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General European Highlights

EU countries in favour of GMO compromise
A majority of EU member countries backed a compromise agreement on GMO authorisation which maintains an EU-wide approval scheme but allows national cultivation bans. Under the proposals, the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) would conduct assessments of GM crops. If a particular GM crop was deemed unsafe, no member state could approve its cultivation, explained Tonio Borg, the European Commissioner for health. If deemed safe, member states would then be free to cultivate the crop or decide to ban it on grounds other than environment or health concerns, such as urban or rural planning or socio-economic impact, he added.
New rules are agreed for the €7B Joint Technology Initiatives
The European Parliament (EP) and the Council have agreed amendments on the shape of the new Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI), Horizon 2020’s largest remaining piece of legislation. Among the main changes is an enhanced role for scientific committees, better feedback on progress to member states, help for smaller partners in navigating intellectual property (IP) terms, a requirement for projects to publish more information and a beefed-up interim assessment of performance.
Definition of nanomaterials in food rejected
Parliament opposed the Commission's proposed definition of “engineered nanomaterials” – tiny particles added to foods. In a resolution MEPs objected to the Commission's draft rules on the grounds that they would grant a blanket exemption from food-labelling requirements for nano-additives already on the market.
Council adopts biocides regulation
The Council adopted a regulation amending biocides regulation 528/2012/EU (PE-COS 140/13).
The objective of the existing regulation is to improve the functioning of the internal market in biocidal products whilst ensuring a high level of environmental and human health protection. The new regulation aims at remedying problems related to provisions of the above-mentioned biocides regulation which has been in force since 1 September 2013. In particular, it removes unintended market barriers for suppliers of new articles treated with biocidal products and for a large number of suppliers of biocidal active substances.
REACH evaluation report 2013: results and recommendations from dossier evaluation
The annual evaluation report covers the Agency's evaluation activities and the corresponding output. In 2013, the focus of dossier evaluation activities was on compliance checks. In total, 928 dossiers were checked and in 61 % of the cases concluded in 2013, ECHA found that the dossiers did not comply with one or more REACH information requirements and sent draft decisions to the registrants. Due to the selection of dossiers with clear indications of potential non-compliance, this proportion is not a reliable indicator of data quality in all dossiers. Most of ECHA's information requests were related to substance identity, physicochemical properties, sub-chronic toxicity studies, pre-natal developmental toxicity studies and exposure assessment.
Cooling without climate warming
The use of climate-unfriendly fluorinated gases should be banned in new air-conditioning appliances and refrigerators by 2022-2025, under draft rules approved by the European Parliament. These rules had already been informally agreed with EU ministers. Overall, the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) greenhouse gases is to be reduced by 79% by 2030. 

Funding Updates and Awards

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: new opportunities
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) launched a selection process to set up two new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), with partners from higher education, research and business. The two KICs will focus on innovation for healthy living and active ageing, and on raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction processing, recycling and substitution. Following an independent evaluation of the proposals, guided by specific selection criteria, one KIC in each field will be designated. The EIT is part of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.
Deadline: 10 September 2014
Call for individual fellowships under Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions
Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research in a European context (EU Member States and Associated Countries) or outside Europe. The scheme particularly supports the return and reintegration of researchers from outside Europe who have previously worked here. It also develops or helps to restart the careers of individual researchers that show great potential, considering their experience.
Deadline: 11 September 2014
Selection of Horizon 2020 Calls
Waste: a resource to recycle, reuse and recover raw materials
A systems approach for the reduction, recycling and reuse of food waste
Deadline: 8 April 2014
Nanotechnologies, advanced materials and production
Materials-based solutions for protection or preservation of European cultural heritage
Deadline: 6 May 2014
Storage of energy produced by decentralised sources
Deadline: 6 May 2014
Growing a low carbon, resource efficient economy with a sustainable supply of raw materials
Materials for electronic devices
Deadline: 8 April 2014
Promoting gender equality in research and innovation
Innovative approach to communication encouraging girls to study science
Deadline: 2 October 2014

Consultations and Roadmaps

Research and innovation as new sources of growth
The political context for this initiative relates to the efforts being undertaken at EU level to break the vicious cycle between the weaknesses of our financial systems, tensions on sovereign debt markets and low economic growth, in order to create the conditions for a sustainable recovery. The 2013 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) identifies the framework conditions necessary at national level in support of the structural reforms which will lay the foundations for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Those priorities include driving innovation and improving the business environment. The Communication 'Research and innovation as new sources of growth' will build on those two priorities and provide a thorough diagnosis of how the knowledge and innovation economy can strongly contribute to new sources of growth.
Possible amendments of Annexes to REACH for registration of nanomaterials
The initiative has been announced by the Commission in its Communication on the 'Second regulatory Review on Nanomaterials' (COM/2012/572). The Communication reports on studies undertaken by the Commission with a view to determine the adequacy of existing legislation to ensure protection of the environment, health and safety from nanomaterials.

Business Updates

Innovation performance: EU member states and international competitors compared
The European Commission released a Memo to present the objectives of the Innovation Union Scoreboard and to provide an overview of the research and innovation performance of EU Member States and some associated and neighbouring countries at national and regional levels.The annual Innovation Union Scoreboard provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of the EU Member States and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. It helps Member States assess areas in which they need to concentrate their efforts in order to boost their innovation performance.
New EU regulation for export and import of hazardous chemicals enters into operation
From 1 March 2014, new rules concerning the export and import of very hazardous chemicals will be implemented, when the revised Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation becomes operational. At the same time, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will take over the administrative and technical responsibility from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Forthcoming Events

2nd International Conference on Research Infrastructures
2-4 April 2014
Athens, Greece
New learning and teaching technology options 
8 April 2014
Brussels, Belgium
9th ECHA Stakeholders' Day
21 May 2014
Helsinki, Finland
1st International Conference on Renewable Energy Gas Technology
22-23 May 2014
Malmo, Sweden
More EuCheMS News

Upcoming EuCheMS Recognised Events

Analytica Conference 2014
1-3 April 2014
Munich, Germany
38th International Symposium on Capillary Chromatography & 11th GCxGC Symposium
18 - 23 May 2014
Riva del Garda, Italy
113th Annual German Conference on Physical Chemistry
29-31 May 2014
Hamburg, Germany

5th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress

31 August - 4 September 2014
Istanbul, Turkey
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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.
Compilation Copyright © 2014 EuCheMS

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