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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.

Report on the implementation of EU water legislation: there is progress, but still work to do

March 10, 2015 Comments off

Report on the implementation of EU water legislation: there is progress, but still work to do
Source: European Commission

The first Communication and the two reports published today by the new Commission show how water policies can be a source of green and blue economic growth, with water management technologies at the heart of eco-innovation. The EU Water Framework Directive sets a framework at European level that aims to ensure clean water in sufficient quantities for people and nature, and for use in economic sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture, energy, transport and tourism. The policy has helped develop a dynamic, world-leading water sector that includes 9 000 active SMEs and provides almost 500 000 jobs in Europe. But this growth needs to be supported by better policy implementation to achieve sustainability and environmental objectives.

How digital is your country? New figures reveal progress needed towards a digital Europe

February 26, 2015 Comments off

How digital is your country? New figures reveal progress needed towards a digital Europe
Source: European Commission

There are plenty of digital opportunities waiting to be unlocked to benefit European citizens and companies. From shopping or studying online, to paying bills or using public services over the Internet – the Web is the answer, if the right conditions are in place. This is the conclusion of a new Digital Economy and Society Index developed by the European Commission and released today. Data shows that the picture of how digital countries are varies across the EU and that borders remain an obstacle to a fully-fledged Digital Single Market – one of the top priorities of the Juncker Commission.

The new tool presented today gives snapshots, per country, of connectivity (how widespread, fast and affordable broadband is), Internet skills, the use of online activities from news to shopping, how key digital technologies (e-invoices, cloud services, e-commerce, etc) and digital public services such as e-government and e-health are developed. The data is mostly from 2013 and 2014 and gives an overview of how digital Europe is, including rankings of the top digital performers.

Questions and Answers: Smuggling of Migrants in Europe and the EU response

February 10, 2015 Comments off

Questions and Answers: Smuggling of Migrants in Europe and the EU response
Source: European Commission

Smuggling of migrants is commonly understood as the intentional organisation or facilitation of the irregular movement of persons across state borders, which is provided in return for financial gain (or other gain) by the migrants to the smugglers. [1] Smuggling of migrants generally takes place with the consent of the person willing to move. However, the act of smuggling itself is often dangerous and violent, forcing people to unsafe and inhumane travelling conditions.

This is nevertheless distinct from trafficking in human beings, which does not require crossing of international borders, involves physical or psychological violence, coercion, exploitation of position of vulnerability, and is aimed at the exploitation of the victim.

The distinction between these two types of crimes can however become blurred in practice because smuggled people can also become victims of violence or some form of exploitation.

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