Monthly Archives: April 2010

Congratulations Charlemagne!

I was at the UACES/ThomsonReuters award for Reporting Europe last night. A nice event for several reasons. Firstly because I got to see several people I like who were over from Brussels, including Oana Lungescu and Stephen Castle, both of whom were nominated. Secondly, it’s good to recognise quality reporting on Europe when it occurs, backing up my constant assertion that good reporting doesn’t mean positive, it means accurate, which is the least the public have the right to expect. And thirdly because the winner was very worthy – the Charlemagne blog written by David Rennie at the Economist. There’s pretty universal agreement among EU geeks that his coverage of the issue is just about the best around. A shame he is moving on.

If you go to the UACES award site, you’ll see a video of the shortlisted prizes put together by students at Kent University. It gave a nice impetus to the ceremony and gave a good flavour of the various candidates.

As a bit of a social media geek (as well as an EU one) I really enjoyed this piece by Mark Pack on the whole #nickcleggsfault thing on Twitter. Though this isn’t perhaps THE internet election, the role of social media has I believe made differences to how issues are discussed. It’s made it easier to find, connect to and discuss with people who are interested in the same things (even if coming at it from different perspectives and viewpoints). That is surely a good thing.

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Don’t take my word for it

The discussion about how much of UK law is due to the EU rumbles on, but Channel 4 Factcheck have done a pretty comprehensive demolition of the figures floating around. Find it here

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Commission statement:air passenger rights apply in light of volcanic ash cloud

Update 28 April: Here’s the latest statement on this from the Commission.

Air travel: volcanic ash cloud – EU passenger rights continue to apply

 Speaking today following the closure of airspace and airports in more than 8 EU counties including Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, due the volcanic eruption in Iceland, European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said:

 “The volcanic ash cloud is a very significant threat to air safety. National authorities are required to take decisions to ensure safety under international law, such as closure of airspace and airports, without discrimination between airlines.

 In this case, the airports and those responsible for air traffic control have taken very swift and appropriate action to safeguard the public.  And there is excellent co-ordination and co-operation at European level, notably within Eurocontrol.

 But even in exceptional circumstances EU passenger rights continue to apply and air travellers should speak up to claim their rights.”

 With regard to passenger rights, the Vice President added:

 “This is a situation which is causing immense difficulties for passengers travelling throughout Europe.  It can be considered a very exceptional circumstance.  Nevertheless, it is important to remind passengers and airlines that EU passenger rights do apply in this situation”:

 -       the right to receive information from airlines (e.g. on your rights, on the situation as it evolves, cancellations and length of delays)

 -       the right to care (refreshments, meals, accommodation as appropriate)

 -       the right to chose between reimbursement of fares or be re-routed to final destination

 In an exceptional circumstance such as this, passengers are not however entitled to additional financial compensation that would be the case where delays or cancellations are the fault of the airline.

 Background:

 These rights are established by the EU Directive on air passenger rights (Regulation 261/2004)

 For more information on your rights see: apr.europa.eu

 The EU Top12 Recommendations for Passengers

 http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/553&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

 Passengers are advised to contact their airlines, and in case of problems the national enforcement bodies (see list: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passengers/air/doc/national_enforcement_bodies.pdf )

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