Category Archives: Challenge

Natura 2000 Awards Finalists Announced

natura2000The European Commission has announced the 2016 finalists in the Natura 2000 Awards  celebrating and promoting nature conservation in Europe and highlighting the importance of protecting biodiversity. There are 5 categories including the Citizens Award which has 24 finalists, including 4 from the UK, with the winner voted for by the public. Why not have a look and vote now.

If you have not come across Natura 2000 before, it is a network of sites for rare and threatened species and habitats.  Stretching across all 28 EU countries it covers 18% of the EU’s land area and almost 6% of its marine area and is the centrepiece of the EU’s nature and biodiversity policy.

The wildlife, documentary film maker, Jacques Perrin has used 16 different Natura 2000 sites in his latest work, Seasons capturing the lives of 28 mammal and bird species. Watch a trailer for the film (in French) below.

EU Referendum News – UK EU Draft Deal

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© Dave Kellam. Licensed for reuse and modification under this Creative Commons Licence.

The draft EU deal proposed by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, is an effort to address all of the concerns raised by David Cameron regarding the UK’s place in the European Union, ahead of the coming referendum. You can read the full text of Tusk’s letter to European Council members, outlining the proposed deal, here. You can also find links to the various draft decisions, statements and declarations that make up the deal as it currently stands.

EU Traineeships for Graduates

Presentation1Applications are now open for paid traineeships of five months with the European Commission (or some executive bodies and agencies of the European Institutions like, for instance, the European External Action Service or Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation), starting on 1 October. Successful applicants will receive a monthly grant of around €1,120 and reimbursement of travel expenses. Accident and health insurance can also be provided. Every year, there are about 1,300 places available, which provide selected candidates with hands-on experience in an international and multicultural environment, thus enriching their career prospects. Applications must be submitted online by noon (Brussels time), 29 January 2016.

Paris 2015 UN Climate Change Conference

16451794648_a4dde69226_o (1)With the United Nations climate change conference (COP21) set to get under way in Paris on Monday, the European Commission has stated their commitment to reaching ‘a fair, ambitious and legally binding global climate deal‘, with emphasis on ‘accelerat[ing] the global shift to low carbon, climate resilient economies’.

Jean Claude Juncker and Miguel Arias Cañete, (respectively, President of the European Commission, and  the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy) will participate in the conference, With Arias Cañete speaking of “governments’ shared sense of urgency and political determination to make Paris the beginning of a new chapter in climate action”.

As part of a press release on the subject, the European Commission have produced a fact-sheet with their answers to FAQs on COP21. And here is their latest leaflet on climate change.

The weekly newspaper Politico EU published an article yesterday, detailing some of the differences of opinion between the EU and the US on the  fundamentals of climate action. Read it here.

Physical copies of Politico EU as well as lots of European Commission publications on climate change and the environment are available from the Taylor Library and EDC.

Meanwhile, here’s the Eurobarometer survey on public opinion regarding climate change, and a video of Arias Cañete’s press conference ahead of COP21.

In the news –a case to watch: Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol *UPDATE*

Booze
© Copyright Dave Morris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In 2012 the Scottish Government passed legislation to introduce minimum pricing unit pricing for alcohol as part of its strategy to reduce alcohol consumption and the harm associated with over consumption. The minimum unit price was set at 50p

The Scotch Whisky Association challenged the legality of this. (The Scotch Whisky Association v Lord Advocate 2013 S.L.T. 776). This legal bid was rejected. However, this decision has been appealed on the grounds that it breaches EU law as it would be a barrier to the free movement of goods. The Court of Session made a request for a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice in July last year.

UPDATE: On the 3rd of September the Advocate General issued his opinion that minimum unit pricing would only be legal under EU law if it could be shown that there is no other mechanism available to the Scottish Government that could achieve their desired public health benefits. Advocate General Bot also set out tests that national courts would have to apply when making their decision. Advocate General Bot’s opinion can be read in full here:

It is expected to be up to six months before the European Court of Justice gives its final ruling. The case will then be referred back to the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Stay tuned for more updates.

In the news –a case to watch: Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol

Booze
© Copyright Dave Morris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In 2012 the Scottish Government passed legislation to introduce minimum pricing unit pricing for alcohol as part of its strategy to reduce alcohol consumption and the harm associated with over consumption. The minimum unit price was set at 50p

The Scotch Whisky Association challenged the legality of this under EU Law. (The Scotch Whisky Association v Lord Advocate 2013 S.L.T. 776). This legal bid was rejected. However, this decision has been appealed. The Court of Session made a request for a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice in July last year. The European Court of Justice began taking evidence from the Scottish Government on the 6th of May and a preliminary ruling on the legality of minimum unit pricing under EU Law is expected later this year. The case will then be referred back to the Court of Session for a final ruling.