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Corbyn comes to Brussels as fears of ‘no deal’ Brexit grow - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 06:30
The leader of Britain's opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn will warn the EU's Brexit chief Michel Barnier of the dangers of a "no deal" Brexit when he visits Brussels on Thursday (27 September), his party said.
Categories: European Union

Royalty stacking builds a big wall for small business IoT innovators - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 06:28

Last week it was Apple, next month it’s Google and last month it was Samsung. Each unveiling their latest smartphones to an expectant public. The latest features will be scrutinised. And, naturally, the prices to the consumer will be debated, writes Brian Scarpelli.

Categories: European Union

Save Europe’s suburbs: they are vital for healthy citizens – and healthy budgets [Promoted content] - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 18:30
Everyone stands to gain from raising the standard of Europe’s housing. Now it just requires the political and practical will. Through the work of the Energy Union, the EU has come a long way. Now it’s time to turn the Directive into reality, says Peter Bang.
Categories: European Union

European leaders urged to act on soil sustainability - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 18:00
Soils play a key role in regulating the earth's climate, sustaining agriculture and preserving biodiversity. Yet they have fallen down the EU policy agenda even though tools exist to reverse that trend, according to a new report published today (26 September).
Categories: European Union

General safety of vehicles and protection of vulnerable road users [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nikolina Šajn (1st edition),

© disq / Fotolia

As part of the third ‘Europe on the move’ package of measures, on 27 May 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users. The regulation is part of the EU’s efforts to halve the number of fatal and serious injuries in road crashes between 2020 and 2030. It would introduce a number of advanced vehicle safety features that passenger cars, vans, buses and trucks would have to have as standard equipment in order to be sold on the internal market. It would replace three current type-approval regulations: the General Vehicle Safety Regulation, the Pedestrian Protection Regulation and the Hydrogen-Powered Motor Vehicles Regulation. In the European Parliament, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection is in charge of the file.

Versions Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users, amending Regulation (EU) 2018/… and repealing Regulations (EC) No 78/2009, (EC) No 79/2009 and (EC) No 661/2009 Committee responsible: Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) COM(2018) 286
17.5.2018 Rapporteur: Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (EPP, Poland) 2018/0145 (COD) Shadow rapporteurs:

  Olga Sehnalová (S&D, Czech Republic)
Daniel Dalton (ECR, United Kingdom)
Dita Charanzová (ALDE, Czech Republic)
Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA, France) Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’) Next steps expected: Publication of draft report


Categories: European Union

Commission 'non-paper' on car CO2 levels backfires - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 17:58
The European Commission published additional information on its proposal for new regulations on cars' CO2 levels - a week before the European Parliament was due to vote on it. Lead MEP Miriam Dalli is not amused.
Categories: European Union

The Brief, powered by AmCham EU – When in Rome, disinform as the Romans do - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 16:49
On 2 September 31 BC, the Ionian Sea played host to a battle that would signal the end of the Roman republic and the start of the Roman Empire.
Categories: European Union

Senegalese milk production trying to find its way - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 15:44
In Senegal, the dairy sector is facing competition from cheap European exports - that makes its development much harder, EURACTIV France reports.
Categories: European Union

Angry EU Socialists grill Romanian PM over same-sex marriage referendum - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 15:26
The Social Democrats in the European Parliament have lashed out against Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă over the upcoming referendum in the country that seeks to ban same-sex marriage, saying such ideas do not belong to the socialist family, has learnt.
Categories: European Union

EU to ban individuals on chemical weapons - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 15:22
People who abuse chemical weapons are to face EU visa bans and asset freezes via new hair-trigger sanctions. Human rights abusers could be next.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] UK opposition demand election if parliament rejects Brexit plan - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 15:12
Britain's opposition Labour party have demanded a fresh general election if the UK parliament votes against any Brexit plan agreed between prime minister Theresa May and the EU. Leader Jeremy Corbyn told his party conference in Liverpool that the Conservatives were planning to use Brexit as an "opportunity to impose a free market shock doctrine in Britain." Corbyn will meet EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Thursday.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] EU to have coordinated plan on AI by December - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 14:32
The European Commission and EU member states will produce a coordinated European plan on artificial intelligence by December this year, a commission source told journalists Wednesday on condition of anonymity. The official noted that several member states were still working on their own national strategies. "To some extent, this whole process will be a living process, [it] will have to be updated as more national strategies come online," he admitted.
Categories: European Union

Bayer boss: Digital farming-sustainable production link ‘not yet clear’ to policymakers - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 14:10
The connection between digital farming and sustainable production is not yet clear in the minds of many policymakers, Bayer’s Bruno Tremblay told in an interview, adding that some farmers look at this kind of innovation as a way to control them.
Categories: European Union

Remaining ‘united in diversity’ thanks to multilingualism

Written by Ivana Katsarova,

© Lorelyn Medina / Fotolia

The diversity underpinning the European project is embodied in the harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages. Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages. The European Parliament has consistently acted to support endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the EU, calling on the EU and the Member States to commit resources to their protection and promotion. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a proposal aimed at improving the teaching and learning of languages.

Global linguistic diversity

Between 6 000 and 7 000 languages are spoken in the world today. Giving a precise figure is impossible, since the borderline between a language and a dialect is not well defined. Strikingly, 97 % of the world’s population speak about 4 % of the world’s languages, while only about 3 % speak the roughly 96 % of languages remaining. Half of the world’s 7.6 billion inhabitants share just 13 native languages. Just over 3 % of the world’s languages – 255 – are indigenous to Europe. The highest number of living languages – 2 165 – is found in Asia.

Did you know that…There are 68 different indigenous languages in Mexico, further subdivided into 364 variations. Ayapaneco is one of them, and after having survived the Spanish conquest, wars, revolutions, famines and floods, it is now at risk of extinction. Indeed, there are just two persons left who can speak it fluently, but they refuse to talk to each other…

Source: The Guardian, Language at risk of dying out – the last two speakers aren’t talking, 2011.

According to forecasts, some 90 % of all languages may be replaced by dominant languages by the end of the 21st century. The Unesco Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger reveals that 40 % of languages spoken in the world are endangered (see Figures 1 and 2). Worryingly, at least 2 000 of the world’s endangered languages have fewer than 1 000 speakers, and 4 % have disappeared in the past 70 years.

Linguistic diversity in the EU

The EU has three alphabets and 24 official languages, which are listed in Article 55(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Respect for linguistic diversity is rooted in Article 3(3) TEU and Article 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. Mirroring population figures, the most widely spoken mother tongue in the EU is German (16 %), followed by Italian and English (13 % each), French (12 %), then Spanish and Polish (8 % each). According to a 2013 study, regional languages are spoken by between 40 and 50 million people in the EU. Among them, Catalan is the most widely used, with over 10 million speakers, mainly in the Spanish region of Catalonia, but also in the French Pyrenees and the Italian region of Sardinia.

Safeguarding diversity

The critical threshold for the survival of a language is estimated at 300 000 speakers. According to Unesco, there are 221 endangered regional and minority languages in the EU (see Figure 3). While indigenous to Europe, these are not state languages within a particular state. They are protected and promoted by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992) adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and signed and ratified by 17 EU Member States. The EU is committed to safeguarding linguistic diversity, and it promotes knowledge of languages through Erasmus+. However, it has limited influence, because educational and language policies are the responsibility of the individual EU countries.

Language learning in the EU

The results of a 2012 poll suggest that the majority of Europeans (54 %) are able to hold a conversation in at least one additional language, a quarter (25 %) can speak at least two and one in ten (10 %) are conversant in at least three. The five most widely spoken foreign languages remain English (38 %), French (12 %), and German (11 %), followed by Spanish (7 %) and Russian (5 %). Two-thirds of Europeans (67 %) find that English is the most useful foreign language, followed by German (17 %), French (16 %), Spanish (14 %) and Chinese (6 %). The majority of Europeans do not describe themselves as active learners of languages and around a quarter (23 %) have never learnt a second language. The most widespread method used to learn a foreign language is through lessons at school. Over two-thirds of Europeans (68 %) have learnt a foreign language in this way. Interestingly, a 2018 survey shows that while 80 % of respondents (with wide differences among countries) can read and write in more than one language, only 66 % say they would be able to follow a (higher education) course in more than one language (see Figure 4).

Multilingualism in the European Parliament

The European Parliament is committed to ensuring the highest possible degree of multilingualism. In the European assembly, all parliamentary documents are published in all of the EU’s official languages, which are considered equally important. The right of each Member of the Parliament to read and write parliamentary documents, follow debates and speak in his or her own official language is expressly recognised in the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. Parliament also has an Intergroup focused on protecting traditional minorities and national communities and languages.

Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘Remaining ‘united in diversity’ thanks to multilingualism‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Categories: European Union

Disinformation crackdown: Tech giants commit to EU code of practice - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 13:55
A group of tech giants including Google, Facebook and Mozilla have agreed to abide by landmark new standards set out by the European Commission in the battle against the dissemination of fake news across the EU.
Categories: European Union

Portugal reaches agreement with Spain, France to welcome Aquarius migrants - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 13:45
The Portuguese government said on Tuesday (25 September) it had reached an agreement with Spain and France to welcome some of the migrants on board the last private rescue ship in the Mediterranean, after Italy refused to let the vessel dock.
Categories: European Union

Polish PM Morawiecki: The Commission is breaking the dialogue with Poland - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 13:26
The Polish government "is constantly discussing the law on the Supreme Court" while the European Commission had decided "on a step that would hamper this dialogue to some extent", Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday (September 25). EURACTIV Poland reports.
Categories: European Union

UK Home Secretary: there will be no second referendum, Chequers Plan not dead - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 12:50
UK home secretary Sajid Javid discounted on Tuesday (25 Septembre) the possibility of a second Brexit referendum and insisted that his government’s proposal, known as the Chequers Plan, has not been rejected by the European Union. EURACTIV’s partner efe-epa reports. Speaking...
Categories: European Union

Bottles becoming bottles: Let’s go full circle! [Promoted content] - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 12:30
The time has come for the European Parliament’s last opportunity to take concrete action before handing over the reins to the EU’s successors: making it mandatory to produce plastic bottles with at least 25% of recycled plastics by 2025.
Categories: European Union

Bendt Bendtsen MEP: Time for EU countries to draft building strategies, ‘we’ll be watching’ - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 12:30
Nearly half of Europe’s energy is used up by buildings but new rules adopted by the EU earlier this year wants to inject efficiency en masse into the sector and improve massively the edifices in which we live and work. EURACTIV spoke with the lawmaker behind the new legislation.
Categories: European Union


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