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Greece to exit EU’s ‘enhanced surveillance’ framework after 12 years - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 11:00
Greece will exit the European Union's so-called enhanced surveillance framework on August 20, its finance minister said on Wednesday (10 August), a move that will allow the country greater freedom in making economic policy.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Finnish parliament website hacked by Russian group - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:16
A Russian hacker group is said to have crashed the website of the Finnish parliament on Tuesday afternoon, reports Finnish state media outlet Yle. Yle says the denial-of-service attack was carried out by Russian hacker syndicate NoName057(16). "We decided to make a 'friendly' visit to neighbouring Finland, whose authorities are so eager to join Nato," said the syndicate on its Telegram channel.
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EU Commission shrugs off Polish threats on rule-of-law - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:13
The EU Commission says Poland still needs to enact judicial reforms in order to unlock €35bn in Covid-19 recovery money, despite threats by Warsaw.
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[Ticker] Greek president calls for wiretap investigation - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:07
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said an investigation was needed into the wiretapping scandal of a political opponent of Greece's prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. In a statement, Sakellaropoulou said that the right to privacy was a fundamental condition of a democratic and liberal society. "It requires the immediate and full clarification of the wiretapping case," she said.
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EU urged to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:07
Finnish and Estonian leaders want EU countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens in protest at the war against Ukraine.
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[Ticker] Russia's war to cost Germans €260bn - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:06
Russia's war in Ukraine is to cost Germany's economy some €260bn by 2030 according to a study by the Institute for Employment Research. Its GDP will fall by 1.7 percent by next year, putting 240,000 Germans out of work, due to high energy prices, which will hurt the chemicals and metals industries, it noted. Inflation will also see Germans spend less on leisure, hitting the hospitality industry, it added.
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[Ticker] Kaliningrad says EU freight quotas too small - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:05
A dispute between Lithuania and Russia over freight-rail transit to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad risks flaring up again, after the Kaliningrad governor said EU-agreed quotas of some 500,000 tonnes/year of goods allowed to be moved despite Russia sanctions had already been reached. "We've already exhausted the limits set by Europeans for the transportation of goods by rail: for instance, certain kinds of iron, steel," Anton Alikhanov said, Reuters reports.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Germany: EU gas-reduction plan could reduce prices - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:05
An EU accord to reduce gas consumption by 15 percent from August to March next year due to Russia-war linked cut-offs entered into force Tuesday, with Germany saying the move could also help stabilise prices. "If all countries in Europe save gas, this can stabilise the price so to speak, maybe even reduce it," the president of Germany's gas network regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, Klaus Mueller said, Reuters reports.
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[Ticker] Turkey resumes gas exploration near Cyprus flashpoint - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:05
Turkey has resumed gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, in an area criss-crossed by competing Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot territorial claims. But its drillship, the Abdullhamid Han, which sailed Tuesday, will stay in Turkish-only waters, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. "The survey and drilling work we are conducting in the Mediterranean are within our sovereign territory. We do not need to receive permission or consent from anyone," he said.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Russian oil stops flowing to Hungary - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:05
Russian oil flows via the Druzhba pipeline through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia stopped last Thursday, the countries said Tuesday. Russian firm Transneft blamed Ukraine and EU sanctions for the outage, saying Ukraine had returned its July gas transit-fee citing European restrictions. The EU is phasing out Russian oil purchases by the end of the year, but Hungary, an EU sanctions-critic, had a derogation from the ban.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] EU opening tech embassy in Silicon Valley - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:05
The EU is opening a new liaison office in California's Silicon Valley to ease communication with US tech companies, as new laws are set to come into effect that will increase regulatory scrutiny of companies like Apple, Goole and Meta in Europe. The EU's executive branch and the European Commission will jointly run the new tech embassy, according to the Wall Street Journal. The office will open on 1 September.
Categories: European Union

[Opinion] Russia puts EU in nuclear-energy paradox - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 09:04
There's unprecedented international anxiety about the safety of Ukraine's nuclear reactors, but many European countries are also turning to nuclear power to secure energy supplies.
Categories: European Union

STOA study on auditing the quality of datasets used in algorithmic decision-making systems

Written by Andrés García Higuera.

A recently published Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) study examines the impact of biases on datasets used to support decision-making systems based on artificial intelligence. It explores the ethical implications of the deployment of digital technologies in the context of proposed European Union legislation, such as the AI act, the data act and the data governance act; as well as the recently approved Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. It ends by setting out a range of policy options to mitigate the pernicious effects of biases in decision-making systems that rely on machine learning.

Machine learning (ML) is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) in which computers develop their own decision-making processes for situations that cannot be directly and satisfactorily addressed by available algorithms. The process is adjusted through the exploration of existing data on previous similar situations that include the solutions found at the time. The broader and more balanced the dataset is, the better the chances will be of obtaining a valid result; but there is no a priori way of knowing whether the data available will suffice to collect all aspects of the problem at hand. The outputs of systems based on AI can be biased owing to imbalances in the training data, or if the data source is biased itself with respect to ethnicity, gender or other factors.

Biases are commonly considered to be one of the most detrimental effects of AI use. In general, therefore, serious commitments are being made to reducing their incidence as much as possible. However, the existence of biases pre-dates the creation of AI tools. All human societies are biased – AI only reproduces what we are. Therefore, opposing this technology for this reason would simply hide discrimination and not prevent it. Our task must be to use the means at our disposal – which are many – to mitigate its biases. In fact, it is likely that at some point in the future, recommendations made by an AI mechanism will contain less bias than those made by human beings. Unlike humans, AI can be reviewed and its flaws corrected on a consistent basis. Ultimately, AI could eventually serve to build fairer, less biased societies.

Rather than increasing regulation, it is crucial to ensure that existing rules, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), cover all new aspects that may appear as the technology evolves. European legislation such as the proposed AI act (together with the data act proposal and the data governance act) may apply not only to algorithms but also to datasets, thereby enforcing the explainability of decisions obtained through systems based on ML. The idea of setting up AI ethics committees to assess and provide certification for the systems or datasets used in ML is also proposed by organisations such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CEN). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) follows similar lines in its recommendations on AI. While setting up standards and certification procedures seems a good way to progress, it may also lead to a false impression of safety, as the ML systems and the datasets they use are dynamic and continue to learn from new data. A dynamic follow-up process would therefore also be required to guarantee that rules are respected following the FAIR principles of data management and stewardship (FAIR: findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability).

The STOA report begins by providing an overview of biases in the context of artificial intelligence, and more specifically of machine-learning applications. The second part is devoted to the analysis of biases from a legal point of view, which shows that shortcomings in this area call for the implementation of additional regulatory tools to address the issue of bias adequately. Finally, the study, and its accompanying STOA options brief, put forward a range of policy options in response to the challenges identified.

Read the full report and STOA options brief to find out more. The study was presented by its authors to the STOA Panel at its meeting on 7 July 2022.

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Categories: European Union

Analysis: Erdogan plays up diplomatic gains with eye on elections - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 07:16
A series of diplomatic wins, capped by the deal to resume Ukraine's grain exports, provides some respite for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from Turkey's economic strife and offers a blueprint of his campaign strategy for elections due next year.
Categories: European Union

New residence permits in EU rose to approach pre-pandemic levels in 2021 - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 07:00
Residence permits issued for the first time in the European Union climbed close to pre-pandemic levels last year, with Poland leading the bloc due mostly to work-related immigration while France largely attracted students, the bloc's statistics office said on Tuesday (9 August).
Categories: European Union

Belgium pulls more Haagen-Dazs ice-creams from sale - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 06:57
Belgium on Tuesday (9 August) extended an order to recall certain Haagen-Dazs ice-creams from sale after the discovery of traces of a chemical linked to cancer, such as lymphoma and leukemia.
Categories: European Union

Poland warns of repercussions if Brussels keeps blocking funds - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 06:42
Poland could hit back at the European Union if Warsaw does not get its share of pandemic recovery funds, ruling party politicians said, after Brussels signalled it was not satisfied with the country's latest judicial reforms.
Categories: European Union

Greek president calls for investigation of phone tapping scandal - Wed, 08/10/2022 - 06:30
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou called on Tuesday (9 August) for an investigation into tapping a political leader's phone by the intelligence service (EYP).
Categories: European Union


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