place for our businesses. People working and saving should not have to “fork out” for these programmes”.“Instead of making a clean break with past dogmas”, the Recovery Plan stops “midstream” said Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL, FR). Welcoming the new proposals on Own Resources, she called for the crisis debt to be cancelled, for direct perpetual loans to member states, and for public support to be conditional on social considerations.The Commission has also unveiled its adjusted Work Programme for 2020, which will prioritise the actions needed to propel Europe’s recovery and resilience.

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European Youth Event 2020: giving a voice to young people to influence EU policy

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 26 Maggio 2020

The European Youth Event (EYE) goes online to engage young people with high-level politicians, experts and influencers and discuss EU role in the COVID-19 crisis.‘EYE online’, following the postponement of EYE2020 due to the pandemic, goes into its final week and offers young people from the EU and beyond an opportunity to virtually meet and exchange views with experts, decision-makers, activists and influencers. It will address youth concerns about the role of the EU in the context of COVID-19 crisis, as part of the #EuropeansAgainstCovid19 campaign.During the final week, participants will be able to debate with high-level speakers such as EP President Sassoli, EP Vice-presidents Katarina Barley and Othmar Karas, ECB President Christine Lagarde as well as several EU Commissioners and MEPs.EP President David Sassoli, who will close the event on Friday 29 May, said: “We strive to find opportunities even in difficult times. The EYE online is taking the European Youth Event to the next level by allowing even more young people from Europe and beyond to engage in the democratic debate and voice their ideas for the future of Europe. The EYE has become even more accessible and inclusive for all”.The programme of EYE online kicked off on April 7 after it became clear that the biennial event in Strasbourg could not take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its last week, from Monday 25 to Friday 29, includes several interactive sessions such as, inter alia, a debate with key EU policy makers, understanding what it is like to be an MEP or an interpreter, and to join several panels on a variety of topics.President Sassoli will participate in the closing session entitled “In the shoes of the EP President”, to present his daily work, particularly in these challenging times, and Parliament’s response to Covid-19 and the way forward after this crisis.EP Vice-Presidents for Communication, Katarina Barley and Othmar Karas, will open the final week, on Monday, replying to questions from participants on the EU response to the crisis.The European Central Bank’s President, Christine Lagarde, is also among the several guest speakers, as she will discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic and, particularly, how it affects people, businesses and banks.Participants will also be able to share views on how young people can contribute to shaping policies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 without leaving their home. Other sessions cover the impact of COVID-19 on youth mobility, particularly Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes, and the job market, inequalities in health and health care, as well as the climate emergency.

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Response to pandemic is vital for the sustainable future of the transport sector

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 16 Maggio 2020

Transport Committee MEPs supported the urgency procedure for proposed measures. However, they noted also that there is a need for greater transparency and deliberation before rushing any legislative proposals through:
Aviation: Contracts with ground-handling services should be flexible, as should modified air carrier licensing rules. The measure mostly received support in the debate.
Maritime: Ports should be able to defer, reduce or lift port infrastructure charges for port users. Many MEPs underlined that it is not clear who would benefit from this proposal and it is difficult to see its added value in a very competitive environment. This might cause unfair competition. The Commission said that it remains an optional tool to provide additional flexibility and keep supply lanes open.
Rail: the deadline to transpose EU law on rail safety and interoperability should be extended. Transport Committee MEPs agree with the extension; however, the timeframe remains under discussion.
Relieving the administrative burden: the validity of certain certificates and licences should be extended by providing temporary derogation from 15 legal acts. Many MEPs supported the changes by the Council, i.e. for the less affected member states to opt out from the relief measures.The MEPs also reiterated the need for a coordinated approach to easing COVID-19 lockdown measures as well as the need for additional support measures for both the transport and tourism sectors.
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans acknowledged that transforming the transport sector is essential to the success of the European Green Deal. “COVID-19 or not, there is still a climate crisis. That will not go away. We have to do everything we can to stop the temperatures rising”, he said. “We want to make sure that, in the recovery plan, we save jobs and at the same time make the transition to sustainability. We will have to invest as much as possible at the EU and national level. This is the most challenging part of our mandate.”Many MEPs raised doubts about whether a strong economy is compatible with a fair transition to sustainability. “Can we afford a green deal in this crisis? There is no contradiction between the need to recover economically and to do it in line with the Green Deal. We cannot succumb to short-term expediency”, explained the Executive Vice-President, adding that it is already evident that investments into sustainable energy now outpace the investments in old energy. Several questions also tackled the loss of jobs in the car industry, the lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles, the aviation sector’s struggles in the current crisis and a possible additional tax burden, the importance of rail transport, as well as rethinking transport systems in cities.

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EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands reach an agreement for better monitoring and control of pelagic fish stocks

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 9 Maggio 2020

The European Union, Norway and the Faroe Islands reached a coastal states agreement for the monitoring, control and surveillance (MSC) of shared pelagic stocks fisheries in the North-East Atlantic (mackerel, horse mackerel, blue whiting and herring).
This is the first dedicated agreement on fisheries control and a major step in progressively achieving a level playing field on control and management of these pelagic stocks. The agreement is open for the signature of other coastal and fishing states. Greenland, Iceland and the Russian Federation were, regrettably, not in a position to commit to the agreement. However, these coastal states can and are encouraged to join it fully in the future. The three signatories commit to adopt a number of control measures for these fisheries in order to avoid discards and to monitor the landing and weighing operations. To ensure compliance with the landing obligation, several measures to prevent illegal discards will be mandatory. Measures such as providing control authorities with real-time access to weighing data and camera surveillance of landing and processing facilities will ensure better control and monitoring of catches. The signatories also agreed, for the first time, a number of measures aimed at ensuring accurate weighing and catch recording. In addition, an ambitious plan to test Remote Electronic Monitoring systems on board fishing vessel, such as cameras and sensors, will be implemented. The agreement calls for a regular review of the achievements, so that the measures could be enhanced in the future.

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Return of people residing illegally in the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 26 aprile 2020

Under the readmission agreement, Belarus commits to readmit its nationals who do not, or who no longer, fulfil the conditions in force for entry to, presence in, or residence on, the territory of EU member states. This will also apply to persons who hold a residence permit or a valid visa issued by Belarus, and those who illegally entered EU territory directly after having stayed on, or transited through, the territory of Belarus.The general visa fee for both Belarusians and EU citizens travelling to the other territory for up to 90 days in any 180-day period will be reduced to €35 (some categories of travellers will be exempt from paying fees). The deadlines for consulates to deal with requests will be reduced to 10 calendar days (extendable to a maximum of 30 days). Some Belarusian travellers, such as journalists, students and members of official delegations, will be able to receive multiple-entry visas that will be valid for longer and they will have to submit fewer supporting documents to justify their purpose of travel.
EU citizens can already enter Belarus without a visa for periods of up to 30 days, provided they cross the border at Minsk International Airport. For longer periods, of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, the new agreement will apply reciprocally.
MEPs underline that Belarus has engaged in the last few years in improving the respect of universal freedoms, the rule of law, and human rights, including the freedoms of speech, expression and of media, and labour rights. They also stress that these all constitute fundamental criteria for the EU’s policy towards third countries and that the visa facilitation agreement could be suspended, totally or partially, for human rights and democracy considerations. The two agreements will not apply either to Denmark or Ireland. Petar Vitanov (S&D, BG), rapporteur for the readmission agreement, considered that “the EU should engage more with all Eastern partners, despite the challenges or perhaps, even more so, because of them, as deeper relations should extend the frontiers of the area of freedom, security and justice”. Looking ahead, Vitanov asked for “a more active role for the EP in the opening and negotiations of future readmission agreements, as well as the subsequent monitoring of their application”. “Simplification of travel to and from the EU for both Belarusian as well as EU citizens is an important step on the path for deeper cooperation and understanding between the EU and Belarus and also to intensify the dialogue on democratic values. I would also encourage the European Commission to come back to us one year after the agreement is in place, so that we can evaluate to what extent the agreement meets its intentions”, said Ondřej Kovařík (Renew, CZ), rapporteur for the visa facilitation agreement.

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Aegean Plan 2.0 – preventing a disaster in the times of Corona

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 24 marzo 2020

The EU has an interest to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe when the corona virus hits the more than 40,000 refugees and migrants crammed together on Greek islands under dismal conditions, without sufficient medical care or even the option to wash their hands regularly. The EU and Turkey also have a common interest to support more than 3.5 million refugees now in Turkey; to control mobility in the face of the biggest public health crisis in a century: and to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 2 million displaced near the Turkish border in Syria.Governments across Europe are closing borders and restricting movement: cities, regions, countries are under lock-down. UNHCR and IOM have suspended all humanitarian resettlement. Public institutions, including asylum services, are closing, from the Netherlands to Greece. There is a strong public health interest to stop movement and ensure social distance to contain the spread of the Corona virus.This has consequences for refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants. One result of recent border closures and measures to restrict mobility is that most of them will not be able to leave the countries where they are now. This creates an even more urgent need to help people where they are, and to support the communities hosting them. And it requires concrete steps:
A renewed EU-Turkey statement 2.0, including a renewed EU commitment to support refugees and communities in Turkey for the next years with substantial financial assistance. At the same time Turkey should reaffirm its commitment to implement the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016.
A joint plan for the EU and Turkey to provide immediate humanitarian support to displaced people in Idlib in the North-West of Syria.
A transfer of at least 35,000 asylum seekers from the Greek islands to the Greek mainland as a matter of urgency. The humanitarian situation on the islands is catastrophic and a huge threat to the health of Greeks and asylum seekers on Lesbos and the other islands.
To achieve such a transfer will require building new accommodation on the mainland for 20,000 people, i.e. at least ten camps for 2,000 people each. The Greek government, supported by IOM and with EU funding, could do this in two stages: first build tent camps (within the next 10 days); then follow up with more solid accommodation (within months). Add to this the capacity of three camps already under construction by IOM (for 5,000 people) and one arrives at 25,000 places. So where could 35,000 people be accommodated? This is where leadership by some EU member states becomes crucial. Greece already has more asylum seekers per capita in the country (with 250,000 applications since early 2016) than any other EU member state. But if EU member states would be ready to relocate in the next days 10,000 recognised refugees from the Greek mainland two huge problems would be addressed. The Greek Prime minister could point to real, not just rhetorical, solidarity, as he needs to persuade communities on the mainland to host more camps to relief the islands. And there would be 10,000 additional existing places to accommodate families now on the islands.
To relocate already recognised refugees from the Greek mainland to other EU countries should be straight-forward. Their asylum claims have already been examined and they have been found to deserve protection. 4,000 of them are in existing camps managed by IOM and 6,000 are in apartments, organised by UNHCR, both financed by the European Commission and organized by DG Home.Such an evacuation will not be easy. Some may say it is politically impossible. European publics have their own anxieties. But if nobody in Europe is prepared to do this it becomes even harder for Greek politicians to transfer people to the mainland now. The Greek mainland already hosts some 70,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Greek leaders and citizens need to know that they are not alone.To move 35,000 people from the islands to the mainland, building accommodation for 20,000 and relocating 10,000 to other European countries, would be an historic operation: an airlift of humanity.Do EU members have the capacity to do this? Yes, they do. In the coming days they will bring home more than 100,000 of their citizens stuck somewhere outside the EU. In late February 2011 Turkey evacuated 5,000 people from Libya in 72 hours and a total of 15,000 people within a few days, while Greek ships evacuated 15,000 Chinese from Tripoli at the time of the 2011 turmoil there. Germany has just announced that it might bring back 20,000 Germans from Egypt over the weekend.It is a matter of will and leadership to make the extra effort. Germany could set an example and bring 5,000 recognised refugees from the Greek mainland to Germany. Other countries should join this effort. Containing a deadly virus, and preventing dangerous tensions leading to a social explosion on Greek islands, is a pan-European interest.

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EU City Summit

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 19 marzo 2020

Si è tenuto a Bruxelles l’EU City Summit, un importante evento B2B dedicato al target associativo. Oltre ad essere un’occasione importante per promuovere le destinazioni europee presenti in ottica turistico-congressuale, l’EU City Summit ha rappresentato la prima iniziativa congiunta tra convention bureau europei. Le città di Firenze, Göteborg, Lubiana, Lione, Salisburgo e Valencia si sono unite per promuovere in modo congiunto le loro potenzialità come destinazioni MICE, con Bruxelles – importante punto di riferimento per le associazioni internazionali ed europee, come sede principale.Attraverso questo modello di collaborazione e business exchange, i convention bureau mirano a costruire relazioni reciprocamente vantaggiose con le associazioni, offrendo loro uno sportello unico attraverso cui accedere ad una rete di destinazioni per organizzare il proprio meeting o evento congressuale.
L’idea di creare un network collaborativo è nata lo scorso anno tra alcune città europee che condividono caratteristiche comuni. Mentre in alcuni casi competono per gli stessi eventi associativi, ognuna delle sei sei città riconosce il vantaggio di lavorare in sinergia e di promuovere a sua volta le altre destinazioni. Vantaggi evidenti di questa iniziativa sono l’opportunità per i potenziali clienti di conoscere in modo più approfondito le città del network, la condivisione di know-how ed esperienze per i convention bureau coinvolti e l’uso delle risorse in modo rapido e conveniente. L’EU City Summit, organizzato da Pitch Perfect e moderato da Mariska Kesteloo, Word of MICE, ha suscitato molto interesse tra i rappresentanti delle principali associazioni medico-scientifiche con sede a Bruxelles.

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Europa: Chiusura frontiere tra Stati

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 18 marzo 2020

Dichiarazione del Presidente della commissione libertà civili, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) sulla reintroduzione dei controlli di frontiera interni a Schengen.”Negli ultimi giorni, diversi Stati membri dell’UE hanno reintrodotto i controlli alle loro frontiere interne, dentro l’area Schengen, o le hanno addirittura chiuse per alcune categorie di persone, mentre altri Stati membri stanno prendendo in considerazione tali misure. In qualità di Presidente della commissione per le libertà civili, giustizia e affari interni del Parlamento europeo, pur condividendo pienamente la necessità di misure di politica pubblica che limitino l’interazione sociale per rallentare la diffusione del Coronavirus, esorto gli Stati membri ad adottare le loro misure nel pieno rispetto dei principi di proporzionalità e, soprattutto, di solidarietà tra gli Stati membri dell’UE, oltre che di non discriminazione e delle norme Schengen applicabili. È fondamentale che, nell’adottare tali misure, non vi sia alcuna discriminazione tra i cittadini dell’UE.È solo attraverso un approccio coordinato, piuttosto che attraverso azioni intraprese dai singoli Stati membri, che riusciremo ad affrontare con successo la sfida che tutti abbiamo davanti.La commissione per le libertà civili sta monitorando attentamente la situazione e si aspetta che la Commissione europea, la Presidenza del Consiglio UE e gli Stati membri proteggano tutti i benefici dell’area Schengen”. Il regolamento (UE) 2016/399 relativo al regime di attraversamento delle frontiere da parte delle persone (codice frontiere Schengen) prevede esplicitamente il rischio per la salute pubblica come motivo di rifiuto d’ingresso alla frontiera esterna dello spazio Schengen (titolo II), ma non prevede la possibilità di ripristinare temporaneamente i controlli alle frontiere interne per motivi di salute pubblica (titolo III).

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Parlamento mobilitato per convogliare i fondi UE in favore delle persone colpite da Coronavirus

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 15 marzo 2020

Il Presidente della commissione per lo sviluppo regionale del PE, Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL, FR) ha dichiarato: “L’Europa deve mostrare solidarietà in questo momento. La politica di coesione è intrinsecamente legata alla solidarietà e ora più che mai deve essere all’altezza della sfida, in modo che sia attuata nel modo più efficiente possibile. La commissione per lo sviluppo regionale farà tutto il possibile per garantire che i fondi siano a disposizione dove è più necessario”.La modifica delle regole di finanziamento dell’UE rientra nella procedura di codecisione, quindi sia il Parlamento che il Consiglio dovranno adottare l’atto. L’ufficio di presidenza e i coordinatori della commissione per lo sviluppo regionale discuteranno la procedura e annunceranno i prossimi passi da compiere il prima possibile. La commissione si adopererà per concludere l’esame della proposta il più rapidamente possibile.L’adozione della proposta consentirà di convogliare i finanziamenti verso le aree e i settori interessati.Il 10 marzo, la Commissione europea ha annunciato che avrebbe lanciato una “Corona Response Investment Initiative” diretta ai sistemi sanitari, alle PMI, ai mercati del lavoro e ad altre parti vulnerabili delle economie degli Stati membri dell’UE. Il 13 marzo è stata pubblicata una proposta legislativa per modificare il regolamento sulle disposizioni comuni, il Fondo europeo di sviluppo regionale e i regolamenti del Fondo europeo per gli affari marittimi e la pesca.La Commissione ha proposto di destinare 37 miliardi di euro nell’ambito della politica di coesione alla lotta contro la crisi del Coronavirus, rinunciando quest’anno all’obbligo di chiedere la restituzione dei prefinanziamenti per i fondi strutturali. Si tratta di circa 8 miliardi di euro del bilancio dell’UE, che gli Stati membri potranno utilizzare per integrare 29 miliardi di euro di fondi strutturali, per tutta l’UE. Inoltre, la Commissione ha proposto di estendere il campo di applicazione del Fondo di solidarietà dell’UE includendo anche la crisi della sanità pubblica, in vista di una eventuale mobilitazione per gli Stati membri più duramente colpiti.

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