Food crops used to fuel cars are pushing up food prices and displacing production to elsewhere, with serious social and environmental consequences; yet fierce lobbying by the agrofuels industry is diluting and undermining any action taken, as the European Parliament's disappointing recent vote on the topic demonstrated.
July 4th 2013Revolving doors
The European Parliament has this week adopted the new Staff Regulations. CEO welcomes the steps in the right direction, to help curb conflicts of interest that arise through revolving door between public officials and corporate lobbyists. These include a cooling-off period on certain lobby jobs for senior officials, as well as transparency around these cases. But ending the privileged access and undue influence that the revolving door gives to big business and their lobby groups will require more.
June 20th 2013Revolving doors
After months and months of delay on the review of the rules that govern EU insitution staff – the Staff Regulations – the Commission, Parliament and Council are now finalising the process known as trialogues, where they hash out agreement on the contentious issues and the finer details. It is in these final stages that, amongst the difficult issues of staff pay cuts and working hours, the importance of ensuring robust and far-reaching rules to govern conflicts of interest that arise through the revolving-door must be remembered.
At the end of June, the European Union and the US will officially launch negotiations for a new free trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The plan is to create the world's largest free trade area, 'protect' investment and harmonize regulation. While appealing to big business, the trade treaty poses a serious threat for citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, as it could weaken labour, social, environmental and consumer protection standards. One of the greatest risks includes US negotiators using the trade deal to push for the EU to open its plates and fields up to GM crops.
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