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Europe unaware of the hepatitis crisis, say patient organisations

22 May, 2015 - 15:24

The number Europeans living with hepatitis B and C is growing, particularly in Eastern Europe. But access to treatments remains scarce, due to funding problems and a lack of awareness of the problem, say patient groups.

Over the past four decades, there has been a significant increase in Europeans affected by hepatitis B and C. These diseases kill around 120,000 people in Europe every year. However, in the case of hepatitis C, many are unaware that they have the disease, caused by a virus that primarily affects the liver, as hepatitus is often asymptomatic and progresses slowly.

‘Better Regulation’: Why Timmermans should go beyond the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

22 May, 2015 - 14:26

The need for robust, impartial evidence in impact assessment is understood by all. However, since its mandatory introduction in 2002, three key issues remain to be addressed - impartiality of evidence gathering, governance and scrutiny, writes Stijn Hoorens.

Fleckenstein: Western Balkan countries need more support

22 May, 2015 - 14:07

Western Balkans countries need to fully implement EU-related reforms, Knut Fleckenstein told EurActiv. However, the tough economic situation has made it difficult for them to do so.

Knut Fleckenstein is Vice-President of the Socialists and Democrats. He spoke to EurActive Greece’s Sarantis Michalopoulos.

The Albanian premier recently talked in favor of the “unification of Albanians from Albania and Kosovo”. How can such statements accelerate Tirana’s EU path? Have you talked about it with Edi Rama?

Russia warns it could block Google, Twitter and Facebook

22 May, 2015 - 10:47

Russia's media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said Thursday (21 May) that they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules.

Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three US-based firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship.

"In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation," said spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky.

Fighting school segregation in Europe

22 May, 2015 - 10:12

All member states align their anti-discrimination legislation with the EU Race Equality Directive. However, local and central institutions do not consistently enforce it, argue Margareta Matache and Arlen Fuller.

Dr. Margareta Matache is an instructor at Harvard’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. Arlan Fuller is the Executive Director at the Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.

Troubled ITER looks for new path

22 May, 2015 - 07:57

Bedevilled by technical delays, labyrinthine decision-making and cost estimates that have soared from five to around fifteen billion euros, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is saddled with a reputation as a money pit.

Launched in 2006 after years of wrangling, it may be another four years before ITER carries out its first experiment. But, insists its new boss, a page has been turned.

Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria embark on gas pipeline project

22 May, 2015 - 07:56

At the Riga summit yesterday (21 May) Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania signed a Joint Declaration backing the idea of building the Eastring gas pipeline, designed to link Central with Southeastern Europe. However the name Eastring doesn’t appear in the document.

In an exclusive interview with EurActiv on 7 May, Mirek Topolánek, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, provided ample explanation of the project.

Fistula is continuing to destroy lives in the developing world

22 May, 2015 - 07:50

The EU can play a major role in ending the devastation of fistula for many of the world’s most marginalised women and girls, writes Hilde Vautmans.

Hilde Vautmans is a Belgian member of the European Parliament from the liberal ALDE group.

Cameron to hold first talks with EU on reform demands

22 May, 2015 - 07:40

Newly re-elected British Prime Minister David Cameron will have his first talks with other European Union leaders on Friday (22 May) on reforms he is seeking to the EU before holding a referendum by the end of 2017, on Britain's membership.

Biomass will play a critical role in Europe's energy future

22 May, 2015 - 07:28

Biomass is the only renewable, affordable energy source available on-demand. European countries need to make sure it is sourced sustainably, writes Philip Lowe.

Merkel tells Eastern partners not to expect too much

22 May, 2015 - 07:17

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the EU's eastern partners yesterday (21 May) not to expect too much of the bloc and warned Russia to mend its ways over Ukraine if it wanted to rejoin the G7.

At the same time, Merkel, who has played a key role in Ukraine peace efforts, said Russia had no reason to fear closer ties between the 28-nation bloc and six of its Soviet-era satellites.

"The Eastern Partnership is not aimed against anyone, especially not against Russia," Merkel told the German parliament before leaving for the two-day summit in Riga.

Commission set to dump EU alcohol strategy

22 May, 2015 - 07:00

Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU's Health and Food Safety Commissioner, said that the executive has no intention of submitting a new strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm in Europe, suggesting that the issue will be tackled as part of a broad range of "risk factors" affecting chronic diseases.

The EU’s latest strategy to tackle alcohol abuse expired in 2013, after seven years, and was not replaced by a new one.

Immigrants boost Germany's skilled labour force

22 May, 2015 - 06:52

The number of workers in so-called MINT jobs is rising in Germany, thanks to immigration from other EU countries. However, companies are suffering from a latent lack of skilled workers, partly due to xenophobia in eastern German states. EurActiv Germany reports.

ACP: Destroying boats is not a solution to migration

22 May, 2015 - 06:42

The Secretary-General of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of states said yesterday (21 May) that his organisation was against the EU’s idea of destroying the boats of human traffickers, who make fortunes by luring prospective immigrants into risky journeys across the Mediterranean.

Parliament puts development aid objectives in the spotlight

22 May, 2015 - 06:31

The European Parliament has called on member states to honour their promise of dedicating 0.7% of gross national product to development aid by 2020. France hopes to sidestep binding time limits. EurActiv France reports

German government to boost organic farming

22 May, 2015 - 06:21

Germany is hungry for organic products. But, despite good market conditions, and heavy marketing, organic farmers are not reaping their share of the boom’s benefits, something Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt intends to change. EurActiv Germany reports.

A boost for patient safety in the EU: What about the member states?

21 May, 2015 - 15:40

Lack of political will and action at European level are among the main culprits behind the 37,000 deaths caused by healthcare associated infections each year, writes Magdalena Kalata.

Access to EU energy market vital for UK, says National Grid CEO

21 May, 2015 - 15:20

A place in Europe's energy market is vital for Britain, the head of National Grid said on Thursday (21 May), joining an increasing chorus of business leaders speaking out on the impact of a European Union referendum.

The operator of gas pipelines and power cables, one of the top 20 UK companies by market capitalisation, is investing heavily in building new power lines to the continent and manages Britain's gas and power exchanges with its neighbours on a daily basis.

The EU and Turkey must overcome a decade-long impasse in negotiations

21 May, 2015 - 14:32

In light of the slow, almost non-existent, progress of in Turkey's EU accession talks, some political groups in the European Parliament have called for a reassessment of the relationship. It would be a terrible mistake, write Ernest Maragall and Laura Batalla.

Irish vote on same-sex marriage: Why it is (also) the business of business

21 May, 2015 - 14:24

Many companies have jumped on the bandwagon of supporting marriage equality, but only a select few of them are consistent, plausible, and authentic in their efforts, write Florian Wettstein and Dorothea Baur.