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Lithuanian perspectives
Lithuania took over the rotating presidency of the European Union's Council of Ministers on 1 July. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said the main goal of the country’s presidency will be "commitment, professionalism and results." Grybauskaitė also said that if the European Parliament finally endorses the budget, the presidency will be able to do the job by the end of the year, underlining nonetheless that it will be tough to re-launch Europe's economy with smaller budget.
Lithuanian priorities:
Irish clinch deal on EU's 'Horizon 2020' research programme
The Irish EU presidency reached an agreement in principle with the European Parliament and the Commission to ring-fence €70.2 billion for the research budget from 2014-2020, resolving a number of squabbles over the so-called Horizon 2020 programme. The broad agreement, reached after nine "trilogue" meetings held during the last six months between the EU's three main legislative bodies, sees the €70.2 billion secure from the broader tussles over the long-term budget. The number is secure, although the overall EU budget still needs a final sign off by EU member states, represented in the EU Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament.
Following “long and challenging” negotiations, EU officials have agreed the percentages of three key “pillars” within the Horizon 2020 programme.
  • ‘Excellent Science’, which includes funding for the European Research Centre, infrastructure and future and emerging technologies, receives 37% of the pie.
  • ‘Industrial Leadership’, containing specific support for SMEs and for key enabling industrial technologies, receives 22.5%.
  • ‘Societal challenges’, designed to point research towards growing problems associated with an ageing society and environmental blight - receives 38%.
A new simplified funding model will rationalise funding applications across the whole programme, cutting back on red tape and increasing the pool of potential applicants for funding.
European Commission appoints the members of the Bioeconomy Panel
The European Commission has selected and appointed the 30 members of the Bioeconomy Panel, a new platform for knowledgeable discussions on the Bioeconomy. These experts represent a wide variety of interests – scientific community and researchers, primary producers, industry, policy-makers, and civil society – and they are nominated for an initial mandate of two years. Their role is to closely assist the Commission in the implementation of the Bioeconomy strategy in Europe. The panel will suggest and foster European joint actions and measures in the domain of bioeconomy (taking into account inputs from the Bioeconomy observatory and other initiatives).
Public-private partnerships in Horizon 2020: a powerful tool to deliver on innovation
The European Commission, EU member states and European industry will invest more than €22 billion over the next seven years in innovation for sectors that deliver high quality jobs. Most of the investment will go to five public-private partnerships in innovative medicines, aeronautics, bio-based industries, fuel cells and hydrogen, and electronics. These research partnerships will boost the competitiveness of EU industry in sectors that already provide more than 4 million jobs.
The five public-private partnerships, called 'Joint Technology Initiatives' (JTIs), are:
  • Innovative Medicines 2 (IMI2): to develop next generation vaccines, medicines and treatments, such as new antibiotics;
  • Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 (FCH2): to expand the use of clean and efficient technologies in transport, industry and energy;
  • Clean Sky 2 (CS2): to develop cleaner, quieter aircraft with significantly less CO2 emissions
  • Bio-based Industries (BBI): to use renewable natural resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products;
  • Electronic Components and Systems (ECSEL): to boost Europe’s electronics manufacturing capabilities.
Environment committee backs biofuel cap
MEPs on the European Parliament's environment committee voted to limit the amount of conventional biofuel that can be used to meet a European Union target for renewable transport fuel.
In 2008, an EU target was introduced to get 10% of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020, most of which would come from so-called first generation biofuels made from sugar, cereals and oilseeds. Since then, a series of studies has underlined the potential environmental damage caused by some biofuels, particularly biodiesel, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the EU biofuel sector.
The committee also voted to back the European Commission's proposal to require companies to measure the amount of ‘indirect land use change' (ILUC) their fuels cause. The vote in the environment committee will be followed by a plenary vote, expected in September. It will also require endorsement by EU member states, which are deeply divided on the issue.
European patent still pending
Approval of legislation for a single patent for Europe came at the end of last year, followed in February by the signing of an international agreement establishing a unified patent court.  In April, the European Court of Justice rejected the appeal made by Spain and Italy against using the process of ‘enhanced co-operation' to allow the system to go ahead with the other 25 EU member states overcoming the patent's most substantial hurdle. Now, the most crucial decision is to determine the level of fees for the patent. The prices must be low enough to encourage applications but, equally, they must be high enough to cover costs, since the European Patent Office (EPO) has 38 member states, many of whom are not participating in the new regime.
Surface waters: 12 new controlled chemicals, three pharmaceuticals on watch list
Twelve new substances will be added to the EU priority list of those known to pose a pollution risk to surface waters under rules endorsed by MEPs. For the first time, three pharmaceuticals will also be included in a "watch list" of emerging pollutants that could one day be placed on the priority list.
MEP calls for parliamentary risk panel to tame green ‘scaremongering’
The European Parliament needs more science and less emotion in making decisions on chemicals, pesticides and other contentious legislation, an MEP said, arguing that lawmakers were influenced by "scaremongering" and environmental lobbying in recent votes. The MEP claimed that the Parliament should create a formal risk group to advise lawmakers on legislation areas where there are potential clashes involving science and risks to human health. This year, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission, formed an expert panel to provide advice independent of the EU’s existing food, chemicals and medicines agencies and the Commission’s own Joint Research Centre.
Commission backs European Food Safety Agency's definition of endocrine-disrupting chemicals
Some endocrine-disrupting chemicals occur naturally, while synthetic varieties can be found in pesticides, electronics, personal care products and cosmetics. Some can also be found as additives or as unintended contaminants in food. In an opinion published this spring, EFSA underlined that not all endocrine-active substances have an adverse effect on the hormone system and that a distinction needed to be made between those that do and those that do not. The agency defined "endocrine-active" substances as essentially harmless while "endocrine disruptors" are considered as causing potentially adverse health effects.
EFSA's opinion came after the European Commission asked the agency in 2012 to define scientific criteria for endocrine disruptors in view of possibly regulating them in the future. In early July, Commissioner Tonio Borg said that EFSA has endorsed the definition of endocrine disruptors recognised at international level by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Communication for EU Funds 2014-2020
22-23 August 2013
Berlin, Germany
The European higher education society 35th annual forum 2013
28-31 August 2013
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Multidisciplinary approaches on innovation
3 Septembre 2013
Porto, Portugal
The Output of R&D activities: harnessing the power of patents
9-20 September 2013
Seville, Spain
8th European conference on innovation and entrepreneurship ECIE 2013
19-20 September 2013
Brussels, Belgium
CONCORDi-2013: Financing R&D and innovation for corporate growth in the EU
26-28 September 2013
Seville, Spain
COST open calls
COST invites researchers throughout Europe to submit proposals for research networks and use this unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and to embark on new European perspectives. COST covers nine domains, while Trans-Domain Proposals (TDP) are overseen for broad and interdisciplinary proposals. The support will cover the costs of networking activities such as meetings (e.g. travel, subsistence, and local organiser support), conferences, workshops, short-term scientific exchanges, training schools, publications and dissemination activities. COST does not fund the research itself.
Deadline: 27 September 2013
FP7 KBBE FEEDTRIALS Call 2013 is now open
In the framework of the Knowledge Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) programme of the FP7, Activity 2.3 "Life sciences, biotechnology and biochemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes", a call for the following topic has been published: Two-year carcinogenicity rat feeding study with maize NK603. One collaborative small or medium scale focused research project will be funded through this call with a budget up to EUR 3 000 000 and duration of maximum 4 years.
Deadline:  1 October 2013
Consultation on the modification of the REACH annexes on nanomaterials
The objective of the policy initiative is to ensure further clarity on how nanomaterials are addressed and safety demonstrated in registration dossiers. Specifically, the policy initiative shall provide clearer REACH requirements for nanomaterials to ensure that industry demonstrates safe use in the registration dossiers in accordance with the aims of REACH Article 1(1). The Commission proposal of possible amendment of the REACH Annexes is foreseen to be made in 2013, and will be accompanied by an Impact Assessment. The objective of this consultation is to provide the Commission with the best possible evidence base for its work with the above tasks.
Deadline: 13 September 2013
Consultation on the sustainable use of phosphorus
The Commission is launching a consultation on how to use phosphorus in a more sustainable way. Phosphorus is widely used in agriculture and is an essential component in fertiliser and feed, but it is a non-renewable resource. Supplies are limited and much phosphorus is currently wasted, creating concerns about future supplies in the EU and worldwide. 
The consultation asks how to ensure that reserves are available for future generations, and about ways to minimise the undesirable side effects phosphorus use can have on the environment.
The consultation aims to launch a debate on phosphorus use and ways to make it more resource-efficient.
Deadline: 1 December 2013
Consultation on sustainable buildings
The European Commission wants to gather views and additional information on the possible introduction of EU wide measures to achieve better environmental performance of buildings. Resource use and related environmental impacts all along the life-cycle of buildings are in the scope. The consultation puts forward questions related to the problem definition as well as to possible policy options. It looks at both demand and supply side measures.
Deadline: 1 October 2013
Consultation on sustainability of the food system
This consultation aims to explore how we can move towards a more resource efficient and sustainable food system. A number of areas for action are presented in the consultation:
  • Better technical knowledge on the environmental impacts of food;
  • Stimulating sustainable food production;
  • Promoting sustainable food consumption;
  • Reducing food waste and losses;
  • Improving food policy coherence.
Deadline: 1 October 2013
Consultation on the policy options for market-based measures to reduce the climate change impact from international aviation
The objective of this consultation is to collect experiences, suggestions and opinions related to international and EU policies tackling climate change impacts from international aviation emissions through market-based measures. The consultation seeks input on questions concerning the policy options currently being developed on the international level at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and to obtain stakeholder views on options to reduce the administrative effort for small aircraft operators under the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS).
Deadline: 13 September 2013
Roadmap: Commission decision determining the list of sectors and subsectors deemed exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage for the period 2015-2019
The revised EU ETS Directive (Directive 2003/87/EC) introduced as from 1 January 2013 a harmonised
approach for the allocation of allowances to industry on the territory of the EU. One of the new features is that industrial sectors deemed exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage will receive a higher share of free allowances compared to non-exposed industrial sectors. The carbon leakage list is a part of the EU's Emission Trading System, and thus to EU's climate and energy policy. The existing carbon leakage list will be used to provide free allowances only in 2013 and 2014, and therefore it is too early to assess its impact. The ETS Directive requires determination of a new carbon leakage list every five years. The decision on a new list therefore aims at meeting this legal requirement.
EU Parliament adopts resolution on Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020
Through its overwhelming vote in favour of the European budget for 2014-2020, the European Parliament has opened the way for putting in place a seven year growth and jobs fund worth almost 1,000 billion euros for the next 7 year. Once the Council adopts its draft MFF regulation, the European Parliament must give its formal consent. Then, the Council must formally adopt the regulation at unanimity.
The final package consists of a number of documents: the MFF regulation itself, setting expenditure ceilings for the next seven years, but also the inter-institutional agreement that focusses more on the practical implementation of the MFF and on budgetary rules for the 2014-2020 period.
Agreement on COSME gives €2B boost to small businesses
A preliminary agreement on a new Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) will see more than €2 billion allocated with the aim of strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs from 2014–2020. Once it is operational, COSME will assist approximately 40,000 businesses each year.
Businesses pledge louder voice to restore competitiveness
The new president of BusinessEurope, Emma Mercegaglia, has promised to make the leading European employers’ organisation more ‘constructively outspoken’ and pressure Brussels to swiftly act to restore competitiveness and boost investment.
Addressing the European press, Mercegaglia said a lot had been done to consolidate national budgets and restore confidence, but progress remained ‘fragile’ and implementation on crucial decisions announced a year ago at the European Council ‘is far too slow’.
3rd European Energy Conference (E2C 2013)
27-30 October 2013, Budapest, Hungary
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Produced for EuCheMS by Nineta Majcen.
The information given by EuCheMS in this EuCheMS Brussels News Update has been carefully formulated but is necessarily based on information available and consequently EuCheMS does not accept responsibility if it is in any way inaccurate or incomplete. In this respect EuCheMS does not accept any duty of care and will not be liable for any losses or damages arising from inaccurate or incomplete information. EuCheMS acknowledges that a disclaimer cannot restrict liability at law for personal injury or death arising through a finding of negligence.
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