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Geert Plas

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

A fair deal for cars: What do cars really cost us? Who pays for those costs?

On 6 December 2012 the Greens Group of the European Parliament hosted a conference on the external costs of road transport (cars in particular). At the same occasion a study conducted by the Technical University of Dresden (Germany) was presented. The cost of (not)-owning a car Three percent of European Union GDP is said to be taken … Continue reading

Postal services: towards the creation of an integrated European parcel delivery market

On 29 November 2012, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper consultation on the delivery of parcels, with special emphasis on cross-border issues and e-commerce needs. The Green Paper builds on the Commission’s Communication on e-commerce and online services of 15 January 2012, which identified delivery as one of the top five priorities to help boost e-commerce by 2015. Boosting … Continue reading

Transport is not a problem any more!

On 16 October 2012 the European Transport Forum hosted a conference on the funding of European transportation networks. Transport is the lifeblood of the European economy! Taking inspiration in the 2010 Monti report on the new Strategy for the Single Market, EC Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, said that a truly integrated Single Market would … Continue reading

Licencié après une grève de trains? Qui est responsable?

L’usager qui s’estime victime d’une défaillance des transports publics lors d’une grève ne doit pas s’en prendre à la société des chemins de fer (comme la SNCF en France) mais à l’autorité organisatrice de transport. Ainsi en a décidé la Cour de cassation dans un récent arrêt. L’usager doit se retourner contre l’autorité organisatrice des … Continue reading

Denied boarding : more rights for air passengers

In two separate rulings on 4 October 2012 the European Court of Justice yet again enforced the rights of air passengers in case of denied boarding.  Rescheduling through strike In a first case, the Court of Justice ruled that an air carrier must compensate passengers when they have been denied boarding because their flight was … Continue reading

“Erika” : condamnation “totale!” de Total

La Cour de cassation française a confirmé, 25 septembre, toutes les condamnations prononcées dans l’affaire du naufrage de l’Erika, il y a près de treize ans. La chambre criminelle de la Cour a confirmé la compétence de la Cour d’appel de Paris pour juger ce cas. Elle va même plus loin en estimant que Total est … Continue reading

Looking for EU-documents

As is well known, the Library of the European Parliament organizes various information sessions. One of these is the “EU Information Sources info session”. Its aim is to provide our clients with basic knowledge on EU information sources which are relevant, useful and interesting for their daily work in the European Parliament. At the end, … Continue reading

Drinking water and irrigation override ecological arguments

EU law theoretically does not preclude the diversion of a river, but the member state must precisely identify the adverse impact of the project on sites concerned and take all compensatory measures needed to protect the environment. This was the answer given by the EU Court of Justice, on 11 September (Case C-43/10), to several … Continue reading

Travel agents may not automatically include insurance

A travel agent may not automatically include travel insurance when selling airline tickets. Such “optional extras” may only be offered on an “opt-in” basis. The EU Court of Justice followed its advocate-general, Jan Mazák, in the presentation of his conclusion in the case (C-112/11) which opposed a German consumer protection association and ebookers.com, which operates an … Continue reading

The greener your street, the healthier the environment you live in!

According to a recent research by scientists at the Universities of Birmingham and Lancaster (UK) the ‘greening up’ of our streets could lead to a  massive 30% reduction in urban pollution. Trees, bushes and other greenery growing in the concrete-and-glass ‘urban canyons’ of cities would deliver cleaner air at the roadside where most of us … Continue reading

Know what you shouldn’t buy: no more logos on cigarette packs

Tobacco is the largest single cause of avoidable death, disease and disability in the European Union. It claims the lives of some 650,000 people each year. And yet, even in the face of such scientific evidence, people still smoke. European Union EU legislation on the control of tobacco regulates the marketing of tobacco products for … Continue reading

Can I sit next to you, girl?

A new study reveals the tactics commuters use to avoid each other, a practice known as ‘nonsocial transient behavior.’How do you choose your place on a bus, plane or train? Do you like sitting alone? Or, do you place your bag on the empty seat next to you? How do you avoid a big person … Continue reading

Two small actions to improve road safety?

Approximately 100 people have been killed today in the European Union on our roads, the same was true of yesterday and it will probably be the same tomorrow. What are we doing about it? Could we do more? How can policy help save lives that would needlessly have been lost in road accidents? Is it … Continue reading

Delivering the goods: making lorries smarter, greener, cleaner

On 19 June 2012 The Danish Presidency and NGO Transport § Environment cohosted an afternoon conference to identify solutions to the environmental and safety impacts of road freight. The programme examined technical solutions for smarter and safer lorries and map a way forward for EU legislators to encourage smarter road freight.   The issue Three quarters … Continue reading

Truckers on bicycles: To be seen or see for yourself!

Cyclists don’t always feel safe on the road. Especially when confronted with huge lorries and a fortori in urban zones. Ever tried crossing tramway rails? How do you as a cyclist stay safe when cycling near large vehicles? How do you stop lorry drivers running over cyclists? Blind (spot of) point of view Both beginning … Continue reading

Water Equity in tourism

In theory… Article 31 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.” In practice… Some 884 million … Continue reading

Bikes instead of lorries

How do you move your documents and packages around the city with no impact on the environment? No idea, read, on. The answer is…by bike.  Cargo bikes have been spotted on Brussels streets, and in European cities and capitals. Over 30 companies from across Europehave now joined forces to form the “European Cycle Logistics Federation“. … Continue reading

Qu’est-ce qu’il faut mentionner dans une brochure de voyage? Le prix, évident, non!

L’Association belge des Tour Opérateurs a voulu le savoir et demandé à la justice de trancher. Par un jugement récent, le Tribunal de Commerce de Gand (Belgique) condamne  les brochures sans mention de prix. Test case L’association a précisé ensuite elle avait enclenché ce procès : “Cela fait des années qu’une discussion persiste dans le secteur du … Continue reading

Give all children access to cycling!

Image copyright pedrosimoes7 under CC-License Global bicycle advocates unveiled the ‘Charter of Vancouver’ calling on the United Nations (UN) to recognize “the right to cycle” for all children.  The Charter of Vancouver was launched during the Velo-city Global 2012 conference as a step towards reaching the goal of a sustainable future, by focusing on cycling … Continue reading

Getting paid when travelling outside rush hour!

Getting paid when travelling outside rush hour! Wouldn’t you begin your commute earlier or later if you had a chance of winning up to about 600 euros? Fed up with packed trains and metros during morning peak periods? Then read on. A solution may be at hand. The Dutch Railways (NS) and public transport undertakings … Continue reading

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