Geert Plas

Polyvalent information specialist at the European Parliament Library
Geert Plas has written 47 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Who can adequately react at 50 km/h? The European Citizen´s Initiative

What would you reply to the following question: “Which speed in town do you think is the most appropriate?” Believe it or not, there is a scientific answer to this question. Boundaries of our human body The human body is designed so that it can reach a speed of 30 km/h when running fast: indeed … Continue reading

Free football for everyone, EU court rules

In its ruling of 18 July the Court of Justice dismisses the appeal brought by FIFA and UEFA against the judgments of the General Court on television broadcasts of the World Cup and the EURO. The law The directive89/552/EEC concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities authorises the Member States to prohibit the exclusive broadcasting … Continue reading

Freedom of religion (and belief) in external EU-policies

On 25 April 2013 the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics (EPPSP) hosted a meeting on freedom of religion in external EU-policies. In her introductory speech EPPSP Chair Sophie in ‘t Veld (NL, ALDE) clarified the issues at stake: “How can the European Union and its’ member states actively assure the protection of freedom … Continue reading

Système ferroviaire français condamné par la Cour européenne

Dans un arrêt rendu le 18 avril 2013, la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne estime que la France a manqué à ses obligations découlant du droit de l’Union dans le domaine du transport ferroviaire. Fonctions essentielles La directive 91/440 a initié la libéralisation du transport ferroviaire afin d’assurer un accès équitable et non discriminatoire … Continue reading

What are the health benefits of cycling and walking?

What we all (should) know People riding bicycles make no noise, emit no air pollutants or greenhouse gases, ease traffic congestion. Walking and cycling increase fitness. Regular physical exercises provide a sense of wellbeing …Physical activity has many beneficial effects on many aspects of morbidity such as heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer, and … Continue reading

IMF: energy subsidies are not the right answer!

A new IMF paper urges governments the world over to reform subsidies affecting products ranging from coal to gasoline. Energy subsidies in 2011 amounted to $1.9 trillion, the equivalent of about 2½ percent of world GDP, or 8 percent of all government revenues. What are energy subsidies? Energy subsidies are made up of both producer … Continue reading

Environmental assessment: not only numbers count!

In its ruling of 21 March 2013, the Court of Justice decided that  national legislation is contrary to EU law in that, when an airport is modified, it provides for an environmental assessment only for projects likely to increase the number of air traffic movements by at least 20 000 per year. Projects likely to … Continue reading

Railway companies to refund passengers even in case of force majeure?

According to an opinion by Advocate General Jääskinen, delivered on March 14, 2013, rail passengers must have part of the cost of their ticket refunded in case of significant delay even if that delay is caused by force majeure. Air passengers In a recent ruling the Court of Justice ruled that an air carrier must … Continue reading

EU wants new and better air passenger rights

On 13 March 2013 the European Commission announced a package of measures to ensure that air passengers have new and better rights to information, care and re-routing when they are stranded at the airport. At the same time there will be better complaint procedures and enforcement measures so passengers can actually obtain the rights to … Continue reading

Un diplôme de ski même pour les accompagnateurs (France)

Le 19 février 2013, le tribunal correctionnel d’Albertville (France) a condamné le responsable d’un tour opérateur anglais, dont les salariés, sans diplôme de ski reconnu en France, accompagnaient des clients sur les pistes. Les juges ont considéré que la seule activité d’accompagnement contre rémunération, nécessitait, comme celle d’enseigner, le diplôme exigé par la loi. Le litige Dans … Continue reading

Slow down, save fuel, pollute less…

Speed controls on shipping could save billions in lower ship fuel bills, cut air pollution and enable the shipping industry to play a full part in tackling climate change according a report by CE Delft consultants. The shipping industry is urgently invited to take up the challenge of slow steaming. A recent guide by Marine … Continue reading

Eyjafjallajökull volcano: not so extraordinary after all!

Remember April 2010? Remember Eyjafjallajökull? Millions of travellers stranded on airports all over the world? Who was going to pay for all this? Did the volcano eruption exempt air carriers from all responsibility? The Court of Justice didn’t think so… In its decision of 31 january 2013, the Court of Justice ruled that an air … Continue reading

New power for road transport: more please!

On 29 January QED hosted a conference in Brussels on “electrifying road transport”. Electrifying road transport is a clear goal from the European Commission and the car industry has accepted it as one possible solution. Different manufacturers have already developed cars. Yet we still see very few electric cars on the road (one participant spoke … Continue reading

Le droit de l’accès à l’information prime le secret d’affaires

Le principe Selon la convention d’Århus, lorsqu’un processus décisionnel touchant l’environnement est engagé, le public concerné doit pouvoir y participer dès son début, c’est-à-dire lorsque toutes les options et solutions sont encore possibles et qu’il peut exercer une réelle influence. De plus, le public doit, en principe, pouvoir consulter gratuitement toutes les informations présentant un … Continue reading

Cruising with a green boat

Millions of travellers take cruise vacations every year. Yet, most travelers don’t realize that taking a cruise is more harmful to the environment and human health than many other forms of travel. The issue There are more than 230 cruise ships operating world wide. Cruise ships are literally floating cities that provide some of the … Continue reading

What is a book loan…legally speaking?

What is a book loan…legally speaking? As libraries we know that information is primordial and precious. Without information there would be neither advances in science and medicine, nor innovations in business and technology and no achievements in education and the arts. The cost of research, writing and editing is substantial and the results of sometimes … Continue reading

Priorité aux cyclistes ! Mais voitures tolérées…

Le panneau de signalisation officielle pour les rues cyclables est enfin arrivé! En même temps, la loi sur les rues cyclables est entrée en vigueur en Belgique. Un cycliste empruntant une telle rue pourra utiliser toute la largeur de la voie publique lorsque celle-ci est à sens unique et la moitié droite de la route … Continue reading

Risks of substance use behind the wheel

A new report has revealed the full scale of the use of illicit drugs and psychoactive medicines amongst drivers. The report was conducted by the EU drugs agency, the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction (EMCDDA). The report coincides with an alarming appeal from a Belgian judge on the dangerous combination of drugs and … Continue reading

Des mesures simples pour rendre nos villes plus sûres pour les piétons et cyclistes

Un nouveau rapport international propose des pistes à l’attention des décideurs pour améliorer l’environnement des piétons et des cyclistes et ainsi contribuer à des villes plus agréables à vivre La marche: bienfaits… La marche ne coûte pas cher, ne génère pas d’émissions polluantes, utilise des énergies non fossiles, apporte d’importants bienfaits pour la santé, est … Continue reading

Rail transport: Real time information on connecting services

The railway infrastructure manager is obliged to provide railway undertakings in real time with all information on connecting services operated by other undertakings, according to a Court of Justice ruling of 22 November 2012. Moreover, rail passengers must be given information on delays to or cancellations of trains which are main connecting services, whichever railway … Continue reading

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