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With the coming revisions to the Concessions Directive no later than April 2019, the exceptions for water supply and sanitation systems are up for debate again. A new study looks at the water management of six european countries (AT, DE, HU, FR, PT, UK) and demonstrates that public providers do not fall behind private ones, they even show better results in some respects.

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On 3 December 2018, a strident demonstration with the participation of AK EUROPA took place in Brussels, demanding significant improvements to the Mobility Package under the slogan “Better no deal than a bad deal”. In the end, the Council was able to find the sufficient majority for a compromise, which, according to EU Commissioner Violeta Bulc, “nobody is really happy about.”

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A policy which only aims at promoting recycling – which was the main focus so far of the waste management regulations in the EU circular economy package – is not enough. The facts available today are sufficient to justify more extensive measures. Nevertheless further research is still required, which must be carried out just as ambitiously. The “Reasons for and objectives of the proposal” could be supplemented with additional data and facts to support the proposal.

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Werner Hochreiter

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The European Court of Auditors has issued a Special Report on passenger and air passenger rights. In doing so he clearly illustrated the problems incurred by passengers: there is a lack of information and practical enforcement. In a parallel vote, Parliament voted in favour of significantly increasing rail passenger rights.

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It was a Commission proposal, which caused a stir - especially in Austria: in May 2017, the European Commission presented the amendment of the Road Infrastructure Charging Directive, which among other provided for a ban of time-dependent toll systems for passenger cars from 2027. This would mean nothing less than a ban of vignettes on Austria’s motorways.

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On 24 October 2018, the European Parliament in Strasbourg voted on the Proposal for a Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. A large majority of MEPs voted in favour of the parliamentary report, which includes some later improvements. This could mean a significant improvement for environmental conditions throughout Europe.

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In its proposal last year concerning the reduction targets of CO2 emissions for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the European Commission recommended a reduction of 30 % by 2030, which was criticised in many quarters as insufficient. The European Parliament voted on this issue on 3 October 2018 and agreed on a reduction of 40 % by 2030. In doing so, the European Parliament meets its environmental responsibility and decides to promote and support innovative and sustainable developments within the European Union.

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On 10 September 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, which is responsible for this Directive Proposal, decided in favour of ambitious targets covering higher CO2 emission limits than comprised in the proposal presented by the Commission. From the Chamber of Labour’s point of view, this is a positive development as the Commission’s proposal does not contain enough ambitious measures to reduce passenger car emissions. The opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism would have provided for even weaker targets than the Commission proposal.

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BAK welcomes the further expansion of the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) and the availability of European co-financing. However, it disapproves of the use of funds from the Connection Europe Facility (CEF) for military purposes. In order for Austria to be able to fully benefit from co-financing, it would have to deviate from its neutrality status.

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Thomas Hader

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On 10th September 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted on the proposal on a recast of the Drinking Water Directive. The Citizens’ Initiative “Right2Water”, which had been supported by the Chamber of Labour, demands the enshrinement of a human right to clean and affordable drinking water for all Europeans. However, this demand was not as distinctly implemented as it would be necessary from the AK’s point of view. That is why improvements are needed for the plenary vote scheduled for October.