Written by Richard Freedman,
Over the summer parliamentary recess, we take a look back at the podcasts published from January 2016 until June 2016. Each week, we will publish a retrospective with an opportunity for you to (re)listen to the EPRS Policy, Plenary and Science and Technology Podcasts.
Looking back at the podcasts published in January 2016, we highlighted two topics for the plenary podcasts namely: Measuring on-road air pollution from cars, and secondly, Strengthening the presumption of innocence in the EU.
Measuring on-road air pollution [Plenary Podcast]
Air pollution kills and drains the EU economy. The European Commission wants to introduce tests that better reflect real on-road emissions, but it is likely to run into serious opposition from MEPs, who say the rules are too soft on carmakers. Although emissions of air pollutants from transport have fallen considerably in recent decades, current levels still have adverse effects on health and the environment.
In an implementing regulation on new tests that better reflect real on-road emissions, the Commission sets higher limits than current standards, but below current levels of emissions. A move to veto a plan to raise NOx emission limits for diesel cars temporarily was rejected by MEPs in February, after the European Commission promised a review clause and tabled a long-term legislative proposal to revamp the EU car approval regime.
Listen to the plenary podcast Measuring on-road air pollution [Plenary Podcast]
Strengthening the presumption of innocence in the EU [Plenary Podcast]
The presumption of innocence is guaranteed at all legal levels, yet numerous breaches have reportedly occurred in the EU. In January 2016, the Parliament’s plenary voted on a proposal by the Commission to address this problem. Despite the presumption of innocence being guaranteed by international, EU and national laws, there are reports of repeated violations of this principle by EU Member States.
MEPs adopted their position at first reading in January 2016 and the procedure is now completed.
Listen to the plenary podcast Strengthening the presumption of innocence in the EU [Plenary Podcast]
Also in January 2016, longer Policy Podcasts, which tackle the role of the European Parliament on topical issues, focused on the Commission Work Programme 2016 and the Circular Economy Package.
Commission Work Programme 2016
The Commission Work Programme 2016, adopted on 27 October 2015, spells out actions on 10 political priorities for the coming 12 months, some of which were already presented in 2015, such as the measures on firearms or the Circular Economy Package. Well, ahead of the Commission’s adoption of the new work programme in October 2015, the European Parliament set out its recommendations and urged the EU executive to show clear leadership and demonstrate the importance it attaches to transparency in the legislative process
Listen to the Policy Podcast Commission Work Programme 2016 [Policy Podcast]
Circular Economy Package
In a traditional linear economic model, things work like this: a company produces a good – say a mobile phone or a hairdryer – we buy it, we use it, and when we don’t need it anymore, we throw it away. This model assumes that resources are abundant, available and cheap to dispose of, so it bases itself on a ‘take-make-consume-throw away’ pattern. In sharp contrast to this, a circular economy is based on sharing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling, in an almost closed loop. In this alternative model, products and the materials they contain are kept within the economy for as long as possible, reducing waste to a minimum.
Listen to the Policy Podcast Circular Economy Package [Policy Podcast]