Месечни архиви: July 2018

People living in mountainous regions [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living in mountainous regions.

Mountains cover nearly 30 % of EU territory. Highly valued for their rich natural resources, their fresh, bracing air and their beautiful landscapes, mountain areas are attractive places to live. Mountain dwellers know first-hand, however, that their regions’ specific geographical features (remoteness, topography and climate) also pose concrete problems for day-to-day activities, the most obvious being difficult access to key infrastructure, facilities and services, be that transport, education, healthcare, broadband, or business support.


Twitter Hashtag #EUandME


Through its regional policy programmes, the EU supports a wide range of projects offering practical solutions to these problems, including cross-border initiatives. The construction of a French-Spanish hospital in Cerdanya in the Pyrenees is one prominent example. The EU has also set up a specific strategy for the Alps, within which 7 countries and 48 regions have joined forces to secure the sustainable development of their territory. The focus ranges from accessibility and mobility to employment and energy.

Italy dolomites - Val di Funes in summer

© Adisorn/ Fotolia

Altitude, climate and steep slopes sometimes prevent the use of conventional machinery, and mountain farmers work in a particularly challenging environment. The EU, through its common agricultural policy, supports farmers located in mountainous areas and facing ‘natural or other specific constraints‘, compensating them for their agricultural production under difficult conditions. It has also launched a ‘mountain product‘ quality label to help mountain farmers market and raise the profile of their produce.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/15/people-living-in-mountainous-regions-what-europe-does-for-you/

People living in mountainous regions [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living in mountainous regions.

Mountains cover nearly 30 % of EU territory. Highly valued for their rich natural resources, their fresh, bracing air and their beautiful landscapes, mountain areas are attractive places to live. Mountain dwellers know first-hand, however, that their regions’ specific geographical features (remoteness, topography and climate) also pose concrete problems for day-to-day activities, the most obvious being difficult access to key infrastructure, facilities and services, be that transport, education, healthcare, broadband, or business support.


Twitter Hashtag #EUandME


Through its regional policy programmes, the EU supports a wide range of projects offering practical solutions to these problems, including cross-border initiatives. The construction of a French-Spanish hospital in Cerdanya in the Pyrenees is one prominent example. The EU has also set up a specific strategy for the Alps, within which 7 countries and 48 regions have joined forces to secure the sustainable development of their territory. The focus ranges from accessibility and mobility to employment and energy.

Italy dolomites - Val di Funes in summer

© Adisorn/ Fotolia

Altitude, climate and steep slopes sometimes prevent the use of conventional machinery, and mountain farmers work in a particularly challenging environment. The EU, through its common agricultural policy, supports farmers located in mountainous areas and facing ‘natural or other specific constraints‘, compensating them for their agricultural production under difficult conditions. It has also launched a ‘mountain product‘ quality label to help mountain farmers market and raise the profile of their produce.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/15/people-living-in-mountainous-regions-what-europe-does-for-you/

People living in border regions [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living in border regions.

If you are one of the 150 million people living near an internal EU border, you probably cross it regularly, whether for work, study, shopping or leisure. The EU makes such trips easier. As an EU citizen, you have the right to free movement when travelling within the EU. If, in addition, your country and its neighbour are in the Schengen area, there are no border checks.


Twitter Hashtag #EUandME


The EU has put various tools and mechanisms in place to facilitate cross-border work, including: the European network of employment services (EURES), which provides information and advice on all kinds of issues relating to cross-border commuting; the rules for the coordination of social security systems; the European Qualifications Framework, which makes qualifications more readable and understandable across borders; the Europass Framework, which enables users to present their skills, qualifications and experience by means of five standardised documents, including a CV; and the European Professional Card, an electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications.

French border road sign with European Union blue flag and yellow stars between France and Spain frontier

© tanjakolosjko / Fotolia

Since 1990, as part of its regional policy, the EU has been funding projects to support cross-border cooperation between European countries and regions, helping them to find joint solutions to common challenges and enhance their citizens’ quality of life. Examples of activities funded include measures to improve cross-border transport, increased cooperation between emergency and firefighting services, the development of cross-border healthcare services, and environmental protection, to name but a few.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/15/people-living-in-border-regions-what-europe-does-for-you/

Women entrepreneurs [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for women entrepreneurs.

If you are a self-employed woman seeking support to launch your own company, you may be interested to know that the EU is encouraging women to start up in business and lending a helping hand.


Twitter Hashtag #EUandME


As women represent only a third of Europe’s self-employed workforce, the EU has tried to identify the obstacles that can make starting and growing a business more difficult for them, including lack of access to information, training, funding, mentors and support networks – not to mention difficulties balancing work and family life.

The EU has created the ‘WEgate-platform’, an online gateway with practical advice on how to start up and grow a business and access funding, e-learning materials, networking opportunities and details of local support organisations across Europe. It also finances the European Community of Business Angels, which helps women entrepreneurs to find funding, and cooperates with the WES policy network, which promotes female entrepreneurship at national level.

Thoughtful business woman documents in office

© Alliance / Fotolia

Under EU legislation, all self-employed women are entitled to a maternity allowance and to leave of at least 14 weeks, if they choose to take it. Additional flexible working arrangements in the EU’s new proposal for a work-life balance directive will hopefully enable more women to take part in the labour market as well in business activities.

Lastly, if you have received EU research and innovation funding at some point in your career, and founded or co-founded a successful company based on your innovative ideas, you could receive one of the annual cash prizes awarded as part of the EU Prize for Women Innovators.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/14/women-entrepreneurs-what-europe-does-for-you/

Young Entrepreneurs [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for young Entrepreneurs.

Have you always wanted to be your own boss? You are not alone: around 44 % of young Europeans would like to set up their own business. Reality paints a different picture however: in 2011, only 4 % of 15-24 year-olds were self-employed. A lack of skills and funding are what usually get in the way.


Twitter Hashtag #EUandME


The EU promotes young entrepreneurs in many ways. In 2009, the EU launched ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’. The idea is that new entrepreneurs learn from experienced entrepreneurs in another EU country. They gain the valuable skills they need to start their own business, while the EU offers financial and practical support. In the first five years of the programme, 2 500 exchanges took place involving 5 000 new and experienced entrepreneurs.

Geschäftsmann mit Jetpack auf dem Rücken

© lassedesignen / Fotolia

Another source of financial support for the would-be self-employed is the European Social Fund (ESF). For several years now, the ESF has been opening up learning and training opportunities and helping young business starters gain valuable skills and experience. One success story is the COPIE project – a network with partner organisations in five countries that works to make it easier for people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to set up in business. Meanwhile, as many aspiring entrepreneurs face financial difficulties in the start-up phase, the European Progress Microfinance facility can help improve access to microcredits.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/14/young-entrepreneurs-what-europe-does-for-you/

The EU-UK withdrawal agreement: Progress to date and remaining difficulties

Written by Carmen-Cristina Cîrlig, Laura Tilindyte and Sidonia Mazur,

The EU flag and the UK outlines with nation flag inside. United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union. Brexit concept

© Elena Abrazhevich / Fotolia

With less than one year to go before the planned Brexit date of 30 March 2019, talks are continuing as regards the terms of the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Beginning in June 2017, the withdrawal negotiations have focussed on three key priority issues – citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the situation of Northern Ireland – alongside other ‘separation’ provisions (e.g. ongoing EU judicial and administrative procedures, Euratom related issues, data protection etc.). In addition, in December 2017, the European Council decided to begin negotiations on the terms of a transitional period as requested by the UK government.

On 19 March 2018, EU and UK negotiators announced that significant progress had been achieved regarding the draft withdrawal agreement: more than 75 % of the legal text had been settled, based on previous commitments undertaken by both sides in a joint report in December 2017. In particular, in the draft withdrawal agreement negotiators settled two of the priority issues in their entirety – citizens’ rights and the financial settlement; and importantly also approved the proposed transitional arrangements – to cover a 21-month period following the UK’s date of withdrawal from the EU until 31 December 2020. Furthermore, as regards the future governance of the agreement, it was agreed that a Joint Committee made up of an equal number of UK and EU representatives would assume responsibility for the implementation and application of the agreement. A few days later, the European Council (EU-27) welcomed this advance in the talks, which opened the door to discussions on defining the future framework of EU-UK relations, in accordance with the newly adopted European Council guidelines.

Despite these important steps towards reaching a withdrawal deal, divergences persist, particularly as regards two important elements: firstly, the jurisdiction and powers of the European Court of Justice (CJEU) as regards the interpretation and application of the agreement, as part of the dispute settlement process; secondly the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit. The EU and UK agreed in principle that the Protocol on Northern Ireland/Ireland annexed to the draft agreement should include a default scenario, or backstop option, that would apply to the territory of Northern Ireland in the absence of any agreed solutions, with a view to avoiding the establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit. However, despite further talks in recent months the negotiators have yet to settle either of these issues, although some limited progress on other parts of the draft withdrawal agreement was announced in a joint statement on 19 June. The European Council meeting at the end of June welcomed this further progress from 19 June, but expressed its concern that no significant headway was achieved with regard to the backstop solution for Northern Ireland.

Negotiators are now aiming for October 2018 as the deadline for finalising the withdrawal deal, to allow time for the completion of approval procedures in the EU and the UK.

As part of these procedures, the European Parliament will have to give its consent to the deal. Having closely monitored the negotiations and provided input at every stage in the process, Parliament’s resolutions have particularly emphasised the importance of upholding citizens’ rights in the future deal, including throughout the transition period. Even with the part on citizens’ rights now agreed, Parliament will continue to monitor the negotiations and push for further rights to be included in the deal. As regards the remaining unresolved issues, Parliament has expressed support on several occasions for the Commission’s proposals.


Read the complete in-depth analysis on ‘The EU-UK withdrawal agreement: Progress to date and remaining difficulties‘ in PDF on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Timeline of key events in the Brexit negotiations

Timeline of key events in the Brexit negotiations

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/13/the-eu-uk-withdrawal-agreement-progress-to-date-and-remaining-difficulties/

Limits on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work: Third proposal [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nicole Scholz (1st edition),

Occupational Health written on the road

© gustavofrazao / Fotolia

The European Commission has proposed to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer- or mutation-causing substances. The initiative is proceeding in steps. The first proposal of May 2016 covered 13 priority chemical agents, the second, of January 2017, a further seven. The current (third) proposal addresses an additional five.

Broad discussions with scientists and the social partners fed into all three proposals. Reacting to the Commission’s set of measures as a whole, trade unions have acknowledged the importance of further action to improve the existing framework, reiterating the need to reach the target of 50 limit values in 2020, while some considered it necessary to extend the scope of the CMD to substances that are toxic to reproduction. Actors on the employers’ side, while in principle supporting further revisions of the directive, have underlined, among other things, the need to ensure that values are proportionate and feasible in terms of technical implementation.

While welcoming the Commission proposal, the rapporteur’s draft report of 29 June 2018 proposes, inter alia, to grant incentives to businesses that comply with the directive. Moreover, it opts to include, within the scope of the directive, the protection of workers from exposure to hazardous, or harm-causing, medicines (including cytotoxic ones, which are used in the treatment of cancer).

Versions

Stage: Committee vote

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/13/limits-on-exposure-to-carcinogens-and-mutagens-at-work-third-proposal-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Victims of terrorism [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for victims of terrorism.

Every year Europe commemorates victims of terrorism on 11 March. This European Remembrance Day was established after the 2004 Madrid bombings, which left 191 people dead and around 2 000 injured. But Europe does not limit its action to commemoration. European legislation aimed specifically at combating terrorism dates back to 2002, and introduced a common understanding of terrorist offences and minimal penalties for perpetrators across Europe. It recognised the vulnerability of terrorism victims and the assistance they and their families need.


Twitter Hashtag #EUandME


Candles and flowers on the sidewalk to comemorate a famous dead person

© MoiraM / Fotolia

With the recent wave of attacks, which affected nine EU countries between 2015 and 2018, the European Union reinforced its arsenal to protect citizens and help victims. A law adopted in 2017 not only tightens the rules and sanctions related to terrorist activities, but also provides for better support for victims. Complementing earlier legislation on the rights of victims of crime, this law addresses victims’ needs, such as medical and psychological care or legal advice, and puts emergency mechanisms in place to assist them in the aftermath of an attack. Moreover, victims from another European country should receive the same assistance and compensation as residents of the country where the attack occurred, even when they return home. To ensure more efficient cooperation between countries, a Coordination Centre for Victims of Terrorism will open in 2019. An EU country faced with a terrorist attack can also ask for help under the EU solidarity clause and benefit from the crisis response arrangements involving political coordination.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/13/victims-of-terrorism-what-europe-does-for-you/

Multiannual plan for fisheries in the Western Waters [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Irina Popescu (1st edition),

Bateaux de pêche dans la port du Conquet, Bretagne

© aterrom / Fotolia

On 23 March 2018, the European Commission proposed a multiannual plan for management of fisheries in a northeast Atlantic area along the western coast of the EU, known as the Western Waters. The plan covers fisheries exploiting stocks of fish and crustaceans living close to the sea bottom (i.e. ‘demersal fisheries’), and several deep-sea stocks. The proposed plan aims to ensure that stocks are exploited sustainably and that management is based on the most up-to-date scientific information. The EU fishing fleet concerned mainly includes vessels from Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

The proposal follows the pattern set by the recently adopted North Sea multiannual plan. It would allow a certain flexibility in setting fishing opportunities, by defining ranges of fishing mortality based on the best available scientific advice, and would introduce safeguard measures based on biomass levels, so as to restore stocks when they fall below safe biological limits. The plan would not include quantified values for fishing mortality or biomass levels. These are instead provided by the latest scientific advice available, and directly used by the Council when fixing fishing opportunities.

Versions

Stage: Committee vote

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/12/multiannual-plan-for-fisheries-in-the-western-waters-eu-legislation-in-progress/

EU-Japan trade agreement: a driver for closer cooperation beyond trade [International Agreements in Progress]

Written by Krisztina Binder, graphics: Giulio Sabbati,

EU trade with Japan

© chris / Fotolia

Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade agreement were officially launched in March 2013. Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced in December 2017. On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the European Union to sign and conclude the agreement. The Commission expects that the EU-Japan EPA can be signed in July 2018, and aims to have the agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, following approval by the Council and the European Parliament.

The EU-Japan EPA will establish a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers that accounts for roughly a third of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). The 2016 Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (Trade SIA) of the agreement indicated that EU exports to Japan could rise by up to 34 %, and according to a more recent Commission estimate, European companies would save up to €1 billion in customs duties per year as a result of the EU-Japan EPA.

In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade, the agreement is also of strategic importance, conveying a strong message of the parties’ commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system based on rules, and to reject trade protectionism.


Read the complete briefing on ‘International Agreements in Progress – EU-Japan trade agreement: a driver for closer cooperation beyond trade‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/12/eu-japan-trade-agreement-a-driver-for-closer-cooperation-beyond-trade-international-agreements-in-progress/