Brussels (AFP) – The European Union is to invest “more than 100 billion euros” in its semiconductor production policy in order to become self-sufficient in this area, said European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton on Thursday.

In line with the strategy of the Chips Act, which aims to increase the European Union’s production of electronic chips to 20 percent of world capacity by 2030, “over 100 billion euros of investments are now planned for Europe,” the French Commissioner told RTL.

And “yes, we will meet our target, and we may even achieve it ahead of schedule,” Breton added.

“There are now more than 68 projects in 19 countries that will enable us to regain our competitiveness and also our strategic autonomy,” the Commissioner said.

Until now, some 43 billion euros in subsidies have been earmarked for the Chips Act, which was voted for by the EU this year.

This new figure comes two days after the announcement that Taiwanese chip giant TSMC is to set up its first European plant in Dresden, eastern Germany (10 August 2023).

EC positively assesses new law on Academy for Judges and Prosecutors

Skopje (MIA) – The European Commission positively assesses the new Law on Academy for Judges and Prosecutors, which has been recently adopted in the Parliament, in the screening report on the Fundamentals cluster, the Ministry of Justice said Thursday in a press release.

“This is a great acknowledgment from the international community that monitors the progress of the Republic of North Macedonia. The legal changes were initiated by the Minister of Justice, Krenar Lloga, and supported by the MPs of the ruling majority, after they were previously blocked in the Parliament. The Academy for Judges and Prosecutors remains a bright spot in the reform process of the justice system,” the European Commission concluded in the screening report, reads the press release.

With the changes, it is possible to obtain a unified certificate for completed initial training for judges and public prosecutors, reads the press release.

The European Commission considers that this represents a great benefit in raising the quality of the selection of the best, who are registered for admission to the Academy’s initial training.

“The law also provides for unifying court practice through increased number of training for judges within the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors, as well as a redefinition of the way of passing the entrance and final exams, based on objective criteria for assessing the knowledge of the candidates,” the press release reads.

The Ministry of Justice said that they will be fully committed to reforms in the judiciary in the upcoming period aimed at fulfilling the criteria for EU membership. (10 August)

Europeans want more action against disinformation on the internet

Brussels (Belga) – More than half of Europeans doubt the veracity of the information they find on the internet. That is according to a survey published on Thursday by the Bertelsmann Stiftung. A large majority of Europeans believe that technology companies and political decision-makers should do more to combat online disinformation.

Some 85 percent of European citizens think political decision-makers should do more to combat the spread of disinformation. 89 percent also think the companies behind social networking platforms should take more action.

This goes hand in hand with a growing awareness of the problem among European citizens. According to the survey, some 54 percent of them often or very often doubt the accuracy of the information they find on the internet, while 39 percent say they have already been confronted with disinformation.

Less than one in two (44 percent) say they have ever checked information found online. Even fewer report disinformation (22 percent). Age plays an important role here: the younger and better educated the respondents, the more they question the accuracy of information and take action to combat disinformation. The survey also shows that intense users of social networks are more exposed to disinformation. Twitter and Telegram users in particular see a lot of it.

When it comes to the influence of social networks on democracy, Europeans are divided, with big differences between countries. Critical views predominate in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, while Poles are much more positive about the influence of networks on democracy.

The survey on which the Bertelsmann Stiftung study is based was conducted last March among 13,270 people aged between 16 and 70 in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. (10 August)

Crisis visit to Slovenia by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

European Commission president visits flooded areas

Ljubljana/Crna na Koroškem (STA) – On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen toured the areas affected by the massive floods that swept Slovenia last week The floods are the worst disaster in the country’s history.

She met with Prime Minister Robert Golob and President Natasha Pirc Musar and addressed the National Assembly, which was holding an extraordinary session. Von der Leyen assured Slovenia of the solidarity and support of the European Union and announced that the EU Solidarity Fund will make 400 million euros in grants available to the country, 100 million this and 300 million euros next year.

Slovenia is an outstanding example of an EU Member State, a friend of ours, which has always responded immediately when other countries needed help. Now Slovenia needs help, and of course we stand by it. Slovenia can count on Europe.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The Commission President, who was accompanied by the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, pointed out that time was also of the essence when it came to securing additional funding from the NextGeneration EU recovery fund which still has 2.7 billion euro available for Slovenia to borrow. Slovenia has until the end of August to apply for the additional loans, which is why Ljubljana and Brussels set up a joint working group on Wednesday to help Slovenia obtain the funds.

Von der Leyen described the destruction, which she saw from the air, as “heartbreaking.” In a later address to the members of the National Assembly, she also described the scale of the disaster as a “national and European tragedy.”

When we need help, solidarity is worth the most.

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob

The EU was the best thing that could have happened to Slovenia and Europe in the last hundred years, Golob stressed, illustrating that when Slovenia needed help, it was given immediately. “The European Commission will do its utmost to ensure that Slovenia receives rapid and generous assistance, and this is an important message that the government will incorporate into its plans,” he assured. He also announced the creation of a special fund for flood recovery, which would include both EU funds and money from the Slovenian budget. The first installment from the national budget would amount to 300 million euros, he said.

Die Anzeigetafel einer Apotheke zeigt eine Temperatur von 46 Grad in der Innenstadt von Rom an. Der Juli war nach Daten des EU-Klimawandeldienstes Copernicus der heißeste Monat seit Aufzeichnungsbeginn. (zu dpa «Bestätigt: Juli war der heißeste Monat seit Messbeginn»)
The display panel of a pharmacy shows a temperature of 46 degrees in downtown Rome. Photo: Domenico Stinellis/AP

EU climate change service: July 2023 hottest month ever recorded

Geneva/Reading (dpa) – It is official now: July was the hottest month ever recorded, according to data from the EU’s Copernicus climate change service. The service only has data since 1940, but Copernicus deputy director Samantha Burgess said on Tuesday, referring to calculations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “It hasn’t been this warm for at least 120,000 years.” Climate researchers can reconstruct historical climate from tree rings, air bubbles in glaciers and corals, among other things.

The average global temperature in July was 16.95 degrees, 0.33 degrees higher than the previous record month July 2019, according to Copernicus. The ocean temperature was also higher than ever recorded before. “These records have serious implications for people and the planet, which is subject to increasingly frequent and intense extreme events,” Burgess warned. The world’s hottest day to date was 6 July 2023, with a global average temperature of 17.08 degrees, according to the data.

The temperature over land was 0.72 degrees higher globally in July than the average for 1991 to 2020, according to the Copernicus data, and 0.51 degrees higher for the ocean temperature about 10 metres below the surface. The Copernicus data is based on computer-generated analyses that incorporate measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

The US climate agency NOAA publishes its data for July in mid-August. Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Geneva does not rule out that the full year 2023 will be hotter than the previous record year 2016, when the average temperature was 1.3 degrees above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900). Since that time, global warming has been progressing due to man-made climate change. It has accelerated sharply since the 1980s.

For Germany in particular, July was definitely not a record month, according to an expert from the German Weather Service (DWD). The month was too warm in this country in a multi-year comparison, but not record-breaking either for a July or overall. (7 August)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.