Europe News March 4

The information below is from the euractiv website for more detailed information on these and other items please go to

Air pollution forces Barcelona to ban old cars from roads
Barcelona will ban cars that are older than 20 years from the roads during the week to cut traffic emissions by 30% over 15 years. EURACTIV’s partner The Guardian reports.  The measure – a joint initiative between the city council, the Catalan government and other metropolitan bodies – will come into force on 1 January 2019 and will cover Barcelona and the 39 surrounding municipalities. Under the terms of the agreement, it will be prohibited to drive private cars registered before January 1997 and vans registered before October 1994 on working days.

EU unveils Syria reconstruction plan
The EU unveiled an ambitious plan  (14 March) to support the reconstruction of war-torn Syria, calling it a “dividend” to encourage warring parties to reach a peace deal.

Climate change to hit Mediterranean with more forest fires
Climate change means the risk of forest fires will skyrocket in Mediterranean Europe in the coming decades, according to a new study. Existing fire prevention measures will be inadequate, so a change of strategy will be needed. EURACTIV Spain reports.  The University of Barcelona study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, analysed a number of models related to summer Burning Areas (BA) and the climate indicators linked to them.

Prostitution legal in several EU countries, but Nordic Model could change that

MEPs, feminists and police officers met today, on International Women’s Day (8 March), at the European Parliament, to discuss a new approach to criminalising prostitution: the Nordic Model.

First introduced in Sweden, the model focuses on acknowledging prostitutes as victims instead of independent workers. The model aims to get prostitutes help instead of jail time while prosecuting the “real” culprits: the buyers. Laws are signals: Europe could learn from Sweden on human trafficking prevention To reduce the demand for human trafficking, legislation should shift the criminal burden onto those who purchase sexual services, rather than those who sell it, argues Linnéa Engstrom.  Legalising and regulating prostitution can contribute to the fight against people trafficking, but more measures are needed, according to a new study. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Sefcovic debriefs following landmark US visit

Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič told the Brussels press yesterday (13 March) about his visit to the US last week (6-9 March), which was also one of the first meetings of the EU executive with the new administration of Donald Trump.

Šefčovič was not the first Commissioner to visit the United States following Trump’s election. EU’ foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos already visited Washington. From the US, the highest level visit to Brussels so far was made by Vice President Mike Pence. US Vice President Mike Pence appeared to row back on President Donald Trump’s statements against NATO and the European Union in his first visit to Brussels