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New proposals to promote recovery and protect the quality of life
To seek new ways out from the economic crisis while seeking to promote improved quality of life in the European Union. Various recent initiatives by the EU Commission follow this direction, the latest and most recent in the areas of safety, “green” building and toys.
Security industry. Providing security “is a central concern of any society. Recent natural disasters and terrorist attacks have highlighted the need to be better prepared for crisis”. The European Commission has therefore proposed an action programme to boost Europe’s security industry, which in recent years registered growing trends. Its estimated market value is approximately €30 billion with around 180,000 employees. It includes the following sectors: aviation security, maritime security, border security, critical infrastructure protection, counter-terror intelligence (including cyber security and communication), physical security protection; crisis management and protective clothing. According to the Commission, “the programme should empower this industry - one of the sectors with the highest potential for growth and employment in the EU - to stay in Europe and to continue producing high quality security products”. The proposals of the Commission are geared at, inter alia, harmonising standards and certification procedures for security technologies; better “exploitation of synergies between civil security and defence research”; using “novel funding schemes such as Pre-commercial Procurement”; introducing checks “on the societal impact of new security technologies at the research stage”.
Sustainable buildings. Supporting low energy buildings helps combat the economic crisis whilst promoting the quality of life. These are the key elements of the strategy devised by the European Commission. The Executive’s initiative is based on the acknowledgement of the fundamental role of the building industry in EU economy, representing almost 10% of GDP and more than 20 million jobs in the EU. “Competitiveness in the construction sector can significantly influence the development of the overall economy”, made known the College chaired by José Manuel Barroso. Buildings’ energy performance and resource efficiency in manufacturing, transport and the use of products to construct buildings and infrastructures have an important impact on Europeans’ quality of life”. The EU Executive notes that “low energy buildings with high CO2 and energy cost saving potential still have a limited market uptake, despite their economic and environmental advantages”. The Commission’s proposals are meant to promote investments in particular in the renovation and maintenance of buildings” (for example, encouraging the take up of the package of up to €120 billion in loans available from the European Investment Bank), boosting innovation and improving worker’s qualifications by promoting mobility, as well as “promoting mutual recognition of sustainable construction systems in the EU”.
Be careful with toys. Never purchase toys without the CE label which “is a commitment from the toy maker that the toy complies with all applicable EU safety rules”; do not buy toys with small detachable parts for children under 3 years of age (“Choking is a particular risk for children under 3 years old”); read all warnings and instructions, “for example, toy skates, bikes and scooters require parental supervision and protective equipment such as helmets to be worn because of abrasion hazards”. These are some of the informations contained in the European Campaign on toy safety, launched this year by the Commission, which August 1 launched a new video for toy manufacturers and retailers, parents and children alike. “EU rules for toys impose the highest safety requirements in the world - the Executive states -. To ensure these laws are correctly implemented and effective we need to ensure they are applied in practice by reliable and trustworthy toy manufacturers and retailers”. In addition to efficient market surveillance by Member States’ authorities, “it’s important that consumers know what to look for when they buy toys for children. If one or more of these elements is missing, dangerous toys may still reach our children”. The video is available on the website dedicated to the campaign ec.europa.eu/enterprise/toys-tips[>>]. Romania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland and Italy make 80% of total EU toy production. The campaign will firstly be launched in these states. It continues in 2013, in order to cover all Member States.