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Photo: Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides

 

LAUNCH OF THE EUROPEAN INNOVATION COUNCIL: EC PRESIDENT VON DER LEYEN “EUROPE OPEN TO INNOVATION”

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, opened the event for the launch of the new European Innovation Council (EIC) with her speech, in which she pointed out that “this launch could not come at a better time. As we will emerge from the pandemic, innovation will be key for the success of our digital and our green agenda.”

 

The EC President described EIC as an authentic ecosystem giving entrepreneurs several opportunities to set up a world-leading company. With the European Innovation Council, EU will make EUR 10 billion available until 2027 to fund small and medium-size companies with high risk but also high potential. The Council will support innovative researchers that have ideas for the next breakthrough technology. Furthermore, it will offer coaching, matchmaking and support to set up European businesses.

Combining research on emerging technologies with an accelerator programme and a dedicated equity fund, the European Innovation Council will help Europe to ‘build forward’ better: more sustainable, more digital and more resilient.

EU PLAFTORM ON FOOD WASTE: A JOINT EFFORT TO FIGHT FOOD LOSSES IN EUROPE

On March 18, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, attended the 10th meeting of the EU platform on food waste and losses, during which several ongoing initiatives to prevent food waste and losses were discussed.

During the meeting, the Commissioner provided an update on the flagship initiatives to reduce food losses in the field of the “producer to consumer” strategy, as well as the work on food waste measurement, the definition of the EU objectives for the reduction of food waste and the activities related to the indication of the date of consumption. Furthermore, Member States and private sector organizations explained how the platform’s activities supported their action, as well as the international organizations updated the platform on the latest developments worldwide, including the preparatory work in view of the UN Food Systems Summit of 2021.

In this regard, the Commissioner Kyriakides declared: “While the world continues to face an unprecedented health crisis, we are concentrating our efforts to achieve a green and sustainable recovery thanks to the European Green Deal. The fight against food losses and waste is crucial for a sustainable food system and Member States and companies should integrate these actions in their recovery plans. At EU level, the Commission will propose objectives to reduce food losses throughout the Union and the revision of the indication rules of the date of consumption to improve consumer understanding.”

 

EC PROPOSES A DIGITAL GREEN CERTIFICATE TO ENSURE FREE CIRCULATION WITHIN THE EU DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

This week the European Commission has proposed the adoption of a digital green certificate aimed at facilitating the free movement within EU borders for those who can prove to be vaccinated against Covid-19, or resulted negative to a Covid-test or recovered from the virus. It will be free of charge, available in the digital or paper format and will be provided with a QR code to indicate the authenticity of the document. Furthermore, the Commission will help Member States in the implementation of the measure although those are responsible to decide if and which public health restrictions could be applied to travelers, including Digital Green Certificate holders.

The Digital Green Certificate will be valid in all EU Member States and open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It should be issued to EU citizens but also to non-EU nationals who reside in the EU and to visitors who have the right to travel to other Member States. The Commission however specified the temporary nature of the Certificate which will be suspended under indications of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Moreover, in order to guarantee free movement across Member States before summer, it is necessary that this proposal is adopted rapidly by the European Parliament and the Council. The implementation of the Digital Green Certificate, together with its interoperability and respect of personal data, will be dealt with by Member States in the trust framework in order to complete the proposal and technical work soon.

On this matter, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, VÄ›ra Jourová commented the initiative as a mean to prompt digital harmonization concerning free movement in the EU and non-discriminatory treatment in the recovery from the pandemic. On the same line, Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders stated the importance of adopting a common EU approach to influence global standards and represent an example based on European values such as data protection.

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