The European Union plans to launch legal action against Italy for failing to properly police allegations of emissions-test cheating by Fiat Chrysler following the Volkswagen scandal, EU sources said. EU regulators say Italy has failed to convince them that the so-called defeat devices used to modulate emissions on its vehicles outside of narrow testing conditions are justified. "The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control strategies employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA)," a statement said.
An advisor to Europe’s highest court has said that Uber should be regulated as a transportation company, subjecting it to local licensing regulations which could have been considered disproportionate under EU law had it been deemed an "information society service". In a opinion handed down Thursday, Maciej Szpunar, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said “Indirect control such as that exercised by Uber, based on financial incentives and decentralised passenger-led ratings, with a scale effect, makes it possible to manage in a way that is just as — if not more — effective than management based on formal orders given by an employer to his employees and direct control over the carrying out of such orders.” The decision handed down today is non-binding, though ECJ rulings have historically followed the advice of the advocate general. A final ruling is expected later this year.
Last week a team of civil society organisations, included swiss Pro Specie Rara, Swissaid and Public Eye, started a public appeal to politicians and demand that effective prohibitions are put in place to stop the granting of patents on plants and animals derived from conventional breeding. The protest is targeted at patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2016 to the brewing companies Carlsberg and Heineken. The patents claim barley derived from conventional breeding, its usage in brewing beer and the beer produced thereof. However, the patents are simply based on random mutations in the plant's genome.
A report released by the Maltese Presidency and the European Commission on Wednesday says that childhood obesity should be tackled at an early stage and that schools can play a positive role in encouraging healthy eating habits. “Considering the amount of time that children spend at school, as well as the fact that in many European countries students consume at least one daily main meal there, schools are an ideal environment for supporting healthy behaviours,” the report states. Childhood obesity in Europe is increasing: in 2010, about one in three European children between the ages of six and nine were overweight or obese, while 2008 estimates were only about one in four.
The EU is “very disappointed” in the Swiss people’s rejection of the government’s corporate tax reform plan, the EU’s tax commissioner MOscovici said on Monday. Voters on Sunday blocked the tax system revamp, sending the Swiss government back to the drawing board as it tries to abolish ultra-low tax rates for multinationals without triggering a mass exodus by those companies. "The Commission is very disappointed by the results of a referendum in Switzerland," Moscovici told a news conference. "The rejection of the reform and referendum means we need to redouble our efforts when it comes to taxation. The Commission plans to consult the member states so we can decide together how to proceed," he said.
The European Union agreed Tuesday on new rules allowing subscribers of online services, as Netflix or Amazon Prime, in one E.U. country access to them while traveling in another. The new “portability” ruling is the first step of regulation under a drive by the European Commission to introduce a single digital market in Europe. Announced in May 2015 on the cusp of the Cannes Film Festival, the proposed Digital Single Market was met with full-throated opposition from Europe’s movie and TV industry, which viewed it as a threat to its territory-by-territory licensing of movies and TV shows.
The European Union reached a deal early Wednesday morning that should pave the way for consumers to use their mobile phones throughout the 28-country region without paying roaming fees. Three-way negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and Commission ended just after midnight with a pact on the pace of slashing rates telecom companies charge each other, according to the office of Parliament’s rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, a Finnish member of the Socialists & Democrats, who tweeted "Goodbye roaming,".
The European Commission is accusing Facebook of providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission's investigation into its merger with WhatsApp back in 2014, opening the company to a possible fine of 1% of its turnover. It centers around the fact that Facebook told the Commission that it would be unable to reliably automate matching between separate accounts on the messaging app and the social network. "Companies are obliged to give the Commission accurate information during merger investigations. They must take this obligation seriously," Ms Vestager, the European Union's Competition Commissioner, said.
EU countries have approved the European Commission's proposal for fair-use limits on 'roam like home', the EC announced. The council of EU representatives, Cocom approved the rules at a meeting 12 December. However, to avoid knock-on effects on domestic prices given big discrepancies across the bloc in prices and consumption patterns, the EU had to define "fair use" rules to ensure consumers did not abuse the end of roaming by buying cheap SIM cards in one EU country and using them permanently elsewhere. This means the Commission can confirm the details ahead of its deadline of 15 December, and mobile operators will have six months to implement the changes, by the end of all roaming surcharges in June 2017.
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