Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Sunday, 22 October 2017
Consultation workshops on general surveillance of genetically modified crops
EFSA has established a self-tasking working group to study requirements for Post Market Environmental Monitoring (PMEM WG) in order to produce guidance for both applicants and regulatory authorities. Based on its mandate, the PMEM WG initiated a series of consultation workshops with different stakeholders (applicants, environmental NGOs and scientific institutes, experts from Member States) to establish a rationale and general framework for General Surveillance as a component of Post Market Environmental Monitoring.

Wednesday, 08 December 2004
Commission departments are currently drafting a Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources. This Strategy, which is one of seven being produced following the 6th Environmental Action Programme, will aim to reduce the environmental impacts of using natural resources, where natural resources are raw materials such as minerals and biomass, environmental media such as air, water and soil, flow resources such as wind, geothermal, tidal and solar energy and space (land area). This consultation will build on and focus the results of the stakeholder consultations following the Commission’s 2003 Communication, “Towards a thematic strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources”.[1] It seeks to elicit relevant information and opinions from stakeholders on particular measures being considered for inclusion in the final Strategy. The information submitted will feed into the Extended Impact Assessment currently being prepared by Commission departments and which will guide the final Strategy, which should be adopted in summer 2005
The European Commission has re-launched its Taxation and Customs Union website so as to provide more comprehensive policy and practical information on European tax and customs matters. If you are a business searching for VAT rates and practical arrangements applicable in the 25 Member States or rates and rules on tobacco products, alcohol or mineral oils or simply wanting to validate your customer's VAT number, then the new site has now become a "one-stop-shop" for all your needs. The website also offers a wide range of information on customs rules and tariffs for importing products into the EU. Individuals may find it useful to consult the site's sections on "travellers", car taxation and personal taxation.

Tuesday, 07 December 2004
Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on establishing a multiannual Community programme on promoting safer use of the Internet and new online technologies (Safer Internet Plus programme). It is established for the period 2005-2008 to promote safer use of Internet and new online technologies, particularly for children. Its aim is also to fight against illegal content and content unwanted by the end user.

The financial framework for the period from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2008 is set at €45m, of which €20,050m is for the period until 31 December 2006.
The programme is divided into four action lines and the budget is divided along these lines:

1. Fighting against illegal content (25-30% of the budget) by the means of hotlines. To ensure that the Programme is effective, hotlines are required in all Member States and candidate countries. Currently, hotlines exist in 13 of the 25 Member States.

2. Tackling unwanted and harmful content (10-17%) by means of funding for filtering technologies etc.

3. Promoting a safer environment (8-12%): the Safer Internet Forum to be developed in 2004 to provide codes of conduct.

4. Awareness-rising (47-51%) measures.

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Friday, 03 December 2004
Brussels, 30 November 2004

To mark World AIDS day on 1 December, this background note summarises legislative actions and programmes financed by the European Union to increase understanding and awareness of HIV/AIDS issues.

Political leadership in the fight against AIDS in Europe:

Fighting the resurgent epidemic on the European continent requires governments to make HIV/AIDS a key priority. The EU is determined to provide political leadership for a coordinated continent-wide effort against the disease.

Fighting HIV/AIDS in the developing world

Girls and women carry a heavier burden and are affected more often and at an earlier age by HIV/AIDS than men. The situation is particularly dismal in Sub-Saharian Africa, where almost 57% of the adult population infected by HIV/AIDS are women. Higher rates of poverty among women, the lack of education leading to lower literacy rates, a lack of access to effective prevention tools, the pervasive effects of gender inequality, and sexual violence inside and outside marriage make women more susceptible to get infected. In addition to the immediate human suffering inflicted on women, and in light of poor access to basic services, the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS grows day by day beyond the 15 million already affected.

The European response to this challenge is based on a “policy framework” adopted in October to confront three of the major communicable diseases – HIV/AIDS, malaria and Tuberculosis. This will be translated in concrete initiatives in those countries in an Action Plan to be presented in early 2005.

While making condoms available is still the most effective strategy to prevent transmission, the European Commission’s strategy includes promoting the development of microbicides (a vaginal gel preventing transmission) and investing in the development of an effective and affordable HIV/AIDS vaccine for developing countries as a potentially ground-breaking means to control the disease.

Furthermore, it is clear that education, and especially girls’ educations, is key. The EC supports primary education programmes in more than 30 developing countries, with an annual average contribution of €260 million. Teachers play a crucial role in strengthening the school system’s response to HIV/AIDS, but in many countries there is a sharp shortage of teachers due to the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Providing access to treatment for people infected is a prime objective. The EC is actively pursuing this in the WTO, through EC legislation on tiered pricing on pharmaceutical products, and through the promotion of local production. The EC is also the second largest donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with €460.5 million committed for the period 2001-2006.

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership

The EDCTP is a research programme for the development of new medical products, microbicides and vaccines to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis targeted at sub-Saharan Africa. It focuses on phase II/III clinical trials for the three poverty-related diseases and is tailored to the specific needs of developing countries.

The EDCTP was created by 15 European countries to establish a long term, sustainable and genuine partnership between European and developing countries. The European Union decided to support the EDCTP via Article 169 of the Treaty by allocating € 200 million from the 6th Research Framework Programme. The EDCTP target budget is € 600 million for the period 2003 - 2007.

Apart from the €200 million from the EU, €200 million will come from Member States' national activities, and further € 200 million still have to be found from industry, charity and private organisations. The EDCTP is not part of the general calls for proposals of the European Commission, instead it operates as a separate legal entity with its own guidelines, including calls for proposals and appropriate selection and evaluation procedures.

Research Framework Programme Projects

In the period from 1998 to 2002, under the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, the European Union has made substantial investments in a broad range of collaborative research activities related to HIV/AIDS. €28m has been allocated to vaccine research, €10m to drug discovery and research and €9m for research on health policy and heath systems. The European project partnerships undertaking this research have included worldwide partners as well.

The Sixth Research Framework Programme (2002-2006) is funding a number of projects in the field of HIV/AIDS research. These include research to develop a specific HIV microbicide for the prevention of sexual transmission/acquisition of HIV, and further research on vaccines. Ongoing research seeks to increase understanding of the immune mechanism.