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18 November 2011

Europe this week

Table of content:


Kicking out violence and intolerance

Food additives

More transparency


Towards fewer fire deaths caused through smoking


Kicking out violence and intolerance

The European Commission- the executive body of the European Union (EU ) - has awarded grants to twelve trans-national projects aimed at:

  • tackling violence and intolerance in sport,

  • and strengthening the way sport is run in Europe.

These grants form part of a package of "preparatory actions" intended to pave the way for the launch of an EU sub-programme for sport.

The future sub-programme would also support grass root campaigns by promoting:

  • Physical activity,

  • Social inclusion through sport,

  • And the fight against doping.


  • Prevention of and fight against violence and intolerance in sport: the EU has selected four projects which involve innovative trans-national networks. The funding will support the exchange of good practices between the sport sector, educational institutions, supporters' organisations, non-governmental organisations and national and local authorities. The aim is to promote the respect for fundamental European values in sport.

  • Promoting innovative approaches to strengthen the organisation of sport in Europe: Good governance is a precondition for the autonomy and self-regulation of sport organisations. The EU funding supports trans-national networks aimed at developing a European dimension in sport. These networks also seek to strengthen the administrative capacity of sport organisations and to increase the competitive level of sport in Europe.

As a matter of fact

The Lisbon Treaty states that "The European Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while talking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures which are based on voluntary activity and its social and education function (…) [The EU's action] shall be aimed at developing the European dimension in sport, by promoting fairness and openness in sporting competitions and cooperation between bodies responsible for sports and by protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen, especially the youngest sportsmen and sportswomen".

In the spotlight

The EU dimension in sport

    Without EU funding, many valuable sporting initiatives would not get off the ground.

    The EU can bring added-value in sports by

  • T ackling transnational issues that cannot be resolved at national level;

  • Supporting grassroots organisations in addressing wider socio-economic challenges such as social inclusion (e.g. of migrants) ;

  • Develop ing cooperation between bodies responsible for sports on issues such as guidelines for dual careers of athletes or for health-enhancing physical activity;

  • Protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen, especially the youngest ones;

  • Generating and sharing knowledge between different actors across the continent.

    P rojects funded by the EU are inherently European in nature. They require inputs from partners in a number of different member States.

    Some projects have shown that there are significant knowledge and understanding discrepancies between different Member States. Such discrepancies can be addressed by encouraging the Member States to share good practice.

    Othe r projects demonstrate how networks can be used to gather information that has the potential to advance understanding on a particular issue.

    Transnational collaborative projects demonstrate EU added-value in a number of ways, including:

  • Taking steps to improve discrepancies between Member States;

  • Spreading best practices;

  • Testing the viability of networks in given areas;

  • Providing policy support through research.

    Such projects could not have been carried out successfully by organisations acting at national level because they addressed issues common to all EU Member States, for which no single State could find a comprehensive solution.

    There are pockets of innovation and expertise in different Member States. The synergies that can be created by working together serve to move the debate forward.

    EU studies, surveys, conferences and seminars provide the European Commission and other actors with further policy support.


The twelve trans-national projects have received grants rangin g from €125 000 to € 200 000 (see below, under "Country Specific").

The European Commission has proposed € 15.2 billion in funding for the "Erasmus for All" programme between 2014 and 2020.

Country specific

Fight against violence and intolerance:

  • € 200,000 to a project aimed at educating young people to tackle violence in sport, managed by the Regional Committee CONII, in Lombardy, involving Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway (a member of the European Economic Area) , Portugal, Rumania and the United Kingdom .

  • €200,000 to a project aimed at creating a network of experts and organisations to prevent sexualised violence in sport, led by Deutsche Sportjugend im Deutschen Olympischen Sportbund e.V., involving, Germany, Greece, Norway, the United kingdom, the Czech Republic, Spain, Cyprus, Denmark, Belgian and Slovenia .

  • €160,000 to a project aimed at preventing and fighting homophobic violence and intolerance in sport –Pride in Sport, led by the European Gay and lesbian Sport Federation, involving Germany, France, Hungary, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and all the other Member States through the lead European organisation.

  • €200,000 to a project aimed at developing measures to tackle football-related violence and racism through preventive fan-based schemes across Europe, led by the Fonds Wiener Institut für internationalen Dialog und Zusammenarbeit, involving Austria, The Czech republic , Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and all other EU Member States through European-wide organisations.

Strengthening the organisation of sport:

  • €200,000 to a project aimed at supporting and providing guidance for good governance in sport organisations, led by the EU Office of the European Olympics Committees, involving Belgium, Croatia (a candidate country for EU membership), Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland (a member of the European Economic Area).

  • €200 000 to support a project aimed at promoting good governance in grassroots sports, led by the International Sport and Culture Association and involving the Czech republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Romania, the UK and a European-wide organisation.

  • €200 000 to a project aimed at furthering the development of a coordinated network for sport coaching in Europe (CoachNet), led by the Leeds Metropolitan University and involving the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal .

  • €100 000 to a project aiming at developing a European dimension in Rugby League, led by the Rugby League European Federation and involving the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom .

  • €200 000 to a project aiming at strengthening club ownership by football supporters, involving Belgium, Germany, Spain, Estonia, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom .

  • €125 000 to a project aimed at promoting effective management boards in sport organisations, led by the Sport and recreation Alliance and involving Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and transnational sport networks.

  • €200 000 to a project aiming at identifying guidelines and possible solutions to improve the governance of international and European sport organisations, led by the Danish Institute for Sports Studies/play the Game, and involving Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom .

  • €130 000 to a project aimed at improving the organisational and institutional capacity of billiard organisations, led by the Bulgarian Billiard Federation and involving Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovenia .

The EU budget has contributed to the:

  • European Youth Olympic Festival in Tampere, Finland (2009).

  • Mediterranean Games, Pescara, Italy (2009).

  • European Youth Olympic Festival in Liberac, Czech Republic , (2010)

  • Warsaw Special Olympics Summer Games, Poland (2010)

  • Athens Special Olympics Summer games, Greece (2011).


1990s: sport starts developing in EU context.

2000: Nice Declaration recognises the integral role of sport in European society

2004: European Year of Education through Sport-European Commission co-finances 200 sport-related projects.

2007: White paper on Sport identifies three dimensions of sport – social, economic and organisational.

2007: Pierre de Coubertin EU Action Plan.

2009: entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, conferring a direct competence to the EU in the area of sport.

2009-11: EU budget finances Preparatory Actions in the field of sport and special annual events

2011: Communication on "Developing the European Dimension in Sport" proposes new concrete actions for the Commission and/or the Member States

Looking ahead

End of 2011: The European Commission is due to adopt the "Erasmus for All" programme supporting education, training and youth, which will include a sub-programme for sport.

2012/2013: European Parliament and EU Council of Minister to decide upon the Sport Sub-Programme proposed by the European Commission as part of the "Erasmus for all" programme. If approved, this programme will represent the first ever dedicated funding stream for sport at EU level.

2014-2020: € 15.2 billion have been earmarked in the multi-annual budgetary framework proposed by the European Commission for 2014-2020 for an integrated programme for education, training and youth called "Education Europe", including a Sport sub-programme.


European Commission Sport website

European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou's website

Food additives

More transparency

Two new EU laws proposed by the European Commission will make it easier to know exactly what additives are allowed in foodstuffs. Citizens will therefore be better informed and the EU food industry will be in a better position to come up with new, innovative and safe products.

Food additives are substances which are added to food for a variety of technical re asons, such as preservation, stabilising, colouring and sweetening.

Since 2008, EU laws require that the use of additive is safe and technologically justified and that they have advantages and benefits for the consumer. Only additives listed by the EU are authorised, under specific conditions.


T he Commission proposals will establish two new lists of additives allowed in the EU:

  • in foodstuff;

  • in food ingredients (i.e. additives added to other additives, enzymes, flavourings, nutrients...).

Up till now, the lists were dispersed over several annexes to three different EU laws. The authorised uses of additives will be listed according to the category of food to which they may be added.

The new legislation also provides for:

  • well determined conditions under which additives may be added to food

  • a food categorisation with the additives listed in a clear way according to the categories of food to which they may be added

  • a programme for the full re-evaluation of the safety of all authorised additives

  • clear guidelines and instructions for the applicants requesting new uses of food additives.

The new list of authorized additives for food is now available in a database online ( ) , will allow consumers, food business operators and control authorities to easily identify which additives are authorised in a particular foodstuff.

The Commission has prepared a practical guide, which is available on the internet ( ). This will allow applicants seeking authorisation for putting a new additive on the market to introduce complete dossiers that can be efficiently handled.

As a matter of fact

In some food categories, the authorised additives are very limited or even not allowed at all, for instance for unflavoured yoghurt, butter, compote, pasta, simple bread, honey, water and fruit juice. In other categories, e.g. confectionary, snacks, sauces and flavoured drinks, a large number of additives are authorised.

In the spotlight

The European Food Safety Authority

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the keystone of European Union (EU) risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientific advice and clear communication on existing and emerging risks. It was set up in January 2002, following a series of food crises in the late 1990s, as an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain. It was created as part of a comprehensive programme to improve EU food safety, ensure a high level of consumer protection and restore and maintain confidence in the EU food supply. EFSA’s remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. In all these fields, EFSA’s most critical commitment is to provide objective and independent science-based advice and clear communication grounded in the most up-to-date scientific information and knowledge.

As most of the evaluations date back to the 80's and 90's, some even to the 70's, E FSA must re-evaluate all additives by 2020. Based on the advice of EFSA, the European Commission may propose a revision of the current conditions of use of the additives and if needed remove an additive from the list.

Priority is given to food colours: 17 colours have already been re-evaluated and for 3 of them, the European Commission has already proposed revised use levels. Indeed, Exposure to these additives can be potentially too high for certain groups of consumers. The sweetener aspartame will be re-evaluated by September 2012.

The safety of all food additives that are currently authorised has been assessed by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) and/or the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Only additives for which the proposed uses were considered safe are on the list.

EFSA assesses the safety of the food additives. The substances are evaluated based on a dossier, usually provided by an applicant (normally the producer or a potential user of the food additive). This dossier must contain the chemical identifications of the additive, its manufacturing process, methods of analyses and reaction and fate in food, the case of need, the proposed uses and toxicological data.

The toxicological data must contain information on metabolism, subchronic and chronic toxicity, carcinogenicity; genotoxicity, reproduction and developmental toxicity and, if required, other studies.

Based on this data, EFSA determines the level below which the intake of the substance can be considered safe – the so-called Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). At the same time, EFSA also estimates, based on the proposed uses in the different foodstuffs requested, whether this ADI can be exceeded. In case the ADI will not be exceeded, the use of the food additive is considered safe.

When EFSA estimates the possible exposure to a food additive, it considers the maximum level requested to be added in the different foodstuffs. In addition, EFSA assumes that the largest quantities of these foodstuffs are eaten on a daily basis. Only when this estimated exposure via the different foodstuffs remains below the ADI, EFSA will consider that the proposed use of the substances is safe. If the ADI is exceeded, the Commission can decide to restrict the use of the additive or not to authorise it at all.

The presence of food additives should therefore be considered safe even for consumers that eat large quantities of foodstuffs to which the additives have been used at the maximum permitted level.


In March 2011, the European Commission adopted a measure specifying the data necessary to authorize a new use for an additive. These include:

  • Toxicological data for the risk assessment

  • Information demonstrating that the use of the additive is technologically justified, may have benefits for the consumer and will not be misleading.

Only food additives that are listed in the EU legislation can be added to food and this can be done only under specific conditions.

Additives causing minimum toxicological concerns may be added in almost all processed foodstuffs. Examples include calcium carbonate (E 170), lactic acid (E 270), citric acid (E 330), pectins (E 440), fatty acids (E 570) and nitrogen (E 948).

For other additives the use is more restricted, for example:

  • Natamycin (E 235) can only be used as preservative for the surface treatment of cheese and dried sausages

  • Erythorbic acid (E 315) can only be used as antioxidant in certain meat and fish products

  • Sodium ferrocyanide (E 535) can only only be used as anti-caking agent in salt and its substitutes.

Count Additives in foodstuffs have to be labelled according the rules set out in Directive 2000/13/EC . Food additives are food ingredients and should be mentioned in the ingredients list. The additives must be designated by the name of their functional class, followed by their specific name or EC number. For instance: "colour – curcumin" or "colour: E 100" . This E-number can be used in order to simplify the labelling of substances with sometimes complicated chemical names.

M any foodstuffs contain naturally occurring substances which are at the same time authorised as food additives. For example in apple you can find riboflavins (E 101), carotenes (E 160a), anthocyanins (E 163), acetic acid (E 260), ascorbic acid (E 300), citric acid (E 330), tartaric acid (E 334), succinic acid (E 363), glutamic acid (E 620) and L-cysteine (E 920).

New EU lists will be established amending Annex II and III to Regulation EC 1333/2008 with:

  • EU list of food additives approved for use in foods and their conditions of use (Annex II)

  • EU list of food additives for use in food additives, food enzymes, food flavourings and nutrients (Annex III)

Food additives must comply with specifications which should include information to adequately identify the food additive, including origin, and to describe the acceptable criteria of purity:

A single Regulation covers the specifications for all food additives in Annex II and III to Regulation EC 1333/2008. It will apply from 1 December 2012, repealing Directives 2008/60/EC, 2008/84/EC and 2008/128/EC from that date.


2000: the European Commission adopts a White Paper on Food Safety setting out plans for a proactive food policy: creating a European Food Safety Authority, implementing a “farm to table” approach and establishing the principle that feed and food operators have primary responsibility for food safety, that Member States need to ensure surveillance and control of these operators, that the European Commission shall test the performance of Member States’ control capacities and capabilities through audits and inspections. .

2008: adoption of EU laws on food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings ("Food improvement Agent Package"). They require that the use of additives is safe, technologically justified, does not mislead the consumer and indeed has advantages and benefits for the consumer.

2010: Commission adopts a re-evaluation programme of all authorised food additives. March 2011: Commission adopts a measure specifying the data required to authorise a new use for an additive, including toxicological data for the irsk assessment and information demonstrating that the use of additive is technologically justified, may have benefits for the consumer and will not be misleading;

Looking ahead

201 2: Once the Commission proposal on additives in food ingredients is adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers, it will apply 20 days after its publication in the EU's Official Journal.

2013: Commission proposal on additives in foodstuff will come into application in June 2013.

2020: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) must re-evaluate all additives by 2020.



Towards fewer fire deaths caused through smoking

There is no such thing as a safe cigarette, and the safest thing is not to smoke at all. However, as there are still people who smoke in Europe, the European Commission has published new safety standards for cigarettes to prevent fire hazards. In case a cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco will self-extinguish if not actively smoked.

The new standards on the 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' of cigarettes form part of the wider safety and health objectives by the European Commission which remains committed to a "smoke-free Europe" overall .


The European Commission has drawn up the new safety standards under the General Product Safety Directive. This piece of EU legislation obliges producers to place only safe consumer products on the EU's single market.

In 2008 the European Commission defined the fire safety requirements for cigarettes, following discussion with Member States, the tobacco and paper industries and NGOs. The Commission subsequently mandated the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) to develop the relevant standards. With 17th November 2011 being the date of publication of the references to these standards in the Official Journal of the EU, which is one year after delivery of the standards by CEN, the national authorities now have to enforce the new fire safety means.

From now on, all cigarettes sold to consumers have to be 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' cigarettes. There is no 'extra time' for tobacco manufacturers or importers to change over to the new, fire-safer cigarettes.

As a matter of fact

Lit cigarettes left unattended cause more than 30,000 fires in the EU each year, with more than 1,000 deaths and over 4,000 injuries as a result of inflamed upholstery, furniture, textiles or other. These fatalities result from cigarettes that are carelessly left unattended by someone smoking in bed or while under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs or medication. Victims include smokers and non-smokers, adults as well as children, and fire-fighters. The fires cause significant personal trauma and economic damage.

      In the Spotlight

    Commercially available fire-safer cigarettes in the USA and elsewhere today use the technique of paper bands in the cigarette paper. Cigarette paper manufacturers have changed their paper production to insert two rings of thicker paper at two points along the cigarette. If the burning tobacco hits one of these rings, the cigarette will self-extinguish due to a lack of oxygen supply.

    The safety standards require that 30 out of 40 cigarettes tested must extinguish before the glow reaches the filter end of the unattended cigarette (respectively the labelled end if the cigarette has no filter).

    Country specific

    In the EU, fire-safer cigarettes are in place in Finland since April 2010.

    Around the world, fire-safer cigarettes were introduced in New York State (USA) in 2004, all other Federal States followed, with Wyoming being the last in July 2011. Canada has fire-safer cigarettes since 2005 and Australia since 2010.

    South Africa plans to introduce fire-safer cigarettes in 2012.


    For 2003 – 2008, Member States reported data on cigarette fires allowing to estimate the following average numbers of fatalities per million inhabitants: Latvia 32, Lithuania 30, Estonia 25. Other Member States reported between 2 and 6 fatalities per year, or less.

    Evidence from Finland indicates that - since the introduction of fire-safer cigarettes in 2010 - the number of victims of cigarette-ignited fires has fallen by 43%. These data suggest that nearly 500 lives could be saved in the EU every year.

    Looking ahead

    In the context of health and safety around smoking, it is to be stressed that tobacco is the largest avoidable health risk in Europe causing the death of more than an estimated half a million people in the EU every year. A "smoke-free Europe" remains the European Commission's ultimate goal which it also addresses via its on-going EU "Ex-smokers are unstoppable" campaign .


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