Tag Archives: Consumption

Single market: improving its functioning

Single market: improving its functioning

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Single market: improving its functioning

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Internal market: general framework

Single market: improving its functioning

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 2009/524/EC of 29 June 2009 on measures to improve the functioning of the single market (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Recommendation aims to improve the functioning of the single market. It presents a set of measures intended to guarantee the application of the Community rules and to promote best practices which already exist in certain Member States.

Improving coordination and cooperation

This Recommendation invites Member States to designate a new authority or to use the existing structures in their national administration to ensure that a body assumes responsibility for coordination with regard to the single market. Government ministries and public bodies must also cooperate with each other.

The European Commission also considers it pertinent to bring together responsibilities for a number of single market related activities within a single authority.

Cooperation between national authorities is strongly encouraged, on the one hand in order to make the existing networks such as the IMI, RAPEX or RASFF more operational and, on the other hand, to ensure that the responses to Commission requests concerning the application of single market rules at national level are more effective. From this perspective, this Recommendation encourages Member States to follow the example of cooperation between Nordic and Baltic countries in the context of market surveillance.

Improving the transposition of single market rules

Member States are invited to prepare actively for the transposition, application and enforcement of single market directives at national level.

It is crucial that relevant information is communicated between national administrations and national, regional and devolved parliaments in order to raise awareness of negotiations and the process for the transposition of Community rules. To this end, some Member States draw up national impact assessments when a directive is tabled by the Commission.

Improving market monitoring and the application of rules

The Commission recommends that Member States take measures aimed at monitoring the market, by using analysis carried out by academics, consultants, National Statistical offices or complaint handling bodies.

Local stakeholders are also strongly encouraged to participate in the market monitoring process.

In addition, officials responsible for applying single market rules should be able to receive continued training on Community law in general and single market rules in particular.

Promoting problem-solving mechanisms

This Recommendation encourages Member States to develop non-judicial problem-solving mechanisms and to participate in existing Community systems such as SOLVIT.

As far as the national judiciary is concerned, Member States must provide to judges basic training in Community law and single market rules to enable them to take better account of the requirements of Community law in their judgments.

Assessing national legislation

It is important that Member States should ensure the monitoring and assessment of national legislation implementing single market rules in order to rectify any deficiency or error in the application of Community rules without delay.

The Commission proposes that Member States should develop ex-post impact assessment reports or audits to monitor the implementation of single market directives.

Informing citizens and businesses about their rights

Citizens and businesses can obtain information about their rights from the Community information services within national administrations. It is therefore vital to ensure increased coordination between the national contact points responsible for these Community information services.

The Your Europe portal should be more visible and provide clearer information online.

Information campaigns and programmes should be launched to report the benefits and opportunities offered by the single market.

Context

The Communication “A single market for 21st century Europe” emphasised a number of shortcomings of the single market due to poor application of and non-compliance with Community rules. The Commission has therefore reviewed the single market with the aim of proposing specific measures for citizens and businesses to ensure that they benefit from the economic advantages created by this market.

European strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm

European strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Health determinants: lifestyle

European strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 24 October 2006, “An EU strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm” [COM(2006) 625 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This strategy specifically targets the harmful and hazardous effects of alcohol consumption rather than the product itself. The objective is to reduce the damage caused by this kind of alcohol consumption, both in terms of health and the economic and social impact.

Five priorities

The strategy sets out five priorities with a view to reducing the harmful and hazardous effects of alcohol consumption in the European Union. For each of these it explains the rationale for action and highlights the good practices implemented by the Member States.

Protecting young people and children

Three aims will be pursued:

  • to curb underage drinking and reduce hazardous drinking among young people;
  • to reduce the harm suffered by children in families with alcohol-related problems;
  • to reduce exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.

Harmful alcohol consumption among young people can be effectively addressed by means of public policy. Examples of measures implemented by Member States are: restrictions on sales, availability and marketing which is considered likely to influence young people.

The alcoholic beverage industry and retailers can play an important role in this area.

Preventing drink-driving

Approximately one road accident in four is caused by alcohol. For young people, traffic accidents are the most common cause of death.

The risk of alcohol-related road traffic accidents increases in line with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the driver. For this reason, all Member States have taken measures to introduce BAC limits. Examples of good practices include the enforcement of frequent random breath testing, supported by education and awareness campaigns. Another example is the introduction of a lower or zero BAC limit for young drivers and also for public transport drivers and drivers of commercial vehicles.

Reducing alcohol-related harm among adults

The aims of the strategy are to:

  • decrease alcohol-related chronic physical and mental disorders;
  • decrease the number of alcohol-related deaths;
  • provide information to consumers so that they can make informed choices;
  • contribute to the reduction of alcohol-related harm at the workplace.

Harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption is one of the main causes of premature death among adults and also has a negative impact on worker productivity (e.g. through absenteeism).

A number of measures can prevent alcohol-related harm among adults and reduce the negative impacts in the workplace, including licence enforcement, server training, workplace-based interventions and campaigns promoting moderate consumption.

Raising awareness

The strategy is intended to raise awareness among EU citizens of the impacts of harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption on health, fitness for work and driving performance.

Measures which can achieve this objective include broad-based health education programmes, beginning in early childhood and ideally continuing throughout adolescence. This type of intervention can raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and limit risk-inducing behaviour. Media campaigns, such as the Euro-Bob initiative aimed at preventing drink-driving, can also be used to this end.

Collecting reliable data

The Commission will compile and update statistics on alcohol consumption and on the impact of policy measures. The data will then be used to draw up and implement measures to tackle the effects of harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption.

Levels of action

National action

Alcohol is essentially an issue for the Member States and to be dealt with within the remit of their national policies. Most of them have put in place legislation and policies related to alcohol abuse. Moreover, in 2005, fifteen Member States reported that they had adopted national action plans, or had set up bodies for coordinating alcohol policy.

The range of measures implemented by Member States is very wide and includes initiatives such as education, information, traffic controls, the introduction of blood alcohol concentration limits, licences for selling alcoholic beverages and the setting of alcohol taxation levels.

Action by the European Commission

The Community’s role in this strategy is to complement Member States’ efforts, add value to their actions and deal with common issues that Member States cannot handle on their own.

Notably the Commission will take action by applying two Community programmes:

  • the Community action programme on public health (2007-2013);
  • the 7th Research Framework Programme (2007-2013), in particular under the Health theme of the proposed Specific Programme on “Cooperation”.

Coordination of actions at EU level

The Commission will seek to improve coherence between all policies that have an impact on action taken in relation to alcohol. It also intends to set up an Alcohol and Health Forum by June 2007, which will bring together experts from different stakeholder organisations, representatives from the Member States and the EU institutions. The Forum will support the implementation of the EU alcohol strategy.

The Commission will work with stakeholders to promote the responsible marketing of alcoholic beverages, particularly with regard to advertising. A further aim of this joint effort will be to reach an agreement with representatives from the sectors concerned (hospitality, producers, media, advertising, etc.) on a code of commercial communication implemented at national and EU levels. The Commission will also regularly monitor advertising practices and the impact of self-regulatory codes on young people’s drinking, as well as industry compliance with such codes.

Background

Excessive alcohol consumption is a real public health problem, causing an estimated 7.4 % of all health problems and early deaths in the EU. Young people are particularly at risk, as over 10 % of female mortality and around 25 % of male mortality in the 15-29 age group is related to hazardous alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse among young people is increasing in the Member States, particularly with trends such as binge-drinking. A further 10 000 people are killed in alcohol-related road accidents each year.

This strategy forms part of the follow-up to two Council documents:

  • the conclusions of June 2001, in which the Council called for a comprehensive Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm;
  • the Recommendation of June 2001 on the drinking of alcohol by young people.

Sustainable Consumption, Production and Industry Action Plan

Sustainable Consumption, Production and Industry Action Plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Sustainable Consumption, Production and Industry Action Plan

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Food safety: general provisions

Sustainable Consumption, Production and Industry Action Plan

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 25 June 2008 on the ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan’ [COM(2008) 397 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission proposes the implementation of a series of measures to improve the energy and environmental performance of products throughout their life cycle, and to stimulate demand and consumption of better quality products, thus creating a ‘virtuous circle’.

These targets may be reached by:

  • extending the scope of the Directive on ecodesign, which for the moment only applies to energy-using products, to all energy-related products or those products which have an impact on energy consumption during their use (window frames, water-using devices etc.);
  • extending the scope of the Energy Labelling Directive to cover a wider range of products;
  • revising the Ecolabel Regulation to simplify and streamline the process of obtaining an ecolabel, and to extend the product coverage;
  • promoting green public procurement, by providing guidance and tools for public authorities to “green” their procurement practices;
  • implementing incentive measures aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the retail sector and its supply chain, promote more sustainable products, and better inform consumers.

Leaner production

There is already a regulatory framework for production processes concerning environmental emissions from industries and the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme, in particular. The Commission considers however that there is a need to give further impetus to environmentally friendly production processes and energy savings. In this context, the Commission intends to act in three areas:

  • increase efficient use of resources (creating more value while using less resources);
  • support eco-innovation;
  • enhance the environmental potential of industry, by revising the EMAS Regulation (Community eco-management and audit scheme), by preparing industrial policies for environmental industries and by helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to fully exploit business opportunities in the field of environment and energy.

Acting on a global scale

Action will also be undertaken at a global level:

  • promote good practice internationally in sustainable production and consumption;
  • promote international trade in environmentally friendly goods and services;
  • promote sector-based agreements in international negotiations on climate change.

Context

The action plan forms part of the European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Community Lisbon Programme for 2008-2010 of which one of the main orientations is the promotion of an industrial policy geared towards more sustainable consumption and production. The Commission will review progress and report on the implementation of the initiatives proposed in 2012.