Issue 28

October 2013

The Council has adopted a regulation on ship recycling paving the way for it to become EU law. Adoption of the legislation follows an agreement reached at the third informal trilogue with the European Parliament on 17 June 2013. The new regulation aims to prevent, reduce and minimize accidents, injuries and other adverse effects on human health and the environment caused by ship recycling. In addition, it seeks to ensure the proper management of hazardous materials onboard ships.

Over  40 environmental professionals across Europe gathered in Rome last Thursday at the ENEP General Assembly side event that was hosted in the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerce (National Research Council).  The event heard from four speakers who spoke on the emerging Multi Annual Financial Framework 2014 - 2020 for the European Union and its implications for environment, energy, research and innovation funding in the new period that gets underway next year.

 A report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) gives an overview and analysis of air quality in Europe from 2002 to 2011. It reviews progress towards meeting the requirements of the air quality directives and gives an overview of policies and measures introduced at the European level to improve air quality and minimise impacts. It also details the latest findings and estimates of the effects of air pollution on health and its impacts on ecosystems.

The European Parliament should have the right to decide where and when it meets, the Constitutional Affairs Committee has argued. The Parliament is currently obliged by the Treaties to hold 12 monthly plenary sessions in Strasbourg. MEPs hope to initiate an EU treaty revision procedure to propose the changes needed to allow Parliament to decide on the location of its seat and its internal organisation. Such a move would help save money in times of budget cuts and reduce damage to the environment.

Reform of EU biofuels policy may not be possible during the current European Parliament’s term if MEPs continue to delay talks with member states. The proposed changes to the 2009 directives on renewable energy and fuel quality would limit the production of crop-based biofuels in Europe and take account of their climate impacts through indirect land use change. A vote will now be held on 17 October during the Environment Committee meeting on whether to give rapporteur Corinne Lepage (ALDE) a mandate to open trialogue talks with the Council and Commission.

During their upcoming meeting on 17 October 2013 in Brussels, Environment Committee members will vote on a report on Biocidal products amending regulation and on a resolution on Green infrastructure - Enhancing Europe's Natural Capital. They will also consider a draft own initiative report on food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof and will hold an exchange of views with the Deputising EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url on the functioning of the EFSA health claims authorisation system.

The EU and Indonesia have signed a historic trade agreement, which will contribute to halting the trade in illegal timber. The agreement will see Indonesian timber and timber products systematically checked under an independently monitored traceability system to ensure they are produced in compliance with relevant Indonesian legislation. Indonesia is by far the largest Asian timber exporter to the EU, so the agreement is a big step towards controlling levels of deforestation. READ PRESS RELEASE

During a meeting of HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) the environment ministers of Baltic Sea countries agreed to further reduce nutrient inputs causing eutrophication. Agriculture was singled out as a crucial area for the success of reaching good environmental status in the Baltic. The new HELCOM Ministerial outcome expressed the ambition of the Baltic Sea region to become a model for good management of human activities and to steer regional actions for reaching a healthier marine environment for the Baltic Sea.

New rules to make the outboard engines used in sports and leisure watercraft safer and cut their pollutant exhaust emissions by 20% got the thumbs up from the European Parliament during plenary in Strasbourg. Parliament backed a European Commission proposal to impose tougher exhaust emission limits on watercraft, to reduce nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions. Small firms making small engines will have six years to comply, compared with three years for larger ones. Parliament also scrapped potentially misleading names of boat design categories.

A new plan from European Parliament to build on the success of reducing roaming charges by introducing a universal phone charger could cut waste and make consumers’ lives simpler. Consumers buying new mobile phones are presented with new chargers for their phones, which are often incompatible with old phones, even if they are from the same company. The proposal would help prevent the build up of wires and chargers in drawers across the EU. SEE SARAH LUDFORD (MEP) NEWSLETTER