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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.

EU — How safe are your roads? Commission road safety statistics show small improvement for 2014

March 25, 2015 Comments off

How safe are your roads? Commission road safety statistics show small improvement for 2014
Source: European Commission

Following two years of solid decreases in the number of people killed on Europe’s roads, the first reports on road deaths in 2014 are disappointing. According to the figures released today, the number of road fatalities has decreased by approximately 1% compared to 2013. This follows on the 8% decrease in 2012 and 2013. The figures reveal a total of 25 700 road deaths in 2014 across all 28 Member States of the EU. Whilst this is 5700 fewer than in 2010, it falls short of the intended target decrease.

2015 EU Justice Scoreboard: supporting Member States to improve their justice systems’ effectiveness

March 13, 2015 Comments off

2015 EU Justice Scoreboard: supporting Member States to improve their justice systems’ effectiveness
Source: European Commission

Key findings from the 2015 EU Justice Scoreboard include:

  • Improvement in the efficiency of justice systems in Member States can be observed. However, the situation varies significantly depending on the respective Member State and indicator. Reaping the rewards of justice reforms takes time.
  • Efforts to enhance the use of information and communication technology (ICT) tools for the judicial systems have continued. However, the indicators reveal gaps in a number of Member States, both for ICT tools available for the administration and management of courts and for electronic communications between courts and parties.
  • More than 20% of judges participated in continuous training on EU law or on the law of other Member States in the majority of Member States. This considerably exceeds the 5% annual target of legal practitioners who need to be trained in order to reach, by 2020, the objective of 50%.
  • The majority of Member States enable free online access to civil and commercial judgments for the general public.
  • The higher the court, the lower the share of female judges. Even if the share of female professional judges for both first and second instance shows a positive trend, for the Supreme Courts most Member States still have some way to go to reach the gender balance of 40-60%.

What’s Going On? Digitization and Global Music Trade Patterns since 2006

March 11, 2015 Comments off

What’s Going On? Digitization and Global Music Trade Patterns since 2006
Source: European Commission (Joint Research Center)

The objective of this paper is to document the evolution of cross-border music trade patterns in this transition period and to explain what drives digital music trade patterns. The shift from analogue to digital music distribution has substantially reduced trade costs and has enlarged the choice sets of music consumers around the world. Yet, trade costs associated with copyright clearance and language barriers have not disappeared. The objective of this paper is to document the evolution of cross-border music trade patterns in this transition period and to explain what drives digital music trade patterns. Using comprehensive data on digital track sales in the US, Canada, and 16 European countries, 2006-2011, we document patterns of music trade in the digital era and contrast it with what’s known from elsewhere about trade in popular music for the past half century. While home bias in music consumption among the top 100 songs had grown in the pre-digital distribution period prior to 2006, home bias has declined since then. We find that the share of imported songs in music consumption has grown in all countries except in the US. Moreover, although the number of European songs available has risen faster than the number of US songs, the market share of the US in digital music sales has increased while the market shares of European repertoires have fallen. US repertoire holds the largest market share in almost every country. Home bias is lower in the long tail than at the top end of the distribution. We consider four candidate explanations for the shift away from domestic music: a) that growth in availability of particular repertoires explains their growth in total sales and market shares, b) that changes in the effect of distance-related trade costs on trade made possible by digitization explain changed patterns of trade, c) that changed preferences toward particular origin repertoires explains changed patterns, and d) that recent vintages of particular repertoires have grown more or less appealing to world consumers. We conclude that a combination of c) and d) offers the most credible explanation for the observed patterns.

New EU rules for safer and more eco-friendly lorries

March 11, 2015 Comments off

New EU rules for safer and more eco-friendly lorries
Source: European Commission

Today the European Parliament gave its final approval to new EU rules for safer and more eco-friendly lorries (Directive 2013/0195), put forward by the Commission. These rules will allow manufacturers to develop more aerodynamic lorries which will reduce fuel consumption by 7-10%, cut emissions of greenhouse gases, and also enhance road safety.

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