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Single European Sky

April 16, 2015 Comments off

Single European Sky
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

uilding on the achievements of the internal market and the need to cope with growth in air transport and congestion, the European Commission launched the Single European Sky (SES) initiative in 1999. Its core objective is to reform the architecture of air traffic control in the EU in order to meet future capacity and safety needs, through improving the overall performance of air traffic management and air navigation services.

Two SES packages have been adopted: SES I, which set the principal legal framework, and SES II, which aimed at tackling substantial air traffic growth, increasing safety, reducing costs and delays and the impact of air traffic on the environment. Nonetheless, European airspace remains heavily fragmented and SES is experiencing significant delays, in particular in terms of achievement of its performance goals and deployment of its basic elements such as ‘functional airspace blocks’.

In order to speed up its implementation, the Commission undertook a review of the SES legal framework, and in June 2013 presented an SES2+ package. While airline associations welcomed the initiative, trade unions have been much more critical on certain provisions. The European Parliament, which has underlined the need to push ahead with SES implementation, adopted its first reading position on the SES2+ package in March 2014. In December 2014, the outcome of the Transport Council somewhat reduced the ambitions of the Commission’s initial objectives. However, progress on SES2+ remains blocked over the disputed question of its application to Gibraltar airport. The adoption of the package still requires the approval of both the Council and the European Parliament.

EU — Giving Citizens a Say: Commission Report on European Citizens’ Initiatives

April 10, 2015 Comments off

Giving Citizens a Say: Commission Report on European Citizens’ Initiatives
Source: European Commission

In the past three years, an estimated six million Europeans have supported European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI) and used their voice to bring important causes directly to the attention of European policy makers. Today the European Commission publishes a Report looking at the application of this new tool since its entry into force on 1 April 2012.

The fact that two Citizens’ Initiatives have gone through the full process shows that the Regulation establishing the ECI has been fully implemented. However, the report acknowledges that there is still room to improve the process and identifies a number of possible issues for further discussion with stakeholders and institutions.

Factsheet on EU security measures in civil airliners

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Factsheet on EU security measures in civil airliners
Source: European Commission

On 27 March 2015, EASA (the European Air Safety Agency) has issued a recommendation for airlines to observe the “four-eye-rule” in the cockpit; stipulating that in the case of the Captain or First Officer leaving the cockpit, a member of the crew should be present in the cockpit with the remaining pilot.

European safety regulations require that pilots shall remain at the aircraft controls unless absence is necessary for physiological or operational safety needs.

There is no European requirement that a member of the cabin crew must enter the cockpit in the event a pilot needs to take a short break for such needs. There is however a requirement that the cockpit door can be opened from the outside in case of emergency.

EU — Report on access to law

April 8, 2015 Comments off

Report on access to law
Source: European Commission

1.European Union law covers a wide area of action, within the framework established by the Treaties. Not only does it deal with general aspects, such as determining a framework for the EU and how it operates, but it also covers other aspects of the daily life of citizens and businesses in Europe. Rules governing the recognition of divorce and decisions regarding maintenance obligations or inheritance matters are of key concern to citizens living in every Member State. Similarly, corporate law, rules on the functioning of the internal market and insolvency procedures are examples of more specific interest to businesses.

2.Thus, the matter of access to the law is pivotal. It is against this backdrop that technical discussions have been taking place within the Council’s e-Law working party. The working party is composed of representatives of the 28 Member States, the Publications Office, the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. Representatives of the Court of Justice of the European Union have also been contributing to its work. The working party’s specific brief is to address the need for a better dissemination of legal data and coordination of the technical means deployed, so as to ensure that it is as easy as possible to access both European law and the Member State law required for implementing European instruments.

3.This report aims to discuss major strides made in terms of access to European law and national law, as well as the possibility of offering access to the law of third countries, where that is in the interest of the European Union or the Member States.

‘Shift To Rail’ – Research For EU Rail Transport

April 7, 2015 Comments off

‘Shift To Rail’ – Research For EU Rail Transport
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The EU is faced with major societal issues such as rising transport demand, traffic and road congestion, security of energy supply and cutting CO2 emissions. Greater reliance on rail transport and improvements to the sector’s competitiveness and resource-efficiency could help tackle these problems. To this end, a new EU initiative for a public-private partnership, the ‘Shift to Rail Joint Undertaking’ (S2R JU), was established in 2014 under the Horizon 2020 programme, in order to boost and coordinate research and innovation in rail products, processes and services.

Medicinal products in the European Union: The legal framework for medicines for human use

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Medicinal products in the European Union: The legal framework for medicines for human use
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

EU legislation on human medicines goes back 50 years. Its twofold aim is to safeguard public health without hindering development of the European pharmaceutical industry or trade in medicinal products. The regulatory framework is complex and covers the entire lifecycle of a medicine, from manufacture, to clinical trials, to marketing authorisation, to pharmacovigilance and patient information. Added to that, the principles of good manufacturing, distribution and pharmacovigilance practice contribute to increasing medicines’ safety. An emerging approach to granting early access to medicines – adaptive pathways – could prove its future merits for patients with a medical condition not adequately addressed by an existing therapy.

Higher Education In The EU: Approaches, Issues And Trends

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Higher Education In The EU: Approaches, Issues And Trends
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The performance and quality of higher education has become a vital sign of a country’s capacity to foster its future economic development. The race for talent is currently open on a global scale. In spite of the fact that the United States is still the global leader with 17% of international students, the EU is increasingly popular with the United Kingdom, France and Germany accounting respectively for 13%, 6%, and 6% of world students.

One of the elements accounting for the global attraction of EU universities resides in relatively lower tuition fees compared to American universities. Likewise, efforts made to develop quality and accreditation frameworks for mobility within the EU place Europe at the top of the most advanced global regions in this respect. While EU universities took more time to develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), they now account for approximately one quarter of MOOCs in the world and the numbers are constantly rising. Since May 2014, the EU has also its own global ranking system: U-Multirank.

Even though it is difficult to predict in what ways technological change will affect higher education in the longer term, it is clear that sustained effort and on-going international cooperation will be required to improve current structures and take full advantage of the impact of new technologies.

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