EEL News Service - Issue 2015/08 of 29 May 2015

Dear members of the EEL Network,

In our previous edition, we briefly highlighted the adoption of the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda. In this issue we have collected more information, background stories, opinions and reactions on the adoption of this package in the section "General" below. Other news includes the IMF putting global subsidies of fossil fuel at € 4.74 trillion per year (section "Energy) and a report on hormone disrupting chemicals (section "Chemicals").

News on the Asser Summer Programme on International & European Environmental Law: The Future we Choose (24-28 August 2015), is that Dr. Marcel Szabó (Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations) and Pier Vellinga (Professor in Climate Change) are confirmed speakers. Key note speaker opening the programme will be Prof. Malgosia Fitzmaurice (Queen Mary University of London). Note that two full scholarships are still available for applicants from India (deadline 14 June 2015).

Kind regards,

Wybe Th. Douma 
Senior Researcher EU Law / International Trade Law 
T.M.C. Asser Institute 
e-mail w.t.douma@asser.nl

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General

our-planet-on-a-palm

European Commission Press Release: Better Regulation Agenda: Enhancing transparency and scrutiny for better EU law-making (19/05/2015) 
The European Commission adopted its Better Regulation Agenda. This comprehensive package of reforms covering the entire policy cycle is to boost openness and transparency in the EU decision-making process, improve the quality of new laws through better impact assessments of draft legislation and amendments, and promote constant and consistent review of existing EU laws, so that EU policies achieve their objectives in the most effective and efficient way. Fears remain that it will lead to less environmental protection.

Also see:

▪ Politico Article - The Commission goes big on downsizing (19/05/2015)
▪ Financial Times Article - Frans Timmermans, the man standing between Brussels and Brexit (19/05/2015)
▪ DailyMail Article - EU presents plan for leaner lawmaking (19/05/2015)
▪ Die Welt Article - Wie Europa jetzt seine eigene Regelwut regeln will(19/05/2015) (Available in German only)
▪ AFP Article - EU promises more transparency to meet eurosceptic demands(19/05/2015)
▪ EuroChambres Press Release - Better Regulation: Chambers support Commission’s total quality approach (19/05/2015)
▪ BusinessEurope Press Release - New EU better regulation strategy likely to improve EU policy-making (19/05/2015)
▪ NRC Handelsblad Article with expert opinion of Wybe Douma -Voorlopig krijgt Timmermans het voordeel van de twijfel (19/05/2015) (Available in Dutch only)
▪ The Greens/EFA Article - Shackling legislators would be a coup against EU democratic process (19/05/2015)
▪ EurActiv Blog Entry - Six measures to make the Better Regulation Package work (19/05/2015)
▪ EurActiv Article - Cameron: 'Better Regulation' is progress towards EU reforms (21/05/2015)
▪ EurActiv Article - ‘Better Regulation’: Why Timmermans should go beyond the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (22/05/2015)
▪ EurActiv Article - All EU institutions must embrace 'better' regulation(26/05/2015)
▪ EurActiv Article - Well-designed self and co-regulation are essential for better regulation (27/05/2015)
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Euobserver Article: MEPs adopt binding rules on conflict minerals(20/05/2015) 
The European Parliament unexpectedly backed new rules obliging EU companies to ensure the minerals they use in their products are from certified mines.

Also see:

▪ European Parliament Press Release - Conflict minerals: MEPs ask for mandatory certification of EU importers (20/05/2015)
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Council of the European Union Press Release: Council conclusions on a New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015 (26/05/2015)

The Post-2015 Agenda presents a great opportunity to address the interlinked challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development. Making the most of this is a key priority for the EU and its Member States. These conclusions complement the December 2014 conclusions (.PDF) and further develop aspects of the new global partnership needed to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Download as .PDF

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Air

Air

Politico Article: Industry weakens EU emissions standards, green groups claim (21/05/2015) 
Proposed European Union air pollution limits for coal-fired power plants have been watered down by industry representatives doubling as government voices in an expert group, according to a report from two environmental groups.

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Chemicals

Chemicals

Euobserver Article: Industry delayed EU regulation of toxic chemicals(20/05/2015) 
A report drafted by Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory and by French journalist Stephane Horelout shows how industry lobbied EU institutions to kill regulation on possible toxic chemicals used in everyday products.

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EurActiv Article: Commission, chemicals lobby deny delaying tactics over hormone disruptors (21/05/2015) 
The European Commission and the chemicals industry have rejected claims, revealed by leaked emails in a new NGO report, that they actively sought to slow down work on the definition of criteria for regulating hormone disrupting chemicals.

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EurActiv Article: Toxic cadmium one step closer to EU-wide ban(26/05/2015) 
The European Parliament voted to re-assess the use of cadmium in TV sets sold across Europe, saying safer alternatives to the toxic and carcinogenic substance were now widely available.

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Climate Change

Climate Change

EurActiv Article: Merkel and Hollande push for 'ambitious' climate deal(19/05/2015) 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande jointly pledged Tuesday to do their utmost to ensure an "ambitious" UN deal to combat climate change is reached this year.

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The Huffington Post Blog Entry: The Success of COP21 Also Depends on Businesses (20/05/2015) 
Major business leaders will gather in Paris for the Business and Climate Summit. This meeting is being held around six months before the Paris Climate Conference, COP21, the aim of which is well known: to reach a universal agreement limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Also see:

▪ Blue&Green Tomorrow Article - Climate Week Paris: no economic growth unless we tackle climate change, says Unilever boss (18/05/2015)
▪ EurActiv Article - Businesses launch appeal for carbon pricing at COP 21(22/05/2015)
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European Parliament Press Release: CO2 market fix: Environment Committee MEPs back deal with Council (26/05/2015) 
A reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), informally agreed with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Ministers, was recently backed by the Environment Committee. The reform aims to reduce the surplus of carbon credits available for trading in order to support the price of the emission rights. The scheme would start operating in 2019.

Also see:

▪ EurActiv Blog Entry - Carbon Pollution Trading that works for the climate?(21/05/2015)
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EurActiv Video: Nicolas Hulot: 'We are committing mass suicide'(21/05/2015) 
Nicolas Hulot, François Hollande's special envoy for the protection of the planet, came to Brussels on 13 May to report on the progress of the negotiations underway ahead of the Paris Climate Conference in December.

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EurActiv Article: French foreign coal assets criticised ahead of COP 21(20/05/2015) 
Energy giants EDF and Engie produce the equivalent of half of France's CO2 emissions in foreign power stations owned abroad, a "hypocrisy" denounced by campaigners ahead of the Paris climate conference later this year.

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Politico Article: Green coal in the red (21/05/2015) 
Turning coal into a green fuel is the promise of Carbon Capture and Storage, a technology that scrubs carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and then pumps the greenhouse gas deep underground — but the EU’s hopes of using CCS as a key part of its climate policy have fizzled.

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EurActiv Blog Entry: The G7 Summit should define a Road Map for the December Climate Conference (27/05/2015) 
Angela Merkel carries the burden of presiding for a second time a G7/8 Summit, after Heiligendamm on the Baltic in 2007; this time, at Elmau in Bavaria, her major task should be to help preparing the crucial 21st International Climate Conference in December in Paris, writes Eberhard Rhein.

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Energy

Energy

EurActiv Blog Entry: Seven years’ biofuels deliberations teaches us ‘put quality before quantity’ (18/05/2015) 
April 2015 will enter history as the month in which the EU reversed course on its energy policies in transport. It adopted its long-mooted reform of biofuels policy – especially regarding indirect land-use change (ILUC). The practical implications in the next years may not be so big. But the political and longer-term ones are, writes Jos Dings.

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EurActiv Article: Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF(19/05/2015) 
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3 trillion (€4.74 tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

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Politico Article: The energy union road trip (19/05/2015) 
Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič plans a journey across the EU to sell the idea that energy is best done together.

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EurActiv Article: Turkey to double coal capacity in four years (20/05/2015) 
Turkey is planning to double its coal power capacity in four years, the third largest investment in the polluting fossil fuel in the world, health campaigners have warned.

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viEUws Video: Brussels Briefing on Energy – All you need to know for May & June 2015 (20/05/2015) 
In this Brussels Briefing on Energy, leading journalist Hughes Belin provides an overview of the latest EU energy policy developments.

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EurActiv Article: Renewables jobs in EU drop, but rise worldwide(21/05/2015) 
The number of renewable energy jobs worldwide increased last year by more than a million, an 18% rise to 7.7 million, but dropped in the European Union.

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EurActiv Article: Access to EU energy market vital for UK, says National Grid CEO (21/05/2015) 
A place in Europe's energy market is vital for Britain, the head of National Grid said, joining an increasing chorus of business leaders speaking out on the impact of a European Union referendum.

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EurActiv Article: Vestager: Gazprom is partitioning markets in Central and Eastern Europe (21/05/2015) 
Russia's Gazprom may have leveraged its dominant position by obtaining unrelated commitments on pipelines from its customers, as a condition of supplying gas to Bulgaria and Poland, says Margrethe Vestager.

Also see:

▪ EurActiv Article - Moscow testing Belgrade’s neutrality (19/05/2015)
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EurActiv Article: Governments not planning properly for energy efficiency, report warns (22/05/2015) 
National governments are failing to plan properly for energy efficiency savings in their own buildings, according to new analysis by a group of businesses, local authorities, trade unions and civil society organisations.

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EurActiv Article: Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria embark on gas pipeline project (22/05/2015) 
At the Riga summit, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania signed a Joint Declaration backing the idea of building the Eastring gas pipeline, designed to link Central with Southeastern Europe. However the name Eastring doesn’t appear in the document.

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EurActiv Article: Biomass will play a critical role in Europe's energy future(22/05/2015) 
Biomass is the only renewable, affordable energy source available on-demand. European countries need to make sure it is sourced sustainably, writes Philip Lowe.

Also see:

▪ EurActiv Article - Realistic regulations needed for bioenergy to be a long-term solution to emissions reduction (28/05/2015)
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EurActiv Article: Delivering real markets for real consumers in the Energy Union (26/05/2015) 
Consumers will not be ready to take advantage of the redesign of the EU’s electricity market without strong political direction, writes Simon Skillings.

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Politico Article: Grade inflation for TVs and fridges (26/05/2015) 
Makers of televisions, fridges and other appliances have become so good at increasing energy efficiency that they've left official EU labels far behind.

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EurActiv Article: A new International Energy Charter fit for the 21st century(27/05/2015) 
The European Energy Charter was first signed in 1991, mainly to connect the resource rich fuel producing regions in Eastern Europe with much-needed Western European investment. But the world has changed a great deal since then, writes Howard Chase.

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EurActiv Blog Entry: Morocco: a Champion for advanced Energy and Climate Policy (28/05/2015) 
In the Arab world Morocco is one the very few countries without oil or gas resources. To cover its fast rising energy consumption it has been totally dependent on imports. Fortunately it possesses a big potential of renewable energy, in particular wind and solar, writes Eberhard Rhein.

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Nature & Agriculture

Nature and Agriculture

EEA Report: State of nature in the EU: biodiversity still being eroded, but some local improvements observed (20/05/2015) 
The majority of habitats and species in Europe have an unfavourable conservation status despite significant improvements for many species in recent years, according to a new technical report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) today. The report presents the most comprehensive European overview on the conservation status and trends of the habitats and species covered by the European Union’s (EU) two nature directives. Building on the reports submitted by EU member states, the report contributes to policy discussions in the context of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

Download as .PDF (+ Annexes)

Also see:

▪ EurActiv Article - 'State of Nature' report highlights farming impact on EU wildlife (20/05/2015)
▪ European Commission Press Release - State of Nature: Largest ever assessment draws a mixed picture for Europe's habitats and species(20/05/2015)
▪ Euobserver Ticker Message - 'Much greater effort' needed to preserve Europe's wildlife (21/05/2015)
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European Parliament Press Release: Olive trees: MEPs demand action to halt spread of killer bacteria (20/05/2015) 
The EU must take effective measures to prevent the spread of Xylella fastidiosa bacteria beyond Italy, where it is severely damaging olive trees, says a resolution passed by Parliament. MEPs welcome EU import restrictions on plants from affected areas in third countries but say more may be needed.

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EurActiv Article: German government to boost organic farming(22/05/2015) 
Germany is hungry for organic products. But, despite good market conditions, and heavy marketing, organic farmers are not reaping their share of the boom’s benefits, something Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt intends to change.

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viEUws Video: Brussels Briefing on Agriculture: All you need to know for May & June 2015 (26/05/2015) 
In this Brussels Briefing on Agriculture, AGRA FACTS journalists Rose O’Donovan & Ed Bray provide an update on the latest developments in EU agricultural policy.

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European Commission Press Release: Bluefin tuna fishing season 2015: EU benefits from recovery of the stock (26/05/2015) 
This year, for the first time since the establishment of the Bluefin tuna recovery plan in 2006, there is a marked increase in the quota that the European Union is allowed to fish.

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European Commission Press Release: Adoption of a further 24 Rural Development Programmes to boost the EU farming sector and our countryside(26/05/2015) 
The European Commission has approved a further 24 Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) aimed at improving the competitiveness of the EU farming sector, caring for the countryside and climate, and strengthening the economic and social fabric of rural communities in the period until 2020.

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viEUws Video: GMO Imports: modifying the genetics of the internal market?(27/05/2015) 
Using the same template as recent proposals on allowing GMOs to be grown in the EU, the European Commission has proposed to give Member States the power to prohibit the use of imported GMOs even though they’ve been signed off by the European Food Safety Authority. What does this mean for the GMO debate? What does it mean for the internal market?

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European Environmental Bureau: Biodiversity Nature Alert 
More signatures than any EU public consultation ever.

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Transport

Transport

EurActiv Article: Airlines violating ETS law should be named (21/05/2015) 
Aviation emissions standards are vital to protect the European environment, and must be enforced fairly across the EU, writes Andrew Murphy.

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EurActiv Article: The greening of the airline industry (28/05/2015) 
The airline sector is trying to lessen its carbon footprint. In mid-June, the Paris Air Show will host the COP21 seen from the sky conference. Boeing and Airbus are concentrating their commercial efforts on the environment, which is now a selling point.

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Waste

Waste

European Commission Press release: Commission refers GERMANY to Court for e-waste failings and proposes fines (28/05/2015) 
Following the referrals of Slovenia and Poland to Court on similar grounds, the European Commission is now referring Germany to the EU Court of Justice over its failure to transpose EU legislation on the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (known also as WEEE Directive) and communicate the national transposition measures.

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European Commission Press release: Commission refers ROMANIA to Court over failure to transpose legislation on end-of-life vehicles (28/05/2015) 
The European Commission is referring Romania to the EU Court of Justice over its failure to transpose revised EU legislation on end-of-life vehicles into domestic law.

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European Commission Public Consultation: Public Consultation on the Circular Economy (28/05/2015 - 20/08/2015) 
The Commission is aiming to present a new, more ambitious circular economy strategy late in 2015, to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy, addressing a range of economic sectors, including waste.

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Water

Water

EEA Press Release: Europeans continue enjoying high-quality bathing waters (20/05/2015) 
Ninety-five per cent of the monitored bathing sites in the European Union met minimum standards for water quality in 2014. Water quality was excellent at 83 % of the sites, an increase of almost 1 percentage point compared to 2013.

Also see:

▪ EurActiv Article - Europe's bathing waters safe for summer, monitoring shows (20/05/2015)
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European Parliament Research Service Study: Water legislation: Cost of Non-Europe Report (20/05/2015) 
This report examines the state of implementation of current EU Water Legislation and identifies the cost of the lack of further European action in this field.

Download as .PDF

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Science for Environment Policy Article - News Alert Issue 415: New tool developed to highlight and help prevent declines in freshwater biodiversity(28/05/2015) 
Researches created a mathematical model (GLOBIO-aquatic), which builds a picture of the threats to the biodiversity of water bodies, posed by human activities. The model "could prove to be a useful tool in fulfilling ecological criteria set out in the Water Framework Directive, providing policymakers with important information about the kinds of activities which are most damaging to freshwater biodiversity, and identifying the regions which are most vulnerable."

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Events

Events

1 May - 31 October 2015

Event: EXPO 2015 
Topic/Title: Feeding the planet: energy for life 
Organisation: Bureau International des Expositions (BIE
Venue: Milan, Italy

More information / EU at EXPO Milano website

15 - 16 June 2015

Event: Workshop (by invitation only) 
Topic/Title: "Governing the Global Climate Regime: Issues of Institutional Integrity and Justice" 
Organisation: Griffith University’s Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (IEGL) in collaboration with the T.M.C. Asser Institute and the Amsterdam Centre for International Law (ACIL
Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22, The Hague, Netherlands

More information

22 June 2015

Event: Public Launch 
Topic/Title: Interactive International Climate Regime Map 
Organisation: The Hague Institute for Global Justice 
Venue: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Sophialaan 10, The Hague, Netherlands

More information

25 - 26 June 2015

Event: Inagural workshop of the UACES CRN 
Topic/Title: European Energy Policy 
Organisation: UACES CRN on the European Energy Policy 
Venue: Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

More information

24 - 28 August 2015

Event: Summer Programme on International & European Environmental Law 
Topic/Title: International & European Environmental Law: The Future We Choose 
Organisation: T.M.C. Asser Instituut 
Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22, The Hague, Netherlands

More information / Draft programme (.PDF)

▪ Note: Two full scholarships available for participants from India (.PDF)

2 - 4 September 2015

Event: Conference 
Topic/Title: Effectiveness of Environmental Law 
Organisation: European Environmental Law Forum (EELF
Venue: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales et Communautaires (CERIC), University of Aix/Marseille, Aix en Provence, France

More information / Programme (.PDF)

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Colofon

Editors-in-Chief

Wybe Th. Douma (Senior Researcher, T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Lecturer of 
International Environmental Law, The Hague University)

Leonardo Massai (Senior Lecturer on International and EU Environmental Law, Catholic University of Lille)

Editors

Wouter van Kuijk (T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague)

Steffen van der Velde (Researcher, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague)