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As part of implementing the Green Deal to turn Europe into a climate-neutral continent by 2050, the European Commission launched the next legislative package on 26 October 2022 to achieve cleaner air and water. However, another priority is to improve the options for compensation in case of infringements.

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On 5 October 2022, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution, which identifies the right to clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right. This resolution underlines the EU’s commitment to ensure that all people worldwide have appropriate access to water and to take further action to achieve this objective.

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The proposal by the EU Commission to classify, subject to requirements, natural gas and nuclear energy as "green" to provide private investors with guidance on the financial market, was met with plenty of resistance over recent months. However, at the vote on 6 July 2022, the EU Parliament did not veto the proposal. As a result and in accordance with the Taxonomy Regulation, investments in gas and nuclear energy will be classified as sustainable from January 2023 – provided they fulfil the requirements.

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Regarding the proposed guidelines of the EU-Commission for the interpretation of the Public Service Obligations Regulation (PSO), AK commissioned a legal opinion evaluating whether direct awards in rail transport are still covered by them or not. Among other things, the legal opinion concludes that the proposed guidelines contradict both the text and the aim of the PSO regulation in this regard.

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There were turbulent scenes in the plenary of the European Parliament on 8 June 2022: the vote on Parliament’s position on the Emission Trading System did not result in a majority for the final report. As a result, voting on the Social Climate Fund and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism was suspended and all three dossiers were referred back to the Environment Committee.

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The EU Commission is currently working on guidelines, which would make direct awards in public transport significantly more difficult. To address this subject, AK EUROPA, together with ÖGB, vida and the European Transport Workers Federation ETF hosted a webinar, where speakers made it clear: Member States should still have the choice whether they want competitive tendering or directly award transport services.

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The Brussels Office of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (AK EUROPA), the Brussels Office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), the Austrian Transport & Services Union (vida) and the European Transport Worker´s Federation (ETF) are pleased to invite you to our webinar.

Date Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 14:00
End Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 15:30
Venue

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On 27 April 2022, the Vice President of the EU Commission, Věra Jourová, presented a Directive proposal to protect journalists and human rights defenders against abusive intimidation lawsuits, so-called “SLAPPs“.

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The railway systems in Switzerland and Austria are widely regarded as the best in Europe. In both countries, most of the railway services are awarded directly. A new study commissioned by AK concludes that the PSO Regulation still entitles Member States and authorities to choose equally between direct awarding and competitive tendering. The new guidelines for the PSO Regulation on which the Commission is currently working should therefore retain this freedom of choice between direct awarding and competitive tendering.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us

Heinz Hoegelsberger

Peter Hilpold (Brussels office)

Contact by email

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In December 2021, the EU Commission presented new proposals on modernising the EU transport system. Amending the Directive on Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) shall improve connectivity, shift passenger and freight transport to rail and promote the implementation of new digital technologies. AK and vida welcome a speedy completion of the TEN-T Network. However, the measures announced fall short of expectations in terms of regulations on employees and rail transport.