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ISSUE 55 page 8

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Sites of Interest
New ‘unofficial’ web site wants to ‘communicate Europe’
 AFTER THE REJECTION OF THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION BY FRENCH AND DUTCH voters in in 2006, much thought was given by EU leaders on how to better communicate with European citizens.  Inevitably hopes were invested in the growing popularity of the Internet and then, particularly, the new social media. But while official web sites such as those of the European Commission and European Parliament became increasingly sophisticated, they remained the ‘official version’. Now ‘Toute l’Europe’, a French Internet portal covering European affairs, has launched a new site called ‘The European Parliament in Action’ .
which aims to involve the public without getting ‘lost in the details of the debate’ according to editor-in-chief Emilie Louis:‘We want citizens to understand the big topics so that they are more interested and participate’. The pages looked attractive when the European Review visited the site with sections named ‘Understanding the Parliament’, ‘Follow the committees’, ‘Experience the plenary sessions’ and ‘Give your opinion’ plus embedded links to Twitter and Faceboook. However, betraying its Francophone origins, all the comments on the ‘EP Wall’ were in French

'The European Parliament in action' front page



 Web sites and reports mentioned in this section are available at:
 The European Parliament in Action
European Chemicals Agency
 European Registry of Internet Domain Names
ECHA to publish company names
Belgian anti-Google ruling angers consumer group
IT IS NOT UNKNOWN IN THE FIELD OF HEALTH AND SAFETY for commercial interests to run contrary to those of the general public and the battleground is often access to information. So it has proved at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). As manufacturers and users of chemicals registered hazardous substances with the organisation they wanted to hide their identity to protect both commercial secrets and their reputation. However there is an obvious public interest in knowing who is using what toxin. The conundrum has been solved by a European Commission opinion that the names of registrants must be published on the ECHA web site unless companies can give a valid justification to the contrary.
GOOGLE, THE US-BASED INTERNET SEARCH COMPANY, has suffered a setback in a Belgian court which has thrown out its appeal against a previous decision that it must stop publishing headlines and extracts from newspapers in its Google News service. Copiepresse, which represents French and German language papers in Belgium, complained that their copyright was being infringed. Google claimed that it gives publishers the ability to either opt out or restrict access by Google News to their titles. The European consumer group BEUC said that an EU copyright exception which was designed to help schools has been restricted by the court ruling and fears that it will have a similar impact on the new Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement directive.
.eu reaches fifth birthday
 FIVE YEARS AGO THE TOP-LEVEL domain name .eu, equivalent to .com or .uk. was launched by the European Registry of Internet Domain Names (EURid) agency, which was appointed by the European Commission to administrate the address (see issue 33). Since then there have been several hundred registrations per day until Germany, for instance, has more than a million .eu web sites, more than have been registered as their own .de in the same period. The next two countries where the domain is most numerous are the Netherlands and the UK while its fastest adoption has happened in Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Lithuania. Basques have used it as a national moniker as the first two letters of their language, Euskara.  British Socialist MEP Arlene McCarthy recalled that initially ‘there was a lot of scepticism [but] five years on we have proven that it has been efficient, effective and of benefit to business’.  

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