Committee on Legal Policy and Justice holds roundtable entitled “Legal status of statutory instruments and prospects of its legislative regulation improvement”

MIL OSI – Source: Parliament of Ukraine –

Headline: Committee on Legal Policy and Justice holds roundtable entitled “Legal status of statutory instruments and prospects of its legislative regulation improvement”

This event was participated by people’s
deputies, representatives of state authorities, expert and scientific branches.

Ihor Alekseev, Head of subcommittee on
justice agencies and enforcement of court decisions, opening the meeting,
reminded that the profile legislative act was approved by the parliament
several times, and veto was imposed on it by the President several times as
well. After that, it was attempted to enact some laws on statutory instruments,
which have passed the first reading, but their adoption was not achieved.

“Thus, we have a discussion with either
increasing or decreasing tone for almost 20 years”, he stressed.

I. Alekseev remarked that, at present,
requirements to statutory instruments are regulated by various legislative
acts. “We can see that, nowadays, issues of unified law-making and
policy-making process are split between different legislative acts and bylaws
of ministries and departments.

There are different approaches to policy
making process and certain disputable issues. All this dictates the need for
discussion and its urgency”, he said.

Andrii Rysheliuk, Deputy Head of the Main
Scientific-Expert Department of the Administration of the Verkhovna Rada of
Ukraine, called attention to the current absence of signals indicative of
urgent need in unified legislative act. He reminded that the last attempt to
adopt the law on statutory instruments has failed. According to him, “We see no
initiatives from the government, which is indicative of certain attitude of the
government machinery to this problem”.

“Nevertheless, certain factors are
indicative of the fact that a certain minimal body of statutory instruments
related with these issues is still needed”, A. Rysheliuk said.

He believes that this law is needed. But,
before initiating its specific development, it should be established what
number of regulations should be included to its text, and how detailed they
should be.

A. Rysheliuk also mentioned that failures
to adopt the law on statutory instruments should be used to draw certain
conclusions, experience on the issues that have to be absent in the text in
order to make it advantageous. “It has to be free from political, departmental,
personal or scientific ambitions, as these would exert negative effect on it.
If we manage to develop an appropriate practical law, which does not claim to
perform a certain revolution or reform, and would just aim to generalize,
unify, and express the development of our legislative act forms which has
occurred during the last 25 years in the law text, we can get a successful
law”, he stressed.

Svitlana Mishura, Deputy Head of Main Legal
Department of the Administration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, a division
head, stated in her addressing that this law on statutory instruments is
actually needed. According to her, just adopting any law is not enough, the law
has to be a high-quality one.

S. Mishura expressed a thought that the
intervention into this law has to be carefully designed. She also mentioned
that its development should be started from general issued with further
refining.

Besides, the issues of urgency of statutory
regulation of policy-making and law-making processes in Ukraine in the current
conditions, advantages and drawbacks of a unified legislative act regarding
statutory instruments were discussed during the “round table”.

The event participants remarked that
adoption of a unified legislative act regarding statutory instruments may
become a secure foundation for formation of high-quality Ukrainian legislation
system.

Suggestions
on the contents of the law on statutory instruments, in particular, regarding
its system, types and hierarchy of statutory instruments; mechanism of
development, adoption, and enactment of statutory instruments; accounting of
statutory instruments etc. were made during the “round table”.

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Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government recommends Ukrainian Parliament return draft law on amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine (on honoring and establishing of additional guarantees to volunteers of anti-terrorist operation) for update

MIL OSI – Source: Parliament of Ukraine –

Headline: Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government recommends Ukrainian Parliament return draft law on amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine (on honoring and establishing of additional guarantees to volunteers of anti-terrorist operation) for update

O. Dekhtiarchuk, head of subcommittee on
administrative services, state symbols and rewards stated that a draft law (No 2837)
suggests to introduce changes to the Law of Ukraine “On State Rewards of
Ukraine” by introduction of “Good Will” order for reward of Ukrainian citizens
who voluntarily took direct participation in anti-terrorist operation in the
regions of its conduct, and to the Law of Ukraine “On the Status of War
Veterans, Their Social Protection Guarantees”, by equating individuals
decorated with this order to combat veterans, as well as to recognize coverage
of families of “Good Will” order recipients by this Law. Clause 2 of the
explanatory note mentions that “the main goal of the draft law is improvement
of martial spirit of anti-terrorist operation volunteers and establishment of
legal and organizational grounds for assurance of realization of rights of anti-terrorist
operation volunteers and their families”.

The head of the subcommittee has informed
that:

– The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Budget,
subsequent to the draft law review, stated in their conclusion that the draft
law affects the parameters of relevant budgets (by decreasing the revenue and
increasing the costs of state and local budgets), due to which the draft law
should be supplemented with financial-economic justification (with relevant
calculations) and suggestions regarding changes in legislative acts of Ukraine
on shortening of budget expenditures and/or sources of additional budget
revenues for achievement of its balance, as provided by part three of article 91
of the Regulation of  Verkhovna Rada of
Ukraine and part one of article 27 of the Budget Code of Ukraine;

– The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine state
in their expert conclusion that the draft law enforcement shall require
additional financial resources. At the same time, due to the absence of source
data on the number of individuals who might be rewarded with the “Good Will”
order and shall attain the relevant status and rights for benefits and
guarantees, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine is devoid of the possibility to
provide financial assessment of the draft law. It was mentioned that, according
to preliminary calculations, costs of providing benefits in the current year
conditions should amount to about UAH 18 thou for combat veterans and UAH 15
thou for individuals covered by the Law of Ukraine “On the Status of War
Veterans, Their Social Protection Guarantees” (average annual amount per one
individual);

– The Verkhovna Rada Committee on
Corruption Prevention and Counteraction, subsequent to anti-corruption expert
assessment of this draft law, has concluded that this draft statutory act is
free from corruptogenic factors – the draft act conforms to anti-corruption
legislation requirements;

– The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Affairs
of Veterans, Combatants, ATO Participants and Disabled People supported the
draft law idea in their conclusion to the draft law; nevertheless, they stated
that the Law of Ukraine “On Introduction of Changes to the Law of Ukraine “On
the Status of War Veterans, Their Social Protection Guarantees” Regarding the
Status of Individuals Protecting Independence, Sovereignty, and Territorial
Integrity” (No 291 dated 07.04.2015) assures complex regulation of the
issue of provision of the relevant status to the individuals participating in anti-terrorist
operation in volunteer battalions and their family members, i.e. the draft law
has no urgency in the part of introduction of changes to the Law of Ukraine “On
the Status of War Veterans, Their Social Protection Guarantees”. Thus, The
Verkhovna Rada Committee on Affairs of Veterans, Combatants, ATO Participants
and Disabled People, has decided to recommend the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to
return this draft law in the first reading to the holders of the right of
legislative initiative for refining;

– Ministry of Defense of Ukraine,
subsequent to the draft law review results, has informed of the absence of any
suggestions and remarks regarding it;

– The Main Scientific-Expert Department of
the Administration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, having evaluated the draft
law, expressed several remarks and suggestions to its provisions. First of all,
the Main Department believes that reward of Ukrainian citizens who voluntarily
took direct participation in anti-terrorist operation in the regions of its
conduct is possible without establishment of a new order, by the way of their
honoring with existing state rewards. The draft law provisions where it is suggested
to state that “holders of the “Good Will” order are citizens of Ukraine who selflessly
and duly served the Ukrainian people, voluntarily defended our homeland,
independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, took direct participation in
anti-terrorist operation in the regions of its conduct in accordance with
procedure established by the legislation”, at the opinion of the Main
Department, do not belong to the scope of legal regulation of article 6 “Individuals
belonging to combat veterans” of the Law of Ukraine On the Status of War
Veterans, Their Social Protection Guarantees” (clause 2 of Chapter І of the draft). Having
expressed other remarks to the draft law content, the Main Scientific-Expert
Department of the Administration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine found
expedient to defeat it in the first reading subsequent to its review results.

In review of this draft law, the Committee
also took into consideration ordinances of the President of Ukraine dated
February 17, 2016, No 53 “On honoring by the President of Ukraine “For
Participation in Anti-terrorist operation”” and No 54 “On honoring by the
President of Ukraine “For Humanitarian Participation in Anti-terrorist
operation””, which were established for the purpose of honoring individuals –
defenders of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine during anti-terrorist
operation in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, as well as employees of enterprises,
institutions, organizations, and other persons involved or voluntarily
supporting the conduct of anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk
Oblasts, performing volunteer activity, staying directly in anti-terrorist
operation conduct region during the relevant period.

O. Bereziuk, People’s Deputy of Ukraine,
suggested referral to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with request to
provide the information on the amounts allocated from the state budget of
Ukraine in 2015 for improvement of housing conditions of anti-terrorist
operation participants, as well as the amounts provided by the state budget in
the current year, and measures provided for their use for the purpose of provision
of housing to individuals requiring the state support while defending the
integrity of Ukraine.

Subsequent
to general discussion, the following decision was taken: to recommend the
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, in accordance with clause 3, part one of article 114
of the Regulation of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, to return the draft law on
amending certain legislative acts of Ukraine (on honoring and establishing of
additional guarantees to volunteers of anti-terrorist operation) (registration
No 2837) to a holder of the right of legislative initiative for refining, and
to refer to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with request to provide the
information on the amounts allocated from the state budget of Ukraine in 2015
for improvement of housing conditions of anti-terrorist operation participants,
as well as the amounts provided by the state budget in the current year, and
measures provided for their use for the purpose of provision of housing to
individuals requiring the state support while defending the integrity of
Ukraine.

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Полицейский из Абакана Александр Косолапов, спасший более 300 детей, награжден орденом Мужества (ФОТО)

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs –

Headline: Полицейский из Абакана Александр Косолапов, спасший более 300 детей, награжден орденом Мужества (ФОТО)

В торжественной обстановке почетную государственную награду  командиру отдельной роты ОГИБДД УМВД России по г.Абакану Александру Косолапову вручил Министр внутренних дел по Хакасии Илья Ольховский.

Подвиг Александра Косолапова летом прошлого года прогремел на всю Россию. Напомним, 25 июля Александр сопровождал колонну из девяти автобусов, перевозившую более 300 детей, возвращавшихся из летнего оздоровительного лагеря. На трассе Абакан – Ак-Довурак на встречную полосу на большой скорости вылетела иномарка.

Избежать страшной аварии с участием детей удалось лишь благодаря грамотным и своевременным действиям полицейского.

Мгновенно оценив ситуацию, рискуя собственной жизнью, он сумел предотвратить лобовое столкновение, приняв весь удар на себя. Путь вылетевшей на встречную полосу иномарке Александр Косолапов преградил служебным автомобилем.

В результате сильнейшего удара патрульная машина превратилась в груду металла. Сам полицейский с многочисленными серьезными травмами был доставлен в Абаканскую городскую клиническую больницу.

Водитель и четыре пассажира иномарки, среди которых находился десятилетний ребёнок, также получили различные травмы и были госпитализированы. Несовершеннолетние пассажиры автобусов и взрослые не пострадали.

В адрес Министерства внутренних дел и Правительства Республики сотнями приходили письма благодарности, не только от жителей Хакасии, но и из других регионов России.

Александру Косолапову потребовалось более полугода, чтобы восстановить здоровье. Сейчас он вернулся на службу.

Вручая орден Мужества Александру Владимировичу, глава республиканского МВД, пожелал ему здоровья, а также отметил:

– Я горжусь тем, что в рядах наших есть такие сотрудники, которые способны принимать единственно верное решение. Желаю и впредь с честью нести гордое звание полицейского.

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Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the press conference in Bogota, Colombia

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the press conference in Bogota, Colombia

Check against delivery!

First of all, I’m really glad to be here. For me this is something special. I was here in my previous capacity for the inauguration of President Santos, but this is my first visit in Colombia in my capacity as the High Representative of the European Union. But this does not mean that this is the first contact with the country.

Actually, Colombia is the Latin America country with which the European Union has had the most frequent exchanges at the highest possible level.
I met 5 times with President Santos in the past year. With minister Holguín, we met many many times.
This is a sign of friendship and a fact that we are really close partners and somehow that Colombia is in our hearts.
 
We have a very high interest to see the peace process being finalised and we are extremely committed in accompanying and supporting Colombia in the implementation of the post-conflict.
 
For this, we will sign another important agreement today on some financial support that we will provide.

But I would like to underline the political support. As Europeans,  we are together with Colombia in the peace process. We see that Colombia needs to find the peace, to put an end to a conflict that has cost so much to all its citizens: I was thinking that the majority of the citizens of the country were born as this conflict was already ongoing. So this is an opportunity for the country to open up from the conflict and bring peace, but also for the economy; peace brings more jobs, economic and trade possibilities.

We also support this process because the world needs peace in Colombia. This could be the good news of the year, the good news that shows to the world that a conflict that has lasted so long can finish through negotiations and in peace.
 
Believe me when I tell you that is the news that the world is waiting for. You have a big responsibility on your shoulders. But we also think we have the responsibility to accompany you in these steps. Again, you will have us by your side. Always.
 
Having said that, we come here not only for the peace. Our work is also on global issues such as trade, and especially focusing on exports from both sides.
 
There is also something very important that we finalised recently: it is the visa waiver agreement that we signed a few months ago in Brussels and that has allowed, already over the last four months, more than 48,000 Colombian citizens to travel without visa to Europe.
 
This is a big change and a sign of the results of our strong partnership, that,  I am sure will continue.
 
And by the way, Colombia is also a great partner in the region for the European Union. It is extremely important to maintain our exchange and relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean in the framework of bilateral coordination and to receive information of what is happening in Latin America. We value the role of Colombia in this and as a strong partner.
 
Q&A

 

Q1 on the kidnapping of Spanish journalist

First of all, I would like to say that, for us, this is a case that is extremely important and that we follow very closely. This is not something that only concerns Europeans, but also Colombians and journalists. For us, this is a matter of concern for the safety of the persons but also for the freedom of the press that is a fundamental principle of any democratic society.
We have exchanged on the latest news, not only with María Ángela but also with the vice-minister of Defence. I know the minister of Defence is in these hours on the ground.
So not only do we follow the case, we get information as they come. We have full confidence that the Colombian authorities will do all that they can to solve this case and reach a happy ending.
 
Question 2 on the Peace process negotiations 

 
HR/VP Mogherini: creo que sí.
I have being following personally the negotiations and dialogues of the process all along this year. I am really confident that we are close to the finalization.
I would like to add a message for the Colombians. I know from a personal experience in other kind of negotiations that the closest we get to the final stance of the negotiations, the hardest it becomes.
But once the agreement is done, that is the moment when the benefits will come.
And, again, I was looking at the number of victims, number of people wounded and number of communities really affected. It is time to put an end to this. Count on all of Europe, we will be with you at all times. This is the right thing to do and it has been done in the right way.
Sometimes we get confused and we think that we need strong leaders to go at war but the European history tells us that, actually, we need strong leaderships for the peace. I think this is what Colombia needs: great leaders for peace.
 

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– Bunte: Deutscher Filmnachwuchs mit New Faces Award geehrt

MIL OSI – Source: Hubert Burda Media –

Headline: – Bunte: Deutscher Filmnachwuchs mit New Faces Award geehrt

Das People-Magazin Bunte zeichnete am Donnerstagabend zum 18. Mal die Nachwuchstalente des deutschen Films aus. Rund 650 Gäste aus Film, Wirtschaft, Kultur und Gesellschaft kamen zur Verleihung ins Berliner ewerk. Die Gewinner des Bunte New Faces Award Film 2016 sind Lea van Acken, Lucas Reiber und Theresa von Eltz. 

Eine Expertenjury – darunter Bunte-Chefredakteurin Patricia Riekel, die Filmproduzenten Jakob Claussen und Lena Schömann, Oliver Fock, Geschäftsführer der CineStar Gruppe, sowie die Schauspieler Anna Maria Mühe und Florian David Fitz – wählten die diesjährigen Sieger aus.

Bunte-Chefredakteurin Patricia Riekel: „Der Bunte New Faces Award Film bietet außergewöhnlichen Talenten eine mediale Bühne und hat bereits zahlreichen Jungstars zu großen Karrieren verholfen. Die heute prämierten zehn Jungschauspieler und Regisseure verdienen es, ins Rampenlicht gestellt zu werden – sie sind die Stars von morgen.”

In der Kategorie „Beste Nachwuchsschauspielerin“ wurde Lea van Acken für ihre Darstellung der Anne Frank in der Literaturverfilmung „Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank“ mit dem New Faces Award ausgezeichnet. Die Jury sagt: „Lea van Acken bringt all die breiten Gegensätze und Facetten der Anne Frank mit außergewöhnlicher Strahlkraft eindringlich zum Ausdruck. Sie trägt ihre Zuseher als Schlüsselfigur durch den tief berührenden Film; dabei gelingt es ihr, dem historisch bedeutenden Stoff durch ihre differenzierte Darstellung und den gewählten Blickwinkel erneut Aktualität zu verleihen.“

Lucas Reiber überzeugte die Juroren mit seiner Rolle des geistig behinderten jungen Mannes Matis in „Die Mutter des Mörders“ und nahm den roten Panther in der Kategorie „Bester Nachwuchsschauspieler“ entgegen. „Lucas Reiber überzeugt durch Einfühlungsvermögen und starke Präsenz. Die Figur eines geistig Behinderten, der unter Mordverdacht gerät, wird dank ihm zum klaren Sympathieträger“, erklärt die Jury.

Regisseurin Theresa von Eltz erhielt die Auszeichnung für ihr Werk „4 Könige“ in der Kategorie „Bester Debütfilm“, verbunden mit einem Fördergeld von 10.000 Euro für ihre nächste Filmproduktion. In „4 Könige“ erzählt von Eltz sensibel und reduziert über vier Jugendliche, die Weihnachten in der Psychiatrie verbringen. Die Jury begründet ihre Entscheidung: „Theresa von Eltz schafft mit ihrer spannenden Besetzung und ihrer genauen Figurenzeichnung ein sensibles und kurzatmiges Kammerspiel. Interessant und komödiantisch in absurden Momenten ist es ein runder und gelungener Film.“

Mit einem Sonderpreis wurde der TV-Erfolg „Der Club der roten Bänder“ prämiert. Die Schauspieler Luise Befort, Timur Bartels, Damian Hardung, Ivo Kortlang, Nick Julius Schuck und Tim Oliver Schultz nahmen die begehrte Trophäe in Form des roten Panthers entgegen.

Durch den Abend führte Moderator Jochen Schropp. Die Partner des Bunte New Faces Award Film sind Moroccanoil, neubau eyewear und Opel.

Kostenfreies Bildmaterial vom Roten Teppich, der Preisverleihung und der After-Show-Party ist auf Flickr verfügbar.


 

Hintergrundinformationen:

Der Nachwuchspreis New Faces Award der Zeitschrift Bunte wurde 1998 ins Leben gerufen, um vielversprechende Talente zu fördern und ihnen den Weg ins Rampenlicht zu ebnen. Preisträger in der Kategorie Film waren in den letzten Jahren u. a.: Victoria Schulz, Dennis Mojen und Rick Ostermann (2015), Alicia von Rittberg, Samuel Schneider und David Dietl (2014), Maria Ehrich, Sabin Tambrea und Jan Ole Gerster (2013), Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Jonas Nay und Tim Fehlbaum (2012), Miriam Stein und Theo Trebs (2011), Leonie von Benesch, Cecil von Renner und Feo Aladag (2010), Nora von Waldstätten (2009), Jimi Blue Ochsenknecht (2008), Hannah Herzsprung und Kostja Ullmann (2007), Paula Kalenberg, Franz Dinda und Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2006), Marco Kreuzpaintner (2005), Sibel Kekilli (2004), Bettina Zimmermann, Matthias Schweighöfer (2003), Jessica Schwarz und Daniel Brühl (2002). 

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Medical devices: agreement on new European rules

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Medical devices: agreement on new European rules

On 25 May the Council of the European Union, under its current Dutch Presidency, and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on new rules for medical devices and in vitro diagnostic products. The agreement still has to be formally approved by the Council and the European Parliament. The aim of the new rules is to ensure that medical devices and in vitro diagnostics products are safe and to give patients fast access to new innovative devices.

Photographer: Bert de Jong 

Creating conditions for the internal market

Medical devices and in vitro diagnostics products range from sticking plasters, artificial hips and pacemakers to laboratory tests and home pregnancy tests. ‘This is an important step for all people in Europe,’ said Dutch health minister Edith Schippers, ‘because sooner or later we all need medical devices. Safe, innovative medical devices improve patients’ quality of life and health. The new rules will also create the conditions needed for a properly functioning internal market for the 25,000 manufacturers of medical devices in the EU, many of them SMEs, which employ over half a million people.’

Strengthening the system

The new rules will guarantee the safety of medical devices in two ways: by introducing stricter rules on the marketing of devices and closer monitoring once they are on the market. The requirements for the notified bodies responsible for market authorisation will be tightened up, as will supervision of these organisations. They must have well-qualified, independent staff to properly assess new devices and conduct unannounced inspections of manufacturers.

Clear responsibilities for manufacturers

Clear rules have also been set out for manufacturers to guarantee the quality, performance and safety of devices once they have been granted market access. This will enable rapid intervention, and provide information that can be used for product improvement. Manufacturers and other commercial parties will also be given other clear responsibilities, concerning matters such as liability and the registering of complaints about their devices.

Stricter requirements for clinical trials

The new regulations will also introduce stricter requirements for clinical trials and performance testing. This will make more reliable clinical data available on medical devices and in vitro diagnostic products. Protection of human subjects in clinical trials is another key focus.

More stringent rules for high-risk devices

Extra testing by experts may be required before some high-risk medical devices, such as implants and in vitro diagnostic products for life-threatening diseases, can be marketed. Panels of independent experts and laboratories will play an important role in the future legislative system. If necessary, they can give designated bodies, competent authorities and manufacturers expertise and advice on the clinical aspects of medical devices. Certain high-risk products that are similar to medical devices but are not currently subject to any rules, such as wrinkle fillers and coloured contact lenses, will also be covered by the regulation.

More transparency for patients and better traceability

Transparency on medical devices will be hugely improved, with a large database of devices containing a host of information about manufacturers, importers, distributors, notified bodies, market surveillance data, clinical trial results and certificates. Patients, healthcare professionals and the general public will have access to detailed information about products available on the European market, allowing them to make better-informed choices. Patients with an implant will also be given specific information about the product, including any necessary precautions. Manufacturers will be obliged to give their device a unique identification code, making it more traceable throughout the entire distribution chain, so that action can be taken more quickly should any risks become apparent.

Next steps

The Presidency will present the outcome of the negotiations to the member states for their approval in mid-June. The European Parliament will probably vote on it in a plenary session in the autumn. The new rules for medical devices will come into force three years after publication, those for medical devices for in vitro diagnostic products five years after publication.

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Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €47 million to strengthen migration management and to support education of Syrian refugees

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €47 million to strengthen migration management and to support education of Syrian refugees

European Commission support for the immediate needs of refugees in Turkey

Today, the European Commission is delivering on its commitment to accelerate the implementation of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey by announcing a further €47 million in new projects, bringing the total amount contracted under the Facility to address the immediate needs of refugees and host communities in Turkey so far to almost €240 million.

€20 million has been committed under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) to enhance the capacity of the Turkish Coast Guard to carry out search and rescue operations. An additional €27 million will fund educational infrastructure, skills training and social support for Syrian refugees under the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. This new commitment is part of the accelerated implementation of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey which was agreed under the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March.

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “The European Union is delivering on its commitment for swift implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, in support of the refugees. Our assistance to better manage migration flows is aimed to save lives of migrants and refugees and tackling irregular migration and trafficking. Today we also reaffirm that access to education for refugee children and young Syrians is an absolute priority. The EU Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis is one of Europe’s key instruments for delivering on our €3 billion pledge to help Syria and the region. The new funding for Turkey focuses on two key priorities of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement: to provide schooling to all children and to invest in livelihoods and social cohesion for refugees and host communities, ensure stability and provide refugees with the hope and perspective of a better life.”

The Coast Guard project mobilises €20 million to strengthen the operational capacity to successfully conduct search and rescue operations, save lives and enhance the protection of migrants and refugees while at the same time tackling irregular migration and trafficking. The project will fund search and rescue boats and other specialised life-saving equipment. This will be complemented by training and support for Coast Guard staff. The project will be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in close cooperation with the Turkish Coast Guard, and will be overseen by the EU Delegation to Turkey.

The education projects, worth a total of €27 million, are signed under the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. They will be implemented in cooperation with the German development agency GiZ and international NGOs. Projects worth €22 million will provide additional infrastructure for the education of 23,000 refugee children, skills training for 24,000 young Syrians, social support for more than 74,000 of the most vulnerable Syrians, and assistance for local administrations. An additional action worth €5 million has been adopted to increase access for almost 1,000 young Syrians to Turkish universities in the coming academic year.

This will be followed by further funding in this sector in the coming months. Before the war, 20% of 18-25 year old Syrians were enrolled in higher and further education; this has dropped to less than 5% of the same age group today among refugees, creating the serious risk of a ‘lost generation’. 

Background

Facility for Refugees in Turkey

The Facility for Refugees in Turkey was established by the European Commission to coordinate and streamline actions financed in order to deliver efficient and complementary support to Syrians under temporary protection and host communities in Turkey. Under the Facility, the European Union is committed to provide an initial €3 billion of additional resources to help refugees in Turkey.

Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace

The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace provides direct support for the Union’s external policies by increasing the efficiency and coherence of the Union’s actions in the areas of crisis response, conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness, and in addressing global and trans-regional threats. The Instrument can be used to provide technical and financial assistance in response to situations of urgency, crisis or emerging crisis.

The EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syria crisis

The EU Trust Fund began operating in May 2015 to provide a regional response to a regional crisis, thus enabling the EU and its Member States to jointly intervene in response to growing and shifting needs and to support the implementation of the “EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Da’esh threat”. Being the main EU instrument to respond to the forced displacement crisis in the region, the Trust Fund aims to bring a more coherent and integrated EU response to the crisis by merging various EU financial instruments and contributions from Member States and other international donors into one single flexible and quick mechanism. The Trust Fund primarily addresses longer term resilience needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as the hosting communities and their administration.

For more information:

EU-Turkey Cooperation: A €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey

EU announces first projects under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €95 million to be provided for immediate educational and humanitarian assistance

Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Commission delivers an additional €110 million under the implementation of EU-Turkey agreement

Facility for Refugees in Turkey – Steering Committee accelerates and scales up implementation

Implementing the EU-Turkey Agreement – Questions and Answers

FACTSHEET: The Facility for Refugees in Turkey

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Article – Breaking down barriers: giving consumers equal access to online products

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Article – Breaking down barriers: giving consumers equal access to online products

The internet is meant to give you unlimited access to knowledge, yet when you are shopping online, you could be prevented from purchasing a product or service because of where you live. The European Commission has proposed new rules to make an end to the unjustified use of the practice known as geo-blocking as well as ways to create a genuine digital single market in Europe. MEPs debated the plans in plenary on 25 May.

Digital single market

The Commission presented its strategy for the digital single market last year. The Parliament responded by adopting a report in January 2016 with ideas to be used for upcoming legislation.

On 25 May the Commission presented its proposals for improving e-commerce and updating existing audio-visual rules in plenary to MEPs. During the debate Estonian ALDE member Kaja Kallas, one of two MEPs responsible for the Parliament report on the digital single market, said: “[Digital innovation] is all about doing it better, and finding new ways to solve problems, from access to services and goods to environment and mobility. The whole purpose of the digital single market strategy is also about breaking down barriers, including those that are often created by outdated legislation or practices.”

Geo-blocking

During the plenary debate MEPs also discussed geo-blocking, the practice by some companies to unnecessarily stop consumers from using their on-line service in another country, often without justification, and to redirect traffic to a local store with different prices and products than those in other countries.

The Parliament resolution adopted in January stated geo-blocking consumers’ online access to goods and services on the basis of their IP address, postal address or the country of issue of credit cards was unjustified and therefore it should end.

According to the Commission proposal customers from other member states should enjoy the same access as local customers, if there are no justified limitations. However, the proposal includes exemptions for transport services, retail financial services and audio-visual services. Sellers are also not required to deliver to every EU country.

German S&D member Evelyne Gebhardt, who wrote January’s report with Kallas, said: “In the world we live in today it would be unthinkable for a seller to be relying solely on the member state they live in and we want to protect consumers as well, to root out discrimination regardless of the country one lives in, or the credit card they hold. It’s unacceptable in a single market.”

The proposed e-commerce package also includes rules on parcel-delivery services and on consumer rights’ concerning online products and services.

Audiovisual services

The Commission’s proposed update of audiovisual rules aims to level the playing field between traditional broadcasters and online media service providers. The plans include more flexible advertising rules and to have the same rules on protecting minors that traditional media have for video-sharing platforms, such as Youtube, and on-demand video services, such as Netflix. The Commission is also in favour of the industry regulating itself when it comes to online platforms on issues such as consumer rights.

“Everyone involved in the market, traditional and on-line service providers, should play by the same rules with no discrimination,” said Andrus Ansip, the Commission Vice-President responsible for the digital single market while presenting the proposals in plenary.

The commissioner also said that although EU companies excel in areas such as the app economy and the collaborative economy, they needed more support: “In order to thrive, all platforms, including European ones, need a legal environment that gives them certainty.”

Related proposals

 

In 2015 and early 2016 the Commission presented proposals for harmonised rules on your contractual rights when buying digital content, online and distance sales of goods and rules for when you want to watch your on-line film service when abroad. In February 2016 it also published a proposal on radio frequencies in order to boost mobile internet services.

In addition the Commission intends to present proposals on issues such as VAT simplification, cyber security and copyright before the end of the year.

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14 new projects approved under the Partnership Instrument to boost the EU's cooperation with partners in Asia and the Americas

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: 14 new projects approved under the Partnership Instrument to boost the EU’s cooperation with partners in Asia and the Americas

The European Commission has approved 14 new projects under the Partnership Instrument to boost the EU’s cooperation with our partner countries. These new projects, supported by a combined budget of €73.5 million, will underpin the EU’s strategic objectives in external relations, boosting our common engagement in priority areas such as sustainable development, implementing commitments to tackle climate change, water diplomacy, increasing social corporate responsibility, enhancing market access conditions and fostering the EU’s public diplomacy.

Delivering on its commitment to the climate change agenda, and in particular to advance on its long-held objective of establishing an international carbon market, the EU will support the development of a Chinese carbon cap and trade scheme, allocating €10 million to cooperation on Emissions Trading Systems. New projects in Mexico and Brazil (€7.5 million) and in the Republic of Korea (€2.4 million) will continue to contribute to support these countries’ transitions to low carbon economies and promote EU Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises worldwide. In addition, €3 million will support six countries in Latin America in the sustainable phasing-out of ozone-depleting substances, thus implementing the Montreal Protocol. These projects should also contribute to the further uptake of European green technologies and create conducive conditions for the EU in international negotiations. Through strengthening water management dialogues with and water platforms in China (€6 million) and India (€2.4 million), the EU will look to bring about positive environmental change whilst at the same time increasing opportunities for EU businesses.

In line with the objectives set out in the “Trade for All” communication on the new trade and investment strategy adopted by the Commission in October 2015, and the recent Council Conclusions on Responsible Global Value Chains, €9 million will be allocated to a project on responsible business conduct and supply chains in Asia, designed to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Furthermore, €5 million will be committed to enhance cooperation with several of our Asian partners (China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Association of South-East Asian Nations [ASEAN]) in the field of competition policy, in order to achieve a better investment climate for EU business in Asia. €17 million will be dedicated to achieving a level-playing field for intellectual property rights in China, ASEAN and Latin America, thus supporting the interest of EU innovators and rights holders.

The European Union will also seek to improve understanding of the EU and its policies through strengthening its public and cultural diplomacy outreach, engaging with civil society, academia and young people across the globe. In this context, the European Commission continues to co-fund, alongside the U.S State Department, the Fulbright-Schuman Programme.

Background

The Partnership Instrument funds projects that enable the European Union to take part in shaping global change and promote its fundamental values. It is one of several instruments included in the EU’s budget for 2014-2020 allocated for the financing of the EU’s External Action. Through the Partnership Instrument, the EU cooperates with partners around the world to address global challenges of mutual interest. The Partnership Instrument funds activities that carry forward the EU’s priorities, translating political commitments into concrete measures.

This programme builds upon the previous annual action plans adopted by the Commission on 16 October 2014 (AAP 2014 – Commission Decision C(2014)7423) and 22 June 2015 (AAP 2015 – Commission Decision C(2015) 4109 of 22 June 2015). The overall contribution in support of the EU’s strategic interests amounts to almost €200 million to date.

For more information:

Service for Foreign Policy Instruments website

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Press release – Safer medical devices: MEPs strike deal with Council – Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

MIL OSI – Source: European Union –

Headline: Press release – Safer medical devices: MEPs strike deal with Council – Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure that medical devices such as breast or hip implants comply fully with safety and traceability requirements were informally agreed by MEPs and the Dutch Presidency of the Council on Wednesday. MEPs also secured tighter information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, e.g. those used for pregnancy or DNA testing.

“I’m delighted that we finally have an agreement on this key legislation, which will allow us to put in place high standards for the manufacture, authorisation and placing on the market of medical devices.” said Public Health Committee Chair Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT.

Stronger notified bodies and post-market surveillance

“Patients want to be confident that the devices used to treat them, or even implanted in them, are safe and effective and we have agreed a number of measures to give them this confidence”, said rapporteur on medical devices Glenis Willmott (S&D, UK).

“These include stricter requirements for notified bodies, aesthetic devices covered for the first time and a Unique Device Identification system so that we know which device has been implanted in which patient. We’ve also agreed a much stronger system of post-market surveillance so that any unexpected problems are identified and dealt with as soon as possible”, she added.

“Pre-market scrutiny of high risk devices was a priority for the Parliament so I’m particularly pleased that we successfully pushed for this and that these devices will now undergo additional assessment from expert panels” she concluded.

Learning the lessons of the PIP breast implant scandal

“I am very happy that we finally got it done. People in Europe have a right to expect us to learn the lessons of scandals such as that of defective breast implants”, said rapporteur on in vitro diagnostic medical devices Peter Liese (EPP, DE). “Problems occurred in other areas too, e.g. on stents that are implanted into the brain, or unsafe HIV-tests. The new regulation is good for patients, puts an end to fraudulent and shady producers and thereby strengthens also respectable producers” he added.

Ethical requirements for DNA testing

EU member states will be obliged to inform patients about the consequences of DNA tests, which has long been a controversial issue. “DNA tests can have severe consequences for the lives of patients and they should not be carried out without proper information and counselling. Member states pointed out that this is first of all their responsibility and that they will therefore accept EU rules only to a certain extent. It is important that member states meet their obligations. We will be very vigilant on this question”, said Mr Liese.

Background

The agreement provides for:

  • an additional safety check for high-risk devices, such as implants or HIV-tests. Not only a notified body, but also a special committee of experts, will check that all requirements are met,

  • an “implant card” for patients, enabling patients and doctors to trace which product has been implanted, and

The European Commission published the proposal in 2012, and the European Parliament already agreed on its position two years ago. However, it was not until last autumn that member states agreed a position, thus enabling negotiations with MEPs to start.

Next steps

Both reports will be put to a vote in the Public Health Committee in June.

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