MEPs condemn European Patent Office for patentability of plants grown in biological processes

MEPs condemn European Patent Office for patentability of plants grown in biological processes

In a new episode of the longstanding legal saga on biotech inventions, the European Parliament delivered a reprimand to the European Patent Office (EPO) reaffirming that tomatoes, broccoli and other plants obtained by essentially biological processes must not be patentable. The non-legislative resolution adopted in Strasbourg on Thursday (19 September) is scathing about the EPO, saying their internal decision-making rules “must not undermine democratic political control of European patent law and its interpretation and the legislator’s intent.” The EPO, which is not an EU body, opened the possibility of granting…

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European Parliament must stop Amazon and climate destruction

European Parliament must stop Amazon and climate destruction

EU lawmakers should show global leadership by legislating to ensure that companies’ supply chains and investments are not linked to deforestation, environmental harm and human rights abuses, writes Giulia Bondi. Giulia Bondi is an EU Campaigner for Global Witness The stakes are high for the new European Parliament and team of Commissioners. Not only do they face a challenging welcome, with issues on EU borders, protecting European democracy from disinformation and interference, and digital security landing on their desks, they also face pressing global questions on the future of our…

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European police conducted the “largest in the world” anti-piracy operation

European police conducted the “largest in the world” anti-piracy operation

European police stormed various locations while police in Bulgaria, Italy, France, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands carried out raids coordinated by the EU’s judicial cooperation agency, Eurojust, smashing what they called the world’s biggest pirate streaming TV network with five million customers in Italy alone. Police arrested at least 23 suspects as part of the ongoing operation against Xtream Codes, an alleged illegal pirating operation which Eurojust said caused damages worth some €6.5 million to the market. Italian financial police said the operation had “deactivated the largest international pirate pay…

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The path to pure mobility

The path to pure mobility

As European cities hold Mobility Week events across the continent, this special report looks at some of the challenges facing the sustainability drive. New emission targets, shifting social patterns and advances in technology are set to drastically change the drivers behind the EU’s current mobility system. Along with measures to increase the use of public transport and alter travel habits, established manufacturers and industry are starting to plan wholesale changes to the products they put on the market. Incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also offered up clues…

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Three valuable lessons from the Brexit tragedy that Europe must learn

Three valuable lessons from the Brexit tragedy that Europe must learn

The sight of Boris Johnson’s government ‘going rogue’ is a reminder that EU institutions offer citizens a place to go when domestic governments deny their rights, argues Roger Casale. Roger Casale is the founder and secretary general of New Europeans The British have fallen deeper into the elephant trap of Brexit. Meanwhile in continental Europe, patience is starting to wear thin. There is sympathy for the 5 million EU citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU whose lives have been left in limbo. But why should we Europeans…

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Wealthy countries still unable to make $ 100 billion climate finance commitments

Wealthy countries still unable to make $ 100 billion climate finance commitments

In 2017, the most industrialised countries contributed a little above $70 billion to nations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This number is far below the annual $100 billion pledged in 2009 for the following decade. EURACTIV’s partner le Journal de l’environnement reports. The $70 billion contributions of industrialised countries towards more vulnerable ones to combat the effects of climate change are far from the promises made and could spark debate at the next UN climate summit on 23 September. The Gordian knot of the global warming negotiations for…

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Brexit without a deal will be a “disaster”, warns BusinessEurope

Brexit without a deal will be a “disaster”, warns BusinessEurope

A shock exit by Britain from the EU without an agreement would be “a disaster”, European employers’ organisation Business Europe, warned on Monday (16 September). One of the EU’s most powerful lobbies, BusinessEurope issued the warning just hours before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg. Both sides are under intense pressure to mend fences just a month and a half before the Britain’s scheduled departure on 31 October. But Johnson, unlike predecessor Theresa May, has said he is determined that…

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EU defense funding falls short of big ambitions: report

EU defense funding falls short of big ambitions: report

EU’s objective to increase defence spending to €22.5 billion over the next decade is insufficient for its ambitions in the sector, the European Court of Auditors said Thursday (12 September) in its annual review paper on the bloc’s defence cooperation and policy. If the EU tried to defend itself without help from its big NATO ally, the United States, “it is estimated that an investment of several hundred billion euros would be needed to overcome the current capabilities gap,” the report underlined. “Significant and uncoordinated cuts in member states’ defence…

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Cities against pesticides put pressure on French government

Cities against pesticides put pressure on French government

Several French mayors have issued anti-pesticide orders out of precaution, putting pressure on the government, which has launched a public consultation on safety distances for the application of plant protection products. The anti-pesticide orders around common housing areas are being emulated by an increasing number of French local authorities, including Dijon, the Parisian commune Gennevilliers and the small Breton village of Langouët. Many local authorities have already banned the use of pesticides near residential areas based on the precautionary principle. And on 12 September, five metropolitan areas (Paris, Lille, Nantes,…

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Google agrees on $1 billion to end a tax settlement dispute with France

Google agrees on $1 billion to end a tax settlement dispute with France

US internet giant Google has agreed a settlement totalling $1 billion to end a tax dispute in France under an agreement announced in court on Thursday (12 September). The company will pay a €500 million fine for tax evasion, as well as a further €465 million to settle claims with French tax authorities. In a statement, Google confirmed the settlement and hailed the fact it had put an end to fiscal differences that it had had with France for numerous years. The settlement follows similar out-of-court agreements reached in Italy…

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