In the framework of the EU Green Week, the European Commission launches a new Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity: a one-stop shop for science-based evidence to restore and protect the natural ecosystems that provide us with food, medicines, materials, recreation, and wellbeing. The Knowledge Centre will make the latest knowledge about biodiversity available to strengthen the impact of EU policies.
It will also help to monitor the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by the end of the decade. Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Only what gets measured gets done. If we want to deliver on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, we need to better connect all the dots, and for this we need sound data. Be it on the status of pollinators, environmental impact of pesticides, the value of nature for business or the economic rationale of nature-based solutions. We also need to make full use of the digital transformation, Earth observation and citizen science. The new knowledge centre will bring all this together, improving the way we generate and manage biodiversity knowledge, for use across policy areas.”
Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, added: “Science has a crucial role to play in conserving our biodiversity. Led by our own scientists at the Joint Research Centre, the new Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity will help the European and global research community and policymakers to harvest and make sense of the vast array of information available, streamlining it into effective policies that protect Europe's ecosystems and the services they provide for European citizens.”
In addition, the first ever EU-wide ecosystem assessment has arrived, which finds that a wealth of biodiversity data exists that could help in taking the right action to alleviate pressures on our ecosystems, but much of it remains unused. The assessment shows that we are becoming more and more dependent on our ecosystems, which themselves remain under high pressure from the impacts of climate change and human activities. The Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity will directly address challenges uncovered by the assessment. More information is available here.
Boosting Offshore Renewable Energy for a Climate Neutral Europe
New EU industrial strategy: The challenges to tackle
MEPs want the EU's future industrial strategy to help businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis and face the digital and environmental transitions. Find out how.
European enterprises have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many have had to shut or reduce their workforce while finding new ways to work within new restrictive measures. Before making the necessary digital and green transitions, industry in the EU needs to recover from the pandemic.
During the November plenary, MEPs are set to reiterate their call for the European Commission to revise its March 2020 proposal on the EU's new industrial strategy. In a draft report adopted on 16 October, the members of the industry, research and energy committee demanded a shift in the EU approach to industrial policy in the wake of the pandemic by helping businesses cope with the crisis and face the digital and environmental transitions.
How the Parliament foresees the EU's industry landscape
Industry represents more than 20% of the EU’s economy and employs about 35 million people, with many millions more jobs linked to it at home and abroad. In addition it accounts for 80% of goods exports. The EU is also a top global provider and destination for foreign direct investment.
In the context of the new industrial strategy, the EU should enable companies to contribute to its climate-neutrality targets - as outlined in the Green Deal road map - support firms, particularly small and medium enterprises in the transition to a digital and carbon-neutral economy and help create high-quality jobs, without undermining the EU’s competitiveness.
According to MEPs; such a strategy should consist of two phases: a recovery phase to consolidate jobs, reactivate production and adapt to a post-COVID period; followed by reconstruction and industrial transformation.
Empowering smaller firms to achieve sustainable growth
Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the EU economy, accounting for more than 99% of all European business. The industrial strategy should focus on them, as many have contracted debts due to national coronarivus measures, reducing their investment capacity, which is likely to trigger sluggish growth in the long-term.
Helping industry recover from the socio-economic crisis
The COVID Recovery Fund is part of the first phase in responding to the emergency and should be distributed according to the level of damage suffered, challenges faced and amount of financial support already received through national aid schemes.
Preference should be given to companies and smaller firms oriented towards the digital and environmental transformation and thus investing in environmentally sustainable activities.
MEPs want to:
- Ensure that the green and digital transitions are fair and socially just and are followed by initiatives to train workers.
- Create a new impact assessment of the potential costs and burdens of the transition for European companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Make sure that state aid provided in the emergency phase does not lead to permanent distortions in the single market.
- Bring strategic industries back to the EU.
Investing in greener, digital and innovative enterprises
During the second phase, the industrial strategy should ensure competitiveness, resilience and long-term sustainability. Goals include:
- Focusing on the social aspects of the structural change.
- Revitalizing territories that rely on fossil fuels using the Just Transition Fund, which is part of the EU's climate finance plan.
- Ensuring EU subsidies go to environmentally sustainable companies and enhancing sustainable financing to companies in the decarbonisation process.
- Using the Border Carbon Adjustments mechanism to help protect EU manufacturers and jobs from unfair international competition.
- Having a research-based pharmaceutical industry and a medicine shortage risk mitigation plan.
- Exploiting the circular economy, privileging the "energy efficiency first" principle, energy savings and renewable energy technologies.
- Using gas to transition away from fossil fuels and hydrogen as a potential breakthrough technology.
- Investing in artificial intelligence and implementing a single European digital and data market, building a better digital taxation system and developing European standards on cybersecurity.
- Investing more in research and development.
- Revising EU antitrust rules to ensure global competitiveness.
Boosting offshore renewable energy for a Climate Neutral Europe
To help meet the EU’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050, the European Commission today (19 November) presents the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy and proposes ambitious new targets for the development of this important European industry and energy source. Future growth will be based on the vast potential across all of Europe’s sea basins and on the global leadership position of European companies in the sector.
European Green Deal Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson are holding a press conference on the above issue, which you can follow live on EbS.
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