Photo by Sam Tranum

Coming to Dublin?

There have been 19 offers to host the for-now UK-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) and 8 for the European Banking Authority (EBA). The Irish government have formally bid to host both.  The relocation of two agencies is a direct consequence of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU.

The EMA, which is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU, is especially attractive for the member states as it employs 900 highly skilled staff and has an annual budget of roughly €322 million. The EBA, whose main goal is to assess risks and vulnerabilities in the EU banking sector, employs 160 specialists and operates with a budget of €38 million.

Dealing with a Drug

In 2016, five deaths in Dublin and Cork were linked to the use of the drug fentanyl and its analogues. Its use is not only a concern in Ireland; furanylfentanyl has been detected in 16 member states and is associated with 23 deaths. Now the European Commission wants to restrict the psychoactive substance.

It is sold online in small and wholesale amounts as a “research chemical”, typically as a powder and as ready-to-use nasal sprays. Effects for those who take it include relaxation and euphoria; higher doses can cause intoxication. Ten member states have national drug-control legislation for furanylfentanyl, while 14 EU countries – including Ireland – don’t. So the commission wants to adopt restrictions that apply throughout the EU.

In 2015/16, 164 new psychoactive substances entered the EU drug market. As most have been on the market for a short period of time, they may not be part of most drug screenings and therefore may be undetected or underreported.

Healthy Eating

With arrival of the new school year, countries across the European Union saw a new healthy eating scheme come into play. Its aim is to get young people to eat more healthy food, by giving out fruit, vegetables and milk, and supporting educational programmes on food production and nutrition.

There are rules around what kinds of food qualify. Processed foods, such as soup, fruit compotes, juice, yoghurts and cheese may be distributed with the approval of the national health authorities. No added sugar, salt and fat are allowed unless the national health authorities allows it.

Although member states don’t have to take part, all 28 countries have signed up, including Ireland. The EU has agreed on €250 million funding for 2017/2018 – around €150 million for fruit and vegetables and €100 million for milk. The funding was divided up based on the number of school-age children in each member state. Ireland is set to get €3 million, which it can then transfer to schools.

Jowita is a Polish journalist based in Brussels, covering EU affairs and legislation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *