As of today, (15th June 2017) data roaming charges for all travellers in the European Union have been abolished, as part of the wider project to create a Digital Single Market. The European Commission has produced a couple of useful factsheets (see links at bottom of article) on what this entails. However, as this BBC article explains, customers are still liable for extra charges if they exceed their contractually agreed data usage limits.
As the BBC article also points out, once article 50 has been fully implemented, it will be the up to a future UK Government to decide as to whether the UK adopts these pricing restrictions or not.
2018 is to be designated the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Find out more here or have a look at the video below.
“Our cultural heritage is more than the memory of our past; it is the key to our future. A European Year of Cultural Heritage will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage and to promote European excellence in the sector.”
Earlier this week the European Commission presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which forms the Commission’s contribution to the forthcoming Rome Summit to be held on the 25 March which marks 60 years since the Treaties of Rome established a common market.
The scenarios in the white paper are:
Scenario 1: Carrying On
Scenario 2: Nothing but the Single Market
Scenario 3: Those Who Want More, Do More
Scenario 4: Doing Less, More Efficiently
Scenario 5: Doing Much More Together
Read the full press release and access the full report and the annex here.
If you are interested in how EU environmental policies and laws are put into practice across Europe and seeing where there are implementation gaps, you may wish to have a look at the European Commission’s new tool to improve implementation of EU environmental law called The Environmental Implementation Review.
While the review shows that that environmental policies in general work, it identifies the most pressing implementation gaps across EU Member States are in waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality, noise and water quality.
Country reports are available showing national strengths, opportunities and weaknesses. Summary national factsheets are also available for each Member State. The one for the UK is available here
The European Commission has produced this short video below.
As the last step towards the end of roaming charges by 15 June 2017, representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on how to set the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU.
3.2 cents per minute of voice call, as of 15 June 2017
1 cent per SMS, as of 15 June 2017
They also agreed to a step-by-step reduction over five years for data caps, decreasing from €7.70 per GB (as of 15 June 2017) to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of 1 January 2021) and €2.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2022). The agreement is the final step to making “roam-like-at-home” work as of 15 June 2017, as foreseen in the Telecom Single Market (TSM) Regulation. It means that when travelling in the EU, consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile at the same price they pay at home. More information is available on the Commission’s Roaming website.
The January edition of the European CommissionPublications Office Newsletter puts a spotlight on the Data economy:
A thriving data-driven economy is essential for innovation, growth, jobs and European competitiveness, as well as for a functional digital single market.
This month the European Commission published a Communication on Building a European data economy in which it sets out the policy context and a first analysis of the problem drivers in this area. At the same time it has also published two legislative proposals and a communication concerning personal data protection.
As background information, in its latest newsletter the EU Publications Office presents a selection of recent publications and products related to this subject.
University of Aberdeen Vice-Principle Margaret Ross will chair the event and the speakers and their specific topics will be as follows:
Professor Paul Beaumont, University of Aberdeen – What Are the Options for Brexit?
Professor Claire Wallace, University of Aberdeen – Migration and Freedom of Movement
Professor Michael Keating – Options for Scotland
James Bream, Grampian Chamber of Commerce – What Does Brexit Mean for Business in North East Scotland
The event itself will run from 6pm – 8pm and coffee and tea will be available from 5:30pm.
The European Commission have released a new infographic highlighting the causes and consequences of air pollution and the steps the Commission proposes to take in order to tackle the issue. See the explanatory text from the Commission below and click here to view and interact with the infographic.
Every year, more than 400,000 people in the EU die prematurely due to the consequences of air pollution: this is more than 10 times the toll of road traffic accidents. Another 6.5 million people fall sick as air pollution causes diseases such as strokes, asthma and bronchitis. Air pollution also harms our natural environment, impacting both vegetation and wildlife: almost two-thirds of Europe’s ecosystems are threatened by the effects of air pollution. This interactive infographic explains how the European Commission proposes to address air pollution in Europe. Among others, the infographic explains what the main air pollutants and their effects are, where air pollution comes from, what action needs to be taken and what the benefits would be. All the graphics included in the infographic can be downloaded as image files.
Applications are now open for paid traineeships of five months’ duration starting on 1 October with the European Commission and some executive bodies and agencies of the European Institutions such as the European External Action Service or Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. 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), 31 January 2017.