Daily News of 2014-03-14
European Commission - MEX/14/0314 14/03/2014
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EXME 14 / 14.03
14 / 03 / 14
The European Commission welcomed the green light of the European Parliament to open up the possibility for the introduction of a common charger for mobile phones and other portable devices in the update of the rules on radio equipment. Today's vote is based on a proposal by Vice President Antonio Tajani. Radio equipment includes products such as mobile phones, GPS/Galileo receivers and wireless car door openers. Today's vote in the EP will make it possible that the growing numbers of users and radio equipment co-exist without interference. Manufacturers, importers and distributors will have to respect a set of clear obligations so as to ensure the compliance of radio equipment placed in the EU market. Moreover, the alignment of radio equipment rules with other legislation applicable to the internal market for products will lower compliance costs for businesses, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The number of persons employed increased by 0.1% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2013, employment remained stable in the euro area and increased by 0.1% in the EU28. These figures are seasonally adjusted. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment fell by 0.5% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2013 (after -0.8% and -0.3% respectively in the third quarter of 2013). Over the whole year 2013, employment decreased by 0.9% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28, compared with -0.7% and -0.2% respectively in 2012. Eurostat estimates that, in the fourth quarter of 2013, 223.6 million men and women were employed in the EU28, of which 145.0 million were in the euro area. These figures are seasonally adjusted.
New Tobacco Products Directive approved in Council
Today in the Transport Council, Ministers approved the revised Directive on tobacco products, which was formally endorsed by the European Parliament on 26 February 2014. Amongst the rules that will be transposed in the next few years are large mandatory picture warnings on both sides of packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, a ban on products with characterising flavours and on slim “lipstick” style packs, a minimum of 20 cigarettes per pack and quality and safety requirements for electronic cigarettes. The new legislation ensures that tobacco products look and taste like tobacco so as to discourage young people from starting to smoke and improves the functioning of the internal market of tobacco and related products. The next steps for this Directive are its signature by the Presidents of both the Council and Parliament, and publication in the Official Journal of the EU in April/May 2014. See also MEMO/14/134 and http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/products/index_en.htm . Follow us on Twitter: @EU_Health
Today in the Transport Council, Ministers approved the revised Directive on tobacco products, which was formally endorsed by the European Parliament on 26 February 2014.This new law strengthens the rules on how tobacco products are manufactured, produced and presented in the EU, and introduces rules for certain tobacco-related products. This Memo seeks to answer questions on what exactly will change once the revised Directive enters into force.
Today the European Commission put forward an Action Plan on HIV/AIDS which prolongs and extends existing EU action in this area, building on the achievements of the Action Plan 2009-2013.
The new Action Plan places a greater focus on keeping HIV/AIDS high on the political agenda, tackling HIV-related stigma and discrimination and achieving better access to voluntary testing. Actions on HIV prevention and awareness-raising to tackle risk behaviour, as well as early treatment and care, remain priorities, as are prevention strategies and measures that focus on priority groups, such as men who have sex with men, migrants, and injecting drug users. Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health, underlined: "Today's Action Plan shows that the fight against HIV/Aids remains a priority for EU health policy. We need to address the worrying increase of HIV/AIDs in some parts of the EU. To do this, we must reach out to the citizens who are most at risk, fight all forms of discrimination, and foster access to diagnosis and treatment. I am fully committed to this cause and call on all actors – health authorities, NGOs, international organisations – to join us in putting this plan in action".
What role does the EU play in your daily lives? What does it mean to be European? What does EU solidarity mean? How do you see Europe's future? These are some of the questions that the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloș will address on the 17th of March in Bucharest during the 50th Citizens' Dialogue with around 250 citizens from all over Romania. The event will be webstreamed and citizens from all over Europe can also participate via Twitter using the #EUDeb8 hashtag. The dialogue will continue with 10 more citizens' debates at local level, organised in cooperation with the Europe Direct network in Romania.
The European Union's efforts over the last year to strengthen consumer rights are having a positive impact on consumer confidence: a vital element in Europe's economic recovery. That is why the European Commission has kicked off today a consumer campaign informing citizens of their consumer rights under EU law and pointing them to the right places where they can get advice and help in case of questions or problems. Vice President Reding said: “If businesses are the engine of the European economy, consumers are the drivers. If they feel confident, empowered and treated fairly they can shift the EU internal market into the highest gear – which is exactly what the European economy needs as it recovers from the financial crisis." Commissioner Mimica added: "European Consumer Day is about helping consumers realise their power, making them better aware of their rights and encouraging them to make full use of them in practice."
Quality farm products: Commission approves three new requests
The European Commission has approved the addition of three new quality farm products to the register of protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs). These are, for Denmark, " Lammefjordskartofler " (PGI), mature potatoes from the reclaimed sandy seabed of the Lammefjord in the north-western part of the island of Zealand (Sjælland). The potatoes are characterised by their thin, smooth and pale skin due to the growing conditions provided by the former seabed. Unlike other mature ware potatoes, they can be eaten with their skin on ; for Italy, " Strachitunt " (PDO), a blue cheese made from raw whole cow milk according to a traditional technique in the Taleggio valley (Bergamo province) ; and for Germany, " Bornheimer Spargel " (PGI, also "Spargel aus dem Anbaugebiet Bornheim"), an asparagus grown since Roman times on sandy terraces along the Rhine in the region of Bornheim, between Bonn and Cologne. The denominations will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.
What Commissioners said
More than 70% of European Union citizens live in urban areas. Cities generate 85% of the EU’s gross domestic product and are drivers of economic growth. But they are also where many of transport’s negative impacts are felt the most, so addressing these problems is a major and urgent challenge. “Unless we act now, the negative pressures will get more serious – which is why urban transport is at the centre of the European Commission’s plans for sustainable smart growth and the transition to a resource-efficient economy,” Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said at the Brussels Metropolitan association. “For Europe to remain home to some of the world’s most successful and attractive cities, we should plan and act now so that our cities can cope with the challenges and demands that rising urbanisation will inevitably bring.” The EU’s many initiatives and activities would create significant global opportunities for innovative European businesses, make European cities more attractive places to live and help Europe deliver on its wider climate agenda", Kallas said.