Category Archives: European Parliament

New EU Parliament video: Combatting planned obsolescence

obsolescenceIt is a sad fact that many technological items are manufactured to have deliberately limited life spans in order to force consumers to replace products more regularly. To combat this, the European Parliament wants to set minimum resistance criteria for products so that consumers can have a better idea of how durable the item is. If products are built with better quality components that aren’t completely sealed in they will last longer and be more easily repairable. Over three-quarters of EU consumers would prefer to fix broken products than buy new ones, so the will is there. Have a look at this EuroparlTV video to find out more about the issue.

 

European Year of Cultural Heritage

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©Martin Deutsch. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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.”

Scotland and Brexit

distillery
© Jack Shainsky. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Two recent reports may be of interest:

A research paper entitled The Impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on Scotland, Wales and Gibraltar  has been produced at the request of the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs.  It looks at the economic and political implications of Brexit  and at the possible return of  ‘Europeanised’ competencies to  devolved administrations. The paper also considers how Brexit might affect their future relationships within the UK and externally with the EU.

The Scottish Parliament’s SPICe briefing paper: The White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill – Impact on Scotland  looks at how the provisions proposed in the UK Government White Paper  “Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union” may affect Scotland.

As regular readers will know, SPICe also provides a weekly update on the current developments on the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.  The latest bulletin is available here.

 

 

Fake news and how to spot it

Godzilla fakenews

© AV Dezign Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Completely fabricated news stories with the deliberate aim of misleading people has become an increasingly common phenomenon on social media making it difficult sometimes to know if what you are reading is fake news.

The European Parliament Research Bureau has produced an infographic called “Five steps to spot fake news” giving tips to help you decide for yourself whether you can trust in the veracity of what you are reading.  The full briefing is available here.

UPDATE: Phasing-out roaming charges within EU

no roaming
© European commission. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Mobile roaming charges in the EU are set to end completely by mid-June 2017, and as of 30th April 2016 year rates were capped at a reduced rate as part of the phase-out process.

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.

The EU negotiators agreed on the following wholesale caps:

  • 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.

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Who’s who in the European Parliament bureau

whoswhoepWant to know who’s in charge of  the European Parliament? Here’s a useful infographic with the names of the 14 vice presidents and the 5 quaestors who along with the president make up the bureau’s 20 members:

Following the election of Antonio Tajani as president of the European Parliament, MEPs also selected 14 vice-presidents, who chair debates when the president is not in the chamber and who each have a specific portfolio. In addition, the Parliament has five quaestors, officials responsible for administrative and financial matters. The president, 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors – collectively known as the bureau – are all elected for a period of two-and-a-half years.

Also, if you’d like to know more about what the President of the European Parliament does, have a look at the short explanatory video below:

EYE2016 report: 50 ideas for a better future

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Last May’s European Youth Event (EYE2016) saw 7500 young people from all over Europe and beyond congregate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to share and discuss ideas, driven by the motto “Together we can make a change”. Topics discussed ranged from space and innovation to climate change, migration and democracy.

Since then a team of young reporters have created a report highlighting 50 ideas for a better Europe. The report also contains interviews, infographics, a political commentary from the European Youth Forum and more. In addition to this there is the EYE2016 ideas tree, a separate document containing all the ideas written by the participants with a handy navigational graphic. Just click on any branch topic to jump to the idea.

French and German language versions of the report are also available.

Next year’s Charlemagne Youth Prize competition launched

2016-charlemagne-youth-prize-winners

The Charlemagne Youth Prize is an annual competition organised by the European Parliament and the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen. It is an opportunity for people aged 16-30 across Europe to develop projects with the aim of encouraging understanding between people from different European countries.

Former winning projects include:

1 InteGREAT (Italy)

Project created by AIESEC that aims to encourage young people from all over Europe to help integrate refugees. The project organises workshops, leisure activities, seminars and others events and involves international volunteers, local non-governmental organisations and local communities.

2 Searching for a Charlemagne (Greece)

Project by students from a lyceum in Pyrgetos, Greece, who came up with a tablet game about Carolus Magnus (742-814 AD), Better known as Charlemagne, the creator of Frankish Empire was called the Father of Europe at the time for his attempts to create a union.

3 Young European Council (UK)

The Young European Council is an international annual conference which brings together young people passionate about the future of the European Union. The aim is to provide input to European policy making. Last year’s conference took place on 15-19 November in Brussels and included three panels dedicated to the topics migration and home affairs, energy union and climate action: and education to employment.

(Information on winning entries taken from here)

There are cash prizes as well as the opportunity for winning project representatives to visit the European parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg.

All the information you need to apply can be found here.