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Competition: Commission publishes call for contributions on ‘Competition Policy supporting the Green Deal'

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The Commission has launched a call for contributions on how competition policy can further support the objectives of the European Green Deal.  The role of competition policy is to protect effective competition in markets, to the benefit of consumers and businesses. When it comes to fighting climate change and protecting the environment, competition policy cannot replace the vital role of regulation. It can and does however already contribute to the effectiveness of Europe's green policies and play a key supporting role, in helping Europe achieve its green goals, through the enforcement of the EU rules on antitrust, mergers and state aid.

The purpose of the call for contributions, which will be open until 20 November 2020, is to gather ideas and proposals from interested stakeholders, including competition experts, academia, industries, environmental groups and consumer organizations on how competition rules and sustainability policies work together and on whether they could work together even better in the future. The contributions received will feed into a conference early next year that will bring those different perspectives together.

Environment

President von der Leyen at EU Green Week 2020: On the way to Kunming

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Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave a speech at the closing session of the EU Green Week 2020. “Biodiversity is at the heart of [our] future and the future of our planet. There is no choice between nature on the one hand and the economy on the other. What is good for nature is good for the economy. Climate change and biodiversity loss are happening before our eyes. They amplify each other. The need to act has never been clearer. This is what is driving me as President of the European Commission.” 

In her speech, President von der Leyen called on all present to join forces to fight biodiversity loss and make Europe a global leader in this: “Today, we are calling on all to join our action to halt biodiversity loss. You are numerous today, coming from all parts of Europe, public and private sectors, small villages and big cities, start-ups, SMEs and multinationals. And there are more and more allies in the world: Development and humanitarian organizations; companies and cities; youth and faith organizations; and of course all countries and regions around the world who want to address biodiversity loss. We are teaming up. We are providing leadership to help us agree on a new Global Biodiversity Framework in Kunming next year. Global rules that are clear, measurable that allow us, to hold each other accountable. Let us act, each of us, with no delay. You can count on my commitment.”

The full speech is available online here.

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Environment

Commission launches Knowledge Centre to reverse biodiversity loss and protect Europe's ecosystems

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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.

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Agriculture

Commission welcomes Council agreement on future Common Agricultural Policy

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On 20 October, the Council agreed on its negotiating position, the so-called general approach, on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform proposals. The Commission welcomes this agreement, a decisive step towards entering the negotiation phase with the co-legislators.

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said: “I welcome the progress made and the general approach on the Common Agricultural Policy reached over the night. This is an important step for our farmers and our farming community. I am grateful for member states' constructive cooperation and I trust this agreement will help ensure that European agriculture can continue to provide economic, environmental and social benefits for our farmers and citizens in future.”

The European Parliament is also voting on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposals during the Plenary session, with voting sessions scheduled until today (23 October). Once the European Parliament agrees on a position for all three CAP reports, the co-legislators will be able to enter into the negotiation phase, with a view to reach an overall agreement.

The Commission presented its CAP reform proposals in June 2018, aiming at a more flexible, performance and results-based approach, while setting higher environmental and climate action ambitions. Following the adoption of the Farm to fork and biodiversity strategies, the Commission presented the CAP reform's compatibility with the Green Deal's ambition.

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