Documents reveal EU bowed to demands of pesticide lobbies

Documents reveal EU bowed to demands of pesticide lobbies

An environmental nonprofit has obtained documents showing the extent to which the European Commission has been lobbied by pesticide producers seeking to protect their interests, leading to a more lenient regulation of these controversial substances. The environmental group, Pesticide Action Network (PAN), has obtained over 600 documents from the Commission showing top EU officials fighting to “cripple” the bloc’s pesticide protection legislation. “The Commission has chosen the side of the industry,” PAN’s Chemicals Coordinator Hans Muilerman told De Morgen. In its report, PAN says that the documents show how top…

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More than 30,000 people attend the European Institution’s Open Day

More than 30,000 people attend the European Institution’s Open Day

Over 30,000 people flocked to the Open Day hosted by the Brussels European Institutions, which took place on Saturday. The visitors were curious to learn more about the inner workings of the EU. The Open Day took place on the same day as the Fête de l’Iris, which lasted several days. It is also close to the anniversary of the Schuman declaration (9th of May 1950), famously made by French Foreign Affairs minister Robert Schuman. Schuman’s declaration is said to have laid some of the foundations for the EU’s construction….

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Investigative journalism in focus at World Press Freedom Day in Brussels

Investigative journalism in focus at World Press Freedom Day in Brussels

The day, also called Difference Day, was celebrated last Friday at Bozar, Brussels, for the 5th time in row. The day was proclaimed by UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation by its Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics,” says UNESCO in a statement. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is also…

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EU forest policy: Seeing the forest for the trees

EU forest policy: Seeing the forest for the trees

An EU conference in Brussels last week on the future of forests underlined both the vulnerability of forests to the impacts of climate change such as droughts, fires and diseases and their decisive role in tackling climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and providing products to replace emissions from fossil fuels and materials. Trees stand for life. Through the fundamental photosynthesis process, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air, create energy which they convert to carbon-storing wood and release oxygen. While focusing on the forests in EU, the conference also…

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The EU granted more than 330,000 people asylum in 2018

The EU granted more than 330,000 people asylum in 2018

The European Union granted more than 330,400 people asylum in 2018, according to the annual figures provided by the European statistics bureau Eurostat. 30% of those asylum seekers were Syrian. The amount of asylum seekers accepted dropped by 40% compared to 2017 (533,000). The majority of those granted asylum within the EU were Syrians (96,100 people, 29% of the total number of people granted asylum by EU member states), followed by Afghans (53,500, 16%), and Iraqis (24,600, 7%). Syrians were the biggest group to be granted asylum in 16 member…

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Think-tank predicts European Parliament will become fragmented in three blocs

Think-tank predicts European Parliament will become fragmented in three blocs

A new report released yesterday predicts that the European Parliament elections on 23 – 26 May will result in an increase in votes for Eurosceptic parties and a division of the parliament into three almost equal party blocs which could result in a deadlock in its decision-making. The report was published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a pan-European think-tank from 2007 with offices in several EU capitals. Its methodology is based on the historical relationship between the outcomes of European elections and public opinion polls. For 16…

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Sri Lanka explosions: Jean-Claude Juncker expresses his condolences

Sri Lanka explosions: Jean-Claude Juncker expresses his condolences

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has expressed his condolences and support to the families of victims following the series of explosions taking place in Sri Lanka Sunday. Over 200 have been confirmed dead and 450 hurt with death tolls expected to rise, following at least eight explosions at hotels and churches during the Easter services. Earlier in the morning, Belgian Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister Didier Reynders strongly condemned the attacks. He had indicated that the foreign affairs is in contact with the Belgians present on the…

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EU parliament prefers WIFI over 5G for connected cars

EU parliament prefers WIFI over 5G for connected cars

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday in favour (304 against 207) of the older ‘proven’ technology of WIFI to let the cars of the future talk to each other, instead of the new 5G telecom network. Now the Council of Europe, with the 27 member states, has the final say. The European Commission already approved a set of rules favouring ITS-G5 WIFI over cellular phone 5G technology for communication with the connected car of the future. Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, pleaded that WIFI is “easy to implement and cheap”….

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European legislators vote for smart vehicles from 2022

European legislators vote for smart vehicles from 2022

New vehicles in Europe will need to be equipped with a range of new safety features from May 2022, under a proposal passed on Tuesday at a plenary session of the European Parliament. The new features include automated emergency braking, an alcohol interlock device – a means of tackling drunk driving – sleep warnings, improved rear-view vision and electronic data recorders. They further include an overridable intelligent speed assistance system, which informs drivers when they pass speed limits, based on traffic maps and signs. Rapporteur Róza Thun said that the…

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The six countries most affected by Brexit discuss repercussions

The six countries most affected by Brexit discuss repercussions

The European leaders invited by Prime Minister Charles Michel to a Brexit coordination meeting on Wednesday decided to cooperate more intensely in the exchange of information, one of Michel’s spokespersons said after the meeting. Belgian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Irish Prime Ministers and French President discussed potential problems such as customs, phytosanitary, border control, as well as in the agriculture and food sectors, whatever the outcome of Brexit.

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