Archive for the ‘European politics’ Category

Bulgaria among the Countries with Largest share of Old Aircraft

In 2017, air transport operators in the European Union (EU) ran a total of 6 711 aircraft, used for passengers or freight. This number excludes piston planes, helicopters and aircrafts with a maximum take-off weight of less than 2 600 kg.

From the total EU aircraft fleet, around one fifth (21%) of the aircraft were aged less than 5 years. Almost one third of the aircraft (27%) were 5 to 9 years old and 19% were 10 to 14 years old. The remaining third of the aircraft (34%) were 15 to 19 years old (17%) or 20 years or over (17%).

1 in 5 EU aircraft operated in the United Kingdom

In 2017, the United Kingdom was the leading aircraft operator in the EU, running more than 1 312 aircraft. In other words, UK-based operators accounted for almost one in every five EU aircraft (20%). Following them were Germany with 1 100 aircraft (16% of the EU aircraft fleet), France (571 aircraft, 9%), Ireland (569 aircraft, 8%) and Spain (509 aircraft, almost 8%).

Largest share of old aircraft operated in Sweden, Lithuania and Croatia, lowest in Finland and Luxembourg

Across the EU Member States, over half the aircraft fleet was aged 20 or more in Sweden (55%), Lithuania (52%) and Croatia (50%). Aircraft aged 20 years or more also made up more than a third of the fleet in Bulgaria (44%), Cyprus (40%), Romania (39%) and Denmark (35%).

In contrast, operators in Finland had no aircraft aged 20 years or over, whist this share was less than 10% in Luxembourg (3%), Czechia (6%), Ireland and Austria (both 7%) as well as the Netherlands (slightly below 10%).

A significant share of the fleet was made up of recent aircraft (aged less than 5 years) in Hungary (49%) and Malta (42%). The next in the ranking were Luxembourg (31%), Finland (30%), Ireland and Spain (both 27%), the Netherlands (25%) and the United Kingdom (23%).

In contrast, operators in Croatia and Cyprus had no aircraft that were less than 5 years old. In a further 9 EU Member States fewer than 10% of the aircraft fleet were made up of aircraft less than 5 years old: Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia (each 4%), Slovenia (5%), Romania (6%), Czechia, Estonia and Italy (each 7%) as well as Greece (little below 10%).

The survey was published on the Eurostat official website.

Donald Tusk: Brexit – One of the Most Spectacular Mistakes in the EU History

In an interview with the British Guardian and six other European publications, former European Council President Donald Tusk said Brexit has been “one of the most spectacular mistakes” in the history of the EU and followed a campaign marked by “an unprecedented readiness to lie”, BGNES reported.

In his first interview since leaving office last week, Donald Tusk said Brexit was one of  “the most painful and saddest experience” of his five years in office, a tumultuous period marked by the Greek eurozone crisis, bitter rows over migration and the election of Donald Trump, The Guardian reported.

Tusk contradicted some other European leaders, saying that it was still better for both the EU and the UK if Brexit did not happen. Many diplomats fear a second referendum leading to a remain result would mean festering divisions in the UK that would block the EU from making decisions – a view Tusk strongly rejected.

Donald Tusk blames former British Prime Minister David Cameron for "the mistake of organizing a referendum he had no chance of winning." Tusk criticizes French Prime Minister Emmanuel

Macron for saying that "NATO is in a brain death" and refusing to open EU membership talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania.

“If we want to treat Macron as a future leader for the whole of Europe, in a political sense, then for this we need a politician who feels more responsible for the EU as a whole and not only for France,” Tusk said. He compared Macron to Angela Merkel, who is campaigning for the integration of the six Western Balkan countries, stating that she is always ready to think of Europe as a whole and sacrifice some domestic and national interests to protect Europe as a whole.

Many Flights Will Be Canceled due to Strike in France

France's air and rail traffic will be disrupted today due to a strike against pension reform, BTA reported.

The French National Railway Company (SNCF) has warned that 90% of high-speed trains and 70% of regional trains will be canceled tomorrow.

According to DGAC, 20% of flights operated by Charles de Gaulle, Orly, Beauvais, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux will be canceled because of the strike. Air France will not operate more than ¼ of the scheduled domestic flights and about 10% of mid-range flights.

A big strike took place yesterday in France. In Paris, 11 subway lines were completely shut down and many of the Paris suburban trains were canceled. Only 30% of buses and trams were on the move.

The EC Meets Without Using any Paper for the First Time

The first meeting of the European Commission chaired by Ursula von der Layen today was held without any paper. This was announced by Von der Leyen. She noted that this is a new step in the work of the committee, BTA reported.

We still have many important tasks to do, but it is an important first step, she added. Von der Leyen has announced that her cabinet will consist of staff from 16 nationalities. She called the commissioners to try to achieve similar cultural diversity too.

"As you know, I have asked to include at least 50 per cent women in all our Cabinets at administrative level. We have reached that goal for the very first time. This is a little revolution, I am proud of that. At the same time, it should be normal – it should not be an issue. And we have asked to bring as many nationalities as possible to the respective Cabinets. I am proud to say that we have in my Cabinet 16 different nationalities and I have encouraged my colleagues to raise the number of nationalities in their teams, too."

She announced that the committee would continue to hear a report on external action every week.



EC Report about the State of Health in the EU

The European Commission published the reports that depict the profile of health systems in 30 countries. Country Health Profiles are being issued with the Companion Report that shows some of the biggest trends in the transformation of the healthcare systems and draws key conclusions from the Profiles.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Various surveys and debates across Europe prove us that health ranks among the top priorities of European citizens. I am particularly glad that health promotion and disease prevention are finally getting the attention they need. I am therefore very proud to have initiated the State of Health in the EU cycle and delivered two cycles together with the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies for 28 EU Member States, plus Norway and Iceland. I can clearly see that this robust country-specific and cross-EU knowledge feeds into both national policymaking and EU level cooperation. I hope my successor will continue this exercise and that more Member States will follow up the voluntary- basis discussions on its findings and share best practices.”

The Country Health Profiles provide an in-depth analysis of health systems, looking at the health of the population and important risk factors, as well as the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of health systems in each EU Member State. They clearly reflect shared objectives across the Member States, and reveal potential areas where the Commission can encourage mutual learning and exchange of good practices.

The Companion Report brings out some of the biggest trends in the transformation of our health systems:

  • Vaccine hesitancy is a major public health threat all across Europe, which can be tackled by improving health literacy, countering disinformation and actively involving health workers.
  • The digital transformation of health promotion and disease prevention can result in winners and losers. People who would most benefit from mobile health and other such digital tools may be the least likely to have easy access to it.
  • Gaps in health care accessibility are still very much a reality in the EU. Both the clinical needs and socioeconomic characteristics of patients need to be accounted for when measuring access to health care and its many barriers.
  • Skill mix innovations among the health workforce show great potential for increasing the resilience of health systems. Promising examples of task shifting among health workers are found across the EU, particularly when it comes to enhancing the role of nurses and pharmacists.
  • The product life cycle of medicines reveals ample scope for Member State cooperation in ensuring safe, effective and affordable therapies, including everything from rational spending to responsible prescribing.


In 2016, the European Commission launched the State of Health in the EU cycle of knowledge brokering, to assist EU Member States in improving the health of their citizens and the performance of their health systems. The reports fill a knowledge gap of a context-sensitive, comprehensive analysis and insights that has been identified as a major obstacle for health policymakers. The reports have been widely used by national authorities.

Juncker: The Blocking of Negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania Is Shameful

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, wrote a daily editorial on Politico on his last business day, according to BGNES.

In it, Juncker takes a backward glance at the weaknesses and successes of his five-year term as head of the European executive branch.

"If Europe's strength is to be a trusted partner, someone who can be counted on to defend a global order based on multilateral rules, our weakness is that we do not keep our promises - ours and those of our international allies. The best example is our enlargement policy and the shameful inability of European leaders to keep their promises to start accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania, once these governments have fulfilled the necessary criteria. Respect must be earned and if we want to maintain confidence in us, we must do what we said we would do - inside and out," Juncker wrote in his farewell comment.

Study: Europeans Want the EU to Take More Measures to Improve the Air Quality

A majority of EU citizens expect additional measures for clean air. This is shown by the survey data presented  by the European Commission.

More than half of those surveyed believe that households, car and energy producers, farmers and utilities are not doing enough to improve the air quality.

Most citizens do not feel well aware of the air quality in their country. People believe that air quality has deteriorated in the last 10 years, although there is evidence of significant improvement.

According to most of the participants, air quality issues must first be addressed internationally.

The highest number of respondents (44 per cent) said that it would be best if a stricter monitoring of industrial pollution and energy production is applied.

70 percent of the respondents say that they have taken at least one action to reduce air pollution, and most often this is the purchase of energy-saving appliances. Over half  of the respondents claim that respiratory and heart diseases, as well as allergies, are a very serious problem in their countries.

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