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SOTEU: Big ambitions must match with realism
SMEunited supports the vision and ambitions put forward by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her first State of the European Union Speech. "In order to make them a reality we now urgently need to move to action", says President Maggiar. SMEs expect concrete next steps and realistic time frames to master the adaptation to a fairer, greener and more digital economy.

#SOTEU EU ups climate target - Friends of the Earth reaction
Reacting to Ursula von der Leyen's State of the Union speech this morning in the European Parliament in Brussels, Jagoda Munic, director, Friends of the Earth Europe had this to say:

Climate: EU Commission steps up, but fails to clarify numbers
European Commission President Von der Leyen today announced an increase to the 2030 climate target, to 'at least 55%' emissions reductions. While this is a crucial step forward, it is still not enough to tackle the climate emergency - WWF is calling for a 2030 target of at least 65%. And there could be a catch to the Commission's suggestion target, making it less ambitious than it appears.

Climate target ambition must be matched by supportive EU policies, auto makers underline
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) takes note of the '2030 Climate Target Plan' unveiled today by the European Commission. The auto industry supports the European Union's long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050, and wants to play its part in making Europe the first climate-neutral continent.

Retail vital to European Recovery, but needs help - investments and the right policies
Speaking today at a virtual conference held by the World Retail Congress, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren set out the challenges facing retail across Europe and the vital role of the sector in supporting European economic recovery:

Only weeks left to save EU and UK auto sectors from EUR 110 billion 'no deal' Brexit disaster
With just 15 weeks before the Brexit transition period expires, European automotive industry leaders have today joined forces to call for the EU and UK to secure an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) without further delay.

MEPs support 60 per cent climate target
Today the European Parliament's Environment Committee took steps towards turning its 'climate emergency' declaration into action, but stopped too soon.

100-Year-Old Hungarian Forest at Tiszaug Falls Victim to Illegal Clear-Cutting, Again
Another illegal clear-cutting took place in a protected state forest area near Tiszaug in August.

Survey: Consumers see potential of artificial intelligence but raise serious concerns
According to a survey conducted by consumer groups in nine EU countries published today, consumers believe that artificial intelligence (AI) can bring benefits. However, when asked to evaluate the added value of a number of specific services which already today use AI technology - e.g. home virtual assistants or advertisement on e-commerce sites - most respondents are not convinced.

Forest fire emergency demands ambitious EU action now
Global fire alerts as of April 2020 are already up 13% compared to 2019 - which was a record year for fires - a new WWF report finds.

Sea Tech Week® goes virtual
This year the International Marine & Science Technology Week, better known as Sea Tech Week®, is moving online. Its organisers are determined to reproduce the trade fair faithfully in its new virtual format. This year's theme, 'Observation: From Seabed to Space' offers an expansive launchpad for professionals including 30 e-conferences from 12th - 16th October.

'New genetic engineering' techniques associated with numerous risks
A new scientific paper published in the Environmental Sciences Europe journal gives an overview of the risks associated with genome editing procedures (new genetic engineering) for plants and animals. The risks are not only restricted to a wide range of unintended effects that can be triggered by the process of genome editing. There are also risks associated with the intended biological characteristics generated through genome editing.

Nearly 200 new dams planned in European protected areas, new study finds
While freshwater biodiversity is already in crisis, protected areas are no longer a safe shelter as 509 dams are planned or under construction within them worldwide, adding to the 1,249 large dams already located in protected areas. Europe is not spared, with 40% of the planned dams (196) located in the continent.

COVID: Stakes are high for European automotive recovery, new facts and figures show
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has published its annual Pocket Guide that provides an overview of the EU auto industry, including the latest sector-specific data on employment, vehicle production and sales, road safety, R&D, the environment and trade flows.

EU and UK SMEs urge for an agreement on Brexit
In a letter to the Brexit negotiators SMEunited reiterates the necessity to promptly reach an agreement defining the framework for the future EU-UK relations. EU and UK SMEs are concerned that there is still no progress in negotiations. They urge for a robust trade agreement which supports the integrity of the Single Market whilst maintaining close business relations between the EU and the UK.

BEUC reports major airlines for breaching passenger rights and calls for industry investigation
Following thousands of complaints from upset airline passengers, BEUC - and 11 of its member organisations - have reported some major airlines to national consumer protection authorities and the European Commission for breaching passenger rights and for using unfair commercial practices. BEUC and its members are also asking for a broad investigation of the sector regarding wide-spread unfair practices during the last few months.

EU Recovery Package: a brave step but lacks SME component
SMEunited welcomes the European Council deal on the Recovery package. European leaders took an important step, which is a strong sign of cross-border solidarity amid the pandemic. However, important instruments for SMEs were cut severely.

EU top court sides with consumer privacy in EU-US data shambles
The Court of Justice of the EU today decided to invalidate the EU-US Privacy Shield.

Simplification of Taxation and Fight Against Tax Fraud vital to driving recovery
EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented on today's publication of the European Commission "Action Plan to fight against tax evasion and to make taxation simple and easy":

Consumers to get financial breathing space with debt and insurance relief
New guidelines issued to financial institutions will offer some welcome breathing space to consumers who have been hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hydrogen strategy opens arms to fossil fuels
The EU hydrogen strategy, published today, risks delaying industrial decarbonisation by keeping the door wide open for fossil fuels such as gas.

MEPs vote for gas, against a real just transition
Today MEPs voted in committee to allow gas to receive Just Transition funding, potentially locking European communities into fossil fuels for decades to come.

Wildlife trafficking found online in EU - reports
WWF and TRAFFIC are launching two reports related to the fight against wildlife cybercrime in the European Union. In the first study, researchers monitored social media and e-commerce websites focusing on the Belgian and Dutch markets for rare protected species of reptiles and birds between July and September 2019. They found more than 100 suspicious posts selling at least 93 bird and 94 reptile specimens in these two countries. The second report highlights potential technological solutions, such as data mining and machine learning software, to tackle wildlife cybercrime in the EU.

'Unholy alliance' of MEPs must not allow gas in Just Transition fund
The European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI) is voting on the EU Just Transition Fund - which aims to support EU regions in their transition to climate neutrality - on 6 July.

Low-carbon aluminium can help power Europe's COVID-19 recovery package
Low-carbon 'green' aluminium can help power Europe's COVID-19 recovery package and the EU's climate transition strategy, En+ Group executive chair Lord Barker said at a meeting Wednesday.