EXME 13 / 03.04
Midday Express of 2013-04-03
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.7% in March 2013, down from 1.8% in February. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, food, alcohol & tobacco is expected to have the highest annual rate in March (2.7%, stable compared with February), followed by services (1.9% compared with 1.5% in February), energy (1.7% compared with 3.9% in February) and non-energy industrial goods (1.0% compared with 0.8% in February).
GMOs: Member States back Commission on reinforced requirements for GM food/feed applications
A measure on requirements to be fulfilled by companies when submitting applications for the authorisation of new GMOs for food/feed uses was today adopted by the European Commission. The key objectives of this Regulation are: to reinforce and improve the authorisation process of GM food and feed and to clarify the requirements for submitting a request. These new requirements aim to ensure a more transparent process and improve consumer confidence. Endorsed in a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) on 25 February 2013, the Regulation was subject to an extensive consultation with Member States and interested parties. The risk assessment strategy outlined in the Regulation is based on the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) guidance and international standards. The Regulation clarifies inter alia, the protocols to be used by applicants when performing studies, requests to review additional available studies as soon as they become available, and specifies quality assurance requirements of the studies performed on GMOs. It also includes the obligation for companies to submit 90-day feeding studies on rodents for single GMO events, for which a protocol has been developed by EFSA based on the OECD protocol for chemicals. This draft Regulation foresees a transitional period of 6 months for companies to comply. The new rules will apply 20 days following publication in the Official Journal of the EU. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm
Plant Protection: New data requirements for plant protection products
Two Commission Regulations setting new EU data requirements for the authorisation of plant protection products and active substances were published today in the EU Official Journal. Two complementary Commission Communications on test methods and guidance documents on how to fulfil the new data requirements were also published. The aim of the new data requirements is to further strengthen the EU authorisation process for plant protection products/substances used in plant protection products which has already substantially reduced the number of authorised plant protection products by removing from the market those unsafe for human health or the environment, or those which could not be evaluated because of the absence of data. The new requirements request for instance additional data in areas of concern like potential effects of plant protection products on bees and additional data regarding neurotoxicity, endocrine disruptors, or potential residues in food, while considering the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal testing. The new data requirements will apply from 2014 for active substances and from 2016 for plant protection products. The list of applicable methods and guidance documents will be updated regularly and published in the Official Journal. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/legislation/index_en.htm
Commission proposes renewed resources for combating pollution at sea
The European Commission today proposed funding of €160.5 million over a period of seven years for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to allow continued action to combat pollution caused by ships. The funds will enable the agency to maintain its network of specialised anti-pollution vessels available to Member States to recover pollutants and to further develop satellite images to detect pollution. The funds are intended to maintain the network of specialised anti-pollution vessels which strengthen the capability of the Member States to respond to pollution caused by oil and other substances. These “reserve vessels” which EMSA puts at the disposal of affected Member States have state-of-the-art equipment for containing and recovering pollutants from the sea. In parallel, the funds will support the efficient system of satellite imaging that has been developed to detect pollution in good time ( CleanSeaNet) and which underpins efforts by the Member States to prevent illegal discharge and accidental spillage of oil. The funds will allow a response to spills from off-shore oil and gas installations using additional specialised equipment. EMSA will continue to work with third countries – very important for the Mediterranean Sea in particular – although the funding for such activities will be outside this multiannual financial framework. In 2004, EU legislation ( Regulation No 724/2004, 13 March 2004) gave EMSA a mandate to combat pollution caused by ships. An envelope of €154 million was allocated for the duration of the 2007–13 financial period. This mandate was confirmed in the most recent revision of EMSA's founding regulation , and extended to cover marine pollution caused by oil and gas installations and assistance to third countries sharing a regional sea basin with the EU.
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